One of, if not the hardest thing about losing a spouse is you lose the person who is usually your support during difficult times. Now, in the darkest time of your life- you find yourself, alone.
There are many special and cherished relationships, but they are all, in a sense- (apart from maybe your own mother at one point) with people out in the world- people you meet as you journey. With your husband, it is as if you’re together inside a cockpit or behind a glass windshield, driving on this journey. You marvel at the view together- the valleys, deserts, and even the rockiest terrain. No matter what, even though you make stops along the way, and even though, physically- you may be separated for times- even on other sides of the world- you remain invisibly- always seated beside each other- as a unit-watching it all happen. Even then, it’s apparent when the phone beside your bed rings and your heart warms and you answer, “Hey you.”
Sitting beside each other as passengers does not mean you will see everything in the same light or have the same ideas, friends, hobbies, or even passions, and in fact, this is what enriches your joint experience of the world more than anything…this togetherness and otherness tied into one.
My entire adult life, you sat beside me- and then one morning- when I heard the phone ring- as I danced around your daughter in the hallway hurrying to reach it, waiting for that “Hey you,” I heard something altogether different. “Are you sitting down? Can you sit down?”
And then, there I am sitting watching the story of your departure from behind “our” now shattered window. There I am without your hand on my shoulder, or your own shock or witness, to this- the most horrifyingly bizarre thing either of us have never imagined.
I am perversely jealous of the victims of other tragedies who write in their memoirs about the support offered to them by their spouse through it all.
Because there I am, not as I am below- with your arm around me at your grandparents’ grave on a hillside in a small Korean village the first year of our marriage. No, there I am, so suddenly- alone- at your own grave. I came across this photo a few months ago. I just keep looking at it.