Ch.216 Feeling Empty on Pat’s Birthday

Ch.216 Feeling Empty on Pat’s Birthday

Sept.1, 2023

          Something felt wrong the moment I awakened, about 6 a.m. today. I felt hollow, an emptiness in my belly. Blackie, my cat, was his usual self, though, purring for attention; I petted him for five minutes, feeling a little comforted in the process. Even so, that hollowness remained.

          And then I remembered: today was Pat’s birthday, her 79th and the second birthday she’s had after she died 14 months ago.

          Since I got out of bed I’ve read 50 pages of a novel, fed my collie Levi, eaten breakfast and lunch, washed dishes, vacuumed, visited my horse Lakota at his senior paddock, watched a science video with my daughter Jenny, read the newspaper, solved a word puzzle, walked with Levi to the creek, looked at my daughter Cindy’s text, spoken with my son Joshua, conversed with my friend AnneMarie, and received an email from Pat’s cousin Peg. I’ve cried. I’ve told Pat how much I missed her. And I’ve continued to feel hollow inside.

          My emptiness reminds me that Pat has died and will never return. it insists I acknowledge that reality. There is no denying the truth. Pat is gone.

 My emptiness strolls with Levi and me on our walk to the creek, dimming the fall colors; it is there as I hand a piece of apple to Lakota, making me wish that Pat were here giving him that treat; as I write, my emptiness flows into my fingers, onto the page.

Levi rests, as usual, at my feet. I imagine how ecstatic he’d be if Pat were to walk in the door, greeting him after a brief absence. I cannot imagine what I’d do, though, because I know it will not, cannot happen.

My emptiness isn’t an enemy. It is a presence. Tomorrow it might fade a little, maybe go into hiding for a while, but I doubt it will ever leave.