Moonrise Over Sorrow
While the sun and the moon have been rising and setting, I’ve been living in the dark night of the soul, where grief has a way of bursting over my head, deluging me from parts unknown, and the enormity of my loss leaves me numb, watching life stream past in a blur of sorrow.
Most days I take a qi gong class, have coffee or lunch with a friend, go for a walk with another friend. All day, trying to spend time with someone, going places, doing things. Then I come home to my empty house, get in my empty bed (folded laundry piled on Shel’s side so that it doesn’t seem so deserted), and sometimes start whimpering like a child, occasionally wailing like a banshee.
Last night I put on Shel’s oldest and rattiest bathrobe, which still had a bit of his hair caught in the scratchy fabric, and hugged myself tightly. It’s the robe he had when we met, one I never liked and often urged him to toss, and nonetheless the one he took everywhere whenever we traveled. The cats immediately came and sniffed at me, so I guess that it still has his discernible-only-to-cats scent. Then this morning I discovered the new belt that I had bought him just a couple of months ago, needed because he’d gotten so thin that his clothes were falling off. These things undo me completely.
But they came into my hands because I decided to reclaim a tiny part of our closet for myself, a set of hooks for tossing the garments one is too lazy to hang up. Those were Shel’s hooks, but now I want them. And in order to possess them, I had to remove his things, still hanging where he last left them, 5 weeks ago. The things he wore, the things he touched, his favorite green cords with the reading glasses and nail clippers still tucked into the pockets, remind me that sorrow is not reserved for the dark of night, the empty bed. It’s also for the closet, where our life together flashes past me in the neat pile of his sweaters, for his desk, where Zazou likes to sleep on his chair, for the last crossword puzzle he did, his letters in pencil.
But I did want those hooks for myself, and I did admire the rising of the moon, and I did decide that before wearing that bathrobe again it really needed a bath itself. And some day I guess I’ll want the whole closet to myself, want the space for his desk, where he spent so much of the last year of his life, to be converted to some other use. Because I’m alive, and I’m here, and he’s not. And I hate that.