Thursday, January 10, 2013

And Just Like That.

A pause in the rapid clicking sounds coming from my own fingers, flying across my laptop's keys.  

Only the hum of computers and the sound of our breathing.

Words.  Gentle words, softly spoken.  Words whose very softness belie the devastation each syllable contains.

A calm.  A warm hand pressed against the small of my back, squeezing my thigh.

Brown eyes searching for my own, now darker glance.

A phone passed, it's weight solid and real, and the discarded.

A shaking breath.  A shaking hand.  A shake of the head.

The screen blurs.  The fingers slow but can't quite pause.  Finally the "Submit," button is clicked, a quick press of the fingers and it's done.  With barely two hours to spare, I have submitted my application to the grad school of my dreams, with an application fee paid by my boss because I couldn't afford it, and letters of support from faculty and friends.  There is no sense of relief, though.  No sense of pride and joy.  I know that I had to finish, to type the last words which seemed so all-consumingly important moments ago and now ring hollow and . . . and. . .

. . .there is a long, slow swallow and another shaking breath and then the tears come and will not stop.  They fall so fast and so hard that there is no discerning an individual tear from the fast running streams.  I reach my hands out and Boyfriend knows what I need, instantly enveloping me in arms that are far larger and stronger than my own, but not enough to hold me together as my heart falls to pieces.

It's been a long, slow process to this point.  There has been the deterioration of a brilliant mind, the clutches of a sad and frightening disease.  Mind and body failing, slowly at first and then so rapidly it makes me think of the very first hill on a rollercoaster.  Up and up and up and up, chugging away steadily, relentlessly, and seemingly endlessly despite the feeling of fear in the bottom of your stomach and then woooooossshhh you're over the other side, careening.  No breaks.  No pause.  No chance to reverse courses.

I think of the Beatles, of toolbelts, of a bearded smile and Elvish poems.  I think of blue jeans and ducklings and being called a smartass.  I realize how stupid I was, trying so hard in the last days, the last hours, of his life to do "the right thing."  You cannot orchestrate grief, stupid girl.  It is neither simple nor elegant nor tidy, no matter how much you wish it to be, or how many sweeping songs are written, or how many aching poems are penned.  Yet it is something that will not be left alone.  I worried about how and when to touch the hand, to look in the eyes: to whisper goodbye through lips that quivered, to a man who probably had no idea who I was any longer.  I held my brother and I told jokes.  I read pages from a warn, thin book penned by a mutual favorite author - J.R.R. Tolkein.  And then the day before Tolkein's birthday, my uncle slipped away to see him.

There aren't really words for grief or a way to express properly my thoughts.  As Boyfriend held me and tears receded, I ran through the Sacred Canon in my head.  The list of names and faces and cherished memories of those I've laid to rest: and my heart ached and ached that the list was so long, that some of the names were so young, families left behind extensive, and marveled that grief long since passed out still stung so fresh.

You would think, by now, my heart would be used to these goodbyes, and yet it breaks anew, as though each fresh wound must be carved from the unique spot the loved one held.

"Quel esta, quel kaima, tenna'ento lye omenta"

Rest well, sleep well, until we meet again my Uncle.

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