Guest of Honor

by | May 26, 2011 | 1 comment

I have been overwhelmed- too overwhelmed to write much here that would be coherent.

Audrey and I both have colds.

I found out a few weeks ago my landlord whom Dan and I subletted our apartment from is selling it.  We’d have to move by the end of the summer- so close to the one year anniversary which I am quite sure will be incapacitating for me.  I got the email from him while Audrey and I were in Whole Foods eating lunch one day and tears ran down my face as I continued talking and laughing with her after reading the email on my phone.  Not because I’m averse to moving in itself- though it is stressful, especially with a toddler at your heels.  More so because of the emotional issues tied in here.  This place is the context Audrey has for her memories with Dan.  She sits in his chair in the kitchen and says, “I’m gonna sit on Appa’s chair to remember him.”  Even if I bring the same table and chairs somewhere else, I don’t know which side would be his necessarily.  She also climbs up into the chair at his desk where he worked on music and smiles.  She still remembers looking out the windows waving at him below when he came home from work.  The other emotion is for me- leaving our last home together- packing up his clothes- still in our shared dresser.  I try to look on the positive side- maybe Audrey can get a nice, real room.  Maybe we can have a pet- you can’t in our building.  Maybe it’ll be great.  Maybe this is the push forward I need. Yeah.   Still- there’s something about not having the choice myself- being forced to let a realtor come in and look around our apartment- that feels grim.  Then there’s the fact that I’m not sure where to go or if we can afford much in this area- but again, I’m loathe to move somewhere totally different.  I need the routine and comfort of familiar places right now.  Audrey is signed up for preschool nearby and I’ve already placed a large deposit there and am happy with the choice- so that also limits us.

I’m starting to put together a memorial for July 6, 2011.  I can’t grasp it yet.  People have been telling me I’ll be reliving those early days, but the truth is, I relive them every single day.  I think about it that often- the phone call, where I stood, the way the voice on the line sounded as he spoke the words- the screaming I heard coming out of my mouth while my soul hid and Audrey stood watching.  I think about it a lot.  What will this year be like?

This time last year we were taking Audrey on her first airplane ride together as a family.  We were accompanying Dan to a concert in Chicago and staying with some cousins of his.  If I allow myself, I can pretend I am in that time period now- getting ready for my first plane ride with a baby, borrowing an umbrella stroller from another mom, finding out about airplane regulations, getting ready…it is all so vivid.

One of our last days there, you walked to a nearby pub in the neighborhood where your cousins have built a beautiful house- but the neighborhood is one of those that is “up and coming.”  You went to take out burgers for our lunch- I waited in the large house with Audrey staring out the windows.  Would you believe that I was afraid for you?  That I thought something might happen or that you might…even die?  I waited anxiously and called you a number of times when it took a while but you didn’t answer.  You had been attacked years earlier in the subway so maybe that’s why I worried- I don’t know.  Then I heard the door unlock and you appeared with a burger and sandwich.  We ate them and you commented on how good yours was.

That is what I can’t get over.  If it’s normal for every wife to worry that her husband might die at any moment, on any given day?  Because I did.  When your mom came in from Korea for Audrey’s one year birthday party, you were going to drive to JFK to pick her up, but I convinced you maybe you should just take public transportation- which you did- to your mom’s dismay.  I wasn’t sure you knew the way and the airport drive seemed intimidating to me for someone who had lived in the city most of his life.   When you finally got home that night,  I stood up here watching your mom lecture you outside on the street at 11 pm.  When she came in she was miserable and I apologized saying you should’ve driven.  But the truth was, I was afraid you might die.  But how could I say that?  I envisioned it all in the short moment when I said, “Maybe you should just take the bus,” I envisioned getting a call- the night before Audrey’s dohl party – that something horrible had happened.  I couldn’t let it happen.

But it did.  Just ten months later.

All of this makes my brain sputter when I try to comprehend it.  And since only I have all of these experiences and thoughts that I carry inside- it is extremely isolating.

I remember when I began this blog, just a week after burying my husband, I literally thought- I am going to implode with pain if I don’t do something- what can I do?

But the past few days, I just feel like I am crumbling and there’s not much writing can do for that.

I have started to plan July 6th.  A short service at your grave in the morning- a dinner/gathering- some music- in the evening in the city.  I gather up any energy I have left to try to pull all that together- to get to do something again for you- to be your wife again- to please you and make you happy- as if you’ll arrive as the guest of honor- but you won’t.  You won’t.


May 26, 2011

1 Comment

  1. V

    I worry all the time that my husband will die. And reading your story here made me fear it even more. Julia, I'm sorry.


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