Tonight, Rick's brother and his family were back in town from Florida. They took me out to dinner with them.
I left work, picked up more fluid bags for the cats at the vet, got home, and fed them before Keith came to pick me up. I was preoccupied with something when he got to the door and as I looked up to let him in, my house felt a little better for a minute. I was seeing something I haven't seen in a while - a piece of my life back in place. It sounds silly, I know, but I haven't seen my husband now in 46 days...and his brother was like a flash of Rick again right in front of my face. I felt like I was kind of seeing him again. So much resemblance, so much similarity.
It was so nice of them to include me. A good distraction. Pleasant company. I have a blog - so my vulnerability is out there. Everything is on the table with me and my grief. They can see me laugh, but they know that I cry. They make me feel like family.
What can you say to a woman who lost her husband to suicide?
What can you say to a man who lost his only brother?
There isn't really anything that makes sense or holds weight. All at once, 46 days feel like 4. And then they feel like 460. I still don't know how to contend with the concept of time.
The last time I saw Rick's brother, he was here for the funeral. Between that week and this one, I feel as though I've aged 10 years - not in looks, but in soul. I feel as though so much has transpired. We went on living. The world kept turning.
It's almost a shock to the system. Like when I hug my brother-in-law, I think, "You're still here," as though he might disappear from the periphery of my life simply because Rick ceased to exist.
Different rental car, different season, Keith comes back to my driveway and enters the Grief Zone. It sounds so dramatic on a blog, but the gravity is real. The definition of gravity is: extreme or alarming importance; seriousness. And that's what I feel when I'm with the only brother of my husband. Nothing has changed since the last time I saw him, yet everything has changed.
The good news is that beyond the gravity, there is lightness. There is humor. There is kindness.
Rick is gone...and life is just so strange. But I would rather it be strange in the company of Bairs than all alone.
So I'll pay for my dinner with a blog post. Thank you for letting me know I'm still family.