On November 18th, it will be one year since I lost my husband. It doesn’t seem like it was that long ago, yet it seems a lifetime away. The Daughter Figure and The Boy, which were so aptly named by him, take a different route to the healing than I have. The Boy still has moments of frustration and anger. They always got along pretty well, and did all kinds of stuff together. He can laugh about stuff his father did and said, but does not discuss his feelings or acknowledge that he misses him. Typical Boy.
The Daughter Figure, on the other hand, had a different relationship with him. For most of her life, they argued and fought. Neither saw that they were of the same mold. Except she has breasts. Toward the end of her senior year in High School, they became closer. He was so proud of her accomplishments, and her acceptance to University of Michigan. She was away at school when he got sick, and the last time she spoke to him, he had to talk her down from a panic attack. We didn’t know that less than 24 hours later he would be on a ventilator in an induced coma. She beat herself up for a long time going over that last conversation because she felt that he needed her and she had been selfish. My words could not change how she felt. Only time has eased her pain a little.
As for me, I miss him, but not in the same way they do. We had a different kind of relationship. After 27 years of marriage, I loved him, but was not ‘in love’ with him. We had been through too much. I had been hurt and disappointed too many times. It was nothing torrid or despicable, it was just our different views of family and life and time (not) spent together. I viewed our relationship from a different perspective than he did for a very long time. We were old friends, and sometimes best friends, but not lovers. That time had long passed.
I knew from the minute the hospital called that night at 1:30am. I knew he would not be coming home. My grieving started 3 weeks before he died. Maybe that made it easier when it finally did happen. Maybe I’m too German. Or too Russian. Or too damaged. I don’t know. I stayed with him in the ICU as much as they would allow. I didn’t want him to be alone. I owed him that much. I talked to him about what was going on at home and at work. I wiped away his sweat. I combed his hair. I stroked him arm. But he wasn’t there. Only his shell was there, and the sound of all the machines and the ventilator.