I'm waiting for coffee when the barista says to me, "I like your necklace."
I tell her thanks as she fills the cup with hot water, finishing my Americano. When she hands me my drink, she laughs and says once again, "I really, really like your necklace."
"Thanks so much. It was a gift from my husband."
"He has great taste," she adds. "Tell him I said so."
I smile a bit understanding there is no way for her to know that I will not be telling Rob anything. He gave me the necklace for our 24th wedding anniversary.
I thought we weren't going to be extravagant, I would later say to him, knowing we had agreed to not buy gifts.
I saw it and knew you would love it. Who knows where we will be next year. Enjoy it. I remember him saying this and both of us laughing and later beginning to plan a trip to Portugal for our 25th wedding anniversary, a trip we could not be able to make this past December.
It's been a month since Rob died and I find that thoughts of my husband filter through my mind constantly. Memories abound and recalling him, us, then--fills a good portion of my day. Triggers also abound, like the young girl in the coffee shop this morning. These jolt me as I am not anticipating the shock that happens. And how could I not be overwhelmed with thoughts about Rob? He is not only within me, but across the last three decades he has given shape to person I have become and am becoming. Breathing is a trigger.
Love shapes us and now I know so too does loss.
As I write this, Devon and I are struggling so much and watching my son hurt, undoes me.
When my mom died I felt like a weight was crushing me and I didn't know if I would ever feel like me again, I tell Devon tonight. I can tell you that those feelings of despair and sadness and disbelief fade. The pain can still feel as acute, but the duration is far, far less. I now think of my mom and most of the time there is no slice, no pain, just love.
I have no confidence left, he tells me.
I get how you might feel that way. My confidence is shaky too. Our world has been upended and it's so hard to get oriented again--to have to be vulnerable again. You will though. I don't doubt that. You will get through this. Talking with a grief counselor will help. That takes courage and confidence.
When we got back from our mini-vacation on Sunday night we were too tired and it was too late to feel the loss of Rob. But by Monday morning, the reality of Rob's death and how his death has temporarily rendered our lives so empty and untethered rolled over each of us and knocked us about in ways we had not anticipated.
We each loved Rob so greatly, so completely that a mini vacation does not fill that loss, in many ways it amplifies it. We woke up Monday to a house that was painfully empty.
I don't sleep through the night. I am restless, somewhat alert, waiting for some new horror to happen. My dreams are waking ones.
What's next? I wonder.
Is there cancer growing within me?
Is Devon okay?
Will the sky fall, again?
And so when I notice that I am slowing down, that my interests beyond the walls of my home feel less vital, less necessary--I first think a lack of sustained sleep may be why. But that's not the reason, or at least not the whole reason. I have always loved the work I do and now I notice that I feel less motivated to do anything. I can't imagine remaining in education.
I can't imagine.
I feel closer somehow to Rob when I'm home--where he was last alive. Those last weeks of his life were deeply intimate and insular and I crave both. I want the past and I want to wrap it around me even as I know that it is more like William Carlos Williams's dirty mantle that he writes about in The Desert Music than some form of solace. The past is a corpse.
|from The Desert Music, p. 109.|
Now, I am filled with an immense and heavy sadness--the likes of which I have not know prior and oddly I also sense a slim ray of hope within.
I am the jar Pandora opened and then resealed.
You may recall that after Pandora released the plagues and maladies, diseases and evils into the world, hope remained at the bottom of that jar. She put the lid back on keeping hope within.
Hope resides within and though it feels faint, I know it is there. Hope is the poem that Williams said must be made. It is the present that always beckons.