It doesn’t seem fair at all that I am living this nightmare and still have to have actual nightmares while I’m sleeping about alternate scenarios or ways you might have died. Last night/early this morning I dreamt that you were for some reason sentenced to death by lethal injection. Friends and family had all gathered to watch for some reason, but I could not. There was a final goodbye between you and I. One that we didn’t have in real life.
I got up when Audrey cried out and brought some of her toys into the bathroom so I could shower while she played. I thought as I quickly washed my hair, “This is me loving you now,” getting up every morning, breathing, going on for our daughter- and for me- because you loved me too.
I have changed Audrey, gotten her dressed, fed us both, and we will walk to the library class soon. I stretched her arms out this morning above her head and remembered how you used to stretch her almost every morning when you were home. Just as I thought of that, she remembered too…”Appa…” she said.
It is also not fair how it takes a person’s death for you to realize certain things- about the relationship, about yourself, about the other person. I can liken it to when you see your child growing from infant to toddler to young child every day- so you just don’t notice the changes as much. Other people you haven’t seen in a few weeks or a month exclaim, “Oh wow- look how long her hair got!” or “She got so much taller!” But no matter how hard you try, you won’t see it that way. From time to time you might look at old photos or videos in disbelief, “She sounded like that? I don’t remember that.” Time affords a distance and perspective that you simply can not conjure up in the present no matter your efforts.
And now death- the great chasm, has afforded me that rich and horrid perspective. I see things about you Dan, that I never noticed before. I see how we changed and grew over eleven years of trials and celebrations. It’s like when you get an eye exam and the Dr. keeps changing lenses to get closer to your prescription…”Is this better…or…this?” And you tell him which image is clearer…”Um…the second one.” But in this case- the cosmic death lens is one which you’ve never seen before- through which you see accuracy and color and depth you never knew existed. You sit with perfect vision, in awe- neck stretched out, chin resting on vinyl cushion, no longer straining-