|from my art journal Sept, 2016 (gesso, ink, acrylic paint, pan pastel, stabilo pencil)|
Tonight I am wishing that I would have memorized each and every encounter, gesture, touch, word we exchanged those last few months of his life. A year ago, Rob was in the hospital having been diagnosed with the first of three staph infections. He would be hospitalized for twelve days--it would mark the longest time we had ever been apart in 28 years. He would be home for less than four weeks before returning to the hospital because an abscess had formed in his chest from the staph that had not been treated correctly. Then he would be in the hospital for another fourteen days. He wouldn't come home this time until the night before his birthday. He would stay home through Thanksgiving, Christmas, and our 25th wedding anniversary before being rushed to the hospital the morning of December 30 because he could no longer walk. As we waited for the ambulance to arrive he told me he feared he would not be coming home again. Fifty days later he would come home and one day shy of three weeks, he would die.
I know these dates like I know my name. And now it is another fall and I think of all that my husband will not experience. I'm wishing that I could replay, like a film, each moment during the last six months of his life so I might savor what has been lost--substitute the film for the emptiness I know now.
I miss my husband's touch, his voice, the weight of his arm wrapped around my shoulder. I miss the certainty that came when he would lightly grip the back of my neck and pull me closer for a kiss. I miss the smell of him, his feet touching mine in bed, his boisterous laugh, and our late night talks. I miss our shared love for our son, how we knew the other's thoughts, the times he played guitar. I miss getting dinner ready together, dancing together, coming downstairs in the morning and finding him at the kitchen table with The Times spread out before him and his hand wrapped around the Black Dog Cafe mug--the same one we bought when Dev had just turned three and we had spent a week on holiday on Martha's Vineyard. I miss talking shop, commuting together, trying out a new theory, reading aloud the rough draft of an article, and hearing him read a poem aloud. I miss seeing him through the viewfinder of my camera tangled up with Dev or years earlier our dog, Max. I miss our many road trips, our travel around the world. I miss watching him with Devon, how they would lean heads together and talk. I miss our future and how we planned to travel across the country making art and writing. He was always after me to make a photography book about learning at school.
This afternoon Dev and I were at a diner when I looked up at a TV and realized for the first time that it is football season. The only time our television was on was when Rob would try to convince me and Dev how great the Giants were going to be that year. I'd sit next to him during the games and read-watch and he'd shout at the TV and cheer. Usually Sunday dinner would be cooking and I'd time it so that we could eat at halftime or after the first game. When his dad was alive Rob would call down to Florida and they'd rehash the game.
This past weekend, Devon submitted an application to the college he hopes to attend next year. His college essay about a critical incident that helped him to mature brought laughter and tears. Next week Dev will take his driver's test. This past weekend Dev and friends went to Brooklyn for a gaming tournament--just a few blocks from Brooklyn Tech, Rob's old high school. So many firsts that Rob is not here to see. I mourn not only my loss, but my son's loss and as time moves on, all that my sweet husband is no longer here to experience.
How do I carry on knowing the loss is so immense? An ocean of sorrow that does not end. Where might I tuck such grief? In whose pocket might sorrow reside? Seven months have past since Rob's death and the world is no less certain than it was when he was alive, it just feels that way.