|Walking the Dog (M.A. Reilly, Teaneck, NJ, 2013)|
What hurts so much after Rob's death is that I still desire the life I had with him. I keep seeking it out. I book a trip and mostly what I think about is how lonely I will be without Rob. I order dinner from a favorite restaurant and when the food I arrives I notice I have ordered an extra dish--Rob's favorite. I see a new book by Walter Benjamin is being published and I buy it--a book Rob would certainly have wanted.
But Rob is dead.
Our life is not traceable. Nor can it be recovered.
Nonetheless, I attempt to find trails into the familiar, the tender, the known. I so want to be with the man I have loved for what feels like my whole life and anything less leaves me feeling empty.
What I want most, I cannot have.
I cannot have.
All around me this knowledge presses and in that compressed space where my very breath is labored, I understand I must reinvent my life.
Reinvent my life.
Stop looking for substitutes and live.
Years ago I was in psychotherapy when the therapist offered a bit of advice--something he did only once in a decade. At the time, I kept repeating a behavior that was not only unhelpful, but also potentially harmful. This had gone on for months and I was feeling frustrated, frightened, lost.
How can I change it? I asked in earnest.
The late day light played in the space between us. He stared for a moment before saying, Lift your foot.
I laughed a bit and then I lifted my right foot off the carpet, paused, and then returned it before looking at him.
He waited, looking somewhat pleased before he said quietly, That's how you do it.
After learning he had but a few weeks to love, Rob held my hand, looked me in the eyes and said, Live brilliantly. Don't you dare hide yourself away. Live brilliantly.
Just do it.