I wake to your warmth, but it dissipates in a second. I turn over and you’re not there. I open the back door in my morning routine and there are no nails clicking on the kitchen floor. I forget to make coffee.
I catch myself before I say, “Car ride!” and open the garage door before I start the car, without worrying that you’ll sneak out the door and run into the snow. The car is warm as I leave for the long drive to work, and sometimes I look in the side mirror, expecting to see your head sticking out the window, panting and sneezing out scents so there is room for more. But it isn’t.
I come home and open the door, stopping myself before I say, “Did you miss me?” I miss you. All but one of your toys are put away, a sad remainder in the middle of the living room floor. Your pillow is in the far corner where it’s not noticeable. I watch tv, cuddling with your feline sisters but feeling your presence next to me. I don’t remember what show I saw.
At bedtime I want to say, “Come on, let’s get treats!” but there’s no one to say it to. I go to my bed and look over on the nightstand where your snacks usually sit. Oh yeah. I gave them to my son’s son. I can’t read like I usually do. When I lay down I put my hand on the spot where you usually are, but there’s no warmth and no rise and fall of your breathing. I think about your last moments, looking into your eyes while the light left them. Kissing you goodbye and running my hands through your hair one more time. You looked so peaceful, like you were laying on the floor watching tv with me. I cry myself to sleep. Again.
The pain isn’t the white hot pain of losing my husband. It’s a constant ache and emptiness. Tomorrow I’ll go through it again. And every day. Until it doesn’t hurt anymore. Will that ever happen?
~ For Benny