Monday, February 8, 2010

The anniversary

Really, it hit me harder last week. I started crying Wednesday at work and couldn't figure out why, till I realized that the next day was the Thursday when we pulled the plug. And for some reason, Thursday morning I felt Jesse's presence all around me. The sense that he would show up if I needed him. That I should already know this. That he's fine. Please understand, that doesn't mean I don't fall to my knees every time I realize I will never see him again. That this isn't some trip he took to another country, from which he will return. He's not just avoiding me, he's gone.

People try to comfort me by saying, well he couldn't have functioned in that body any more so there's no point in wishing he had lived. And what I don't say is, lived? I wish he'd never gotten sick! I spent a lot of last month imagining myself going back in time to early January 2007 and yelling to him to go to the doctor NOW. A week sooner and he might have made it. There's a little thrill to that, as crazy as it is. That somehow my voice can travel back through time and reach him. Not any crazier than thinking he can reach past death to comfort me.

And there's one other thing people say that I hope not to hear again. Last week I was telling an acquaintance about my sister's daughter, how she had been born exactly one month to the day after Jesse died. And the woman said some crap like one dies one is born and goddammit, that's not how it works. One 22 year old doesn't need to fucking die so his cousin can be born. I just smiled and said nothing. Just, don't even think about saying anything like that to anyone you know who has lost someone. Just. Don't.

What made me cry first, last Wednesday, was thinking about his foot. When he was a newborn, baby, we'd make such a fuss about those little feet, that had never touched the ground. And when he died, his foot was what I clung to so he wouldn't feel alone as they pulled the ventilator tubes out of him. Today is the third anniversary of his last heartbeat. I can't know the anniversary of his first. But I can remember like I just took up the stethoscope and heard it a minute ago, that fast flutter of new life in my ears.

I'm trying not to think about what happened. Not sure how it'll work. But I do feel better today than I have for the last three Februaries in a row. So that's something. Just pretend it isn't February.


  1. The loss of touch is harrowing: Sensory deprivation is death.

    Do you believe you'll see Jessie again ... in an afterlife?

  2. I don't think that what I want to believe changes what is, but it certainly might make my life easier. I've come to terms with that recently: that knowing the truth about what's to come may be less important than what we believe about it. If there is some form of afterlife, where I don't see Jesse and everyone else I love, I'm not too interested in it. On the other hand, if there's none, then I won't be disappointed that I was wrong, anyway.


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