We have so much less to do without Ana–less driving, cooking, cleaning, and the complete absence of having to watch her so closely. We spent years caring for Ana, and advocating for her, and making sure she was okay. She felt bad about this. I always told her I didn’t mind doing any of it, but I know it weighed on her as so many other things did. I would do it all again. I would relive the last five years a thousand times.
So, it’s quiet. All three of us have kind of…paused. This feels uncomfortable. I find myself listening to podcasts, watching too much t.v. and trying to avoid the silence. The silence hurts. A part of my brain hasn’t fully accepted that Ana’s gone. This reality tends to sneak up on me and steal my breath. I keep sighing. Emily complained about it today. When I tried to explain to her why I was doing this, I sighed mid sentence.
Grief comes in waves. I know I’m not the first one to describe it this way. But I didn’t realize that the waves hurt as much when they recede as when they roll in. When I’m drowning in sadness…well, it feels like Ana’s closer, like she’s just out of reach. But when that feeling starts to ebb, then I feel hollow. That’s when I hear the silence. It’s when I cry the most.
I can feel the world stuttering back into my life this week and that’s making me panic a little. I had a dentist appointment this morning, Roo went to the vet. Emily went to school for almost the entire day…I read my email. I made several work appointments. I paid some bills. The inevitability of everyday tasks confounds me and overwhelms me with emotion at the same time. It seems absurd that I’d be getting my teeth cleaned less than two weeks after Ana died. It makes me think about how she didn’t like the space between her front teeth and how she still had baby teeth left to lose and that she’ll never, ever get braces. She really wanted them.
I can name a thousand examples of this train of thought. The waves of sadness ebb in and ebb out. As the cadence of our lives returns, I imagine they’ll keep coming. It’s why we need to go slow. I need to sit with the silence, so that it doesn’t come at me all at once. I absolutely believe that Ana is watching us from wherever she is and that she wouldn’t want us to stop our lives, to get lost in grief forever. I promised her I wouldn’t do that and I intend to keep that promise. I want to make her proud.