The trees are naked. I felt that way too. It was as if the end of the year had taken with it all my defenses and left me bare to the cold wind of  winter.  It was my first winter and first year without John.  There was no longer a warmth at my back at night.  There was no longer anyone who had my back.  I had taken to turning on and leaving on the electric blanket on John’s half of the bed so that I could pretend   someone was still there.  However, I had stripped the closet bare of his things and bundled them up and donated them along with most of the Christmas ornaments.  I wasn’t sure  if I would ever celebrate Christmas again.

I had spread all of my wardrobe out so the closet looked full.  But I could not cover up the emptiness in my heart that easily. Emptiness was the only thing I felt these days.  I was sure there would be pain later, lots of it, but for now there was only blankness, numbness.  I sleepwalked through my days when I wasn’t actually sleeping.  When John was here I had trouble sleeping.  The least little thing kept me awake or awakened me.  Now I couldn’t wake up.  I was like a bear hibernating.  I think I thought if I didn’t wake up, John would still be alive. And besides sleep was when we were together.  I saw him most nights.  Some
nights were wonderful, loving…And I awoke with a warm glow, looking for him, listening for his step on the stairs, his key in the door.  Other nights we argued, quarreled violently—behavior we had never
displayed in life.  On those mornings I awoke horrified, exhausted.  I wanted to find him, to apologize.  I didn’t care who was right, who was wrong--not that I was sure what we had argued about anyway—but I just wanted to get past it, past the disharmony so that we could go back to the good times.

My friends called, they came round, but if I was in bed, or in my pajamas, I didn’t answer the phone or the door.  And I was in my pajamas most of the time.               



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