Losing And Finding The Way
One day it occurs to you that your baby hasn’t sat in your lap for months, is now in fact nearly a teenager, and will never be yours in quite that way again. If you’d only been able to see the future more clearly, you’d have made it last and last, that one momentous and final time.
For the past week Shel hasn’t been able to speak, only to whisper. When he first feared losing his voice to cancer, about 14 years ago, he sat up all night singing and playing the guitar, recording his clear sweet baritone for posterity. Inevitably, no one now knows where that tape is, and neither of us remembers his voice as it once was. But when he started whispering, I found that I couldn’t even remember with perfect clarity the voice he had last week. I never imagined that I wouldn’t hear it again, didn’t know what I’d be missing, one fine, silent day.
One morning you wake up and something excruciatingly precious to you is gone forever. You can say “c’est la vie” all you want, but you know you’re lying.
But although leaves have been falling all around us, this one heart-leaf has hung on, right outside our bedroom window, even through yesterday’s storm. Shel was on the road in that storm, on the way to Montpellier for a band rehearsal, his last before whatever is to come next, surgically speaking. He doesn’t sing with the band, just plays a virtuoso bass, so a whisper would suffice. Barry came to get him, so he didn’t have to drive. I stayed home and started writing about loss.
But today Shel returned from Montpellier speaking in a beautiful, clear voice. This morning Barry took him to see Sylvie, who put her hand on his throat. Twice. And then, he could talk again. No way. Pas possible. Way.