Have you ever experienced utter silence? Not just a quiet atmosphere, but the actual lack of any sound? If you are like me and live in a city or town, the absence of any sounds is likely impossible. Right now I can hear the cold North wind howl, the wind chime tinkle furiously in response, an airplane drones overhead, a car speeds by on my street, the furnace clicks on, the refrigerator hums, the loud laughter and chatter of a few high school students passing by on the sidewalk drifts in, and the incessant barking of a neighbour’s dog continues. So much for silence. And yet with all this background noise you would think it would occupy my mind, make me feel a part of everything around me. But it does not, for the silence of loss drowns it all out and is deafening.
Perhaps one of the most difficult changes to adapt to after my husband’s death has been the absence of his voice and accompanying noise of his physical presence. I loved the sound of my husband’s rich bass voice. It was strong yet smooth, melodious and happy. He spoke words with great meaning, never just idle chitchat for the sake of it. He thought before he spoke and rarely, if ever, said words that required regret. I used to tell him he would have been a successful broadcaster and he would make me laugh when he demonstrated his ability to sound like a TV or radio announcer. He could speak tenderly to a baby or little child so as not to frighten them, and then just as easily let his voice boom to cheer on his favourite sports team. He had a beautiful singing voice which I loved to hear and harmonize with. I had grown accustomed to his voice and all the little sounds he made just being himself every day.
I miss his voice and all it represented in my life. Sometimes I think very hard trying to bring the sound of it back to my memory and I am so fearful that someday that memory may fade away. But I am always able to recall the words he spoke to me every day, “I love you Babe”.
It has been ten months since I heard him speak his last words to me. Every minute continues to be a struggle as I try to adapt to life without him, but each day is just a wee bit better, a tiny bit less painful than the day before. The ache in the centre of my being has not disappeared but seems a little less raw. Tears still flow but I can dry them with a happy memory. Slowly I am coming back to the land of the living. I told a friend the other day that I was determined to be strong, to stand upright and honour my husband’s memory by making my life count for something. I have yet to find my purpose in this newly solitary life, but I am taking baby steps every day in an effort to do just that. And all the while I will be recalling how my husband Dan would have sounded cheering me on.