It has been 365 days since I heard your heartbeat for the last time. I held your hand in the OR, and my head was on your chest when they called the time of death. My heart stopped then too. You read about these stories of loss and grief, but like so many other life events, you cannot imagine the pain until you experience it firsthand.
It has indeed been a death of 365 cuts. No, it did not happen for a reason. No, he is not in a better place. Just NO. Chip is missed every moment of every day for these past 365 days…and will continue forever. The pain in my chest intensifies the pain of loss. Grief is a bitch.
- 365 days that my body, heart, and soul long for you.
- 365 evenings and mornings without brushing my teeth next to you. (I could not throw away your toothbrush, not yet.)
- 3,650 missed kisses (at minimum) that I cannot bear the thought of any longer.
- 52 Friday nights without your pizza and The Rippington’s playing in the background.
- 52 Sunday morning lazy breakfasts with endless coffee.
- 365 days that I have not turned on the stove or oven other than to make eggs and an occasional pastina.
- 1460 phone calls during the workday that I do not hear your voice telling me what is going on and chatting about dinner plans.
- 2 trips to Rochester to my oncologist alone, missing your confidence and support. Seeing your face waiting to hear the outcome and the hugs that followed.
- 1 engagement party is the first of many events where I will no longer have my partner.
- 1 trip to the lake (this week). I heard your voice telling me not to swim alone.
- 1 trip to Bob’s Trees without you to find the most enormous Christmas tree. You always let me pick a huge one even after you said it looks bigger in the woods!
- 16 Saturday night neighborhood summer late evening walks with a glass of wine, holding hands, in the dark.
- Car rides too numerous to count that now end in tears when the silence produces thoughts of you and the hard fact that you are gone.
- Events, gym classes, and concerts too numerous to count that I backed out of last-minute because I could not go without you.
- Thousands of hours of lost sleep, hearing your voice full of fear and concern for me as they wheeled you into the ambulance…the last time I heard your voice or looked into your eyes.
It doesn’t get easier. You learn how to live with it.
The list could go on forever….I miss making your lunch and writing notes to you signed “from The Sandwich Maker.” I miss the silly things I did with you. The 70’s songs I knew every word to, and the sound of you laughing so hard because I cannot sing.
There is a desperate silence that fills our home and our hearts. The pain from Amelia and Jack when they think of the life events that you will not be here to share. It is unbearable.
I see couples eating dinner or walking in the neighborhood, not holding hands, not speaking, just looking at their phones, going through the motions. I get it; I do not know what is going on in their lives, so maybe there is a reason. But if there is not, please, hold hands, sit on the same side of the dinner table, and wildly kiss as if it is your last. If I close my eyes and concentrate, I can feel you, and oddly sometimes, I can hear you.
I lost a large part of me that existed only for you. Beyond being a mother, I am a wife first. I don’t know how to be anymore, and the grief is overpowering.
So, I ask you all to take inventory of your heart and soul and entirely give it to the one that makes you come alive. Do not hold back, do not waste time. I assure you that you do not want to make a list like this. I miss you, Chip, and I will miss you all the days that remain in my life.
I am going to try and write the letters to your organ recipients. It does bring peace to know that you saved lives, gave sight, and perhaps helped others through tissue donation. Be an organ donor.