Month 09, Day 02, Year of Diagnosis.
Please read this post first for Content Warnings.
The bed you died in is still in the house. They haven’t come to collect it. They haven’t even called to arrange a pick-up.
I start collecting papers, taking them to the office. I take something almost every time I go upstairs. I still end up in a room not knowing why I’m there repeatedly. Forgetting what it was I set out to do.
I feel so listless.
I make the mistake of looking at the messages that have been non-stop. They may not have actually been non-stop, but they feel as if they are. I see the pictures of you being posted. And I’m relieved there was none of this social media when da and Lils went ahead of us. Because it’s agony. I can’t see your picture without it hurting; knowing that in time, I won’t be able to recall your image without a photo. That I won’t be able to remember the sound of your voice or that particular look that gives you away when you’re trying to pull one over, sort of, and no one’s buying it. The one where your glee and mirth reaches your eyes and it’s clear you’re nonplussed that no one’s buying because that wasnae the point. But right now I can’t conjure or see your image without hurting. But I don’t want to be seeing you in that bed, gone, either.
I’ve said that you’re gone out loud again today – more phone calls, more words barely above a whisper because my voice falls apart saying you died. Saying the date when they ask. It hurts. I haven’t spoken to anyone much beyond the house, the few notifications I manage the next day. I call asking for documentation requirements, so I know who needs what. It gives me a focus, something that helps me not see everything else. Macoy graciously offered up a recommendation for a lawyer. As I gather everything we managed to do before you died, it becomes clear, there was still more to do.
It feels prudent.
Because you died when you did, it’s days before the funeral home is given leave to carry out your next to last wishes. Which means your obituary is still in the ether. I’m writing that too. Notifications are on-going. I see in memoriam posts, but I also get glimpses of personal stories. Your friends sharing their stories, being gifted to see snapshots of who you were to them. But I’m too raw still. And I need to be able to see the screen so I can send your obituary for posting. The tears won’t let me.
I text your friend to let them know they can still come by on the day you both had arranged. It’ll be three days after you died. My arm’s killing me. I need to get that seen to. We’ve cleaned a bit more, but I’m still ceaselessly lost in my own home. I continue to grab items and take them to the office. Papers mostly, try to get ahead of it. Carl and Bea go out for a bite to eat, but I wish to stay put. I find the notebook you were using to stay on course with some of the paperwork, mainly the paperwork that created your frustrated observation about not making it easy t’die. I flip through it, to see if there are notes I need to know.
I collapse even though I’m sitting. I find the letter you left for me. My birthday will be soon and you asked, as you always ask, what would I like. I simply told you, I’d like one of your stories, so I could record it, write it down, if you felt up to it. You liked it, we had an accord. We didn’t get to see that through. That’s what I think reading it.
That you left me a goodbye, in case you couldn’t speak it. Probably knowing you wouldn’t be able to speak it.
It breaks me new places. I hug your notebook to me, crying, desperate to know your hug knowing full well I’ll forget the feel of it. Like da’s. Like Lils’s.
I’m suddenly grateful I’m alone, because I can’t stop the tears. All too aware that the bed you died in is to the the side of me; I can see it in my periphery when the water wells too fat and skips down my cheek.
I don’t remember how I got to my room, into my pajamas, into bed. But I remember making sure I placed the notebook down carefully as if it were brittle glass.
When I wake the next day, I don’t even remember slipping into bed.