Today is the worst day for this… but really, when is the best day for this? Ugh… I don’t want to do this. I don’t want to be here… Oh my goodness, look at me. I should have dressed better. Is my black is faded… Maybe I should have bought something new… But I love this outfit. Oh, who am I kidding? Right now, spending money is not an option… But wait… Is my outfit appropriate? How do I look? …I look tired…. Damn, my dark circles…. But who cares? I need to stop this. No one in there really cares about me… or my son… Let’s just do this and move on…
So glad Speedy had school today. I don’t want him to remember his dad the way I do. I don’t want him to remember this image of him. Regardless of what a bastard he was with me, he was my son’s biological father. I am grateful for that. My son should be allowed to believe his dad was a hero. I would never poison my son’s memory of that.
I remember my first wake… It was when my Titi Keti died, my father’s sister. She lived in Puerto Rico and we flew there for the funeral service. I was young… Maybe Speedy’s age. But I had nightmares of this for months after. It was my family’s belief that everyone had to touch the deceased to bid her farewell. My dad started to walk towards the front of the viewing room and I started crying, struggling to grab my mom. She tried to stop my dad, but as always, what he said was done. When we got to Titi Keti’s casket, she looked scary and gray. I remember begging him and trying to wriggle away but he took my small hand in his and made me touch her cold, hard corpse.
What do I do when I walk in? (Wiping my palms on my hips.) Buzz… Oh damn. My cell phone. I guess it wouldn’t go over too well to have my phone ringing in the middle of this. Everything is quiet when I walk in… Sign in… there’s a card on the desk… Black type with a name… Do I take one? Do I really want one? I’ll pass. I hope I never come here again.
I walk in… It’s quiet. Only 2 people talking. I recognize them and walk that way. They quickly separate when I approach… He walks out… She gives me a hug… Typical questions… How are you feeling? Are you ok? Did you get some sleep? Do you want some water?… I’m just numb so I sit down.
Everything is so sterile… Feels like they cleaned it with those Lysol wipes with bleach. Is that why I feel my chest tight? Or is it just the stress. I thought there would be more people here for this… I guess I was wrong.
Death changes everything…
I remember when I first saw his smile… He walked into the small dive I was a bartender at. It was a feeling I never had before. He came back the next night and Toni, my friend and fellow bartender, was more giddy than I was. “He’s never been here two nights in a row,” she said.
I remember when I had emergency surgery to remove my gall bladder while we were dating. He was in Delaware when my uncle called him… He made a 3 hour drive in less than 2 so he could hold my hair back as I was vomiting all the way to the operation room.
I remember how he sat next to my bed post-op, holding my hand the entire night. Too scared to sleep next to me, in case he might accidentally hit me in his sleep.
I remember so much… The first I Love You, the first Christmas together, our first vacation, when he proposed, our wedding, our first home, him helping to carry my mom’s casket, our first sonogram, the birth of our son, all forever gone with no chance of adding more happy “firsts” to the list…
It’s ok to cry, I’m told. I need a break and she walks me to bathroom. Everyone is talking about me and my son. But they don’t really care. Everything is just matter of fact… No emotion.
Life goes back to normal after everything is said and done… Sure, they will do their best to make sure you’re ok, but how ok can you really be after a life changing event such as this? And what about Speedy? How ok will he be?
You pray, you ask for guidance and you ask for strength. At some point you have to realize that you gave all you could and the only option left is to move on. I need to shake this off and be there for my son. It appears I’m all he’s got left. Sure others “say” they’ll do whatever he needs… But as we see, those are just words with conditions.
The Problem with Death
It is easy to romanticize someone after they die. He was such a good husband… Ummm… Actually… No, he wasn’t. He was really lazy.. He cheated and lied and he made me afraid of him. He was such a good son. Ummm… Actually… No, he wasn’t. He couldn’t stand how hypocritical his mother is and what a crappy dad he had. He was such a good father… Ummm… Actually… No, he wasn’t. He was so concerned about keeping all of his money for himself that he refused to help pay for any of his son’s uninsured medical expenses.
But I put on my public face and hold my tongue. It won’t do me any good here. So I sit with those emotionally uninterested parties and listen for that they have planned for us.
It’s easier to love someone who’s dead. They make so few mistakes.
-Torch Song Trilogy
I knew his death was coming… He had been terminal for some time now. I have already faced the loneliness of his departure and the emptiness from his betrayal. I have already shed my tears from loving him for much longer than he deserved… All of my tears today were not for my loss… They were for my son’s loss.
It was cold. My Reynard’s acts up, making my hands hurt. What was supposed to be 2 hours has lasted 4 and I am emotionally exhausted. I watch as they close the casket… The shadow of the cover coming down, crawling over his unflinching face. I say my silent good-bye’s. Sad that my son will never know the man that I once knew… And disappointed that his choices led to this.
I find solace in the fact that I won’t be going home to an empty house. And I won’t have any demons to contend with. Despite all of this, our home is still a happy home. I will hug my son 10 times more than our 10 minimum… And I will finally start my journey to a new life, one full of happiness and love and unimaginable possibilities…
The days ahead may be hard at the start… We still have to sell our house and let go of a lot of our stuff and baggage… However, the future is looking bright. It may not be the life I expected, but I know I can make it BETTER than anyone imagined…
As I leave the building, I turn my phone back on. My friend had text me… “How did arbitration go? Still getting a divorce?”
It was a giant crash and burn. But I finally said my good-bye.