Today marks 18 months since the night that Tim slipped out of this world and into the realms of the unknown. 1.5 years since the last time I heard his voice and gazed into his occupied eyes. It’s incredible to think of how much has changed in the past 18 months. We live in a different state, in a home of our own. I have a new career. A different car. The kids are older. Claira has spent more of her life without her father than she did with him. We have a new routine, a new normal that makes up our day-to-day existence. We, the children and I, live a different life we would have never imagined with Tim. New friends. New experiences. New plans. The alternate reality that emerged from the darkest timeline.
There is something about these anniversaries, these marks in time, that force me to reflect on where we were and where we are. Its strange to think of the person I have become in this short period of time. The numerous transitions and rapid growth I have been forced to undergo.
At the same time, our lives have also started to settle at 18 months out. The new normal is in full swing, with socks to find, and lunches to pack, and the tedious, predictable rhythms of life with kids. I feel privileged to feel the boredom and restlessness of a mundane life in a white house in a quiet neighborhood. While my stress may spike over toddler screams and missing mittens, I’m not being asked whether I should keep my husband on life support. Nobody’s sick. Nobody’s dying. Life is mercifully dull.
The grief waves still come regularly. Usually at night, after the kids have fallen asleep. When I’m alone, on my couch, watching TV or folding laundry. The loneliness will hit me like a wrecking ball, the re-realization that he really truly is gone. My brain will turn inside out and the heaving sobs wreck my stomach and lungs. For a moment, I’m drowning. Unable to breathe. Physical and emotional agony pulsing through like electrical currents.
Then it passes. I return to the baseline low-grade depression I spend much of my existence paddling through.
Life is manageable. Sometimes it’s good. Great even. Sometimes it’s difficult. Most of the time it’s fine.
I keep pushing through, focusing on what can be done with what I have.
The kids are happy. Byron talks about Papa regularly. Claira struggles to understand what exactly a Papa is. Her memories of Tim exist through pictures and stories. As time rolls on there will be more to unpack, uncovered grief to process. But for now, they are happy to snuggle and eat snacks and decorate our home for the holidays with construction paper cutouts.
Life goes on, and we keep living.
18 months and a lifetime.