Nate has been gone for almost a week now, and I’m feeling very lonesome for him (and hormonal).
I’ve been doing laundry as usual, except now that he’s been away, I noticed that there were only three items of clothing that belonged to him, and the rest of the clothes were mine. This seems like such an insignificant thing, but it really made me think of anyone who’s lost a significant other, and my heart goes out to them.
I thought about how after a person dies, you probably never know when grief is going to sweep over you. You go home and do the laundry like you usually do, and since you do it on autopilot, maybe it slips your mind that you’re washing their clothes as well.
I can imagine a widow reaching into her dryer, breaking down the first time after she realizes she has washed her husband’s clothes. I can see her pulling out his warm button down shirt, burying her face in it, trying so desperately to recognize his scent. The Tide scent is too overpowering, leaving no trace of her beloved. She feels too weak to stay on her feet, and her body crashes to the floor, her back sliding down the front of the washer. The shirt she is clenching is drenched in tears, and all she can think of is how she is never going to smell him again.
Every week, when she does laundry, his items of clothing are less and less.
And all too soon, there is nothing left of him.
And this is the kind of stuff nobody talks about. The moments of grief that sweep over you in the most private moments. And I’m writing about this because I’ve never lost a close loved one, but I know it’s going to happen, and it scares the LIFE out of me.
And the thing is, there’s nothing you can do to prepare yourself for it, and you never know how strong or how weak you’re going be. I’m the list maker, the girl who wants to plan everything. And I’m grieved that there really is no planning for how you’re going to handle the devastation- the crippling emotions.
There is no way to prepare yourself for the worst part. After all the arrangements have been made, after everyone has shared that necessary but awkward moment when they don’t know what to say, and you don’t know what to say but you embrace each other because that’s all you can really do, everyone else gets to go back to living their normal lives, but you get stuck with the worst part of it all—figuring out what it looks like, what it feels like, to live in a world that does not involve them. You can’t get used to that, you can’t prepare for that, until it actually happens.
And whenever I think about this inescapable reality, I think of my beloved in a whole new light. I can’t help but not care about all the silly stuff, the stuff that might otherwise make me irritable, annoyed, or distant. Because who really has time for distance when you don’t even know if you have tomorrow with this person, let alone this weekend or next month. All we ever have is RIGHT NOW. If we can just embrace the reality of this every. single. day….
we would all be soooo good at loving.
We wouldn’t have excuses, we wouldn’t be pointing fingers. We wouldn’t care about the petty stuff.
I watched “The Impossible” this weekend, and it moved me; it resonated deep in my heart. If you haven’t seen it yet, I HIGHLY recommend it. It’s based on a true story, and more importantly, it reminds us that life is fragile and sometimes, when we least expect it, our loved ones could be taken away.
That’s why it’s important to live every day like it’s the last day you’ll ever see your loved one again, because one of these days, that WILL be true.