DSC_0147It’s been 10 days since John died. I am in a lot of pain and profoundly sad most of the time. There are quick and far too infrequent periods of happiness, boredom, or laughter, but mostly, everything is a reminder that he’s gone and never coming back. Because John and I were practically joined at the hip, especially in the last year of his illness, there’s virtually no place I can go that doesn’t bring a flood of memories, that doesn’t make me yearn for him.

I’m also feeling lost and very alone, even though my house is still full of people. All of a sudden and in that instant that John passed, I lost most of my identity. I don’t know who I am. I’m not a wife or a caregiver or a partner. Even though I’m still a mom and a step-mom, my kids are all grown up. Sure, they still need me, but they are adults with lives of their own now.

This was supposed to be our time. We had plans for what we would do once Eli (my youngest) graduated from high school in June. Now I’m on my own. Starting in June, I won’t have any responsibility for anyone but myself and my dogs. I can go anywhere, do anything, be anyone I want to be. The opportunities are endless. Last night my step daughter told me to look at it like an adventure. That’s what John would tell me too.

But right now, it just feels incredibly overwhelming, sad, and, honestly, terrifying. The one person who completed me (as cliche as that sounds), who totally understood me and wanted to take this adventure with me, is gone. For good. Nothing I do, no amount of wishing or praying is going to bring him back. Maybe, as people keep telling me, he’s still with me, will always be with me, but I’m not feeling that right now. He just feels gone.

I heard a quote recently that said that there’s no such thing as safe love. Real love is giving someone the power to hurt you. John never hurt me while he was alive, but having loved him as deeply and profoundly as I do, his death hurts more than I ever imagined it would. I know how lucky I am to have had a love like that. I realize that most people never experience it. Someday, I’m sure that will bring me solace.

But today, it only makes the loss more painful.