This week (not to mention every one since 10/28/19) has been tough. And I don’t know why. Since the 1-year mark, the 28th of each month has come and gone with little attention. Not that I never notice, but the day didn’t carry the same weight or dread, until this week.
Maybe it’s that 16 months has been one of the markers around Gabriel’s life. He and Rhys were separated by 16 months precisely. When I think of that, I’m reminded of Rhys’ lament after telling him of his brother’s death “What am I supposed to do now?” What indeed, I ask myself often.
Maybe 16 months of time in this plane doesn’t mean anything particular for where he is now. As I read “The Smell of Rain on Dust” Prechtel talks about the duration of different rituals for various cultures. 240 days means something to some, 180 and 365 days to others. Still the 16 months hasn’t landed anywhere yet for me in any significance.
Maybe there isn’t any meaning, really. It’s just part of the wax and wane in grief. The waves that crash and return to the ocean. I recall my friend Dave talking about the tension between how long it takes for a person experiencing an intimate loss (2 years) to begin feeling something close to what life was like before the loss, and how long friends give (1 year) in grace to someone experiencing heavy grief. So your grieving people witness diminishing support and understanding where they’re still several months from starting to recover from that initial hit. The gist is, if you’re support for a grieving person, they still need your support after the first year. Check on them. Check on me.
I had a dream last night and have had several this week, with Gabriel and Ethan. Last night, I was fixing breakfast and Gabriel sat there, chatting casually, as he did. And suddenly I realized this is the day he dies. Ethan stood with me, carrying the same weight of awareness. There’s nothing we can do. Nothing we can say. Nothing except sit with knowing that this is the end. Eat, chat, dwell in those waning, evaporating moments as the countdown to his final hour. I didn’t wake crying. And that would have been okay too. Instead I was reminded of the Cassandra Complex. Inexorably we walk towards the end of something, all-things, and sometimes, we know THIS is it.
I continue to write in the journal. Once a week or so, sometimes more, sometimes less. But posting these in public is hard. I don’t know why. I’ve transcribed them, photographed them, digitized the journal, and keep writing. I want my experience to give some comfort to others in the saddest club on earth. But posting them has just proven impossible after the first three months.
I’ll sit with this sensation and see if the start of March changes being able to continue the journal posts.