I’m juggling lead bowling balls. Everyone juggles their responsibilities. Mine are leaden bowling balls. And my body wilts beneath them. So tired. Maybe I’ll drop one every once in awhile on top of my toe. And it really hurts when I do that. But then I think, maybe it’s better just to drop all of them anyway. But I can’t. You just can’t stop juggling and drop your responsiblities. No matter how heavy they are.

When I drive at night, all I see are headlights coming at me out of nowhere. They’re all blurry and they just move so fast. So fast. It dizzies me. Maybe I shouldn’t drive at night anymore.

When I talk to people, I am very good now at acting like I hear what they are saying, even if I don’t…most of the time. It’s like their mouths are moving, maybe they laugh, I laugh back and nod in seriousness otherwise. My thoughts: Do they know my husband died? Oh, wait…I’ve just reminded myself. My husband died. That seems like a long time ago. I’m so old. There are people twice my age who don’t deal with these things. Sigh. I have no idea what this conversation is about.

I can see it’s affecting other people who knew him. They tell me so. I don’t like to hear about it. The other day I heard the lake was choppy. That just about made me throw up. I hate that lake. Somebody else mentions, “Yeah, it’s been difficult this month for us.” They look at me. “With Nathan, you know.” Yes, I know.

I get mad at him every once in awhile. I’ve started giving Jack more soymilk and almond milk instead of real milk. I’ve read up on it, I don’t like for him to drink cow’s milk, what can I say? Nathan would have a hissy fit at this. In fact, he made me promise I wouldn’t make Jack drink soymilk instead of real milk. I look at his picture, “Well, I guess you shouldn’t have died on me, and left me to figure this all out by myself, huh?” Then I take away Jack’s soymilk and give him real milk. Stupid, stupid, stupid.

I’m kind of like Rain Man, and if anything gets out of order, my whole world starts falling apart. Routines are good for intensely grieving people, even if they don’t like routines or if they don’t want to be intensely grieving. I am supposed to do this on this night at this time and this on this day at this time. We need to eat these vegetables or the world will crumble.

Intensely grieving…a year later. Except this year may be worse, because last year, I either didn’t know it was coming, or was in a state of shock and felt like I was walking through a nightmare that would soon disappear. Everything else has been relatively smooth. I had no idea it would be like this. It’s like it just happened all over again.

There are days when I am not thinking about anything in particular, letting my thoughts wander, and then they start attacking me out of nowhere. Take yesterday morning, for example. The little girl I nanny is in her bouncy seat on the floor, and I’m bouncing her with my foot, because she likes that. Jack is impatiently complaining about being imprisoned in his highchair while I make his lunch. I’m making a grilled ham and cheese sandwich. I don’t know how this thought came up in my head, but suddenly I am thinking about diamonds. I don’t like diamonds because of the diamond cartels. I know this. Nate and I decided that because he had a friend that lived in Africa and told him about the bloodshed over diamonds. His friend. What was his name? He talked about him fairly often. Wait…I really can’t remember his name, because it’s been over a year since I’ve talked about him. Then I just basicly panicked internally. Sweat popping out on my forehead, thinking, “S*%T! WHAT WAS HIS NAME? IF I CAN’T REMEMBER THESE THINGS, THEN WHO IS? HE WAS A PART OF NATHAN’S LIFE! WHAT IF I FORGET AND THAT PART OF NATHAN’S LIFE JUST DISAPPEARS?” It’s a whole lot on a person to remember their own life and that of another person’s who only told you stories about it. His memories seemed like my own life, until Nate died, and then I realized they weren’t because I couldn’t remember the details. I guess that guy in the story will have to remember. Does he know Nate’s dead? Dead. What a horrible word. Maybe there’s a visual accompaniment of what that word looks like. Then I look down and I’ve burned Jack’s sandwich and forgotten to bounce the baby and she’s fussing because she doesn’t like it.

I pick her up. Start another sandwich for Jack. Tears. Stare at the counter for a minute. I need to wipe it off now. Maybe I need to sweep the floor again, too. One year olds always leave dirty floors pretty quickly. “Oh, yes…Lucius was his name…” Breathe again. Yeah…it’s not pretty, but that’s what it looks like. And I’m psychologically normal. Ha. Even if I think it, I’m not going crazy, it’s just a bad month. Just a bad month, that’s all.

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