Here we are on the eve of February. Has it been a year? Have the seasons really circled around? When did that happen? The question in my heart when I awake is this: Is he still dead? What kind of question is that? Of course he is. Joan Didion coined it: it's called Magical Thinking. You ask questions like that, and you're serious.
I hate calendars tonight. I dread tearing the page off for the launch of February. The month I lost him. The one described by a friend I've yet to meet as not to be trusted. Just as last year, its brevity will be the thing I appreciate.
Excuse me for just a minute.
Hey February, FUCK OFF.
That feels better.
I know this: trees grow stronger, rivers grow wider. Broken hearts, they grow older. Death dissolves life but cannot disconnect love. In this, the first year, the comfort to be found has been in remembering the alive moments that were just around the corner. This time last year, we were at the cabin or on the phone or at dinner on Sunday night. He was right here; I was right there.
That 'this time last year' stuff has about run out for me.
I can accept that, really I can.
Depending on who you are, you believe that.
I have friends who offer themselves in the form of open doors and shoulders of steel. Can you imagine the luck and generosity of having that? A considerate lot, they are. It's comforting to hear and know they mean it. It's hell to have no words in response. I can't honestly say what I need right now because I'm disconnected from what I feel. Is that safety? I wonder.
I'm thinking in half sentences, naked and incomplete. I'm remembering the last of his life and the permanent abruptness of his death. I'm remembering the phone calls received and made. I'm remembering when the whole world spun magic before I ever considered trying to describe the mist. I remember Saturday mornings when I'd walk past his office of dark wood walls and dark furniture, stacked file folders and notepads atop his desk. Standing in the door, inhaling the smell and wanting more of his world.
I'd watch him for a minute, say, Hi Dad, what are you doing?
He didn't look up from his place, though he shook his head, said, I'm trying to get some bills paid.
I wanted his attention, Can I sit on your lap?
Not right now, honey, I need to get these bills paid.
Another angle: Can I help you?
Tell you what... if you really want to help your old man, you'll go out into the yard and pick up some pinecones for me. I'll pay you a nickel for each one you put in the wheel-barrow.
With that, I'd set out to rid the yard of pinecones, and he'd settle into the quiet focus he needed and had just assured himself of getting. Most importantly, he gave us some time together, even though we were apart.
That's sort of what this is like, it's spending time together even though we are apart. Death may dissolve life, but it cannot disconnect love.