to get back homeward…once there was a way to get back home.” Golden Slumbers, The Beatles
So once there was a place that felt like home. There was a place where I felt safe, loved, protected…home. Eight years ago, the door blew open, my love left and my home didn’t feel like home anymore. That place, that state of being, that knowing and belonging slipped through my hands like sand. I tried to hold onto it, but it wasn’t possible. My home, my heart was empty. This emptiness was to become the deepest, darkest place I have ever experienced. Every ounce of joy spilled out of me and I was filled to the top with sadness, loneliness and brokenness. I felt abandoned even though I hadn’t been. I felt alone, even though I was surrounded by those who loved me. I felt only pain. I never thought I would recover. I sincerely didn’t think I would survive. I knew I would die of a broken heart.
I could never go home again. I would never be in my safest place again. I would never be held by him again. It was over, forever. It was beyond my comprehension. Home. Gone. Forever.
Looking back, it feels like I slept through the years to survive. Grief was thick and it filled my waking and sleeping hours. I longed to be comforted, but comfort never came. I crawled into bed alone every night, hoping I’d wake to my former life, but that day never came, it never could…there was no way back home. Even if it didn’t feel like it, I was the only home…home was me…for me, for my boys.
So, for many years, I have been carrying the weight of widowhood. I have been carrying the weight of sole parent. I am stronger. I can handle a heavy load, yet I still long to go home. I long to rest in his arms at the end of the day. I still long to have him give me the “don’t worry baby, you’re with me.” I still am bewildered that I do it every day…without him. Every now and then it hurts deeply again. Every now and then I have to stop and remember to breathe. Every now and then, I must stop and remember how good I had it. I must be grateful for before, during and after. Some years pass more easily than others, some anniversaries go by and I don’t remember them until they are gone. This year though…I am remembering that I can’t find my way back home. There has been so much growth, so much change, I’m not sure I’d recognize the way home even if it appeared magically before me. How can so much change so radically?
Home was ripped away from us. He was ripped away from us.
Sometimes, I look back and think that maybe that part of my life was the dream…the part that I just imagined…it seems so far away now…only eight years since his last breath and my life is so different.
It is different because I loved him…not so much because of the tragedy. It is different because I was changed by his love. I hope he was changed by mine. I am changed because he trusted me to carry on without him…he knew I could. I wasn’t so sure.
Eight years ago, I sat on the bed next to him, nursing our baby. While I sat, he was leaving us. His breathing changed. I set our baby in the crib. His breathing rattled and then his breathing stopped. I laid my head on his chest and his heart beat was gone…so many times in an embrace I had felt his heartbeat, I heard it…this time…it was gone, he was gone, home was gone.
” And in the end, the love you take, is equal to the love, you make…”