I feel like I’m walking down a long hallway. It resembles a tunnel, and I wonder if it’s to shelter me from the harshness of the reality I’m in. I can see a light at the end, but I also know that I pass windows, some closed, some open, where I can see the world outside from my vantage point of safety. Is this still shock? There are ghosts of memories and quick bursts of old feelings, like I walk through a cobweb and get all covered in the once-upon-a-time until I can get it off and keep walking down the hall. I take it to mean I have withdrawn. I have pulled back from the world around me into some cocoon. I catch myself a lot even wondering if Dave was really here. It’s so much easier and far less painful to imagine him as never having existed. And then I remember I did that too when my father died. It took me years to admit my father was a real part of my life. It was how I coped. But with Dave – with my heart – my heart of hearts – I feel still, even after four months, that I am ripping in two. Horrors like this aren’t real. Are they?
I try to justify it. I try to realize that I only knew him for 11 months. That we spent seven of those months apart. How could I possibly have been so affected by someone who was barely a part of my everyday? But then I remember he was a part of my everyday. We communicated everyday. He made my day. He made my week. We had plans. A future. A life. We were gonna get married this summer. He electrified my heart. I buzzed because of him – on some higher frequency – on a plane all believers dream of. And when he looked at me, I always knew he was as deeply and profoundly in love with me as well. I forget that with Dave I found that love I’d been waiting my whole life for. And that’s why I can’t live my own life right now. It’s too painful. I know 11 months doesn’t matter because this pain is real. This loss I feel is far too real. It aches constantly, like I lost a part of myself. So I live the life of someone who never found love, never met the man of her dreams, never lost the man she wholly gave her heart to, doesn’t know what she has completely lost. I’m sorry Dave, but I didn’t realize how much it would hurt to lose you. I can’t keep that promise.
I think this is a form of dissociation. I don’t really care. I’m not really sure how to cope with losing Dave. I still can’t even believe this is actually all real. I mean really? Did this really happen? At moments I know the full dirty truth lands in my lap and I weep and sob and scream at Dave for leaving me here. I smother my head in my Dave pillow and try to pretend he’s holding me – consoling me. But then I glance at his bag of ashes. I glance at the photo of us above my bed and it’s gone like a flash of lightning. Who is that man with me? Why is he not here? Why hasn’t Dave come home yet? Why am I so angry with life? Why don’t I feel like myself? Why do I always feel ready to explode? But then I’m back in the hallway and having momentary conversations out the windows with friends. Most of the time I see nothing of the outside world, and that’s fine. I’m sure it’s all a lot less magnificent without Dave – without our love lighting up the sky. But again, it all still feels like a dream. And that light at the end is no more welcoming than the reality that looms outside these walls.