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I see, or rather, feel two worlds now. The first world is made up of ‘us’ and extends backward for 10 years back to when we met. The new world is mostly ‘me’ and goes back not very far, actually, maybe only six months. (Oddly, I don’t really know what exists in the in-between years. I call those the “dark days.” All several years of them.)
When I think about the first world, the ‘us’ world, it’s like looking into a fogged mirror. Actually, it’s as if I were standing above a deep, still lake looking into the water watching my former life play out underneath. It’s sort-of clear but the visions are warped. While many moments are clear, other (poignant) moments are dream-like, especially the last weeks with my sweet wife.
When I reflect on the new world, the ‘me’ world, I’m struck by how emotionally dry and uneventful it is. The new world has less taste, less color, less smell, and less everything than the old world, yet it’s more familiar to me now. It’s like the “awesome” has dialed down. Maybe the awesome was never actually there and life now is the way life should have always been. Maybe I was just imagining things.
The best I can describe the sensation is that of just exiting an amazing sci-fi movie and re-entering the world of the real. Where there were flying cars, now are just cars. Where there were fantastic creature of wonder and mystery, now there are just cashiers and pizza delivery folks. Dramatic orchestral soundtracks are replaced by wind and road noise. And deep, emotional climaxes have been replaced with simple tasks like paying electricity bills and taking out the garbage.
The two worlds exist in different planes of reality and it’s hard to get my head to accept that one of the starring roles in the last world is the same two-bit actor in the world of the ‘now.’ And when I do get it, I feel guilty. (Ah, yes, that widower guilt - guilt for being happy, for living life, for NOT being sad or for NOT being completely and utterly obsessed with the old world.)
But because I can see two worlds that can only mean one thing – that I’ve begun to rebuild my life as a new person beyond my grief. I’m definitely re-engaging in life and creating a new world for me. Good lord, it’s about time. It’s been almost three years. Good grief. Part of me feels like a complete failure that it’s taken me this long. Another part of me feels terrible for even seeing two distinct worlds. And another part of me just wonders when all this will be over. A big part of me sees what the old world looked like and wonders how the hell I ever made it through all of that with any sanity left.
Geez. I wonder what today will look like through the looking glass next year.