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My partner believed life was about experiences. He believed it was important to have lots of different experiences and being an extrovert he was always wanting to go somewhere or do something. He made life so much fun for this introvert.

But now he's gone. I know he'd want me to continue to have experiences. If I felt like it, I could go out and do things....go to movies, go to plays and concerts, community events, travel....but it's not the same. Just doing those things or going places isn't enough. They have no meaning now because when we were together it wasn't just about the experience of doing something or going somewhere, it was about having that experience together. The most important part of the experience was not the event itself, but how we felt about each other and for me, how I felt about myself when I was with David. It didn't matter what we did or where we were; I was so happy with him and I felt so complete. When he was away one time I told him in an email that I felt like a part of me was missing and it was true. That's exactly how I felt. That's how I feel now.

What got me thinking about all of this is an older friend of David's called me yesterday and asked me if I'd like to go to a play or concert. Her husband died about a month after David did, so she's alone now too and finds the evenings long. I agreed to go and we decided to see a play at a theatre neither of us had been to before. So, it was an experience, a little adventure for both of us. But I sat there fighting back tears at different times throughout the play, not because of the content (it didn't move me), but because as I looked around at the many couples who were there, I reminded myself that this was something David and I would have done together. Though I was happy to accompany our 80+ year-old friend to the play and make her day, I really only wanted to be there with David and it hurt so much to realize that we'll never do anything like that together again.

He's gone and he's not coming back. It's been 23 weeks and 1 day since he died. I think a part of me still believes (hopes) he's going to come back. He lived in another province through much of our relationship, so it's not so unusual that he's not here, but so hard to accept that he's never coming home and there will be no more emails or texts.

People tell me they love me -- family and friends -- and I know the expected response is "I love you too", but it's so hard to say those words. I can say them to David's daughters with no problem, but to say those words to anyone else hurts. I want to say them to David. I do everyday, but I want to hear him say them back to me. I want to feel his kiss and his hand holding mine. I miss him so much.

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Comment by Rosemary on August 24, 2013 at 3:50pm

Thank you so much for your response, Suz. I do appreciate it. I know 5 months isn't a very long time, but it's been good to go out and do some things. I'm very particular about who I'm with though. If I'm with David's daughters, I think I could do almost anything because I feel I'm still with him when they're near. But family gatherings or other big social events.....I can't describe how they make me feel. Very uneasy, that's for sure, but there's got to be a word for it. I'm really concerned about going back to work. I was supposed to go back 6 weeks after David died, but I knew I definitely wasn't ready for that. I took more time and now I have to go back now in another week and a half .... almost the 6 month mark .... and I'm nervous. I sent an email to my staff to let them know how I'm doing and that it's going to be strange to have to deal with my emotions on a schedule once I go back to work rather than having the "luxury" of going with my emotions and taking whatever comes whenever it comes. It might be good in a way to go back to work to help move me forward, but what is forward? I don't know what that is or what it will mean for me, so it's scary. The pain is familiar now, that's what I know. I am afraid to move forward.

What is it like? What is it like 18 months down the road? I'm so afraid of forgetting or not feeling the love anymore. That's so hard to imagine when I know I loved David more than anything in my life ever, but if he's not here to keep that going.....what then? I have my memories and photos and all the emails we ever sent to each other. I can listen to his voice on messages he left on my answering machine (I had the foresight last summer not to erase them), but what happens over time? That is the great and scary unknown.

I am still so raw, but I still remember and I love that and I don't want to forget.

Comment by Suz on August 24, 2013 at 1:19pm


First of all, I want to say that 23 weeks and 1 day is nothing. You are still so raw in this whole experience. I am amazed you can go out at all. Please give yourself a pat on the back for even having the courage to do that! Secondly, I totally understand the difficulty in going out and "having experiences" without your loved one. It is not the same. No matter what, it is just not! You could have had the most wonderful, wished-for experience in your life and it just would not cut it. I am so, so sorry.

I am at eighteen months now and I have to does get better. It really does. I still have hard days, but I don't look for him to come in whistling, except on rare occasions. I can actually smile at memories. 

Trust your feelings about people saying, "I love you." They do mean well and you can respond how you wish. Sometimes it is their way of saying how deeply they care and that they are sorry you are hurting. Nothing compares to the love you had for your partner. That was the real "I love you" for sure!

It gets better....really.

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