June 30, 2021
Another possible blog post shunted off to the drafts folder, well really, sitting there for weeks. I may come back to it, but today the tears want out. Not hard sobs, Jack, like when I first learned you drowned. These are worn, frustrated, disoriented tears. The kind that shiver through a body too drained for emotion, but ripe with it. I can picture them, tiny trails gasping their way across scorched rock, cracked clay. Winding through evidences of distress or trauma. Ridiculous. Hope filled lines, tiny breaths rushing between scenes trying to avoid excess anything.
I slept three hours again between noon and three. Not true. I set the alarm, but my body fought letting go at the beginning and surfaced confused, too soon at the end. There wasn’t really a plan for the day anyway. Good thing. There was a brief hour or two of clarity at the beginning where I looked at my journal, reviewed some poetry, and made notes for longer writing.
But phone calls. I’m not over remembering the call, ‘silence’, him assessing the wait as I sobbed. Already knowing why he called. “Jack drowned this weekend.” Memory is tactile for me. It’s how I process. I still feel your body warm beside me, your hands gentle, your kisses soft, and one desperate upon my mouth, before you left. Wanting me. Loving me.
It’s hard feeling things intensely. Touch is important. I joked for years that I listen through my hands. They spent enough time with language falling off them. ASL. My smile at your forming ILY and smiling proud you got it. I love you. Those memories I want to feel. But lately, my body listens too hard. It yells over the memories of smiles. It yells loss.
May long weekend. I felt your heart stop touching mine. I felt it going, fighting it leaving. I tumbled with your heart. I felt it go. I begged to be wrong. And words. The call. I hate words. I love them. I want you Jack, your words, love, laughter, and all the joy I had remembering them. Waiting for you to come home. I have the memory, and words telling me you’re gone. They hit my chest in a wave of imbalance, a tug of fear. Shock.
Why is grief so much fear? Loss such a chasm?
It crashes in where it doesn’t belong. The dentist’s office calling. Jacob’s appointment. Another kind voice, explaining, rationalizing, insisting I understand. I do. But the telling, and retelling. Reasons they may not see Jacob, may not keep him as a client, flood over me. I can’t hold memory together. Focus. Listen. Their email bounced back. No way to call. Who do they email? Why they are calling me. No way to reach his staff. Simple. Fact. Context. Clear. I want to hear what they are saying. That it isn’t because they don’t like him, that it isn’t because he doesn’t need them. That they just need connection. But all I hear is the swish and score of water dragging rocks. Heaving me over the edges. My body. My head swirls.
I apologize and excuse myself. Promise to follow up with the group home. Let them know if I can get through. And even though their words say not my responsibility, I’m awash in words on why they called, I can’t hold them separate. They are loss over loss.
I can’t. Not today. Why? I slept. I’m sure I slept.
Did I sleep? I don’t know. And so I sleep again. After the call. After my text. And two or three emails, to group home manager and staff. Searching out clues. Who do I tell? What do I ask? Why is there an email address I haven’t used and dentist said bounced. And the answer comes back. Adamant. The address is right. It’s the one everyone can access. So I try. But it bounces. Flings itself up and over, bounces back without any sense of why. So I email again to the manager and dentist. One note combined. One clear, concise ask – why? I don’t know. It doesn’t work. Why? Apology. I hope they talk.
And all of this means nothing to the day to day I need to heal. I’m working at it. My head. My heart. My job. Go back to work. Jump box to box, work and home, go back to it all. Rocks I can’t miss. My body complains. At more than this drudge of tears that won’t come.
Why is so much of life about disconnecting? Losing and loss.
I wonder if the motions of my day mean anything at all. Shoppers stuffing buggies with mis-labelled essentials. Pop. Chips. Multi-buys of chocolate bars. Wanting baby clothes we used to share. They say things are opening up. I wonder. Logic disappeared months ago in swirls of ideas like water down the drain. I don’t know anymore what I don’t know. I pushed hard the last months, all my best storytelling used up on pictures drawn in the air. ASL categories, this one and that. Grocery and garden centre, front end with online, eventually curbside. Store areas mapped out as claw-hands drop in locations separate but all there. And cell phone, photo at the ready, curbside number to call. Will it still be that? Wipe, wash, story to spin. Swish. Swirl. A rock falls in, dropped from the air. Ideas weighing. Nothing that helped me hold you. Not Jacob either. He went, but isn’t gone.
I want to hold on, hold together. Know my hands are worth more than grasping at air.
There is no guarantee. No one who can promise me what will come. Just me, in the river. Thrashing. Nose above water. Flailing imagination. Covid brought colours and labels like waves over rocks. Bruises piling up. Mapping the years. Last year and this, promise and pain. Have I ever held on? Has anything I ever wanted held together? Why does it feel like so much repetition? Loss. Longing. The distance between. And always I’m reaching for a solution, a way to hold it together.
She’s right. I come back to it. The sound of her voice, rushing like water. Like she said, it’s not my responsibility. But responsibility isn’t what I was trying to hold. I wanted your love. I wanted time. Not these tears. They come and they fade. Evaporate in air.
Breathe. I have your love. I do. That I will hold.