“For, while the tale of how we suffer, and how we are delighted, and how we may triumph is never new, it always must be heard. There isn’t any other tale to tell, it’s the only light we’ve got in all this darkness”
– James Baldwin, Sonny’s Blues
Sometimes, Vanessa looks at Billy as he tries to help her with something, and says “I hate you, and get the f*c+ away from me!” Some other times, she doesn’t know who he is, this “man ALWAYS here”.
Sometimes, asleep feels like the only time Vanessa is at peace.
Birth and death are precise moments. This *dying*, as a verb, straddles between the life and the death on unsteady wheels.
Reuben’s name means “son”; he stays close to his momma. When she pushes him away in frustration or pain, he patiently waits nearby, and always comes back.
Sometimes, literal things to hold on to are easier to find than the more figurative kind.
Even the refrigerator door bears witness to this grief, with so many reminders of what should have been, what was, what is. Photographs of lives traveling both directions – coming, and going.
Morning, noon and night. And, repeat.
Sometimes, Vanessa is not the only one who can’t catch her breath.
We pin – to keep track, to show that a shower is not optional today, to allow Vanessa to still feel accomplished in the visual way the world speaks to her.
She writes her “pain!!!” with 3 exclamation points. Each one is a knife to my heart: stab, stab, stab. Sometimes, in the few minutes before her medicine kicks in, she begs us to kill her. After the medicine kicks in, she sleeps, and forgets.
Hers and His
Heart-bursting gratitude to still see this smile, sometimes.
And again, we rest.