Wednesday, September 14, 2016
DISCOMFORT IN COMFORT
Today I took donuts to the Victory Woodworks people. My team. I decided we’d celebrate a not-bad day.
I don’t understand what’s happening right now. I’m not bawling every minute. Yes, I’m low. I feel sludgy. There is that weight in the center of my chest that hampers good posture, but I’m not crying. And if I’m not sobbing every second, if I go for hours without tearing up, I feel like I’m being disloyal to Jim.
I have been trying to figure out why I am feeling a little better and how I could possibly not be this constant puddle on our closet floor. I’m coming up with two things: the heap of incredible memories I have of my darling husband and, well, you people. The mass of kindness and support I’m getting from friends, Jim's stalwart kids, yogis, my family, Jim’s employees, and people I don’t even know is overwhelming and is this thing I keep in my pocket next to the evidence bag the medical examiner gave me containing my husband’s wedding ring.
Bummer, I know. The ring came back to me misshapen and scorched. Seeing its condition rips me. I hate what it implies.
I'm feeling sorry for myself. Of course I am. But I cannot deny the spots where I’m fortunate. I’ve told person after person—usually with tears brimming and a tight throat—that I don’t have a single regret from when he was alive. There isn’t anything I wish I’d told him. He knew how I felt. I knew how he felt. We loved each other hard and squeezed every drop of juice from our life together.
Today when I was talking with one of Jim’s guys at Victory he commented that there is a last time for everything. Well, shit. An unfortunate but accurate point. Our lasts together reflected all the times that came before. On our last night together I tickled his back while he fell asleep mumbling, “This is my favorite thing. I love my wife. You’re my favorite. This is my favorite time. I love my wife . . . ” over and over. The last time I saw him he woke me up to kiss me goodbye. My last text said I loved him. His last text said he was looking forward to seeing me.
I’m lucky that I have a few recordings of his voice—a couple voicemails, the talk he gave at Brandon’s memorial, a recording of him snoring. In the snoring recording I ask him to roll over and as he does he tells me, “I find you irresistible.” I literally have a recording of my sweet, late love telling me he finds me irresistible. Who gets that? It’s like the life we had together—time and again I asked, “Who gets this? How can I be so lucky? How is all this happiness mine?” Its precious source is gone, yes, but, my, the remnants are so sweet.
Don’t count on my present positivity and gratitude as a persistent thread. I’m learning that this process is made of rapid slips and slides and stops and skips. This moment is one where I can’t overlook the good.
Being less despondent makes me suspect that I’m ready to try life by myself. I’m good at alone. No, I have to qualify that: I used to be good at alone. I will be again—it’s my nature—but right now my thinking is early and overconfident. I’m not ready for what’s next, not ready to be alone. So my mom is here with me and I’ve told her, “Sorry Sue, but you live here now.” She’s the best, so she said okay, ordered some t-shirts to be delivered here because she didn’t pack enough short sleeves, and told my dad back in Utah, “Love you. See you when I see you.” He's on board.
Some nights when Jim and I would go to bed he’d lay on his back and I’d smash myself up to his right side. He’d put his arm around me, pull me as close as he could and ask, “Why are you so far away?”
“Why” isn’t my question right now. It’s more “how?” How is this true? It’s more “really?” Really he’s never coming home? We never get to make another memory? All the photos we have of him are all we’ll ever have? I’ll never again run my hand along his beard? Really, never? I can’t decide if I’m more comfortable with the incredulity or if I’d rather get to settling into certainty.