December 19, 2009

Nine Months Ago Today

Posted in Uncategorized at 11:51 am by jlp412

Nine months ago today, Trisha’s time ran out. The world – our world, Trisha’s world – sighed into ordinary sleep, propelling us one night further into what we thought would be millions more breaths, hundreds of thousands more moments, trillions of chances to say the things we meant to say the day before. And then we woke up, shaken out of silent slumber with the whooshing sound of Trisha’s too-soon exit from this world. The silence has been filled ever since.

Our friends get together, more frequently now even though budgets are tight and schedules are tighter. There is a muted distance between us and Trisha that comes along with this confused state of nine months without her. Late night, unexpected emotional breakdowns where we crumble anew with the loss of her. Awkward, fumbling moments with people who don’t know, where death or car crashes or Trisha somehow come up in conversation and we stumble clumsily as we step around them. Pangs of recognition when we look at each other and see the journey we’ve all made together these last nine months all over each other’s faces. Strange beats of time when we look for her – on the dance floor, in a string of whimsical emails, next to us cuddled on the couch in sweatpants – and forget until that moment that she’s gone.

We all turn eagerly toward 2010, ready to shake 2009 from our calendars and guts and memories forever. But launching into a new year means living during a part of time that Trisha will never see, means more minutes will keep pushing us toward new months without her, means her absence is permanent, means we’re still here anyway.

Nine months. There’s a comfort in still saying “months,” because it means I am still closer to Trisha alive than I am to Trisha dead. But there’s also a distance lurking there that buffers me against understanding how to truly adjust to life without her. It’s just long enough to feel accustomed to saying that she’s gone, to swallow with success the unintended emotion that creeps up from my throat when I talk about her, to look at pictures without staring so hard into her gaze that my eyes start to twitch and water. Nine months’ worth of rehearsing the same line and going through the motions of the same reality will make a routine out of acceptance.

But it’s also been nine months of rearranging the building blocks of myself until they formed this new person who can dip a pen so deep into herself that the ink and the words that come up with it are still dripping with blood. Loving Trisha and losing Trisha and wrapping myself around the rest of us who did, too – it’s changed me.

Nine months ago today, Trisha’s time ran out and mine kept on going. She’s opened wounds that will take much longer than nine months to close up, and she’s thrust us toward each other with a strength much greater than her 23 years. Nine months. Writing it and repeating it may mean I’ve adjusted to a routine, but it doesn’t mean I’ve given in to accepting it. Nine months ago today, a perfectly healthy, ambitious, kind, do-gooder, adventurous soul started out on a journey she didn’t even get to begin. No, even though I’ve been telling myself she’s gone for the last nine months, I do not, cannot, accept it.

Nine months ago today, an injustice, a slip in the giant clock keeping track of all of our time left on earth, an irreversible mistake, took Trisha away. Took Trisha and no one else, took her, plucked her, grabbed her and thew her life up toward the sky and left the rest of us to dwell under it in search of her. Nine months now we’ve been looking.