Their eyes would find me. They’d stop what they were doing to come close.
Voices dropped, nearly whispered,
“How are you do-ing?”
You know the scene. You were probably in it.
The first few weeks after John left, I started to dread this scene because it happened all the time. Several times a day, sometimes, when I was in a group.
In a group of friends. Who love me. Who were there for me. Who were there for me when I cried.
Which is what I did every time someone asked me that.
(Can I just tell you, I hate crying in front of people!)
It wasn’t that I was doing so horrible at that moment that tears just burst out. It was that talking about it, making the words come out--which made it even more real than just living it--was hard.
Hell, (can I say that here?) living it was hard. Trying to express myself in a soundbite was hard enough to make me cry.
“I’m ok. I miss him,” I’d choke out.
And then quickly laughing to break the sadness of the moment, adding “But we’re good. We’re so blessed.”
I get about here in telling this story and I vacillate. There are two parts of the story to tell. It’s a well-worn coin twisted round and round between my fingers, dropped on the floor, lost in pockets, but always there, each side as real as the other.
On one side is an image of me with empty arms. Well, one arm is actually full of a baby girl who probably has some piece of me or her in her mouth.
(But, see, even there I am showing you part of the other side already.)
It’s important to tell this, though. I doubt I’ll ever forget it, but this, as hard and not-awesome as it is, is part of the fabric. Like the tearful-but-beautiful years of infertility, this time isn’t something to be rushed through or just “hung in there.”
I do miss my John. Severely. I do feel quite empty without him.
My life is supposed to have him in it, he’s supposed to be here in this house, with me. He’s supposed to come home at the end of the day and kiss me. He’s supposed to help me unload the groceries from the car. He’s supposed to be standing by me at church and slip his arm around me and squeeze my shoulder and in that, tell me everything.
I clench and flex my fists, trying to work the pain of emptiness away. I squeeze my eyes shut tight, because maybe when I open them this will be over. I try to mute that track that plays over and over, screaming in my mind,
“I don’t like this! I want him here! This isn’t right!”
I hold our daughter and ache for him not being able to do the same.
You can’t look at Ayla for very long without smiling, though, and as my mouth turns up, that coin starts its rotation again.
(Tune in tomorrow for Side Two)