I’m sitting in Starbucks before my counseling session.
So far this morning, I made necklaces of rainbow colored pasta we dyed yesterday with Audrey after breakfast, took the ferry to Manhattan, closed our joint bank account, and called the monument company regarding the sketch of our headstone. It’s 11:09 am. I sigh very loudly and long’ly.
As I walked to the ferry, I thought about how so much of grieving is reviewing- reviewing the days before, leading up to, of, and after your death. So much of it is walking around the same places thinking, we were here then, that day, you went there, you didn’t come back alive. It feels like what you do when you lose something small, like your keys, wallet, a letter or bill. You retrace your steps. I’m usually pretty good at that. I had it here, then the phone rang, so I came over there…and here it is!
Not so this time around.
Even while I sleep, my subconscious mind is reviewing and trying to get to that ending- there he is. But it can’t. Last night I dreamt again of being together with you. As always our complete reunion is always just out of my reach. But in one part of this dream, we sat at Whole Foods with Audrey and two old ladies behind us commented, “What a beautiful family!” That’s when I thought to myself in the dream- “You don’t know, he’s actually dead- it’s actually a horrible tragic family.” In the dream, I’m also fairly certain you were holding a baby- while Audrey sat next to me. We were complete.
At the bank, I sign the last form to close our joint account and look at the banker with tears in my eyes, “Have a great day…” she says as she walks back to her desk in heels and a black suit. As I walk outside, I feel I almost need to sit down on the edge of a building to stop and cry. But I walk slowly on. Here at Starbucks, I call the monument company and speak loudly over the jazzy music playing in here. I ask about the edges of the stone- I can’t tell on the sketch if they’re rough as I requested. I find out the back is polished just because we had the polished border. I didn’t know this- “It looks better that way,” Marie tells me. I ask about the punctuation- turns out they put two commas in the verse, “Be not afraid, only believe,” It should be a period after believe. End of sentence. We also go over the punctuation for the dates of your life. “Yes, that’s a period, ” she says, and then “Oh he was so young! I just realized.”
“Yes, he was. He was my husband,” I reply.
Then I ask about the diamond accents they placed on the sides of C H O to lengthen it- I remember Al saying it’d look too short on the stone. I don’t really think it would- it’s our name. But I ask her what other symbols they have to offer- I know you wouldn’t like those diamonds – neither do I really. She says leaves, rose, infinity symbol. I go with infinity.
I’ll need to see a revised sketch.
While I’m sitting here, I hear back from the pastor I’ve asked to lead the memorial at the cemetery. He will do it.