Love

Dear Josh,

Sometimes, I can feel the weight of your stare as I feign sleep in those torturous minutes before I fully wake.  Your grip on my hand has tightened; that’s what probably woke me in the first instance.  I can feel your love.  I can feel you trying desperately to save the image of my face in some special place within your soul that might be immune to the amnesiac effects of time.  I can feel your fear as you unwillingly envisage a life without me – how will you comfort the girls like I can; how will plan the birthday parties and arrange the girls’ schedules; how will you fix all the things that break in our home; how will you do all this while still working your demanding job and maintaining the stellar course of your career?  In turn, in my own mind’s eye, I can see you cleaning out our closets and bathroom drawers to dispose of all my things.  I can see you bringing flowers to my gravesite.  I can see you watching what were once “our” favorite TV shows after the girls have gone to bed, in the dark, alone, the television casting its eerie blue light on your face that seems to be permanently sculpted in sadness.  My heart aches for you but I don’t know how to help you.  Beyond solving all the logistical problems caused by my death, what can I say or do to alleviate the pain, to make losing me easier for you, if that is even at all possible?  Just as I felt compelled to write the girls a letter, I feel a similar compulsion to do the same for you in an attempt to help, for to not do so would be a great failure by me as your wife. More

Preparing

Last Wednesday was the first day of school.  Mia is in third grade and Belle is in first grade.  Parents came together and engaged in some version of the game One-Ups-Man-Ship, as each tried to “one-up” the other, to wear the cloak for Best and Coolest Summer.  Trips to France, Spain, Italy, blah, blah, blah.  Of course, I played the game too.  A part of me needed to play, to feel like despite everything, I could still give my children a semblance of a normal childhood and summer that could rival anyone’s.  “Mia and Belle went to South Carolina to see their grandparents, which put them in the path of the total solar eclipse,  They loved it.  They’ll never forget the experience.” I bragged.  Even as I said the words, I wondered why I even bother at this stage of my life, why I engage in the stupid, vapid games, why any of it matters at all.  I should have just opened my mouth and stunned them with the truth:  “The girls went to South Carolina to see their grandparents and to see the total solar eclipse but I agonized over whether to allow them to go because I was afraid of losing time with them while they were gone for 12 days, or worse yet, that I would die while they were gone.  But  I realized I had to let them go because that is a necessary part of preparing to die and that’s what I did this summer, prepare to die.  And they may not have been aware of it, but they were also preparing for me to die, to let me go, to start forging their own way in this world without their mother.  That’s what our family did this summer.  So, why don’t you top that?”  Oh how, I would have loved to see the looks on their faces if I had said all that.  How I would have loved to see the shock when hearing complete, absolute and uncomfortable truth. More