Ever since Don died, I have this weird feeling inside me that is a bit tough to describe. It is an overall feeling of guilt, and it happens immediately after anything that is even mildly pleasant or enjoyable. It happens at least once a day, and most time it happens multiple times a day, and it results in my tearing up and sometimes silently crying. It is such a strange thing, because it takes things, events, experiences, that are normally joyful and happy, and turns them into something incredibly sad and uncomfortable. I don’t know if this is a normal way to feel after someone dies, I’ve never heard anyone talking about it before, so I’m not sure; but it’s not a feeling of comfort because it feels like you are being robbed of something wonderful because you no longer know how to enjoy things anymore.Here’s an example: Last week a new Deli opened up on the corner of our block. There had been another Deli there for years, but they sold it because they couldn’t afford the lease. The new guys moved in about a week after Don died, and I went in there yesterday and ordered a turkey sub with lettuce, provolone, and mayo. That was Don’s favorite sandwich and mine too. Whenever we would get subs, we would both order the same thing. Well, I got home and ate the sub, and it was really good. For three seconds I enjoyed the goodness of the sub, and then I broke into tears. It wasn’t even on purpose. Just uncontrollably started crying out of nowhere. And it was because immediately after feeling the joy of eating something delicious, my next thought was “but why can’t Don be eating this too? Why am I getting to enjoy this turkey sub and he isn’t? He would love this sub.” It sounds so silly, but it makes me very sad each time it happens.
It happens with things big and small too. It doesn’t matter. It can be a turkey sub, a new song, or even a TV show. The other night I was watching one of our favorite shows to watch together; LOUIE; and It was a great episode and I even laughed slightly a few times; which I haven’t done much of since this happened. I laugh; but its more of an inside laugh than a laugh out loud, hearty laugh. Don had a hearty laugh, and I haven’t had one since he died. But I was laughing inside at this show; and then immediately I got really sad. I thought about how much Don would have loved this episode and how we would have watched it together and he would laugh out loud and say out loud to no one in particular: “That’s awesome…. that’s awesome ….”
He would always say that in reaction to a great song, piece of comedy, or something he was watching on TV. Later; I saw a commercial for the upcoming new season of Modern Family; another favorite show of ours. Don was absolutely in love with Sofia Vergara; and would pay extra special attention whenever she was on the screen. The ad showed some upcoming scenes that looked really funny, and I just felt instant guilt for being able to watch it, for the fact that I get to be alive to see the show, and he doesn’t. And it made me so incredibly sad thinking how unfair that was. It is really unfair. This feeling of guilt and sorrow doesn’t only happen with small things though. It also happens with bigger things, like a car.
My brother bought me a car. He BOUGHT ME A CAR. My dad keeps saying things like “this car is great, isn’t it? What a great car!” And I want like hell to be grateful, and I AM grateful. But whenever I get inside the car, I instantly feel sad. Sad because Don isn’t in getting the car … I am. Don should have had this car. I don’t want to have anything BECAUSE he is dead. I wouldn’t have this car if he was still alive, so it makes me upset to have this car because in order for me to have it, he has to be dead. I know I sound like a crazy person, but this is what goes through my head. I love the car, but I want so much for Don to see it and drive it and for him to say: “Wow, this thing is great! It’s exactly like our car, except it WORKS!”
I want to tell my brother thank you. Thank you for caring about my safety. Thank you for stepping up the way you have, and giving me this gift. Thank you for putting so much time and effort and CARE into my feelings and into doing what you think is best with our/Don’s car. Thank you for taking care of me in the same way that Don would have. I want to say thank you, but all that comes out is silence. And tears. And the guilt and unfairness of simply being alive and able to drive a vehicle, while Don has to just be dead and miss great sandwiches and TV shows and cars that work when you need them to.