Your sister crawled on top of me tonight. We read our books and turned out the lights and she jokingly climbed on top of me to pretend to go to sleep like that. And then she stayed. She wiggled around to get comfortable and finally did and settled into sleep. She hasn’t slept on me since she was an infant. At least not at night, not like this. I remembered an early day of her life, I was so exhausted after a midnight feeding all I could manage was to lay her tiny newborn body across my chest and fall asleep, a vauge feeling of “this isn’t safe” dancing across my consciousness before sleep over took me. We woke hours later in the same position and me marveling at this tiny baby, small enough to sleep across my chest.
You see, my heart is breaking. It’s a new season I’m in and I’m starting to understand. My heart is beginning a slow crumble. The pieces of it that have been starved for months, overlooked and unfelt, are beginning to atrophy now, harden and crack and fall away into dust. I am beginning to feel the loss of your dad. It has been a mixed bag. He twisted my arm to end the relationship in such a way that it left me so angry and confused and hurt and relieved that I haven’t yet mourned the loss of it yet. I have yet to sit inside myself and feel what it feels like to have lost my love, my man, the person I thought was and planned on having as my partner. Sometimes I marvel at the relative ease with which I’ve moved on. I count among my few internal blessings in this mess that at least I am not heartbroken. But now I am. I am truly and honestly so very sad that my husband who was before that my boyfriend and before that my friend is gone from my life. I am for the first time in this process missing him, wishing for him, hurting for him to be here with us, to be here with me. I’ve had the most incredible, random and visceral memories occur to me in the last few days. A weekend in Sea Ranch with his family before we all hardly knew each other, even his grandma was still able to travel. The milkshakes at Bill’s Place on Clement street. The driving too fast down Pine Street, whisking our way home to our little apartment that feels so real again, as we climb the stairs and drop the keys and fall into bed to watch whatever we were loving watching together. The walking to a playground, his heavy arm over my shoulder as we push our baby in her stroller , stop for blue bottle coffee and sit in the rare Richmond district sun while the other pushes her in a swing. The nights we drank too much, made eyes at each other across the party, saw no one but each other and later felt the young, electricity of our touch. These moments have been coming back to me like the PTSD videos we had after you died. They stop me in my tracks. I am transported back to the very moment, can feel, hear and smell it like I’m there. But of course I’m not. I’m here. And I’m sad and my heart is finally breaking for him, for my love, for my Danny, my husband, my person. I have been given the luxury of rewriting the past. Of being able to say this was a time he lied and that was a time he was cheating and what and which, if anything, was real for him. The sincerity with which he lied to me, especially at the end, has left me questioning his very fabric, his ability to love and empathize, protect and care for. He is the most beautiful and perfect liar I have ever encountered. And my heart is breaking now, all these months later for what it actually was, for what i felt and experienced and believed. For what I now think we actually had and then correct myself and think what I thought we had. Which is probably not true. There was authenticity there sometime, probably even for years. There was desire and love and good conversation and delicious meals and wonderful adventures. For both of us. I guess what I can’t wrap my mind around anymore is that I could be and then our life could be and then our family could be a compartment inside of him. That he was there ninety percent of the time and that worked for me. That he abandoned me on the hospital bed and then for the last five months of our marriage. That I had to push him out the door until he convinced himself he was going willingly. That he finally realized that self preservation wasn’t enough anymore, that he had left years before, if he ever truly entered. That those beautiful eyes could look at me with such adoration and be hiding so much all at once. That the words that calmed and reassured me so completely as I laid in his arms could be only part of the story. That the lips from which they fell I now will myself to look away from and that when I do, when I watch him talk to me now, I want to kiss and convince again to stay. To be true. To tell the truth. Not the truth, but to reiterate what they used to say, to take it all back, to convince me again that he is mine and I am his and we’re going to get through this, through anything. Oh Harvey, I miss my love. For the first time, in the most truest way since I told him it was over, I want all of it back. I want him back. I want to reenter his illusion, our illusion, and believe that we’re going to be okay. That I have found my person and that he won’t leave nor make it impossible for me to stay. I want to go back to pretending the 10% of him that was always elsewhere is small enough, is insignificant enough, to keep me there. I want that 90% to be enough again. But it never will be. That ship has sailed. And I hate it. I hate the loss of the illusion of our love and the loss of our love and the loss of my love.
I haven’t broken up with anyone in 15 years. My past loves will all attest to my attempts, pathetic and unfair as they were, to get the relationship back. In those days it was letters and voicemails and phone conversations that went on uncomfortably long with my trying to convince them back to me. My attempts to reconnect with a dead connection and their patient, uncomfortable and unnecessary convincing me that they were done, having already said it, in so many words. I have done so little of that with him. Because he won’t respond or indulge me or help me through it like they did until they couldn’t anymore. Because I have been so clear within myself that I don’t want this relationship, this man, this love. Because my heart had been healed so fully and completely, my mind so thoroughly made up, my very spirit shutting that door so soundly that I haven’t needed to.
Tonight, we read books before bedtime and each one made me want to curl up into a ball and cry for my lost love, cry out to the flesh and bone and blood and heart that is the longest love of my life so far. I thought that when she fell asleep I would text him. I would try to start the same conversation with him that I did with the other loves who never came back to me, despite my reasoning, despite my pleas, despite my vast my love for them, despite my sureity that each on of them was the one. I would try to reach him tonight. And then your sister literally climbed on top of me. Uncomfortably negotiated her body again and again on top of mine until she could fall asleep. As if it to pin me to that bed. As if to make the act of picking up my phone literally impossible. And so, reluctantly and wisely, I headed her warning. “I am here with you” she seemed to say. “Just lay here and feel my weight and I will hold you down. I will anchor you here in yourself, with me, in this moment.” Did she sense my struggle, my sadness, this new angle of my loss? I lay there with her on top of me and refused to move. How many more times will my living child ever fall asleep on me? So big now that she spans more than half my body. So big now that only her head rests on my chest. “Mama!”, she exclaimed before falling asleep, I knew just what she would say, “I can hear your heart!” And though I knew she’d say that, the tears stream as I feel myself against his chest for so many years finding comfort in the steady beat deep inside him. As I hear the beep beep beep of the heart monitor in the NICU, assuring us of your aliveness and as it dipped and slowed and eventually stopped in a few short hours, of your death. As for the 13 months after that that i entered your dad’s arms and laid my head on his chest to hear the comfort of both his heart and the dna of his heart that also made up your heart. She heard my heart to remind me that we are here, she and I, that she is the only family of my creation that I have left and that there is no changing that. That no one in this situation, besides the currently crumbling heart inside me, actually wants that or would find much benefit from. I notice that up until these past few days when my heart started to crumble for the loss of your dad, that I’d gotten to a place where that would have comforted me. That she and I in this bed would comfort me, would reassure me. That I have found great joy and love and solace in our little life together. Which is progress except that now all I could feel is no Harvey with us and no daddy with us and that she and I are not enough for me, despite us having to be, despite, ultimately, just me and me alone having to be.
She put her head back down on my chest and said “Oh. No, I don’t hear it.” With a finality and conclusiveness like it had actually stopped. And I wondered to myself, “is she right?” Has the beating of my heart stopped under the weight of all this loss? Am I in there somewhere? Am I more than a shell? Am I just a figment like some actualized, bullshit Sixth Sense character? No. I can feel the weight of her and since she is pinning me down to block my foolishness, to prevent the reaching out I would quickly and surely regret, to keep me here grounded on this earth despite my grief, to remind me what I have so recently learned: that I must move into the darkness, feel the loss and the grief and the sadness because it will pass. Because the feeling it is what eases it. Because the calling out of my every cell for nearly everything to be different, to get back onto the track I planned on riding is the way to creating something new and, God-willing, better than what I planned. That I have not yet come to my knees yet about this divorce and all that led up to it and all that I have to deal with now since we have a child together and that I must. Did my 40 pound five year old position herself on top of me to save me from my self, to anchor my newest learning and understanding into my body?. Was she asking me to lay in the darkness, in my darkness and just stay there with it, find my way out? Loving her, basking in a moment which may be the very last moment of its kind in my long life? Learning how to comfort and assure myself like I have been asking to be able to do? Did she sense and know and place herself there to keep me from drowning in it all again, in a whole new way? Probably not. But she did anyway.