“What until I tell Peter…” Oh right. There is no Peter. “I have to remember to show Peter…” Can’t. Peter is dead. “Peter will really think this is…” Nope. He won’t think anything because he is gone. “I am so mad at our son and Peter has to…” Well, Peter doesn’t have to do anything anymore because he’s not on this earth. And, “Wait until Peter gets home to tell him…” I’ll be waiting forever because he’s never coming home again.
These are the thoughts and counter thoughts running through my head daily. After thirty one years together, it’s hard to remember I can no longer share thoughts, stories, angers, humor and victories with my best friend. At first I thought, it would get better when the shock wears off. I thought, once I feel his absence, those reminders of his death will slow down, maybe even disappear. I knew I would still feel the aftershocks of Peter’s sudden departure from my life, but it would get easier. And maybe it will Only I don’t if I will ever stop thinking of things I want to say to him, or share with him. He was my person. He was my everyday, all the time, person I talked to, texted, had long conversations with, made love to, shared with, laughed with and existed with in the comfort of knowing we had each other. I can’t shake any of that now, not just yet, maybe never.
I talk aloud to him, every day. I held one-sided conversations on my sixteen hours in the car as I traveled the Midwest this week. I speak to him in my mind all the time while I walk the city streets, drive the suburban roads, shop in grocery stores, and watch a movie on the big screen. I push things back in my brain with a “I have to remember to tell Peter this…” only to be followed by “shit, I can’t.” And then a deep sadness engulfs me like a a smog that stings my eyes and burns my throat. Some widows and widowers have told me they still talk to their spouse, years after their death. They say it brings them solace. I get it and will probably be doing it too, for a long time. Yet, right now, I feel no peace from it. I only feel the aftermath thoughts reminding me Peter is dead and those pain me.
I have friends. I am blessed to have good, strong, caring friends. And in the beginning, I leaned on them for support. Some I still reach out to with things I probably would have told Peter. And it helps. It helps until their lives get busy with events and circumstances and they can’t respond right away, or they forget to respond to a text or a return phone call. This never bothered me before Peter’s death. I did my share of delay and not remembering. But now, the non-responses, or the slow to respond serve as lonely reminders. I know they can’t be Peter for me. I can’t have the immediateness or the bond I had with my husband. And those are the times I feel very alone. I feel the emptiness of a life without Peter. Those are the times where my anger kicks in and I want to shout, “Life is so fucking unfair” and I hate everyone and everything. Those are the times Grief slaps me to the ground of despair.
My life isn’t fair. It wasn’t fair the moment my husband was killed by a man who failed to yield, and Peter was taken from me so suddenly, without good-byes. It’s not fair I don’t have my person to share everything with anymore. It’s not fair I try to suddenly turn my friends into a certain type of Peter, something they never were to me before. It’s so not fair I get angry at those friends because my expectations aren’t being met as their lives carrying on as is, as it should, as I should want that for them. And most times I do because it’s not fair when I don’t. Not to me, not to them.
And most times I do. Most times, I am glad for the normalcy in my friends’ live. Most times, I rejoice they don’t live in my hell. Most of the time I feel guilty when I become this bitch Grief made me into. Most times, I put aside my own emptiness to fill myself up in their lives. But then there are the other times when I am so egocentric. Those time where my heart and brain is filled with constant reminders of how my life turned out and I just don’t care. I wish I could say I feel awful in those times, but I don’t. I am so wrapped up in the disappointment I can’t unravel from.
I miss Peter. I pain from the emptiness without him, every day. I miss having a normal every day life with him the most. I miss the times I could tell him everything, share the joys and the humor and the hardships. I miss the feeling of security, the knowing we would be together for always because we have gone through the tough and grew together from them. We were finally settling into the part of marriage where the small things remained small and the big things were few. And then, he died.
I cannot replace Peter. No matter much I try to have friends step in, it just can’t and won’t happen. And with each “I have to tell Peter …” and “wait until I see Peter….” and all the other thoughts most married people think about throughout the day, I feel the pain of the countering reminders I can’t because Peter is dead. It’s all part of the process. It’s all part of Grief’s unbearable pain. It’s all part of healing. It’s all part of the eventual learning to live without him. It’s all part of the murky waters I must go through in my grief. And it reminds me of how hard I loved him. And it all sucks. But here it is and here I am, moving forward to find my strength through honesty on my reluctant journey.