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05 June 2009

Where to Start

Last night Abbey didn't sleep. On the way home from shopping, I asked her if she knew her daddy was going to die when he did. She said, "yes, (brief pause) well no, I knew he was going to die, but I thought he was going to stay sick like he was for a long time, and we would just take care of him."

I asked her if she remembered the weekend before he died. She vaguely recalled. She knew where she was, at her Kiki's house. She knew Betsy picked her up. She told me they drove around a little when they got to Charleston. She remembered getting a Webkinz.  It was widely believed in our house that if we acquired enough Webkinz it would cure cancer. Then she met me in the driveway. I told her and Jake that they would be coming in the house to see their father, and this would probably be the last time they would speak to him alive. I told them they would spend the night with Betsy. Abbey said she remembered going in and trying to tell him goodbye, but it was like she was seeing a stranger, someone she didn't know. She told me she felt shy. She was the last person he spoke to. He said, "I love you too sweetheart," although it was fairly inaudible. Jake was afraid of him. His body, only a shell of the strong man he was merely four months earlier, decayed and hollow. Abbey recalled hospital people in the room, although I think she's mixing memories. We were alone, my two children and I, as I tried to help them find a way to say goodbye to their father.

Why did I ask her this last night?  My poor sweet child aches in her heart, and rather than remind her of the joy of her father, I encourage her to recall his death. She hasn't done much grieving. She still sees a therapist. Initially, she changed the subject, laughed inappropriately, but never, never cried.

I must write.  My genius has always been inopportune;  I'm doing this on my terms.