Looking for Him


Two years ago, less than three months after he died, I went looking for him.
I remembered this today, as I made a to-do list. Things that need to happen before two of my three kids fly back east, without me.

Even now, the notion of looking for him makes sense.

So, I went back to the post I wrote on August 4, 2009.


The chair where he always sat by the water in Maine.

This place is saturated with him.

I awake from a bad dream and prefer to go back to it rather than acknowledge that the other half of the bed is empty.

It feels like it did in the beginning, raw and suffocating. I am steeped in disbelief. I am not here without him, I think. He’s in the kitchen.

And when he’s not there, I think he’s stretching in the living room.

And when I check and see the floor empty I think, he’s down by the water.

I walk down expecting to find his long legs stretched out, his head back, eyes closed, hands intertwined and resting on his flat belly, dressed in his red fleece to protect from the dewy morning.

And when I don’t see him there,
I sink into his chair
and sob.

This is that wave that my friend spoke about. The grief wave. It comes, up over my head and with magnificent force shoves me down to the bottom, smashing me. It lifts and tosses me until I don’t know which way is up. I am afraid to breath.

So I don't breath, I cry until I magically float to the top, where this time, there is not another wave waiting for me.

12:10, three hours after
looking for him.

Looking for him?
Searching for him. Like he might just be in this one other place, this one place I forgot to look. Against logic. I saw his dead body. Against common sense, why would he be here?

But I just had to check, to see, to make sure that he really wasn't there or here or maybe at the store. The chair by the water was the last place I knew he would be if he were still alive.

Now I sit on the porch of Blue Hill Books, unwrap my new journal and begin writing. My lungs fill with air that is filled with him.

I'm still breathing.

I remember that day. I remember the sadness and the surprise of my action. What I find so amazing now is that, just like my friend said it would, the pain is not sharp or forceful or even scary. There is a sense of loss, dull, like someone gently putting pressure on my back. Noticeable, but not distracting or overwhelming. I am surprised to find myself here.

In this place of acceptance and dare I say...okay-ness?

I am relieved to find myself here.
Finally, a place where it doesn't hurt as much.

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