Tuesday, April 11, 2017

#SOL17: The Universe Expands Nonetheless

A photo I found of Rob.


There's no logic to it. This evening I found myself expecting to see Rob, as if the last 19 months might be folded away and forgotten.  A mistake. A do over.

Earlier this evening, I was putting away some tape and when I opened the cabinet the smell of Tiger Balm wafted through the air.  The smell was so strong, so familiar. It has been a long, long time since I last smelled that spicy camphor and there it lingered, wrapping its clean scent around me--almost as if I had conjured my husband's arms. Each evening after dinner, Rob would rub a dab into each of his aching hands. A nightly ritual he would perform and then he and I would share tea.

Marriages are made of such ritual.


Later, I was cleaning out a drawer, uncovering much that needed to be thrown out and at the bottom I found a photo of Rob--one I don't recall having seen before.  It seems that I might have lifted the camera and then called him by name. He looked up, having been reading and stared with a slight smile forming.  And as I looked at it, I wondered how could someone so animated be dead? I imagine he's in his late 30s when the photo was taken and what we could not know was that more than half his life was over.

Logic is slippery. I know Rob is dead. I feel the weight of it every day. I know the earth turns, the moon cycles,  and the universe continues to expand, but most days it feels as if none of this could be happening without him.


  1. It all just seems so unfair. How does the world keep turning?

    1. And perhaps that is the biggest lesson: matters of fairness about mortality are best left in the school yard. Thanks Kathleen.

  2. And it seems that you had those two moments with Rob, too. I often don't know how things happen just at the moment we need them most, but they do. Humans are continually questing, and sometimes answers come in strange places. I'm glad to hear this, Mary Ann, and love that you found the picture.

  3. I too don't know how the world can keep turning without our husbands. Along with the sadness of the absence, I too am grateful for the rituals and at the very least the memory of them.....so grateful.

  4. It seems almost as if he was with you - not in a physical sense - but in a sense of the rituals of a long relationship....I had one of those moments standing in Home Depot once...

  5. I read your words, "I feel the weight of it every day." And I remember the ache of missing, the crushing weight inside my chest, the surrealness of daily life. My wish for you is that the weight might grow lighter with each day.

  6. Mary Ann, life is fragile, uncertain, and unpredictable. Finding the photo of Rob was unexpected but perhaps a sign that he will always remain with you. "It feels as if none of this could be happening without him," is a troubling but understandable thought. I wish for a peaceful week for you.


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