If you were expecting a baby, what would you call him or her? I’m not pregnant, don’t worry. And I don’t even like children. I was just thinking I’d name my child after a book/series character, but he’d end up having like 7 or 8 names. Lol.
I don’t know if you know Jim Beaver, but I love him and I just wanted to share this thing that beautiful, beautiful soul has written for his wife on the tenth anniversary of her death. Sorry for the tears.
“At 8:05 a.m. on this date in 2004, I wasn’t sure how I would live another ten minutes. That I have now lived ten years from that moment seems in many ways a miracle as large as the cosmos. At that moment, as the woman I loved slipped away into whatever place, if any, to which the dead go, I had only a two-year-old child to keep me from leaping after her. I nearly felt anger, or something akin to anger, that I was prevented by responsibility from leaving behind this world and the crushing sorrow I felt. I knew I must remain, that Cecily’s departure was mirrored by the relatively new life we had created together, and that not even life itself had been as important to my wife as her daughter. And so began the long trudge to today.
A decade has passed and with it, much of the paralyzing weight of that loss. There is no more true pain in it, just gentle sadness that it had to be, and regret for what could not be. I’ve often said that after a year or so, it came not to be agony nor the formerly unbridled, wrenching sorrow. Instead, when at long last the months or years had wrung from me most of what I had in tears, I came instead to feel her absence and the sorrow for it much as one might feel an extra-heavy overcoat, something that one got used to having on, something one might well wish to shrug off, something that was a burden and a nagging weight, but also something that one could manage. Around that time, life became less about loss than about really living beyond it. The words my great friend Tom spoke ten years ago this morning, about life being “that way»»,” ahead and not back in the hospital room where a great woman had breathed her last, were always my watchword, but it took some time to make good use of it.
A decade has passed. With it, others — my father, my grandmother, dear friends and family members — whose losses echoed in the familiar well where Cecily’s memory lived. And with it, new friends, new loves, new joys. There are, I daresay, those who know me now, even know me rather well, who are not aware I had and lost a young wife who left me with a little child to raise. I try not to be defined in those terms. I always feared, in the wealth of communal support and uplift that came my way after Cec’s passing, that I might always be that guy, the guy whose wife died, the guy people were sorry for, the one they could never again quite look at the same way. There’s some of that, still, but mostly, as I’ve moved toward life (it’s that way»>), I’ve seen others understand it and move with me. And it is no slight on the memory of the woman who held my heart for 19 years that we move forward. Life was so important to her, not just for herself, though she clung to it mightily. It was important for those she cared about. My future, the future of her daughter Maddie, and that of all those she loved — these were vital issues to her as well.
To illustrate a tiny example of this, there’s a story. It reveals much about Cec’s beauty of spirit, of her generosity, of her care for the loved ones she suspected she was leaving behind. And, best of all, it reveals her spectacular, irreverent sense of humor. It’s an old joke, one we had shared years before, one that integrated itself into our lives in a funny way. The joke is this: There once was a man coming home in a limo from his wife’s funeral. His best friend is with him, consoling him as best he can. The widowed man is sobbing, tears flowing in a torrent down his face. His friend, arm around him, tries to comfort. “I know how terrible this is,” says the friend. “I know you’re in so much pain, and it may be hard to hear what I’m about to say. But I want you to know, it will not always be this way. There will come a day, perhaps not soon, but eventually, when the horrible weight is lightened, when you will be able to see life again as a joyful and hopeful thing. It is hard to believe now, I know, but someday, someday you will even find love again. Not someone to replace your wife — no one can do that — but someone to take up the space she has left in your heart and to show you new love and care and oneness. Someday, you will have someone to love again. I promise.” The widowed man manages to stifle his sobs and looks his friend in the eye and says, “Yeah, but what about tonight?”
That’s the joke. Cec and I roared when we first heard it, and it became a shortcut to a guaranteed laugh whenever one of us tried to comfort the other about some disappointment, some unwanted postponement of happiness or gratification. I’d come home from a bad audition for something I really wanted, she’d say, “Don’t worry, one day you won’t even have to audition anymore, they’ll just call you up and offer you the job”, and I’d say, “Yeah, but what about tonight?” We’d be house-hunting and find her dream house, only to lose it to another buyer. She’d sulk, I’d say, “There’ll be another dream house, one of these days,” and she’d smile that amazing smile and say, “Yeah, but what about tonight.” Some couples have “their” song. Cec and I had “our” joke.
What about tonight? Well, let me tell you about tonight. I picked up my daughter Maddie from school. Maddie’s not two anymore. She’s twelve, and she’s taller than her mother ever was. Maddie has no conscious memory of her mom. Cec dreaded that, and yet, it has been a blessing of sorts. Maddie isn’t wracked with an awareness of loss. She isn’t very sentimental about her mom. And yet… and yet. There’s something going on, a lingering subconscious pull I know she feels. As a two-year-old, she felt her mother’s sudden disappearance most terribly, poking around the house endlessly looking in corners and closets. “I’m so tired, Daddy. I look and look and look and I can’t find her.” No child should have to feel such fatigue. And yet. Today she doesn’t miss her mom, precisely, but she seems to care about her, to know that there’s something important she very much should care about, something she should have had and didn’t. Something she senses I should have had, too, and didn’t, not long enough. So it was with only a bit of surprise and a great deal of pleasure that I heard Maddie ask me today if we could go together after school to Franklin Canyon Park, where the great redwood tree around which her mother’s ashes are spread stands. We go there often, usually on Cec’s birthday, but usually it’s at my suggestion. Today it was Maddie’s idea. We drove up to the top of the Hollywood Hills and into the canyon to the old familiar spot. We leaned on the tree and said hello to Cec. Maddie asked me to take pictures of her hugging the tree and then she took some of me doing the same. We sat at the nearby picnic table and talked for an hour or so about her mom, Maddie soaking in the information, some of which she knew, some of which was fresh to her. For the first time, I told her in detail the events of the morning Cec died, how sorrow was mixed with great acts of love and kindness. And I told her how very much like her mom she is, stubborn, hard-headed, joyously funny, witty and wise and silly, and oh, so beautiful. Maddie doesn’t like it when I get what she calls “phi-LOS-sophical,” but she tolerated it and she showed so much maturity today. We then said our goodbyes to her mom and headed for home. On the way out of the park, we ran into Drew Katzman, our great good friend who was with us that morning a decade ago. And then we went on our way. Maddie doesn’t invite or even enjoy much getting sympathy from people for having lost her mother, but tonight she tweeted to the world a memorial to her mom and girded her loins for the “onslaught” of sympathetic notes sure to follow in its wake.
So here I am a decade later. I’ve lived. I’ve had this amazing life, the envy of most people I know. So much good has come my way in the same ten years that it’s hard to reconcile sometimes how the calendar tracks the grand and the horrible so perfectly in synchronicity. I’ve had the career that Cec worked perhaps harder than I did for me to achieve. I’ve had a magnificent time raising this toddler into a brilliant and quirky and loving adolescent. I’ve even fallen into love again, with some spectacular women who are as unmatched in their own ways as Cecily was in hers. None of those loves have worked out as I might have hoped. I’m a sucker for the unavailable, and geographical, occupational, and legal matters have thus far sabotaged what might have been another chance at that grand romance so few get even once and which I live in hope of finding a second time.
And what would Cec think about my occasional hopes of finding a new woman to love and to fill my heart as she once did? (I say “occasional” because I vacillate between the pull of loneliness and need to love and the push of serenity in my solitude.) What would my girl think about me looking for someone new? Well, I know the answer very well.
The last day Cec was conscious was about five days before she died. She was in the hospital and I was with her. We were forcing ourselves to talk about the horror of “If.” If she didn’t make it. If I had to go on alone. We were talking not in imminent expectation, but simply trying to be prepared for whatever came, soon or later. There were discussions about wills and trusts and all sorts of things we should have had in place long before. And there was the discussion about Maddie. Cec had very clear ideas about how Maddie should be raised, how best to care for her, and she had little faith in my ability to do it all well without her there to guide me. So she lectured me a bit, about foods, about schools, about health and emotions and all the things a couple ought to spend their child’s entire childhood discussing at leisure. She filled me up with instructions, interspersed with my weak claims that she needn’t worry, that she’d be there to show me how to parent all along the way. And finally, she talked to me about remarriage. I didn’t want to talk about it. It wasn’t something I could begin to consider at this point, when hope still seemed worth clinging to. But Cec insisted. She had come from a broken home, one torn apart by bitterness at times, and she had learned what it was like to be the child of the old wife in the home of the new one. She was fortunate in that she adored her father’s second wife, yet it was built into her psyche to be uncertain of love, and she pleaded with me that, if I should ever remarry, to find someone who would love our daughter as much as I did, that Maddie would never feel uncertain about love from anyone in our household, especially a woman who would share parenting with me. I protested, now in tears, that I didn’t want anyone else, I only wanted her, that she was everything I dreamed of and that I would never open myself to anyone new. She told me I was being foolish, and that I owed it to Maddie to make sure she had a good mothering figure in her life. And she told me that if the unthinkable happened, that someday I would find love again, whether I believed it or not, whether I even wanted to believe it or not.
And then I said, “Yeah, but what about tonight?”
And my beautiful, vibrant, raucously witty and funny wife practically fell out of her hospital bed laughing. She laughed harder and longer than I’d seen her laugh in the entire four months of our ordeal together. She laughed until she cried. And I did, too.
That’s the kind of girl I was married to. One for whom deep importance and respect were required for serious matters, but for whom nothing was too serious or too painful that it couldn’t be cut down to size, if only for a moment, by a laugh. One for whom death was fearful, but not so fearful she couldn’t laugh in its face.
So the laugh is quiet now. But ten years later, I believe it echoes, in the house her daughter is growing up in that Cec took such pains to make just right, in the forests where her earthly remnants lie at the feet of the great redwoods she loved, and in the heart of a delicious twelve-year-old with her mother’s eyes, and in the soul of a not-so-young fellow who remembers her with joy, not pain, and who walks where she pointed. Toward life. That way»».
|seniya-andrusenko: your blog is great they all are so fucking amazing,that i can`t choose the one lol|
|Anonymous: I draw so many guys with long hair and omfg your blog is not helping my problem... You're a horribly great person bfhjdsfhjsdfvkahs;vdsjb.|
YOU DRAw? OMFG why don’t you send me some drawings? I’d love it! If you want, of course. But I’d love it. And thank you, it’s the first time I hear ”horribly great person” ahaha
Happy Easter, metalheads! Aren’t you dying from chocolate overdose yet?