Wednesday, February 24, 2016

#SOL16: Fissure

Light (M.A.Reilly, 2014) 
It's dinner time and a neighbor has brought us homemade Stromboli and salad. My brothers, Rob's mom, Dev and I are eating together. When I open the refrigerator to find salad dressing, I spy the bottle of Russian dressing on the bottom shelf and my throat closes. Closes. Tears well and I know I'm going to break down a bit. This is the way it is. It is the small, inconsequential artifact that is all Rob that undoes me most these days. I have been so busy caring for him, that only now when I chance his favorite salad dressing or some other silly reminder of our life, of him that I sense the enormous chasm his dying will create. Sometimes this happens while I'm driving. I'll have a flash of something we used to do and know we will never do it again and the feeling that overcomes me is so large, so heart-stopping and powerful that I don't cry, but I actually scream.

Loud. Continuous. Scream. And then I regathering myself and resettle.

I move through each day mostly in shock. I find eating difficult as my stomach feels continuously nervous. The kindness of others makes me sob immediately. I can no longer remember what happened the prior day and I find being busy with physical tasks offers the best respite, save the time I spend with Rob. I am with him while he is awake and then many, many hours while he sleeps, or  rouses for care. Sometimes this involves bathing him, feeding him applesauce, bringing him water to sip, helping him to change clothing. Other times we chat and I try to understand what he is saying. Many times we are just quiet. Now and then I read to him. The other night I read the first chapter from Joyce's A Portrait of the Artists as a Young Man. We laughed at the moo cow coming down the road and early in the reading he fell asleep.

I watch him while he sleeps. Run a finger along his hairline, softly brushing back his hair from his far head. Now and then I make images of him with my phone. On Valentine's Day, I recorded a two minute video of him. I have saved his voice on my phone but can't bear to listen to any of the dozen messages he left for me starting on January 11 and running through February 12--the last recorded message he could leave.

Even as I gather all of this and hold it close, I know none will fill that chasm, heal this fissure that has only begun to crack open.