It's when I'm lying in bed, after I've put aside my book and turned off the light, after I've nestled into a comfy, warm place under my duvet, after I've let go the busy thoughts of the day just ended and the day to come...
That's the time when I feel Chris' absence most - the time of day when we would talk quietly of our day, of little adventures and grand plans, of trivial disagreements and stubborn holdouts, making up stories to fall asleep by; the time when we would snuggle together and kiss, have tickle fights, make love, and drift into deep dream-filled slumber nestled against each other.
That's the time when the ice-water shock of Chris' death hits me afresh once again; when the horror film video in my mind plays out the memories of the moments of his passing from alive to dead. It still shocks me, lying there in the darkness - remembering, re-living his re-dying. It awes me, to try and grasp the enormity yet the utter minuteness of his heartbeat, his pulse, his breath suddenly stilled - forever - beneath my fingers. And he was gone. So ridiculous, so unreal, and so agonizingly painful.
Like vertigo, I sometimes feel myself being pulled inexorably down into the dark vortex of that morning's memories where Chris is still so close to being alive - where he was living only moments earlier - and the possibility of his recovery still seems real. But that is a painful, futile path that only leads to the past where Chris lives but where I cannot. It's a place I have to pull myself back from, as enticing as it may be.
And so the moment passes and the tears dry on my pillow, and I fall asleep and dream of tomorrow.