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.

67%

I am never 100% anywhere.
Not possible.
Not ever.

Pieces of me are out with my friends.
Having fun.
After 2 years and 3 months, I can now have fun.
I am now out of the fog that prevented me from fun.
Mostly.

But this fun differs from that fun.
It is different.
Just like everything is different.
Changed.
Forever.
In this “after” life.

That fun was just fun.
Simple.
This fun strips my heart into fragments.
Tears it open.
So that some of it is there, in the room, with my friends.
My friends, or my family, or whoever Im with, gets a fraction.
of my Heart.
A percentage.
of my Heart.

67%.
of my Heart.
Approximately.
Sometimes exactly.
67%.
The rest is divided into several different areas.
Like a pie.
Portions.

Some of my heart goes to missing him.
Just missing him.
Thinking about it. Feeling it. Knowing it.
Sitting inside that hole,
that crater,
that is reserved for missing him.

Some more of my heart goes to triggers.
Triggers are everywhere.
Triggers of sudden death.
Triggers that poke you in the eyeball,
like a needle,
rapidly,
and in slow motion,
to keep you aware,
always,
of Who is Boss.

Forcing you to re-live a moment,
or a feeling,
or a life,
or death.

Triggers are everywhere.
In the air.
An ambulance going by.
A man that looks like him.
Vaguely.
Or exactly.

Something that somebody says.
A laugh.
The scent that smells like his laundry.
Or walking by the row of busses,
in the city,
that you used to take,
together,
to get back home to New Jersey.

The food.
The drink my friend ordered, that he ordered once.
The live Jazz music we listened to and watched,
in the same club where he and I watched.
Long ago.
In our life.
Was it yesterday?
Or 5 years ago.
In the corner of my heart,
It is now.

Triggers are inside of a touch.
Like when my friend taps the rhythms of the drumbeat or piano,
onto his wife’s shoulder,
using his fingertips,
as Instruments.
Just like Don used to do.
With me.
Playing his guitar.
In our apartment.
On the couch.
On the bed.
Or hanging out with friends,
or just us,
In a Jazz club.
Tapping the rhythms to the music,
that sat inside of his soul.

Some of my heart goes to Pain.
Just pain.
That deep, aching, gut-wrenching pain.
It steps on my feet and punches my face,
from the inside.
It rotates between fighting and napping.
from the inside.
But it’s there.
Always.

The rest of my heart,
what is left,
maybe 14% or 8%,
depending on the day,
the hour,
the second.
The rest of my heart goes
straight to my husband.
To his soul.
His being.

While I talk to you, my friend
Im also talking to him.
While I hug you, my dad,
Im also hugging him.
While I walk with you, my mom,
Im also walking with him.
At home.
At work.
Out with friends.
Everywhere.
Everyday.
Every. Single. Moment.
I am with him.

All of this happens while Im laughing,
Living,
Being.

It happens inside me.
Nobody notices.
Nobody says his name, or mentions him.
Now and then,
Sure.
Somebody might mention him.
And I love that.
But usually,
Generally,
Nobody mentions him.
But he stays inside me,
where he lives now.
And I keep him alive.
Alone.
With you.
But alone.

I keep him with me,
and I make him relevant,
and I give him breath.
Because I want to.
I need to.
I give him breath,
so that I can breathe.

It’s like I’m walking around with him,
physically.
Sometimes I can see him.
Feel him.
Next to me.
Beside me.
In the moon.
In a song.
In a star,
where I sit with him,
resting my head on his chest.
Painting the sky with our love.
Living together,
in endless time,
Forever.

I might feel him in the rain,
or in the silence,
or in a joke.
And I laugh with him,
even though you think I’m laughing
with you.
And I am.
Mostly.
67%.