The thing they don’t tell you about death and grieving is, you don’t just say goodbye once. You say goodbye at the hospital or hospice or wherever you are, you say goodbye when you leave the first viewing of the body at the funeral home, the night of the wake, the afternoon of the burial, the day you get up the courage and emotional wherewithal to donate his clothes, and a million other moments that you never understood were goodbyes until you’ve lost the one you love.
The Space Between Memories
What kind of life goes on in the space between memories? It’s the life where you do the work of living. It’s where you do the heavy lifting and the keepin’ on with the keepin’ on.
Yesterday, I heard you say, “Made me laugh so hard” in that laughing tone your voice went to when you told me about something that amused you. It was so real it took my breath away. I turned to look for you, but you weren’t there.
I can’t get the memories of that last day out of my head and yet I make new memories, choose joy, question the will of God, and I live on, in the space between memories.
Today, I had all the papers you left behind shredded. I couldn’t complete the mission on my own so I called a mobile shredding truck to come finish the job. Twenty years of old bills, cancelled checks, pay stubs, and tax returns reduced to thousands of pieces of ephemera in a pile of trash bags that were gone in an instant. The house somehow feels emptier today. I didn’t expect that.
Through all these months of trying to shred it all myself, I cursed you, and yelled at you, I told you, “If you weren’t already dead, I’d kill you my damn self for leaving me with all this work.” I never expected to find myself standing on the driveway crying as the truck carrying the space between our memories drove away.