Out of the blue and into the night

Making connections with Owen’s friends because he’s dead, is not what I imagined I would be doing now, this summer of 2007.  I imagined I would be doing much the same as last summer – working; taking Owen to and from work while talking of life and loves; visiting Nat whenever he wasn’t spending time with friends; catching up with the girls (both my friends and Dave’s daughters); and being a best friend to my husband, Dave.

I keep thinking of all things blue: blue moons, bluebells (I spent my young years in Texas), blue paintings (of which I have several now, thanks ladies), blue mornings, blue nights, and blue moods.  Owen painted in blues, most often dark blues.  He collected peacock feathers from down the street, along the way to work, while riding his bike – the orange bike that is still missing.  On one of his smaller canvasses, Owen pressed one of these feathers to wet paint, then painted over it – in blues.

I had a very stressful day at work, came home, commenced with my now nightly routine: drop the purse in the chair in the living room, go to the kitchen, grab a Diet Coke or an occasional glass of wine, feed the cats their wet food (unlike in the mornings, when they get their dry food), smoke a cigarette, and plop myself down at the computer. 

First, I check my email, then I check Owen’s myspace, then the myspace site I set up after he died, then another site for parents of deceased children, then I come here.  Tonight, after a day of holding my real life (my family life) at bay, and dealing with things that are unpleasant and part of my job, I opened the various emails, and was greeted with more of Owen’s friends – some of whom I haven’t seen in almost two years.  While curiously comforting (they are still here with their families and friends, and Owen is not), I also felt a huge letdown, similar to no longer carrying a heavy bag, but also searching for it for fear of floating away.  I opened the emails, read them, cried, looked at photos of Owen’s friends, and reached for another cigarette.  The cigarette was not far from my reach, but at just an awkward enough angle to let go of that “holding on” to my worklife, while denying my family life.  Crack, my back went out. 

I know the “my back went out” feeling, as well, as intimately, as I know the shape of my fingernails.  I know them well, as I trace them often, and more often in times of stress.  These are things I cannot ignore.

While I struggled to move the mouse and type on the keyboard, Lea called.  We talked about the insurmountable stress that confronts us on “Owen” days, those days when we are immersed in memories of him and can’t ignore his absence for more than mere seconds at a time.  We never actually get relief from missing him, but there are moments, when we find ourselves saying something, or laughing out loud, when we are not consumed with his loss. 

And, then, it hits.  It hits with a power unknown to previous losses – and we’ve had many, so very many.  Just none like his.

Lea and I talked about what happens to our bodies under this cloud.  All of us have been experiencing physical pain with our grief.  And, while we openly talk about it with each other, we don’t often talk about it with others, those others who are not in this thing with us in the same, close, unforgivable way.

I said something like, “You know, we keep trying to go about our days, dealing with the things we have to continue with in order to support ourselves, our families, our friends, and then…BAM! we reach for a cigarette, or a hamburger, or a bottle of water, and…out of the blue…the physical pain of grief takes hold, and forces us to “sit with it” to feel the pain of losing Owen and everything he meant to us.  All of our changed relationships hit us square in the face, and we can’t ignore it, we can’t go numb, because our bodies force us to sit still, to feel the loss, to feel what happens when we try to operate in the world without him.  Without Owen.

This is how I traveled through my day.  I wonder how Owen traveled through his last day here…out of the blue and into that particular night.  I hope, I pray, he did not experience physical pain.  I hope he saw a future of enduring light – light…blue…light.

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~ by Linda on August 29, 2007.

One Response to “Out of the blue and into the night”

  1. Beauty. Blue. Yes. Blue.

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