This time last year ...
I still had 17 minutes left of our life together, as I knew it.
and today, I would exchange the rest of my life, just to have 5 minutes with him.
I even looked to see if the same documentary that we had been watching (about pirates) was showing. Of course it wasn't. A whole year has passed, even though I didn't participate in it, other than as a shell of my former self. Time waits for no one - never a truer word was spoken.
12 minutes ...
We were sitting on that couch, touching each other, happy, blissfully unaware of what was about to happen. Smiling, talking, laughing ... so at ease in each others company. I loved just looking at you sometimes, you know? Just looking.
10 minutes ...
9 minutes ...
I look out the window, and just as this time last year, there is a smattering of snoo-snoo left on the ground, but my old car and his white van have been replaced by a new car. Further evidence that he is gone.
We were so happy together.
When I woke up today, my first thought was a memory ... of watching "Forever Young" ... and at the end of the film ... Julia Roberts is convincing her boyfriend that he has to go to hospital, that it will be ok, that hers will be the last face he sees ... and I remember Cliff turning to face me, that wry smile on his face, knowing that I would be boo-ing and saying, "oh darling, I knew it ... I knew that would set you off ... would you hold my hand if I was dying?" And me mute ... but nodding and mumbling through my tears that I would. We watched that movie a week before he died.
3 minutes ...
I look at the couch again, and I can see those translucent faded water colours of him (and me for the first time) ... I remember every last word and smile and touch.
2 minutes ...
He is going upstairs now to put on the heating, and I am heading to the kitchen to wash up the breakfast stuff ...
1 minute of blissful oblivion left ...
back to the present, I am lighting a candle for him.
The time is now.
I am focusing on the candle.
It is far preferable to playing the loop, over and over again, of what happened over the course of the next 12 hours, bringing life and this world to an end. At least the way I knew it.
I thought I'd be hysterical - yet find myself calm and detached.
Just before I started to write this post, I read the comments left for me on my last post - I wonder if those comments have given me some extra strength to get through these next 12 hours, along with the text received from Jenny, all read at the same time.
My beautiful husband, I so want to tell you about everything I have learned and realized this past year, but somehow I think you already know. I desperately want to tell you how very special you are and thank you for all that you gently taught me, for all that you did, how you tried for us, how hard you worked for us - how limitless my love for you is - yet, I feel that you are aware, that you knew before this all happened even.
I feel peaceful, I trust that it's ok, that you and I both know our love will sustain us till we are allowed to be together again. Until that time, I will try, fail, and try again, to live without you physically here.
Another candle will be lit at 03h00, for it was at that time that I watched you take your last breath, stunned, unbelieving. Even as you were dying, I felt strength from you, I mean, it gave me strength ... knowing that you were alive. It gave me purpose, being there for you ... I would no sooner betray you or let you down, especially at the only time you ever really needed me to be strong for us, than I would hurt a puppy. United we were, yet when we were separated physically, when I knew you'd gone, my strength was sapped right down to its lowest reserves, ever. Numbness replaced strength and truthfully, it has been my invisible friend throughout the past 12 months.
The time is now. It is no longer this time last year.
Tomorrow Vicki and I will walk along the beautiful coast, and I will see translucent faded water colours of you there too, but I will keep walking next to my friend, proud of being your wife, amazed that you chose me. We will walk in honour of you and everything you stood for. We will cry and laugh and keep walking ... because you taught me to never ever give up, and I shan't.
One step at a time.
I will take one step at a time, secure in the knowledge that you and I have unconditional and limitless, eternal love.
Our love is stronger than pain or death.