This morning I asked Audrey if she wanted to color you a Valentine heart. The therapist had mentioned that although I am doing a lot of memorial projects for her, it would also help her to do her own…both now and later when she’s older and I can show her how she grieved- even at this young age. So I took a photo of her coloring a paper heart. She’s also into writing letters and leaving them in the play mailbox I gave out at her Valentine party so I asked if she wanted to include a letter. She scribbled and told me it read, “Dear appa, I want you to come play with me. Written by Audrey.”
Then we tied it to a heart shaped balloon leftover from the party and I grabbed it on our way out to the parking lot and the car for a play group. I know it’s cheesy and she might take it literally- but I told her we were sending that balloon to you. “Not that appa lives in the sky…” I feebly tried to explain.
“Let go…” I told her.
We watched the heart shaped balloon sale up so quickly into the sky even though it’s a few days old. It headed straight towards the sun…so much so that we couldn’t follow it with our eyes- it was too bright.
Now because you’re further and more cut off from me, the little things I remember are shocking in how they bring me back to my old life. They cause a ripple in my brain, an excitement…not just “Oh yeah, I remember that time…” but “Yes! I recall that life…”
Tonight while bathing Audrey I was saying something that included the word brain when a little tune popped into my head I certainly haven’t thought of since before you died. These are the most powerful- music, scents. They have no intermediary to pass through- the way thoughts go to words and to understanding. Instead they go straight to the core.
Anyway, this is rather silly, but it was this song to a cartoon called “Pinky and the Brain.” If you were here I’d have first asked you, “What is this tune I’m humming?” because I couldn’t remember at first…then it came back to me. I think you had been watching that on Hulu or something and I’d never heard of it. You told me about it and then I couldn’t get that theme song out of my head. So we both went around for a week or so going, “Pinky and the brain…pinky and the brain.”
Having that silly melody back in my head…the way it transported me back to my old life- eight or nine months ago- but a lifetime ago- before I was a widow- when I was just a wife and mother just starting out…it was almost unbearable. Because these memories now are so sharp…so jarring…they bring the continuity – “Yes, that was my life…that was the same me…only I was with you. I wish I could explain it better in words, but I really cannot. It is something that is mostly felt and very mysterious.
That balloon this morning headed straight towards the river…and high up into the sun Dan. It’s surreal how you too are getting so far away now…sailing away- out of my reach forever. When we came back from the play date to our parking lot where’d we’d released the balloon, Audrey looked up in the sky for the balloon asking me, “I wonder where our balloon went?”
“Far, far away…” I tell her. Far, far away.
Oh Julia, you are gifted with words. And images/metaphors. I am so sorry for this that you must go through alone.