The grief as I near six months is like a vice. It tightens.
I’ve also been feeling nauseous after every meal I eat, and this seems to be getting worse. A friend says maybe it’s acid reflux. Maybe.
I took Audrey to a birthday party yesterday afternoon. I always go imagining it will be fun, and it is…for a while. And then, I become very aware, by the kind words spoken to me, that I am different- and that I have suffered a tremendous loss. There were a few dads there yesterday, and I saw the mother throwing the party whisper some direction into her husband’s ear, and later call to him to get the party favors. I remembered how I used to do that, how I used to have that nonchalant closeness with someone…you.
It was pretty much over anyway when I became very anxious to leave…and as soon as we were outside in the dark, cold night, I let the tears come….slowly carrying Audrey to our car parked down the street. It was dark enough already that I could cry without her noticing. As I buckled her into her seat, tears silently streaming down my face:”Did you have fun?” I try to steady my voice.
A few days ago I had to use your library card to take out some books for Audrey. My parents had accidentally taken my keys with my own library card. And last week I was on your computer downloading a few Christmas songs and used your itunes account. I want to believe I can keep you alive if I use these things in your place. It feels like I’m tricking someone- the library, Apple, – not myself.
Cause I can’t. I know that.
A friend sent you a postcard in the mail saying that they miss you. I hung it in our kitchen.
A few other friends left you messages on FB on your birthday asking you if God is real. That is what I’d like to know too.
A widower you and I knew from our old church called me last week. I’d thought of him numerous times because after his young wife died of cancer leaving him with three young boys, I’d kind of avoid him in church, just not knowing what to say. I baby sat his kids once, gave him Lewis’ “A Grief Observed,” and you and I visited him once after he had hernia surgery- but I mostly felt uncomfortable after his wife died. Everyone in the church had been praying for her healing. Some people were still praying at her funeral which we attended on September 10, 2001- one day before 9/11, hoping she’d rise up from her coffin. You had taken me to visit her in the hospital when we were first dating. You brought your cello because she enjoyed it, but then realized it was too loud to play in a hospital. You later played at her memorial service. She used to like a song that you and I recorded together called “Arms of My King.”
Anyway, he called and I cried and also apologized for being so absent and ignorant during his own time of darkness. He said there was no need to apologize. He told me it’s very hard, but that “Papa,” as he refers to God with his Puerto Rican accent, is a good papa and he’ll take care of me. He told me that for many months he too heard silence, but then he began to have visions of heaven, and dreams in which he saw his wife “and the love and relationship was exactly the same,” he says. “Some people thought I was crazy,” he adds. I do not.
He also told me this: “Julia, the line between heaven and earth…it’s very thin…very thin.”