This morning in the garden, it felt like I was with you, and I began to find my way again.
I have felt paralysed by the tenth anniversary of your death. I am an incomplete list of all the things I haven't done. Everything is still a mess, and I have not sorted things out. I want to start again. I want another chance.
I am always starting again, turning over a new leaf, making a fresh start. It is my way. I start, and then almost immediately, I want to start again. Grief has sharpened my nature.
Each year, in the days following your death, the garden you planted wakes up. My grief is seasonall. It has grown up with the garden, sleeping through the long, cold winter and getting new life in the spring. This year it has awoken to a new decade—a new mourning. I am starting the first year again.
I am thinking of you. It makes me happy.
I am re-reading Rebecca Solnit’s book, The Faraway Nearby. I have listened to the audio book so many times that when I read it, the voice in my head is not my own.
I buy the book so I can read the pages alongside the text that runs across the bottom of each page. In the audio book, she reads this text at the end of the book - all together. It was not written to be read like this. It has no place in the sequence of chapters, it was written to travel alongside all of them.
Moths drink the tears of sleeping birds.
That moths drink the tears of sleeping birds is a template for many things; it is a container of the familiar made strange, of sorrow turned into sustenance, of the myriad stories the natural world provides that are as uncannily resonant as any myth.
I collect our messages from early 2005 until you die in late 2010. I am a terrible archivist, always losing us in time. At first, the technology doesn’t allow for messages to be backed up, so I type them into a word doc on my computer. When my hard-drive fails, I lose the file. I start handwriting them on paper scraps and end up with messages all over the house. I buy a notebook. I lose it. I buy another one. I find the other one.
The phone I got in 2008 has software that lets you back up messages on a computer. I plug my phone in and download the messages. At some point, the files start scrambling. When I open the old messages in the software program, they scramble too. The first thing I notice is the dates are wrong. Hundreds of our messages have the same date and time. We are stuck between seconds.
Date: 4/04/2009 9:48 AM and 9:49 AM
They are in the kitchen cooking dinner. I am alone.
Where are u?
After the Funeral Director takes you away, we sit on the floor just outside the kitchen and eat the roast with our hands.
At some point I remember that I don’t have the money for your funeral. It’s still in your bank account and I panic that now you're dead, your account will be frozen and I won’t be able to access the funds. I have H drive me down to the machine and withdraw the maximum amount for the day, $1000. I do this for the next 9 days, sure that I will be arrested for robbing a dead man.
When I go to pay for the funeral, I take the perfect stack of $100 notes. There are 88 of them and I exchange them for your ashes. The Funeral Director looks unsure about the cash, but doesn’t say anything. I am equally unsure about the white box he gives me - surely this isn’t all of you? We are silent.
I buckle you into the front seat of the car. The whole thing is absurd and we are laughing. When I get home, I put you on the bedside table. You stay there for a long time, until I tip you in the garden. I dig you in so the cat won’t pee on you, as per our discussions.
You are now flowers.