I don’t know how much longer I’ll continue to count in months. Maybe up to 24, like a baby? Probably up to 12. We’ll see.
It’s not like I’ve been drowning in sadness. As I’ve said before, it’s still me. I still laugh. I still have fun. I still see, text, and talk to, my family and friends. And for someone who carries a tune as badly as I do, I still do an awful lot of singing out loud when I’m alone. Much of the time, it involves changing the words of songs to incorporate the names of our cats. But don’t worry. If that sounds like I’m losing it, it’s been going on for a long time.
Still, it hasn’t exactly been smooth sailing. I know that there’s an underlying sadness, probably even depression, pretty much every day. Not enough that I don’t get out of bed in the morning, but certainly enough that I don’t get started on anything in much of a hurry. (Not that I ever really did!)
The sadness can still strike at almost any time. These days, it’s often when I’m cooking something we both used to enjoy. We shared a lot of kitchen duties, so I’m always aware of it when I’m doing the parts that she used to do. And, I’m way more likely to tear up when watching a movie or TV show. I mean, The Kominsky Method was great, but it doesn’t help that Alan Arkin’s wife dies of cancer in the first episode. Seems like an awful lot of people are dying on TV, in movies, and plays these days. I guess they always were, but it didn’t used to affect me the same way.
It’s hard for me to believe it, but yesterday marked six months since Barbara died. Tomorrow will be the first Valentine’s Day without her since our first one together in 1993. Now, I’ll admit that Valentine’s Day has always struck me as a Hallmark holiday … but that doesn’t mean we didn’t do things to mark the occasion. Barbara always believed in marking occasions!
Since we both worked from home, we began to go out for long, late lunches on February 14 instead of going out for dinner. It became a new tradition that we liked a lot. We’d often have the restaurant to ourselves, and it was lovely. This year, I expected I’d, literally, be by myself. Turns out (weather permitting), I’ll be having lunch with one friend, and dinner with three others. Obviously, it won’t be the same. I’ll be thinking of Barbara, and it’ll be strange. And sad. But that’s not always so terrible. As I’ve read a lot lately, “Grief is just love with nowhere to go…”
Over the years, I signed almost every card I gave to Barbara the same way. Didn’t matter if it was a birthday, an anniversary or Valentine’s Day:
“I Love You … Now and Always.”
I do. And I will.
Pretty sure this is the first present I ever gave to Barbara. Valentine’s Day, 1993.
Us. Much Younger. Very much in love. My brother Jonathan
and Sheri’s wedding at our family cottage in 1997.
Us. Older. Still very much in love. Amanda and Brent’s wedding, in
the hospital in Owen Sound. This is the last picture of us together.
These are the cards we exchanged last year on Valentine’s Day.