This is another Throw Back Thursday post.
It’s Monday morning, two weeks since the last time Ian woke up. Two weeks ago was his last day alive… and I’m still pushing through.
Waking up this morning wasn’t as terrible as it has been. Sleep makes you forget. And forgetting is blissful. Until you wake up and remember. Up until now, it’s been three HARD kicks in the gut. The first when I realize the general idea of his death. The second when I think about the reality/implications. The third when I remember his dead face. Today, it was more a slow sinking of my stomach. Much less violent. Still not fun. I bury my face in his pillow. It still smells like him. I don’t know if that’s a good thing or not, honestly.
I get up and don’t cry. I get ready for work and manage to not think about him or his absence. Mostly. On the drive to work, I cringe when I drive past the road I’d turn on to get to his house. Both of them, depending on which way I was coming from. I feel… numb. The beginning of the day seems easier. Maybe I’m more rested. Maybe my emotional reserves have been restored. But I can deal with it. It’s not good, but it’s not making me cry.
I get to work, and manage to do a few things. I get easily distracted. My ability to focus is at about 40%, which isn’t good, but I am able to get some things done. Every once in a while, I’ll see something that he would have helped with, see something that he was handling. Run into a project he was working on, and I wince, because it hurts. But it’s still manageable.
Lunch time: I go with a friend who’s planning her wedding. I feel like a terrible friend for not giving two shits about how that’s going, but I try to pay attention and offer to help anyway, because it’s not her fault my heart’s shattered into a million pieces, and I care about her. We touch on the subject of him here and there. She was his friend too, so she’s hurting as well. But we don’t say too much, and not too painfully. I try not to bring it up, even though he’s really what I’m thinking of almost all the time. I don’t say that Hyvee, where we went for lunch, was something he was looking forward to opening. I think it at least a hundred times during the hour.
Back at work, my stomach is unhappy that I ate. It seems that either I eat and don’t sleep, or don’t eat and do sleep. I prefer the latter. But I’m keeping my pizza down, despite my stomach really not wanting to. I continue to work. Focus ability is probably down to 30%. I try. I finish some things. I catch an incoming phone call and want to yell at the woman who’s upset that someone hasn’t called her back about her inconsequential problem that things could be SO MUCH WORSE and she should lighten up. I don’t. I’m nice and mark her problem down.
Toward mid-afternoon, my coping ability is fading fast. I cry because he’s never going to smile again. Then I stop crying and do something else. Then I cry because he’ll never complain about someone being stupid, or tell me that something’s trash again. He’ll never hear new music. Never look at me in wonder when something new is actually good.
And my stomach is still upset with lunch. I down water, trying to make sure it stays in. I’m not sure it’s going to work. I pause from working to write some of this down, because I know that I want to record this day. I keep bouncing back to the idea that this can’t be me. This can’t be my life. I don’t deny it… I can’t. That picture in my head makes refusing to believe impossible. But it just doesn’t compute. I can’t comprehend that this has happened. Not the why. I understand the why. I don’t understand the fact. It’s like looking at a really complex math equation where I can understand the bits and pieces, but when I look at the whole, it’s just a mish-mosh of numbers and symbols that make no sense.
I make it through the rest of the day. I get some things done, but not a lot. Manage to have a good conversation with a coworker. Get out and into my car. It’s cold. Still. A tear or two falls while I’m clocking out, thinking that he’ll never do that again. I’ll never tell him to have a good night while he grunts back.
I get on the road. Turning left onto the main street from the street the office is on, I’m not in a hurry, so I’m not interested in gunning my car to make it out between groups of traffic. I sit for a bit. A lady in an SUV pulls up behind me, and I wait longer. I miss a couple other instances where I could have gunned it to go, and she honks at me. I have a visceral reaction of pure anger. Pull out when I have an opportunity. And barely resist the urge to flip her off.
Call my mom on the way home. Conversations with her have been weird lately. We’ll talk for a while, then there will be long stretches of silence. I tell her about the day. I tell her about the lady in the SUV. We talk about whatever. As I drive past the streets I used to turn down to get to his street, I start crying. She starts crying. I miss him.
I get home and say goodbye. Take a shower. Showers used to be where I thought and worked through things. Now, I just mindlessly wash.
I get out to discover a couple texts from his family. I worry about his parents. Hope they ‘re doing ok. I know they’re not, but know there’s nothing I can do but care. They’ve been so kind to me. I text back and have a conversation with his mom. I’m worried that eventually I will serve as a reminder to them of this terrible time, and they will want to disassociate themselves from me. I have grown to adore them. The fact that he purposefully kept the different circles of his life separate is tragic on many levels. The worst of which is that if he’d let us know each other, we may have caught on. May have been able to have some sort of intervention…. Make him get help. Probably not. But maybe. Just maybe.
The other reasons are less life altering… But if we’d known each other better, it would have been nice. We would have had a lot of fun… While he was still around to have it with us. There are so many things that I wish. I could drown in wishes.
I call back my friend who left a message. I have come to realize throughout this how many people do actually care about me… That helps more than they will ever know. They can’t do anything. They know it. They can’t bring him back. They can’t make the pain go away. But they can care. And they can call or text or send a card or talk to me or invite me to dinner…. And they do. And it truly helps for a minute. It takes my mind off of things. It reminds me that there’s good still.
And I cook some of the frozen food my mom left for me while I’m talking with him. Because I feel a little better. But then I hang up to eat. I sit at my table and see his baseball cap. Think of all the things he’ll never eat. Think of how he surprised me so much on my birthday two months ago when I discovered that he liked tuna melts. He still surprised me. I wondered how many more things I’d be surprised about…. I kept eating slow bites while crying about that. Then I see his glasses. My stomach flips and I can’t eat anymore.
I go upstairs and watch a movie. One that he and I talked about. Am I masochistic for watching movies that remind me? I can’t decide. I feel terrible when I don’t remember all the time. I don’t forget except when I’m asleep, but there are times when I don’t actively remember. And I feel bad for it. And I know it’s stupid. That’s part of life. Part of continuing where he didn’t. But I don’t want to forget. I don’t want to not remember. I can’t imagine not missing him. He’d call me a bozo for that.
It’s been two weeks since he ate food. Watched tv. Played music. It’s been two weeks since my world was right. Two weeks. Longer than I’ve not talked to him since we started. I miss him.
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