I can’t wrap my head around the fact that tomorrow it will be 10 days since my husband left this earth. I go through the motions. I eat a little, I doze off for a bit then startle awake. I go through the motions. I hang out with my kids. It seems like it should be normal, but it’s not. There is a gaping hole, and it’s quiet.
My husband loved the quiet, although he himself was frequently not. He could get loud when he spoke, if he was excited about the subject or if we were
bickering talking about something. He had a terrible tendency to interrupt but in his later years I attributed that to the Asperger’s. He’d get a thought and speak it before it had a chance to fly away, even if someone else was talking. I’m pretty sure he only did that with me and the kids, though.
He had sinus issues, and asthma, so I could always hear him breathing. I even liked it when he snored. See, in my family lore, there is the story of my aunt’s husband passing away in his sleep, on Halloween, which also happened to be the day my mother found out from her doctor that she was expecting me. The stories of my aunt waking up to a corpse so horrified me as a little girl, that I always knew I would never be like those wives who complained of their husband’s snoring when I grew up.
My husband even sneezed loud. Practically blew the ceiling off the walls, I always said. I was never sure if he did that on purpose, until after the kids were born and he sneezed quietly if they were asleep. My proof came when he sneezed once and I jumped a foot and when I looked over at him, he was quietly shaking from laughter. “What?” he’d say, feigning innocence, “I was only sneezing.”
He loved to collapse the empty water bottles in a quick, sudden, loud motion so that I’d jump.
He loved to come up behind me quietly when I was doing the dishes or laundry and couldn’t hear him, and go, “HI!” at the top of his voice. He knew I’d jump. “What? I was just saying ‘hello’!” That man lived for the “scare-cam”, to the point he’d watch tons of videos and just sit there laughing his butt off. I was not fodder enough by myself to satisfy that wicked glee he’d get.
He hated thinking of himself as a loud person, though. He’d known loud people in his life, his childhood, and the thought of being like that himself was abhorrent to him. He told me he loved that I was so quiet. It was a dramatic moment for us, the first time we saw the scene from Mass Effect 3, when Commander Shepard runs into David at Grissom Academy. [https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JAhmUFfNkWw] We were both crying at seeing David again, healthy, after witnessing the abuse and torture he’d endured at the hands of his mad-scientist brother in Mass Effect 2. “That’s what you are to me,” he whispered, “You are like Shepard to my David, you made it quiet, you lengthened my days.” What can you say to something like that? I couldn’t speak, I could only hug him. I knew I wasn’t worthy. He was the one who’d survived his life, and I managed to tell him that.
Other times, he’d come up behind me, shuffling, pretending to be a kid. He’d stand there, somewhat patiently, until I moved my hair aside, and then he’d rest his head on the back of my neck, wrapping his arms around my shoulders. “I need my safe space,” he’d whisper.
I am comforted now by our faith, and the conviction that he is now with Someone Who is an even safer space for him than I could ever be. Nothing and no one can ever hurt him again. That makes me glad, for all I hurt at missing him.