This morning I woke up and for the briefest of moments, I had a thought that felt normal. Before I was fully awake my mind was in the process of planning to celebrate one of the few traditional holidays that I've always insisted on. My Honey's birthday...which is tomorrow.
Of course when my eyes opened, my new reality came crashing down with a intensity that took my breath away...today, August the 6th 2017 marks the first full month without my girl. Cancer took her from me, one month and one day before her 51st birthday. Call it premonition or whatever you will; my sweet girl told me a little over a year ago that she had dreamed of this fact...she knew she would not live to see this birthday.
At the time I'd dismissed it as a manifestation of fear. A normal reaction to someone battling such a disease. We'd cuddled together in our bed and she'd drifted off as I ran my fingers softly through her hair, massaging her scalp...but I remember staring at the ceiling for a very long time...listening to the light buzz of her snore and breathing in her scent. Every man, every couple knows that unique feeling...breathing in the mix of smells that belongs only to your soulmate. It can excite or calm and it is forever intoxicating...I would give all that I have for just one more minute of holding her on my chest.
They say that grief never ends...that it changes into something more bearable. I believe that...I cling to it...some moments in desperation. Like now. I miss you babe...and I know that I always will...but you asked me to make some promises to you and I will honor them as best I can.
Some of them I'll share here...but many I won't. Simply because I haven't a clue as to how, when or if I'll be capable of honoring her request. As always, my dearest honey put my needs and happiness before her own...I returned it whole heartedly...it's what you do when you truly love each other. It creates balance...stability...trust...and the ability to face and overcome unfathomable adversity. Because you do it together...because you KNOW that all that matters is that you have each other on the other side of whatever it is that you're facing. We did that...always...but I'm struggling to do it alone...she completed me and made me a better man. She taught me to look for the goodness in all things and situations. Her loving beacon made it easy to hope and dream...
So...what did the love of my life want for her birthday? The one she felt certain she wouldn't see...she wanted me to attend to my health. Primarily, to have my knee joints replaced. It's something I've put off for a very long time and one of the few contentions we've had the past few years. I see a surgeon the 28th and I suspect the actual surgery will be in early September. I had new scans a week ago confirming what I already knew...total replacement is the only option and recovery is 3-4 months (per knee) which is why I'll be having them both done at once or at least within a few days of another.
Can I afford it? Not really but I found a way...not one I like but a way. Is it painful? Yes. Very...but pain and I are old comrades. They've (my knees) hurt for years, steadily getting worse. As usual, my girl's gotten her wish...I'm not sure how rehab's going to work yet as I live in a condo with LOTS of stairs but I'll figure it out...yes dear.
She wanted me to stay close to family and our boys...to mourn and move forward. I'm trying babe. Really, I am. To get back to work on my writing...to create the stories that she so loved reading and encouraging me to work on. Hence this piece today, when all I really want to do is pull the covers back over my head.
I hear you dear...whispering to my heart. It's what keeps me going...as I look back and flip through the photo albums we accumulated over the years. In nearly every shot you're smiling and happy....as am I. Was it perfect? God no...I made so many mistakes...but we got through them together. We loved hard and trusted in each other...we were real and goofy. We danced in the rain and in the middle of Walmart...I held you often and stole kisses every chance I got, sometimes to your annoyance and embarrassment.
We laughed at life and each other...we lived in the moment and focused on what we had and dreamed forward, never dwelling long on the "YaBut's." You taught me what love is...what it CAN and SHOULD be!
I promised that I would pay that forward eventually and share that beacon with another...I don't know if that's possible. I think that if you're VERY lucky, we find a soulmate once in life. My honey believed in the best of people...in the capacity of love and of the importance of a helping hand and a loving heart and the ripples it caused...changing lives in ways you might never see. I've seen it...and of late been the recipient of it, so I know it's true.
All I can say for now is that I will strive to help others and restrain my more cynical nature. I love you my sweet Tammy Jean...now and always...forever in my heart. I will celebrate tomorrow silently...but eternally because on this day, whatever powers there may be, blessed me with the time I had with you.