Thursday, October 16, 2014

Just step outside yourself and look up at the stars above, go on downtown baby, find somebody to love

Dear Emma,

It's hard to fathom that it's been over a month since you died.  Time doesn't feel like it's moving like it used to.  Normally, my brain works like a calendar - I can sort of see the days and weeks and months, and what happened and what is coming up, with a fair amount of precision.  Now it's all muddled in my head.

The constants are images and audio clips.  I think I will go to my grave hearing my dad's voice on a continual loop in my head, telling me that you had been killed in a car accident. And seeing the image of you in the funeral home, cold and still.  And the picture of you making that amazing save in goal - the one that's on your memorial card.  It's taped to my desk at work - you're with me all day long.

But I don't only see and hear you in death, thank goodness.  You're all around me in life as well.

Did you know that I have more pictures of you displayed around my house, on the fireplace mantles and the walls and the tops of dressers, than I have of my own children?

Pictures of you as a flower girl in the various family weddings.  A shot of you from Thanksgiving when you were about 3, playing on a playground near my parents' house.  Surfing pictures from our annual beach trips.  A picture of you and me sitting in the hammock on my parents' deck, giggling and snuggling.  In my office I have the family shot taken in the State Department on the day my mother was sworn in as an ambassador - I was holding you during the ceremony, and then when Mom finished her speech, you jumped out of my arms and ran to her, and everybody in the room smiled and laughed at how cute it all was.

It's been hard since you've been gone.

The whole family has been drifting in a bit of a fog.  We go about our daily lives, but there's this miasma of sadness and heavy-heartedness that has settled over us.  I'll have days when I'm constantly either crying or on the verge of tears, and then days when I manage to function pretty well, but even on the days when I feel somewhat OK, there's always this tightness in my chest and my gut.

I've been trying to honor you by remembering you at your best (which isn't hard to do), and by doing what I can to live well and in the moment.   That feeling I had, in the days after you died, to walk and walk and walk has not left me.  I do a lot of walking.  After I got back from New Hampshire, I started walking to work, at first part of the way (taking the bus the rest), but now I walk the whole way (it's about 2 1/4 miles).  Then I started walking home as well.

It's become one of my favorite parts of the day.  In addition to the physical exertion, it's time to think and listen to music and see my community.  The pace allows me to appreciate the architecture of the old houses and buildings here.  I walk down Colfax Avenue, passing thrift shops and tattoo parlors and dive bars and yuppie restaurants and organic grocery stores and bodegas and music venues and cathedrals and homeless shelters.  I smile and say "good morning" to the delivery guys and mechanics and office workers and waitresses taking a cigarette break.

I love those walks.  They make me feel more connected to the world.  And to you.  I think about you and look up at the sky.

This has been a stressful year, and even before you died, I wasn't taking very good care of myself, physically.  I wasn't exercising regularly and I was eating horribly, and then after September 10, it got worse.  I gained weight and felt sluggish.  But then I thought about you, and how hard you worked to get strong and fit again after your accident, and I decided I needed to #belikeemma and get off my ass.  I'm exercising again and eating properly and I feel like I owe some of it to you.

I'm going to take that picture of you playing lacrosse, kicking ass in goal, and blow it up to poster-size and put it in my workout room.  I'm going to paint my room the color that your room is (that awesome bright turqoise-y blue) and think of you whenever I look around and smile at how beautiful and cheerful that color is.

Thanksgiving is coming up.  The family is getting together at my parents' house, as we usually do.  We're going to do the same fun run we always do on Thanksgiving morning, and probably go to a hockey game, as we usually do.  And hang out and take the kids to the park and go to the movies and see Ali and Joe for Day After Thanksgiving Pie, as we always do.

But without you there, it's going to be hard.  And weird.

I still have a hard time wrapping my brain around the fact that you're really gone.  I love you and miss you so much.

1 comment:

  1. Michelle L.7:17 PM

    Wendy, I am just catching up to all of your news. I am so very sad for you that you lost your sweet Emma. I remember following her caringbridge after the accident. I ache for you and your tight-knit family. Blow up that picture of her and let her live on through your gratitude for life. Miss you.