Walking without her.

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Hey, Stephanie! It’s a gorgeous, sunny afternoon! Come for a walk with me!

Before she got sick, we would often go for a walk on a whim. Within a couple of miles of our apartment, there’s no sidewalk we haven’t walked. Those were good times, good walks.

After walking became difficult, we still went for walks – she was weak on her legs, but she would slowly struggle and conquer any trail. She was not one for giving up. When we bought a wheelchair, she said she could have the joy of a walk even without the walking. The footsteps weren’t what mattered, she said; it was more about the pace and the scenery than the exercise. But whatever she said, of course she missed walking.

Now I walk alone, and many thoughts and moods take turns in my head. Mostly, the recurring thought is just that she’s gone. Forever. Her life has ended. It’s not a complicated thought, I suppose, but man, it just floors me every time I realize it all over again. If I hold the thought for more than a few seconds, I’m crying.

Some days I almost think I have my crap together, But I really, really don’t. What fools me is, I might go a few hours without crying about Stephanie, because I live alone and have no friends to speak of, so I’m not talking about her. But the moment I mention her name out loud, to anyone else or to myself, in person or on the phone or even in an email, I lose it – my voice cracks, my eyes leak, and I can’t carry on.

Today I heard myself saying, “I can’t believe it,” but that’s not true. I absolutely believe it; I was there when she died. I believe it but can’t accept it, and don’t want to accept it. Who would?

So I talk to her when I get home from work, but talking to her isn’t the same as talking with her.

* * * * * * * * * *

Bill Cosby went to prison yesterday, for 3-10 years, after being convicted of one of his many sexual assaults. Stephanie would’ve been happy as heck – she hated that man.

Like most everybody, we laughed at his comedy for a long time. But when dozens of women who don’t know each other are all accusing one man of sexual assault, that’s not funny. That man is a rapist. 3-10 years behind bars isn’t enough, but he’s an old man, and with a little luck he’ll die in prison.

* * * * * * * * * *

Waiting in line at the polling place can take a long time, so we’d started voting absentee, and Stephanie’s absentee ballot came in the mail a few days ago. Sorry, my love, but this time you won’t be able to vote against the bastards who tried to kill you.

Of course, that’s exactly what the Republicans meant and wanted, every time they’ve proposed repealing Obamacare. When they talk about “deregulating” insurance and allowing companies to reject people with pre-existing conditions, what they mean is that anyone who’s not in good health should hurry up and die.

Posted 9/26/2018.

More about Stephanie.

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