The days are unbearably painful- it feels like lately my face is wet more than it’s dry. This all happens in between singing rousing songs with Audrey or tickling her. Lately it feels like I walk around with lead weights on my ankles. It is hard to stand up straight or walk quickly.
I liked going over the few strong memories I knew she had of Dan every other morning at breakfast, but she doesn’t want to do it anymore. I asked her this morning if she wants to “remember appa” and she said strongly, “no!” I won’t force anything on her- I just felt when she was older she would be appreciate of the memories. I left the table momentarily and stepped into the kitchen while the tears fell. She will remember what she remembers. This too, like everything else, is mostly out of my hands. I will do what I can.
The nights are unequivocally lonely. I approach month five and it’s much, much quieter in terms of people checking in on me. Most nights I put Audrey to bed and just sit here. Eventually I brush my teeth and read or listen to a sermon online until I’m very sleepy. I have no TV, no distraction, no leisure time- it’s very quiet.
Tonight I chatted with another widow I had crossed paths which many years ago before either of our tragedies occurred. I asked her if the shock ever wore off- “I mean, do you ever feel like this is really your life and this actually happened?” Her answer “no.” She said even ten years later it’s still too much for the mind to comprehend.
She also related to my feeling that there is no continuity between my old life and this strange reality. It feels like the old life- the other life- was happening under a magnifying glass- everything was very small and I couldn’t see anything but the details of my little life. Now if I try to think of that life, it feels like I’m the one holding the magnifying glass. I see more now- not less- but I still long for that miniscule view.
And later in our chat she told me simply, “There are no answers to your questions.” She tells me I am in a very dark valley and to hang on. She also tells me to get a television and start with comedies or TV shows I liked when I was younger. “No Disney movies,” she adds…”They always have the death of a parent.” “True,” I say. I wonder why?
“There are no answers to your questions,” she wrote. There are no answers.
And something else I’ve realized and processed- though I struggle with so many doubts and hopes- what I believe doesn’t ultimately decide Dan’s fate- where he is right now. It’s either true or it’s not. So there’s some relief in that.
In graduate school, I wrote an essay about my faith- and doubt. And at the very end, I said that my doubts were like scaffolding. “I don’t mind them much anymore…one day, I know they will all come off,” was the last line. I was remembering this today- and if this is true-
what a fortress
of immeasurable height
I am building.