A Little Better Today

Today I did not experience the despondency that has left me practically breathless in the past few days.

This is good.

I think.

I say I think because there were moments, and they seemed to me to be completely lucid moments, where I doubted that there had been any death at all. I wondered if I had somehow fallen prey to my extremely detailed imagination. Surely, I thought, he’s still in the hospital. Or somewhere else. It seemed absolutely ludicrous to consider that he is gone – cremated, by the way, so I mean completely and totally gone.

I called his house. That was not because I was expecting him to answer, but because his son, ShaSha, who has lived with him for several years, has said he would stay in the apartment. (Like me, ShaSha is not Emmanuel’s biological child, but there were many of us surrogates, so extensive was his help.) So I really called to check up on ShaSha. There was no answer, and I was severely disappointed that there was no answering machine either.

Because of course, I wanted to hear his voice again.

Despite that, though, today I think I began to feel normal. I readily admit that it might be only because I’ve suspended real acceptance of the whole thing; whenever I try to process the information logically again I feel myself slipping back into that despair. Today, though, rather than forcing myself to face the facts, followed by a minute examination of my regrets and shortcomings, I just skimmed the surface. I allowed myself not to ponder his death, but merely to state it as fact and then move on.

I suppose I will have ups and downs, but I have to be really careful about letting myself dwell in the doldrums this time around. I know this about myself in general, but in the past whenever I’ve gone too far out, it has been Emmanuel who has pulled me back in, saved me from sinking further into a black pit of depression that I often didn’t even realize I was sitting in. Now, he’s not here to point out how dangerously close I might be getting to losing myself, or to do any work to avoid it. So I have to avoid going there in the first place. I have to find a way to keep it light, keep myself busy. But I still want to remember him, to keep him close.

Just in a positive way. In a way that will honor all he has done for me but not at the same time destroy it. Which is exactly what going into a black fugue would do – obliterate a lot of hard work on his part.

That was what I thought a lot about today – that I had to find a way to honor his memory by doing more with myself and my life. He worked so hard to get me to where I am today and I feel as though I am sort of coasting through life right now. The excuse, of course, is the children, but I can’t let that stop me from expressing the other aspects of my personhood. I don’t want to lose myself in grief, but I’ve sort of lost myself in motherhood. And I need to activate the other parts of my life again.

That would be one way to honor his memory, and I hope I can do it.

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