Sunday, July 28, 2013
In five months, you can be halfway done gestating a baby. It's almost two seasons long. It's not quite anything, five months. And yet, five months feels like five minutes and five years at the same time.
Gery died five months ago today. I didn't do anything to commemorate it. I hate going to his grave. That hole in the ground has nothing to do with who he was and everything to do with what isn't possible anymore and I hate it there. I don't go to church anymore. I went to Easter Mass and sat there and sobbed the entire time because all I could see was Gery's casket in the front of the church and all I could feel was how I'd had to be held up by Gery's dad, my brothers, the firemen, and Gery's fraternity brothers. At every moment, I had to be held up. And instead of remembering that we were married there, that we were in his sister's wedding together while I was pregnant with Sarah there, that Sarah was baptized there, that both our niece and nephew were baptized there... all I feel is the crushing sadness of a life we no longer share. Not the joy of new beginnings but the pain of an early ending. It's not sharp anymore. It's just a piece of me. It's dulled and so have I.
I cleaned his things out of the closet and put them in the basement. Not today, that would have been too much. But I did it because I needed the space for the shopping spree I've been on for the past five months. Four, really. I was numb and paralyzed for all of March. Sarah's wardrobe is similarly expanded. It's a rebellion, really. Gery was the most frugal person I've ever known. His friends used to call him "tighter than two coats of paint." And I have so many new clothes, new furniture, new paint in the living room and plans to paint everywhere else, new, new, new. Anything I have that's a memory does not get worn anymore. A black dress that I loved and wore constantly? I wore it to a wedding and there's a picture of us. I wore it to a Christmas party and I'm wearing it in our last family picture. And I wore it to his funeral. I will never wear it again, but it hangs there. It's a symbol. One day I'll be able to put it away or give it away and I'll know on that day that I am normal.
On a daily basis, I'm fine. I know I'm fine because I get up every day, I get Sarah up, I get us both ready to face the world, and I show the world what it wants to see. It wants to see that a 31 year old widow isn't going to shut down and hide and so I don't. I don't take the medications that I have so readily available to me. I don't want to do that because I understand complicated grief and I know that my grief is not complicated. We didn't have "unfinished business," unless you count the next 50 years that we should have shared. I said everything I needed to say to him and the last thing I know for sure he heard from me is, "I love you," because I was sitting there talking to him when he came out of the first surgery and he was conscious and coherent (which is a story for another day). I don't need counseling. This is how it's supposed to be for someone like me. It will get better because it has to.
In a lot of ways, it's already better. I'm no longer paralyzed. I don't cry very much, and when I do, it's not for hours. I have continued to spend a lot of time with his family and I'm spending more time with mine. I'm lucky enough to have friends who knew and loved him and want to stay in touch with me. I'm also lucky enough to have friends who did not know him, were indifferent to him, and love me for who I was before and who I am now and it's not painful for them to see me be different than I was then. I know when it hurts people to see me and I try not to do that to them.
And so. Five months. It's not that long, but it's forever.