Last night is one of those onion nights, and all I do is cry.
It’s just… I don’t even know. Sometimes I run… and eventually, the ghosts catch up. I’m afraid. I’m lonely. I’m broken. If someone had told me that almost eighteen months later I’d still be aching like this inside… I would have curled up and died beside him.
Last nights panic attack is so severe it knocks the very air from me… it’s dizzy with white spots, and I have to remind myself to breathe before I faint.
It’s the crushing fear of being alone for the rest of my life, never having anyone hold me as if I’m something precious, something made of porcelain, ever again. It’s the realization that if I can get through tonight, I will probably feel ‘better’ tomorrow… but even feeling ‘better’ is pretty crap.
Most of all, it’s reconnecting with my kids… loving them again. As I’ve said before, reconnection is akin to regrowing nerves that have been charred and burnt… with sensation comes pain.
Every connection you re-establish… it burns like fire, all the way through.
My children are in daycare and I am looking forward to picking them up… it’s been such a long time since I felt that way, it’s almost difficult to identify it.
As is that funny, happy pang of nostalgia you can feel for small children who remind of your own, when you’re missing yours.
I’m waiting in the motor registry when a mum walks in, roughly my age, with a tone in her voice that I recognize instantly, because it’s so often in mine– if she is asked one more question, if she hears the lilting whine of “Mu–um??” one more time, she may just explode.
Normally, that’s me, the slightly frazzled mum with two kids tagging her every move; and I do what I wish people would do for me– I talk to her kids for the five minutes we’re waiting, take the brunt of a four year old’s excessive chatter, endure the drill like sensation of his two year old sister repeating every word he says.
“Mine are the same age,” I smile sympathetically, and I watch the polite, taut smile their mum’s been wearing melt into a grin– we are comrades now, mutual warriors against the daily grind of kid wrangling.
I hear all about these children’s ages, their friends, their new t–shirts. Then the gorgeous, delicate two year old, dressed as my daughter often is, in varying shades of pink and fairy; speaks up to tell me, “We have a daddy!”
Her mum laughs gently, “I think everyone has one of those, baby.”
It’s on the tip of my tongue to say ‘We don’t! We don’t! We had one and he’s gone!’… but, of course, I don’t. I smile somewhere through a fog of cold, painful shock I know well (you are not part of this normal world anymore, Lori, don’t you forget that or you will be reminded) and say what I’m really thinking…
“Aren’t you lucky?”
And I’m glad when they call my number, not thirty seconds later.
We find her a star, just one, twinkling between a break in the clouds. “Goodnight Daddy! I love you!”
She cuddles into me, warm soft arms around my neck, and the tears that have been flowing all night get that bit warmer, saltier, flow faster.
“I miss my daddy, mummy” she lisps sweetly. She has lived without him, now, for longer than she had him, and I doubt she remembers him at all.
I bury my face in her shoulder and sob.
She unknowingly completes my heartache by telling me she’s sorry. And I repeat, I whisper, over and over, that it’s not her fault, that it’s no one fault, that it’s just one of those things… I’m saying it more to myself than to her.
My heart is breaking, slowly, all over again.