Thursday, May 28, 2015


It's been a tough few weeks. My father has been in the hospital for almost a month. I've been shuttling back and forth from my home to the city of my birth, a 1500 mile one-way commute, so I can accompany both of my parents in this stage of their journey. It's been a challenge in so many ways (exhaustion, flashbacks, moving, juggling too many things...) but I'm glad I'm here. It's giving us a chance to have the conversations we might not have otherwise. There is nothing like looming mortality to make you say the things you might have held onto.

My parents have been married 48 years. Kevin and I had 15 and I am still struggling to understand the world without him; my mother is looking at losing her beloved and is justifiably terrified. We were talking the other day and she said, "I know I am a complete person without your father, but I think about him not being here and I feel incomplete, like there is a part of me missing." She nailed it. I am a complete person without Kevin - I'm sure part of what he loved/s about me is that I am my own self - but without him I am incomplete.

There are the practical matters. Kevin took over our electronics and networking; I cooked and managed the house. We both were capable of doing these chores on our own but we delegated to one another and we trusted each other enough to just let the other manage things. It's as though we each took over a part of the practical matters of life, so we each let various skills atrophy. I no longer really know how to network my new apartment. I am figuring it out and I am getting help, but it's not the same. It's Kevin's job. Or it was.

There are the intangible matters. Kevin knew me like no one else ever has or ever will. He understood me in a visceral way. This isn't to say other people don't know me or to imply I am some kind of conundrum, I'm not, but there is a level of understanding between soul mates that just doesn't exist elsewhere. He knew me in my sleep as I knew him. No one else does. He would understand better than anyone else what my father's illness means to me.

And there are the other things, too. Kevin was my safe place. I was thinking I want to go home, but then realized home has become a less meaningful word, because what I really want is Kevin. Which brings me back to visiting my father when he is ill and trying to support my mother as she supports him. I never imagined I would have to face this without Kevin. I am, and I am finding the things I learned from his death are again useful. It's knowledge I wish I didn't have.

Kevin filled in my weak spots. Together we were greater than the sum of our parts. Alone I find I am unbalanced, missing parts, for all that I am a functional, able person.

That's one of the risks of loving, I guess. We depend on someone else and when they are gone, really gone, we have to rely on ourselves again and, no matter how able we are, it is a dance for two performed by one. Incomplete.

(c)2015 Laura S. Packer Creative Commons License


  1. "A dance of one".... very well said, Laura for all of us that are trying to learn that dance.

    1. Thank you Ellouise. I'm so sorry we both are in this club. Hugs.


True Stories, Honest Lies by Laura S. Packer is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 United States License.
Based on a work at
Permissions beyond the scope of this license may be available at
Related Posts with Thumbnails