I didn’t kiss her good-bye this morning. She was rushed, had woken up late and was out the door before I could kiss her lips and tell her I loved her. Chasing after her into the garage, I caught her as she slid into the car. She blew me a cheeky kiss and promised to make it up to me later. Then she was off like a shooting star across the dark canvas of early morning.
My wife loved being alone. She craved silence and solitude, needing the time apart to recharge. But even when she was off by herself, she always welcomed me or the children into her space, never once resenting the intrusion.
Silence filled the line between us. I didn’t know what to say to this voice anymore. Diane had always known what to say. She smoothed out my rough edges and bridged the gap between my mind and my mouth. She was my helping hand. Even in unfamiliar waters, I knew she was waiting for me on the other side. Over ten years of marriage, she had been a caring guide, a loving partner and a faithful friend. I owed it to her to care for her in her final moments.
I looked around our home, at the basket of clean laundry waiting to be folded, at the unfinished afghan waiting to be completed, at her nightgown flung carelessly over the back of the couch. If I closed my eyes, I could imagine her light laughter and the fresh scent of her perfume. Everywhere I looked, I saw her. How could she be gone when she was all around me?
“She was in the middle of reading Alice in Wonderland to our youngest. They were going to go see the play next month. And she was so excited to go to shopping and to a movie with our teenager this weekend. Who is going to do that now?”
Colors faded and blurred. A gaping hole opened in my chest and the room darkened and spun. Knees buckled and I sank to the floor, clutching the phone between my hands, an anchor in these swirling waters of grief and despair.
(C) Sara Ackerman 2016