Does it ever stop? Does it ever really go away?
That feeling. That longing, that comes out of nowhere.
That thing where you are inside of a moment, enjoying it and loving it, and then suddenly, seemingly out of the clear blue sky, that feeling- like you’ve swallowed a nail, just enters your stomach, like an invasion.
Suddenly, while deeply involved in a beautiful moment of the life you currently have, it enters you. Right there, smack in the center of your joy, a deep and overwhelming sadness.
That Other Life.
That Other Life, the one you had before death stole it away, reminds you how much you miss it, over and over and over again. It happens in a split second, and it takes you by surprise each time, as if it’s never happened before. Standing there, in the midst of ecstatic joy, you feel like you want to cry forever. You feel your stomach drop out from under you, a bottoming out of your insides. That other life pokes you and stabs you again and again, just in case you had forgotten for a few seconds, that it is no longer there for you.
Last night, Hillary Clinton made history when she accepted the nomination for President of the United States – the first ever female nominee of a major political party. As I watched it unfold on C-SPAN, I felt such joy at the history of it all. At what it means for America, for women in this country and all over the world. I felt it on a visceral level, and I started to beam with pride. I was smiling and laughing right along with Bill and Hillary, as those balloons fell from that “glass ceiling” that had finally been lifted. A moment in time for the ages, something that would be remembered for decades to come.
And then, just like that, out of nowhere, my joy turned into a longing and an intense sadness. There was no warning. No sense of why, in that moment, all my emotions decided to flip. They just did, and suddenly, I was sobbing. Just seconds before, the happiness was so pure and genuine. And then, just gone. An emptiness took it’s place, and I had this need to share this historical moment in time, with my husband. My husband, who predicted that Hillary would be our first female President. My husband, who was born on Election Day, and was a fellow Democrat with me. My husband, who was way more into politics than I am, and who loved debating and talking points and learning and sharing with both people that agreed, and those who didn’t. My husband, who would still be teaching me things, and who would have the same pride in this moment that I have. And please don’t tell me that he was right there with me, or that he DID see it, or that I should talk to him anyway. I know all of that. But none of that is even close to the same, and none of that is going to feed me what I want, which is for him to be here right now, in this moment in time, to watch this happen with me. And the thing is – in that moment, he is the ONLY person I wanted to share it with. Nobody else. Just him. It was his specific take on the world that I was longing for. His opinion I wanted to hear. His joy and his laughter and his holding me and smiling with me, as we watched history unfold together.
That other life. I want it. And I can never have it. Not ever again. And when that point is driven home multiple times, slamming into me like a tornado, it just hurts. And it keeps on hurting, until it doesn’t. Until next time.
This life is the life that I have, and I have vowed to make it a bright and beautiful one, because my husband does not have that option. And I am determined to do just that, even though some days, it is just about the most impossible thing in the world. I will do it, because doing anything less, is dishonoring his life, and wasting life itself. But that longing – that need and urge and want – to get it all back again, to turn back time and have him here with me – it will never go away. Not ever.
I suppose we just figure out a way, to live inside this life, while honoring and remembering that other life. And perhaps finding places where we can merge the two together – like a tapestry or a blanket, of everything that we were, that we are, and that we will become. That other life is NOT part of our past. It is the foundation for everything beautiful, that we still have yet to see.
We don’t need to choose between that life and this one. We cannot ever have that life back, so there is no choice to make. But, it is not gone either. I refuse to believe it is gone. If it were gone, then it wouldn’t keep showing it’s face and it’s soul – it wouldn’t keep invading us, while we live this life. It’s there. That other life is there. It’s there every time we breathe, and every time we say yes to life. So embrace it. When it shows up, embrace it. Acknowledge it. Talk about it. Make it known to others that it’s there and that you’re missing it. And if they don’t understand, find someone who does, and spend more time with that person. For when we merge all the pieces of who we are, with everything that made us – it is only then, that we become whole.