I’ve been feeling weepy for days. Driving in the car, start to weep, watching Game of Thrones, start to weep, making tea start to weep, to which I have to ask of myself what the hell? Then I finally looked at the calendar and realized yep- it’s that time of month again-the week that John would have died. This happens so regularly you would think I would know what it was right away by now. This month being 21 months. 21 months today actually. And I think it strange and yet comforting somehow that my body remembers, always remembers, even when I myself have pushed it aside for being busy, or tired, or just can’t bear it all at that moment. My body says- wait! Something important happened, something that needs your attention, something that still needs work and healing, something that, at the very least, needs acknowledgment. My body makes me focus on what I myself am trying to blur my vision to, if for no other reason than to simply make it through the day, sometimes just to make it through the moment.
Each month this happens is different though. Some months it’s just a general sadness, some months I cry hard angry sobs of those early days of primal pain, some months-like this one-I keep having flashbacks to the call that told me John was dead, or to his body the first time I saw him and knew it really was him dead and that I could not deny it thinking they had made a mistake any longer, or the worse flashback-the day of the funeral- the funeral he didn’t want but I planned, paid for and attended anyway for his daughter and his parents. The funeral that was put off for four days so his parents had time to get to Iowa from Arizona, the funeral with an open casket just like John said he never wanted so his parents could also have the closer of seeing him and knowing it was true, the funeral they never showed up for saying it was too hard to be there for.
Now, it is the funeral that is my last memory of John’s body and his beginning to decompose fingers even though he had been embalmed due to organ donation. And I must say I am bitter and pissed off that the last sight of my beloved was that of shrinking fingers, a slightly sunken nose that was once proud and strong, and of skin beginning to rot.
I’m angry that the last visual of his body wasn’t the day that I went to see his body at the funeral home right after organ donation where he still looked like himself except his eyes, now someone else’s were sewn shut. But even that didn’t take away from the fact that on that day he looked like himself. I spent two hours with him, maybe more I don’t remember really, reading to him, kissing him, pulling the chair near him and resting my head on his chest, holding his arm and hand. I cut his hair and saved it knowing it was the last thing I would be able to have of his physical body once he was cremated. And as sad as that was, it was also balm to me, to be near him, to touch him. He was still there enough that merely being in the presence of his body was calming and reassuring. That is the memory that I desperately try to hold onto when the rush of that horrible funeral that I didn’t want, that John didn’t want, comes to mind. I try to block out the scent of mother nature doing what she does, the sight of the fly that circled and circled the casket during the actual funeral, I try to block out that the strong, handsome man I knew and deeply loved was literally withering away as we all sat there talking and talking and talking-words I can’t remember, songs that weren’t heard by me played, other’s cries that I’m certain happened but I never saw or heard through my own sobs.
So that is this month. That is where my body and spirit are this 21st month since John died. That is what my soul is crying out that most needs attention to heal from, and I will do my best to acknowledge and do what I can to help myself heal in my own small ways. For me this means quiet time, journaling, reaching out and allowing myself to cry.
Not every month is so hard. Not every month is vivid flashbacks and horrid memories of that worst day of early on. I’m hoping that as time gone by that they lessen and that I become stronger and more adept and refocusing my mind on memories of his touch and voice “Before”. Or if I have to dwell of his body, gone, at least refocusing on the comfort I felt that first time I saw his body, held his frame and even in death felt his presence comfort and love me.