Archiving Him

Carolyn Shields

There's many sweet memories that sometimes bring sad smiles, but every single one is pressed deeply into my journal. He was my everything, and maybe it wasn't until I was waiting for the flight to Uganda to take off with a silent phone in my lap that I had to grapple with that hideous truth: I wasn't near as much to him. Not then, at least. And we all know that's how Hollywood would have had it. It would have been that dark moment on the plane or one of those even darker nights in Africa that I lay stargazing, 'crystal' tears rolling down my cheeks and my baby sleeping in my arms. But really, that realization was probably just a slow spreading disease I tried to fight off last summer.

But the word okay is pretty powerful, especially when our Holy shows you something else. I wiped the tears from beneath my spectacles and whispered it a thousand times: Okay.

And maybe you are wrestling with that cold truth too, that you aren't as dear to your man right now either. But gal, that's why we were gifted with a not yet. That's why our Holy gave us this precious word: maybe. In time. One day. Possibly even, soon.

So for now, note every memory. Mark every smile, record every time your heart fluttered just from that damn crooked grin that every man had in those romance novels we shouldn't have read when we were coming of age.

Your sweet man will one day be yours. Maybe not on your watch or not the way you foresee it, but you're too kind, too whole, too you to be alone.

So hey, it may be messy right now. It probably hurts like effing hell and there may be quite a lot of tears. Frustration, pain, utter confusion, lots and lots of sensitive fear and screwed up histories, but now is your chance to rewrite the past. It doesn't exist anymore, right? So it's not going to come alive and haunt you unless you write it so.

Archive him. And in this messy media res, write the bitter sweet. Not what hurts. Not the what ifs and paranoia but write the golden memories of you together. Write about his hard work ethic, the way he looked when he cried, about the time he didn't win the lottery, and the way he made you feel. Give him a place in history.

And if we use that gentle word maybe, well maybe one day our Holy will take your pen, turn the page, and softly write: Chapter Two...

And p.s, you're worth it.