I am an incredible helpmate. I have a lot of that Virgo energy. I can work on your job and my job, your problems and my problems, your finances and my finances, your health and my health, your fears and my fears happily because that’s how you will know that I love you.

And I can do this for years. This is obvious. All of my long-term relationships have been entered into deliberately — all two of them — letting instinct be the arbiter of commitment (7th house Vertex conjunct Saturn and Descendant, opposing Aries Moon in 1st).

But I always missed living alone in one way or another. I missed the independence. I was never scared of being alone.

I am now not only fully accustomed to living alone after almost a month since Rick’s death, I’m basically functioning like any other hermit who works from home. I fell asleep last night, during the night, and I woke up in the morning. No fear. No nightmares. No panic — okay, a little panic, but then I went through my step-by-step plan in my head for fixing every possible ill that could befall me now and that plan is a fucking work of art.

But in isolation, it’s just so much time to go back into my head and stay a while. Most people would think that this is a terrible idea for someone in mourning, but I’m finding that I can do this my way, that I can create a narrative of my experience to help me understand and process it.

It was a Saturnian relationship. Now it’s a Saturnian mourning, and the thing is:

This is actually maybe the most ideal way for me to grieve the loss of a partner. No, actually: a cabin in the woods with supplies and firewood and notebooks (and gel pens because I’m left-handed, I love writing by hand, but I don’t love other adults asking me what’s all over my left fingers) would be better, with the mountains piercing a clear blue sky and the ocean tide lapping a shell-covered beach that no one else knows about but me, near a town but not too near a town, and the town would have a strange folklore/origin story and/or it’s own granny magic, and I get to learn all about it.

And no bugs ever.

Then at night, I go into my mediation and attempt to untangle the karmic knots of this relationship.

I don’t talk aloud to Rick anymore. Not much. I don’t focus on the physical dying as much. My mind has made me unable to fully recall the events and relive them. My mind has made me unable to remember much of what happened between the time I got the call he was dead and the time I had to leave his side so they could take him to the morgue and harvest his organs.

This echoes the end of my first long-term relationship, the one where I got married, when I was alone for months emptying a home and moving away. But it’s not as…hot. It’s not the heat of anger, resentment, vengefulness. There’s no rejection. I mean, I’d like to think that I’m not so bad that Rick would opt for cardiac arrest than stay with me, but it’s not like we can ask him now, right?

Rick’s death isn’t an insult to me the way my divorce was. I don’t question who I am or what I am worth because Rick died. I don’t feel inadequate because death has taken him from this mortal coil. I don’t think losing a partner/spouse is actually like that. It’s not easier at all, but it’s different.

It’s not a punch in the face. It’s a stab with a knife. A punch in the face always hurts no matter how hard it is because it’s also a battery on the ego, but you can be stabbed anywhere on the body, with any kind of blade, and it’s an emergency whether or not you feel it at impact or only when you se the blood gushing, and if you keep enough of your blood in your body to live through it, you will carry the scar tissue as a reminder.

But there’s not so much shame in being stabbed as there is with a having a black eye. There’s just the injury and the recovery, no stories to embellish or downplay the truth, no makeup, no looking like someone got the best of you. It’s just keeping enough of your blood inside you so that you don’t die, too. It’s a dull feeling that something is missing, something is wrong, but it’s not (for me, I guess) like the sting of insult.

And I don’t have anywhere else to go but back to me, back to my thoughts, back to all the clues I saw that I didn’t want to see that let me know that Rick was declining faster than he was letting on, and that this was not actually unexpected. I’m stopping myself sooner when I start flipping through my Things I Should Have Done or This Never Would Have Happened playbook and start writing entries in my Ways I Have Failed diary.

I am in touch with the world through correspondence from family and friends and other well-wishers, and sometimes those friends who understand me well enough and let me talk about something other than Rick’s death and let us return to it without resistance if I steer the conversation that way.

And when I do something, like find a pair of his sunglasses under the sofa, or hear a sound and for a split-second expecting it to be him coming to bed, or a sappy Anita Baker song comes on my Spotify mix that I only liked because he actually liked the song, or I made too much coffee again, I have to remind myself that I promised myself I would get my shit together and get back to business.

Because I’m still here. And I don’t want to die.

And there’s still a part of me that wonders if, because I have no problem being alone, I’m not healing quicker at all and in my own way, but simply postponing the inevitable when I’m ready to stop being alone again?

I suppose I should just rip off the band-aid and get his ashes while I’m still on my alone-high.

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