There are 100 things (at minimum) I want to share with you from today.
Sixteen months you've been gone. I don't miss you any less, just more used to it now.
I love you, babe.
We spent several years living within boundaries set by ALS. Years that were filled with amazing experiences, but ones limited to what Tony could do. For instance, walking on the soft sand of a beach was impossible by about 18 months after his diagnosis.
During that time, I saw everyone else's vacation pictures and I'll admit I was jealous. I was jealous that they could have those seemingly carefree days, days that I felt I would never have again. Mainly though, I wanted to shake them all. I wanted to make sure they were really appreciating what they had... family time, functioning bodies, fun. Because I knew we'd never again have that as a family of four... and I didn't want anyone else to take it for granted.
We are on vacation now, and I've been posting a lot of pictures. I can't help but think back to those days.
Tony would have loved wave jumping with Cora, and watching Louise's wild style of putt-putt. Now I get to make those memories with them. And I don't take it for granted. I try my best to make the best of every day. I'm so thankful to have the chance.
I like to talk about you. I talk about you a lot. But I always wrestle with what seems like the inevitable outcome when I am talking to someone who doesn't know the story... when I have to say that you're gone. That's a conversation killer.
After that awkward silence, people often try to express their sympathy (and that is kind and thoughtful of them). But I'll admit that I can't bear to stand there and receive that kindness. I just hate it.
Last week, I think I discovered the solution, and it seems like another one of those subtle shifts that are part of this process. When I talk about you, I need to replace "my husband" with "my late husband." Maybe I should have realized it before, but maybe it was just too hard to say.
I said it for the first time today, and it seemed to work. It was out there, right up front, but the conversation continued. There was no room for the sympathy. No awkward silence.
I'll try it again, and see what happens. In some ways it feels like a step away from you, but it makes it so much easier to talk about you. A step away perhaps, but a way to keep you in my life every day too.