Six Months In (The Dull Ache)
It’s always there, in the pit of my stomach. A dull ache that sometimes hides in the background of life, and sometimes clearly makes its presence known.
Sometimes I’m barely aware of it. But then— I arrive home with groceries in the car and he isn’t there to greet me in the driveway saying, “Mom, put that bag down. I’ll get it”. He doesn’t show up at my bedroom door to hug me goodnight. Or Wednesday rolls around again and I am reminded I won’t be driving him to UCI for his regular doctor visit. When one of his songs comes up on my playlist and I realize he won’t be sharing any new music with us.
I can function fine as I go about my daily activities: teaching (or preparing lessons), doing laundry, running errands, planning our next trip, or relaxing with a cup of tea and my laptop. But this uninvited companion is always with me. And unlike regret (another unwelcome guest), I can’t talk this one away.
When you love someone, they take up space in your heart. What happens to that space when they leave you? If nature abhors a vacuum, shouldn’t something else rush in to fill the empty space?
But of course, there is no empty space to fill. Yes, Joe is physically absent: I can’t see him, hear him or touch him. But he is still here, in my heart.
I must learn to be content with that.