A year ago, I got the call. The call that I didn’t realize was you shuffling off this mortal coil. I was home because I was getting rest. I was getting rest because the doctors and nurses all told me that you were coming home in a few weeks and that I would have to monitor you and take care of your IV antibiotics. I needed to be rested up for that. Nobody ever told me that these would be my last few days with you.
You died on a Saturday. You had a stress test scheduled for the following Monday. I have often wondered if they remembered to cancel or if the doctor giving the stress test waited for you at your scheduled time and then had to call to find out that you weren’t actually skipping out, you were dead. Why do I wonder that? Because it seems like the medical community here doesn’t communicate much. I have had to tell several doctors and nurses about your death when they called to schedule appointments or ask why you didn’t make it to an appointment that had been scheduled months ago. I had assumed that is something they would put on your chart. I guess not.
If only I had known. If only the doctors had known. My love, I would have demanded a cot and slept next to you every single night of the short time you had left. I would have held you and hugged you as much as your pain would have let me. I would have cherished every moment knowing that there wouldn’t be more left. Your children would have known to come. I would have told them sooner, I would have done so much more. How could nobody have known? How? How could you be so alive one day and then just gone the next? Just the day before, you had asked the doctors if you would be well enough to shoot a film down in Atlanta in March. Always the workaholic. Always, right to the end. My love. My S. I miss you with every cell in my body.
I can’t believe it’s been a year. It feels like so much less and at the same time, so much more. It’s not the same world you left…in so many ways. Your youngest daughter got married, your grandchildren are growing up, the world continues and goes on. I’m not the same woman you left. I feel like a new person every month. The forced growth and new life that I have begrudgingly succumbed to is full of so many different things that I wish I could tell you about. Oh sure, I tell you about them. I talk to the empty air in our apartment every day. But like a widow friend said the other day, I want you to answer! I want to have a conversation that you participate in again. I want to hear what you think, I want to hear the jokes you would make (and you would), I want to hear you laugh, I want to feel your hug. I want to fucking feel your hug again, S. I need it. Why aren’t you here? My heart aches for you.
The pain never goes away. You learn how to endure it. You learn how to let it exist alongside joy. You figure out how to join the world again with this pain always there in the background, to the side, all around you but you ignore it or you make friends with it or you take a quiet moment to cry and let the pain envelop you so that you can shake it off and keep going on as if you are a normal person who isn’t surrounded by this torment that you’ve learned to live with. You know all about that. You had to do the same thing with your oldest daughter’s death. You had so much pain. My only consolation is that you are free from that now. Free from your emotional pain as well as your physical pain.
I now face another year ahead of me without you. What will this one bring? More joy and sadness. I know this is a definite. More sadness and joy. More living without you and more me becoming somebody else, a different woman than you knew. That hurts. It hurts so much. You wouldn’t even recognize me, S. If only I could hug you right now, a real hug, a long and lingering hug that lasts forever. It’s all I want in the world right now. I would give anything.
This won’t happen. But what I do have is a stronger bond with your children and people from your past. That is something I cherish. If I can’t have you, at least I still have parts of you and your history. Your mark in this world. I am working to make that mark bigger with your work but I have no illusions that the people in your life are where you left the biggest mark and that is so valuable.
Value has such a different meaning to me now. Am I thankful for that? I don’t know. So much clarity and depth comes from so much pain. But at least there is that? Who knows? I ramble when I’m sad. I ramble when I’m happy. I ramble when I’m both. You had endless patience and endurance for my rambling. I miss that. I miss that so much. Today, I am sad and today I ramble in hopes that you are listening. In hopes that you are here smiling at me the way that you would as I go on and on.
What’s in a year? A fucking lot and yet, not enough. My perception of time is different now. My perception of everything is different now. I am different and that is the only thing that won’t change. I hope you can still find me as I continue to morph, evolve, grow wings I don’t recognize…
I am still waiting for you in my dreams. I will wait forever. I don’t want to face another year without you. But I will. I have to. I can’t stop it. I can't stop any of this. I love you, S. I miss you, S. Forever.