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Tuesday, November 3, 2009

understanding loss

As I travel down this street, I am beginning to realize that I am dealing with many losses. Yes, I have lost my one true love, my best friend, my historian, my caretaker, my handyman..... But I have also lost the man with the memories of the man which are fading. People say that the shock of the sudden death is so painful that memories are hard to retrieve. But when I look back on my past, memories are always hard to retrieve, and they are not easily brought to the surface. It doesn't matter whether the memories are painful or joyful, they are still very ethereal. I cannot relive the moments of my past, and so the loss of the man and the loss of the memories of the man are 2 very major losses. Something I was not prepared for.

I work hard to put myself back in those moments. I try to will myself to walk the streets of London the way we did the summer before he died, in June of 2008. I can almost grasp the memory, the rain, the surprising chill in the air, his delight at Scotland Yard, his hand in my hand. And yet, I cannot be in that past, cannot really feel his presence beside me. It is fleeting, it is just a wisp, and it does not satisfy the need for him.

I am not sure that my experience, the way I am experiencing my loss is typical and it does not really matter, I know. But I think I was so shook by the loss that I want to know what the road ahead is like for others, so that I can try and prepare for my journey through this. I am beginning to realize though, that grief is such a unique and individual experience. So those who comforted me and told me that the memories would come back, because for them they did, were wrong. Is it that my ability to remember is so faulty? I have a hard time remembering other people from my past-I can remember them but not ME with them, And for my husband, that is the memory that I would want to have. I would love to go to sleep and dream of him and I, and have some life with him, if only in my dreams.

I am like a child understanding the finality of death for the first time. It dawned on me the other day that I would never see him again. I was not prepared for that-never thought of that, how final it all is and what the pain of that would be like. It seems silly to write this and I feel somewhat lacking in intelligence or common sense that it did not really sink in. It is strange the way that we are protected from fully understanding loss and that the layers are exposed bit by bit.

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