Today I ventured outside of my little cocoon to join a couple of good friends for a lovely cup of tea someplace other than my home. We talked without reservation about Kevin’s loss and what it meant. This was a good thing because I realized that so many of the thoughts I had in my head were disassociated from what I was feeling. I am incredibly sad and I am mourning, this is just the way it is. I am mourning Kevin’s loss but certainly not his life. He had a great life, he went at warp speed for a very long time. He travelled, either with me or without me, but he had a need to see things and do things that were an integral part of who he was.
My friends asked me whether I was worried about the unknown, about the journey Kevin was now on. Kevin was an individual who approached everything with interest and enthusiasm, an explorer by nature. This journey would be part of the next adventure for him, he’d be open and receptive and engaged. I know this. Kevin never feared death or the unknown. He’d said many, many times throughout our marriage, “If I die tomorrow, I die a happy man. I’ve had a good go. Just send me off in style.” These were true words, he’d done more in his lifetime than most. He’d hitchhiked across Canada with a buddy when they were just 16 and 14 years of age. He’d backpacked across Europe at 22 with a madman by his side (the stories here are legend – Mugged in Morocco, Gigs and the Hookers, The Motorcycle ….). He’d played in rock bands for many years and referred to this time of his life as the Seven Year Weekend. He maintained friendships with many people since elementary school. He would speak to anyone anywhere, no boundaries.
We chatted about the final weeks leading up to his death. Kevin did not look backwards on his life and express any regret, if anything he mourned the things that he would not be able to do in the future. The birthdays and graduations he would miss, the family and friendships that he would leave behind, the fact that he had so many more paintings to do and wouldn’t be able to. These were the things he spoke of. He was incredibly proud of his accomplishments – the children, his relationships with family and friends and his hobbies.
My cup of tea with my friends helped me untangle some of the emotions I am feeling. Profound loss for sure, his presence was intense, you knew when he was around there was an energy he brought and that is now gone. Fear – it’s me on my own now, Kevin’s extroversion pushed me out of my shell and I am unsure how I will fare in the future without that push. Uncertainty – the two are now back to one and this will affect many areas of my life; how and when I don’t know and consequently I don’t know what that means. What I am not, and maybe I will be at some point, I don’t know – but I am not angry nor resentful at his death. It came way too soon, but he didn’t choose it, cancer chose him. He fought as hard as anyone ever could, it just wasn’t enough.
So thank you my friends for listening to me and asking those probing questions that only good friends can. I left with a couple of books to read, and I will. I started with “The Year of Magical Thinking” by Joan Didion, only because the first four lines got me right away:
“Life changes fast.
Life changes in the instant.
You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends.
The question of self-pity.”