Jilly D.

Sobbing awakens me

In Mourning, Signs from beyond, Time and seasons on October 28, 2011 at 3:37 am

The sobbing wakens me. I’m crying in my sleep so hard it forces me to consciousness and my eyes read the red digits on the alarm clock beside my head as 3:42 a.m. My face is wet from crying and I sit up in bed to catch my breath. I know he’s not here. I’m alone.

And yet he was the only person I could ever feel alone with and not feel lonely. Now I feel lonely, upon reflection. We both sanctified our own solitude and he was the only two-legged creature I could share the experience with in daily life for more than a decade. Like the comfort of an indoor plant or a pet, we lived alone together as cats in a common household. His physical presence a comfort rather than a distraction from my inner self.

It’s as though I am having an out-of-body experience. My unconscious weeps as the sadness seeps through my skin. I am awake enough to know my sleeping-self suffers. I see me laying under sheets, blankets and comforters nestled between his dogs. Even my dreams are disturbed by Sam’s death. It’s like watching sleeping dogs twitch, the way I see myself in the middle of the night’s darkness alone in my bed.

Under conscious control I start to calm my breathing and unclench my muscles. Fists, feet, thighs, arms, calves calm. My mind and body meld back into the middle-aged mush of myself in a flannel nightgown while the first snowfall of the season gathers on the lawn. I imagine him next to me snoring gently.

When he’d breathe in, I’d inhale. I’d exhale in sync with his breath. Matching his relaxed in-and-out respirations would always lull me into deep restful sleep. I’d lie there tight up against him and sink into his rhythm and find stillness, and calm, and the kind of peace I thought only the Dali Lama could know.

The breath. The touch. The warmth. The quieted spirit.

Sam used to say that sleep was just God’s way of letting us practice for death. I think he was trying to tell me that death would be as peaceful and sweet as sleep. In sleep there is no pain, there is no loneliness, there is no want. Or so he thought.

Sobs rock me awake and his absence sends me down a well of loneliness in the middle of the night.

“Come back to me,” I cry. My heart is broken. He’s tried in all kinds of animal forms. Deer crossing my path, squirrels squawking at me, the blue heron and raven who chase me   down for long discussions on walks along Valley Road.

There’s no way to make up or break up or argue or agree with him anymore, and yet my heart keeps trying. One doesn’t forget. Never.

While it would be easier in some ways if he’d been killed in a tractor accident, or hit by a stray bullet from a hunter in the woods, or keeled over from a heart attack in the hay mow. Easier because he would not have intended to end his life which left me without him, alone.

Sam’s intentions cannot be mistaken. It was no accident. He planned it. Had planned it for a long time and had told others bits and pieces of his intent and method. He did not want me to be implicated and made sure it could not be mistaken for what it was. He’d barricaded, chained, bolted and locked every possible entrance.

I only recently have had flashbacks of his wild and desperate calls for help in the final weeks. He was furious at the news on TV. Michael Jackson died. Madoff made off with millions. He made me look up the phone numbers for the tv news hotlines and write them down during the news broadcasts. He’d call up and leave threatening messages. I was flabbergasted and expressed my total astonishment to him for doing it. He’d made calls to Bolivia the winter before to inquire about land there and had likely already put my name on some kind of watch list. My record of government surveillance goes back to my college years when I supported the people of Nicaragua and El Salvador with a campus club. I couldn’t imagine why he’d call and say Madoff should be executed, shot before the people, on a voicemail with a phone number listed under my name. I laughed and cajoled him about his hidden militia tendencies. Now his rage against Wall Street and the corporate rip-off of the American public and the desecration of democracy are called the 99%. Why did he feel so all alone?

No health insurance. The skin cancer on his back was back and it had spread. People owed us money and couldn’t pay because the economy tanked. He was serious when he told me it was best to keep your stock in the barn, not in the market. Sam was giving me the 911, the nine-eleven, the heads up in the most subtle ways. The perfect storm brewed and his inability to say what was going on inside himself is what still hurts most of all. You think you really know someone. He lived inside me; every cell. How could his suicide have taken me by surprise?

I’ve been listening to a new CD by Mary Lorson and the Sobrettes (Amelia Sauter and Leah Hougtaling). The lyrics resound in my head:

“You’d rather die….ooooh, than tell me. You’d rather die….ooooh, it’s just a matter of time.”

We all die. Sooner or later. One way or another.  We’d talked about these metaphysical matters many times. Sam did not want to live through his parents’ passing. He couldn’t’ bear it. He told me so and it was no secret to his family that he felt this way. He loved his mother and father deeply. He knew he had hurt them and yet redeemed himself to them as a prodigal son.

He made his own decisions. He didn’t include me in the deliberations. He lived his life to its fullest and he wasn’t going to settle for less. He kept careful records of hours and work and who owed what and what he owed and in the end, Sam left this world thinking others owed him far more than the handful of bills and receipts submitted to his pauper’s estate. What is owed to Sam Warren will be tallied at the pearly gates if Saint John can do the new math. I know he earned a pair of wings. The hot cancerous flesh across his back formed the outline of where they would be attached under his shoulder blades.

He would not talk to me about it. He would not let me see or touch. he would not go back to see the doctor about it. The broken wrists and ribs and setbacks didn’t seem to faze him. He slept through the pain and the bad parts. He told me everything would look different in a week; just a week before he shot himself. I thought he meant the publishing contract offers for my memoir about our life together; withdrawn on notice of suicide. But in that memory of him thinking it would get better in a week, I loved him even more because he had hope for me.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: