Two years ago this June, the light went out of my world forever.
Well, that isn’t exactly what happened, but it is how it felt at the time. Sam had been ill for nearly 2 years, and although you keep hoping for just one more month, one more week, and eventually one more day, you know the day will come when you have to say goodbye.
The last few weeks were a rollercoaster of emotion, terminating in that terrible emptiness when you know there’s nothing more you can do, other than cling to that belief that there is something beyond this life, and that you will be together again.
But that isn’t what this post is really about.
I updated my Favourites playlist at Spotify a couple of weeks ago. It’s something I do from time to time. Some songs are added, others are removed, and some are permanent features. And I found myself listening to If You Came Back from Heaven by Lorrie Morgan.
It wasn’t the first time I’d listened to it since Sam died, but it was the first time I listened to it without crying. It was the first time I was able to just enjoy it as the beautiful song it is, as I always had done since the first time I heard it back in the late 90s. Over the next few days it kept coming up (the playlist is about 10 hours long, so the same song doesn’t usually repeat often), and I kept stopping what I was doing to listen and smile when I thought of Sam.
Then, one day, I found myself imagining what would happen if he did come back, if he was the same adoring, demanding, difficult Sam as he always had been. How would I manage, with 2 dogs and 5 cats, and 2 of the cats constantly competing for the spot on my lap? That had always been Sam’s spot, and it was the spot he would immediately claim. There was also the little matter of him not liking other cats very much – competition for my attention; I don’t think so – and not having any particular fondness for dogs either.
And then I realised I’d manage, because that’s what I always do, because that’s what I’ve always done.
And I hope God knows, if He let you go, I’d never send you back.
Damn right, I wouldn’t.
And then I considered (again) the possibility that he has already come back. I see glimpses of him in Jimmy and Zack. In Jimmy’s need to be close to me, in Zack’s demands for what he wants right now. And I see him often in Pepsi’s sweetness and softness … and craziness. And I know she’s not the Dalai Lama, but from the moment Pepsi arrived, she’s been claiming Sam’s possessions. Sometimes it’s by default, like the tub with the pink lid that I use to store the food she’s saved for later. Other times, it’s because she chose them, like the red blankets from Primark.
But should I really be surprised to see Sam in so many places? I’m a pantheist. I believe that indefinable something that people like to call God is everything, and everywhere, and everyone. We might be able to isolate our awareness to this one moment – right here, right now – but we are so much more. We are infinite, and special, and divine, and the ones we love are always with us.