Funnel It Back

by | Jan 3, 2011 | 4 comments

Our last photo together before you left taken in the basketball court of our building while Audrey ran around.  I keep it on my desktop and look at it a lot.

I loathe signing into this blog lately; it’s like Lewis said in “A Grief Observed” which I finished on the airplane, when you write about your grief, not only do you feel the grief, but you also have to think about grieving.  Why do that to yourself?

I don’t know.

Today we stayed home.  Audrey used miniature clothespins to hang up washcloths on a little line I strung around the living room.  She took little pieces of blue painters tape off of her craft table to put on her roll of paper as fast as I could rip them off to make “art.”  I cut out six pointed snowflakes and she chose where to stick them on our large windows.  I’ve thought to myself a few times since you died that maybe we are all in hell or purgatory already.  But this little girl just doesn’t fit in the picture.

At dinner, I asked her what she wants to be when she grows up and before I could explain what I meant or give her choices, she answered resolutely, “bigger!”

She’s been talking to you constantly since we got home.  Maybe she missed having the chance to connect with you in that way while we were gone- I’ll ask my therapist tomorrow.  She shares all of her food with you and shows you everything she’s doing, waiting for your approval.   “I’m putting snowflakes up Appa, do you see it?”

You are more and more coming down from the “mythical Dan” everyone talked about at the funeral and in memorial letters to “my” Dan.  I see you doing really ordinary things- sitting scratching your scalp giggling at Family Guy.  I hone in on your wallet and glasses sitting on top of your stereo speaker where I placed them.  I actually look down the little hall leading to our doorway expecting you might come in while we’re eating dinner, put your bag down, sigh, and take your coat off, and I imagine that I’ll act just as usual and let all of this just slip away.  Yes, that’s what I’ll do.

The small, the little, the very human things about you are in the foreground now…and it is very painful.  Because it seems the continuity I’ve been searching for between my old life and this one is there- in the mundane and blase.  It comes out in the memories lately too.  I don’t just remember the holidays or the occasions.  I just remember moments.  Like me trying on a sweatshirt of yours (I wear now lying here), and you bragging to me since you got it for a few bucks at a thrift store or Ebay, “Comfy right?”

On the plane ride home, I remembered how we couldn’t get two seats together on the airplane back from a trip to Paris and I was crushed.  We asked an older woman if she would switch but she insisted on an aisle seat so she could use the bathroom- damn old people.  Well, in the end, she felt for us and agreed to the switch.  We wound up talking to her about where she was from- somewhere in Europe and where she and her husband- who I believe was meeting her there- were going to go in NYC.  You drew her a little map and some notes of your favorite restaurants and places in Brooklyn.

Or cutting the snowflakes today- I remember us cutting them last year- and you trying to be more creative in the little shapes you put in them, each of us unveiling our snowflakes proudly and sarcastically knocking the others.

And I remember your smallest features and traits.  I try to walk like you sometimes, but I can’t get it right.  I drag my feet a little bit and point my toes in just a bit and sometimes it feels close.  I think about your body a lot- the archipelago of freckles on your left cheekbone and the way your earlobe felt and your tiny hairs grew in on your chin and above your upper lip- some light brown and the rest thick black stubs.

Yes- slowly- in these human, small moments and details- I see the connection…that was you, and me.  That was us, and this is me now- because you died.  There is a connection between the two lives I bear now.  There it is in the way you danced for our daughter with your arms up shaking both fists.  Yes, that was you.  You were definitely here.

This is real.  I am awake, I tell myself tonight after finishing some freelance work that I just couldn’t concentrate on.

It’s almost as if you have to see a window into a greater reality in something like this to survive- but to get the continuity you have to funnel yourself back into a small container- the one that you were living in before- which was completely valid and all you knew, but yes, very small and contained.  But if you don’t acknowledge it, if you can’t get back there at all, it only seems to negate the intense grief you feel.    But if you take the small moments and details you can break up this massive reality and get it back through the funnel, back through the hourglass to survey the life you once had just one more time.  Ah, that was it.  Only then, when you taste it once more- can you fully grieve the loss.

Today I went into your gmail account which I stopped doing a while ago, but I found you had credit on Skype that was about to expire if you didn’t make a call.  It was over $10 so I figured it was worth it so I was able to reset your password.  But while I was on Skype in my own account, I unintentionally scrolled to the history of calls and found your last phone call to me:

7/5/10 6:15 pm  00:15:29

I wish I could talk to you Dan.



January 3, 2011


  1. Autumn

    oh honey. i feel you. i feel you so much.
    I sometimes scroll through John's last texts to me… which was "I love you so much. I'll be thinking about you."
    it just breaks my heart. 🙁
    you are NOT alone. I am here.
    I love your beautiful descriptions of your husband. they are perfect. i can almost picture him. you can tell you adored him so. keep walking the journey and i will walk next to you.

  2. tina

    I discovered your blog tonight and I can't stop weeping as I skim your entries. I want to hate myself for the millions of times each day I take my life with my husband and 13 month old son for granted.

    You and Audrey are in my prayers tonight.

  3. Victoria

    Thank you for sharing this blog with me and allowing me a small glimpse into what you feel with him gone. You are an amazing mom and your sweet little girl will be so grateful for you and for this memory of her father one day.

  4. YM JK

    the meaning of life is sacrifice and presence, a/k/a love… dan, audrey and you and your stories will always have that effect on you and others…
    for me the wounds are still fresh… in due time… things/life/situation will change… a dynamic process it is… a fair one??? who really can answer that… not me… no answers, but consoling and sharing… that's what we are happy to do with you via your thoughts, your vulnerability, your words, your tears and anguish…
    all the best in the new year,


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