Life marches on so relentlessly. Dave's memory fades as time passes.
The way to make his memory stay clearer would be to pull out his pictures regularly and talk about him constantly. Doing these things can be comforting, but for me, they've also been incredibly painful.
I talk to him still. I think about our life and our love. I look at pictures sometimes. I'll get out his wallet or his watch and hold them. But, not often. That leads to a vortex of frustration and pain and ends with me finding it very hard to breathe.
Maybe this is an aspect of my grieving that I've yet to face. It's been how I've managed.
Either way, the result is that he fades faster. And that is not okay with me. Someone who was here for 37 years and was in my life for nearly half that should never fade away. How is that even possible?
I want to do more in his honor. I always have, it's just that I'm only just now beginning to have the strength and energy to do so.
For so long most of my energy has been bound up in just getting by myself. Now I have more to give.
I want to be more involved with his scholarship fund at the school where he used to teach. I want to plant a tree in his honor when I live somewhere with a yard again. I want to scatter his ashes somewhere fitting. I want to nurture my relationship with his parents in whatever ways possible.
All of this has to fit in with my new partner and our life together and how I honor his place in my heart, too. My life is complicated to say the least, but it is also full. Full of love and pain and joy and loss.
I'm finding ways to hold all of it with tenderness and acceptance. I'm finding ways to hold onto Dave's memory while wholly grasping onto a new life. At one point, that seemed impossible. Just the thought of it would've made me nauseous. It was something I couldn't even imagine.
Now I'm not only imagining it, I'm living it, and it's scary. I've finally come to the realization that life will probably always feel a little bit scary to me now. The veil of innocence was lifted when Dave died. The unthinkable happened and nothing became impossible. No more "that couldn't happen to me".
I've also realized that when life isn't scary, it's because I've shut myself up in a small coffin of safety. Just me and the cats alone at home is where fear can be most easily left behind. I will not live that life.
It's learning to live with the fear and not let it stunt me that will make the rest of my life worth it.