A story of a writer who loses her husband.
|Six Feet Under Contest
Life and Death
The days merged together like an unending painful cycle. I see now that life is just as important to experience as death. For me it was easy at first, like he was away on a extended business trip, with his plane being delayed and various other excuses. My family thought I had lost it. Only a few things kept me going: the false hope that one day he would come home, pictures I kept in our bedroom in frames on the night stand, my sympathetic and comforting cat.
How was I supposed to move on? Our lives had just began. He was a successful business man and I was an aspiring writer. We planned on having it all. The kids, the white picket fence, everything that a young couple wishes for. While I would come to find that dream cut short. So I find myself daydreaming while sitting in the big overstuffed chair by the living room window. Buster, my cat lounging on the armrest to my left. He seemed to be just as depressed as I was. Waiting, always waiting for his other human that would never come home. He had it easy. A cat doesn't have to go to work everyday and face the world. He doesn't have to continue living life as if nothing changed. Interacting with the sympathetic neighbors, only to feel more separated from the rest of society. I was wearing an invisible sign that said 'widow'. I couldn't bring myself to think of being a widow.
My parents asked if I wanted to come to live with them for awhile. I refused. I didn't want to leave the memories behind. No. I would not just pick up and leave the life we tried so hard to build behind. Friends suggested I go on vacation. I felt like that wouldn't be a great option either because again I would be away from home and still alone. I couldn't sit by myself with only my thoughts. I had to stay active, keep moving, stay occupied. I didn't give myself time to think about him.
One day while laying in bed, rain pelting the window outside, I found my thoughts drifting to him, to the day we met. It was at the coffee house that I frequented to write my stories. 3 short years ago. He was pitching one of his ideas to a big company that of which I can't remember the name. He sat down across from me not acknowledging me at first. I looked up over my laptop.
“Can I help you?” I asked. “Oh, sorry I just needed to sit down before I go to pitch my big idea.” I tapped a few letters on the laptop's keyboard and paused. “So you do business here in the city?” I began to tap a few more keys on my keyboard again.
“Well, I try to do business here in the city, with so many ideas and people trying to pitch them, it's extremely difficult to say the least.” He seemed at the time to be confident but still self-conscience over multiple rejections. Without losing eye contact, I sipped my latte that had began to get cold.
“So what do you do here in the city?” He asked after a long time. “I'm a writer, part time waitress, but my passion is writing.” Talking about my profession brought my fingers back to the keyboard and I started tapping once again, remembering I had a deadline. “Okay, so you write stories,” he paused. “Are you writing something now?” With a slight grin I nodded. “Yes, and I have a deadline to keep, it's just an editorial for the local paper, nothing major.”
“Oh, look at the time, I better get going or I'll be late.” He stopped and asked. “I didn't catch your name?”
“Ella.” I replied. “And yours?”
“Tom, it's nice to meet you Ella, I'd like to see you again, if I could.”
I returned to the keyboard, and the tapping faded and became the rain pelting my bedroom window. I had fallen asleep.
It was early morning and the sun hadn't risen yet. I put on a pot of coffee and sat at the kitchen table. The phone rang. I didn't answer. The answering machine that still had our same greeting on it picked it up. I stopped to listen, “You've reached Tom and Ella Hanson, we can't come to the phone right now but please leave us a message and we'll get back to you soon.” The machine clicked and I heard a familiar voice, Mom.
“Hey honey, it's me, Can you call me I really would like to talk to. Okay? Love you, bye.”
Silence. I had been lost in the thought of hearing his voice again. I got up and walked over to the phone, dialed my mom's number. Ringing twice, she answered. “Hello?”
“Hey mom it's me, what's up?”
“Oh hey Ell, I just thought I could have a mother to daughter talk, it's been a month and I feel like I can't wait any longer.”
I sighed. “OK, sure what is it you want to talk about.”
“ Well dear, I just thought that you have been all alone dealing with Tom's death and I just want you to know that I love you and you will get through this. There is always hope.”
“Yea I know Mom.”
“Honey, it's not gonna be easy, when your father died I stayed away from everyone for months.”
Well at least Mom and I can agree on something.
“Ell, don't let his death be the end of you living yours.”
I pondered this for a minute. Mom's voice came through the receiver again.
“Tom would not have wanted that for you, he knew how much you loved your writing, you should try publishing that book you've been working on, it will make you feel better.”
Tom did encourage my writing and loved when I would write stories about us and our future. Maybe this could be a way for Tom to live on. I started to feel relief. He would have wanted that. This would definitely make me feel better, so I could have a part of him that was tangible in a sense. Life is just as important as death because you learn from both. Life teaches you to fully go and be passionate about what love, and who you love. Death teaches you that when your gone that's it, the end, but who and what you leave behind will be the impression you leave and you'll never really be gone.
Finally I spoke. “Thanks mom, I needed that.”
“I love you.” she said.
“I love you too mom.”