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We're friends, not doctors, financial or legal professionals, and we're not "grief experts." But we are here, and we've been "there."

It’s been two months, two weeks, two days, and sixteen hours. I don’t even have to look at a calendar or calculate in my head to know this. I could count the minutes if I allowed myself to do so.  But I’ve decided I have to draw the line somewhere, and counting minutes seems to be an appropriate place to do so.  Seems like counting the time I am left here without you is what I do now, though.  And I smile sometimes, and laugh sometimes, and force my mind to think of other things besides you, besides feeling sorry for myself for being here without you, but it isn’t real. The smiles are forced, the laughs are faked, and deep down, I’m holding a continuous pity party for myself. And without question, YOU are always on my mind and in my heart.

Our friends have been kind. They invite me to do things, text and call to check in on me, spend time with me, and with the boys. They can’t possibly know how much I appreciate it every time they break up their weekends to include me. I know I can’t be much fun right now, and yet they all take time out to invite me. Still, I am having a hard time connecting with anyone. It’s because you aren’t here. You always have been my link to a social life. The ‘good guy’ of the two of us, the one who you could talk to, the one who drew people in and was interested in their lives and helping to lift them up. That made it ok for me to remain in the background, protecting my heart from being too close to anyone but you. Look at where that got me, LOL. (I can laugh at that thought because I know it’s exactly what you would say to me). I’m so lost.

 Without you, I am like a ship without an anchor or a rudder, drifting randomly in an endless sea of people I never really took the time to get to know as well as I should have.  I like these people, I always have. You rarely drew in those I didn’t care for. I want to remain friends with them, not just for the link to you that they provide, but because I care for them myself.  Most of them I love like the family I don’t have. It’s just that I don’t have that ability to connect like you did. Because you were always the buffer between my lack of social skills and others, I find myself worrying about what to say or who I might offend. These are alien thoughts for me because I never gave them much thought before. I had you and I didn’t need anyone else’s approval. But I desperately need these people now. I guess I always did and just never realized it because you were there to keep them around us. So, I guess what I’m saying is that I don’t know how to be you. It’s scary, being ‘the one’ now, instead of ‘the other one.’

I keep thinking, you would have been so much better at this than me. You would have been able to sort things out, keep on moving, bulldoze through it all. Everything I read says be patient, you cannot skip grieving. Well, you and I both know, Babe, patience has never been my strong point. And I’m not sure now is a good time for me to be taught that lesson. As for skipping grieving, how can I? I grieve for you every second of the day, finding relief only in the few pitiful hours of sleep I get each night.  I’m not skipping grief; I’m a walking, talking example of it.

 I’m having such a hard time, Baby. It takes all my effort to get out of bed in the mornings, and sometimes, I don’t make it. I can do it most mornings. I can get up, get dressed, and do what I have to do to get to a point where I can take care of these boys we have been trying so hard to raise. I can swallow my hurt and my tears, put on a good face, and plow through what feels like an endless series of ‘have to do.’ But there’s no joy left in me anywhere. I get little sparks from the boys, occasionally. But they don’t last either. Nothing makes me happy. The word seems like a foreign concept now. And maybe it’s selfish, but I don’t want to feel this way. I know that if I can’t find some relief from the utter misery soon, I won’t make it. That’s not a threat or a plea, it’s just a fact. I cannot live with this pain in my soul for another twenty years. I’m not sure I’ll make it through just one. So, I go through my mind trying to think of a new plan, because God has taken you from me, and so he has taken the plan we had made together.  I think, maybe, with a new plan, I can find, if not happiness, then at least peace. The problem is, the ideas I find, things that would have excited and inspired me before, are just not good enough anymore. Not one ounce of desire or gusto is produced from thoughts of anything. I guess what it all boils down to is that I’m searching for a will to live on, and without you, I.Just.Cannot.Find.It.

I keep going for the boys. Because they’re OURS. Because they are a living tribute to you, to our love, to your life together. The only thing that matters to me anymore. I fight desperately to hang on to the things that signify that life. Our home, our things, our friends, our children’s future. It’s what I have left of you. But mostly, those boys. They are the one and only thing I wouldn’t give up to have you back. They are the one and only reason I haven’t just given up and asked God to please just take me so I can be back with you. And soon, they will be gone. Which is good, and right, and what I want. Our job was to see them on their own two feet, making a life of their own. It makes me proud that we made it this far with them. I can and will see it the rest of the way through.

But what then? Then comes a time where the job is done and I have to find a will to go on alone. Without you. Without them. This is why I have been so desperately searching for a plan, a goal, a destination for myself. Some hope of future joy. But where is it? I can’t find it. Out there somewhere? In some other place on the map? I would go there, if I could get just some inkling of where it might be. All those places I wanted to see, to explore, to experience- they seem dull and unexciting now. Without you to explore them with me, or at least you to come home and tell all about them, what interest are they to me? Nothing seems worth it without you to share it with.

 In some other person? I can’t even think that thought. Another man in my heart makes my stomach turn to acid. NO ONE can ever be you. How can I even consider anyone else? I fear that I shall live the rest of my days alone. Not because of any morbid sense of loyalty. I know you well enough to know that had I been the one who left you here, you would have found someone, not to take my place, but to have companionship with. And that’s ok. I would have wanted you to have that, and I know that you probably want that for me right now. But Babe, how can I ever give my heart to another? It’s been so full of you for so long now, where is there ever going to be room for anyone else? And who could even begin to compare to the sort of love you gave me?  I believe that my greatest love has come and gone. I can only hope that he will be waiting for me when I get to where he is. You have ruined me for others, my love.

Don’t misunderstand. I would really like to go out someday and find someone to share life with again. The idea of being all alone for the rest of the time I must spend here. I’m not that self sacrificing. But should by some small miracle, I meet someone who might come close, how will I ever dare let myself put that much of myself into someone else’s hands ever again? Because I have been shown, very clearly, that even if someone never means to hurt you, they can still be snatched away without a second thought. I don’t think I can ever do that again. The instinct to protect myself is too ingrained in me to ever let my heart be vulnerable to this kind of pain again. Anyone brave enough to try with me would not be satisfied with the limited amount of effort I’d be able to give them. How unfair that would be to them. It will always only ever be you, for me, my love.

So, now that I’ve given all the reasons why I will always be miserable, can you help me find the reasons why I won’t, Babe? There’s no one to tell me but you. There was always you to talk to before. Always you I trusted to tell me where my thinking was wrong, how I could ‘fix’ something that seemed unfixable, how I could overcome the obstacle in my way. Help me now. Help me like you always have. How ironic, that I need you more desperately now, in the pain of losing you, than I ever have before in our lives together. This is your fault, you know? You drew me in, made me love you completely, took care of me until I forgot how to take care of myself, fixed everything until I forgot how to fix things for myself, and made me depend on you. You were my happiness, my reason, my life. So help me now, help me find a way to go on. Help me, or bring me with you. Either one will work.

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