May 8, 2009
Emotional residue from receiving the death certificates was all over me today.
I watched movies, read and suffered with heartburn. I felt like I was swimming through stern fog – muffled, holding me up, my movements like those of a beginner marionette puppeteer.
I am tired of talking to people about how I feel. I am tired of talking. I want to be left alone only not alone. I need people around me, just quietly there. Come to my house and read a book, roll your eyes with me when I get snippy at the kids. But don’t ask me how I’m feeling. Telling you leaves me with little left.
I lost it tonight. Screamed and yelled and got even angrier when Pallas and Ezra screamed and yelled back. Left the house for a walk which, instead of calming me down, made me angrier.
I got home, noted how out of control I was and decided to call for reinforcements. It’s the call that released the pressure. I was not in this alone.
Before she arrived, I called the kids together. I sat on the couch; they on the chairs opposite the couch. Me vs. them, them vs. me.
“I’m sorry.” I said. “And look where we are right now. Before it felt like I wanted to rip my heart out I was so mad. It felt like the anger would overwhelm me, like I was down here (hand went close to the floor). And now look where I am. I’m ok again. Do you feel it? Do you feel ok, again? (nods)
“Yeah, I like Pallas now.” Ezra pipes in.
We smile. “I want to make sure you remember this. Grief is very frightening. I want you to know that you can go really, really low and that it won’t last forever. My job and your job is to remember that. These feelings will not kill you. You will come back up.”
Silence. I’m looking at each of them.
I started sobbing. “I love you three so very much…I’m sorry I’m crying…no, no I’m not. This is part of the stupid process too.”
They all came to the couch.
Day 23 – the night before mother’s day.
May 9, 2009
“Tell me exactly why you want me to come home?” Langston said. Before he had left for the movies, I had told him, don’t call and ask to sleep over. I want you home tonight.
After he said those words, all I remember is wishing I had put my headset on. Raging at your son, while holding a cell phone and trying to drive requires the kind of concentration that I wasn’t showing.
Here I am again, fuming. Here I am again, calling a friend.
I hang up after my call with my life preserver, assured that the emotional damage I had just done will probably only need two sessions with a therapist and not seven.
And then, there is no other way to describe, what came next. No other words than to say this wave came over me. It started at my feet, they got cold, and my knees ached and my heartburn flared and my arms itched and I stopped on Airport Rd, opened the door and vomited. I let out this animalist sounding wail, the kind they do in other countries where true grief is permissible. I sounded in human, the sound that makes either people run toward or away from the person making the sound.
I made it into the driveway.
And I see:
I’ve lost him.
I lost the one person who will love my children as much as I do.
I am fully responsible for all the parenting decisions I make daily, weekly and forever.
I have to raise them alone.
I am a single mother.
I am a widow.
The best parenting partner ever is no longer alive.
I no longer have a husband to ask “What do you think we should do about…?”
The we has become I.
I said no.
I think that’s great.
I think you should tell….call…. who?
With the streets quiet, the kids in the house with the sitter, my head on the steering wheel of my car I let loose the real sorrow. For the first time, I fully grasp the permanence of Art’s death. I view the sorrow, head on and let it hold me my gaze.
I think this is it. This is where I wouldn't ever stop crying. And I don’t for a very long time.