Today I took Audrey for a swimming lesson.
Wearing the same swimsuit I wore when I picked up the phone and heard the words.
I think I dreaded it unconsciously all day.
It was eleven months. After turning our little wooden perpetual calendar to six, I turned the whole thing around so I couldn’t see it.
I dropped off some books that were due at the library, I went with the affidavit for spouses of deceased spouses for removing Dan’s name from our car title to the UPS store to get it notarized. I certify that I, insert name, was married to the deceased, insert name, who died on, insert date. Stamp. Emboss.
A few tears streamed nonchalantly down my face as I paid the five dollars and walked out with Audrey’s hand in mine. One more check on the grand to-do list.
We head to Trader Joe’s to do some shopping.
Then, a package at home- the unedited video from your funeral from a pastor friend who took it for me.
I can’t seem to get away from the tasks and chores of losing you.
Instead of feeling weighed down today, I feel enraged. Irate.
By afternoon, I don’t think I can manage going to the swimming lesson. It’s at a complex nearby where some moms I know hire a teacher to come. It’s convenient and non-commital; I should go.
But the thought of taking my bathing suit out of the bag I had carried with me to the swimming pool here last year on July 6th and putting it on, is too much. Why, I think, why didn’t I buy a new one time for today! I think of all the widow advice to be kind to yourself and only do what you can handle. Maybe I’m doing too much.
But while I heed this advice often, somehow I know this is a lie and I’ve got to push through today- I will do this. I will go. I drive down the busy road to the complex in my bathing suit repeating to myself, “Don’t think, just don’t think. Be a robot. Be a robot.”
We walk around passing three other wrong pools before we find the one where the lessons are being held. Audrey is excited and eager to get into the water.
When it’s time for the lesson, we get in. The pool’s heated and the water’s warm even though it’s shaded. It feels good. She kicks and floats and jumps from the side of the pool exactly as she did last year. I revel in her smile of delight. It is fun.
We walk back to the car and the rage is gone.
The shackles are off.