I cried for hours yesterday. I couldn’t comprehend it, and it was debilitating. I was trying to work on the packing mat when this wave just came over me and I started to cry. I wasn’t even thinking of Dave. I wasn’t even feeling sorry for myself. My body just started to heave and I felt the most unbearable pain. My mother tells me the shock is wearing off. She says there will be days when I will be side-swiped by grief. She says I need to be patient and that grief is different for everyone. I try to rationalize with it. I think – I only knew Dave for 11 months. We were apart for the past seven. How can I hurt so much from someone I knew so short a time? My mother says time doesn’t matter in this life – love is love. Whether you loved someone for 30 years or one, love is a connection that burns when it is broken. She says I will get through this. Everyone says I’ll get through this. They say to be strong. But yesterday I really couldn’t believe that people actually survive grief. I felt pieces of myself dying instantly. I could see why people are so broken hearted they throw them selves off cliffs and such. It’s an agonizing feeling – so much different than rejection from a scorned lover. It’s like ripping in two.
I’m beginning to realize there are some things I need to stop thinking about – at least for now. They cause me too much pain and if I have any chance of getting out of this alive and partially intact, I need to focus on what I have, rather than what I no longer have. I type it now, and a large piece of me is scoffing that it’s so much different to actually do it than type it.
People have offered me their words – that Dave would want me to go on – that Dave wouldn’t want me to be sad. Funny thing is, Dave and i talked about Death when i visited him in San Diego a month before he died – a month before he was meant to come home. Dave was meant to come home the day before he died … that’s just one more reason why this is so heard to handle. Dave did tell me he’d want me to go on. He joked that hopefully not right away, but that he wouldn’t want me to be too sad, because he loved me and he didn’t want to see me waste my life. I can’t remember the whole conversation. I wish to hell I could. We talked about so much on that trip. We talked for hours upon hours. We were together for four days, our usual time we spent together almost – at least before I left to go to New Zealand because I needed to do something for me.
New Zealand was for me to recover from all the stupid shit I do for men. It was for me to learn what I really want in life. It was for me to learn to do and try without the influence of a man. When I met Dave I told him I was single yet unavailable. He didn’t mind as he said the same about him. So we dated and talked and had no pressure. But it only took about six weeks for us both to realize we drove each other nuts. But I kept telling him I was still going to New Zealand – alone. If Dave was really the one, he’d be here when I got back. If me and him were to make it, we would be together in the spring. Dave kept calling me from California. He was so excited about his trip. He kept asking me to leave New Zealand – the only thing California doesn’t have is you. I tried to explain that I needed my trip. I needed to sort out my head and my wants and my life. It hurt him a little I think, at the time. Sometimes through the winter I thought I lost Dave. His laptop got stolen and we could no longer skype, though I now learn he had skype on his phone – typical. His phone got cut off a few times and then only I could call or text him, but he could always email or facebook. The longest I went without hearing from him was 36 hours, but only twice. Those times killed me. I was gutted. Worried. Scared. But, he thought nothing of it. Told me to relax. He was just busy. When I went to see him in San Diego – I am so happy and lucky I went to see him in San Diego – he very nearly came home with me that day. He was struggling, but his journey wasn’t over, and he knew it, or was fighting that perhaps it was. He told me that he was happy we had done our own vacations. He told me I was right when i said he needed to go away and figure out who he is and what he wants – and if that ended up being me – awesome – but if not, then at least I know it’s coming from the real him and not a him who really doesn’t know what he wants or who he is. He told me he knew what he wanted. And he told me what that was.
So 11 months – it doesn’t matter how long the time. I am jealous of those who knew him for three years or 32. I am jealous of those who got to spend more time with him then I could in those 11 months. I know I got to see a side of Dave very few people have ever seen, and I hold that very close in my heart and with every breath, but it aches in depths each time I remember that he was on his way home. He said the only reason he was coming home was to for me and his kids. But he wanted to stay that one more week and I told him it was a decision he had to make on his own. I’m glad he asked me, and i should’ve told him how much it hurt that he wanted to stay yet another week. I’ll always regret that I didn’t say come home right now. I will always regret that. But at least I know he had booked his ticket and was excited and happy to be on his way home and it was his choice when – he chose. He was coming home and moving in with me, working the summer with me, and then we would spend the rest of our lives together. That’s what he wanted. That, and to work full-time in skydiving, to travel and to have fun. We were so happy.
I know Dave was happy. I know he wouldn’t have climbed that mountain that day if he knew what the outcome would be. And I know in this life and world we are never allowed to know what will come. We can plan and we can plot and we can calculate, but there are so many things that are out of our control. I could not control Dave on that mountain, even if I had called him that morning like i had wanted to – even if that call had delayed him enough that he missed that turbulence or fixed what went wrong – but it’s madness to consider it because then any number of other things could have crossed his path that day. We are not meant to know the future. And I’m done worrying about something that may never come. We have no control over death. Dave’s was tragic, sudden, accidental. I still can’t fathom or rationalize it. It’s still somewhat unreal. But no one can control these things. The body is a fragile vessel on this planet and we need to keep it in shape to stay here, lest we continue our journey elsewhere.
I know days will come when I will be side-swiped by grief. I know that I have an insane amount of love in my heart for a man who no longer lives. I know I don’t understand my own thoughts or feelings on death. But I know that what I do have is the ability to love, a lot of amazing memories, great friends and family, and an ache that will probably never go away. And maybe that’s a good thing. Maybe it’s good to always know how much it hurts. It makes people so much more valuable. It makes Dave so much more real. It makes me realize that life is not something to take for granted, because you never know when it’ll be over and you’re the one still left here to live. Cherish your loved ones. The world can be a lonely and dark place without them.