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.”  

1 thought on “Onslaught”

  1. 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.


Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *