Another day done. I made it through our open house night at school and met several of my students. I got to see some very special previous students and parents, which was lovely. It was another day where we were gone and I was constantly doing one thing or another for over 11 hours. I should have been asleep 2 hours ago. I really do feel a bit like a ghost version of myself. I’m discovering that there are even more types of loneliness than I ever would have guessed. For much of the last year, I have felt the lonely that is a desire to be seen. That encompasses several things…for example, when you have finally known what it is to be someone’s favorite person, and that someone dies so that you are no longer that special vision in a person’s day. That is one layer of that kind of lonely. That lonely where you can be read and understood three layers down with just a look. The lonely of knowing your presence is no longer home to someone. I remember when John and I were talking about living together. He was still traveling with work. We were in the hallway of my first townhouse, down the street from here. I was crying. He was confused. He was saying that when he got back from traveling with his shows, he just wanted to have a place to come back to where he could relax and decompress and just not worry. I just wanted that place to be with me beside him in the bed. He was so reluctant to make that change! He didn’t see how he could have that comfort, that place of his own, while living with me. I remember how it hurt to have to fight him for that. I did not have to fight him for the marriage proposal, or for any of the kids. But those first few years, almost everything felt like a battle of wills with me pulling him to me and him standing still. He wasn't ever pulling away. He just wanted to stand still. In the end, that was much of how our relationship worked. I pulled and tugged and argued, then I took three large steps to him, and he took one toward me. Of all his world and friends and life, there is very little I interact with anymore. I am all on my own. That is another layer of loneliness. He was the friend in most of his relationships that did the calling and catching up with people. Now that he is gone, most of those folks that were in and of his world have fallen to the far corners. There is one in particular whom he had asked to share stories with the kids about him. Because of my need for closeness and connection after John died, this friend cut all ties. In the now and then random quiet moments, this makes me mad on a deep and burning level. I want to throw every swear I know at this man, I want to take every ounce of my grandmother and every drop of Jew in me, and lay the guilt on him for abandoning this promise to his dying friend till he breaks. Another kind of loneliness is the vast chasm of hollow echoes. I see our things-our cups and dishes, pictures, his Japanese robes, all around this new house. They are silent specters of him and of what our life might have been. They are only things. They are symbols of a life lost, of a touch I will never feel.
Perhaps the hardest loneliness right now is just not having his laugh. He had a great laugh. It feels heavy without it, this life I have now.