I began a new ritual a few weeks ago. On Friday nights both Audrey and I get to take a bubble bath. We take them separately but we both use the California Baby “Overtired and Cranky” bubbles.
I take a glass of wine with me to mine. So grateful for some friends who a few weeks ago came over to cook me a gourmet dinner and brought a few bottles of red wine for me- smaller bottles so that I wouldn’t have a hard time finishing them myself. I nearly cried when the friend explained the reason for the small bottles…both out of gratitude for the extreme thoughtfulness and also out of pain that we will share no more bottles of wine…everything must be sized “for one” now instead of two.
I usually read for a while in my bath and then I start to talk to you without thinking. Tonight I asked you if you knew…at what point did you know you were dying and “this is it…” “Did you know?” I ask, scooping up bubbles onto the bottom of my grandmother’s pink wine glasses.
This week I received a call from your older brother about the complete autopsy report which has finally come in. When he called and asked if now was a good time to talk, I happened to be standing in the exact same spot in the kitchen as when I got the phone call declaring your absence from the world. “Yeah…I can talk,” I said and quickly moved to another room.
I won’t go into details in this private matter, but it’s enough to say there is still no peace…no peace.
The counselor tells me yesterday I am in the “sad” stage now. Because of course, none of this has been sad before…(I’m just being sarcastic- I know what she means, respect her, and agree with her). The depressed part and that it’s a time to rest and recuperate because my body and mind have been through so much. We determine together that I’ve probably been overdoing it just a bit- jumping back into life for the most part, but feeling completely immobilized by 5 pm every day. I tell her about the new sense of profound aloneness and she suggests that’s probably the reason I busied myself with Audrey’s Valentine party. Probably.
I miss talking to you at night Dan. It’s hard to go through a day with a toddler and have no real adult conversation on a normal day- but especially when you’re processing all that I am. I miss our talking at night- and even our silence, as we both did our own thing – in the same room together.
Audrey and I watched some old videos tonight of when she was a “teeny tiny baby” and it was genuinely strange to see you in some of them and hear your voice. It doesn’t feel like you could be dead when I see them. I can understand that you are absent- that I will have to live this day alone- and then I can do that again tomorrow- but I can’t understand the very concept of death.
It was a mild day yesterday while I was in the city and I found my feet taking me towards Central Park. I thought, “Am I really going to go there?” referring to our favorite spot there- the one where we “knew” and the one on our wedding invitation- the one we visited right before I gave birth to Audrey as a final trip there together before our new family member arrived- the old American Elms create a beautiful archway there…but in the end…no, I decided in light of what we’d just talked about in my counseling session, it would just be too much, physically and emotionally- so I would just take the bus back to the ferry. It will come- another time…there will be a lot more warmer weather- and a lot more places to walk- “grief walk,” I start to call it in my mind.
Then I was sitting in the bus watching all of the people walking around, filling up this city…and I couldn’t help but think how very much we live our lives in complete and total denial that we will one day die. People walking with such confidence and in such a hurry- talking on cell phones with such self-entitlement and permanence.
If, I thought, we were all thrown into a big room and told that one by one we’d be killed by a firing squad or hung or guillotined at some point in the next five or ten years, but for certain- wouldn’t our reaction be so different than how we live here? I’m not proposing that we live a morbid life focused solely on death, but it brought me comfort to think what denial we live in and that yes, though my love has gone ahead…we all are going just as certainly.
And here – in this world- we have the element of total surprise too- no one really knows how it will happen- just that it will.
No one gets out of here alive.