Mourning Pieces of You

family story

I no longer have the Magic Power Ring of Marriage on my finger. I reached for it with my thumb a bunch of times today, trying to rub it to invoke its power. There’s a legitimacy I felt being married to you, not PC I know, but it was there. It made me feel like I could walk into any grown-up situation and be taken seriously (even though I’m clearly not really an adult.) It pushes on that “I don’t know exactly who I am, now that I’m not your husband” nerve.

Your laptop sits there looking at me, holding so much of you all the while pathetically not being you. It got much of the attention I wanted from you when you were alive, I suppose I should want to destroy it but I don’t. I keep thinking I can have a decent conversation with it, but I can’t.

The kids play with Momma’s phone, talking to Siri but also Momma in a way. They fight over it, I have to manage their time on it. I finally downloaded all of your pictures from it, including the ones True took of you when you were feeling so bad. I deleted those again (from 3 different devices now.) You’re right, that wasn’t you.

I really don’t know why I felt I had to take my ring off so soon. It wasn’t so much because I wanted people to think I was somehow newly free, it just didn’t feel honest, it felt like I was pretending you were still here with me. Thats not fair to you. I’m sure I’m holding onto you enough in other ways. You’re spreading your wings elsewhere. Maybe it was heroic, really though it just felt right.

Today I took our son to the doctors and had to rely entirely on my own judgment. He did not die, he will not perish anytime soon. Really he needed an ice pack for a pulled muscle and a long hug from you. I was able to get him one of the things he needed. He still hurts for you – in a way thats growing, and in a way its diminishing. The gravity of you not being here is slowly hitting him, even as the trauma of your death recedes. Like me he still really can’t believe you’re gone.

I’ve gifted a lot of your clothing to other people who want to be near you, I imagine when friends and family put on a jacket, or a sweater, or wrap themselves in a blanket they feel held by you in a way that feels quiet and deep. So many of them didn’t get to spend time with you in the last 8 months, they miss you, feel like you slipped out without saying goodbye. I guess you did.

I’m holding onto your socks and all the mens PJ bottoms you collected, I need that comfort now. I don’t think I want to be held by you, I still want to protect you from the illness that took you. I just need to be able to trust myself now though, somehow you still help that, even if it’s only you’re socks that convey that magical confidence. Powder blue knit socks now have magical power to me. Hope it doesn’t come out in the wash.

Your driver’s license is on my dresser (actually your dresser – mine is crap so I’m taking over yours.) I have to hold onto it just in case I need it for something. One thing’s for sure, you are not anywhere to be found in all the paperwork I’m dealing with. I’m struck by how little all that stuff has to do with you. The important crap of life turns out to be total crap after all.

You are more in the absences that surprise me. The ways you’re not home when I expect it, the food I don’t have to buy anymore, the Mother’s day gift I won’t be making you this year, the ring I keep thumbing for. How much of our home will really make sense without you in it after all of this has settled?

True asked to visit your grave for the first time yesterday. Out of the blue, it was a very thoughtful moment for her.

“I miss Momma, I want to see her.”

Last night Tadg talked about missing you as he drifted off to sleep. He wraps my arm around him like an anchor and curls in deep. Not 1/2 hour ago he was wrestling me like a champ, with boundless joy and energy. In a flash he’s your littlest boy, our Dove-Mouse wanting more love.

I guess as long I have these two with me, to keep you close, I shouldn’t complain so much. They are still so much a part of you, always will be even if they can’t see it. I’ve got one under each arm most nights, much more than PJs or a pair of socks could ever warm me. Their eyes keep telling me I can love enough, I can keep us on the right track. I guess you’re still taking good care of us after all.

This basket you wove is strong, forever resilient.

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