Thursday it was sunny again and we had to get of my aunt’s house. We went to the mall and the Phoenix Children’s Museum. At the food court, I got Five Guys burgers for Audrey and I- your favorite. I’m pretty sure there’s even a sticker on your cello case from there. I know you told me there was some special thing to ask for- like some special sauce or something- but I don’t remember what it was. Another lost piece of myself and the larger unit I belonged to. It sounds silly- I know, it’s a burger- but I thought of you there, ordering my burger- and all of the little things and bits of information you carried for me and I for you. I held back tears waiting for our order and filling up my soda cup thinking how we would’ve shared and you would’ve gone back for free refills as you always did. If something was free- you took it.
I started to get anxious about coming home because I’d been away so long and by now I was really worried that the grief would be too fresh when I came home into the empty apartment, on New Years’ Eve no less. I was worried that I’d have forgotten in the time I was away, how I was doing this thing – caring for Audrey and I in our home together- without you- with no real plans for the future and only pain to keep me company after she’s asleep. Kind of like when you return to an office job after vacation. You arrive, stop to think for just a moment before punching in your password on the computer, and wonder what exactly it is you did there.
Like so much during grief, I felt conflicted about returning. It’d be nice to be back in our routine but also hard. It isn’t a comforting thing like it might have been once, “coming home.” It’s something else. It’s coming back to the home we lived in together – the temporary home that is the place of my grieving. The home where your clothes are still in the drawers and your shoes greet me at the door.
It’s a horrible feeling to realize any eagerness to be “home,” will be dispelled as soon as I open up the door and find only our familiar routine amidst emptiness. I have never felt so homeless…I am a vagabond.
The only anchor I find these days are these words though I have to force myself to sit and write them with all of my remaining strength.
They are like my machete in what I find isn’t the “valley of the shadow of death,” but more like a deep, dark jungle.
And they are also like seeds that I plunge below dark soil- hoping to yield some kind of crop though I’m not sure what.