There are days when I can feel his breath warming the back of my neck. My body tingles with anticipation as I lean my head to the side exposing this delicate spot. I stand still for that moment, and wait for the soft touch of his lips upon my skin, the strength of his arms to enfold me. I feel his body wrapped around me, pulling me so close, protecting me from the world. I melt into his sensuous self, and I am safe. It is as if he were alive.
Something always brings me back: the voice of a child playing in the neighbor’s yard, the tone of my cell phone ringing in the other room, or the television blurting out some meaningless commercial. Reality sucks.
On May 18th, it will be two years since my husband died. It has taken me two years to say the word “died.” I substituted “he died” with “he passed,” as though terminology would make the outcome less final. “Dead” is in-the-ground, over. “Passed” felt more respectful somehow, but more importantly, it felt more alive as if he had simply passed by the house and would be returning.
I am not sure he hasn’t. How else can I explain the television turning on to his favorite channel in the middle of the night, blaring at the level he required for his compromised hearing? How else do I explain lights going off and on? How else do I explain his breath on the nape of my neck? I understand the concept of magical thinking, but how does one explain magical thinking with physical evidence?
To me, Bob passed into another plane of existence, a place where he can send wisdom and love, and perhaps tweak a television. I worry not about what others think of these unusual events. I focus on the comfort they give me. And so, I talk to him – aloud – about anything.
“Bob, you would have laughed so hard watching Betty White’s new show!” I blurted out just last night. I continued this conversation in the quiet of my thoughts.
Oh, you can see the show, can’t you? I looked over to his easy chair. It was empty. It has been since the day he left for that last hospital trip, yet my eyes still searched the chair, looking for feelings of comfort more than tangible evidence of his presence.
But I feel his presence less now. Even if I am reluctant, time moves forward one minute at a time.
God, give him back! It was not Bob’s fault that he died, so I direct my anger at God. Give him back to me! This is not a request. It is a demand. I imagine myself a two-year-old, hitting and kicking my hardest, aiming my efforts at this Almighty Being while he, his hand on my forehead, calmly holds me at arm’s length watching my tantrum. It just pisses me off, increasing my anger. This is getting nowhere, so I speak to Bob – aloud.
I don’t want to move on, Bob! Why do I have to? The response was so simple, so honest.
“You’re there, and I’m here.” The future feels so different than the past.
© 2013 Jeanette Reese