Thursday, November 25, 2010

Homesick on Thanksgiving

Dear Daniel,
I've survived my first official, dreadful "holiday" without you.  I guess I've actually made it through our anniversary, engagement anniversary, and Audrey's birthday as well.

Everyone tells you how sad the holidays will be and suggests now is the time to go on medication, but so far I find them just as sad as every other day.  The difference is there is pressure to be "happy" and "thankful" and "celebrate."  But even this pressure doesn't bother me much.  The pain is already at the bottom, so there's really nothing that can make it deeper.

You weren't much of a Thanksgiving guy- neither of us really like the food very much.

I decided sitting at a table with Audrey and my parents without you would be far too depressing, so in the end we did something I would have avoided like the plague any other year- we went to the Macy's Thanksgiving Parade.  Can you believe I did that Dan?  You and I both would've run from the crowds of tourists.  But yeah, I figured the distraction would be better than sitting around feeling sad, and I think I was right...though getting up at 5 am (especially after Audrey had me up from 3-5) was exhausting.

I walked to the car in the early morning dark to put in the bags and pick up Audrey and my parents at my building.  You know how usually when you're up early and it's dark you feel strange and kind of surreal?  I didn't feel that.  I think it's because my life feels surreal 100% of the time now.  Every day and hour and moment has the quality of being out in the early morning dark walking around...feeling like you're not supposed to be out yet at that hour- and feeling cold and even the landscape of trees and dim sky showing the earth to be so planet-like rather than the light showcasing the cars, buildings, and all the other things we put here.

We got a good spot on 73rd Street by 6:30 am and had to entertain Audrey for a couple of hours before it started.  She did well and at one point said, "This is the best parade."

There is a primitive quality to a parade - watching humans marching, dancing, walking on stilts or dressed up like clowns- that made me think about the strange creature we are...and how even in our post-modern age- we are the same as we were hundreds of years ago.

It was strange how I could be in this cheerful atmosphere full of people (and mostly friendly ones since they were tourists and not New Yorkers) and in my mind at moments just hear ringing silence and your resounding absence.

I can deal with your absence Dan- I really can.  But it's when I think "He's buried..." that I feel the sharpness and the enormity of the pain.  Then I wonder if  you see me.  I wonder if you're sorry and sad, or proud.  Sometimes I am hopeless and believe you are truly gone with your body.  Other times, I hold in my mind the vision I have of you greeting me as I pull onto the shore from a ship like you did last summer on June 26th.

Afterwards, we ate at a restaurant.  I couldn't eat much because I was so tired.

Then my parents played with Audrey here while I napped for a bit.

It was a long day.  I thought about just one year ago when I got up and made cranberry chutney and we went to my parent's house.  I brought the little apron Audrey had so she could help with the cooking and snapped a photo of her looking at the large turkey with a bit of trepidation.  You played with her in the living room, and certainly there was the sound of football- and probably some soccer too if there was any to be found, coming from the TV.

I got some nice emails and text messages from friends who were missing you today too and thinking of us.  I am especially thankful for one of your friends who fills me in on how your favorite soccer team is doing in each email.  I don't know if I can quite understand it, but it feels good to still be connected to you in this way.

Before putting Audrey to bed, I spent a little longer time than usual sitting in front of one of your photos while she watched a video.  I cried and told you how much I miss you and how unreal this is.  I asked God to somehow get you this message if you can't hear me yourself.  I tried to see in the photos the life I had before and connect it to this one as I always do- but I just can't.  They are still two very separate lives that just don't reach each other.  One has to feel like a dream and it's usually the old one now because this keeps continuing.

Sometimes it hits my brain very suddenly what all this is about and how this is my actual life now and you're dead...and I literally have to hold myself back from screaming loudly.  Like just now.  Our little girl is peacefully sleeping so I stop myself.

Dan- I want to know, do you know all these things?  Apart from time- will I be there with you soon?  I look at my time left here and it feels dreadfully long.  It's not just that I am sad and want to die so I can be with you.  It's that your death has revealed a completely different reality to me.  In this reality, this place feels even less like home than it did before.  In fact, I know it is not home.  So I not only long for you- but I am just generally homesick.  Very homesick.

In the city today, we parked across the street from an apartment I lived in for a summer years ago.  We walked past an empty lot where they hold flea markets we used to go to.  You got your famous "safari jacket" (that's what the vendor called it) there.  I laughed when I found him telling you how good it looked on you, but you wore it well for many years now.  I walk past so many places that we knew together.  I walk right past them.

And I realize that though I recognize so many things here- nothing is familiar anymore.  That is how this dream-like life is now.  I recognize everything- my apartment, your clothes, our dishes from our wedding registry, your cello in the corner, but nothing...

nothing is familiar anymore.

I miss you and I'm thinking of you every moment yubo.

Your wife always-
Jul

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