It would be easier, in a way, if it happened all at once.
If the vivid memories of his voice, his laugh, his body language, his sense of humor just disappeared-POOF!-now-you-see-it-now-you-don’t. Then I could make a single adjustment.
But that’s not how it is. Instead, the living proof of his existence recedes like a wave from the shoreline, only there’s no returning surge to remind me of the force that was Dominic.
Each new day marks one more rotation of the earth, one more sunrise and sunset that places me further from the last time I saw him, the last time I heard his voice, the last time I hugged his neck.
And there is no cure for time marching on. There is no “pause” button that I can push to let me catch my breath and allow my heart to comprehend the reality my body and mind must embrace.
Small mementos that are insignificant to those around me crumble to dust between my fingers. Eventually I’m forced to sweep them up and put them away forever.
His friends find jobs, get married, have children-wonderful life events, things I celebrate with them-but they also remind me that he will never do those things. I will never hold his child, relieved the labor is over, thrilled to see his eyes or nose in a tiny face looking back at me.
The subtle and constant change keeps me off-balance. As soon as I think I have found my footing on this new plateau of loss, the earth moves beneath me and I’m stumbling once again.
I came across this quote not long after Dominic left us. When I first read it, I didn’t really understand.
But now I do.
“When someone you love dies, and you’re not expecting it, you don’t lose her all at once; you lose her in pieces over a long time—the way the mail stops coming, and her scent fades from the pillows and even from the clothes in her closet and drawers. Gradually, you accumulate the parts of her that are gone. Just when the day comes—when there’s a particular missing part that overwhelms you with the feeling that she’s gone, forever—there comes another day, and another specifically missing part.”
John Irving, A Prayer for Owen Meany