Artifacts of Life
She’s everywhere. Reminders of her presence, and of her absence, surround us. Nothing feels real. I had a child a week ago–a beautiful, independent, talented, sarcastic, determined teenage girl. She was so close. I held her hand. It’s impossible to believe she’s not in the next room anymore. I don’t know if I memorized her enough. I don’t want to forget a single detail.
Ana’s never been wholly mine and, in an inexplicable way, I find that comforting. She was loved by so many people. She belonged to herself, to her friends, to her cousins, to her family…
I can’t find my footing in reality right now. Life feels like a smoke screen.
Yesterday I found myself pretending she was at a sleepover or a Rock Academy show–common Friday night activities for Ana. It gave me some comfort to frame her absence like this. But then I remembered her quiet room, her quiet phone. When the waves of sadness hit me, I let them come even though I think they might drown me.
My emotions are all over the place and they seem to hit without warning. I’m in absolute disbelief about the permanence of trivial things. Right now, all things seem trivial except in the ways they’re connected to Ana. I still haven’t been able to empty her water bottle, for example. It gave her so much comfort in the last couple of days. She drank from it constantly, until she fell into that deep sleep that she wouldn’t wake up from again. It’s on the table beside her bed, with the crystals she loved the most (except for a few I gave away to her dearest friends). The incense holder, the purple candle that smells like lavender, a tea light she never lit, the pretty green box where she kept some extra meds…they’re all still there. They’re meaningless objects filled with meaning.
I know Ana wouldn’t want me to obsess over her water bottle. I know she hated the thought of her quiet, empty room, of me and Jim and Emily sobbing over the items that were her things in a space she cherished as a haven (often a haven from us). I know these objects aren’t Ana and that there will come a time when I release them one by one by one (except for a few cherished items).
But for now, I recognize that this process of letting go is a slow one. If I rush it, I’ll regret it. I’m not ready to jump back into life at full speed again anyway. Although I think there would be some comfort in forging ahead, getting caught up in the minutia of work and life, something in my brain seems to be crying out against this. I’ll find myself watching a show or out in the world running an errand and I’ll realize I feel totally disconnected from the world around me. It feels like an illusion. All the things we do, the things we buy, the things we think we want–all of it is so temporary. Last week I hugged her. Last week she spoke to me. Last week she was in her room, among her things, smiling at Roo.
This week she’s gone. How can anything make sense anymore?