Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Our Short Piece of Time

Inevitably, as the sun starts to set the day before Valentine's Day, I get that ominous feeling that I got eight years ago.  Many people don't know that when I saw Sean Valentine's Day, the day I found him dead, I hadn't seen him in nearly five days.  We'd had a fight, and I had resigned myself to giving him the "space" he'd been asking for.  Monday would be Valentine's Day, and when I showed up at his apartment that afternoon I thought he couldn't possibly turn me away on the most romantic day of the year.  I thought the feeling in my gut was just the nervous result of not having seen him since the week before.  Now I know that even before I got to his place, my body was telling me that something was wrong and I had probably known it was wrong for days.

A few times I year Sean shows up in my dreams.  In every one, I have foreboding knowledge that he will be gone soon and I indulge in the chance to just enjoy this time with him.  This time, I know it won't last for much longer.  This time, our last words don't have to be angry.  This time I can say good-bye. 

The dreams are a manifestation of guilt, I've been told.  I feel guilty that I didn't stop him, but that's a manageable guilt.  I feel even more guilty that I waited so long to check on him.  I feel guilty that he had to die alone.  I feel guilty about our last words to each other.  I feel guilty for not taking his last phone call.  I'm just sorry.  I'm sorry and full of regret every day, but never more than on Valentine's Day, a day that's supposed to represent love so strong that it pierces the heart.  I'm sorry for loving him too much, or not enough.

This year I was struck by how subconscious my reaction to this time of year is.  My mood changes with the January gloom and my first thought is that the depression will pass with the seasons.  I see Valentine's Day decor while out shopping and I scowl as I remember that I hate the holiday but the thought passes while the mood doesn't.  I'm just sad.  And somehow, when I wake up on February 15th, the gloom disipates and I've made it through another year.

I've been told that I will never "move on" until I allow myself to feel the anger that I was evidently supposed to feel when Sean died.  If I haven't felt it by now, I suspect I never will.  Besides, my time with Sean gave me more reasons to smile than to be angry.  He was my best friend, and I miss him every single day.  But the impact he had on my life continues to touch me, and everyone around me.  The way I love, and the way I live are the product of his love and his life being taken from me so terribly.  Sometimes I'm afraid of wasting time and missing opportunities - How many times in five days did I want to reach out to Sean?  I know, though, that the way I seek what I desire with such ferocious zeal is the result of having lost Sean the way I did.  The experience carried me often when I wondered how I would be able to say "hello" to Gabriel, when it would also mean saying goodbye.  Losing Sean gave me the strength to hold on to a marriage that was quickly escaping my grasp, so that I could safely say today, "I did the best I could."  Finally, eight years later, I'm beginning to allow myself to believe that even with Sean, I did the best I could.  I don't know that I'll ever stop feeling guilty, or ever stop wondering about or praying for his soul.  I'm sorry about a lot of things, but I'm never sorry that I got to spend the last year of his life with him.  Though our walk together was brief, I'm thankful that he chose to walk with me.

Long Trip Alone

It's a long trip alone
Over sand and stone
That lie along the road that we all must travel down
So maybe you could walk with me a while
Maybe I could rest beneath your smile
Everybody stumbles sometimes and needs a hand to hold
'Cause it's a long trip alone

It's a short piece of time
But just enough to find
A little peace of mind under the sun somewhere
So maybe you could walk with me a while
Maybe I could rest beneath your smile
You know we can't afford to let one moment pass us by
'Cause it's a short piece of time

And I don't know where I'd be without your help
'Cause I'm not really me without you there

Maybe you could walk with me a while
Maybe I could rest beneath your smile
Everybody stumbles sometimes and needs a hand to hold

Maybe you could walk with me a while
Maybe I could rest beneath your smile
Maybe I could feel you right beside me 'til I'm home
'Cause it's a long trip alone
A long trip alone.

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