I thought about it all day… today was ten months.
I tried to avoid thinking about it. I wanted to not make a big deal of it. I pretended you weren’t in my mind at every minute of every hour.
Instead…I focused on our children. I focused on their grief. I focused on our home, cleaning it and stocking its cabinets. I put my time and energy into our kids’ needs, wants, desires.
They in turn helped me mark the Transgender Day of Remembrance and honored me by participating.
I spent time with each of them today, by their side, showing them my pride, my love, my devotion. Honoring my promise, fulfilling their dreams, putting wind in their sails. They are so like you, so strong, so beautiful and so very wise. And loving.
And after making their dessert, as I turned to close the door of the fridge, my eyes caught a glimpse of one of your pictures that I placed there, and everywhere, in your kitchen.
And… I lost it. I miss you so!
“Always and everywhere,” we always wrote on every card for twenty years, and even ten months later I am no less heartbroken, no less despondent and still grieving, as we prepare to mark Thanksgiving, one more holiday with an empty chair at our table.
That was supposed to be mine; it’s so wrong. That should be my empty chair. You should be here, having cast me out of our home and your heart. But like so many things, including a cure, long life, secure finances and a man for a spouse, you didn’t get what you wished for, counted on nor deserved.
The thing is, even after our rough times, in the end there was forgiveness, friendship, and we forged a strong connection bound by our children. Yes, even though we parted “before death do us part,” I didn’t let you return that part of my heart that I gave to you.
And so today, I lived another day with that hole in my heart. Tears are the accessory I’ve worn most often this year, accompanied by a fresh packet of tissues wherever I go. But whenever the healthy release of bottled-up emotions ends, I try to focus on this quote from ever optimist Zig Ziglar:
“We hear tears loudly on this side of Heaven. What we don’t take time to contemplate are the even louder cheers on the other side of death’s valley.”
One thought on “This side of heaven, where tears fall like rain”
Your grief, and your wonderful writing of it, makes my heart ache for you, Dawn. To see you stand up under such a weight leaves me breathless and amazed. I doubt that hole in your heart will ever be entirely filled, nor, I suspect, will the pain ever be beyond feeling. I do know, though, from my own experience, that deep pain eventually loses its power over us. Eventually. And though it is still there, what remains is a memory, though a potent one. This, too, I am learning: that deep grief can serve as a touchstone, a reminder of just how beautiful the life we have is, and can be. It’s okay to grieve, necessary, even. But with time, it’s also okay to smile and be grateful for the life we have. I hope that with time, you will find this true for you, too. May your days be blessed.
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