I am not crying all the time. I am not cycling through my emotions so rapidly. I am not as dysfunctional as I was a few days ago, but I am aware that I have anxiety over strange things. I know I don’t have to be vigilant all the time, so I’m making myself not worry so much at night.
Comedy helps. Stand up especially really helps to ease the pain. It’s medicine, you know, to help someone begin to heal themselves by overcoming what they fear and finding enjoyment in their dis-ease.
I do not replay his death in my head. In fact, I do everything I can to avoid it, because I really want to break off the arrow and just push it through. It’s been ten days, and a lot has been the same. He’s still at the hospital, I am stuck at home, I don’t have a death certificate or a pot of ashes or the closure of a funeral, so it’s just ten days of slowly getting up and away from the fire that I was flung into.
Since I am not renewing my lease, I have until the end of June to figure out what I am going to do and what complete changes I have to make, and I am conflicted: part of me feels like the more I focus on that, the sooner it will come, which means I can somehow magically bypass this whole pain part. The other part of me is afraid to change anything because what if he comes home, because even though I know he is dead, even though I saw him die, I can’t wrap up his life. I can’t pick out his suit, his shirt, his tie. I can’t brush his hair back or touch his hand. I can’t see him in peace. They paint their faces at the funeral parlor so they don’t look dead. They look peaceful. I can only imagine how immensely comforting that would be to see his face at peace.
I am still angry that he died. I am also sad for the sweetness I won’t experience anymore. There was love there. It doesn’t even make sense to say it in the past tense. But this was supposed to be a time of changes for us, of moving upward, to finally getting a chance at what we’ve been working toward for the last six years.
It’s lonely without him here. I want his help, but I also want his company. Being without other people makes this worse. But I specifically want the comfort of his company.
And mostly, I don’t want to feel the loss. The first two days were two of the worst days of my life. I’m not even entirely sure they ended. But I never want to feel that way again.
Tonight, I’m going to try to go to bed before the sun comes up. I am afraid of the night, but I think I’m more afraid to go to sleep at night.
My neighbors have a humidifier that runs all night and bumps their bedroom wall so it makes mine creak all night. But that’s not what scares me. What scares me is that when I was asleep that night, he was in distress, trying to recover from what he thought was an asthma attack, and then realized it wasn’t just an asthma attack. I was in bed that entire time, right before he woke me up to call 9/11, to get him an ambulance.
If I know this, can I overcome this fear?
Perhaps it’s also because every day that passes is another day away from him, away from his life and the one we shared, and another day toward the uncertain future.
And I don’t know what to do. I wouldn’t have known what to do without an epidemic, and I certainly don’t know what to do in near isolation.
What I don’t want to do is look back. I mean further than that night. I mean over the weeks, months, and years. I don’t want to remember all the details. I don’t want to remember how he insisted the things we shared were split 50/50, even when I didn’t need to do that, like with food, and how making the lifestyle change from that helped me lose weight.
I don’t want to remember how he’d wear his Nani Bon sweaters at the height of the Cosby rape accusations, and I couldn’t convince him to not wear them. In fact, I think he did it all the more to annoy me.
He would tape shows and movies that he thought I would want to watch.
He ate everything I cooked. He loved my cooking.
He used to play Phantom of the Opera’s Music of the Night on his phone as we’d go to bed.
He used to pick me up from law school so I didn’t have to take the L.
He made the coffee for the morning.
He would hug me from behind.
He laughed at my jokes.
He and I would compete to see who could take a joke too far. I usually won.
We’d lift weights together when we were both up for it. He actually taught me a lot of technique with free weights and machines to maximize muscle gain.
He’d take a picture of the rib roasts I’d make for the holidays.
He said that I was it for him, the one for the rest of his life. He was absolutely certain.
And I guess I was.