Sometimes I wonder if I would ever run out of words or tears for you?! I don’t know, maybe one day I will. May I won’t. I guess only time will tell. When your mom was over on Tuesday, she said, “One day, when you least expect, everything will be clear again. It can happen anywhere and at anytime. When this moment of clarity comes, you will know what you need to do.” I guess that’s all I can really do--wait for the ‘clarity’ to come. Until then, I’ll just continue to live in the fog and haze, the ‘middle room’, the fork in the road, the fear of living in a world where you don’t exist--whatever you want to call it.
When I was younger, maybe in my early 20’s, I remember reading a story (maybe you can call it a parable) about two guys. One guy had a heart that was damaged, it had holes and patches all over it, like it had gone through the wringer and back. The other guy had a perfectly pristine heart; there were no marks or damage on it. The story asks which person would you want to be?? The person with the heart that has gone through the wringer and back or the person with the pristine heart? As the story goes on, you find out that the person with the damage heart was adventurous, took risks, and never let the fear of being hurt or heartbroken stop him from falling in love, over and over again. He loved and he lost, but he lived life to the fullest and never had any regrets. His heart was damaged and had holes and patches from all the love, heartbreak, and lost he had and suffered throughout the years. No matter how many times his heart was broken before, he always chose to be open, vulnerable, and give himself fully and freely to love. The other person had a pristine heart with no marks or damage because he was always guarded, cautious, and protective of his heart. He never took any risks, he protected and shielded his heart from getting hurt and being broken. He kept everyone at arm's length for fear of being hurt, and he didn’t take any risks or chances in life. He always played it safe and never lived life fully, but he had a pristine heart that was undamaged and unscathed. So, which person would you want to be?! I remember reading this story and I thought to myself, “The guy with the damage heart is crazy! Why would he continually let his heart get broken? And the guy with the pristine heart, well that was no way to live either (at least not for me)?!” I remember thinking I would be somewhere in the middle. I wasn’t going to just give my heart away to anybody freely, but I wasn’t going to be too protected or guarded either.
This was the impetus for me to take that ‘leap of faith’ and move to the Bay Area, where you were living at the time. I finally decided that I had to ‘go all in’ and put both feet inside the door and see where this relationship was going to go. So, I packed up my life in So Cal and moved to Oakland. Do you remember, you drove the U-Haul with my Honda Civic towed behind it?! It was May 2005. You were annoyed because my brother and friend, who helped me load the U-Haul, didn't appropriately distribute the weight inside the U-Haul, so it kept swaying when you were driving up I-5?! You were complaining the entire way. Anyways, a year later, we ended up breaking up, so it would appear that the risk didn’t pan out. After we broke up, there wasn’t anything left for me in the Bay Area, I was boyfriendless and jobless (I had just resigned as a math teacher from Skyline High School), so I was going to pack up and move back to So Cal with ‘my tail tucked between my legs.’ But, a month or so into the break-up, I decided that I wasn’t going to let a boy dictate my life. If I decided to move back to So Cal, it would be because I wanted to move back to So Cal and not because of you. I refused to be that girl who lets a boy dictate her decisions and life, so I decided to stay in Oakland. I wanted to see if I could forge a life for myself before calling it quits and moving back to So Cal. (I know, I’m so competitive!! I was determined to not let you win!!) A year or so later, you decided to waltz back into my life and the rest is history.
I just realized you broke my heart twice!! (I think this needs to go on the list of things we need to settle when we see each other again!!) Twice?! Yes, Babe, TWICE!! The second time is when you died and left me!! My heart is broken and I’m in complete shambles...so this counts as twice (even if it wasn’t something you wanted to do, it happened!!)
I guess what I didn’t realize from that story is that life happens (in my defense, I was only 20-something!! What would I know about life except being sappy at that age!) Maybe the guy didn’t just continually let his heart get broken without abandon, maybe life just happened. Maybe circumstances cause the relationship to fail. Maybe they drifted apart over time. Maybe his partner died? Whatever the reason that caused his broken heart, he refused to let it dictate how he chose to live his life. He refused to close himself off because he knows how profound and powerful love can be. He rather risked continually getting hurt and being heartbroken because the risk of living without love was far greater than the risk of getting hurt and losing love. I guess you can only know this if you’ve been in love. I didn’t know what love was when I was in my 20’s, so how could I know? And now that I know, can I ever love again? Can I ever give my heart to someone else? Will there ever be room in my heart for someone else?
I remember after you passed, I kept saying, “I have to start over!” I didn’t know what that really meant but I know I kept saying it. I kept thinking my life was over and I had to start over. I knew I had to rebuild, but what was I rebuilding? I didn’t know, but all I know is that I had to start over. I don’t know if I can start over or what is in store for me, but all I know is that I could never imagine a life without you. Even now, it’s hard to imagine a life without you, and that’s why I’m continually stuck in the “middle room”, the fork in the road; I stand there frozen and paralyzed. I know there’s only one road, but I’m riddled with fear and terror to even take one step forward that signals you don’t exist anymore. I don’t know if or when I will ever be able to take that step, but it’s something I struggle with daily, and it continues to haunt me. Can this story that was an impetus for me to "go all in" with you 13 years ago help propel me forward in the next chapter of my life? A chapter I refused to open or start writing? A chapter I wished I didn't have to live or experience? A chapter I never planned for or could ever imagine would happen to me so early? A chapter that starts with the love of my life died and left me all alone in this world. He abandoned me, and we didn't even get to stay goodbye, even though we were both there, standing in front of each other and staring into each other's eyes when it happened. Even when it was happening right before our eyes, we never once said goodbye or that we loved each other, instead we stood there staring at each other in silence and terror.
A grieving widow who is trying to find meaning and purpose from her tragic event.