Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Grief: Coming Home to an Empty House

I used to be a vagabond.  When Artie and I fell in love and eventually got married I still travelled a lot.  He hated to travel and we liked missing each other so I would go by myself or with a woman friend.  Part of the rituals of travelling were the phone calls - one in the morning and one at night.  One when I arrived to say I was safe.  Calls from airports to say I was almost home. I once called him from Timbuktu - my cell phone actually worked better in Timbuktu than it does in my apartment in NYC!!! When I got home there was always a welcome home love note taped to the door.  Then a big hug and kiss.  We were always so happy to see each other again.  Sometimes I opened mail or watched TV - I wish I hadn't done that - I wish I had spent every minute with him as soon as I returned.  I wish I never took his presence for granted for a second.  I miss it so much now.  I want all the time back I did unimportant things when I could have been with him.

I have taken a couple of small trips since he died but I haven't left the country.  Halloween is my daughter's favorite holiday and we are going to Transylvania (in Romania).  It should be fun but I am not excited yet.  I know he is not in his clothes or pictures or even in his ashes - but it will feel uncomfortable leaving them behind.  It will feel very uncomfortable not having him to call.  The first time I went away after he died I got physically sick.  I don't think that will happen - once I am there I will probably - hopefully - have a good time and come home with lots of great stories. 

Every day when I open my eyes - even after a year - I am still a little surprised not to see him.  When I come home from anywhere I want to say - "Hi, honey.  I love you."  When he first died sometimes I would say that - and pretend that we just missed each other and he'd be home later.  I love where I live.  It is very comfortable and I am lucky to have such a nice apartment.  It is full and yet completely empty.  I will try to stay in the present when I am away - and enjoy all the new things I will learn - and laugh - and yet in the back of my mind I will be reaching for the phone to dial a number that doesn't exist anymore.  I will try not to think about what it will be like to come home and not have a note on the door - not have him eagerly awaiting me.  I wonder if when I die there will be a note on the door of heaven!  "Welcome home."  Assuming, of course, there is a heaven and I get to be let in!  Heaven for me will be wherever Artie is.  That's why I feel homeless with such a lovely home - home for me was wherever he was. 

I'll be off line until November 6th.  I'll probably bring one of his shirts to sleep in.  This letting go thing - just not possible for me yet.  Let you know how it goes when I come back.  xo

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