Monday, August 30, 2010

Peace By Piece

This weekend really ended well for having started out with sobbing. Big, fat, uncontrollable sobbing.


Friday was the anniversary of Rory's death. This is not the kind of anniversary you celebrate, just...mark. And to mark it, because I had to, because it has certainly marked me, I wanted to visit her grave. In theory.


In reality, to visit her grave, I'd have to also drive by the place on the road where she died. Where her blood soaked into the ground and now fertilizes weeds. Where she spent her last conscious moments.


At home I have gotten to the good place where I remember the good times, and smile about them. I can look at photos without dissolving into tears. At the cemetery I can think of her "resting peacefully", or elegantly disintegrating back into the earth, dust to dust. That's nice.

But driving by that spot, THAT SPOT, with the underwhelming marker that doesn't convey one ounce of her preciousness, the corpses of flowers dead almost as long as she...I come undone. Rory's legal death happened almost 48 hours after her accident, in a hospital bed, surrounded by unbelieving relatives, and me. But her life ended on the pavement. And that spot makes me dwell on those last moments, whether the last thing she saw was the road as it rushed toward her, panic filling her lungs, and then terror, and then dark. Or did she lie there feeling the life rush out of her, regretting, already missing her daughter, feeling the pain of crushed bones and organs and dreams?

So I didn't go.

Instead, I was kind to myself. I took a rare night off work. I drank in sunshine and good conversation, and yes, daiquiris. Mango daiquiris! Banana-strawberry daiquiris! Between those and the gellato (lychee and cantaloupe), I've had enough servings of fruit for the week!

We walked for miles and miles, sweaty hand in sweaty hand, just to see what we could see. The flats I wore gave me 9 blisters (my feet were made for heels) and really earned the humongous steaks we ordered for dinner, along with a sharing platter that held the most beautiful black olive tapenade and smoked salmon that could turn a doubter into a believer.

We went to the drive-in, passing by the house that Rory last called her home, and I felt fine. Finer than fine. I was good.

We a saw a truly terrible movie (The Expendables), followed by a pretty forgettable one (The Switch). And we didn't mind because we sat together in the back seat and acted like obnoxious 10th graders. It was divine.


We slept sumptuously, our concave little bodies cradling each other, and woke up smiling. Maybe we knew that good news was on its way: my sister is engaged. Yes, another one. That's 3 out of 4 sisters, in case you're keeping tally. My mother wants to throw up (from happiness, I'm sure. I know I've thrown up from happiness many times before. Of course, as far as I'm concerned, "happiness" and "champagne" are interchangeable.)

And now I'm back at work, a 13 hour shift, the first of 12. It sounds a bit brutal, but I am recharged. And, in the likely event that my batteries don't last the entire stretch of work, I've also got my eye on the next great weekend:

I'm booking a weekend at a thrillingly expensive couples-only resort (and trying not to work out in my mind the number of hours I'll have to work to pay for it), treating myself and my honey to a private spa villa that has a fireside jacuzzi, a sauna, a calming 4-headed rain forest walk-in shower, a bed big enough for our imaginations, 5-star room service, a masseuse who will come to the room, and enough space to grow my heart and be at peace. Really, really at peace.

22 comments:

Laoch of Chicago said...

Scary thought, have you seen the Vince Vaughn film: "Couples Retreat?"

Jay said...

Haha!
Well luckily, this is more like one of those Hedonism places, no therapy allowed.

Zanna said...

OMG - I had been wondering where on earth you had gone and was really quite concerned that there had been no word from you. And would you believe I was doing some housekeeping and took your blog link off my side bar probably about the day before you decide to post again. I'm so so happy for you and delighted that you came calling again Zxxx

heartinsanfrancisco said...

It's wonderful to see you back, Jay! I remember your post about Rory a year ago and know how much you'll always miss her.

I'm so happy that you are at a good and peaceful place now, and planning a beautiful future with a really good man. Congratulations to you both!

kenju said...

Also glad to have you back. Hope you really enjoy the resort.

I think you did the right thing not going.

Teena in Toronto said...

Rory will always be with you, in your heart.

I saw "The Expendables" a couple weeks ago and thought it was okay. Granted, I left my belief system at the door and went with the flow.

Jude said...

It makes me happy knowing you are in a more peaceful place now Jay. It's been a yo-yo year for you, grief and joy together.

Enjoy the retreat, laugh lots!

furiousBall said...

glad you're back chica, now the movie review comments make a little more sense. find your peace, and you'll be ok

Mark said...

A touching post. My wife lost a best friend to a motorcycle crash, and we were glad when her widower moved. Visiting him, and nothing else, took us past THAT SPOT.

Glad to hear that you are filling the spaces between grief with more moments you can cherish.

LiVEwiRe said...

Rory will always be a part of you; nothing will change there. This was the sort of milestone one hopes to never encounter. You deserve the happiness ~ plan that weekend and do it up good!

K. Restoule said...

I'm glad you had someone with you for that day. I tend to look at events like that in a different light.

DENIAL.

You're braver than me for facing stuff like that head on.

landismom said...

glad you are back, and that you had a positive experience on the anniversary of that horrible event.

Droog said...

Soothe yourself with the the glowing promise of future days...

Blue said...

You sound happy...and beautiful...and content. Finally.

You deserve it, Jay. <3

Curly Glamour Girlie said...

I've been gone waaaaay too long. A new beau and happiness and puppies???

I'm going to have to go back and read old posts now. And pictures! Pictures of you looking happy! I love it!

I've been following your journey for a little while now and couldn't be happier that you've found happiness.

Liz said...

This gave me chills and filled me with sadness. It is so tough to mark that anniversary. Each year you are physically further from that person. But they are always with you.

I eat chocolate chip pancakes every year on my sister's death day (what do I call it? I have no idea.) They were her favorite so I have them in her honor. This year my daughter ate them with me.

Enjoy your vacation!

tweetey30 said...

Glad to have you back my friend.. its hard losing a friend.. and esp the way you did. i think it was smart not to go to the grave sight.. but anyway glad you are back and it will get easier as time goes on. Congrats on the engagement..

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Antipo Déesse said...

Good girl! xxx

mo.stoneskin said...

Missed you girl, I remember the post of a year ago.

9 blisters, was that 4 on one feet, and 5 on the other, or 4.5 each way, or a full-blown 9 on one foot? (next time just wear heels)

Travis Cody said...

I think you commemorated the date quite well...with life and living.