I open up a hard drive to look through photographs from the past two years. I am hoping to find beauty and proof that I’ve survived.
Instead I wind up playing some of the music you left behind- mp3s I copied from your computer/studio. What a wonderful thing to leave behind after you are gone, I think. What will I leave behind? The most beautiful piano and cello tracks…two songs that I’d written that I’d never heard your instrumentals for. I play them. Piano keys as if you’re in the room…our daughter’s voice softly in the background “reading” books aloud because she can’t go to sleep…a dim kitchen, ticking clock…my typing. Hearing your music is like hearing your voice. It is you. I can close my eyes and pretend you might be playing beside me, how you did for so many years. Wasn’t I lucky- I am always thinking now.
I begin to think lately that one cannot go on living as a broken piece of another life. Better to start out as a smaller piece of something totally new. The continuity for me- has never come. Instead, now as the day approaches- it just washes over me nightly- my old life. I feel it and taste it and hear it. I ache for it. But it is now further than ever- completely out of my grasp. Part of the pain of those first few hours and days- at least for me- was that I already foresaw this time in existence. I already knew the separation that would happen. Two years- sounded so long when I met others who were this “far out.” I hoped that they were in some very different place and looked for evidence as such- were they remarried, did they have a different life entirely. But now I see you aren’t a veteran at two years- far from it- you’re still in camouflage, still knee deep in swampy waters- but you just don’t recall as acutely or as often the old life because this is all you’ve known now for quite some time. This is what you feared and knew already- that first hour- would happen- when you’d only spoken to him- yesterday. When his, “hey, it’s me,” was still fresh. When he wasn’t someone you’d had to introduce to every new person as “My husband passed away.” When you spoke his name often- to him and to others. When you still had things you were angry with him about- things unfinished- trips you said you would take, places he wanted to take you, children to be born.
Today, tonight- this is the time you foresaw – in this time spiral of light-years and lives. It is here. It is not satisfying. It is awful.