Half a year later, I’m still here. 

Six months have passed since I lost the love of my life. Six months.  Twenty-five weeks and 6 days. One-hundred eighty-one days. As of 8:41 PM tonight I have been a widow for 4,344 hours. 

It’s absolutely unbelievable that I have made it this long. Not a second passes that he is not on my mind. Not an hour ticks by that I am not reminded of something he said, did, liked. The song that I walked down the aisle to played three separate times today alone. 

Something very special happened to me this week. And I want to share it here. Because if you ever find yourself in a situation similar to mine, it’s important to know that there are moments of relief. That wonderful things can still happen in the midst of your journey through the worst thing possible. 

Last Sunday I had to go back by the house that Josh and I built together and spent 3 wonderful and painfully difficult years in. I had a specific task to accomplish. At the encouragement of a very wise woman, I spent some time in the house, just opening myself up to anything that I might feel or experience. At first, there was nothing. The house is nothing but a bare bones representation of a past life of mine. It is the skeleton of my life with Josh. Our things, our photos, our memories…they were what breathed life into that place. Without them, it’s just a house and not a home. 

I took the opportunity of being alone with no risk for interruption to finally have a conversation with my husband. There were a lot of questions. Where are you? Why did you leave/abandon me? Are you okay? Are you happy? The list goes on. 

I finally got the chance to say what I had to say without being cut off because he didn’t want to hear it. For the first time in our relationship, he was silent. He finally decided to listen. I accepted responsibility for some of the troubles with our relationship. I gave responsibility to him for the other issues. Neither of us were perfect – but we both wanted more than anything to be perfect for the other person. We were both very hard on ourselves for making mistakes. But we suffered silently and separately. We never took a moment to really talk about how badly we felt for not always being the person that the other one deserved. I wish we had. 

After I said most of what I needed to say, I was blessed with a few wonderful gifts. First, Josh started planting memories in my head. He showed me us going upstairs to bed and him pinching me as I walked in front of him, running to get up the stairs faster. He showed me the silly little dance moves he used to do. Randomly and for no reason at all. He showed me the times when I would use his towel to dry his back off after a bath or shower because somehow he ALWAYS missed that spot. He reminded me of the many times he would whisper the words “marry me” as he drifted off to sleep. I smiled and even sometimes laughed at the memories he was handing me. These are times that my grief-stricken brain could not conjure on its own. My loving husband knew that I needed to remember the good times and he knew that I needed a little kick-start to do it. He was a great gift-giver. But it was always the gifts of thoughtfulness that resonated with me. 

I spent an hour in that house just reliving memories. I made it to the final room, his office. I laid on the floor and through the tears I felt compelled to repeat the same six words over and over again. I said to Joshua, “I love you. I forgive you.”

I repeated those words until the tears ran out. And I meant every single word, every single time. I have spent a lot of time letting my grief make me question my love for him and his love for me. But it was real. It was true. We loved each other. Imperfectly…but love nevertheless. 

I wanted him to know that I believe again. I believe in the love I have for him. I know it’s there. I wanted him to know that I forgive him. For everything. Every fight we had, every mean word he said (that boy had one of the sharpest tongues I’ve come across), for all we went through since the day he entered rehab and finally for leaving me behind to carry on without my best friend. 

It was such a simple thing to do, but it must have struck a chord between us. Since the moment I left the house on Sunday (5 days ago) I have felt infinitely lighter. I have felt like a completely different person. I have laughed more and been happier in the last few days than I have in a very long time. This was Josh’s other gift to me. The burden of not being able to say goodbye, not being able to air our grievances with each other and talk things through, has been lifted. 

I know that he took that from me. He never did like to see me hurting. 

It’s been six months of a hell that I never imagined having to wade through. But because of the pain, I am significantly more grateful for the happiness. 

How lucky am I to have loved so greatly? And to be loved enough from the Great Beyond that my guardian angel will release some of my pain once I acknowledge it and give it to him. 

I sincerely and severely love that man. 

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