This Friday morning will begin the same way every Friday has been for the past three years.
I crawl out of bed at 7am, my eyes wet with tears. Make my way to the coffee pot to start a full pot, muttering to no one but myself, “You’re going to need a lot of this today.”
I sit at my desk and pull up photos on the computer of us. Remembering the love and joy we shared. Three years ago today, Jason was at the tailor picking up his suit for our wedding, when he collapsed. The doctors said it was a pulmonary emboli, a blood clot to the lung. I was assured it was quick and that he didn’t suffer. That he felt no pain and died instantly. Perhaps Jason felt no pain, but I am in pain still, suffering his loss.
Three cups of coffee later, I make my way to the shower. His shampoo bottle still there, an ever present reminder. I make a mental note that today is the day I must discard it. After getting dressed in black dress slacks, and a black short-sleeved crew neck blouse, I put some make-on, another cup of coffee and a Xanax for my nerves, I prepare for my day.
On the way to my first stop, the florist, the memories sneak out of my eyes and roll down my cheeks. Katherine will have two white rose bouquets waiting for me, as she does every Friday morning. As I walk in she greets me with a warm smile and a kiss on the cheek. While we exchange chit-chat I see the pity in her eyes. I told her I would not be needing these bouquets anymore after today.
She walked up to me, embracing me while whispering in my ear, “You’re doing the right thing, it’s going to start getting better now.”
“I hope you’re right Katherine. I hope so.”, I muttered fighting back tears.
Saying good-bye, she reminds me about our lunch plans for tomorrow and I just smile at her, already formulating an excuse in my head why I will cancel tomorrow morning. As if reading my mind, she warns me she is picking me up at noon and to be ready.
A short ten minute drive to the Tailor shop, feels like hours today… I pull into the side street adjacent the shop and take one of the bouquets from the back seat of the car. Every time I open that shop door, the buzzer startles me…jolting me back into reality for a moment. Frank gets up from his desk behind the counter and greets me with a smile and a warm hug. Frank is a tall muscular man and when he hugs you, you feel safe and protected, as if you’ve been properly hugged. He takes the bouquet from my hands, commenting on how beautiful it is while setting it in the waiting vase. He’s been kind enough to allow me to bring these flowers in every week as a memorial to my precious lost love.
“Frank, this is the last bouquet. I can’t do this anymore.” I told him, fighting for breath.
He turned to me, grabbing my hand in both of his, and said it would be okay. As Frank walks me to my car and opens the door for me, I thank him for his friendship and make my way towards this morning’s final stop.
Driving to the cemetery, I can sense Jason in the car with me, I can smell him and can almost feel his hand resting on my right thigh, something he always did while I drove, just rested his hand on my thigh; reassuring, lovingly. I slowly place my hand on my thigh, sensing him there.
I find my favorite parking spot vacant, underneath a large Royal Poinciana. I know when I return to the car it will be covered with red flower blossoms as they fall from the branches, somehow making me feel as if the tree shares in my sorrow. Slowly getting out of the car and pulling the last bouquet from the back seat I slowly walk to the graveside of my love… wondering what his expression would have been seeing me walk down the aisle on our wedding day, the wedding day that never came. Suddenly a breeze blows and takes my breath away, stopping me in my tracks. I stand there a moment, enjoying this heavenly embrace and realize that I’ve made the right decision to end this Friday ritual.
Slowly finishing the short walk to the gravesite, I am flooded with memories. I gather my thoughts and dry my eyes, placing the bouquet on the headstone and blow a kiss to my love.