I am coming up on six years. I guess in the light of the 34 years that I was married, six is nothing. Yet it feels like a lifetime. Someone else's lifetime. The strange thing this year is that the days match the days of the year that Bruce died. Six years ago this week, Bruce and I had celebrated Valentine's Day, and had a good long weekend. We stayed home and graded papers and then on Friday the 20th we got up and went to the gym and by 1pm he was gone.
There are flashes of memories of that day. The run up to the front of 24 hour fitness, the sight of Bruce on the floor, my screams and cries, my attempt to run to his side while being held back, the paramedics, the ride in the ambulance, the aloneness in the hospital ER waiting room, the entrance of friends and family, the ride to Western Med, the waiting room there, the overhead pages calling the "code" over and over again and finally the goodbye after the decision to terminate resuscitation attempts.
I also remember bits and pieces of the days, weeks and months following his death. The first year of me going through the motions of living my life. The adjustments of a life alone, the despair that accompanied the overwhelming loneliness, the challenges of work and taking care of Bebe. The years that followed enabled me to find a routine without Bruce. And then there was the joy of being a grandparent, and celebrating my children's movement through their life cycles-a wedding, the births, new jobs, new houses.
It is still difficult to believe that my life has changed so much in the past six years. Could I have predicted it-of course not. And it is that overriding thought that helps the most. I cannot predict the future and in that there is comfort because the possibility exists that good things can happen for me.
I can sum all of this up by saying that I am "cautiously optimistic", a phrase that I used often before Bruce died - as I anticipated all of the good things that life seemed to bring in the months before his death. I was able to get a position closer to home, a new house blocks away and some financial security that we had never had in our 34 years of marriage. We were both ecstatic, believing that good karma had finally come our way-and then there were a series of unfortunate events - and finally his death.
So as I acknowledge another year-I am grateful that I have come this far and am able to deal with the sometimes up hill battle.