Tuesday, May 15, 2018


I am 15 pounds heavier than I was four years ago today. I acquired five pounds of happy, five pounds of sad, and five pounds of muscles.

The five pounds of happy came from being in love with Jim. You know, too much fun and you find yourself wondering why these jeans feel a little bit different. Then you’re honest with yourself and come to terms with the truth that all the carefree dessert eating that came from being in love with being in love translated to five more on the scale and thighs that are even more resistant to your efforts to slide them into bottoms that don’t have at least 3% elastane.

The five pounds of sad came after Jim died. It was all ice cream. It started with ice cream—when Jim’s mom called and told me there was a plane crash to go investigate, I’d just finished my second Drumstick in. a. row.—and it continued with ice cream: me nestled in the corner of the couch, crying, watching The Great British Bake Show over and over and over, routinely wandering over to the ice cream drawer for another Haagen-Dazs something while my supportive mom looked on.

The five pounds of muscle is Cameron’s fault. He let me come to the gym with him to help me be less pathetic and lump-like. And now we do it all the time. We whimper on the floor while doing weighted bridges to build muscle I don’t want that make jeans almost out of the question.

Why would I know exactly what I weighed exactly four years ago? Four years ago today I married Jim. I had a goal wedding weight, and I hit it exactly. So I remember that. And when it comes to considering May 15th, I think I might be focusing on that weight information in order to not so much focus on the fact that it is my wedding anniversary with a man I loved who has been dead coming up on two years in August.

Two years.

You’re so weirded out by that, huh? “I can’t believe it’s been almost two years, Megan!” is what you just thought. I feel you. It’s weird as hell.

So what’s it like nearly two years in?

Normal. It’s like this, not a single day goes by that I don’t think of Jim many times throughout the day. It happens when I see his photos in the house, and, yes, when I see his clothes still in the closet, with coordinating socks that I clipped to his shirts so that he wouldn’t have to put in effort to match stuff and wouldn’t come downstairs in the morning in pink argyle socks with a maroon plaid shirt. That happened, and I love it so much. I love so much that when he sat down at the counter and I saw how his ensemble “matched,” and said, “Oh, nope. Gotta go change,” he was humble enough to go do it. He knew clothes weren’t his thing, but he didn’t want to look like an idiot. He trusted me. Even though taking off his shoes and putting them back on was one of his most hated things—the primary reason he got pre-check at the airport was so that he wouldn’t have to untie and retie his Ugg chukka boots—he went back upstairs to change his socks. I still can’t figure out why he didn’t just change the shirt.

I think of memories like that. I remember his preferences. I try to trust like he did. I try to only care about the stuff that matters. And I do sad things like listen to a sweet message from my sister and think, “I gotta save that for when she dies soon so I have it to remember her at her best.” I’m ruined. But maybe in a goodish way.

A close-to-you death kind of screws you up like that. I make mental notes about people that go something like, “Oh I have to write that down so that I have that memory when they die soon.” And when I leave my house, I make sure it's put together in such a way that it won't be too bad for my family to clean out my closet if I die while I'm gone. I make sure the impression I leave is an accurate one: I'm tidy but weird. I think about death often, and I’m not at all scared of it anymore. 

Constantly, and I really mean constantly, I think of how my widowhood must affect my boyfriend. Hopefully it’s less over time, and I think it is, but I know he knows that my last marriage isn’t like the first one where I felt relief with termination. My last marriage ended on a helluva high note. I know Jason knows that I’m solidly in love with him, and not just for now, but I also know that he knows I was in love with Jim. How do I, how do we, navigate that? Me: probably inelegantly. Jason: ever like a champ.

Jim and I weren’t together long enough for our wedding anniversary to sting too hard. This would have been our fourth. I imagine that May 15 will eventually fizzle to a pang of loss rather than a punch in the chest. It’s the actual anniversary of his death that I see as The Big Date that I can’t turn away from.

For now though, at this anniversary, I’m grumpy, not really a pleasure to deal with, fatigued, and just ready for tomorrow.

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