A rotten aniversary

Stephanie left this world a year ago tomorrow, and it was hell. My life had been utterly wrapped into hers; she was the key factor in every decision big and small, she was seriously the source of all joy, and she was what made life livable. Every day when I left for work, every errand I ran to the grocery store, every time I stepped down the hall to check the mailbox, I immediately started looking forward to seeing her again. I was nuts about Stephanie. And to be honest, I still am.

When she died, we had one weird "advantage" — my wife had more than one fatal diagnosis, and thus her death was foreseeable enough that we had talked about it. Not often or at great length, because it was an extremely difficult topic, but we'd talked about it enough that I knew what she'd want — cremation, not burial, and a very low-key service, not a formal funeral. And I also knew, because she'd told me, that she wanted me to go on without her. Anything else would be a betrayal, and there's no way I would ever betray her.

So we had Stephanie's remains cremated, and her parents and I had a very low-key memorial lunch, as she wanted. And as she wanted, I have gone on. I am here on Earth to remember Stephanie Webb, and that's what I do, every day.

My perspective, 364 days after the worst day of my life, is: It gets better. Her death was the worst thing ever, so "better" was the only possibility. She wanted me to go on, and I've gone on, so a year later I guess that proves that going on is possible. It's feasible. It's not merely "survivable," but I'm sincerely glad to still be here, even all alone. Life without Stephanie will never be anything but a hollow echo of life with her, but going on is better than not.