I went to a masseuse the other day.
When I got there, she sat down in front of me, looked me in the eye and said "So what's going on with you?"
I told her that I'd recently gone through one of the most stressful things a human could experience and that my husband died and now I was rebuilding my entire life and how I don't know what to do with myself now. I explained how the strain manifests itself in tight and painful neck muscles and headaches.
She said she was sorry for my loss and we got on with the massage. She asked me if it was okay if she told me if she "saw things". I immediately knew what was up. I thought this woman believes she can see "beyond" and/or could see through her hands to my innermost pain and "read me". I didn't hesitate. I was hoping she'd offer this, somehow.
"Yes. Tell me everything you see," I said.
A few seconds into the massage, with me face down on her table, she said "What was your husband's name?”
When the sounds that make up the word "Dave" came out of my mouth I could hear the reverence, pain and anguish in my own voice and tears instantly rushed to my eyes. I miss you I miss you I miss you I miss you I miss you my heart screamed.
Being face down, I wanted to avoid crying too much because I knew that if I did, the snot and tears would just instantly collect in my sinuses and stuff me up so much that I'd be mouth breathing for the rest of the day.
I held it together until she said "Do you feel him around you?"
My throat completely closed up as the sobs welled up in my gut. I couldn't answer her right away.
The fact that I don't feel him around me is one so painful that I can barely talk about it. There is nothing I want more than to feel his presence. Nothing. I talk to him. I beg him to visit me. I beg the Universe to give me the comfort of his presence, even for a moment.
The fact that it doesn't happen is torturous to me. I tell myself that it's hard for energy to communicate with those of us still in bodies. I tell myself that I'm not ready. That I'm somehow subconsciously not allowing the experience. Somehow, I speculate, I might be so trained not to believe that I've discounted the subtle signs before I can even truly see them.
All of this went through my mind as I cried on that massage table. The masseuse said "You're not sure, are you? You're conflicted about feeling him?"
I nodded my head yes as I began to bawl in earnest.
"Well, he's with you. Always. He's just energy. Energy doesn't die. Einstein taught us that. Once you've connected with a loved one like you did with him, they never leave you. He's right here," at this, she gently brushed her hand down the middle of my spine, from the nape of my neck to the middle of my back.
"His head is here" she said, touching the back of my neck.
"He's very gentle" she said. "He's just so gentle with you and he wants you to do whatever makes you happy. He just wants you to be happy."
At this point I was crying so hard that all I could do was nod as snot ran out of my nose to the floor.
I didn't tell her what I instantly thought of. I didn't tell her that when Dave was alive, one of his favorite things to do was to find me lying on my stomach and lie down on top of me, face down. I'd always affectionately complain that he was suffocating me, but really, it was soothing to be pressed down by the weight of him and completely warmed by his body, head to toe. Once we even fell asleep like this, and woke up much later, stiff and with multiple limbs that had fallen asleep too.
So I felt comforted and sure of his presence and skipped off to enjoy the rest of the day knowing my Dave can still make himself known to me. Yay!
Um. No. Didn't happen that way. It's not that it didn't feel good to hear the things she said. It's not that I don't believe. It's more like I don't feel much of anything either way. I'm not disbelieving her or the experience. I feel like it's absolutely possible to feel him again, somehow. I feel like it's possible she really sensed something. I just don't FEEL it inside me to be absolutely true. Nothing felt assured or doubt-free. I don't feel much of anything other than the loss, the missing, the Dave-shaped hole in me, and the utter frustration that we were pulled apart so early.
I’m glad I went. I’m glad she told me what she did. I’ll take it all in and allow myself to get whatever comfort from it that I can. It was a beautiful moment and an amazing sentiment.
Maybe I’m just impossible to satisfy because what I want, what I need, is HIM. Not his memory or a sense of him. I want HIM and everything else is a pale and unsatisfying substitute.
Maybe it’s the fact that even with his energy around me, I’m still alone. He’s not here to do the practical things a partner does, or provide the emotional support he provided, or be my one and only, my Most Important Person. He’s not here to text me how smart he thinks I am or that he can’t wait until I get home.
He’s not here to chauffeur me around because I get so sleepy when I drive, or to surprise me with elaborate and thoughtful gifts. He’s not here to lie next to me in bed, his solid presence allowing me to fully relax and sleep through anything. He’s not here to tell me that the coffee I make him every morning is the best he’s ever had. He’s not here to tell me that he was so lucky to have found me, or wrap me up in his arms when I get home.
He’s not here. And that is a frustration that hasn’t eased much yet. If anything it’s more obvious now that I’m spending more and more time alone and have to make more and more decisions without him as I venture farther down the road of this journey without him.
Of course, he wants me to be happy. Of that I have no doubt. But I’m not yet sure how to be happy when he’s not on this planet with me. I’m not yet sure how to make a life without him. I never thought I’d be doing this and I don’t know how.
And there you have it. No one knows how to do it and no one knows what the future will bring them. In the same way that I never imagined I’d be here, today, I can’t imagine where I’ll be in the next few years, what joys are out there for me, what tragedies. We just don’t know. And we all have to learn things the hard way. I’ve just had a lot of learning to do and I’m really, really tired from all the learning.
I still will work hard at being happy because it’s what he’d want. I’ll do it for him, of course. But damn it’s hard.