(If you like, while you read this, listen to ‘Touch’ by Daft Punk from 4.20 in)
My birthday. My 51st year. How lucky I am to have lasted this long. To still be here, to still be breathing, to be ‘tangible’.
Trace and I are alone in the house, (later, we’re going to London to be with Molly, to join up our little family of 3) so we open my cards and presents, the two of us, as we would have done, with a coffee, if Izzy and Beth were here. But they’re not here. And we both know it and we feel it, so we both cry. And I look out the living room window with the fresh green of trees and the early morning May sunshine.
In the midst of ‘having a moment’ – our collective term for when a grief wave hits – I loath the intangibleness of them.
It’s when ‘reality’ (this reality) hits, like an ice cold wave, and my mind claws away, literally claws away, in my skull, as it tries and fails to comprehend, to fathom, to rationalise, to realise the truth of the permanence of them now being ‘intangible’.
No more touches of their skin, holding hands, hugs, no more body warmth or body odour.
And with it comes the fear that my memory of them, my memory of all the tiny, tiny, little things that made them whole and made their presence in this world real and everyday and matter-of-fact, will be lost or fade and become faint, so that all I end up with is a collection of Facebook reminders and Instagram clips to remind me of the moments deemed worthy of recording for posterity or for fun.
I don’t want to have to ‘think’ about them. I don’t want them to be non-present, to be abstract, to be in my head. I don’t want to have to claw away at the unfathomable shift, the insurmountable drift, I don’t want to have to try to conjure up a sense of them, in an abstract, conceptual way.
I hate this. I hate all of this. All of it.
I yearn, I pine, I hanker, I reach out for their smiles, their eyes, their hair, their stupid jokes, their banter, their breath, their touch, their stinky feet, their farts, their BO, their washing, their dirty dishes, their complaints, their unmade beds.
I want Izzy and Beth to be here. I want Izzy and Beth to be alive. I want Izzy and Beth to be real and tangible. I want Izzy and Beth to not have died.
Look out the window.
One thought on “The tangible and the intangible”
This is how I imagine losing a loved daughter to feel, and I know I am fortunate that I can use the word “imagine” while you live the reality. I sometimes look carefully at my daughters’ faces, their expressions, and especially their eyes (I try to do this close up so one face fills my field of view), and I try and commit every detail to memory along with the smells and feelings. Even with them present, it feels like an impossible task, to capture and retain all of that “nowness”, and if we were ever taken apart I know I would fear the loss of their essence that always feels bigger than the retentive capacity of my mind.