by | Jan 26, 2011 | 1 comment

Where to direct the overwhelming anger that comes with your tragic death?  Death.

Where to direct the love that I am so used to giving to you…I don’t know…our daughter I suppose but I don’t want to smother her and it’s a different kind of love.  I have it in excess now.  I got out my guitar and started to write a song a couple weeks ago with lines like this, “I’m going to keep on loving you- there’s nothing that death can do.” I didn’t finish.

We roamed the aisles of Target this afternoon just to get out and an idea I’ve had for a Valentine’s Day party for Audrey materialized before my eyes in all of the cute junk they have there perfectly suited to a toddler Valentine’s Day party.  I left with a giant heart-shaped cookie mold, cupcake platter with heart plates, stickers, foam hearts, small metal mailboxes from the dollar section, plates, napkins, red and pink M&M’s and gummy hearts- among other things.  I haven’t invited anyone to this “party” yet.  It just seems like a good idea.  I’m reaching beyond the survival mode I’ve been in, trying to affirm that we can celebrate for no good reason.  But while I pushed the cart around (with Audrey totally asleep having skipped her nap again), I mostly thought about how you had begun a tradition of buying her a Valentine’s Day present specially picked out by you the last two years.  It was fun for me too because the first time I saw the gift was when you gave it to her.  Her first year you got her a green onesie that said “Happy” in bright letters on the front, a stuffed dog you named Bluptz, and a Korean book of folklore.  Last year you got her a Hello Kitty book on all 50 states, “Figured it’d be educational too and there’s a lot for her to look at,” you told me.  I heartily approved- she loves that book.  When we visited Arizona she commented that she had been to New Jersey, Chicago, and Arizona and was “visiting a lot of states just like Hello Kitty!”  So…yeah, I feel really sad that you won’t be able to continue this tradition.  I felt it was so right, and so healthy for a little girl to receive this kind of affirmation and attention from her father and so happy that you were so into it.  We didn’t have many holiday traditions established yet for Christmas – but this was a tradition we had.  I suppose I will get her a little something, but it’s not the same.  It’s not the same.

Earlier I wrote a colleague who lives in Spain for my freelance job.  We usually correspond in Spanish though mine’s a bit rusty.  We hadn’t corresponded in a long time.  She asked me how I was, “Como esta?”  and I replied, “Mi esposo se murio.” along with a few other lines.  To see it in another language felt harsher and more unbelievable since I’ve been at least growing accustomed to the sound of the words in English.  This was new and ridiculous to reread in my mind.  Mi esposo se murio.

I think I am rewriting the stages of grief for myself.  After shock comes reality.

After reality, just



January 26, 2011

1 Comment

  1. Anne D

    "… but it's not the same. It's not the same."

    No, it's not. I'm so sorry. That other life is a lost world to you now. I realized this when my mother died. She was the one to whom I showed EVERYTHING for entertainment, affirmation, and approval, even in my 40s. She knew why I loved the Boston Camerata concert, the Loren Eiseley essay; why my daughter's drawing of a spider was particularly dear.

    "I have stepped across a threshold into an entirely new world. I can never go back. I miss my old world." Over and over I thought those thoughts as I tried to adjust to the new reality.

    It took a long time, and this wasn't even the loss of my spouse, my life partner, as is the case for you, Julia. I can only imagine the seismic shift you're negotiating and what that takes out of you each and every day.

    I pray for you and Audrey. You are making memories with her now. Keep taking photographs and videos of her, for her.


Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

You May Also Like…

List-making in a Dark Time

List-making in a Dark Time

For any other list-makers out there, I published this on HerStories yesterday.""In this time of quarantine, my lists are offering me space outside of the walls of my home, a way of making sense of chaos, a self-imposed structure on structure-less days, and even a way...

Simple Things

Simple Things

"In our deepest self we keep living with the illusion that we will always be the same." Henri Nowen "It's really very simple," my late spiritual director, Gladys, once said to me. She was talking about how she lived each day, waking up, having a written conversation...

Continuous Living

Continuous Living

"Anxiety turns us toward courage, because the other alternative is despair." Paul Tillich I've claimed "seasonal affective disorder" for years, and that may be so, but I'm starting to realize it's not only summer to fall that is hard for me. It's winter to spring, and...