Days 3-4

I thought that if I had to live with Philip’s death, I could live with anything. Natalie aside, what could matter enough to upset me? What could matter at all? But that’s not true, not really. I don’t think this gypsy life suits me. I’ve been at Kirsten’s since I got back from California, will be here til I find somewhere to live. My dogs are still at my mom’s. My home is a Ghost Town, a huge storage bin for what I have and what I have to get rid of. Last week I had minor surgery with not-so-minor recovery. On my back the whole of the week, I found out the apartment I thought I had fell through, like the job I thought I had fell through. I have no job, I have no apartment was my uncontrollable mantra.

And for a while, I lost my voice.

So things happen for a reason, I’ll land where I’m supposed to. And I can flip all of this on its head because I might have lost my home, but I have friends who’ll take me in. I might have lost my job, but I have some income to help as I look for another. I might feel like I’m walking on shifting ground, but at least there is a ground; I am not as lost as I was a year ago, I’m not traveling in the Netherworld where I lived when I found out that Philip died.

I’m not in the interregnum of Days 3-4. The purgatory before the real hell started. I was out of time, out of mind, out of space; walking beneath roily waters, seeing and hearing and moving in some grotesque aquatic ballet. I looked at people as if I didn’t comprehend, but I did. Denial was never a part of this. My son was dead.

I surfaced when I was spoken to, surprised myself by answering back. Waited a second or two before I went under again, just in case someone was going to say something that mattered, something that had to do with Philip but didn’t have to do with death. But whatever anyone said, all I heard was, Philip is dead Philip is dead Philip is dead. So what was anyone talking to me for, then? It was hideously comic that I was supposed to do a certain type of normal because things needed to be done, phone calls had to made, arrangements had to be taken care of. To Phil I said, “I can’t.” To me he said, “I will.”

Because that’s what men do; they do, and Phil did it all.

What to say about 3-4? I can tell you that Ed came over and my parents came over and my phone rang a lot. I can tell you that after being awake for 38 hours my body took over and I went down for the night.  I can say that with Natalie’s help I materialized at Phil’s on Saturday where there were people milling around and that late in the afternoon, Phil said, “Maybe you should take a shower.”

I looked up at him. “Do you think I should take a shower?”

He looked kind and weary and so very sad and he gently said, “Yes, I do.”

Like a child, I was. Wearing the same clothes I had on since Thursday. Shocked and awed by the magnitude of what happened. Finding myself standing in rooms or sitting in chairs and not knowing how I got there or why I was there or what I was supposed to do. I made no decisions because there wasn’t any me to make them. And the longer that day went on and the more people came and the more hugs and kisses and tears made Philip more dead. Maybe no one should have come. Maybe if I hadn’t called anyone and sat quietly for a while there was a chance something could have changed. We didn’t give it a chance; we told people and they came with their bruised hearts and stunned disbelief and they made it impossible for Philip to come home. His death had taken on a life of its own.

© 2013 Denise Smyth


11 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. behindthemaskofabuse
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 00:20:54

    Hugs friend. Here’s hoping for something even better soon. I hope you’re doing okay since your surgery. xo


  2. Denise
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 07:26:05

    Much better, thank you; and I think I’ve found something…will report back soon as I know. ;o)


  3. afichereader
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 08:50:57

    I’m sorry about these recent developments, but you put it so well–we can live with loss. Sometimes we surprise ourselves with how much loss we can live with. “I might have lost my home, but I have friends who’ll take me in. I might have lost my job, but I have some income to help as I look for another…” I was so moved by that. Well put. Well played.


  4. Denise
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 09:26:35

    I think this is what’s meant by “gratitude,” which I’ve always refused to acknowledge. How ironic that it’s taken Philip’s death to force me to look closer at what I call “wrong” in my life…


  5. grahamforeverinmyheart
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 10:26:55

    “His death had taken on a life of its own.” Wow! That statement sums up so much.
    I understand the contradiction that you describe. I don’t want to accept and learn to live with this new “reality” because it then becomes true….perhaps if I continue to struggle against it, my son will somehow be able to return. Yet, what choice do we have? I hate all of this.
    I’m so sorry about the job and the apartment. We have experienced job loss and thus feared for loss of our home (a few years before Graham died). I remember how scared we were and how separated from society we felt. I don’t know what kind of job you are seeking, but it is clear that your writing skills alone put you into a category that most job applicants cannot reach. Good luck, I hope something comes to you sooner rather than later. You don’t need more instability at this time in your life.


  6. Denise
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 13:43:10

    Thank you; I’m looking for administrative work which I don’t want to do, but it’s what I’ve done, and I need benefits. I just want to be able to support myself and work on my writing. It’s been hard to look for work while I’m looking for an apartment AND not living home. I can only focus on one thing at a time, and I’ve got to be out by August 23rd so the apartment’s been the priority. But like I said, there are people to help, including my husband (we’re not yet divorced) who is so very, very kind.


  7. grahamforeverinmyheart
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 14:04:52

    I wish I could help. Sending positive thoughts your way.


  8. Denise
    Jul 21, 2013 @ 14:14:08

    And that IS help; thank you.


  9. Trackback: Loss and Longing | somenewnormal

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