I look for you everywhere. I know you’re not there. I hear your voice calling me, but I know it’s only a memory of all the times you’ve called me Mom. If I can’t find you, I want to find people talking about you, telling each other about you. How much they miss you, who you were to them, who you told them you wanted to be. I want to be as close to you as we were when you were little. I want you to sit beside me and neither of us be afraid or angry or hurt any more. I know you’re gone. That there’s no way to know where you’ve gone or if in any way you exist as yourself any more. I understand why people need to believe in that other place. Because otherwise, how do we endure the pain of this loss?
“I’ll carry you. I’ll go from world to world until I find a time and place when you can come awake in safety. And I’ll tell your story to my people.”
This morning your brother told me that it was easier to handle his dad dying than you. Because he said no one cared about his dad dying—he meant you, me, Dan, the people he knew. That your dad didn’t have friends. That I wasn’t affected by his death the way I am about yours. Reminding him of the loss by my grief.
Even now I feel myself in the middle of a conversation with you. Things we had talked about in the hospital, that I meant to follow up on, that I wanted to ask you more about. That should have been different. The infection, the fever, but that didn’t kill you. How strange and terrible it was that it was a brain hemorrhage. None of it seems real. That you are gone, although I saw it all. The way you went, although I can’t deny any of it. That I will never see you again, although I know this is true.
Do you know how much I miss you? How many times I think of you and the shock of it hits me again, wracks me physically like a hand tearing out my chest? I’ll fight thinking of your face, in laughter, in anger, in death, because it makes me want to die, too, to stop this pain. This weekend I started saying good night to you at night, and good morning when I wake up. I think it might help to pretend a little that you are still here somehow. There were plenty of times since you moved back home that you weren’t so glad to see me, that there was nothing to look at but the closed door, but still I was glad. Happy, joyful that you were there, home with me, safe. I didn’t care. I didn’t know how soon it would end, but I am glad, glad, glad that I had those months. I’ve put up pictures of you everywhere I look, so I’ll get used to it. So that the thought of your face doesn’t waylay me and destroy me every morning. So that the idea of your death no longer rips at my gut.
Last night I received a book in the mail. It was a nice new hardcover copy of Ender’s Game, the book I took your memorial quote from. Inside was a note from Card’s wife Kristine, explaining that they had heard about you and your card quote from somebody at my old job. Card had inscribed the book to me, a sweet paragraph about loss of a child and his being glad we found some comfort in that quote. You would have loved it.
I realized this morning that one thing that makes it so hard to “put you away” so to speak is how incredibly angry you would be to see me/us doing these things if you were alive. I feel like I’m violating your privacy when I open your mail, go through your computer and check your accounts and debts. It makes me sick thinking about what it means: the finality of it. That you will never come back for these things, or to hold me accountable for what I’m doing with them. Oh GOD how I wish you would. I wish there were some way you could just let me know you’re ok, you forgive me, you accept my forgiveness, that we are ok, that we are at peace with each other at last, not simply because you are gone forever.
I realize that part of what makes this so hard is that I can’t just ball up everything I know about you and toss it. I can’t find anything okay about losing you. Tomorrow I’m going on Prozac. I hope it helps me through the worst of it. You know, at some point every day I find myself looking for something about you online. I google you. I reread your blog. I reread emails people have sent me.
As much as I know that it won’t hurt me so much as time passes, I don’t want time to pass, because every day is one day further away from the last time we ever talked. The last chance I had to be there with you. I try to tell myself that you are just as much in the past today as you will be a hundred years from now, but somehow that doesn’t work. I want to go back in time, and the time when you were here is so close, so close I can remember everything about it, and yet it’s over, it’s gone, and I can never ever go there again and relive those moments with you, good or bad.