One needs to keep the mind occupied. That is what they tell you. That is what they all seem to tell you. Only then can you keep the memories at bay and manage your new life of being alone.
But it can be difficult; hard in the half light of early morning before the world and you have started to move and make noise.
Even harder late at night when the moon's cold light spreads dark shadows over the earth. It is then that memories tend to intrude, igniting the synapses in your brain.
Perhaps remembering is not quite the right word. If it were only memories, then how can one now feel that touch, smell the old perfume? It's more a sense of things, a feeling she is back. It is more than memory, but the word memory will have to do.
And that feeling involves your body as much as your mind. It is as if you are returning to your past life. You are not just recalling how you put your hand around her waist to the small of her back. You can feel the curve of that back on your fingers.
You can sense again how you brought her near, how you felt her breath on your chest and how her breathing and yours began to move as one.
But in the end you know that awareness or feeling is not entirely true. You can't really touch her anymore. You can't feel that breath, hear that voice or see the love for you in those open, brown eyes.
Six feet of earth and a cold headstone tell you the touch is not real; the voice is but a memory.
Enough time has passed that the wrenching pain of sudden loss has abated. But there remains the ache you strive to endure or forget through activity. And it is difficult to avoid those memories. That is not surprising since the present appears so unpromising and the future unreal. And things are what they are, no matter how fervently you wish otherwise.
So the memories come flooding back. The small annoyance over the fact that she keeps telling you she loves you a half dozen times a day, every day, in that quiet whisper of hers. And your uneasiness when she hasn't told you she loves you since her fifth declaration.
She walks away to finish some task and you grab her hand to keep her with you. And she smiles as she pulls away; a smile that tells you that no matter what she is doing or where she is or who she is with, you are the most important thing in her life. Now and forever.
And you close your eyes and long for the time when your confidence and feeling of self-worth fed off that smile and those endless I love yous. Your boss could be against you, the world could come unhinged, but it didn't matter. And it didn't matter because that smile and those precious words were meant for you.
And they came from Marcia.
Time heals all wounds, they tell you. But you suspect it does not heal all scars. The hope is that time and friends and faith and those memories, both painful and precious, will allow you to endure. And to come to terms with loss. And to regain the confidence that her special love for you remains, and that you can still rely on that love as your life runs its course in this sad and occasionally forgiving and loving world.