It’s been 17 years today. Seventeen very long years. Sometimes they feel haunted. And you would think. One would think. I mean, really. What else is there to say or think or write? Have the memories not faded? You were so young. Are there not…new thoughts to be thought? New memories to be made? How is there sadness all these years later. Is…something wrong with you? Will you ever be over this? How come you’re not?
Yes. No. I don’t know.
All of the above.
But this is what I do know: When you lose someone, it’s possible to spend the rest of your life- no matter how good or bad that life is- wondering what it would be like. What it could’ve been like. If they were still here.
And the dangerous part of this is, I know, that every single idea you construct is purely imagination. You don’t know. You can’t know. But somehow you imagine things would somehow be so much different. And better. And easier. Probably, this is not true. But perhaps it is. I want to think that it is. But I’ll never know.
I miss the future I was supposed to have with you.
And it’s such a beautiful indulgence to imagine the way life may have turned out if you were still here. And somehow, in some way, there is still an ache inside me for the life I never got to have with you. It won’t go away. Some days, there is no place I can go to escape from the longing.
Somehow, I still want it.
I think about who I would be. Better. Happier. Easier. Lighter. Not so fucking complicated.
I think about who our kids would be. They would not carry The Empty Space. The heartache of living a life–an entire life– without their dad. I would not also be carrying it for them.
The Big Life Events pass by, the road inevitably paved by loss and a heavier weight than seems fair. But mainly, it’s the dailyness of you I miss for them. For me.
Logically, my brain understands. It may not have been easier. Or better. Or beautiful. Maybe it would’ve been worse? But I’ll never know. And it’s all the not knowing. All the not knowing all these years that won’t let go. And when I’m not being careful, grief is an unrelenting taskmaster.
I still imagine. I’m still left only to imagine and miss what might have been. I don’t need to be reminded that perhaps I’m missing out on what could be. I understand that. I know that. I do.
Tomorrow, I’ll do better.
But for today, I still wonder. And I still miss you. And what might’ve been.
Post Script~ When I have big feelings, I write about them. And without fail, people message me to say thank you. And they message me to say, “me too.” And that’s why I write. I know this post is sad. But I don’t write for sympathy. I write about what feels true today. I write for you to read it and feel relief in knowing that if you’ve felt this way too, you’re not alone.
11 thoughts on “This Is Why.”
Wow Julie it was kind of you to share your feelings. I could never image the loss of a loved one let alone the love of your life. I had a scare this year with my hubby. Rushed him to the er thinking he was having a heart attack – not knowing what was happening scared me! Trying to explain n answer questions my children were asking was hard cuz I didn’t know myself.
We as adults feel lost n can barely handle situations – we couldn’t even begin to imagine how it is for children. I pray Gods strength over you. Love you
God only knows why…. You don’t even know how many people you are helping.
God Bless You especially in times like this.
Thank God your husband was okay- so scary. Thank you for reading, Millie and thanks for your encouraging words. xo
Your words are so true, so spot on for many losses. Death, a lost relationship, a missed opportunity of a relationship. It’s ok to feel sad, to let that part of your heart beat out its pain. The hard part is to open the other part of your heart to new possibilities. Open yourself up to the possibility of happiness without those losses. Damn that’s hard. It’s so much easier believing life would be better if only….
“Open yourself up to the possibility of happiness without those losses”… Yes. Therein lies the challenge…
I am at 2 years, 3 months. I cannot even begin to imagine seventeen years. Your post has me in tears. It’s beautiful…. thank you.
Ohhhhh my heart- you have miles to go. I’m so sorry. But I will tell you this- as sad as I felt yesterday- as thoughtful as I feel every year on that day– as heavy as some days can be– I can honestly say, from the bottom of my heart, I love my life. My kids are okay. Everyone has heart break as part of their story. And even though I hate that chapter and the influence it has had on the chapters that followed…it didn’t ruin the book. I promise you it didn’t. You are still in the black hole…but it DOES get better. And good. And beautiful. And sweet. I promise.
You have such a way of putting raw emotion on paper. In a way that it takes us all back to moments in her own life. It shows us that as we go one more moment one more day one more year we can survive Life is full of curve balls and you have taken those curve balls in life and you have hit homeruns. Some have been at the bottom of the ninth two strikes but when the ball came you swung real hard and hit the ball out of the park. Thank you for being so real so honest and so brave to not only live life but to thrive.
Bambi, wow. Thank you for writing something so beautiful back to me. It means a lot ❤️
What a beautiful post, Julie. As a writer, I have to say your postscript resonated with me. It helped to express what I’m doing when I write through hard events or emotions. Like you said, it’s not for sympathy. Instead, it’s to put the experience into words for with those who need to hear it–myself included. Thank you for writing this.
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Emily, thank you so much for your kind words. I think there’s a special “knowing” between writers…the whys, the hows, the process… Thank you for reading. I look forward to reading your work as well. ❤