I have a lot of hope for the new year. I’m choosing to focus on the positive and to believe that things will be good this year.
In truth, last year was pretty good, too, despite all the weirdness and disruption the Covid virus caused. My husband was declared cancer-free and started a great new job. We were both fortunate enough to continue working through the pandemic. I know that in that regard, we were very lucky indeed.
This year, my middle son will finally start college and my youngest will go away to college, too. My oldest daughter is likely to move out later this year as well. Hopefully, once vaccination for Covid becomes more widespread, maybe my husband and I can return to going out for date nights again. Maybe someday again we can go to concerts. I miss having that kind of fun.
Yet there’s still a reminder that my husband’s not always going to be here and I will be very lonely without him. I want to do all the things we find enjoyable to do together while we still can, which may be one of the worst things about the whole pandemic. It’s stolen a lot of those opportunities from us.
I was honestly making a conscious effort to try not to dwell on the fact that he’s going to die. But yesterday, after he put the Christmas tree back in the attic, he mentioned his plan for this year is to get everything out of the attic and bring it down to the garage, go through it, getting rid of the stuff we don’t use and haven’t missed. We’ll just empty the attic completely.
His reason for wanting to get that job done this year is because he knows that I couldn’t climb up there and do it myself. The kids may not be able to either. It probably sounds silly but that’s one small thing I’m really going to miss about him. (Wow, just typing those words brought tears to my eyes. I really don’t want to think about life without him here, let alone acknowledge the reality that it’s going to happen.)
He’s always been my source of strength, both literally and figuratively. He both gets hard shit done that I can’t do, and he is also my ever-present source of emotional support. I can tell him anything and he actually listens, even if I’m talking about things that don’t particularly matter to him. He doesn’t make me feel judged or weird. Quite simply, he’s my entire world, probably to an unhealthy degree. Losing him will be like losing a major part of myself, and I don’t believe the bond we have can ever be replaced.
But I have faith that I’m not going to lose him this year. That’s where we’re at now: not able to foresee far into the future because we don’t know how long he’ll be here. What we can do is make the most of the time we do have. The pandemic really impacts the ability to go out and have fun but hopefully that will start to change later this year.
For now, it’s also time to prepare. I learned today that it can take many months to collect on a spouse’s life insurance after they die, which makes it all the more imperative that we build up a sizable emergency fund. And yes, also to get the junk out of our attic while he’s still alive and healthy.
It’s beyond terrible that I have to lose him at all. I can’t overstate that enough. But at least we are given the gift of time. I think this year is one in which we have to be mindful of time, of moments little and big, and challenge ourselves to really use them wisely.