This is a fraught time of year for me. Vivid morning light, the new green of trees against an impossibly blue sky, porcelain beauty of the Dogwood blooms and the perfume of Lilac in the air are all stunning — but for me, all are triggers. Even before my mind, the cells of my body remember – my shoulders knot, my jaw clenches and my heart beats faster with an anxiety I can’t account for. During these last days of April, an echo begins like a breeze turning into a wind, as vivid and weighted as the light and branches. A darkness hovers even with all this light — leading up to May 1 when my husband ended his life. Even 8 years later.
A friend who has worked with me since that terrible time told me the other day that I was a different person before and after. The wound-up stress of this week reminded me of how I felt before: always wondering what bad thing would happen next. For years I stayed, feeding a hope that seemed impossibly locked away in the sad cage of my imagination – that my husband would get well and our life would be normal. Normal was all I wanted anymore – not extraordinary. My friend said, after his death, I just blossomed – became lighter and joyful. It almost feels wrong to write that – but it is the truth. I felt lighter. Of course there was anger, shock, sadness, anger, anger, and an awful grief — but also relief. His terrible, final act did free me from the awful life he had woven around us in his crazy drug quest. And with time, I felt joy again – joy I’d forgotten could exist. Still, each spring, an ember of sadness – once hope, is fanned by spring breezes and memories of the tortured soul I once loved.