I wrack my brain, trying to come up with answers. What should I do? Where should I go? Who should I call? But there are no answers, no relief, no peace.
Take a fucking shower - why I’m not going anywhere? Change your sheets – why, they are almost virginal, those lovely white sheets. Nothing goes on in that bed but for soggy tissues and possibly drooling when I finally manage to pass out. I have many colors, the burnt orange Bill preferred, sage green, yellow, a gray and yellow print, tan, and new teal blue ones I haven’t opened. The white match my A-sexual nightgowns, cotton, floor-length, covering everything. The same kind of nightgowns I wore as a little girl when I would hurry to the kitchen to stand over the register on cold frosty mornings, letting the heat blow up my nightie and send it billowing around me. How could I have ever imagined that I would still be wearing them? How could I have imagined the turns my life would take as my sisters tried to shove me off so they could have their time on the heater?
I couldn’t have, of course. Life was perfect, or so I thought at the time. Strangely the youngest of five children didn’t have abandonment issues when her father walked out. How could I? I never knew him. I was much too young to realize when my parents divorced, six months.
By the time I had need of a man in my life, I had my grandfather. It was he who taught me how to tie my shoe, ride my bike, mow the lawn, water the grass. He was the one who pushed me on the swing in the backyard and watched me learn to roller skate.
I didn’t meet my father until I was eleven. I may have been slightly impressed. He was an attractive man with a brash, bold sense of humor, but he didn’t stay around long before he disappeared again. This was the same time my grandparents moved into Senior Housing, my first experience with what I considered abandonment.
Looking back I can see that they were tired. They’d raised their daughters, buried a son and raised their grandchildren. They deserved to have some time without children and at eleven I was the youngest. The rest were teenage girls, no easy task. Before my parents divorced my grandparents went to Florida every winter. I don’t think they ever went again after they came back that first year I was born and took us all in.
I however, felt bitterly abandoned, like my parents had moved away. I walked several miles to their apartment thousands of times. Life at home was never the same.
My grandfather died when I was seventeen, a child really, although I considered myself all grown up. I felt abandoned, grief stricken, but Bill was with me by then. He’d lost his father the year before. We had much in common and many, many differences.
Many things happened between the time my grandparents moved out and Bill came into my life. Most of them were not good things. I don’t talk about them and try not to think about them. If I could paint them out of my life, I would.
I was twenty-five when my grandmother died, forty-three when I lost my mother, fifty-eight when my father died, who I did have a relationship with by then, and sixty-one when I lost Bill.
Am I obsessed with death? Am I nursing abandonment issues even though I know it was not their choice to leave me? There are times I look at Bill’s urn and think “How could you?” Times I look up at the sky and say the same thing to God.
In a little less than three weeks Bill will be gone a year. I can’t even fathom it. How can it be and why am I still here? Am I a survivor or the walking dead?
I’m trying to be better to my children, trying to offer them more comfort and get outside my own pain once in a while. I think I am moderately successful and completely useless, depending on the vortex.
Today is a useless day. I am dreading each day that brings me closer and closer to THAT day. It’s pretty stupid when you think about it. What difference does the date make? It changes nothing. He will still be gone. I will still be alone and heartbroken. It will come and go as each day has for more than three hundred and forty-five days. I cannot stop the clock, cannot turn back time and I cannot wake-up. This is not a bad dream. I cannot turn to Bill for comfort. He cannot hold me in the night and whisper that everything will be all right as he rubs my back.
I don’t know what to do. I don’t know what I’m supposed to be doing.
Tomorrow I will get up and pay bills. I have to before something is late and they hit me with a late fee. I will write, escaping into lives that are not my own. I don’t even care if it’s crap as long as the hands on the clock move to get me thorough another day.
I will call and make an appointment to get my hair cut. My girls tell me I look like Shelly Long playing Carol Brady. This is not good unless ‘the flip’ comes back overnight. I’m pretty sure that’s not going to happen.
If it turns out tomorrow is not too bad I will call my sisters. I need to talk to them before I can’t, before the vortex sucks me under.