They say that if a person passed herself on the street that she would view herself as a stranger. The theory is that our own image in real life is unrecognizable to us; we’ve only seen our face on flat photographs, through the lenses of a camera, and in mirrors. An ironic side note that I’d like to make: it’s also been said that our soulmates are the mirrors in our lives.
I’ve spent half second increments of time bargaining with God.
Maybe we could have you back and I’d promise not to ever speak to you. You could just be the kids’ dad.
Maybe you could come back just for one conversation on what I’m supposed to do in my life without you.
These ideas intrude my mind, and I brush them away like mosquitos. Blood sucking. Useless. Irritating. I know that these thoughts are impossible requests, and it angers me that they creep in from time to time. It feels cruel.
That being said though… Considering all of what I just spoke on, I wonder if you came back, would you even recognize me?
You see, two years ago I was stripped bare. A tree. Shaved of all leaves. All branches. Shaved of all bark. Left to die.
As this dying tree sat there (to some, already dead), she had few choices…
The tree could say it was good while it lasted and give up.
Look to its own sap filled insides, now exposed to the elements, without bark and know there’s not much time. She could take a deep breath but had no leaves with which to inhale. Maybe ask the Sun for help, but she had no branches with which to reach.
So she remembered that she still had roots. She turned herself upside down, reached for a knife and carved herself into something useful.
I’ve spent the last two years uprooting myself and carving me into something of use to this world. That’s all I can think to do if I’m going to be here without you.
I reflect on my past life. I remember someone so scared of so many forces outside of herself, and I remember the person consistently loving me through those fears. I think of us, making our way out onto the patio to analyze under the stars and plan our life. I think of the beautiful soul that was beyond this world. A soul I knew so well then and understand so much more now. It took your death to show me the depths of how truly enlightened you were.
Regardless of what I knew then or what I know now, one thing is positive.
I carry you with me.
Sophie came to me last weekend. She cried, “I miss the memories.”
I thought she meant that she missed making memories with you. She went on further, “It’s not just that I miss Dad. I miss the memories of Dad. I’m losing them.” My heart ached, but then I realized it in that very moment. We carry you.
“I know, honey, it’s hard when we feel those memories slipping from us. Write them down while you still have them. Old-woman-Sophie will appreciate it.”
“Ok…” Her tiny voice quivered.
I grabbed both of her cheeks to look into her eyes, “We will never forget Daddy. Daddy’s presence is so strong both surrounding us and within us.”
“That’s for sure.” She said, with a clear tone.
“We will miss him every day, for every event. We will miss his laugh and his smile. We miss the memories that fog within our minds, but Daddy is so much more than those things. We carry him everywhere.”
She and I hugged and cried on and off for the afternoon, but we both knew a single truth: You have been absorbed into us.
It’s because of this, I’ve had the strength to change. Thank you for being my motivational speaker. Thank you for stepping out of work to call me because you got a text that said:
I need a Scotty pep talk.
You don’t know the thousands of times I’ve wanted to text you during these last two years… To need the comfort of your husband over his own death is a duality that few will ever know. Just a bare tree…yearning for your comfort before realizing that you are absorbed into my roots.
It hasn’t been pretty. It’s been ugly.
But it’s been necessary; while I’m not sure you’d know who I am any more, I am certain that I will always recognize you. Like the Maya Angelou quote says:
People will forget what you said.
People will forget what you did,
but people will never forget
how you made them feel.
Your spirit is unforgettable.
Until we meet again, I live every day for the reunion.