Enjoy the Silence
In my nervous anticipation yesterday, I mentioned to someone that tomorrow (the 30th) will be the 6 month mark of Michael’s passing. Always terrible at math and yes, that includes basic counting, I still can’t believe I threw an extra month on there.
Be patient with me. Time and space has compressed in weird little ways since April 30, 2012.
April 30th is the day my life fell silent. That day, my dear sweet husband sought to find the peace and comfort he so deserved. Today, I reflect inward on the love and life we shared. Truthfully, there isn’t a moment that crawls by that I don’t pine for that beautiful life once again. However, I have learned to take comfort in the silence forced upon me. It’s allowed me to understand a part of the many things Michael has taught me (all of us) about love… One specific thing Michael taught me is that to love is to truly have gratitude. (Michael had a very Zen quality about him, right?) I know I was fortunate for the precious love I experienced in Michael. I even knew that at the time. I didn’t come to the realization after his passing. I didn’t have to lose him in order to appreciate what I had. In fact, Michael and I always marveled at how “lucky” we truly were. We never took for granted what we were so fortunate to possess.
Michael also taught me that love isn’t limited to the passionate love between lovers but it extends to those who impact our lives in a variety of ways. He felt gratitude for everyone. Not just those who we saw on a daily/weekly/monthly basis, or those who made the Annual Halloween Party Invite List, or those who were easily labeled as “friend” or “family…” He had love in his heart for so many. (In all the years we were married, I only heard him say he didn’t like about three people. Trust. If Michael didn’t like you… You had to be some kind of jerk.)
Last weekend, some family and I went out to Las Vegas to attend a Tribute Session held in Michael’s honor at an annual horror writer’s conference called, KillerCon. We were so touched that a Tribute was organized to recognize Michael’s talent and friendship in the field of horror writing. Benjamin Kane Ethridge, Gene O’ Neill, Brad Hodson, and John Palisano made up the panel of speakers for the tribute. My husband had true love in his heart for every one of these men (and so do I). Ben, Gene, and Brad shared readings from the newly released, second edition of Michael’s first novel, I WILL RISE. Last on the panel, John straight put some verses on smash that Lisa Morton scripted (Translation: John rapped some rhymes that Lisa wrote very well). John also did a really cool “Apocalypse Now” style reading with an acoustic guitar that had us all in awe. Many others, including Michael’s favorite publisher, Roy Robbins, as well as one of Michael’s co-author and friends, Michael McCarty (referred by MLC as the “Cool One”) shared their personal remembrances. Our family is so grateful to all the involved contributors and attendees, including James Wrath White (KillerCon’s organizer), for making the Tribute a meaningful and heartwarming experience. Michael would have been genuinely thrilled.
After Michael passed, everyone promised Time Would Heal. I can’t tell you how many times I insincerely nodded only to placate them. Because, truthfully for me, it felt as though each day intensified the pain I felt in losing Michael. Each day brought into light that this was reality and not some effed up dream. I would never see or hold my Michael again… How was I supposed to go on? What was I supposed to do? Who am I without him?
The operative word: “I”
Michael rarely thought of himself before others. He was such a good man. Being married to him was such a blessing. He always made me want to be a better person. He taught me so many lessons in doing so. What nerve did I have in focusing on me over everything else that continues? Life is not about us. It’s about love. It’s about finding ways to improve this world we share with others. Making a difference. Living life with purpose.
So, with that in mind, these days I try not to focus so much on my personal pain but rather on what remains. I know exactly what Michael wanted for me (us). It’s the same I would’ve wanted for him. Happiness. I am thankful for the loving kindness that remains in my heart for others who are still here. My daughter, Deja, my family, my friends, my students, my pets… the list goes on.
Thank you, my dear friends and family, for giving me hope that I still belong here.