Shuffle on my media player lands on this
and for a moment I can’t breathe and I curse the fact that my Ativan prescription sits unfilled in my pocket. I feel my eyes well up and my chest tightens as the past falls on me and I see our first apartment and think of the hours we spent there, just us, and how I made Absinthe for our wedding and the morning after I touched him and thought Husband! and there was magic in that word and I swelled. My world swelled like it was breathing, and I felt whole there.
I graze over the red meat for what may be the last time, still unsure what I should bring home. Suddenly I’m full of those first months together when we did it all together, when we were a unit and we could laugh together, even while I waited for someone to figure out he stole a donut every time we did the groceries. I can feel laughter from then like bubbles in my chest. Sparklers alight inside me, convinced I was glowing.
Bus past the hospital where my daughters were born, one early morning after a long night, the other quickly after days of waiting, misty and wetwarm when Vivian made her way into our arms, cloudy and cold, crunchy ground cold as Rosalyn stormed and roared into life. He’s there, in awe, in shock, in immediate love, and never did I love him more, never could I love him as much as the moment when he fell in love with his daughters. Inside, something felt peace watching his strong hands absently counting their fingers, my heart skipping a beat as he’d glance back to me briefly, our eyes meeting before his went back to his newest lady love. I fell in love with their father in that hospital, not just my husband.
All the places we walked together, all the time, the places touched, the resonance in a memory-these things I cannot erase. I cannot throw out. I cannot erase the trail behind the house, I cannot forget the love I felt as I watched my family walk and laugh, the pride, the joy this gave me.
I cannot lose these things, and I cannot stop the grief that rises up.
I’m told I’ll come out of this stronger. I’ll know more about myself than I did, and in the end, I’ll be thankful that the end came before we ground ourselves in to powder, to even less recognizable parts of us.
But that doesn’t stop my hurt right now. It doesn’t stop the ache that screams to return to when we understood who we were, or at least, when we were able to love despite who we were. It doesn’t stop me from hating myself for failure, for having the one thing I swore I would not have-a fractured family. I grieve more for my daughters, for the family they’ll never know, the unit. That which I lost too, the only thing I apparently could not protect for them.
I’ve never mourned the living. In this moment, it hurts a hell of a lot more than any crying I ever did for the dead.
Those of you who have gone through separation, divorce-how long is it this bad? How long until I can spend 18 hours awake and not find myself seized by memory and loneliness? How long until I find my footing?