One Stinky Pillowcase

I really need to wash this pillow.

Let’s be honest. My to do list is full. There are things I must do, need to do, and should do. My “want to do” list is pretty short. These days the simple things are the only ones on the list: go outside, brush my teeth, and put on deodorant. Did I do that yet?

In four weeks I went from eating nothing to eating everything. Ugh. Where’s the happy medium? But that’s the thing. Nothing about this period in my life is happy. My sunshine was snatched from me 34 days ago.

It’s been 34 days since I hugged him, since I held his hand, since I talked to him and heard him directly respond. We spoke every day. That’s one of the parts of our relationship that seven years of long-distance dating strengthened. It’s also the part that plays games with me now.

You mean he’s not on a business trip, and I don’t need to pick him up from the airport in the morning? His phone didn’t just lose reception and that’s why he’s not calling me? Surely you’re mistaken.

I waver between disbelief and heartache just about every hour of the day. Sometimes my loved ones and friends succeed at distracting me for a second. A laugh will eek through the pain.

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My Lola no longer barks and wags her tail when I click the alarm on his car. She once heard it and would go crazy — even when he parked the car blocks away. Now she knows he’s not going to be the one pulling up in it.

How could this happen to him? How could this happen to me?

It feels so arrogant to say it out loud. We went to church, paid taxes, followed the law, and tried to help others whenever we could. We loved and laughed and lived a beautiful life full of so many dreams, goals and plans. How could God snatch him away before we even began to cross off the major items? I feel like a toddler. It’s not fair!! Those are the only words I feel in my chest when I wake up and realize my leg isn’t wrapped around his. It was my imagination.

Well, it’s about time to knock off something from that list. I really need to wash that pillow—his pillow. It’s the one piece of linen I took from our home when I escaped. I’ve washed countless other things since the move, but not his pillow. I’m mad at myself for cleaning our place that week. I had just washed all of our clothes, towels and sheets. I was trying to get ahead of the chores. We couldn’t see this coming. We couldn’t see that it would mean I was washing his scent from his clothes. I can faintly smell him on that pillow. However, my tears, snot and dirty hair aren’t helping. With all of the other things on my to do list, washing his pillow still circles my brain. I know I need to do it at some point. Or do I? The rules just don’t seem to matter like they once did.

Originally posted May 22, 2016.

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