This time last year, I was washing dishes that held chips and M&Ms, throwing away wrapping paper, and tidying up our house. The house we bought together and painted together and lived in for six nights. This time last year, I was making up the futon for whoever ended up staying at our house. This time last year, I woke up when the club-goers came home and handed them all water before pointing out the futon and crawling back into bed. I wished Jason a happy birthday when he joined me.
Jason should have turned 33 today. He will be freshly-minted 32 forever.
In studies of people over the age of 65 who have lost their spouse, they report higher levels of pain, get sick more frequently, sickness and injuries take longer to heal, and more often require hospitalizations. There aren’t studies on widow/ers under the age of 65; there aren’t enough of us to be statistically significant.
My experience mirrors that data. I hurt. I hurt constantly. I hurt so deeply that I can’t process it through purely emotional means. It spills over into physical pain. This becomes aching muscles, cramping wrists, stiff joints, and a general aging that can’t be accounted for by a year of living.
I’m starting to go gray. Only on the right, and just below my temple. But there are more grays there than before. For the first time in my life, people are accurately guessing my age. Since I was 15, people assumed I was in my mid-twenties. For the past ten years, the most common guess has been 26. Now, most people guess 29 or 31. I guess 30 is too scary a number in our culture. Occasionally, I get 35. So, accurate may not be totally true, but they are getting closer.
I feel like I should say something uplifting and talk about rebuilding my life. Or like I should write another eulogy for Jason. Or maybe I should offer some kind of wisdom or solace. I can’t. There is nothing uplifting about this. I can’t summarize his life in a few trite words. I can’t tell you that grief has taught me important life lessons.
I miss the future we should have had. I miss the present we had built. I miss my love.