04 July 2011

The day before

Last year on the Fourth of July, I put Julia in the yellow dress that I had bought for the bar-b-que at my sister's house after Chris and Sophie's wedding. We didn't make the wedding because of David's fall and hospitalization, but I had the dress. And so, she wore it on the Fourth of July. It was Sunday. Did we go to church? Or right to the hospital? In these few pictures, I catch glimpses of the garden. It has haunted me for days that I cannot remember what was in bloom. Not all my questions are answered in these pictures but I can see cone flowers. I can see coriopsis. They are in bloom today as well.

Forgive the extreme self-indulgence today. Of course, maybe I can say that every day.

The first good closeup of Julia that I had gotten in months! Even when I first saw it, I thought of using it on our holiday card.
We spent lots of time that day in the hospital with David. He was sitting in a chair so the girls took to the bed. I think he did some walking around the halls. We watched movies. We had a meal together and we were all a bit impatient and grumpy. Cheshire wanted David home before she left to go back to NYC. I felt like our summer was being derailed. Julia was having a hard time being "good" all day. We were grumpy about missing the Jersey wedding and worrying about not making the London wedding scheduled a few weeks away. David was determined he was going to travel.
And along with the pictures of the girls, I took one and only one of David. Still connected to tubes and machines, groggy and weak, in some pain, but still ours. He ate some during our meal together. Lunch, I think. And I remember asking Cheshire later on if he ate any dinner. Food was hard for him during those last days. Just no interest -- how unlike David. We smuggled in ice cream, if not that day then the day before. It wasn't hard, just not on his menu because of the diabetes.
I almost forgot about this picture. This very last picture. Until a few days later. And then, I was so grateful for it. We were in no way armed for the reality of the end but our attentions to the details of our lives and our family, to the every day of our time together, ultimately provided the best ending that could be mustered. Who knew? Who knew? I can still remember. I remember so little. I don't know if I bent down and have David a kiss and two as I left that evening, but I probably did. It was what I did. Physically, I can recall what that felt like. I don't remember what I said -- and because the next morning, David was napping and then only half awake before his heart stopped, those words that I said were really my last words. The words he said, were his last to me. I don't remember what they were. It is hard not to remember.

Cheshire stayed that evening with David and I took Julia home and put her to bed. I was up when she came home. We talked a bit and went to bed to late. I must ask Cheshire what she remembers.

This yearning for memory is separate from the yearning for the time or the time before. The making of memory seems triggered by special markers. Be those markers large or small -- weddings, births, adoptions, holidays, good meals, special discussions, new behaviors -- they make some mark on the mind, on the soul. But what of those days before? Days before the days of special memories. How many of those do we have? They are what is the warp and woof of our lives. Even for a journal writer, like myself, who scribbles and taps away at the everyday, there are too many holes to satisfy my hunger for complete memories of moments and days. That day. Last year at this time.

1 comment:

Traci said...

Thank you for sharing. I love you!