The body knows.

Sometimes I wonder if, on some level, deep in his body, he knew.

The tiredness, the headaches…?

I remember watching a show about dogs, and how they could sense when it was time for their owners to come home from work. They’d start getting themselves ready, pacing in excited preparation to make their big greeting. Probably, it was just the habit of it. We are creatures of habit, and dogs revolve around our routines. But I think dogs also have internal, intuitive clocks just like we do.

I’ve mentioned before that I’m not a “numbers person”. I haven’t been tallying up the days, the hours, the minutes, like some widows do. I guess I don’t really want the excruciating detail of how long he’s been gone.

But I couldn’t sleep last night. I felt that horrible creeping feeling all day yesterday. And I know why. It was around this time last year, that we found out he had a brain tumor. The exact date? It doesn’t matter. The ball dropped, and it was like Mousetrap. Everything started rolling, collapsing, building, contrapting, with an unpredictable, and sickening momentum, sucking our lives, our families, pulling the calendar and our futures right off the wall, everything, into its vortex.

That was when my first layer of protective armor went up. And, I believe, his too. And it kept getting thicker from there. His coat of arms lined with layers of pharmaceuticals and prognoses, a thick sticky web, woven by the meaningless language of doctors, their long intricate tales, a heavy coat from which he’d never get out. Treatments, drugs. Pain numbers. Not a lot of time to even understand what had hit. I’m still not sure what my armor is made of, I’m just glad my body knows how to protect me.

There is no timelime for grieving. Though you hear rumors. Things like, “the second year is harder”. What the hell?

But I’m starting to get it. Reality is definitely making it through my thick skull, the layers of armadillo gear that built up when the bomb dropped. We had about 4 months. We didn’t know it, exactly, at the time, but we knew it was coming. It was inevitable. As inevitable, and natural as the path of my grief, that neither heeds nor needs a calendar.

It’s not how they show it in the movies, where the big breakdown takes place at the funeral. Nope. You’re still wearing your armor at that point, and it’s layered on so thick you can barely walk. It’s when the armor starts to crack, and fall off, many months later, that’s when it all really begins.

I’m on the path that we forged last year, it is burned into my body memory. Some parts are hazy, but my body knows where and when to go. I just hit a sharp, nauseatingly familiar hairpin turn. Yes. This is the trail. My load isn’t as heavy as last year, but my armor isn’t as thick either.

And I hate that this year, I am on the path alone.

But I am so thankful that my man, my husband, my knight who was suffering and wounded, was able to leave fully decked out in his armor. Somehow protected from the raw, sickening truth that he got jipped. At least, that is what I hope. That is what I choose to believe. And my armor, cracking, shedding, it knows its time, to allow me, the soldier left standing, to carry this burden forward.

4 thoughts on “The body knows.

  1. I think your writing is beautiful! I love reading each post. Approaching the 3-year anniversary of my mother’s death, I recognize many of the places you have been and will be. While our losses are very different, your words speak to my scarred heart. I hope you keep sharing…it is a gift

    • Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. I often feel like I don’t know what I am doing, or where it is coming from… But there seems to be something universal in the experience of loss, even if our stories are different. Peace to you in dealing with the loss if your mom…

  2. It is heartening to know that he had the protective armor, right up until the end. What solace and true love there is in that observation.

    And yes, your armor is coming off. It will be painful, but you know this. I don’t know how it works, but I know we can share the load. There may not be armor here, there may not be your love, but there are companions on the road.

  3. It’s funny how when we reach the second year the people around all seem to simultaneously think we’re suppose to healed and ready to move on and we we start feeling like we can no longer talk about our widowhood challenges. But that seems to be the case, at least to me. Like you said the load isn’t as heavy but the armor isn’t in place either.

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