Do You Remember?

My Dearest, Most Dead Husband,
Today is your Birthday.
But it’s not.

Not only because you are dead,
and for me,
saying Happy Birthday to someone,
who is, in fact, dead,
and does not get to live that birthday,
or see that new age,
or feel the warmth of the candles,
melting on their cake,
or laugh or cry or
hear beautiful music,
makes no sense.
How is it ever a happy birthday,
when you are forever dead?

Also, today is not your birthday.
Not in the factual sense.
This is the day
that everyone celebrated,
as your birthday.
Your friends,
your family,
and even you,
for awhile.

And then,
years later,
you found out,
that your birthday
was not your birthday,
and that you were actually born
on the 6th day of November,
and your childhood,
and your life,
had played out
like some sort of unbelievable soap opera,
a drama of sorts,
where your mother,
tried to keep you
a secret,
from your father,
because you were the product of an affair,
and he had his own family,
and she had an agenda,
and so birth certificates,
and lives,
and hearts,
and little boy’s souls,
were changed that day,
forever.

Do you remember,
how we used to go along with everyone,
celebrating your birthday today,
and then have our own
private celebration,
just Us,
and chocolate cake made for you,
by me,
and you would laugh,
with your shoulders moving
up and down,
and it would be you and me
against the world.

Do you Remember,
how we used to joke,
all the time,
about you having TWO birthdays,
when everyone else,
only got one,
and how I used to say,
“It’s not fair! You don’t even
LIKE your birthday! And you get TWO?”
And then you would laugh,
and shake your shoulders,
and shake your head at me.
And you would make a joke,
about your dysfunctional mother,
and your absent father,
and you would be hurting
inside,
but you would never feel sorry
for yourself,
and you would instead
thank me,
for being your family.

Do you Remember,
on your birthday,
that isn’t your birthday,
but your “fake” birthday,
your “Un-birthday”,
that time we saw Paul McCartney
in concert?
Or that time,
we went to the Yankee game,
or that time,
we went to the BlueNote Jazz Club,
to see your favorite,
Larry Carlton,
and you met him,
and got your picture taken
with him,
and you said to me,
on the bus ride home,
in your adorable way,
“Who has the bestest wife ever?
I do!!!”
And I put my head down,
and rested it,
on your shoulder,
as you hummed softly,
to yourself,
like you used to do sometimes,
when you were content,
as the bus drove us home.

And do you remember
that time, on that day,
when I woke up,
and you were already
dead,
but I didnt know,
and my phone
was ringing,
and ringing,
and ringing,
and then they said,
“We have your husband”,
and I didnt know,
but somehow I knew,
what that meant,
even though,
I couldn’t fathom it.

Not when I was on the phone,
or in the cab,
to the ER,
and not when,
the doctors and nurses,
all came to me,
at once,
in a gaggle of terror,
spewing words,
I did not understand.
“Found collapsed on the floor.
We did everything we could.
He did not make it.
We are so sorry.”

And then I too,
collapsed on the floor,
in a puddle of terror,
right there in that
private room,
where they bring you,
and make you sit down,
when they want to tell you,
that your husband,
has died,
and that your soul
is changed
forever.

And then do you remember,
when that nurse picked me up
off of the floor,
and handed me water,
and said the words,
that I didn’t comprehend.
“Do you want to see him?”
And then she held me up,
walked me to another tiny room,
and left me there alone,
with you,
and closed the door so I could be
with my husband who was dead.

And do you remember,
how you just laid there,
silent,
looking like you,
with your shoes off and socks on,
fully dressed,
as if you were napping after work,
but there were tubes in your face,
and you weren’t humming anymore,
like you did sometimes,
when you were feeling content.

And then do you remember,
how I just stood there,
next to you,
like a stunned blob of confusion,
failing at the one thing I was supposed to do,
in that moment.
Something.
Anything.
But I just stood there.
Because I couldnt comprehend,
what I was seeing.
Did I tell you I loved you?
Did I say Im sorry?
I think I said Im sorry.
Sorry you were dead.
Sorry that Im not better at this.
Sorry that your life was robbed,
of more life.

And do you remember,
how I put my head on your chest,
and felt nothing beating,
and just cried,
for seconds or minutes or hours,
or until the nurse came in again,
and said the words that made no sense,
“Are you ready?”

Do you remember?
No.
Because dead people
can’t
remember,
the hell
that the living
are left with.
The trauma,
the pain,
the attempts,
and fails,
at trying to live again.
Trying to find
something,
Anything,
that makes sense,
in the way
that you made sense,
and we made sense.

I know you don’t remember.
The hurt,
the candles,
the love,
the death,
your lifeless body,
being given your wallet,
your cell phone,
your keys,
in a plastic baggie.
The car ride home,
to nothing.
To the empty shell,
that would be my life,
with you not in it.

I know you don’t remember.
But I do.
I Remember.
I remember it all.
and I’m alive.
And it’s so very hard,
to be alive,
sometimes,
When you remember.

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One thought on “Do You Remember?

  1. Kelly Lynne, you always speak for us who can’t put it so eloquently. We’ve both been on our journey a similar amount of time and I still relish your words.

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