I have at last unearthed all of our photographs and brought them home out of storage. I found the album from our vow renewal in 2002, with our hair dyed lilac for the occasion.
The dye didn't take so well to Asa's beard, but the effort was made.
His toothbrush still hangs in the bathroom. His slippers are still on his side of the bed. I rearranged all the furniture in the bedroom, though. When I finished doing it, I looked around the room and thought, it's my bedroom now. It's my apartment, now, too. Just mine. Then I had a good cry and then I made dinner.
Speaking of dinner - I'm rediscovering the kitchen. I'd forgotten how much I enjoy baking, in particular. Or making giant casseroles I can eat for days and days.
Chicken stew covered in dumplings made with chicken stock and sour cream.
I KNOW, RIGHT?
I'm moving around more, getting out just a bit more, rebuilding my energy. I've been more engaged with the book shop these past few weeks - not just going through the motions. I've gone out book hunting on my own a few times now, and I'm making plans for a clearance sale next week. We used to have them from time to time, for one reason or another, and it just felt right to do one now. Make room for newer, fresher stock.
I continue to receive amazing gifts of the spirit from relative strangers. Last Monday I was loading my laundry into the car and one of my neighbors, a retired old cowboy type, walked up and introduced himself. He told me he was sorry to hear about my loss and pointed to his apartment. "You need anything," he said, "you just knock on our door - my wife and I would be proud to help." I don't think I've ever seen his wife. I thanked him, and he shook my hand with both of his. The next day, a new customer asked me out of the blue if she could hug me, after hearing about Asa's passing. Of course I said yes. She wept silently as she embraced me, then thanked me and left. Something every day. Every day I run into someone who hasn't heard and should be told, or who just heard and wants to share a special story. Some days I'm better at shielding myself than others. Some days I need more shielding than others.
I missed Asa something awful today. It was raining this afternoon, and I reached for the phone to call him and ask if he'd been outside - he loved sitting on the porch in the rain - I looked at his number on speed dial and the sudden truth of my loss overwhelmed me there for a while. Lots of deep breathing ensued.
Right now I know Asa - wherever he is, most likely zooming all over creation - is reveling in being an expanded consciousness, and is truly beyond all pain or limitations, and filled with pure joy. I'm easier in my mind these days, more at peace myself, knowing in my heart this is true.
I never did completely fly apart at the seams, though I came close a time or two and I'm not promising I won't yet. I never did get drunk with my best friends, though I can't say that won't happen in the future, either.
Life is getting just a little easier to take, every day.