#8

I moved out of the rental in Maryland yesterday. Packed up the car, the dog, and the huge peace lily your Aunt Jane gave me along with all the other detritus from my life up there and started the long, slow, journey back to the lake.

I’ve never dreaded coming home like I do. Maybe it’s not dread, really. It’s a feeling I don’t think there’s a word for. A simultaneous feeling of wanting to go but not wanting to get there. An irresistible pull toward this place while feeling the knot in my stomach about my arrival. And it was every bit a hollow and lonely as I expected. The loneliness is physically painful and ever present.

When I finally crawled into bed, bone-tired from all the work of moving out and cleaning today, I hugged your pillow and breathed you in. Your essence still here but your you so frustratingly and unbearably far away and unreachable.

I miss you

Luce

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#4

I’m sitting here next to a pile of your clean laundry, neatly folded, and no longer smelling like you. The knots are in my stomach again- feels like all the time, really. I just feel lost, sidelined, and apart from the world. Not quite in it and not quite out of it. All things being equal, I’d rather be with you in either place, but just together. It takes a lot of energy to be here without you.

It’s an absolutely stunning day on the lake- hot & sunny. And all I could think was how we’d have been out there early. Stocked up with w/a Yeti full of ice and cocktails, beers, and snacks with a plan for swimming up the dog and getting him back to the house if it got too hot for him. You’d pack the drinks, and I’d go behind you and add more because I never felt like you packed enough. We’d make a plan to meet up with our Lake Friends after they did their yard work and household chores- things we’d left undone. We’d have a whole day on the lake to ourselves before we met up with anyone and I always liked that. How we knew to focus on the fun first and get the living in- chores will always be there, but we took advantage of the sun and smooth waters when they presented themselves. I’m glad for that. Thank you.

I’m trying to stay focused on the things I know need to be done, but it’s hard. I need to call the credit card companies and tell them you’re dead. I need to find the marriage certificate so I can process the life insurance policy. I need to clean off your side of the bed- since I just keep adding clean laundry to it. I keep to my side at night and wake up wishing your leg would come over and touch mine as you stretch out. But it doesn’t. Never will again.

I miss you

Luce

#2

I keep looking at this huge canvas we had made of your obituary photo to stand in front of the urn. It’s on the mantel now and you stare right at me when I am brave enough to turn my gaze in your direction. And when I do it hurts to see you look so alive.

My thoughts turn to all the things we’ll never do again and how all the things we did will now seem so un-fun without you. Trips, and wine, and boating, and binge-watching Scandal.

I don’t cry though. I just look at you and hurt- and then my mind brings back that day, the moment, I guess, like a video loop that I can’t stop seeing. I ran around and did so many things to try to make it not be true- calling 911, dragging you off the couch to give you CPR, letting the 911 operator tell me to keep going and counting all the compressions, starting over with each 100. I don’t think you were there for any of that. I think you were gone before I even got you off the couch. But in those moments, I just wanted to rescue you. To do all the things, any thing I could to make it not be true. Maybe you were watching me. Maybe you were meeting up with your dad and brother and grandparents, not concerned at all about what was going on with your feeble little body- like the farmer in the painting of The Fall of Icarus– just going about his business, not concerned at all with the tragedy unfolding nearby. But that moment is what I see a lot of the time.

The scab fell off yesterday. The one I got from my knee rubbing on the rug while I gave you CPR. I liked it being there. Reminding me that this happened. That there was a physical reminder on me of what happened. That I didn’t dream it, even though I wish I had and I could wake up and hug you, hear you breathe, see all your arms and legs sprawled out across the bed.

But along with the scab being gone, I woke up today knowing you’re not here. Instead of your death having to dawn on me again and again each morning. I hated waking up and realizing it, but it’s no better waking up knowing you’re gone. Now my first question of the day is – Why aren’t you here?

I miss you

Luce