So he’s not coming back. I understand this intellectually, as this is the longest we have ever been apart, and I have spent seven days in my apartment without seeing him, without hearing him, without sending him a text message from the bathroom and him getting annoyed about it. I am not asking him what he wants for dinner and cooking accordingly. I am not making his side of the bed because it’s still crisp. I’m not asking him to turn the television down when he’s watching yet another WWII movie. I’m not getting him a pop or picking up his soda cans from all over the apartment.
He is gone, and his footprint on this home is eroding away. He is very much still here, because our possessions are mostly the things he brought into this relationship, but day to day, the little reminders that he is alive and interacting with the world are gone.
I feel as if my life is a series of Shane MacGowan songs, and I don’t know how I feel about that.
I only cry now when I talk to people about it, as in when I use my voice to talk about it. That’s because I can hear myself talking about his death, and him, and when I say it aloud, I make it real.
I have been furious with him for the last few days for dying. I have reason to believe his health was worse than I thought, that he shielded me from it, and that perhaps he was in denial.
I can’t know what would have happened, but it seems as if it were a matter of when and not if.
And anger is a much easier emotion for me than grief. Aries Moon handles anger better. If I can blame him for dying, I don’t have to think about his pain and suffering, because I don’t know how long he was suffering — I was a witness to it all, but not the inner turmoil he must have had knowing that he was in trouble.
And if I can be furious at him for dying, I don’t have to face the possibility that, if he did die from COVID, it’s my fault, because I would have brought the virus home, and with his lungs and his heart in the condition they were in, it would be a death sentence.
I hope he forgives me for the things I said to him yesterday.
But I think he knew his time was coming to a close. When he was feeling ill these past couple weeks, I insisted he go to the hospital, because to the extent I knew he was ill, I was afraid of him having COVID. He said very matter-of-factly, that it wasn’t COVID. I asked him how he knew. He said he just knew it wasn’t COVID.
But he knew everything, and even though something like congestive heart failure can look something like a flu and lung disease can look like asthma, he knew that he wasn’t the mighty oak he once was.
Yesterday, I violated state and federal law to look at his medical records. I am usually his medical proxy, the person to be contacted if something happens to him, but I didn’t even know that he went to the doctor in late February and received the diagnoses that he did.
Perhaps these last few weeks was the period when he could no longer humor himself.
Would he ever dream of himself as vulnerable, even though he was?
He managed to keep this from me for a long time. Much further back than February.
But he didn’t tell me.
He didn’t tell anyone.
Would I have worried? Yes. Would I have tried to do something about it? Yes. Would I have watched him like a hawk? Yes. Would I have been afraid that he would die? Of course.
But perhaps he didn’t tell me for the same reason I only cry when I’m talking to someone else about his death:
It becomes all too real when you hear it coming out of your own mouth.
I give myself tasks because I can do stuff during the day to feel as if I’m moving forward and spend my nights philosophizing the meaning and purpose of this, of his karma, of our karma, and what is to come. Granted, I don’t get very far with the work, but I make some progress.
I can do things now, because I’m not completely paralyzed. I make myself do at least one normal thing a day to get back to normal. I can do laundry. I can organize his cases so I can refer them to another attorney. I can go back through the astrology to figure out what happened (as if I don’t know) and what the cosmic purpose might be. I can throw away the bread he didn’t eat that went moldy, because now I know in my highly irrational mind to not save the bread for him anymore, and that it’s okay to get rid of it.
Because I am fully aware of how illogical and irrational my emotions are right now, but they are so powerful that I give in.
I can tell myself that it’s okay to be in the living room where he died, and I can be in here during the day because I have to be here, but not at night, even though I understand that nothing changes. I can tell myself that I could buy the Russell Stover coconut creme eggs (our favorite) and not buy him one, but I can’t even look at them (as if the grocery store would delivery them today). I can tell myself that I am going to be okay in isolation, that this will end, that life will go on, that I have the means and ability to keep going despite the loss, but late at night, curled up on my side of the bed, I feel like it will all crumble and there’s nothing I can do about it. I can tell myself that no one blames me for his death, and that logically, this is not my fault, but inside I feel that I have failed him and his loved ones by not rescuing him from death. I know that I am actually not capable of rescuing a person from actual death and bringing them back from the afterlife, but I feel that if I were stronger, smarter, better, bigger, or something, I might have been able to intervene somehow and make his heart start beating again. Or prevent it from ever stopping.
I don’t want to feel as if I killed him and that I brought this on myself. But I do. It doesn’t make sense. I would tell someone in my position that no, it’s not her fault, but the heart has separated from the brain now, doesn’t like the way the game is progressing, so she’s going home and taking the ball with her.
I don’t know if in life he would have cared if I shared his birth chart with the world. He didn’t think much of astrology. He didn’t really know what I was doing when I was analyzing charts and writing horoscopes. So, I figured he’s not going to be screaming from the Other Side for me to keep his cosmic secrets.
And I need this. I need to figure out how this fits in the universe and what happened, even though I ALSO know that, had I probably looked at his transits and progressions more often, I might have caught this, even though there really no consensus on the astrology of dying and death.
I did his precessed solar return chart. One thing I thought was strange was that the solar return IC was very closely conjunct his natal AC, as if moving the angle of incarnation to the angle of endings. I didn’t think that it would be a literal ending. His natal 8th house was on the solar return 12th house, with the solar return sun in the 12th, which would suggest endings of one’s own doing (or choosing). But it’s not guaranteed.
This is his birth chart with transits at the time (I believe) that he died:
This isn’t set for Chicago time at 2:17 a.m., the time I believe he passed, but it’s close enough.
The trifecta of death is Mars-Saturn-Pluto, and if you add in Jupiter, it’s big death (like a pandemic?). Here, his ascendant is flanked by the Jupiter/Pluto exact conjunction and the Mars/Saturn conjunction in the first house. It also appears that the transiting South Node in Capricorn is on the cusp of his 12th house. Uranus was transiting his Moon, the ruler of his sixth house, which would account for his seemingly sudden turn for the worse and ultimately sudden death, but the 12th house elements here make me believe that there are secrets that were to be/will be revealed…like his actual health conditions.
Universal time is five hours ahead of Chicago. On the morning of April 5, 2020 here, the Moon was transiting his natal Pluto in Leo.
He is a primarily Mercurial person. He has Capricorn rising and his chart ruler, Saturn in the 8th house in a stellium with Mercury and Venus, so there is definitely a Saturn element there, and they’re all in the eighth house of death and rebirth. He feared death more than anything. That’s a hard fear to have, to fear the inevitable more than anything. But I suppose we all fear death. I don’t think most people I know feared it the way he did. I don’t know if it was always with him, or he developed it over the years. He was not a spiritual man; Rick was a materialist outwardly, and he didn’t think there was much more than the material realm, but he also believed that there could be a creator, and there must be cosmic master in order to explain this, but that he personally had some sort of mastery of the material realm as well, such that he could dominate it, outsmart it, and never die.
“The Knick” a show about a turn of the 20th century hospital in lower Manhattan, ends in a death of the main character, who reminds me a lot of Rick. SPOILER:
In the last episode of the show, the main character, a brilliant surgeon but a very flawed human, attempts to perform a re-sectioning of his intestine, his long-time drug use having causes necrosis of the small intestine. But instead of letting someone else help him, he decides to perform the surgery himself, numb from an epidural. Unfortunately, he nicks an artery and bleeds out. The last thing he said was “this is all we are,” meaning this, the meat, the material world – this is it.
But I know that Rick actually wasn’t totally a materialist at the end. Neptune (and Mercury) opposing his strong natal Mercury tell a story. There were times when he would talk about the universe, DNA, atoms, and such and wonder how they could be without a creator. I think that he wanted to believe in something, but that would require him to rethink everything. You can be a non-theist and have spirituality, but he didn’t get there, as far as I knew. Philosophical, absolutely though.
That’s how he flirted, in fact. [Mars in Sagittarius]
I have been alone for a week now. The first in-person conversation I have had about his death happened today with a neighbor in the common area. She asked how he was. She knew he went to the hospital. Everyone knew: I woke up at least half the building with my screaming and crying. They just weren’t sure which apartment I lived in, or if they could even come over (they can’t).
She remembered him as being very nice, always keeping the door open.
He was a gentleman. Most of the time. Almost always in public.
Tonight, I don’t think I can try to finish summarizing these cases. No one is going to read them on Easter Sunday anyway, and I have time.
I have a lot of time. I don’t have a lot, but I am trapped here for another eight days, and people are checking up on me less and less. I understand.
So I am going to have to get in touch with a new emotion: fear. Fear is all mine; I can be sad for Rick, sad about Rick, sad about us. I can be angry at him on his behalf and my behalf, but fear belongs entirely to me, and there is no one to distract me. No one to be here when I fall asleep, and no one to sit next to me and make me feel as if the uncertain future isn’t here yet.
It is here, and my future is uncertain. Rick left and I got the debt and all his affairs to settle. I have to move. I have to sell the car. I have to refer his cases out. I have to do something about his stuff. I have to live by myself and re-evaluate everything I thought was real and true about myself and the world and learn to accept that there is a new life for me, and I don’t have a clue what it will be.
I need to get back in touch with my soul. There are few things like raw fear that make you see your stripped down and raw core, no pretense, no excuses, no bargaining.
Last night, I was thinking, and I laid in a full on trembling, sweating panic. It’s been a long time I have had a panic attack, but I guess this one was warranted. I don’t know what will happen to me. I don’t know what happened to Rick from here on out. I don’t know what he’s thinking, or if he will help me, or what I think and feel. I don’t know what he thinks and feels for me, but now I have nothing but time to reflect on the complexity of the human heart and the often conflicting longings of the soul. Because he had his secrets, but the more I have to do to handle his affairs, the fewer secrets he has, and I have to choose which to take with me to my grave as well and which to reveal.
I lock myself into the master bedroom at night. I have a bed, a television, my phone, laptop, and a bathroom. I bring drinks and snacks, and I stay here at least until the sun has fully risen, because I always feel more secure in smaller spaces than bigger ones, and there is no need for me to occupy the rest of the apartment and all that space. I didn’t sleep well last night, obviously. But right now, I feel as if the stuff that makes up me needs to be held compactly or else I will slowly disintegrate into the atmosphere, because so much of what I thought I was, my love, my karma, my identity, is changing and going to change. This was a very Saturnian love and now it’s gone, and I’m struggling to stay in touch with the adult I became.
Saturn is gone.
But not entirely – I have to embrace the fear, and if I don’t, I won’t heal. I know that intellectually, that I have to lean into the sharp points, to take it all in, beauty and dread,
I recall an email exchange with a friend of mine about my own solar return chart for the year. I had predicted a change in my relationship with Rick, but I didn’t know what it was. My precessed solar return has the north node exactly conjunct the ascendant in Cancer, which is the ruler of 5th house cusp in my natal chart. The solar return Moon is closely conjunct Venus, the ruler of the 5th house in the solar return chart, and they are closely conjunct the descendant, bringing my natal Venus to that angle in the solar return. In the precessed chart, Mars in the 5th opposes Uranus in the 11th. I have Saturn conjunct Pluto in the 7th house.
I was sure that something would change in our relationship that would affect my entire life, but I didn’t think “death.” Who does?
But here is the change.
And I don’t know what will happen. Will I go broke? Will I be on the street? Will I rise from this like a Phoenix and start a brand new life, as I have before? I don’t know. I am in touch with my family again. I now realize I have time to do the things I want to do – astrology, writing – because I’m not only suddenly single, I don’t have to spend my time supporting his career.
But I didn’t see it as a problem. I wanted to do it. Love is service.
But this death is not real yet. Last I knew, his body was still in cue for cremation, and there will be no memorial until after COVID. In this biodome, it’s just me, my emotions, my home, wondering when I will realize that it is nighttime now, and while it is dark, if I find the courage, I can look up to see the stars in the sky, because time is moving slowly and yet, the hours keep slipping by. I have done loss before, but nothing like this, and not in this way.
11 more days of quarantine, but many more of mourning in the time of social distancing.
Will I end up peeling off all the yellow wallpaper by the end?
I wonder what he’s thinking now.
I wonder if he’s staying where he is, or if he will go. I wonder if he is actually looking out for me. I wonder if he’s squirming because I’m sitting her with sci-fi on television. I wonder if he knows that his family has been wonderful to me — okay, this I knew he must have expected because he has always described his family as very supportive and kind, since day 1 — and that my family is kind?
Does he know what he’s missing?
Does he miss me?
Or is he sitting here, or watching, knowing that I know, and knowing that I wonder if he will ever make it up to me for dying on me?
I wonder what the future will hold, and I wonder what he won’t get to see or experience. Everyone who dies does so at the actual peak of their civilization as far as they know. I wonder now about things that I thought were givens, now the Saturnian restrictions are lifted and now it’s me in full-Neptunian mode.
I wonder how I will feel the day I go pick up his ashes and finally, finally bring him home, because I’m not sure yet how much, and for how long, I want to be haunted by him.
But I’m not calling the Ghostbusters just yet.