As much as I love(d) my husband, I have no desire to feel the kind of pain I’m in for the rest of my life. I LOVE(D) that man. Ask anyone who knew me. It was always about John. (Or my daughter.) I simply, totally and completely loved him. I always will.
But I can’t live this way.
A while ago I had a teenaged client who was devastated when a boyfriend broke up with her. He was the first boy she felt she’d ever opened up to; the first that she felt she loved. She told me she was reading and rereading all of his old text messages, staring at pictures of the two of them together, and monitoring his Facebook page.
When I asked her how she expected to move on if she was wallowing in her misery, she said she didn’t want to move on. My response was that she didn’t want to because she was still hoping he’d come back to her. She said she didn’t think he would (he had left town, and had a new girlfriend), but maybe…
My husband will never be able to come back to me.
I am not ready to make major changes yet. His clothing is still in the closet, his shoes are still under the deacon’s bench in our bedroom, and his toothbrush is still next to mine. I wear his socks and his jackets because they’re warmer than mine. I’m still monitoring his cell phone, and his voice mail message was sent to me by our cell phone carrier, although I haven’t listened to it.
His name is slowly being removed from such things as our daily schedule (“5:45am – Drop John off at work”). There are hundreds of other little things to deal with… I no longer buy whole milk, since I only drink skim. His wallet will be packed in a box soon, along with other personal items of his.
I’m still wearing my wedding rings, and will for a very long time. His wedding band is on a chain around my neck. Every single day.
I can’t make the changes too quickly because I’m not ready, and because I have no desire to disrespect his memory. And although I know I’ll have to remove those constant reminders of him at some point, for now, they are better where they are. The shock of not having his tools spread throughout the garage, or his model airplanes hanging from the ceiling in the man cave would be worse than leaving them where they belong.
But I will make those changes.
Not to forget him. Because I never will.
But because this is a horrible, gaping wound that has to heal or it will keep sucking the life out of me.
And Johnny would never want that.
In memory of my beloved husband John Kelly Snyder… 20 Sept 1956 – 21 Oct 2016.
The Warrior Project is a warm, welcoming drop-in center for those living with extreme emotional and/or physical pain coupled with hopelessness, and a resource for families and friends fearing for the life of, or grieving the loss of, the person they love so much.
My Johnny was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see. I thought he was the strongest man in the world, and perhaps he was, but tragically, the demons got the better of him.
The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those wounded after September 11, 20o1. Like too many others, John was a warrior long before then.
Fair winds and following seas, Husband.