Start by picking up the phone, when you least expect it of course.
Listen to the voice cracking and let the news spark and crackle through your neurons until it hits the center of understanding.
You have 24 hours of numbness starting now.
Ask someone for a hug, distract yourself, follow the pattern your day had already started. Let inertia take hold.
You will tell people in fits and starts, the news sneaking out when you least expect it
until it hits the critical mass that makes it real.
After 24 hours have passed, let the tears pull at the back of your throat.
Seek a bathroom, or the solitude of your bed.
If you have the correct pair of arms, place yourself there.
In safety, hope that your eyes will cooperate and cry
(this step is not to be enacted in public. If you feel tears coming on in the coffeeshop or on a date or at the doctor’s, seek the nearest door that locks and hide yourself behind it).
In the non linear fashion of memories, you will find yourself seeing his face or hearing his laugh or remembering the phrases he could not help but use, jumbled together behind the tears and the blankness and the normal life. Don’t fight them. They will never cease to creep into your life.
Tell stories. You have pictures somewhere that need to be seen. The person you loved is hiding in these things. Don’t forget them.
Get on a plane and go to a funeral. The funeral is not for you. Stay strong for those few hours, then make a nest in the hotel room in the dark. Curl around yourself until you’re certain that no pieces of your heart will fall out when you cry too hard. It will hit you again and again and you will wonder who will be there to hug her now that he is gone?
Come home. Go to work. Steal moments of sadness. Learn to breathe again.
On quiet nights, read his words and caress your memories. Smile or cry, your choice. Feel all that he was and all that you’ve lost.