Saturday, December 21, 2013

only in dreams

I was thinking again last night about whether it gets easier.  In a way, yes, the habit of loss sets in.  People can get used to anything - even a missing limb, even a missing person.  But like a missing limb, it's always there - your body or your life will never be complete.  It hits you over and over, despite the habit.  It's not that you forget, but sometimes hope sort of rises unconsciously and then you think, well, actually, no - it doesn't matter whether I'm healthy or sick, whether my day is interesting or dreary, whether I look good or haggard, whether anybody cares, or not, because this will never change - my son will never not be gone.  And then you wish there was a place where you could scream at the top of your lungs, but that wouldn't matter either, because your grief doesn't change anything either, so you just get used to keeping it inside and plodding on.

Ah, but there is one space still left to you.  And it happened last night.  In my dream I knew he hadn't died, though I didn't set out to convince anyone, perhaps because I knew they wouldn't believe me.  How it happened, I didn't know - he got off on a technicality perhaps.  This dream was familiar to me from when my mother died, but because she was sick, it was also filled with sorrow, because I knew she was still to die.  But not with my son, because he didn't have to die - it was all a stupid mistake, and if only he had dodged it, everything would be different.  But it's not.  Death is the only incontrovertible truth.  You can fall out with people, and it could seem that nothing would bring them back, but there is always hope that you would see past the betrayals and find each other again.  Death is the only absolute.  And, so, no - it never gets better.

Saturday, December 7, 2013


"There is always a little flicker there. It is a bit like the small glowing embers you see after a fire dies down. I carry that around me, a little ember, and if I need to, if I want to have Claire next to me, I blow on it, ever so gently, and it glows bright again."
 That is how it is, except there are times when the flame burns so bright, you want it to consume you, but it can't and you are left outside in the cold, still there knocking your head against the wall. The article I got the above quote from reminded me of my son's first experience with death.  It was my grandmother, his great-grandmother, who died when he was four.  He saw her in the months before that when she got sick.  I remember we were in the car, when I told him she had died.  Somehow, he already knew what death was, I didn't have to explain.  Acting well beyond his years, and a little theatrically, I thought at the time, he teared up and hid his eyes with his little fists.  Soon after that he woke up from a nightmare crying.  When I asked him what it was about he said that he dreamed I was old. I didn't ask him, but I'm sure he associated being old with dying.  I could only assure him that I was not going to be old for a very long time.  As it turned out he would never see me old.