I awoke this morning after sleeping late. I glanced over at the treadmill in the corner and saw Tom's boxer shorts hanging on the railing. I reached over towards him and then realized, with a jolt, that it was just a white dish towel. Tom will never hang his boxer shorts on that railing again.
Today is the 5-year anniversary of the first stroke. The incident that defined our lives in such a profound manner. We had half of our marriage pre-stroke - half post-stroke. We found our new normal - several times over. We worked hard together, we compensated for disability and learned to love one another in the deepest way possible.
I am having my last day off and sitting quietly reading a book, Seven Choices - Finding Daylight after Loss Shatters Your World. I just read a passage, in it a therapist tells the widowed author that she will never again be so innocent or trusting, she will never have the relationship and love again that she had with her deceased husband. There will never be that particular joy, that same depth of love again. And I wept. It is true.
As I wept, I realized that I do want a future. I miss my husband. I miss our life. I am moving, however slowly, towards a new life. I am finding solace in my own company - solitude is a blessing. The love and enduring support of friends have made it possible to come to this place now.
My ongoing question - how long will this take? The ongoing answer - as long as it takes. Rebuilding one tiny step at a time. I am grateful that I had the love of a good man and that I will have the memories forever.