So it’s been a while. I promised a part 2 and 3 to “Interlude” to dig into my husband’s fantasy (the hope is to bounce between our two perspectives for it). Unfortunately, the inevitable happened in between. My husband’s father – a man of immense strength and will – lost his fight against cancer after having outlived his prognosis twice. It has been a difficult time for us. Undoubtedly, this is not a typical passage for this site and I understand if it doesn’t end up published. I just wanted to chronicle a sexless intimacy between my husband and I as we journeyed back to lovemaking.
I’m struggling to get out of my black dress as I think about everything we’d originally planned for this weekend – heck, this whole past week. My writings, a trip to the Zoo, at least two adventurous lovemaking sessions, and several mundane, everyday things had all been on my to do list.
So much else happened instead … I left from the festival weekend for a 2 week trip to Ohio, rushed back a week early when I got the call, somehow aggravated a 10 year old injury in my back along the way, and spent a week plus traveling daily – first to the hospital ICU, then the hospice house – as my father in law’s story wrote it’s last few pages before he went on to his eternal home. Another week plus blurred around us before we laid him to rest in one of the most poignant and heartbreaking funerals I’d ever attended.
The days between were startlingly the same – almost normal – then the phone rang with a sympathy wisher, or one of us started up the stairs to check in on him and we were all reminded – because his bed is empty now. The worst was always when I’d start to say his name only to stop mid syllable and wish I could drag it back into my mouth. A daily routine built to revolve around his needs suddenly echos hollowly.
And the nights? The nights feel like we’re drowning. Hubby is away from home from the moment he can leave until the moment he can’t stay gone. Work and his outdoor hobby are his refuge right now. I feel lucky enough that I’m not sleeping alone, but I ache to lift this burden in any way I can. We clutch hands in the dark and don’t speak. We don’t seem ready to break the silence.
There’s a chasm between Hubby and I now as he grapples with his grief. Don’t get me started on dealing with a heartsick 5 year old who just lost his favorite person. Then there’s every member of the family reeling with this loss. No one is handling this well. What do you do when you lose a parent? What do you do when your spouse does? A person I have been close to for a full third of my life is just … Gone … The benefit of a long goodbye and the belief of eternal life with God have not made this any easier. What do we do now? And we’ll have to go through this again, and again, and again. Grief truly does have a gravity.
I’d stopped pulling at my dress and been lost to the present for so long that Hubby came upstairs to look for me.
“Hey,” he says and starts to help remove my clothes. I’m silent. Watching. Waiting. I can hear it though. That shift in his tone that tells me he’s not keeping himself apart anymore. I know his tones, his moods. I hear all his unspoken words. There’s finally a softening there. A reaching out.
He catches my hair up in his hands – the way I know he loves to – and kisses me slow and deep. It’s forever. And a moment. And it’s paradise. There’s no passionate inferno there, but I realize the embers aren’t as dead as my fears tried to make me believe. The eternity ends, then he kisses my nose and then my forehead, then let’s my hair slip through his fingers before withdrawing and leaving the room.
For the first time in days I have some hope again. I can see we’re both building our own ends to a bridge across this chasm. We’re struggling, but it’s the first steps we both needed to take in a world without John in it. So long as we continue moving towards each other, we’ll meet in the middle. It’s inevitable.
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