Six months

It was exactly six months ago, at about this time of day, when I got the call. The woman on the other end of the line identified herself as a sheriff’s deputy and asked, “Has anyone told you what’s going on?” Because the call came in on my office phone, not on my cell, I assumed it had something to do with the water agency where I worked – maybe an emergency drill or something? “I have no idea what you’re talking about,” I answered, feeling impatient. I was five minutes from clocking out, eager to run down to the car where Mike would be waiting for me. Then the deputy said Mike’s name, and I had a terrible, terrible feeling…

It was an awful, impersonal way to find out that my world was ending. If only I’d heard my cell phone vibrating in the desk drawer, I would have heard the news from my mother-in-law. Three missed calls in a twenty minute period. I called her on the way to the hospital. My fledgling hopes that it hadn’t been a serious attempt were crushed by four words: He used a gun. I knew, even before the hospital chaplain met me at the door to the ER, before she said the words “very critical” and “matter of hours,” I knew.

And when I saw him in the ER, it hit me with an awful finality. Despite what the steady blips on the machine said, he was gone. It was several hours later, in the early hours of March 4, when they officially pronounced him dead, but to me that was a formality. I knew the minute I saw him lying there, he wasn’t “Mike” anymore. The man I’d known and loved was gone. Despite what it says on the death certificate, I’ll always remember March 3 as the day he died.

For six months I’ve stopped myself from thinking about those awful hours, derailed that train of thought by any means necessary. Today I can’t think about anything else.

My heart, my life, all my plans and dreams for the future… shattered into a million tiny pieces in the space of half an hour. I spent the next few weeks stumbling around in shock, in a numb kind of no man’s land where nothing was real. The only reason I didn’t just lay down and give up was because there were things that had to be done – things that, as his wife, only I could do. I didn’t know how to live without him. I didn’t even know if I wanted to try. But I kept getting up in the morning, putting one foot in front of the other, getting things done somehow. The rest of my life without my soul mate was too unbearable to contemplate, so I didn’t look ahead. One minute, one hour, one day at a time.

I survived. And slowly but surely, surviving turned to living. I couldn’t picture my life without Mike, but I started to gather up the pieces. They’re going to fit together differently now, and I still haven’t figured out what that looks like, but I’m still here. Six months in, there are more good days than bad days. In fact, it’s rare that an entire day is bad now. It’s mostly a few bad moments, a sudden torrent of tears that passes quickly.

Today is a bad day. But this, too, shall pass.


~ by hourbeforedawn on September 3, 2010.

7 Responses to “Six months”

  1. I am in that place where I can’t imagine my life without Dan… how did you do it???? I mean live knowing that he isn’t here, that you will never hear his voice again or see his smile. It is an overwhelming sadness that continues to creep up during all hours of the day. One minute the day is going okay.. the next I can’t stop thinking about that day that Dan gave up and left me here alone. It hurts even worse because I didn’t know how depressed he was, I had no clue, he was so happy. I wish he would have told me, I wished I would have stayed home that day. Oh how do you think about your future without your soulmate?? I think I try to think about it but block it out at the same time. I hope, wish, pray that I can learn to survive like you, that this feeling of hopelessness will pass and I can be strong knowing that Dan did love me.. he just couldn’t stay with me!

    • How do I do it? One minute, one hour, one day at a time. I still can’t look too far into the future – a month or so ahead is all I can bear to contemplate. I deal with what’s right here in front of me RIGHT NOW. That’s more than enough.

      The pain doesn’t go away… but it does get easier to bear, I promise.

  2. (((lira)))

  3. Lira- I can’t imagine the loss and devestation that you have suffered. I know it’s been hard to put one foot in front of the other but you have handled yourself with such a quiet dignity. I’m glad that you have more good days than bad now.


  4. What really hits me in your incredibly powerful writing is “…things that, as his wife, only I could do…” These words have such power. You had only so newly become his wife in title, though in life you were that before the wedding. There is a tremendous bittersweetness in the way you have lived out your role in the end of Mike’s life – and up to today. You do him and YOURSELF proud.

  5. oh honey……(((((amazing you)))))

    Your writing is powerful and healing. Thank you.

  6. you are helping so many people lira…i am glad you are you 🙂

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