The very same thing that brings me joy…Audrey…is the very same thing that prevents me from even coming close to reconciling your early, sudden death.
I look at old videos of her right after you died and see the dramatic difference. I recall how she was just starting to say two syllable words when you left. We were reading a book- the three of us- on our bed when she said her first two syllable word (her now favorite color), “pu pul” and we quickly turned and smiled at each other in excitement. It is so easy for a mother who spends each day, 24 hours a day, with her child, to forget how much her child has changed. It almost seems as if she was always this way. But all it takes is a video or photo even, or maybe seeing a friend’s younger baby- 20 months- to realize the changes that have taken place in this short time since you’ve left us. “She was that young when you died?” I think looking at a friend’s baby. She was a different child.
And this I cannot reconcile. My counselor had told me to try to incorporate the things you brought to me into my own thought life- she asked me what you would have said to me now, in this situation. I tell her that you would have been absolutely full of sorrow.
Sometimes I have to remind myself that you only got to be with Audrey for 20 months. You will miss her entire life. You never got to hear her say she loved you or sing a song. You never saw her jump. Lately the things she does are so beautiful to me, I am tortured by the fact that you are not here for me to share them with. Only you would feel the awe and delight that I do. Only you would share the pride and sweetness of watching her grow into a beautiful little girl. It is very lonely watching this without you Dan.
Today at lunch Audrey is eating sweet potato fries and I start to think, as I often do, about the fact that you have died. “Appa died,” she says- as if my thoughts are visible in the air that hangs between us at that table. “He can’t eat french fries anymore…” “He died…”
If it was just me here, I think, maybe, I could see the “opportunity for growth” and accept our fate. But this, I just cannot reconcile. I don’t know what you felt, or knew, and I must carry the weight of all three of us- my sorrow, your tremendous loss of being with your daughter, and our daughter’s loss. Father’s Day approaches and I feel it coming…I’ve felt it for many months. It will be the toughest day of the year for me.
I think part of the searching for the narrative, for symbolism, part of the puzzling you do in the earlier days, is because you want to believe, that somehow this isn’t utterly and plainly WRONG- so you search and read and think and ruminate. You are looking for meaning in the meaningless- for Truth in the absurd.
It’s a shallow, child-like search of desperation.
When you reach the bottom…yes- meaningless- yes, WRONG- yes- absurd-