Beth’s birthday was one month before mine, on April 11th. I was born nearly a year earlier, on May 11th. Until she died, I was always exactly 11 months older than she was.
Every 24th, I relive her death. I don’t want to. Trust me. I just can’t help it.
And with each month, I am reminded I lived an extra month longer than she did. A month after she died, on October 24th, however, I realized I hadn’t merely lived one month longer than Beth, but an entire year.
I don’t like thinking this way. Honestly. It just happens.
And, now, on my birthday, I have found myself thinking that way, again. I have already lived a year and a half longer than she did. Slightly more, actually.
It’s been more like 558 days, to be more precise.
The reason I’m writing this is I’ve had two opposing thoughts that continually fight one another in my brain:
One thought reminds me she died so young, and I feel so crappy most of the time that I find it hard to imagine living another decade like this, let alone another year. I don’t want it to sound like I’ve lost the will to live, because I haven’t – It’s more like I’ve lost some of the ambition and enjoyment of it. That, in turn, has depleted a portion of my love for life, I suppose. It’s hard to articulate. I keep assuming I’ll die long before I can retire. So why save anything for retirement? Why do anything but travel or try and enjoy what’s left?
The opposing thought is, what if I live to be in my 80’s or 90’s? Beth would have wanted me to go on and enjoy life. She would have wanted me to succeed in something; life, itself, I suppose. No one needs to tell me that. I’m fully aware. I WANT to enjoy life, naturally. I just still haven’t found out how. I just keep doing things that hopefully make all of this easier. I keep trying to do stuff that at least used to make me happy, even if only temporarily.
So, I keep thinking I’ve lived 558 days more than she did, even though she only died half a year ago. And I have nothing to show for it. I no longer know what I’m going to do, professionally, though I’m thinking about a major change. I feel miserable every time I try and do something in my studio, so I don’t produce art, anymore. I haven’t since May of 2013, really. And we didn’t have children, so not only have I lost my best friend and spouse, but we didn’t have a family of our own for me to focus attention on.
Anyway, that’s the kind of garbage that runs through my mind. I don’t need to be told not to think that way. I just can’t stop it.
I feel like I can’t keep going on like this. I want one side of my brain to win. I either want to know that I can start to live a new life, or, that hopefully it ends soon; peacefully.
It feels miserable, until I think about people that have lost a child. I can’t imagine anything harder than that. It has to be the worst experience imaginable.
I mentioned we never had kids, which is accurate, but even that isn’t so simple.
It’s not to say Beth was never pregnant. I realized Beth wanted a child. She never really talked about it after a failed pregnancy, however.
I remember how excited she was to be pregnant. She couldn’t wait to tell her family. I remember her excitedly calling her parents. But then, suddenly, she ended up in the hospital with a doctor rushing her in for emergency surgery.
In the beat of a heart, she was in danger.
And that was that.
She was crushed, afterwards, but never talked about wanting to have a child, again. I think she still did, but she stopped talking to me about it. We never talked to anyone about it, really.
It was too early to know the sex. For some reason, I always imagined it was probably going to be a girl.
She would have been almost 20 years old by now.
I guess I’m sad we never tried again to have a child. And, please, don’t tell me Gozer is my child. I can’t have philosophical discussions with him. I won’t watch him graduate from college. I won’t watch him start a family, and so on. He’s a damn dog.
If indeed I live to see the day, I don’t want to reach retirement thinking of all the time that passed since Beth died and how little I had to show for it.
But I don’t know where I’ll ever find the energy, or will, to become passionate about anything, again.
When there’s no passion, you’re just watching the minutes go by; you’re watching the calendar flip, month to month. There’s no carpe diem in it. Instead of “seize the day,” it’s, “Hey, I made it another day.”
It’s joyless record keeping.
So, it’s my birthday. I’m supposed to be happy and celebrate. Instead, I’ll just sit here with Gozer.
We have our routines. I’ll feed him in the morning; let him out; nap on the couch; feed him dinner; walk him before dark. I’ll spin a few records while sitting at the computer, Gozer sleeping by my side until the day is over.
We’ll go to bed and wait for the sun to rise and start all over, again.
559 days older than Beth.
230 days since she died.
…and so on.