I met up with some old friends today. When I say old, I suppose I mean mutual. Of His and mine, from the life I led before. I have avoided them since He died. He is too conspicuous by His absence when we are together, and there is a tendency for them Not Talk About Him for fear it might upset me. I’m already upset. Really – they can’t make it any worse.
Lives move on. Their lives have moved on. My life has moved on, in spite of me. Kicking and screaming, I have left Him behind in 2012. I make attempts at memorialising Him – today my daughter and I painted a plaque to go in the garden next to the pussy willow we have planted for Him – but it feels hollow, because in order to memorialise someone you have to have accepted that they have gone. Perhaps this is why the ashes remain in the wardrobe, the clothes are still vacuum-packed in the cupboard.
It may seem odd to not accept that someone has gone, especially when you were there at the moment when they drew their last breath and saw, unequivocally, that their time on earth had ended; a machine, shutting down. But somehow, I can’t accept. Not that I expect Him to come walking in through the door. I know He’s dead. But I just can’t believe it. The distinction is subtle and impossible to explain.
So I focus on the new friends, the ones who don’t know or remind me of M. They demand nothing of me emotionally, their conversation isn’t heavy with the weight of what isn’t being said. A shrink might call it denial. I call it survival.