Tuesday, July 11, 2006

Ten days later

It's been ten days since I turned around and saw P lying motionless on our bed.

They pronounced him dead at 12:28 p.m., at the hospital, but I know he was already dead when I found him. I know because of the way he looked, the way the air hissed uselessly down his throat when I tried to breathe life back into him, the way his arm fell limp from the backboard as the paramedics hoisted his thin body onto it. They coaxed his heart into a fluttering beat for a few seconds -- I heard them say so as they carried him out the door -- but he was gone.

Everyone says I'm doing wonderfully well. I still get up every morning, get dressed, feed G her breakfast. I've sat through all nine nights of the rosary. I've helped make the funeral arrangements. I've written an obituary and a eulogy, which I will deliver less than eight hours from now. I've even been to the mall. I suppose by all those measures, I'm doing fine.

But I'm not fine.

I can't sleep in my bed. I can't even bring myself to put objects there. It seems too disrespectful to casually toss my dirty clothes or the book I'm reading onto the spot where my husband died.

I can't move anything from the last place he put it. His amp is still plugged into the wall in our bedroom, near the chair where he'd been playing guitar the night before. His glasses are still sitting on top of the dresser. His rolled-up ball of socks is on the TV stand. I had to force myself to throw out food in the refrigerator that I'd bought for him.

It doesn't seem right that someone can be gone that suddenly. Of course P was sick and had been for years, but the day before this happened, he'd been no sicker than usual. It was a normal Saturday: I took G to ballet, we went to the movies, we did our weekly shopping at Target. How can you buy soap one day and be dead the next? It shouldn't be allowed.

I keep waiting to wake up, but I know I'm not going to. This isn't a dream. I will never see P again in this life. And there's so much I want to tell him. Not that I love him -- he knew that; we said it to each other all the time. I mean the little things that happen during the day, the ones that make you think "Oh, I've got to tell so-and-so about this!" Only I can't.

I've read lots of accounts of bereaved people collapsing and having to be sedated. I wish that would happen to me. It would be easier to deal with than the way I feel now. Everyone else is sad, but they haven't lost what I've lost -- not a friend or a brother or a son, but the only person on earth who really knew me. I can't imagine anyone else ever understanding me the way P did. It's a very lonely feeling.

Also, I'm worried about G. She won't talk about it, won't cry, won't admit she misses her father. She seems determined to carry on as if nothing happened at all. When pressed, she said "I'm fine with it already" and changed the subject. I wouldn't be so surprised at this reaction if she were a teenager, but you would think a seven-year-old would at least have some questions or concerns. I mean, she was here -- she was the one who let the paramedics in. How could it not have affected her? It's only been in the last couple of days that I've been relatively free of sudden, horrible flashbacks, and I'm five times her age. I don't understand it.

Anyway, it's three a.m. and I have to be up at seven to get us ready for the funeral Mass, so I'd better go to sleep. If I can.

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