Monday, October 25, 2010

D Day Plus 216: (October 10, 2010): Into the Abyss

I hadn’t felt you since yesterday.  Not since I wrote the posting for D Day Minus 156.  It was the one where you changed your relationship status on Facebook for Katie.  As I played with the words and composition, chills would run through my body guiding me. They always did – almost like you were telling me which direction to take or that I’d captured your story perfectly.  The chills started with my first D Day Minus posting.  I craved them – even more that Diet Mountain Dew or Dentyne.  I always knew I could find you when I was working on the blog.

But, that was then and this is now. Things change. Now I didn’t feel anything. Somewhere between yesterday and today, you disappeared. Or maybe it was me.  It didn’t matter. You were gone. Along with the all the beautiful butterflies – the ones I’d danced with only a couple of weeks ago.  Yes, it was normal and expected with the change in the seasons.  It’s just that I thought somehow it would be different – at least this year.  Especially since you always found a way to comfort me with: 
  • your crazy eighty songs that always managed to pop into my head at the right time; 
  • the monarch butterfly the deckhand pointed out when we docked the boat after we scattered your ashes in Hawaii along with all the butterfly sightings every since;
  • your visceral hugs from within; and
  • random happy thoughts for me to milk. 
Dad and I were kayaking on Philpott Lake. A powerboat passed us.  Dad warned me to get in position for the wakes to follow.  Emptiness and sadness hit me like the wakes on the lake.  I really tried to find a better thought and absorb all the beauty that surrounded me on the lake. That only made me want to cry.

You would have loved to kayak on the lake. You never got around to it because the sun was always too strong or you were healing from the latest surgery or treatment.  It wasn't right.  It wasn't fair. 

I tried to shake the darkness, but the more I tried the worse it got. I followed the horizon, enveloped by the forested shoreline, thinking that focusing on the scenery would help.  It didn't. Instead I rowed in cadence to cacophony of memories, fear, and loss. 

I rowed harder and harder – faster and faster – trying to escape my thoughts.  My shoulders burned from the lactic acid.  But that was nothing compared to the tears that stung my eyes and distorted the reflection that bounced off the water.  I didn’t know if, or how, I could continue to tell your story. I didn’t know how to handle the dark times with joy and hope.  How could I share a message of hope and eternity?  I only knew your story from my perspective.  I didn’t know how you really felt except for what you told me.

“Why are you crying?” Dad asked rowing to meet me to make sure I was okay.  When our kayaks met, he pulled my kayak next to his. “What’s the matter Nance?” 

“I miss him.” I said with a hard sniff to stop my nose from running. 

“I miss him too.”  Dad said holding me awkwardly from his kayak.  “He wouldn’t want you to be sad Nance.  He’d want you to be happy.” 

I nodded.  Dad was right.  I held on to him as if he held the answers that I couldn't find. I didn't want to let go.  I didn’t want to kayak back to the dock.  I didn’t want to try and figure things out anymore.

“I don’t know if I can write anymore.” I said in the wake of another wake from a passing powerboat.  “I don’t know if I can do it.  I’m so afraid to face the last few months of Greg's pain. It makes me too sad.  I don’t know how to do it.  I don’t know how to do it. I don’t know HOW to do it.  I DON'T KNOW HOW TO DO IT ANYMORE.”  
Dad hugged me really hard again and said, “Then don’t.” 

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