I will never be ashamed of you.
I hate the pitied looks some people give me when I tell them how you died. It makes my breath catch, after so long of being OK with it– I forget that this is supposed to be shameful, to bring shame to you.
There is none, not a particle of shame, not as far as I’m concerned. I love you like fire. Deep in the very centre of me, where we keep the small flames burning of precious oils for all the souls we have loved, I always will. There is a burner, tiny and ornate, filled the essence of the first person I ever loved completely, without fear and hiding bits of me behind masks and cut outs– the first person who ever loved me, completely, in return. It’s flame is tended by my memories, the memories I have of us, when things where blissful and we were so very in love.
Because if what we had wasn’t love, in it’s sweetest most robust form, then I don’t think it exists. It was beyond love, because we built things on it. Emotion is like vapor– houses and children and wedding rings are tangible. They can means nothing, of course, and many will tell you that’s true. A marriage is nothing bar a piece of parchment paper with a stamped or printed signature.
But then, a wedding day can be as simple as willow branch. And ours was– it was the tieing of people, the making of two into one. The base for a heady, fraught emotion that had become something solid, something tall, something real.
And I thought it would grow taller. I really believed, in my heart of hearts, that you and I would grow old together. That we’d have our shit times, and our good times. That one of us might cheat, and be forgiven. That money would get tough and we’d get through it.
That every wedding we danced at for the next forty years, we’d reminisce sweetly in whispers of our own.
And this was only the beginning of it, the fresh and fertile patch of marriage life, where children are tiny and time is precious and life tramples all over your good intentions. This was our nappies–and–Wiggles–and–sleepless–nights–and–rare–dinners–out–and–shhh–don’t–wake–the–baby time. It was guaranteed to be rough. We were destined to fight. And fight we did, like wildfire. The very same way we loved each other.
Because following this it was supposed to be over, in a completely different way to what it is now. Our children would gradually slip into school age, time passing before we even noticed it happening. And we’d move into school–concerts–and–weekend–sports–and–Justin–Beiber–and–friends–over–for–bbqs–and–mature–age–university–student–and–trusting–each–other–through–years–of–compromise stage.
And we’d love each other that little bit more ever year that passed. A love born of familiarity and working through stuff and not giving up… the way a marriage is supposed to be.
Somewhere, a pipe dream way off in the foggy distance, we would retire to a lighthouse and live a simple life of thermos of hot coffee and dawn fishing trips and watching old (1990′s) movies together on the lounge a night.
It’s an existence I kiss softly and whisper goodbye to… fold into a paper boat and softly wish it solace as I let it glide from hands into the open gray sea.
The nappies–and–Wiggles stage is just about over here, where we are, your children and I.. stuck down here on Earth. With no newborn to sustain it and the Chop off to school in mere months… it’s passed before I even realized it was happening. It’s sad, and I regret it already. It makes me angry with you, that you took that from me when I enjoyed it so thoroughly, when it was all I ever really wanted to do.
But at least I can begin this next stage without missing you so very much– because I had never fully visualized it before you died. This day to day little person raising existence I’m living now, I know every time you are missing from a scene you should be in– and that’s always– because I can rememeber so clearly what it was like to have you here. Because I had this perfectly accurate picture in my mind of how it would be.
We start the next phase with a cleaner slate, the kids and I. There are no blueprints for this one, no expectations that are truly impossible to meet. I’ve stopped waiting for someone new to come along and ’fix’ us, or make the three of us feel complete– we feel complete the way we are. I just had to be patient… it took some time to get here.
It’s saying goodbye, in a way, to something that was so tactically, touchably real and replacing it with a daydream of what could have been. I witnessed you here in the little kid phase,I know what I’m missing. This next bit, I’ve never done it any other way except alone.
And that’s easier, somehow. Less painful. The daydream is further off from here, in the distance where I cant touch it, grab it and wring at it, make its nerve endings sting and squelch in pain. The reality of what was missing was far, far too close… close enough to hurt all the time.
We’re in a transition. Watch over us, as you do. I miss you– that’s a simple fact of life, always will be. But I’m missing the Tony who is eternally 34. And I’m getting older.
This is just to let you know, I guess– we’re OK. I know you knew I would be– I think you always knew how strong I could be if I needed to. But the doesn’t abscond you from leaving me.
And you still owe me, remember? I’m ok here, alone… but I’m lonely.
I miss you. I love you.