I always have to write and post something on this date.
I always have to remember and say his name, aloud in real life and here in the virtual world. I usually post a fun picture on FB and enjoy the comments, but, being off FB I don’t have that outlet. (And I don’t miss it, Best.Decision.Ever!)
Tom, Tom, Tom
I don’t want to go on and on, because it doesn’t serve me, or anyone. I will say that while some things change, others remain the same. Nine years can still feel like 9 minutes, however not for as long in duration. That may be the thing I notice the most, the biggest change. Feelings pass naturally, more quickly, and are easier to bear.
I’m very aware of the passing of feelings in January, because they are fairly incessant. It happens every year, during what I have lovingly titled the “Death March”. I hope it continues too. Weird? You know one of my very most secret fears early on after he died was that I would forget him. That he would fade from memory, I’d lose his laugh, his eyes, anything about him. I’m grateful to know that won’t happen. File that away for future reference; you won’t forget. And you’ll be so grateful.
Sometimes a random memory appears, sometimes I daydream purposefully. The other day a man and woman around my age nuzzling on a street corner had me weeping for a couple of minutes, until I was distracted by a chai latte and a haircut. In a restorative yoga class with a sound bath I had to exit a pose and lay huddled in a ball, sobbing. It was ok, a feeling. I allowed it. There have been dreams, there have been idle fantasies, things have been said that have rubbed me the wrong way. There has been jealousy and even despair, re-entry of thoughts of the meaninglessness of life. ALL the feelings. I might get caught short by a picture, a word, or a memory and I hold on just a little too long…something I have trained myself to not do most of the time. But it’s January, welcome you ass-hole!
C.S.Lewis had a great line about those of us left behind, that we are “the club of the leftover living”. We speak often in my grief groups about being part of “a club no one wants to join”.
(OK…that reminds me of the Groucho Marx line “I don’t want to be a member of a club that would have me ” or something like that. HAH!).
I’ve moved away from the need to enact the role of witness, the constant telling of the story is no longer needed to make it real to me. (File that one away too; if you ever wonder why the bereaved seem to tell the death story over and over, it’s to help them believe it). But it’s a constant thrum in my head, the underlying truth that can make me tear up in an instant. And you know what else? it can make me laugh hysterically too. In the midst of writing this I am reminded of, and distracted by, that Groucho quote, an oft repeated one in my home. I can hear Tom saying it, half meaning it yet always going for the laugh. And I do laugh, even now. And that laughter brings on other silly memories and I continue to smile. I find myself smiling more often than tearing up most days; that’s a goal accomplished.
This year the 21st is a Wednesday. I have a grief group to lead tonight. Not my Widow’s group, but my Parents Grieving The Death Of A Child group. This particular group has 3 couples in it. *Sigh* I wouldn’t want to be any person in any of those couples.
But I would, you know? Or, no, you don’t, and I’m glad that you don’t.
It’s been 9 years since Tom died and that’s a fact. I keep living, and my life is good. . But I would give up everything to have him back, and that is also a fact of MY life. Any of you who have known someone or support someone who has experienced a major death, it’s good for you to know that it doesn’t end, that caution is important, and to tread lightly around these issues. Even many years later. (File it away).
Life goes on, yes it does. Like I said, my life is really good. But there will always be Tom, the fact that he is dead, and the fact of our love. There will always be the “what if’s. ” There will always be idealized versions of what life was like ( no holding on to the shite, that’s for sure!)and might be like now. There will always be the love. Maybe my only love; it seems to be shaping up that way but who knows. If it is, well, it was so good.
I’m going to close with this short poem by Edna St. Vincent Millay. I think the last line sums up how I feel about Tom’s death. It is reverberating through my head as I write, it will continue to do so all day, I am sure. Because I am not nor will I ever be resigned to his death. And that’s how it should be. It’s OK by me.
“Down, down, down into the darkness of the grave
Gently they go, the beautiful, the tender, the kind;
Quietly they go, the intelligent, the witty, the brave
I know. But I do not approve.
AND I AM NOT RESIGNED.”