On the fourth anniversary of my husband’s death, my lover and I sat on the balcony watching lorikeets swoop from tree to tree. I smoked a cigarette.
‘I’m sorry you had to go though that,’ he said.
‘It’s okay,’ I said. ‘In the scheme of things, it was a the best kind of pain.’
‘What do you mean?’
‘Like when you’re a kid and you rip off a band aid. The pain is short and sharp, but it’s over quickly.’
It seems to me everyone encounters sad, painful and difficult things in their lives. No one is immune. But some pain is long and lingering.
A parent slowly fading away from dementia.
A cancer that grows again after it’s been cut out.
A child you have loved growing inside you, born blue and cold.
The pain that severed my life into two halves came without warning. I didn’t have time to consider alternative futures, or worry about how I would cope. I came face to face with the angel of death without the option of bargaining my way out.
The band aid was ripped from my skin four years ago. The red angry welt that was left has all but faded.
Now, I can go days, perhaps weeks, without remembering.
And that’s the best kind of pain.