The legacy of our lives 

I dream about my husband every night. In my dreams he often refers to me as “my darling” and I feel his presence as if he is physically in the same space I occupy.

Except he is no longer here.

I don’t know what it takes for our brains to process the permanent absence of a loved one, but I do know it doesn’t happen overnight. For me, it is as if his being or the essence of who he was has been permanently etched onto an area of my mind which constantly tries to recall him reproducing a hologram for me to hold on to. That’s how he appears in my dreams.

I shared nearly 18 years of my life with Michael, a long time, some might say, and yet not enough.

In that short time together we lived through a few upheavals, moving home, raising children, juggling work and family life; like all relationships do, and yet there was never a moment when I wished to be parted from him.

Ok, that’s not strictly true, there were times when he drove me up the walls and on occasions a heated argument would have me walking out of the house in a huff and a puff, driving away somewhere by the sea (always the sea) until I felt I’d regained some perspective and drove back home, where upon my arrival he’d insist on kissing me, making up and forgetting about the argument because  as he said “it wasn’t worth it”.

And he was right, no subject was worth the aggravation or the break up of our relationship. There was a bit of pride to swallow, a bit of negotiating, some compromising from both sides and finally an admission that one of us had got things wrong.  But I never wanted to be permanently parted from him.

So to find myself parted from him, without choice, has put me in a position I never wanted to be in or even imagined would be possible.

I don’t have bitter feelings about our life together, because, on balance ours was a good relationship, one based on mutual respect, love and admiration. However I do find myself wondering why life has turned out to be so unfair. There seems to be no logic to it.

Michael was so full of life, he loved life, he was annoyingly bright in the morning so happy to be alive and to be able to see another day. He would insist on recounting three good things that had happened at the end of each day, a habit he tried instilling in me; alas I was never enamoured with the idea, that was his thing. I’m glad to report, however, that our children seem to have inherited his chirpy, cheerful morning disposition; I’m working on the “three good things about today” bit.

I know Michael was preoccupied with what was his mission in life and often wondered whether his reason for coming into this world had come to pass but he had yet to realise what it was. When he was told treatment was no longer having the desired effect on the cancer, he mourned the fact that he wouldn’t have enough time to know whether he had completed his mission in life.

And I guess we mostly go through life without giving a second thought as to what legacy we will leave behind. It’s often the case that we don’t take stock of what we have done and how many lives we have touched or we don’t realise the ripple effect that our actions have on other people’s lives, until it’s too late.

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