So, yes, it happened. The day that has been happening for the last 6 months almost, since Handsome Husband closed his eyes for the last time and died.
The memorial service.
At some point when I can take it all in, I’ll write about it. Those of you who were there saw how very personal it was to him, how beautiful, how moving. Our kids were stunning in their words and dances and creativity. I sang to him. And, believe me, I don’t sing and that was going WAAAAYYY out of my comfort zone. And yet there was absolutely no anxiety on my part about doing such a thing in public. I was always braver with Handsome Husband and this was for him, so..no fear.
The military honors almost did me in. I zeroed in on their white-gloved hands as they folded the flag, keenly aware of that very last fold because I knew what the next steps were. As the Honor Guard captain was presented with the flag and swiveled on his heel to face me, I wanted to fall right on the floor. That is the moment I knew this was all for the flesh and blood man who graced my life for so many years. That is the moment when my heart shattered into hundreds of many millions of pieces that are unrecoverable. That is when I started saying over and over in my mind “Stand straighter. Stand straighter. Stand straighter.” And held out my arms to receive the flag and hear him say “On behalf of the President of the United States and the Department of the Air Force, and a grateful nation, we offer this flag for the faithful and dedicated service of MSgt Charles Dearing.”
So, here’s the thing, dear readers. NO. There was no closure for me, having had the service. There is no closure. Not that I’m sure what that word even means, so maybe in the way it’s meant by you, there is, but in the way I would describe it, no. Yes, I no longer will devote every waking moment to planning his service, ensuring that he is honored in every way. No, there is no easing of the shattering pain of loss. Kind of, really, honestly, now that I no longer have the distraction of his service, I am more aware than ever of my grief and devastating loss.
I feel badly for anyone who wants me to have closure and I have to disappoint them by not having it. It’s hard to be with those who are grieving. I know that. And I receive your intent with love, knowing that you just want me to be okay again.
My okay again is going to be a whole different okay than I’ve ever been before. It’s going to be okay with a depth of loss that has seared my soul and scorched my earth.
But, see, that’s okay. I’ve learned that it’s okay to let myself be right where I am, to allow myself to be shattered and in a cave while I rebirth. This part is necessary to who I will become. I’m in this darkness that will, I so hope, allow the light to shimmer even more brightly when I emerge. I’m not frightened of this darkness. It’s incredibly painful and my eyes when I look at them, reflect that. But it’s okay. Okay? Just be with me through this darkness and walk with me as I find my way. I relieve you of the burden of making me feel better, or being optimistic or trying to make me laugh.
I’m not depressed, so don’t worry. Totally unwillingly, I’ve been cast into the depths of this darkness, this hell that is my life without him. I spent 24 years with him and it’s going to take more time than any of us can imagine, I expect, for me to learn to live without him. But that’s okay too. Because I’ve also learned that just because I’m where I am, I can still do what needs to be done for planning a new, thrust-upon-me life, and I’m doing it.
No closure. None. Yes, pain that radiates and stabs through me every breath, until I remind myself of this mantra.
One breath. One heartbeat. One step.
And it’s okay even while nothing is okay.