12-11 Photos and the Past Tense

“’Tis a fearful thing

To love

What death can touch.”

– Yehuda HaLevi

I’ve been struggling with tense in language.  When I talk about Jason, I refer to him as the love of my life.  He was.  He also still is.  His death hasn’t changed how I feel about him.  It hasn’t made me love him less.  Yet, because he is dead, I should refer to him in the past tense.  Then I see a photo of the two of us together.  Today, it was the photo I sent out as thank yous, one which we both liked because in it I was teasing him or he was teasing me, or most likely both, and we are both laughing and the sky has just the right number of clouds against the perfect blue of early spring.  That photo is from four and a half years ago, but you’d never know it from looking at us.

The photos of Jason look like they could have been taken yesterday.  We are both in that age in which we look about like we did a few years ago and will continue to look about the same for the next few years.  Those photos will continue to look current until I’ve aged out of them.  And given the way I age, that’s going to take awhile.  So those photos will continue to look current, they will continue to look like yesterday or last week or last month.  Certainly not seven months ago.

At first, I had the amazing power of numbness to cushion me.  That lasted a week or two.  Then I had the kind of denial in which I just always thought Jason was just in another room, just on a trip, just out tonight.  He was always just around the corner, but never actually gone.  Each hour that passes is another hour in which he doesn’t come home.  Another hour in which I don’t see him.  Another hour without a text or a message or him.  And each hour makes this reality a little more real.

This isn’t getting easier.  I somehow thought it would.  Or maybe it’s that I’ve kept telling myself it will.  I was lying to me.  It isn’t getting easier.  If anything, it is getting harder.

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