The past eleven months have felt like a blur, yet I find myself now counting down to the anniversary of my partner’s death instead of tallying up the number of days or months that have passed since she left. Each breath puts me closer to this “milestone” of grief, and yet it still feels so surreal. I’ve felt the dark clouds rolling in slowly over the past few weeks, but I lacked the words to adequately describe this downward spiral that started as soon as I connected the dots that October comes after September.
It all clicked in an instant though when I heard Billie Eilish sing “What Was I Made For?” at the end of “Barbie” last weekend.
Regardless of how to you feel about the movie, Billie Eilish, or pop culture, I think that anyone who has lost a spouse or significant other can relate to the words of the song.
“But I’m Not Sure Now”
The song opens with the words, “I used to float, now I just fall down. I used to know, but I’m not sure now.” For me, it’s the perfect description of life before I lost my partner compared to now. Emily wasn’t just a person I lived with; she was my best friend. She was the first person I shared good news with, and the only one I ever felt comfortable crying in front of. Life with her was magical.
Even on difficult days, her smile and voice could bring me back. I often felt like I was floating on air with her, especially when it was just the two of us. I knew she was the person made for me; we were soulmates.
Her death was not part of the plan. It wasn’t even something I had time to prepare for. In just a few short hours, she went from still managing to make snarky comments to flatlining. And I was there to witness it all, refusing to leave her side until the doctors told me I had to.
Life used to make sense. Now it doesn’t. I felt like I had a purpose and a future. Now, I don’t. I used to believe in God. Now, I’m not sure. Life as I knew it no longer exists, and I don’t know how to feel about that.
“When Did It End?”
As the second verse begins, the words resonate so well: “When did it end? All the enjoyment. I’m sad again…”
Most days, it’s hard to find enjoyment in even the simplest of things. I feel like a zombie. I go through the motions, put in my time at work, take care of everything at home, then count down the time until I can go to bed. I do laugh occasionally, but it almost always fades as I realize I’m laughing without her. My eyes will never meet her infectious smile ever again.
Everything went downhill so quickly in those final few hours. Although I can still see it all so clearly in my head, I’m not sure which moment was when it all ended — when our time together on this Earth came to a halt. And, because of that, I’ll always wonder if I could have done more. I will always believe I should have done more.
I wish I could ask her so many things about those final moments. I’d love to know the answers. But, instead, I’ll always wonder when it really ended and all of the other queries that come with it.
“What Was I Made For?”
The song’s title repeats throughout, and to me, it felt a bit ironic because our song was “The Story” by Sara Ramirez, and one of the repeated lines throughout that song is, “It’s true that I was made for you.”
Throughout our relationship, I firmly believed Emily and I were made for each other. We fit together in ways that I’d never experienced with anyone else. There’s no way our paths would have ever crossed except in the strange way in which they did, and it always felt a somewhat serendipitous way that could only be explained by divine intervention.
But now that she’s gone, I find myself constantly questioning my existence. Why am I still here? What’s the point? If I was made to be the perfect match for Emily, how can life continue when we’re apart?
I feel purposeless. I feel hopeless. I feel completely and utterly lost without the person who made the world make sense to me. I am homeless. I am missing the most important piece of my puzzle.
“Something I Wait For…”
The song ends with a simple thought: “Think I forgot how to be happy. Something I’m not, but something I can be… something I wait for…”
Although I feel like my life has no direction at this point, I am trying my best to look for the silver linings wherever I can find them. Most days, they’re few and far between. However, there are times when I take solace in the hope that the current separation from my partner won’t last forever.
There’s a possibility that the one thing I want and wish for will eventually occur. I could maybe possibly hopefully be with Emily again. And, that hope, that possibility of reconnecting, is what keeps me going. It’s what I’m waiting for. And, based on the time I spent with Emily during this lifetime, it’s worth the wait.