A local discount store is right across the street from my gym. Every now and then something of value can be found there, so I dropped in to see what I could see. It hit me as I walked in that I had been to this store at this time of year right in the months before Joseph died. He had relapsed and was spending the majority of his days under lock down in the transplant unit due to his severe immune compromised state. I had gone into this store that year and purchased a ton of Halloween decorations and then brought them to the hospital to surprise him. We delightedly turned his hospital room into a creep zone. It is one of my most treasured memories and one of the few in which he was happy while in the hospital. We had fun.
Going into this particular store at this particular time of year used to just bring me to my knees. This time, it was fine. A little bittersweet, a little melancholy, but I actually smiled and enjoyed the good memories that came from that time. I went about my shopping with a little ache in my heart, but nothing too debilitating. As I was walking around though, something happened in my head that literally has not happened in YEARS. I saw something and felt that unconscious prick of "Joseph would love that, wonder how much it is". I came up short right away, but that subconscious urge to pick up something for Joseph startled me. It happened often in early days, of course, right after his death, but faded gradually over time as the permanence of his loss settled in to part of my every day life. I would have though no part of my brain could tease me like that anymore. It was a little shocking. A little sweet. A little sad. It was a weird item too, like blue dyed Cheetos balls or something I can barely remember now. Something that would have amused him for being different. I was always trying to feed him. He got so thin.
So yeah. Ten years later, apparently it can still surprise me. The difference now is that it doesn't derail my day. If anything, it gives me some peace to know he is right here inside me, as real as he ever was. I carry him in my heart.