I feel like taking a departure from my usual verbosity tonight. I think because I’m tired and it feels right for my writing to reflect that. Audrey’s been up all night for the last few days with a bad cold coughing and gagging- it’s a horrible thing to hear.
Yesterday I held a small garage sale with her baby gear and toys at my parents’ house. It was my first garage sale so I really had no idea what I was doing. Dan and I had a stoop sale once. Remember that? In Brooklyn, whatever you don’t manage to sell, you leave out while you go back upstairs to your apartment and in about 12 minutes, you look out the window and it’s all magically gone.
I imagined that if you were alive, I still might have had the idea to have a garage sale- though we probably would’ve saved quite a bit of the baby gear for another child, had we been so lucky to conceive again. So I imagine you there with me today while I sit out there mostly alone while my parents watch Audrey. I think about how everything seemed easier, less intimidating together- with someone. How even sitting behind a table of stuff with you would’ve been fun. We would’ve joked- we would’ve drank coffee together. Would’ve would’ve would’ve.
Missing someone in grief feels like the greatest thirst of your life. Today I keep imagining the refreshment and life it would bring if you suddenly appeared- walked in a room. I talk to you throughout the day, just short thoughts aloud like, “I miss you.” and “Hey- I love you” into the air wherever I happen to be.
Seeing a few neighbors I grew up across the street from I haven’t seen since your funeral confirms it – by the look in their eyes when they ask me how I’m doing, I know it’s true- you are dead. I always feel a bit disappointed when I meet more people and they also seem to know. It doesn’t seem real. It doesn’t still.
Being at my parents is draining- it’s probably the place we spent the most time at over the course of 11 years- weekends there when I lived at home, holidays, five months as a new family after Audrey was born. I feel at any moment you’re going to walk in a room. Any moment.
I thought about marriage and how in it, another person shapes you. We learned in therapy that marriage is the place in which you work out all of your childhood wounds. So quite often, you marry someone who really pushes your buttons and aggravates all of those wounds. This is so they can heal. I found this to be more than psychology, but quite true actually. You shaped my whole adult life, and as a result- shaped me. If I had not met you, I’m not sure I would’ve recorded an album of music or played at any venues in NYC, or lived in Brooklyn. Most likely, my entire life would have been different based on that one day- if for some reason, we hadn’t met. Perhaps I would’ve escaped this pain- but then I would have missed you. In the earlier days someone asked me that question- would you trade your time together to escape the pain? I thought hard and decided that no, I wouldn’t give you up. Later, the pain sharpened and I had to think even harder about this question. The answer is still no.
Together we created three people- not just Audrey- but you and me. I was raised by my parents and crafted in marriage by you.
It occurs to me the other day that in high school we had to write where we’d be in ten years for some book that got printed out senior year. I said that in 2008 I’d be engaged to be married and finishing graduate school. Both were true. I didn’t realize in fifteen years I’d be a widow.
Getting rid of stuff. Watching families come and buy Audrey’s baby bottles and toys- it’s hard. And you might think getting rid of things is even harder when you’ve lost so much- they’re all you have to tie you to the past life you lived. But in another way, before someone is gone, you might think those things are important. But once they’re gone, you realize holding on to those remnants doesn’t matter as much- they’re still gone. Dan’s gone- Audrey’s not a baby like she was when he died- and none of these things- will bring me back
in space or