Another paradox, just as I was feeling so tired of living in survival mode all of the time- I am sentencing myself to it for the next month or so. I stock up on paper plates and clean the apartment one more time because I have a feeling the next month or so is going to be very, very hard.
I am taken aback the other day when someone, a believer, asks me, “But it’s getting better right?” The whole time healing thing- it’s a great big lie. I know I’m not the only one who has found this to be true. Unless you push the pain away to survive, rather than numbness or dulling, it’s sharpening that comes- especially around the one year mark when everything must be relived.
It feels like the one year anniversary is the closest that my orbiting life will come to that fixed day- the way the sun is closest to the earth on the perihelion. Strangely enough, in reality, we’ll be at the aphelion here in the Northern hemisphere a day or so before the anniversary of your death- the furthest point from the sun.
I tell Abbie last week on the phone that every night after dinner I look at the dishes in the sink and the kitchen I need to clean up before bath and bedtime and it feels insurmountable. But then every night, I start with one thing- the forks and knives, or packing away the leftovers, and before I know it, the sink is empty and the counters wiped. She tells me this is a great analogy for life itself. This is true- and this is what I must do- one thing.
I am still in the thick of the paperwork I’d been trying to get done before the one year- hoping at least I could leave that behind. But I am surprised by how each “one thing” has so many steps. In order to take your name off our bank account, I must close it. But first I must alert any institutions that automatically withdraw or deposit into that account. Then I must go back to the bank. Close it and open a new account. I need to take your name off of the car title. But first I must get a form notarized, and then take all of the proper paperwork to the DMV. Life insurance was paperwork, setting up a medical appt, the appointment, more signatures, and that first payment. The headstone was a visit to the monument company, a first sketch, a final sketch, sent it back, another final sketch…everything seems to take a lot of energy and patience. But it all gets done- just in lots of little steps. I think the hard part is patiently holding that larger goal in your mind while tackling all of the pieces. This is a lot like life as well- and reminds me of synecdoche and metonymy in poetry- we mustn’t forget what the smaller items represent.
It hits me last night that there is a photograph of me and Audrey- one of my wedding photo and one of Audrey and I in matching cream sweaters in the fall, tucked inside a suit pocket- six feet under the ground.