Last week marked a year that he's been gone.
I didn't know what to expect of the day. We made plans so as to keep busy, keep moving, which helped. But eventually we quit moving, and I was overwhelmed. It was easily the worst day I've had in 6 months. Many significant days have come and gone since Henry died; most of them have not been as bad as the anticipation of how bad they were going to be. I don't know if I let my guard down thinking this would be the same...but it wasn't.
What I realized is that I have not healed at all. There is no scar tissue coating, covering my wounds. It is still a horrible gaping hole.
The shock of his death is gone. The imbalance of a family with a missing member has with time assumed a new balance. I thought that time had healed my wounds.
What I have learned to do is to put him away. The wooden box in his bedroom that holds his ashes is a fitting metaphor for where he exists in my psyche. This is what I have to do to continue living my life.
Last Thursday I opened that box. Got it out of the closet, unwrapped the blankets, opened it and looked inside. Nothing had changed.
Henry was gone. My arms ached to hold him. My eyes ached to see him, my ears to hear him. All of the things he would not do bounced around the box. My family's grief, my daughters' losses, my pain and despair poured out of the box.
Nothing had changed. Nothing will. Next time I look in the box he will still be gone.