Monday is Christmas Eve, and it will mark 15 months since Stephanie died. It will also mark the one year point for two widows I know who have to face the first angelversary and holidays at the same time. In some ways it seems that time has flown by, and in others it seems like it was a lifetime ago.
Yesterday Sarah pulled out the stack of children books I have on a separate shelf that all have to do with death, and we read them all. After that we watched every video on my phone I could find that had Stephanie in them. It was great seeing her smile, hearing her voice, and listening to her laugh and sing. But something that stuck out to me was how young Sarah seemed in those videos. She has already changed so much, and it just sucks that Stephanie isn’t here to experience it with me. I know how proud Stephanie is of Sarah, and that’s something I’ll spend the rest of my life trying to help Sarah realize.
A couple moments this week have really emphasized to me how much I miss Stephanie. The first, we’ve had the blessing of staying at a condo on the beach this week. At night, I’ve left the door to the balcony open and listened to the waves crashing as I fall asleep. I’ve never been a huge fan of the beach, but I’ve noticed that since Stephanie died, it’s meant a lot more to me. I think that’s because I know how important it was to her, and it’s a way I can feel like I’m still close to her. I can’t stop thinking about how much she would love this time we have here, even if it is winter and chilly.
The other came tonight, again from watching a tv show I’ve quoted before. This episode centers around a father with a young daughter who lost his wife. The daughter was older than Sarah is now, but I’m sure you can see how this episode struck me deeper than the average viewer. At one point in the episode, the father is telling his daughter a memory about when they found out they were having a little girl, and I lost it. As he described his story, I could picture myself again sitting in the 3D ultrasound room watching Sarah on the screen, knowing she was a body but not if she was a he or a she. Stephanie left part way through and I remember the technician looking over and telling me “it’s a girl”. I got to find out first, because that’s the deal Stephanie made with me. Since she found out she was pregnant first, felt Sarah kick first, and basically got to know/hear/feel everything first (and rightfully so, since her job was much harder than mine), she let me have this one. I also remember the end of the scavenger hunt I set up for her when she opened my dart board, saw the pink onesie, and fell to the floor in tears of joy. She was so happy to get to be a mother to a little girl, and she absolutely loved that part of her life.
I guess the point of me sharing that is that it’s hard to tell what will trigger a memory or a feeling. And intermixed in it all is the feeling of me missing her desperately. Although I can see the change or acceptance or hope or progress or moving forward or whatever you want to call it from where I was this time last year to now, the constant is the love I have for Stephanie and how much I miss her.
In the show I referenced, the main character also lost his mom, leaving his father a widower for 17 years. The more recent widower asks the other: “Does it get any easier? I mean do you ever stop missing them?” The widower of 17 years responds:
“No, but why would you want to?”