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If I Had Died and He Had Lived

Last weekend, Pallas and I went dress shopping. Correction. She shopped for a dress while I stood outside her dressing room waiting to see how they looked on her.

That’s when I took this photo.

After I looked at this photo, I started to play a game I sometimes play with myself. It’s called “If I had died and Art had lived, how would he have handled this situation?”

The game doesn’t last long. There’s no way to verify my ideas and honestly, it’s really fun without a partner. And as the kids get older, it’s harder and harder to play because he has been not part of our lives for the past 10 years.

But sometimes the game makes me laugh. And this situation was one of those times. I think he would have taken Pallas to the store and been used to the mixture of feelings of seeing his only daughter coming out of the dressing room in dresses that were “too short” and catching the eye of the young man in line waiting for a dressing room. For him, with his 20 yr old daughter and her long beautiful legs and almond-shaped eyes, he would have been used to boys (and men) looking at her but it wouldn’t have stopped him from wanting to punch every one of them.

And that made me laugh.

A woman who just learned I was a widow asked me if I still think about Art. And I was surprised to hear myself say I think about him every day. But the way I feel when I think about him has changed a great deal. Most of the time when I think about him it evokes a small longing, wishing he could see, hear, or do something that I know would have delighted him (or made him sigh like going dress shopping with his daughter!) And then there are those moments where I get sucker punched. I find myself missing him as if he died only six months ago.

Grief is weird that way. It’s not even or predictable or explainable. It just is. The only thing I know for sure about grief is that it changes. Just like life.

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