Not Dead, Just Gone

We admitted to each on the drive home that we each had a hard time at points today. Went for the walk, Dundarave by streets and seawall back to Ambleside. We dropped Elena’s office chair at the transfer station, having painted at her’s last week. We stopped by Home Depot for hooks Sam needs for ladders on the van. I read my book and iced my arm–texting on the phone last night, or using the roller last weekend, or dishwashing at Mangia E Bevi Monday and Tuesday.

It’s June and she died in October. Nights are a few hours of sleep and then wide awake, redoing some episode of interaction with Gemma in the 20 months prior to her death. Reworking the conversation, saying things that should have been said, explaining my loneliness to her, when she said, “no visitors,” and avoided our prying to find her admission was fictional. She got us; she got us both, she really did.

The book I’m reading, “Maybe You Should Talk to Someone,” Lori Gottlieb, fits right in. The idea that I should have sought therapy last summer–but everything seemed so transparently understandable. I thought I was worried about my relationship with Sam, I thought he would be worrying about us too, while he and Ian (26) worked in Gibsons and stayed in the fifth-wheel, and I was working temp here in Vancouver.

We thought she was in hospital, safe in recovery. The irritability didn’t diminish, and whenever she was hospitalized for recovery one would notice she would be more cheerful and talk about people and things. There were no people in her calls with us. We should have remarked to each other how boring her calls were. Her days seemed pretty dull and it all sounded like work, “Oh they are calling us for mealtime now.” I didn’t ask much about things like the name of her personal care worker while she supposedly had the feeding-tube. A staff member who would be right there with her, if there had really been one, if she were really in St. Paul’s. We both admit that we know the hospital so well from past admissions, we were relieved she found her own way there and could get an admission when she needed one. Stupidly ignorant of how those other admissions were big plans and not sudden and simple. She learned about the OCP bed at outpatient from one of the girls at outpatient programs who explained how she had been in it on an emergency basis while waiting for a bed. The OCP bed would not have a phone bedside, so her cell would make sense.

Tired. Going to bed early. The thing I sat to say is, She stopped living and that’s all. True, there is a hole in our hearts. While she was across town in her place, she was there, living. Now she’s not living. And that’s all. We can go on having conversations in our heads with her. We can examine the mistakes we made, agony, thinking of the wasted opportunities, silly, foolish. Like in June, a pedicure? No thank you. Messing around on the computer. I figure she went to the library. Why didn’t I go with her, even just for her to have her toes done? And a 30 minute swim five nights in a row, instead of calling her, in August. Not wanting to stress or trigger her about exercise. If she were in hospital she would not be stressed about my walks or swim. I could have just gone to the hospital, didn’t need her invitation, “no visitors,” how stupid. I felt good about Gemma in recovery, Sam and Ian working away together, enjoying each other’s company. I felt good working days and being home on my own evenings, tidying just my things, the place for sale, enjoying the place on my own.

Is it only frightening and sorrowful because I have so many regrets? I feel like I’m going down a too-steep slide, when I remember writing the letter of complaint about the therapist, and ending with saying, You got to know her thoughts. It was too much to ask that she repeat her feelings for me, or us. Now, I’ll never know her thoughts.

The world is the same though it seems so foreign. She didn’t die. She’s just not living.

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