The past several weeks have been a fog. I think I am doing ok, but there have been a few instances where I have to stop and ask myself what am I doing? Why am I reacting this way? I'm catching myself saying or doing things that I know aren't fair to people. I'm procrastinating on things around the house. I'm making plans with friends and then waiting until the last minute to get ready, in some cases showing up hours late for no good reason. One thing seems certain, it all seems to be related to me becoming a recluse; a benevolent phantom at the end of the cul-de-sac. I hope it passes, because contrary to my actions, I don't intend to be this way.
I'm finding myself settling in to a peculiar head space. On one hand necessary things like work are coming back to me. On the other hand I'm having a hard time motivating myself to do ordinary stuff like going to the grocery store or to see friends. The day-to-day work of living can be a struggle because I'm the only person reliant on it getting done, and frankly I don't care about a lot of it. If I don't have milk it is not the end of the world. The trouble comes when the struggle extends to areas I enjoy, like writing or walking with the dogs. At times it can take monumental effort.
I've been thinking about time a lot again. The thoughts are coming as an extension of all the media coverage of September 11th and this notion that we will 'never forget'. That is a laudable goal, but it has me wondering what some of the families think. Maybe they do want to 'forget' the events of that day. Maybe they would prefer to dwell on the lives of their loved ones instead of the moment that defines them in the national consciousness. On some level they must feel like their wounds are being ripped open again every September so that we can all watch another National Geographic special about the day the towers fell. Sometimes 'never forget' should be less literal, sometimes 9/11 should just be a day in early September.
I can't recall thinking this way in past years. I know I didn't understand what it is like to lose someone very close to you; simply because I had never experienced it before this. Now, on the other side, I can say that there are days where I am just tired all the time. Tired of thinking about it. Tired of not sleeping. Tired of being worried about how I am going to fill my time. Tired of wondering what will be next. Tired of being tired. You get to a point where you just need a day off. An actual day to forget. A time where it is not the first and only thought on your mind.
Melissa's sister, Kelly, and I were talking the other day about time and anniversary dates. I started to remember the first night without Melissa. I could not sleep that night, and did not know if I ever would again. The act of falling asleep seemed like turning my back on everything that happened; an act of acceptance that I was not ready to make. I started to do math. I needed to know the number of days that Melissa and I had spent together. I needed to know how much of my life I had spent with her.
Melissa and I spent our physical lives together for 5,408 days. That was 41.2% of my life. It works out to about 129,800 hours. About 7.8 million minutes. 46.7 billion seconds. The math was starting to drive me crazy. The deeper I got with it the harder it was to reconcile that those numbers would stop increasing if I let them.
So I've resolved to not let the clock stop. The numbers will continue to grow. Yes, she is not here with me in a physical sense, but that does not mean that she is not here with us. A person does not stop being a person just because they are not here in this world with us. Their life continues to unfold and intertwine with yours long after they shed this mortal coil.
There are a million little things everyday that bring Melly in to my life. Everything from the way that I fold my laundry to the phrases that slip in to my daily conversations. I don't realize half of them, and then someone will tell me a story and I'll recognize where something came from and it's like seeing her again.
I know that this reality has clocks and calendars, and I know that like the 9/11 families there will be a day where we are recognizing 15 years from this summer. That does not mean it will be time without Melly. Not if we don't let it. I know that we have to accept this new world, and that we have to acknowledge all that has happened so that we can "heal". I know that we say that we will "never forget", but we need to be clear on what we will not forget. I can and will forget the pain of all this. I am actively working to forget it. What I will not forget is the life that came before this pain, the love and joy and uniqueness the Melissa brought in to our lives. In that way I will 'never forget'.