how you slipped away from me in an instant- in the physical and spiritual realms, again when I received the phone call, and slip away slowly now- each day. That is what time brings…slipping away.
Thinking about how I hide in each moment, each day, like a bunker.
How my world lost all of its parameters and definition. There really is no weekend now- or even end of the day. There is just doing it again. I don’t experience seasons the way I used to- I just move through them- I notice only slightly that it is hotter or colder and change Audrey’s clothing in her dresser and closet. I don’t have the same sense of dread I used to with regards to cold weather. It is all flavorless like eating with a cold. I know there’s food in my mouth but I don’t taste it. I know the days are getting crisper but I don’t truly feel it. It’s almost as though even the existence of seasons are in one’s mind and therefore one’s reality. There is no calendar- no organization on the interior. It’s like being a blind person led by the hand- “Turn right here…there’s a step here.” This is October. This is the time for apple picking and a holiday called Halloween. “Oh, OK.” I follow along.
Thinking about how hard you worked your whole life. I feel like only I really know the hours and time and mental energy you put into succeeding in the music world and just in living and providing for us in New York City. People make it seem like it’s so great that you achieved your “dream” right before you died- like it was your crowning achievement so don’t I feel so glad that I let you go- that you got to do that before you died? The only problem with that is it was just the beginning, just the cusp of what you would have accomplished- not the end. I am in the process of selling your electric cello- the one you’d wanted for years and then finally- after renting it for your last gig numerous times, got to buy for a couple hundred bucks- a cello worth thousands. I said it was your Christmas gift from me. So you used it for six months? That’s all. And now I sell it back? I was rooting for you- pulling for you- you were making progress- on your way finally- to this? To this swim in a lake thousands of miles away from me? To die?
Thinking about superstitions – the ones ingrained in me from my mother in my childhood. Did a black cat cross our path while we were in the car before you left? Do I vaguely remember that? Were there two people that died before you? Michael Jackson did. Was there another? Because people die in threes right? At Audrey’s first birthday a bird flew into the window of the party room overlooking the Hudson River. You can hear it on the video right before the Korean doljabi ceremony. My brother makes a big deal of it- is that a bad sign, or something like that- he says. It irritates me then very much.
This is all nonsense- but even people who mock religious people must admit signs and superstitions are somewhat ingrained in all of us.
Thinking about how I never understood the loss of a spouse before at all…about my mother’s aunts who lost their husbands when I was in middle school or high school. One died of a heart attack while they were driving to Florida and she woke up to find him dead beside her in bed. I can remember her, this Jewish woman who pronounced each word so carefully and slowly, telling the story over and over again one Christmas at my grandmother’s house from a tufted green velvet chair. I wondered why she had to keep telling it. She herself seemed strangely fascinated by it. Now I understand this. The other aunt I greeted at her 95th? birthday a few years back at a restaurant the family had rented. Dan of course was with me. She told me unprompted as I wished her well just that she missed her “Nat” so much and thought about him every day and said goodnight to him each night- and this was years- maybe fifteen or twenty? since he’d died. And my own grandfather, who also awoke to find my grandmother passed away in the bed beside him looked at me when we were alone and just said, “I looked over, and she was gone.” But because all of these people were older and carried on, I assumed that they were “healing” and doing alright. After all, they were older and must have expected this.
Now I am thinking about how when I was young and dreaded getting immunization shots at the doctor, I’d ask when I needed the next one and if they told me, “When you’re 19 or 20,” I’d feel anxiety but I was sure I’d be a different person by then- it was so far away…I’d be able to handle it for my little, younger self. In the same way, I think, we all know one day our spouse (if we are the survivor) will die, but we think we’ll be much older and so we won’t think about it now because it is unbearable to think about really. So, we don’t.