We Sleep With Your Coat

by | Nov 21, 2010 | 0 comments

I just haven’t felt like writing lately.  I have a million painful, inarticulate thoughts throughout the day but the idea of translating them into the English language is overwhelming me lately.

But I will try…I will force it for a bit tonight because I know I’ve gotta keep walking through this thing.  I’ve been distracting myself with my crazy old personality- making giant to-do lists taped to the wall, making more lists of preschools to research and visit, Christmas gifts to buy, things to attend to related to the death .  I have those labeled simply under “death,” (things like buying our gravestone which I’ve yet to do, and dealing with paperwork) and when I mention it to a good friend the other day she thinks I’ve marked my own death on my to-do list.  “You don’t have to do that one honey, it’ll happen,” she says.

So I’ve been shying away from the pureness of the grief I think because I just don’t think I could stand it another minute.  In the four months, I haven’t had one distraction really- no TV in our home to watch, just quiet in our bedroom each night as I sat and cried, or wrote or read or tried to process in some other way.  But even though I try to escape in my to-do lists and projects, the grief is always there…like a massive iceberg just below the surface waiting for the right words or memories to hit before it makes itself fully known.

This morning Audrey held your wedding ring on the chain I wear around my neck and said, “Appa wore this every day…”  It was another occasion for me to make the crying face and feel the crying without making a sound or shedding a tear.  It’s kind of like when your toddler bumps her head and you’re not sure if she’s hurt or not because she doesn’t make a sound for the first few seconds…but it’s there- it’s about to erupt- it’s the silent cry that escalates into the scream.  Except mine doesn’t get to escalate or resolve.

She’s been having a lot of trouble sleeping.  Didn’t nap yesterday, was up a lot last night begging me to sing different songs and stay in her room at two am, and then became the most overtired I’ve ever seen her this afternoon before her nap.  But tonight she went down without a problem- after one thing.

Yesterday after she wouldn’t nap, I brought her into my room where I’d been trying to nap myself and she saw that I’d been sleeping with your coat over me like a blanket.  So, tonight after I sang all the songs and tucked her in, on my way out her door, she asked me for your coat…”Sleep with Appa’s coat!”

So, I laid it over her (despite the fact that it’s pretty heavy and not that soft), and she was content to let me leave.  Then I saw her on the monitor, get out from under the coat, and lay it down and curl up on top of it, hugging it.  That is how she’s sleeping now.  And just now as I wrote that sentence, I literally heard her say, “I sleep with Appa’s coat to remember appa.”  Those are her words, nothing I said to her.

Oh, I wish grief was something you went through and as you did, it was like packing a suitcase with clothes- folding them up, putting them neatly away, and zip, zip, zipping it up.  But it’s more like stretching out clothes that are too small for you, or swimming in clothes that are too big for you, getting accustomed to them, and wearing them like a unique uniform for every day of the rest of your life.


November 21, 2010


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