“I miss the me I thought I’d be. Can you miss someone you don’t exactly know? Someone you didn’t meet yet? The short answer is, yes. Let me explain.
I miss the person I thought I would become. I miss the plans, the ideas. I miss the innocent hope of the future I thought I’d have. I don’t get to have those thoughts anymore. The life I thought I’d have is not the life I wake up to every morning. The person I was becoming is now stuck on the line between the before and after. She won’t move from that line of two realities. She can’t. She is forever cemented in a day the life she knew ended and there wasn’t a place for her in the future. Well, not all of her anyway. The me I was supposed to be is not the me standing here, in the now. And I miss her.
I never got to meet her, not fully. But I had begun to create her. Little by little, day by day. The thought of the me I was supposed to be would build, morph into the ideal version. Not perfect (I’m not delusional) but ideal; happily married, a mom of one and, God (and money) willing, another on the way. In our cozy home filled with love and messes and Lily paw prints. Working, parenting, navigating life with the person who chose to do it all with me. I don’t for one second sit here and pretend life with that girl, that me, would have been all love notes and perfectly curated pictures, but I was ready for all the raw realness that came with being her. But she doesn’t exist. I won’t meet her.
I miss the girl I thought would get up in the mornings and creep out of bed not to wake a sleeping husband. I miss the girl who wouldn’t need to check the monitor countless times a night just to make sure her baby’s back is slowly moving in that up and down rhythm. I miss the girl who wouldn’t hear sirens in the distance and automatically think they were for someone she loved. I miss the girl who could get a call from an unknown number, see the voicemail alert and not think it’s devastating, life altering news. I miss the girl who wasn’t constantly waiting for the next shoe to drop. At least, that’s how I think that person would be.
I miss the friend I thought I’d be. The one up for dinner dates and game nights, carefree and three glasses of pinot in. The girl who wouldn’t second guess every little thing she did or said. I miss the girl who wouldn’t constantly struggle to find the balance of sharing her feelings but never too much or for too long because no one wants the title of the ‘sad’ friend, the friend others need a break from. To be honest, I miss the me I don’t think would have been so needy, so vulnerable and so often.
I miss the mom I thought I’d be. The one who looked at her daughter simply with love. Not love mixed with an overwhelming ache for the relationship she’ll never have with her dad, who she’ll never snuggle. I miss the mom who was supposed to bond with her daughter without simultaneously grieving the loss of her husband. The one who gets to watch a tiny finger close tightly around a bigger one as they walk together, to hear them laugh, see them explore. I miss the mom who thought more about what her child was eating instead of taking yet another dive into the dark hole of unknowns, a loop questioning how the loss of her husband will affect their daughter as she mindlessly passes over the second cookie.
I miss the mom who’s smile wasn’t forced to laugh and didn’t carry a bittersweet tune. I miss the mom I thought would call her daughter’s father because their daughter is sick and someone needs to get her. The mom who took turns with doctor visits, appointments, daycare notes, bath time messes, and bedtime struggles. I miss the mom who wasn’t supposed to be the sole decision maker, the mom who could text ‘your kid did this’ when it all became too much. I miss the mom who I thought wouldn’t want to be anywhere but exactly where she is. Instead, I’m the mom who’s become a home while still trying to get back to my own.
I miss the wife I thought I’d be. The one who could text her husband when the morning was hard and come home to vent to him when the day only got worse. The wife who can’t stand when all her pet peeves seem to be her husband’s biggest qualities. I miss the wife I thought would look at her husband as a father, a partner, her best friend, and know in all the bad and all the good, they chose each other, purposely, every day. But most of all, I miss the wife who had the opportunity to grow. Grow in the little ways, in the big ways, in the uncomfortable, raw, unedited, vulnerable ways, all with her husband by her side. The wife who I thought would wake up every day with another chance, a chance to do another day, a chance to make it a good one.
I miss the me I thought I’d be.
In these last 15 months, life has solidified the fact that when Joe died, I didn’t just lose my husband, Vienna’s father, or my best friend. I lost parts of myself. That’s something I’m not sure people realize, not fully anyway. Losing him didn’t just alter the reality of my marriage, it affected every aspect of my life. Every single one.
I took a lot of the person I always was, with me here in this ‘after’ and I’m proud of that. But the truth is, there are parts that will forever stay with the girl who’s life I was supposed to live, the girl I was supposed to be. I won’t get those parts back. I won’t get that exact person back. But I can visit her, from time to time. When I need the memories, when the moment feels right. When I need the false security an unjaded innocence can bring. And I do visit her. She’s an old friend. But I can’t stay there forever. And in those visits, in that girl, lies all the parts of me I thought I’d be. And there they’ll stay. I miss that me.”
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