Yesterday was the ex-girlfriend’s 60th birthday. Too bad she wasn’t around for it.
I think I would have moped around all day and gotten little accomplished if I hadn’t been busy right out of the gate. Worked half a day, then took off and went downtown for meetings at the large Gothic limestone building with the tall central tower just outside the Mile Square. Those all went quite well, ending up with the usual monthly dinner meeting of the full board.
I had thought about visiting her grave, since it’s down on the near South side and not far from downtown at all, but since I couldn’t leave till noon and our lunch meeting started at 12:30, that didn’t happen. I thought about that briefly and decided her birthday wasn’t really the right day to do that. Her death occurred close enough to the big statewide meeting that I take off for in May that I can leave early on one of the afternoons and do that.
It’s odd that I’ve never actually gone through a mourning process for her. She was the most important thing in my life for a long time before my wife came along. In fact, I knew her for just about 15 years before I met my wife, and she died about 15 years after I got married. Odd bookends for a relationship.
But even at her funeral, I wasn’t able to express any emotion. It just wasn’t there. She had been sick for so long, and stuck in a nursing home for so long — and had refused to talk to me for nearly two years anyway — that I think all I could do was accept that she was actually gone instead of just virtually gone. (I believe to this day that she refused to talk to me because she didn’t want me to mourn. She knew she was going to die, the only thing that hadn’t been determined was the date.)
For crying out loud, my cat died a week after her birthday last year, and I was broken up for days over that. On the other hand, my cat died in my arms at the vet. “Put to sleep” as they say.
OK, I’m back. Sorry, I’m still a little choked up about that.
Anyway, I will always miss her, but I can’t mourn her. Unless that’s what I’m doing and don’t realize it. There’s no question that she had crap quality of life and going to sleep that night and not waking up was probably a lot better than the alternative. Because of the way she went, and because she wouldn’t talk to me beforehand, she’ll always be alive in my heart. That box we carried up the hill and put in a hole that we filled in? She wasn’t there. That was just a husk. Her soul is beyond pain now, in that undiscover’d country from whose bourn no traveler returns.
Fly free, my love. Fly free.
(I am supremely lucky to have an understanding wife, who was also her friend.)