Friday, January 12, 2018

Landmines and a different understanding of time

In March it will be four years since Kevin died. From my birthday in October through the anniversary of his death is a minefield of tough dates and triggering memories. I know to expect that now. Then there are the unexpected things that bite me on the butt.


I moved in with Charley last June. You know how it is with a move, it takes time to really be there. We have our first houseguest arriving tomorrow, so we're dealing with some stuff we hadn't touched since we moved in. 


I just found a bag with walkie-talkies in it. I'm sitting here crying over stupid cheap walkie-talkies. 


Kevin died 69 days after his diagnosis; it was brutal and fast. Most of that time, between diagnosis and death, he was in the hospital, but there were a few stints at home. By what was to be the last time he was home, the cancer had stolen his voice on top of everything else. We set him up in a hospital bed in the living room. I slept by him most nights, but I couldn't always be there. We got a pair of walkie talkies so, if he needed me and I wasn't in the room, all he had to do was push the call button. 


By this time the cancer had invaded most of his body and was affecting his mind. He couldn't figure out which button to push, so we put bright green tape on the appropriate button. He was so weak and  dazed that even that was too much to ask. Within a few days he was back in the hospital and a few days later he was dead.


I put those walkie talkies in a plastic bag, figuring I'd deal with them later. 


Is this later? I found them sitting amongst a pile of stuff leftover from the move and started crying. My new love, who is a good and understanding man, just held me. Now they are sitting in their bag on the kitchen table, waiting for me to see if I have the wherewithal to give them away or if they need to wait for a different later.

Time and memory carry different weight after a big loss. It's not as if the sorrow ever goes away or the memories become less tender, but it changes. Right now is later. It is also then. It is also when I packed them up, when I decided to move in with Charley, and 20 minutes ago when I found the walkie-talkie landmine waiting for me.
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