Talking to the Echo

There is a space where my husband’s voice once lived,
a big empty hole that sits in the center of my hours,
my days,
my years.
It mocks me by following me wherever I go,
And it feeds off of it’s own nothingness,
Sipping on the hollow void,
A cruel silence where there used to be sound.

It follows me everywhere,
But it is most cruel whenever I try to be my creative self.
I can write something,
Perform something,
Shape something,
And in that creative process,
I still look into the air, thin as a wafer,
And ask my husband,
“How does this sound?”,
Or
“What do you think of this, Boo?”
There is a pause that lasts ten thousand years,
And then nothing.

Where he used to help me write,
And add his humor to my scripts,
There is nothing.

Where he used to sit in the crowd,
And clap loudly,
His big and wonderful laugh,
Being heard above all the others,
There is nothing.

Where he met me after the show,
Outside of the club or the theater,
Sometimes with flowers or cards in his hand,
Wearing his pride for me in the pupils of his eye,
Saying, “I’m so proud of you, Boo”,
Twirling and hugging and holding my hand,
There is nothing.

I can fight the nothing
With the opinions of other caring people
In my life.
My parents, my friends, my counselor.
Sometimes that helps.
But most times,
Try as they do,
They do not respond in the way that I am searching for,
In the way that I long for and need,
Or they arent always there,
At the ready,
Waiting to be the response
to words
that I speak.
That is what a partner does.
Partners are there,
And they say the thing that you long to hear,
And they make your ideas shine,
And they put the period on the sentence,
Or they suggest that maybe it needed a comma,
Instead.

The nothingness where my husband used to be,
Causes me to feel so much jealousy,
When I am forced in a room with couples,
With marriage or long-term partnerships,
And when I hear the literal words
Of a wife saying to her husband,
“Honey, what do you think of this?”
It is like a slow stab,
And it pierces my insides,
Silently,
While nobody notices.
And it hurts.
Oh boy, does it hurt,
To witness the simple thing,
Of somebody saying words,
And somebody saying words back.

The nothingness where my husband used to be,
Makes me needy,
Much more needy,
than I ever thought I would be,
than I ever wanted to be.
When I write blog posts,
like this one,
I need to hear and read the comments,
Or I feel worthless,
Like I am talking to that thin air,
Or talking to myself
Again and again,
And again.
My constant status updates,
On Facebook,
are a helpless and desperate plea,
to seek out connection,
and fill the gaping wound,
that cries,
in that space,
where my husband used to be.

It is almost like,
I need to fill that space,
With 200 comments,
A thousand voices,
To make up for that one voice,
I can never hear again.
And since none of those voices,
Are his voice,
And none of those people,
Are him,
It does not fulfill,
What I need fulfilled.
It helps.
It helps in the same way,
That throwing a raisin into a manhole
Would help to fill the space
Of that manhole.

But it hurts.
Oh boy, does it hurt,
Because nobody is him,
Nobody ever will be him,
Not ever again.

And I try to remind myself,
Or ask myself,
In those moments,
“What would Don say?”,
Or I will attempt
To hear him
And listen for his voice,
There to complete my sentence.
But there is no sound.
No feeling.
No hint of his essence.
And with each new moment of silence,
The memory of what he might say,
Becomes less certain,
And it drifts away in a rowboat,
Leaving me at the shore.

There is a space,
Where my husband’s voice
Once lived.
I cannot stare at it,
Or find it,
Because it is all around me,
But I feel it.
I feel the nothingness,
And this is why,
I am terrified of finishing things,
Of things ending.
Like when this book is finally written,
Printed,
Published,
And a box of them is sent to my door,
And I open the box,
And it is filled with my dreams.
Books that I can look at,
And touch,
And know that the words inside are mine,
And the stories inside are mine,
And I will look into that thin air,
And say out loud
To the nothing,
“Arent you proud of me, Boo?”

And yes,
I know he is proud,
But that is not the same,
As hearing him say it,
And instead,
Hearing the loud roar of silence,
That comes just seconds,
After my own shallow voice,
In a room filled with people,
Or alone,
Always alone,
Talking to the Echo.

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14 thoughts on “Talking to the Echo

  1. I totally get this. I long to hear Rex’s voice in the ways he would give me his opinion, finish my thoughts, or just be so very excited about the littlest things that I did. I can get those things from other people, but they will never be his words or him. Nobody can ever feel the emptiness that is left of not having Rex here to talk to. I often talk to him and think about what he would have said to me at that time, or what he would have done. I just need him to talk to, some days I just don’t want to talk to anyone but him. As we know we can do that, but there is always that silence that follows.

  2. EXACTLY!!!! Mirrors my feeling…when I play my horn, when I do my business… When I come home from working with my Beast of a Boss…I miss his voice, his concern, his love…always missing.

  3. So very true, Kelley. Because we have survived this devastating loss, I guess we are “warriors” of a sort, as someone told me, however, I never see myself truly winning this battle. Or even coming close to overtaking the enemy called grief. Some emerge less scarred than others, some die trying to get better. I see myself the latter. Keep writing. It helps all of us.

  4. So proud of how your message about how you are feeling is relating and helping others. We also miss the sound of his voice..always positive..always so proud of everything you did and know he us of all you are doing now…carry on. Love you.

  5. An impossibly big hole – you nailed it. Every time I write and await the comments to flood in, and then I see a few and read them, almost every time they pale in comparison to what I am searching for. And my whole drive to write is just shattered by the fact that HE can’t read it often times.

    It’s so completely hard to keep on doing this stuff when they were such an integral part of it. I’m not sure why, but this problem seems to be even stronger with writing specifically… at least for me. Drew was my photo assistant for every single shoot I ever did… whether it was 20 degrees or 110 out, 4pm or 4am, he was always there. He loved nothing more than to watch me photograph the world and then see what I captured.

    When I’m behind the camera, I’m never thinking about him not being there. I am always fully in the moment with whatever I am capturing… I almost step outside of myself. I do sometimes get really sad that I can’t show him my work when its all done, but i still feel incredibly proud of my photos.

    But with writing, it’s not like that. It’s not this in-the-moment thing… its this emotion-based thing where we are thinking constantly about now and yesterday and tomorrow and where we are and how we are doing… so I think writing in particular is one of those extra hard things to NOT feel their absence with in a huge way. Maybe that’s why I’ve struggled to write so much lately… it has become harder for me to want to even do it because it only seems to remind me of the void.

    Keep it coming… and thank you for this post. I’m trying to get better about reading and commenting here because your writing does mean a lot to me. My lack of comments is in no way a reflection of your writing… I literally follow no other blogs but yours lol. I’m just so all over the place most of the time that I don’t ever sit down to read blogs anymore… but I read yours like 10 times more often than anyone else’s! Love you girl, and thank you for the beautiful comment on my Widow’s Voice post

  6. Keep these great posts coming, you nail it every time you put pen to paper (or is that type?)….:-) Yours is one of the few blogs I still keep up with but your voice is the one in the darkness that does manage to penetrate. Look forward to reading more.

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