Black Cat, Purple Lights, Separation

Tonight before her bath, since I had to take out the trash and get the mail anyway, Audrey and I decided to go for a quick walk around outside and look for her the moon- which she’s been enchanted with for about a year now.  On our way down the little path in the dark in our complex, a black cat crossed in front of our path.  I’ve never been superstitious, but now this type of thing means even less to me.

We couldn’t find the moon because it was cloudy, but we walked down to the water.  As I walked I relived yet again the morning before the phone call- my walk down the steps in my wet bathing suit with Audrey- how strange it still is that I was teaching your daughter to swim while your body lay in the water.  I take some comfort that we were in the water together- maybe we were even drawn there together.  It is the closest I can get since you were so very far away.

Even though there was no moon, we discovered the lights on the George Washington Bridge were purple tonight- which I have now read is to support gay youth, but it also happens to be Audrey’s favorite color so it was kind of special.  It was a perfect temperature for a walk tonight.

On Thursday the counselor tells me that I’ve got to start working through some of the anger- probably by writing here.  I will do that soon.  I’ve held back, but anger comes out in spurts at innocent people when it’s held in, so I know it’s time to address some of the anger that comes with all of this.

Yesterday a next door neighbor, maybe in her late 70’s, early 80’s, stopped and sat on the bench outside where I was blowing bubbles with Audrey.  She asked me how I was doing and kept repeating, “It’s very hard.” I knew she was a widow but she shared a little bit more with me how her husband was fifty and died suddenly and she had two or three older kids – I forget- and hadn’t worked in twenty years.  She said she eventually wound up as a travel agent and got to travel a lot.  I asked her if she ever remarried and she said no- “There was one fellow I could’ve been with, but then I found out he had lymphoma and I said, ‘No way- I’m outta here.’ ”

This sounds harsh- but I understand what she means- I can’t imagine doing this more than once in a lifetime.

She kept emphasizing how I would go on, “You go on…you go on.”  But I asked her if she ever forgot, and she said, “You never forget.  Never.”

Then I told her that I had hope-  hope of seeing my husband one day again…in heaven.  I don’t think she heard the last part or maybe she just didn’t understand what I was saying, but she paused and then said, “Unfortunately, that never comes to pass…but you go on.”

I wondered how people could live without hope.  How anyone could say that final of a goodbye.  I can not- despite my doubts and questions.

My brother-in-law visited us last weekend- mostly to visit the cemetery plot before he leaves the country on business, but also to see Audrey and I.  I talked a lot about my questions, and said at one point that I just can’t understand, how it could be that great of a separation, that God who is God, can’t throw me something from that next world- some sign, something to grasp onto.  “But that’s exactly it,” your brother said.  “It is that great of a separation.”

1 thought on “Black Cat, Purple Lights, Separation”

  1. There is a Hemmingway passage from Islands in the Stream that has always stuck with me. Thomas Hudson, the protagonist, has just received the news that his two boys have been killed in a car accident. He is on a boat going somewhere.

    "He thought that on the ship he could come to some terms with his sorrow, not knowing yet, that there are no terms to be made with sorrow. It can be cured by death and it can be blunted or anesthetized by various things. Time is supposed to cure it, too. But if it is cured by anything less than death, the chances are it was not true sorrow."

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