It’s been difficult. A little bit like in the early days- pretty debilitating. I feel the year pressing in. I feel the days ahead when I can no longer go through the days on a parallel spiral just one spot from “last year” when we did this or that together. When I can no longer say my husband just died or died this past July. Starting in August, I can’t say this past July.
It has been acute. If you’ve seen a baby hurt themselves and then seen that moment or two before you hear an audible cry- when you see their face in that expression of pain and screaming but it is mute- you have to wait a moment before you actually hear the accompanying sounds- this is what I’ve felt like. In the mute part of that scenario when you know, you just know it’s bad.
So this is sorrow. So this is sorrow. Those words have been echoing in my mind a lot. When I was in complete shock and started posting about your death on Facebook of all places (a place I’d never posted or followed before), that was one of the very first things I posted.
The archetype is a trial, perseverance, and overcoming. Cinderella is treated horribly, gets to go to the ball, has one final challenge of getting a chance to prove she was the beautiful girl, and then…she does. She tries on the slipper- and lives happily ever after. That’s a fairy tale- and one which my 2-1/2 year old strangely seems to know already in her heart- but even modern tales are much the same. That is the narrative I’ve spoken of before and what causes all of the questions in this anti-narrative- which I will define as a tragedy.
We had the reverse: magic and wonder and love- challenges…worse challenges. And then death. It defies the archetype. It raises questions. It doesn’t matter to me that my story isn’t over- yours is.
In a similar way, I realize, all prayers I’ve prayed have always been about hoping and waiting. Hoping the sick person will be healed- waiting for you to get the opportunities in music I was praying for with tears. I felt this surge of that kind of prayer like getting dressed for battle rising up in me when I heard the violinist’s voice on the phone and knew immediately you were incapacitated in some way and something was very wrong. I would’ve been praying and fasting, waiting and hoping and crying out. But before I put on the armor, I knew. I was asked if I was driving. I was told to sit down. I knew. The anti-narrative began. I don’t know what to pray when I hear the most permanent words of my life. “Dan is dead. ”
Am I supposed to pray for myself? I am not worried about myself. I am breathing. I am alive. People ask me how they can pray. I have no answer to that.
You were the one who kept our toothpaste tube clean. I am the one who squeezed it from the wrong place and didn’t close it all the way until it got all goopy and hard to close. After you died, I refused to let it get clogged. I would take over the duty. The toothpaste is clogged. It is spilling over into the clear glass cup it sits in along with your toothbrush.
I’ve been spending a lot of time envying those who got to say goodbye to their dying loved one. Isn’t that sad? I know, I know, you’re not supposed to compare sudden death and drawn out deaths. Each death is unique. I’ve read it all. But you know what? Saying goodbye, I’m sorry, I love you…is a gift I wish I had gotten. I consider it a true luxury.