I am still rounding the bend, but I can feel it. There is an end to this writing approaching. Every writer sees the end of their project when they are only at the beginning and perhaps this is why I wrote as well. The abrupt truncation of our family has no end- but these words will. Maybe there is some solace in that.
Someone I’ve met only once at church but knows my situation through a mutual acquaintance asks me in the elevator yesterday, “But it’s getting easier right?” “Well, no I wouldn’t say ‘easier.’ I definitely wouldn’t choose that word. Different…it changes and evolves.”
Don’t ever ask someone if it’s getting “easier.”
These days I think I am hungry and I’ll go get myself something sweet or savory as a treat in the kitchen. But then when I get there, nothing is appealing. Especially chocolate- something I used to relish. Instead, I am perpetually thirsty. For iced coffee, iced tea, lemonade, any drink with flavor really. Perpetually thirsty.
The other day something caused me to utter a few words (which I now sadly already forgot) that I realized I hadn’t uttered since I’d said them to you. You see, when you lose a spouse, you lose an entire vernacular. Think of all of the things you speak to your spouse that you don’t say to anyone else.
In a kids clothing magazine I see a t-shirt with the words “I MISS U” in big letters. I seriously ponder wearing something like this for quite a while. I say these words aloud all of the time, sometimes nonchalantly, sometimes whispered, sometimes crying. I might as well wear it.
No, I am not thinking clearly lately.
There is the dejavu that I’ve been having so much lately. Nothing extraordinary will happen and suddenly I’ll have the memory that I have dreamt this scene before and even told you about it- was it in our first Brooklyn apartment maybe? “I’m in an apartment with our child but I somehow know that you’ve died. It was horrible.”
There is the feeling constantly that I’m wearing sunglasses with fingerprints all over them and just can’t see reality clearly.
There is the realization that I loathe anything swiss made- even swiss cheese? I almost can not let Audrey get a scooter that is designed by the Swiss for her birthday because of this. A friend asks me, “What about IKEA?” I remind her that’s Swedish. It’s a joke. We laugh in our email exchange, “phew…you can still love IKEA- haha.”
Oates, in her memoir, mentions the Gestalt philosophy where one says to oneself, “I choose for my husband to be dead.” I laugh that anyone would give this a try. I much prefer the mantra she takes up instead, something like “You have no choice. This is the way it is.” This seems more helpful in living.
The only thing worse than the shock and disbelief that your husband is dead is the lack of shock and disbelief that your husband is dead. The only thing worse than the magical thinking that he might still return and reside with you again is the certainty that he will not.