When does it end? I’m sitting here watching the Country Music Awards and some idiots (and I say this only because they reach in and touch my soul in a way that brings me pain) are singing a song about Johnny and June. You know, Johnny Cash and June Carter? There’s this song about how great their love for one another is and there’s this line that goes something like: “If you go, I wanna’ go, too..!”
That’s when it starts. The tears well up, I feel like I’m gonna’ throw up and there’s this rock sitting on my heart - right in the middle of my tender chest. That’s when the thoughts and memories start pouring forth. Memories of her. My Denise.
It’s over two years now that she’s been gone, and it’s not as if I think about her every day. Sometimes, I think that a solid week might have slipped through without that rending that I feel when she crosses my mind. And it’s not as if I NEED to think about her, because I don’t. She’s always with me. Her spirit is ever present. I think it’s the part of her that rests in the arms of God. I feel lucky in that – and perhaps that’s the lesson that she’s left me. That people don’t REALLY leave us when they die. Perhaps I wouldn’t have understood that until I felt it.
For me, there’s not even the comfort of thinking that if she had lived, we’d now be together. Even I, who loved her greatly, grew to recognize that she was so damaged, so much in pain that she is better able to love all of us from those loving arms of her Creator with whom she now has respite. I try to comfort myself by saying that “everything happens for a reason”, “she gave her own life and thereby, set you free”, - - But, truly, it all falls upon me like emptiness. Truthfully, there is no such thing as comfort when a part of your soul dies, no matter the course that has taken it from you, and no matter if you are better off in life without that part. There is only pain. Indescribable pain.
What I’m wondering is, why is it that in all the Romeo and Juliet songs and stories we have this great admiration for those people who can’t live without one another?
The brave ones, the ones who better need your admiration, are those of us who stay alive once the loves of their lives have died. Those of us who stay the course and scream out our pain into pillows musty from nights of tears. Who get up morning, after morning, after morning, allowing ourselves to wake up in the middle of this nightmare that has become our existence and just walk through it wearing a mask - - until that mask is eventually, actually replaced with glimpses of true emotion and reflected remnants of our former selves.