Onslaught

by | May 11, 2011 | 1 comment

I imagine grief like an old-fashioned corset that one can’t wait to break free of.

Or like the REM sleep paralysis one experiences when she is sleeping and dreaming a terrible vision but can’t move her body or open her eyes to stop it- though she tries with all of the strength in her.
It is still common that I have a vision of something so mundane- like you clipping your finger nails over a magazine (your usual practice), or your cello swinging on your arm, or your clothes in the hamper- that I experience your death completely afresh.  I gasp and words come out of my mouth aloud, “Oh my God.”  
It is still common that I stop what I’m doing in the evening and look towards our door, concentrating my energy on the knob.  I stand for a moment.  It seems completely possibly that you could indeed open it.  …   
“OK, Audrey, time for your bath.”  I turn away.  
I count through the months of the year the other day to see how many months I am actually free of the “holidays” and “anniversaries” that everyone says are so painful.  And I find they are- the days leading up, the days afterwards, and the day itself.  I find only October and March are void of any huge dates besides the date of your death.  That’s a lot of holidays and anniversaries.  It’s an onslaught really.  I’m right in the thick of the tail end right now- made it through our anniversary, Audrey’s birthday, your birthday, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years’, Valentine’s Day, my 35th birthday, Mother’s Day.  There are three huge dates left: Memorial Day- the day we met- 1999, Father’s Day, and the year anniversary of your death.  It approaches.  So soon.  While I am still processing the phone call and all that it means.   In between all of these days, I am always speaking into the air, “I love you…”  As I walk behind Audrey’s stroller to the park, after she’s asleep and I sit on the kitchen floor in the dim evening light with my head in my hands, or while I lay on my bed watching old episodes of “Arrested Development”- a show we enjoyed watching together and laughing sometimes- yes, even laughing.  “I love you…”  “Sah rahng hae.”  
And then what?  It starts over again.  Another year- but a quieter one when most will assume I’m now “well,” because “time heals.”  
A photo of you comes up on my computer earlier.  “One day you’re going to look very young to me,” I tell you. 
“Like a boy.”  

JAC

May 11, 2011

1 Comment

  1. Anonymous

    I am a complete stranger, but I am drawn to your writing and to the grief you so bravely publicize. I have been moved to tears by your honesty and heartbreak. You are an inspiration to me. Keep at it, sister.

    Jennie

    Reply

Submit a Comment

Your email address will not be published.

You May Also Like…

List-making in a Dark Time

List-making in a Dark Time

For any other list-makers out there, I published this on HerStories yesterday.""In this time of quarantine, my lists are offering me space outside of the walls of my home, a way of making sense of chaos, a self-imposed structure on structure-less days, and even a way...

Simple Things

Simple Things

"In our deepest self we keep living with the illusion that we will always be the same." Henri Nowen "It's really very simple," my late spiritual director, Gladys, once said to me. She was talking about how she lived each day, waking up, having a written conversation...

Continuous Living

Continuous Living

"Anxiety turns us toward courage, because the other alternative is despair." Paul Tillich I've claimed "seasonal affective disorder" for years, and that may be so, but I'm starting to realize it's not only summer to fall that is hard for me. It's winter to spring, and...