Today

It’s been six months since that terrible day. I’ve tried to fill you in on what I’ve done and how I’ve experienced in the post love era.

There are a few notable moments I didn’t mention.

One of my friends nearly died. She had a procedure that should have been minor but complications kept her in the hospital. Her husband later told me he was shouting at Christine for trying to take his wife. I think that’s how he explained it.

It was terrifying for all of us. I don’t think anyone could have taken another death in our small, close knit group. She recovered. I was so thankful. I was also incredibly jealous. That sounds so horrible, but it made me think even more about my own loss. Why did everyone else get to have a person? I know, I’m selfish.

Then there was the night I was on the edge of joining Christine. It only happened once, me feeling that way. I was at our friend’s bar celebrating their 10th anniversary in business. All of our friends and acquaintances were there, having a great time. And I just started to feel so alone. Christine should have been there, but she wasn’t and never would be. It was also the first time several people had seen me since she passed away, so I had the whole widower leprosy thing going on as well.

I just kept coming back to joining her. I couldn’t stop thinking about it. I moved away from my friends started messaging her, telling her I didn’t think I could make it through another night without her. And then a friend texted me this:

smiles

I know, it’s ridiculous. And it pulled me completely out of that line of thinking and I’ve never gone back.

There was the benefit for Crisis Connections we held in Christine’s honor. A friend did an amazing job getting stuff to auction off and raffle and we raised thousands. I even stood up on a table and gave a short speech. I thought it would be a horribly sad night but it wasn’t. It was a great night.

There was Halloween in Ireland where I was the one who got the ring from the barmbrack bread, supposedly signifying I would be married within the year. It was incredibly awkward but I kept the ring as a promise that things will get better someday.

barmbrack

I went out with the team that night to have a couple pints. When they learned about Christine they told me of an Irish tradition wherein a glass of the departed’s favorite drink was set at the table and a spot left open for them.

They bought her a glass of pinot grigio we kept a place at the table for her.

I also failed to tell you about the most important of the revelations I had. I realized I hadn’t mourned Christine. I pushed her aside so much trying to stay away from the bad feelings and just bottled it all up.

So I decided to let myself feel it. And holy shit how I’ve felt it. I’ve been a total wreck for three weeks. Just constantly breaking down over the littlest thing. But that might be OK.

Oh, and I found a therapist.

So there we are. All caught up. I’m alone. My wife’s sadness overwhelmed her and she took her own life. My kids lost their mom. The world lost the most beautiful person it had.

No happy ending. Not yet. Not even sure if you can have one of those in a situation like this. I mean, Christine clearly can’t. Can I?

I don’t know what’s coming from here. The pain has been overwhelming the last couple days since we buried her. I know it won’t get better, but it will get different. I’ll keep moving forward and keep my memory of her with me everyday. I just need to remember the good ones. Hold those. I’ll probably share them here from time to time.

I’ve heard from an astoundingly large number of people since starting this blog, a lot of them have said me telling this story is helping them through the same darkness Christine suffered from.

I’ll keep writing, you keep reading. We’ll get through this shit show together.

Yours in love,

-B

Memories of a Happier Time – Halloween

It was the afternoon of Halloween, 2016. The day had been spent slowly traveling from Cork on our way to Castlemaine, stopping at anything that grabbed our interest. We descended from the highlands into a valley choked with the acrid smoke of peat fires, giving the hills an otherworldly purple glow. These fires have been burnt on October 31st for centuries, now as tradition but originally with a different intent.

The ancient origins of this holiday began in Ireland. Called Samhain at the time, it was the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter. However, this day was also marked as the day the border between the other world and the human world were at their weakest, allowing free travel between realms for fairies, banshees, shape-shifters and the dead. Massive fires were built to ward off these spirits and attract departed family members from returning home.

I had spent the last several weeks telling Christine of the spooky goings-on of pagan Ireland, setting her up for a night of chills. Halloween was traditionally the only night of the year I could convince her to watch a scary movie with me. This year was different, this year we got to experience the land where so many of these tales were born.

We slowly ascended the long driveway (pictured) to the house we’d rented, about an hour before sunset. It was very rural, set apart from the nearest residence by hundreds of feet without a single commercial building in sight. The house was unlocked, the key on the kitchen counter. It only took a few minutes to freshen up and prepare for dinner and then it was back to a pub we had passed a couple kilometers back.

I had shepard’s pie and a pint of Tom Crean’s lager. Christine had a glass of pinot grigio and the first nacho disaster of our trip, a plate of chips and cheese microwaved to oblivion with a scoop of cold, canned salsa dropped on top. We laughed about this, promising each other we’d make ourselves a snack of cheese, crackers, and charcuterie when we got back to the house.

We had packed costumes. She was Black Widow and I was Iron Man. We returned to the house and changed but decided at the last minute to call the local bar to make sure they held the Halloween party promised by our host. They did, but it was the previous Saturday. We were all dressed up with no where to go. This was perfect. It had been a long day. Both of us were happy to pull a movie from the house’s collection and curl up on the couch together with the promised snacks and some brown bread, of course. She ate that with every meal while we were on our trip.

The movie ended. We were tired and decided to spend the rest of the night together in bed.

I lay there, holding Christine, slipping into sleep. And then

Tap

Tap Tap

Tap

Tap Tap Tap

The sounds were coming from the walls. They were coming from the windows.

Tap Tap

Tap

I got up and checked the locks. I tried to look out the windows.

Tap Tap Tap

Tap

It was so dark outside I couldn’t see anything so I lifted the window. Could it be the wind?

Nothing moved outside.

Tap

Tap Tap Tap

I shined a light around to see where the noise was coming from. Nothing.

Tap

Finally I crawled back into bed. I held her closer.

Me: Are you awake?

Christine: hmmmm?

Me: Where are these noises coming from?

And then I fell asleep.

The next morning I awoke to a beautiful day. The sun was shining through a few clouds. Cold, but perfect.

I made breakfast and coffee and brought them to her in bed.

Christine: Hey. You are such a jerk. I stayed up for hours listening to that noise last night. I hate you.

We kissed. We ate. We left the house and had the best day of our lives. It was our perfect day. She fell in love with Ireland. ‘My heart belongs in Dingle’ she would say anytime we thought about where we wanted to spend out last days together.

That night, same house, not a single sound.