I wanted you, and I had you. It was beyond wonderful. But, you had to leave, and now I am alone.

It was so comfortable between us. There was never any question of tomorrow. When I called, you answered. When you texted, I texted back. We never doubted one another’s loyalty.

You were there for the birth of our four children (and the conception for that matter — ha!). We raised them together. Family was our everything. You were my everything. You gave us your everything.

You were always there in the face of adversity. When I got a flat tire, you showed up to fix it. When I got in a fender bender, you dropped everything and arrived before the police. You had my back.

And, I had yours. I stood by your side, no matter what the adversity. I never would have considered anything but you and me. Us together. It was the way it was supposed to be.

We both knew and understood that. To our core.

We said “I love you” often. I never doubted your love. I took the future for granted. I banked on 50 years together. I thought we had it in the bag. No question.

We were young and healthy. We were in love. We adored one another.

But then, something bad happened. Something I never saw coming. Something I never anticipated or even imagined. I wouldn’t let myself imagine it.

I still can’t imagine it, most days.

But this isn’t imaginary. It’s real. This is my life. My brand-new life. And there is no outrunning or escaping it.

Eight months ago, everything was normal, and then normal turned itself upside down and inside out.

You got sick, and you died.

I didn’t believe it was going to happen. Looking back, I should have seen you slowly sinking, but I guess I didn’t want to see it. I couldn’t see it. How could I let myself see it?

I thought we’d get a miracle. But that wasn’t the way it was supposed to work out.

So you left this earth. And I stayed.

And there I was. Here I am.

Alone. Without you.

For the rest of my time here on earth. Not for the rest of my life, because that would be ill-spoken. We will live together again. We will be reunited.

But, for now, I am here, and you are there, and that is beyond difficult. This separation from you is testing me on every level of my psyche. On every level of my being. I am incomplete without you, yet I need to learn to be complete. Or at least pretend I’m complete, and we both know I’m not good at pretending.

But, for now, it’s what I have to do. For me. For you. For us. I believe it’s what we planned. It’s what I promised you. And I try to never go back on my promises.

I will see you soon.

— Pertler is an award-winning syndicated columnist, published playwright, author and member of the National Society of Newspaper Columnists. Don’t miss a slice; follow the Slices of Life page on Facebook.

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