Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lookin' for Bobby in All the Wrong Places

About once every summer, my cousins with the great backyard have a party of some sort. We’ve been going to these parties for years, and I’ve always had a good time. Every party is set up the on a table in the kitchen, and depending on how hot the weather is, there are either tents set up with picnic tables outside or snack tables in the family room and extra chairs in the dining room so everyone has a place to sit. Whenever the weather was too hot to sit outside, Bobby and I would gravitate to the dining room.

So this summer, at my cousins’ almost-annual party, I filled my plate with food, and instinctively looked around the house to see where Bobby was sitting so that I could go and sit next to him. I caught myself a half second later and went and sat in the dining room without him. It was an odd feeling.

A few hours later, everybody decided to change into their bathing suits and go in the pool. I took my turn in the bathroom and changed into my bathing suit, too. I got into the pool and started floating around, watching my kids play with their cousins in the pool. Again, for a split second, I looked around the pool, looking for Bobby, so that I could float over to be by his side. Again, I caught myself. He wasn’t there.

Then last night, I dropped my son off at the 4-H fair, and on the way back to the car, I saw a dog that looked like the kind of dog he wanted to get when we retired. Without thinking, I almost actually turned around and said, “Look at that dog! That’s the kind we want to get!” Luckily I caught myself before I actually turned around, because that would have been even more depressing.

My most recent example was tonight. I was picking my son up from the 4H Fair again, and while we were walking out, 3 girls walked by and said hello. They said it in that cute, almost-but-not-quite flirty way that 12-year-olds can muster. My son is only 12, too, and I'm not used to this girl stuff with him. My first reaction was to go home and tell Bobby about it. Another split second later, I was sad again because I couldn't share it with him when I got home. Will this gut reaction ever stop?

These were all sad, yet surreal experiences. It’s the same feeling that I get when I see or hear something funny, and I cannot wait to tell him, or I want to confirm a piece of gossip I may have heard at work. It’s a split second of what I consider normalcy, how our life used to be, before I was thrust into the navigation of this unfamiliar territory on my own. I miss the old normal, and I miss the familiarity of what my life used to be. I know I’m supposed to create this “new normal” but my subconscious may not be letting me. Instead it gives me split second glimpses of how it used to be. I hope this is a part of the so-called “process”. So far, the “process” sucks.


  1. Yeah, he's not physically there. But I believe, when someone dies, the person(s) they were closest to "inherit" them. So he is part of you in a way that he wasn't before. You are doing the physical living for him as well as yourself. For example, when i come across something funny my late husband would appreciate too- I laugh for myself and for him- he's in you now- you are the most intense physical being that keeps him existing for you and everyone that knows him. I am speaking in the present because his essence/personality/soul whatever you want to call it- IS in the present.

    My husband went through a lot of deaths himself. I never met these people that he loved so much. But the way he described them to me and kept them real in his world- I feel like I know them very well- even though I will obviously never physically meet them. So he managed to introduce me to people that were physically dead but also very much alive in his present world. Pretty cool huh? I really feel like I know his parents, his brothers, his best friends- all of whom are "dead"- but to me they are part of my experience so therefore, they exist despite the fact that they are not physically here.

  2. Hi Laura,
    Thank you for your comments. It always helps a little to know that someone else understands exactly what I am going through. I'm so sorry for your loss...really I am.