Someone close to you passes and for you, time stops. At first it doesn't seem real. Days pass and you wait for him to walk in the door, set the duffel bag on the table and greet all the dogs. You pass by the recliner he used to sit in and stare at it for an unknown period of time. You try not to touch or disturb anything in the house. You brush your fingers along a dresser and begin to feel the burn. You muster the courage to use the shampoo in the shower. You wipe up the bathroom counter from a graceful toothpaste moment and see the beard shavings embedded and again stare at it for an unknown amount of time. You begin to realize how often you collapse into tears, your gut wrenching. You know you're not the only one hurting, but it does nothing to help. You build a wall when you leave the house so you can answer the questions without breaking down. You go back to work and stare at your desk not comprehending what you're supposed to do, how you're supposed to do it, you're not the person that you were before. You force yourself to sit down and relearn how to live. You get married, you automatically think how you can't wait to show him the ring, you cringe and know exactly what he would have said, the gestures that would have accompanied the words and the little smile that would have meant more than anything else. You finish the shampoo bottle off and stare at it a while before putting it gently into the trash. You begin to clean, to organize with some resistance yet a push from the logical financial part of your brain that tells you you can't go on owning two residences for very much longer. You begin with the bedroom and the first night back in your old comfortable bed you don't sleep and almost go into the spare bedroom to sleep on his bed, you wake up in the morning and feel disoriented. The next night you hoist the dogs up onto the bed with you. Then the bathroom... then you need a dance space and you begin to paint and remodel your husbands old room, a room that has seven years worth of memories in it... most of which you remember with a little smile. The dogs look at you from the hallway like you're crazy making so much noise and commotion. You read a section out of your yoga book that has to do with emotional health and begin crying as they break down the anatomy of the brain and tell you which part of the brain controls what; you cry because you already know. You curl up in that old recliner and stare at the blank tv. Life is moving forward, you leave town for a belly dance event and heal a little at seeing all of the smiling faces and at receiving so many hugs and making new friends and they have no idea how much it means to you. You come home with a new energy... you laugh, boil eggs in the kitchen and talk to your mom on the phone. Your husband comes home and surprises you with a mirror he managed to get for free for your dance room. You go to sleep hugging him like a lifeline... you read a poem and it gives you courage to fall asleep and face the next day. A little happier with life for the gift of having him in it, even though you wish it had been for a longer period of time.