Saturday, June 13, 2009

Shaky Ground. Still.

I called home the other day to hear Alan's voice on the answering machine. I could have played it from home but I needed to hear him on the other end. And I left a message for him. I had to. I knew I wasn't fooling myself but it felt good to feel for a split second that we were in close proximity, to suspend my disbelief and pretend for a fleeting moment that we still shared a life together. For months after Alan passed away I still came through the front door and said "Hi Babe" to him as though he were in the other room. There are some habits that you must ween yourself from and I'm not sure when I stopped that particular one. But I have many antics that linger: expressions, gestures, signals, jokes - and I'm not sure I'll ever let go of them. In fact, some I've passed on to Lily, and when she looks at me with Alan's eyes, I sense that she understands them.
Tonight a friend sent me pictures of us that I had never seen. It took my breath away to see him again, looking good, despite what he had been going through, and we both were so happy side by side. When I see new images of Alan, or hear a story about him that I had never known, I feel as though I've gotten him back for a moment - learning new things about him, or revisiting a moment that we shared. But these gifts, as well, catch me off guard. For that matter, pouring myself a glass of water this evening brought me to tears. It's not only specific memories that evoke such emotion, but the mundane moments as well that remind me of what has happened. Everything has become so very sobering. I broke down tonight after hearing from another widowed mom that when reading of my experiences she nodded all the way through. How tragic and comforting that someone else can relate to all of this... In all of this loneliness I'm not so alone. But that, too, for the very reasons I am writing, is a difficult reality to digest.
When I put Lily to bed tonight, she promptly rolled on to her stomach, her sleeping position of choice, but for fifteen minutes I heard her from the other room, babbling away. When I peered in quietly through the doorway, there she was, head looking up in full cobra position, at a photo of Alan placed over her crib, jabbering away. At times I'm convinced she knows him as well as I - I do believe that babies and the very elderly are connected to the spirits of those who have passed on - and I hope that with every image and anecdote she'll feel the bond that links us all together.

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