Seven months ago today the date was August 19, 2009. That was the day my life changed forever. That was the day Marcus, my husband who was healthy, smart, funny, sexy, gorgeous, fit and, okay, yes, sometimes annoying (he wasn’t perfect, we’re not going to canonize him here), died of a ruptured aorta. One minute he was alive, the next he was gone. One minute I was napping in my Terlingua, Texas writer’s cottage, the next I was woken by a call from the medical examiner who delivered the life-shattering news. At the time I didn’t even know what a medical examiner was. (Obviously, I don’t watch enough TV. Even so, all the medical dramas in the world can’t prepare you for when The Phone Call comes to your house in real life.)
That was more than half a year ago. My life is measured against this single date now. First I could measure in days. Then weeks. Then I started counting in months. Now I can count in half years. How strange to think so much time has passed. I still remember The Phone Call like it was yesterday.
My life is also measured in seasons.
FALL: letting go of Marcus, tears falling bigger and faster than maple leaves.
WINTER: a state of dormancy, lying in a vegetative state on my couch reading books on survival (my favorite: “I’m Grieving as Fast as I Can.”)
And now, miraculously, I have lived to see SPRING! Just look at those daffodils! And sun! No, really. It is kind of miraculous if you consider how just a few months ago I got kicked out of my grief support group because the counselor thought I might kill myself before the night was over. My friends howl with laughter when I tell them this. Why is that funny? (Because they’re so used to my crying they know it doesn’t mean I’m a threat to myself? They also know I was offered private sessions instead, which I gratefully accepted.)
I am still standing, still living my life as a tree. My roots are digging ever deeper into the ground. My branches are reaching ever higher toward the light (I say light, but what I mean is toward Marcus.) And if you look closely, you might even see that I am sprouting buds.
In case you were wondering, the shrine remains prominently displayed. And when it comes to measuring time, not more than five minutes go by that I don’t think of Marcus. He may be gone, but I’m keeping him very much alive in my memory.