I met with my husband’s former psychiatrist today. It was a fitting day to meet her for the first time. Fitting because today was the year anniversary of my husband’s death. Yes, my husband died a year ago today.
How, what, when, why, are all questions I have asked myself for the past 365 days.
How did this happen?
What exactly happened?
When did he decide he would have that simple catherization that turned deadly?
Why did he have to die an untimely death?
As I sat in the big comfy chair that my husband often sat in when he told his doctor his inner most thoughts, I imagined how safe he must have felt in this office. It was small, friendly, and his doctor was warm and welcoming.
I went there to see what was wrong with me…how I could fix my mind, fix my body, fix my spirits. She asked questions. She listened. She suggested I needed more sleep. Told me grieving was not easy. That even though a year had passed, she agreed that oftentimes life is more painful after a year of grieving…that the grieving process takes more time…that my body requires more rest…and that in time my heart and soul will heal.
I felt at home in the big comfy chair in the small office…yes, on this final day when my husband’s death came full circle…there was a sense of calmness as I sat with this person who asked me questions, but seemed to shake her head like she knew the answers…like she knew what I was going to say…like she knew me better than maybe I knew myself.
I never asked her what she and my husband had talked about during his many visits…his many years when he would come to this small office and sit in the big comfy chair and talk. But, she offered. She told me how much he loved his family…that we meant the world to him. She told me how much he loved me and how proud he was of my accomplishments. She told me how scared he was that his illnesses might take his life at an early age…but he was thankful for the wonderful wife and children this world had bestowed on him. He was thankful for the almost 25 years of marriage and the beautiful life he had built with me and our two amazing children he had helped raise. He was thankful for the many special moments he had been able to share with his children…like their sporting events, bar and bat mitzvahs, school performances and trips…all had meant so much to him, despite the limits of his health and failing body.
I went to the cemetery today. I went with my children…my daughter A and my son D and my brother-and-sister-in-law. I read a poem to my husband, one of Maya Angelou’s poems of condolence. I put a traditional rock on his grave. Then I cried…tears streamed down my face. They were tears of joy for the 25 extraordinary years that we had together. They were also tears of sadness as I tried to fully accept on this cold December day that my husband is NOT COMING BACK TO ME. It is the positive memories that I must now try to retrain myself to retain. As Maya Angelou’s words say:
“Now the days stretch before you with the dryness and sameness of desert dunes. And in this season of grief we who love you have become invisible to you. Our words worry the empty air around you and you can sense no meaning in our speech.
Yet, we are here. We are still here. Our hearts ache to support you.
We are always loving you.
You are not alone.”