It was unseasonably cold out today for early December in south east North Carolina. Below freezing the majority of the morning rising up to just low 50s, as far as I could tell by my car thermostat. The weather, however, was not what was taking priority of my thoughts on this day. Just a number. A simple, some could say, meaningless, number.
365 Days since I last saw my husband alive. Since I last held him, kissed him, touched him, hugged him, talked to him in person, laughed with him, made love to him. 365 since his lips grazed mine, since he gently kissed my forehead. Since he promised he'd see us soon, in a few months. An entire year has passed since we said what we thought to be a few months of see ya later.
And all I could think about was that day last year. What I was doing last year compared to what I am doing this year and what I've been doing since things have changed. So much has changed. Everything has changed. And now, from this day forward, our "last year we..."s are gone. Sure, "last year we talked on the phone or emailed about...", for another couple months still exists. But anything in person, there is no more "Last year we went..." or "Last year when Jonny and I...". It's painful.
I wrote a detailed post about deployment day a few months ago. I still remember that day so easily and I honestly hope I never forget it. Although it was filled with crazy emotion - sadness, severe anxiety, fear... it was the last day we ever had together. We didn't know it then, but that was it. The end of our physical time together. Looking back, I wished I'd taken more photos. I remember I hadn't worn makeup or done my hair because I knew I was going to cry and would rather have a no-make up face than a tear stained, black-streaked one. I wish I had taken the time to look pretty the last day he saw me. I wish we had more photos of those last moments. But there are some and I will always cherish them. I will always cherish our last moments at the house, even when it felt like he was dragging me out because we had to leave to get ready for deployment and I just didn't want to. I will cherish Bad Romance coming on in the car to cheer up a very sad day (maybe my obsession with that song and Gaga herself stems partly from this). I will always cherish every one of our moments together, the good and the bad, because I know how precious they really were.
So to spend this day, I kept busy. I did a lot of running around. I went and got my oil changed in the truck. And after realizing a strange light had turned on on my dashboard, I took the truck to the Toyota dealer to have them check it out. Then I spent time crying in the dealership because it was a stupid problem (it was the tire pressure gauge just letting me know the air pressure in the tires was off) that I should have been able to figure out myself, that Jonny would have been able to figure out. I was upset that he's not here to help with the "man tasks" anymore. That I'm left to take care of not only myself, but also our daughter and every other little thing in our lives, even the things that would be better left to him to take care of. I went and had lunch with friends at a mexican restaurant which was quite enjoyable and then did a little Christmas shopping for the couple of secret santas I'm involved in as well as for family. I'm just not into the holiday spirit this year, but I'm doing my best to get into it and be a jolly gift giver at the very least. When I got home, I was getting ready to jump in the shower when I noticed it...
my ring was gone.
MY RING WAS GONE!!!!!
This ring means almost as much to me as my wedding set. It was given to me by my parents for my 18th birthday, it's my birthstone cut into the shape of a heart with two diamonds on the side. When Jonny and I started getting serious, I gave him the ring and, while you make think it completely cheesy, I said, "Here, have my heart, keep it safe." And that's what he did. He put it on his dog tags and it went where he went the entirety of our relationship. That ring came back with his personal affects from Afghanistan. It's the very first thing I got back after he was killed. That ring had been between us throughout our relationship, to Afghanistan and back and now... now... it's gone. For good? I don't know. I've had a couple scares over the last 9 months where it would fall off. But stupid me never got it sized or put it up I just remembered to double check my ring multiple times thoughout the day. Except today. I couldn't tell you the last time I saw it on my finger, I just know it wasn't there this evening. I've looked but it was dark out, I'm going through my truck tomorrow. I have been torn up about this since I noticed it. And on all days... THIS ONE?! REALLY?? Like I needed more to be upset about. My mom has a theory though. Maybe it's a message from Jonny. When I had said to her about how it's one of the only things between us that's made it to 'Stan and back she said "Especially since it happened on this day of all days, Maybe it's him trying to tell you to let go a little bit. Let go of Afghanistan and everything that happened there." I believe in signs and I'm trying to see that things happen for a reason but I have a hard time reading what the signs mean. Maybe it's him telling me I'm a shithead and he doesn't like something I did. Maybe it's him telling me to let my heart go. Maybe it's him telling me to get more organized and pay more attention so I don't lose shit. Maybe it's just the fact that I lost weight and it was too big for my finger and I didn't take the time to get it sized (mostly because I didn't want to let go of it long enough to do that). It'd be much easier to know what (if) he meant if he would just tell me, everyone knows I'm really bad at taking hints!
I freak out because I put so much emphasis on stuff. All this stuff is really all I've got - or at least I feel that way - of what we had together. I keep thinking if I lose/break/get rid of any of this stuff or change anything, what we had and the time we spent together will disappear too. I talked to a fellow widster tonight and she reminded me that we do not need the material things, that we do have that time and we do have those memories, and our beautiful children! regardless of what things we have. And maybe there is some message in my ring being lost and maybe, just maybe it will turn up again. All I know is losing it has totally brought down the "ok" feeling I'd had after being with friends and brought me right back to how I felt this morning - that this suck is really really hard!
So I spent a little more time with friends and calmed down and I, ironically, ended the evening the same way I had a year ago on this day. I came back to an empty house.
Only this time, there was no box waiting on the doorstep reminding me I'd have to figure out how to put a rocker for a nursery together by myself (mom helped with that one what feels like forever ago) and there were feelings missing. There was no fear of the unknown, of what will happen next, no anxiety about when he will call, no waiting by the phone/computer for any kind of contact. Just the one feeling that hasn't left since that day - complete and utter loneliness.
So, this day 365 days since the last time I saw you in the flesh, I have this to say to you my Stinky, if you can somehow read the waves of the interwebs. I love you more than I can imagine to possibly convey on a blog. I am eternally grateful for the life I had with you and the love we shared in the flesh and continue to share since your passing. I am so thankful you gave me our precious daughter. And not only do I miss you, but I miss you painfully every single day, and I continue to wish that it would be possible for you to be here with us. But knowing that that will never be possible, I wish that I can somehow find some light in this dark tunnel and start to figure things out in this lonely life without you. Thank you babe, for loving me even though I made it hard sometimes, for always thinking I was beautiful even on days like D-Day when I wasn't wearing makeup, for always being on my side and for believing in me. Forever and ever, my love.