We returned home yesterday. I always hate leaving the beach. I feel as though I leave a part of my soul there. I watch my boys, how they love the water, how they instantly relax in the ocean, and it feels good knowing we are creating memories of a beautiful summer. We have been so happy this summer. We have stayed busy. We haven’t had many boring days at all. Just love. A lot of damn love. I’m not kidding. I’m so proud of these kids. These kids who have grown up too fast. These kids who have had to process way too much.
There’s a photo of Dave and middle darling that was the last picture taken of him. They were at swim lessons, and middle darling had just been stung by a wasp. He was throwing a hellacious fit, but Dave managed to calm him down and my mother in law snapped a photo while they were both making a funny face for the camera. I look at it, and I feel like he was just here. It doesn’t seem like he’s dead. The baby came across it today, and commented on it. I asked him if he remembered daddy. He said, “Yes, but when is daddy coming back?” I sunk down to my knees and cried. “Baby….Daddy can’t ever come back, when you die your body dies and you can’t come back ever again.” The realization hit him really hard. He curled up in my lap and cried for a long time, sobbing, “I want my daddy.”
“Oh my sweet precious angel baby, if daddy could come back, he would, just to be with you. He loves you so much.” Why? Why on this day? I haven’t focused too much on his grief, because we really didn’t think he understood much. But the vibe has been present this week, no matter that I didn’t mention anything to any of them. The brain is a mysterious organ, the world a mysterious place, and somehow they knew. Middle darling wore a rosary around his neck for a couple of days. He offered no explanation. It was Dave’s, he just wanted to wear it, and I wasn’t about to say no.
When we walked back into the house today, I felt a sense of peace. It’s always good to be home. And it’s always good to be loaded up on klonopin when your life is a surreal piece of shit motherfucker. We didn’t sleep here on July 5th last year. My family wouldn’t let us. I remember texting Dave a picture of the baby when I finally got him to sleep that night. I knew he wasn’t alive to get it, but texting your spouse is such a habit. “Look at this precious baby. How are we going to live without you? Please help us.” When we came home the next day, I marched straight into the garage. I was overcome by the smell of blood, even though it was all cleaned up and tidy. I could see where they had scrubbed the floor. I could smell him. I could smell the blood. The chaos, the trauma still lingered in the air. My husband was dead and this was for real.
I always hold up so great under pressure, and then crash when it’s over. Yesterday was no different. The kids watched a movie and fell asleep from exhaustion, and I wandered downstairs to the patio alone. I sat down right where I sat so many times in the beginning. Where I kicked and screamed and cried so hard. It felt like day 2 again, instead of day 366. The pain was intense. It was like I hadn’t left that spot in a year. This is what happens when you fight it. When you refuse for it to be true. When you refuse to accept it in your mind. When you wish too hard for it to not be real. Haven’t I learned anything in 366 days? “Show yourself to me,” I pleaded. “I need you. Push me forward. Please. Make good things happen.” A thunderstorm moved in and I could smell the rain. I looked up and could see the clouds had formed what I imagined to be the shape of an angel. Then the whole sky was a brilliant white, and the rain came down hard. I took advantage of the thunder and lightning to disguise my kicking and screaming and writhing. I kept telling myself I wasn’t starting over, only that this demon needed to be expelled. I held it together beautifully the last few days, this was required.
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