Friday, January 30, 2015

It's February.

 I can feel it closing in. I can literally feel it behind me, just over my shoulder. And if I pick up my pace, it picks the pace up too. If my breathing increases, so does its. If my heart races, it matches me. I know I can't outrun it. Its shadow lingers just behind my own. The last few days, I feel like I am reliving the moments leading up to the worst day of my life. It's almost like watching it in slow motion. This time I can see it coming. I want to yell at the character playing myself and tell her what's about to happen! I see it in my Timehop app (thanks a lot, Timehop), I smell it in the crisp outdoor scent of this time of year. I feel it when I see all the God-awful Valentine's Day stuff on store shelves. Valentine's Day... more like the Ides of February. A warning sign to throw up that guard. Put the snipers on my emotional roof and call out the dogs. There is work to be done in the next few weeks.
 So I have to turn around and face it, because its the only way to get past it. Its just another day to most. But to me, to us, its a huge milestone. One whole year since the last time I talked to you. One whole year of birthdays, holidays, illnesses, blood, sweat, and tears. One whole year raising our children without you. One whole year since I saw your name pop up on my phone. One solid year that Lila has been asking for you. Don't worry, she doesn't seem to hurt when she asks. She simply states that Daddy is in Heaven and he is her Guardian Angel, which is confusing for a 3 year old whose gym teacher at school is named Angel (no, seriously). You would be so proud of her. She is sleeping in her own big girl bed and doesn't use any diapers or pull ups at all anymore. She is still taking dance classes and Uncle Joey is going to hopefully take your spot for the Daddy-Daughter part of her recital this Spring. She was also in her first Christmas show this past holiday! She did awesome! 
              {Lila Bug}

              {girl's lunch after a mani}

 Harper is not even the same little girl you last saw. She has pigtails now. She is S.P.U.N.K.Y! She talks and takes her coffee with two sugars! And she hits me sometimes just so she can say "sorry!" She runs and laughs and has a paci addiction worse than Lila's! She looks like you to me sometimes. But then I blink and she looks like me. She sleeps in her bed all night now. Took months after you left to get her to do that. 
            {at the park}

             {trying on your boots}

  It occurred to me recently that I don't have a place to "visit" you on special days. You're probably aware that what's left of your earthly vessel is sitting on my shelf, as I figured that would be the best place to keep you so you could keep watch. But it left me with no place to go to let myself FEEL... 
 I went to the hospital today. I can't explain it, but I just had to go to the last place I saw you alive; the last place I talked to you. I have been thinking about going for some time now, I knew I had to. It wasn't even my choice, I was being led and knew I would be going. And today was the day. After work, I just kept driving. I parked in the same spot I parked in that night. I walked through those same automatic doors and immediately the memories assaulted me. I explained to the front desk lady that my husband had died in "Room 1" almost a year ago and that I would really just like to see "Room 1" for just a brief moment and leave. She said that room is a "trauma room" and that she would have to ask a head nurse, and she disappeared behind big locking doors. Funny, I remember them telling me they needed to move you closer to the nurses' station and that the room looked much more equipped than the first room we were in, but nobody called it "trauma" room. I would have remembered that.
 The two elderly women in the waiting room must have overheard me, because they ceased their conversation promptly and stared at me while I stood waiting, gazing over at the bench you were lying on that night before they took us back.
 The front desk lady (is that her official title?) returned quickly and said I could go back but she had to get the security officer to go with me. She poked her head into a little office, whispered about the lady in the lobby who wants to see "Room 1", and a very nice man in uniform came out and walked with me back to "Room 1". Nobody was using "Room 1" today. At least not at this moment. It looked as I remembered it, only perhaps larger without 12 bodies in it, frantically running in and out. It looked like the resting version of the room I remember. Like it was having its day off. The lights were dim and the machines were covered in plastic protective dust covers of some sort. There were no extra chairs for the woman who was about to enter widowhood to sit in. The officer left me alone and I stared at the room. I stared at the monitor that flat-lined for more than half an hour while I rocked back and forth at your feet. I can hear that awful beeping in my head, still. It's one of my biggest scars from the whole night. I stared at all the screens and tubes and life-saving devices lying dormant and quiet under those plastic covers. Those same ones that were in full force that night under bright lights, and I wondered why YOU couldn't have been saved that night by those stupid machines. I let myself take it all in, as crazy as that may sound to anyone else, because that is just what you do for people you love. You took your last breath here. Your heart stopped coursing blood through your veins here. In this room. And I wanted to come back and say "Hi and bye, and I miss you, oh, and fuck you, machines!" I allowed myself to feel that sick, sad, black, lonely, horrified, shocked feeling I felt a year ago. I usually can stop myself when I feel it coming, just throw those snipers on my emotional roof, but today I needed to have it. I wanted to go there and remember it and FEEL it. I wanted to relive it, just for today. And I did. Could you hear me cussing the machines? You would have done it, so it only seemed fitting. Could you hear my prayers from that night? From today? I can assure you it is true what they say...

The walls of hospitals hear more prayers than the walls of any church ever will.
       {Room 1, ER, Texas Health Presby}

               Hi, bye, I miss you, and f*** you, machines,
           {Feb 15, 2014}

            {Feb 15, 2010} 

           {just us}


  1. I am so sorry Claire!!!! My thoughts and prayers are with you and your precious girls! I can somewhat relate to some of your stories. You're stories are an inspiration. I can't imagine what you are having to go thru! I almost lost my fiancé on 2/2/14.
    My heart, prayers and thoughts go out to you and your family on a daily basis.

  2. Love your words, your honesty and your heart.

  3. Love your words, your honesty and your heart.