It’s over three months now and a strange thing is happening- I’m starting to relive the trauma of those very early days starting with July 6th. I think it’s because much of the shock and fog is dissipating- though the world still feels completely changed and utterly surreal- and I am reflecting on the sheer trauma of receiving a phone call like that.
When I stand in the kitchen where I picked up my cell phone off of the counter, I hear the words, “Hi Julia, this is K. Can you talk? Are you driving? ” “What the fuck happened…” was the very first thing I said. And I just kept repeating it as he asked me if I could sit down.
I hate to leave our home behind and want to reinforce memories of Audrey, but these memories, I would like to leave behind just a little. Not walk that path ever again from the kitchen to the couch where I sat down and screamed, “I’m a widow at 34! We were going to have another baby? What am I going to tell the little girl standing here looking at me right now!” That memory I would like to leave- but I’m afraid it’s emblazoned in my psyche like it was burnt on wood by the sun through a magnifying glass.
I’ve also recalled the sound of the deep sobs of your mother when your parents called me after your brother told them. “Julia…” she sobbed. It was a horrific thing to hear your mother sob like that. And that is mostly what we both did- sob, before hanging up the phone.
Most of those early days though, area blur of people coming in and out- sleeping over. I am amazed now at the mental clarity and sharpness I had or was given the very day you died. The vision that I had for the funeral- to have photos, flowers, a memorial book for Audrey created- the foresight- how was I thinking of those things? I knew ESPN should write a memorial to you- that would please you…it felt like I did that a few days after you died, but I recently discovered my email to your editor at Soccernet, at around 5 am the morning after you died. I was up that entire night- unable to sleep at all, and decided to go ahead and start getting things done. I wanted it published before the funeral so it also could be framed for all to see. I wanted so badly to honor you in every way I knew how. But the sharpness of my thinking is somewhat mysterious to me.
I think often also, of the walk up the church aisle to see your body, of your brother telling me just at the beginning, “Brace yourself.” Of the your mother in front of me, also supported on either side, as we both staggered up with loud moans and cries. “Peace, peace,” were the strange words that came out of my mouth as I comforted her once I saw the body- “He is not here.” I was surprised myself to hear those words and it was almost as if they came from someone else. “Peace, peace. He is well.”