It’s been two weeks now. I miss her more every day. I think the initial shock and fog might have lifted, but I am still cycling through the various stages. There are times of the day when I cry, hard. There are times when I’m really angry, but not at Erika. I’m angry at the unfairness of it all. She was only 46 years old. She was robbed. The world was robbed of the things that she brought. She had so much more to do. We had so much more that we wanted to do, together. I recently read one of her tweets to an old friend where she wrote, and I’m paraphrasing here “I will go back one day” to Lake Baikal in Russia. She spoke of that being the most beautiful place she had ever seen, and she was very well-traveled. She saw a lot of the world. Lake Baikal in Russia was her favorite. She often told me about it, often talked about us going there, taking the train up and showing it to me, and she getting to see it again. I looked forward to that.
We’d also talked about going to see the bears in Alaska. She and friends would often watch the “bear cam” in Brooks Falls at Katmai State Park. We even looked into scheduling for that type of vacation, what it’d take to get there. It was on the list of things to do.
But the other thing that hits me every day is when I wake up. Waking up in our house. Our house. I feel like:
That’s just half of the yin-yang. The other half isn’t there, so it seems very odd, or out of place, like something obvious is missing. Half of me is missing.
We were together for almost seven years (November 11), but we’d lived together for about the last five. We shared an apartment in Providence, eventually grew to not like that place anymore and when we began to think of where to go, Erika suggested “What about buying a house?” I’d never considered that before, but I immediately loved the idea. We started looking in April of 2017 and we cautioned ourselves to go slow and not want the first house we saw.
On the first day, we saw the house we ended up buying, but were both cautious. After seeing a handful of other houses on other days, we both brought up this one again. It was the first one we saw and we both loved it. Both thought it was perfect for us. It checked all the boxes for Erika and her requirements (garage for her car, central air conditioning and hardwood floors). We bought it, and we couldn’t be happier. We were building our life together. We merged all of our possessions. Figured out whose furniture we liked better and sold off the duplicates. For some things, we went out and bought new, or “adulting” as we called it. It was fun to do things like buy a new bedroom set, or to try out mattresses in a show room, or to see the happiness on her face as she tested out various recliners at Cardi’s. I’d also learned that Erika liked to play ping-pong when she was growing up. I too consider myself a ping-pong expert, having won the Arlington Boys Club 11 year old championship in 1981 (only one other person showed up, but hey, I got the trophy). So one day I bought a ping pong table and somehow got it all the way into the house, into the basement and assembled it without her being aware. Then I had her come down to the basement to see it all set up. We had fun with some competitive games there.
We also have artwork that we both like hanging. Some that one of us bought for the other, like this one I got for her, a sampling of cheeses that hangs in our kitchen:
There is also this one, hanging in our kitchen that she got for me, an artist’s rendition of Prudence Island, our favorite vacation spot:
But maybe the best of all is these, that hang in our bedroom:
Both of those are Iceland’s Kirkjufell mountain. What makes those the best is for Christmas one year, we got those for each other and we had no idea we were both doing it. I unwrapped mine first and just started laughing. She didn’t know why, so I immediately had her open hers. It was one of those “Great Minds Think Alike” type of moments, but also showed how much we knew what we liked, and also just how alike we both were. The perfect gift for each other that year was essentially the same gift. This is why they hang side by side in our bedroom. To me, it just shows how were were one mind, often one person, together. Made for each other, perfect for each other.
Two weeks. I miss you.