|After T'ai Chi Chih/March 3, 2014|
I would post something today at 4:04 p.m., I thought. Some commemoration of Dan's passing at the 48-hour milestone Some update on how things are.
Instead, I slept.
Initially, it was a fake sleep to avoid talking on the phone. While I appreciate the condolence phone calls more than words can express, I simply cannot answer and speak. Chinese medicine would say that the lungs are the seat of grief, but I'm pretty sure that the larynx must be involved as well. My voice is lost except for brief casual conversation. Dinner is ready. Here's how I made the shrimp. Would you like some more bok choy?
I also find that I cannot go out of the house. Not even to my back patio to water the plants. I want to walk on the beach tomorrow, but I would like to do so in some sort of cloak of invisibility. I fear looking into the eyes of a person who does not know what has happened.
But what I want to write about is this:
The night that Dan died, I dreamed of whales swimming in the marina right outside our windows. And there was a giant shell that rose out of the water, its insides shimmering with color as it raced away.
The next day a neighbor I do not know came to the door to express her sympathy at the death of my husband. I did not correct her.
I like to stand in the spot where the hospital bed was--where last I held him. Holy space.
And because I have shared so much of this experience, I think this final piece belongs here too.
When they come to collect Dan's body, Dusty sits by him and sings. Will stands at his other side and does a last Tuvan throat-singing chant. The men who've come for him lift him from the bed to the gurney. He is under the soft white blanket that he liked when he slept in a single bed we put next to my full-size bed for recuperation after the surgery. Under the blanket, Dan is dressed in jeans and a favorite t-shirt. He is thin. Emaciated. But the men struggle to lift him. Dusty and Will help them. Dan is laid on a white cloth on top of the gurney, and they bundle him into it as if they are wrapping an infant, only they cover his face too. Beautiful face. Pain and stress free. They wrap one side then overlap it with the other. After the wrapping in white, they cover him with a black fitted cover and wheel the gurney toward the front door. All of us follow them out. An unplanned procession, single-file, evenly spaced as though we've rehearsed it. We follow the curve of my front pathway to the driveway where the vehicle waits. We line up in front of my garage in the gloomy colorless evening as they load him, standing there as they drive away, staying until they are out of sight.