A Day to Cry...Day 50
We always said that three days was our limit to be away from each other before we started feeling just off. This even includes a 5-month "separation" we had from May through October 2008.
The year prior had been extremely trying for many reasons and we lived in separate houses. He even told me, "I don't love you anymore." I looked him in the eyes and said, "I don't believe you. I want us to hold off on anything permanent and just separate for a wile." He helped me move into a house and we were officially living apart.
I probably should mention that the entire week before I moved out, we had a really wonderful time just reconnecting after that rough year. Then, I moved.
We didn't talk or text for three whole days, and it was brutal! I cried the entire time, filled about 20 journal pages, and called my mom and/or dad nonstop. He then texted about helping me fix something or bring something over (I really don't remember), but he came over and we spent the afternoon together. Then he went home.
He came over about every other day or two, then started spending those nights until it was about half the time. We'd go back and forth, on and off, good and bad, until I was tired of it and called his friend, John, out of frustration and begged him to tell Phil to either drop me for good or keep me forever. No in between.
He kept me.
I won't lie and say it was perfect from there on out, because that wasn't how our relationship worked. We were each other's sounding boards and often directed anger at others in the wrong direction - at each other.
But let me tell you something: When you can be mad as hell at someone and still love them like they were created just for you, the sparks are always there and keep that fire burning hot. He even said he liked to make me mad on purpose because that's what kept it exciting. Those butterflies a person gets when they first meet someone? I still had those after almost 21 years, every time he walked through the door.
That was us.
Today, I got pulled over for speeding by the highway patrol officer who investigated Phil's car accident. He was one of the three people who had a front row seat to the moment my heart broke forever.
I was more than 25 miles from where it happened. In another county. Fifty days later. I was on my way home from the airport after visiting 4 of our 5 kids on the West Coast, and I was going about 82 or 83 in a 65 mph zone. When he made a u-turn in the median after passing me on the highway, I knew he was coming for me.
He pulled in behind me and stayed back for a bit, then sped up and flipped on the lights. Of course, I pulled over, turned on my hazard lights, rolled down my window and waited.
He came up, asked for license and insurance, but I could only provide one at the moment as I just upgraded phones and hadn't yet logged on to my insurance app to get electronic ID cards. While he ran my license, I got the app ready to go and downloaded the card.
Then I saw it. For the first time in two decades, the insurance card had only my name and one vehicle on it. The tears came without any chance of stopping them.
The officer came back to the window while I was crying and I explained it was the first time I had seen the new card since I took Phil's name off and it hurt. I told him that Phil died 50 days ago, and he said, "I know."
Huh? I asked how he could know that just from running my license, and he then told me who he was. I was a terrible mess that night and didn't recognize him when he came up the first time.
He asked how I was doing and, well, that was obvious enough. I told him I had been wanting to contact him for more details but couldn't find the card he gave me that night so I didn't know who to call. He gave me another card and told me to call when I was ready discuss it He then asked me to pull over in the next town and get my bearings before I drove any further. Speeding was never mentioned. He told me to take care of myself and get going.
For about the next 15 minutes I ugly cried in a Dollar General parking lot with my sister on the phone. I hadn't cried like that in maybe a week, but that did it.
I've been through three days apart from him more than 16 times in a row now. To say I feel off is about as understated as it can be. I have days when I think about him and smile through my pain, and there are days when I ugly cry in Dollar General parking lots or on airplanes or in restaurants. I never really know what kind of day it will be.
But I do know one thing. Phil will find a way to shove me out of bed every morning so I can put my feet on the ground to find out.
And do it all over again tomorrow. Whether I like it or not.