Oh, 2016, I hate you.
I normally reserve such hateful language for.. well… never. But I think it’s safe to say I’m okay with this one.
I desperately need you to end.
But I’m simultaneously scared to see you go. I need to keep the good memories; just help force the horrific ones to die.
…die die die die die die die.
Man, I hate that word, too.
Why do bad things seem to live forever?
Our last moments. I need to forget them. However, I don’t think those memories will ever die. That night. The phone calls. The conversations. The following week. The decisions. I must focus my attention. It’s hard. More difficult than anyone could ever imagine.
2016 was the last year I was me. I mean really me. I was happy. I laughed. I hugged. I lived. I smiled for myself instead of for others. I thought without a cloud of grief and sadness surrounding me.
It’s the last year I was normal.
Society lost a lot of great people this year. But I lost you. Not just an icon I’ve never spoken to. I lost a part of me. I lost my old life and sense of security. I lost a part of my heart, and most can’t imagine just how deeply that cuts. It’s a wound that you can’t “move on” from. It’s one you learn to live with. Forever.
And Orlando will forever remain a reminder of what was– who I was when I was your wife and not your widow, and you were physically standing by my side.
The coffee shop in the main terminal of MCO is now a reminder of our early morning coffee consumed before a flight home to see family.
During a recent trip to the city beautiful, my eyes hung heavy as my shuttle whizzed past the restaurants that lead the way into the county. I closed my eyes for a second and reminded myself to breathe. When I looked up, I saw a Darden restaurant (Rasheed’s old company). Longhorn’s façade greeted me softly. I smiled. My heart actually smiled for a second, too.
And then that random gas station popped up on the path. Normally I’d never think twice about it, but that day it became a reminder of when you forced me to stop so you could put gas in my car.
2016 was when we were we.
He. Was. Here.
He jogged to the Orlando Convention Center and up the steps in Rocky form with me. We did plyometric exercises on the concrete benches. We raced with Lola; you let us win, and it was amazing.
You were my picture frame… outlining the best parts of my life.
Remember when we went crazy dancing like teenagers to that song at our neighborhood Christmas party last year? Your old college, Kappa moves reemerged.
Man, we loved to dance…
We had the best time at weddings. Celebrating love – others and ours.
We would laugh out loud. Literally.
We also fought over you not taking the trash out on time.
But we also texted each other a thousand times during the day.
And we argued over my amazing wardrobe that seemed to magically produce new things; until you gave in. You know you liked those shoes on me.
You surprised me at the airport with a giant hug and flowers when I arrived home from random trips. I made your favorite dinners and loved feeling your smile and appreciation.
And we planned. Oh, the plans. We were about to embark upon an amazing new chapter – a new house, little ones.
I’ve heard death described as losing a limb. You loved that leg. You had countless beautiful memories running races, jumping in foreign lands, and even just sitting using it. You probably took it for granted most days because it had always been there and you just knew it always would be. Then one day, without warning, it’s ripped from you. The shock and pain take over your senses at first. You don’t want to go on, but you do. Slowly, over time, you learn to live without it. You stumble. Other times you flat out fall. However, you still find a way to crawl and pull yourself up into the bed and try again the next day. Then one day you learn to walk, maybe even run. At some point down the road you even dance in this new reality and truly have fun while doing it. However, you still never forget the days you had that limb and you would give anything to have it back. Sometimes the memories of those old days hit you hard. Sometimes they knock you down right after a random moment of joy. You retreat to catch your breath, trying to garner the strength to face life again without your favorite limb. You learn to live, but it doesn’t mean every day doesn’t hurt a little and you don’t still long for the old days when you were whole. When you were normal. When the mundane worries of the world were your biggest fears, instead of avoiding situations that’ll amplify the pain of your loss.
Who knew we humans could actually live with this gut-wrenching, heart-throbbing, mind-numbing pain? Millions are. Losing a spouse, a child, a parent, or a sibling etches a scar on your soul. Death changes the living in ways you can’t imagine until it happens to you.
Rasheed, you made me better. Baby, you make me better.
I miss you more than words can express.
I miss you, babe.
2016 was the last time I heard you laugh with me, question me, and encourage me. It was the last time I felt you kiss me, hug me, touch me.
2016, I need you to end. But I need our love to live forever. 2017, you have to be better, right?
I recently read a Banksy quote that struck me. He said “…you die twice. Once when you stop breathing, and the second…when somebody mentions your name for the last time.”
Rasheed, you had a profound effect on my life. I will spend mine saying your name until the day I take my last breath. I hope those close to me do so, as well.
Man, I miss you, Rasheed Amin Wiggins, but you live on within me. And you forever will until I hug you again.