Tomorrow evening marks exactly two years since Mark and I went upstairs together for a quick husband-and-wife congress, and only one of us came down again. (Alive that is. The other was in a body bag. Does that count?)
They tell me it gets easier. Even people who have lost their spouses tell me this, and they are generally the only people I am prepared to believe.
In fact, I had a text from one of my widow phone-a-friends last night testifying to this very fact.
“It gets easier with time. Honest.”
But my response was:
“I know you’re right. But it doesn’t feel like it should, though.”
What I meant, of course, is that it feels disloyal, somehow, for ‘things to get easier.’ This is a pointless sentiment, I know, yet I find it tempers almost everything I do.
Because certain things have got easier.
I am no longer wandering about in the mist of disbelief – I’m living again. I can feel the rush of the wind, the warmth of a tentative north-east sun, the pot-holes in the pavement beneath my feet.
I am enjoying the occasional, sometimes difficult-to-reconcile, company of another man.
And surely the barometer of whether things are improving: I am able to get affronted about trivial shit again. (Did Khloe Kardashian REALLY blow Kanye’s engagement surprise for Kim? I mean, like, what is her problem??)
But each time I have these moments of reprieve, it’s as if grief’s thumb reaches out from behind the silver-lined cloud and lodges itself into my forehead.
I guess this is because the reality of Mark’s death – the fact that He is no longer here, and never will be again – doesn’t, and shouldn’t, get easier. Unlike Kardashian tales of, like, whoa!, His death is a genuine fucking affront.
And be it two years or twenty years from the moment we climbed those stairs, it always will be.