A long time ago, when I was only twenty-seven, the man I loved died.
One night he didn’t come home. I waited alone wondering where he was. The friend who found him contacted another friend who then told me.
In that moment my world changed. All of our hopes, our dreams and our plans were gone. I’d lost my friend, my lover, my future husband, the future father of my children, all at once.
I was numb and lost in a way I could have never imagined. The grief was paralyzing. In time I was sad, angry, hopeless, and lost. In time I was hopeful and grateful for the time I’d had with him.
Now those memories of loss, and my memories of the man I loved are mine and mine alone. The are no common friends or anyone who shares any memories with me. They are all gone.
I never thought what if. It was over. Dust and ashes blown to the wind, into time, gone forever.
For a few years I slept in one of his shirts – a button down dress shirt. Now that is gone as well – worn out as my broken heart healed.
But he is always with me, even now. Even now when I am passionately in love with my husband Teddy.
If by some magic I could go back and never meet him, never feel that pain, I wouldn’t do it. I would never trade that time with him.
The experience changed me. It happened. I had to continue my life. But I didn’t have to forget. He is part of me. We all carry those we’ve loved inside of us, as part of us.
When he was alive not a day went by when we didn’t say I love you. Not a day went by when we didn’t laugh ourselves silly. I can still hear his voice and see the mischief in his green eyes.
It was so long ago.
I can smile when I think of him.
And I can hope and pray that my children and their young friends never have to go through anything like that.
He wouldn’t have wanted me to be alone and spend my life lost.
That was a long time ago. I’ve lost others since. And I have found more love than I could have ever imagined.
It is never easy when something like this happens. Some people will say, “get over it.” You have my permission to just bitch slap them, or at least just walk away. You don’t need them in your life.
And you might never get over it completely. Even today, when someone is late I sit in fear that they will never return. I try to logically convince myself otherwise but the fear creeps back into my bones.
But more, there are those times when I am grateful because I’ve had that kind of once-in-a-lifetime-love twice. I’ve experienced love at first sight twice. TWICE. And you know I don’t live in a romantic lala land. You’ve seen my meme.
Yes, I did date that guy and a lot more. Yes, I had to add in something funny.
And each and every single day I tell my husband and children that I love them. Each and every day we laugh until our sides hurt. And each and every day I know that I am exactly where I belong.
Your assignment today is to hug those you love. Tell them you love them. Laugh until your sides hurt. And do it again every single day of your life.
My heart goes out to the people of Roseburg, Oregon today. May they find peace and keep the love in their hearts.
~ Juliette aka Vampire Maman