Posted by: carolyn / through a widow's eyes | August 20, 2014

August 20: pink sky, green sea redux

August 20. Five years ago, we gathered to say goodbye to the love of my life, my husband, Anna’s father. Today I woke up crying, although happy, and it took a minute to realize why. That is why.

The life I have built since then is very, very good, mostly – a life full of my favorite people (on earth, as it were) and things and activities. I know deeply, in a way I didn’t before, that life is so very finite and we must make the most of it. We must Do and Say and Be the important things we came here for. There is not a moment to waste.

There are days when I would give it all up in a heartbeat, if I could have him and our old life back again. However, today I am going to the beach with my sister and her boys, who will only be here a few more days. As will summer. Those pies are just gonna have to make themselves somehow.

pink sky, green sea

August 20. Today is four years XXXX FIVE years since Jeff’s “memorial gathering”

of friends and family

to say goodbye.
He had been gone for a few weeks already by then, but.

That is not very long. As I was to find out. Am still finding out. As the days and years spiral on away from him and from the life we used to have.

August 20 four years ago was the long hot surreal afternoon: a party-room of people from Jeff’s life, my life, Anna’s life, who came to Pay Their Respects. —–Which I may have mentioned is a thing you must do. If you are wondering. It matters more than you can possibly know at the time to everyone – including yourself.
That day I did not cry  – much –  but I did purposefully drink to excess and choose not to eat any of the lovely food. Which made for a bit of a crash when it was all over, as one might expect. So. I got the just reward of finding myself pinned to a lawn chair still in dress-up clothes staring up at the city-yellow sky of two a.m. hot summer pre dawn August 21. Husband dead. Dead. He’s really dead.
And so it truly began in earnest. And still it is not over. Although I have not had to stare up at that same sky again lately, lord have mercy for small blessings.
Four years later. He would be stunned to know how much time he still occupies my mind; it’s almost like we’re having a conversation in which I say things like “Very funny, sweetheart!” and “Are you fucking kidding me?”
but then he says nothing. It’s a conversation with a lot of empty spaces.
Four years later I am still driving resolutely to the beach, my refuge, my peace. After-work swims in cold salt water have been my salvation. I’ve got tide pool denizens sea urchin, moon snail, starfish tattooed on my right arm now, to show how grateful I am to this trek to the ocean. I’ve spent my share of time screaming at the sea, weeping silently, drenched in fog or lashed with rain, sun-baking the wracked body on a sandy towel to try to heal this pain at least in some physical manifestation. Bobbing in opaque green salt water surely restores more than mere negative ions somehow.
In spite of the date, tonight is a good night. I worked my body physically all day doing work I love with people I adore. None of that was here back then, wasn’t even a glimmer: it’s all built on the wreckage. Today I walked to the shore and dove in, rode gentle green low-tide waves back to shore for an hour. Late summer early evening light slanting low over long sand may be my favorite view of this beach, and of this beach I’ve seen many of its faces and moods in the last four years.
Tonight: friends have a rented house and there’s a light summer supper: Matt’s always delectable spinach salad with balsamic-doused olives and avocadoes; grilled bread with blackened garlicky edges; unctuous soft cheeses, chunky succulent tomatoes marinating in their own juices with torn basil leaves. Bubbly white wine. Pink sky, green sea, pale gold full moon rising. I was going to mention the date to our friends. But then I didn’t; I held it inside silently, cupped inside my ribcage.
He would be happy to see this. To be here. With these friends, under this sky, eating this food.
He is not here.
green sea

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