We should be having dinner together tonight, Russ. We should be celebrating. I know you would have taken an extra vacation day so we could do something together, because this is our second anniversary. And last year this time you were on day 2 of your second hospital stay after your picc line got infected. And you were SO aggravated at yourself for not putting the HUGE pot of chili you’d just made into the freezer so it wouldn’t go bad, because we didn’t know how long you’d be in for.
And you were apologizing to me for “ruining” our anniversary night, even though I kept telling you not to worry about it. You kept promising you’d make it up to me this year.
At least you made your nurses laugh. You always made me laugh, too. I hadn’t laughed as much or as hard in years as I did with you, baby.
I still see memes and think, “Ohh! Russ would love that one!” and have to stop myself from texting you.
It still feels like a punch in the chest after I’ve distracted myself working and then I’m not, and it slams home that you’re not here.
I dreamed about you last night, that we went out for dinner and headed back to your place. And when I woke up I didn’t want to get out of bed. I wanted to lie there and go back to sleep and meet you in my dreams and laugh again. I wanted to see you smile and hear your voice. What I wouldn’t give to be snuggled up on the comfy couch together watching TV. Or trying to decide what dessert I want from wherever we’re ordering takeout and you laugh and just order both and tell me we’ll share them. To listen to Jimmy Buffett playing while we cook breakfast together.
I guess I’m still caught up in that denial phase, Russ. Because it still doesn’t feel real that on a Friday night my Viking isn’t going to tell me there’s a change of plan, you’re coming to get me right then instead of tomorrow like we’d originally planned, because you’re aggravated at work, so fuck ’em. It could wait.
The thing you’d tried to gently teach me when you finally REALLY understood early on I wasn’t exaggerating about what a workaholic I am, how I self-medicated with work for years. How you took to heart the warning I’d given you that I tend to push myself too hard and sometimes you’d have to literally put your foot down and take me in hand to force me to relax.
How you’d playfully shush me and stroke my hair, or invoke the invisible squirt bottle to get your kitten to stop stressing over something. How you had to teach me to take time off and just be in the moment.
And now you’re not here for me to be with.
I just can’t…process. I’m still waiting for it to be a nightmare, to wake up from it. And then the image flashes into my mind, of looking through your window that night, and my hand shaking as I dialled 911, and I shove it out of my mind again and try to think about all the good times, not that horrible night.
Because ten weeks ago this morning I woke up next to you for the last time, because you asked me to stay over on a Sunday night when you normally didn’t. Because you wanted the time with me.
We always took time to make time for each other, and you knew how important a gift that was to me, that I didn’t want you buying me “things”–that what my soul needed was time spent on me.
And you always made time for me.
I keep wanting to think this is a mistake, or a horrible nightmare, and it can’t be real. And all the while I wish I’d taken more pictures, and especially more videos. A lot more videos, so at least I’d have more of your voice to listen to.
Russ, tonight we should be celebrating two years, instead of me mourning ten weeks. And it’s not fucking fair. And it hurts like hell. But I know you’re still looking out for me, and speaking in my right ear, holding me the only way you can and sending me songs when I need them. I know this isn’t what you wanted, this isn’t the future for us you’d planned, either. Because we talked about the future and time.
We thought we had time. Except when all was said and done, I didn’t get nearly enough time with you. All the time in the world still wouldn’t have been enough. I know you keep whispering in my ear that I need to keep putting one foot in front of the other, but days like today just hurt. Because I’m nowhere near the point where I can stop thinking yet about the “shoulds” of the day. What it should be. What we should be doing.
I love you, Russ. Sweet dreams, my Viking.🥰💖😘