Just past the perimeter of the patio a Japanese maple displays an array of sparkling lights. It makes the darkness seem special. Summer will come with late nights, candles on the patio tables, conversation that reverberates into the dark gardens. Again, I feel saddened and mesmerized at the same time.
Many times, it happens: I get nostalgic as I look upon something ordinary. But, really, I know why – the ordinary became extraordinary with his passing. For the past 44 years I had moments about lights with Scott – putting them up for Christmas, holding each other beneath starry ones, strands for garden party, looking up at the moonlight. Again, I am traveling the skies of memories, searching for the secret star messaging me good night. All this just by glancing at the pretty lights on our tree, a tree we chose together and kept alive one very dry summer.
How will I ever get through summer, let alone June?
You will find me on the patio still, watching the light show.
I’m in a tearful state. I slept in after an early wake-up with my puppy. I got him settled and went back to my bed. I was shocked that it was close to 10:30 when I returned to the kitchen. I washed some dishes and got ready to take my new friend for his first park walk. It was perfect: he liked it, walking by my side, and tossed his attention back and forth from geese to passing dogs to interested folks. Now that we’re home I see that he’s tired, napping on the backdoor stoop ~ his favorite place for now.
The backdoor stoop. I stand there, and feel the breeze. Scott would stand on the same rock before heading into the yard. I went out with friends last evening and had a nice time but I grew sadder and sadder as I drove home. Scott wouldn’t be there. I miss his concern, his touch, our dialog. I miss hearing his footsteps in the house, across creaky floorboards he always wanted fixed. He made me feel worthy, and caring, smart enough, and even funny. My “person”, my “self” doesn’t feel as special anymore. I miss the way he looked at me. Tears roll down my cheeks. I can’t take on the list of things I wrote yesterday. I think of friends, sisters, relatives to call but then I begin to imagine the conversation and realize that it wouldn’t help. Instead, I’m going to respect my sadness and carry it with me today. That actually sounds comforting. I’ll let it disappear or lessen as it hopefully will, but I’ll also just breathe with it, and let it be. I’m not going to try to manipulate this mood away or it might just dig-in its heels and win.
I don’t know if those that pass on continue to be aware of us in the way that I would like, which makes my sadness deepen, but I do know this : if Scott is aware, then I am certain his love for me is enough to help me move forward into some lighter days.
I place myself on the stool at my kitchen counter, coffee at hand, and look out the window. I worry for a bit that the birds won’t come this morning. But they do.
My husband died but the birds still come. It’s one of my greatest comforts and yet it makes me cry. He loved the birds and we both got a kick out of watching them play at the feeder and through the trees and bushes. It’s too sweet to recall sometimes how we’d both just grin, watching the birds, chatting quietly about this one or that.
He died in June, 15 days before turning sixty. For a while I was looking for the Towhee, his favorite, to perch on its usual bush and tweet a bit. I didn’t see it for what seemed a few weeks. Some finches were coming and going, the hummingbirds active, but no Towhee. Finally, one morning, up popped the Towee through the branches and there it was – sitting still, like an ornament, on top of its leafy round bush. I gasped. Tears streamed down my face.
I think I always knew that when a loved one dies we remember them fondly as we see things that they once enjoyed. What I didn’t know, until now, is that seeing those things is of astounding import and can take your breath away. Seeing something as flighty and seasonal as a bird, can be the day’s most profound signal. It can flood your heart and mind in an instant. All of a sudden you are awash in loneliness, the blood surges through your ears, and you are standing there, hesitant to move, clinging to that still-existing part of life that he loved, that you can still see.