I am so angry at you lately.
It’s the only way I have of holding on to you. It feels familiar. As if it’s not a tragedy and something you had no control over, but something like not putting your socks in the hamper.
You really did it this time…I want to say. Can I be angry now? Am I overly fearful now? I hold on to you this way- because…well, I am having trouble holding on…lately.
The grief feels suddenly dark and complex- cluttered. It’s at a new angle…a whole other facet of reality. Now I get it- again. You were the one- it was you, standing holding my right foot while I pushed out our child. That was you…it was you who held me under the Brooklyn Bridge, hair blowing, when we first fell in love and couldn’t keep our hands off of each other. you- the one who tuned my guitar and played piano while I sang. You are gone. I’m awake.
When will I hit the bottom, I always wonder. Today I come up with a new analogy: it’s like when I was little and liked standing on the arm of our seven foot orange couch and falling backwards onto it. That sinking feeling you get as you fall…because your body knows you’re not supposed to be doing that. It’s like I am in that position but not hitting the couch- for nine months now.
I am ready to buy your headstone.
I tell a young widow a few years out how I’m feeling while we chat online and she can only reply “It sucks.” There’s nothing else to say. She already knows this. Someone who hasn’t had her experience might try to offer me words. I would eagerly receive them.
I tell her that I hate all of the memories of things that play in my head- how we joked about life insurance and how you told me “next time you should marry a doctor or a lawyer,” because of the tension your music career always caused. “Next time, yeah right,” I’d say.
“Everything is colored a different way now,” the friend online tells me. She’s right- that’s really all it is. Those things weren’t really so horrific at the time. They are now.
I sit here now in bed in the exact spot I sat when I told you I didn’t want to be a “pregnant widow” when were discussing trying to get pregnant before you left. I see you before me, standing still, looking at me with surprise. I too was surprised at my statement. I want to tell you now…it’s true. It happened. But I was not a pregnant widow. Though secretly, I have selfishly wished I was a few times- so I would not lose that too.
A new friend (and older widow) tells me she and a few others were talking about how affected they were by my situation and the “daunting task of raising Audrey alone.” This is the first time I’ve thought of it this way. I wish she hadn’t said that.
I try to comfort myself- all the big days coming up: my birthday, mother’s day, father’s day, your death, and our anniversary. I tell myself I’ve done most of these myself before anyway.
Last year you were away for both my birthday and mother’s day. “I’m just telling you,” I’d written you in an email- “you better do something.” I’d learned by then you couldn’t read my mind and I’d better be clear that I expected something for these days.
I haven’t celebrated our anniversary with you since 2008- even though you died in 2010. You were away in 2009 and then were buried the day before our 6 year anniversary- though you would’ve been away again anyway. You said you hid little gifts around the apartment for me.
I’ve never found them.