With the excitement of Halloween behind us, we returned to our new normal routine. G and H went to school, I drove Matt to therapy where he went first to cognition therapy and then physical therapy, and then we came home so Matt could rest while I drove the kids to and from their various after school activities.
November 1st feels significant in this story and I’m not sure why that is. The sparkle and magic of Halloween is over. The slow tread into winter is on. And the calm before the storm is coming to a close. November is the month everything changed. Again. November is the month in which Duke told me there was no more hope and reality warred endlessly with denial. November is the month we discovered what was hiding behind Avastin’s veil—although that statement is maybe only just a theory I created.
And despite all of that, I don’t have a worthwhile story to tell for November 1st. I suspected I might run into a problem similar to this one. The days weren’t easy or boring—most of the time I felt as if I was just barely keeping our family of four afloat. Perpetually running ten minutes late, hurriedly slapping together school projects the night before, constantly on the wrong side of frazzled. But, after 222 posts, I’m almost out of words and stories to fill the uneventful days that weren’t easy or boring. Matt and I didn’t text or email with the frequency that we had in the past—that person who emailed me just to check in and tell me about his day was gone. I didn’t take as many pictures of G and H as I had in the past—perpetually late and frazzled isn’t conducive to fun photo shoots. And truly, these days didn’t feel real—these days were stepping stones on the way to something else, something better, and I don’t think I bothered to commit them to memory.
Matt and I spent more than a decade of November 1sts together and only one blurry photo from 2012 elicited any kind of memory. Six years ago today, Matt attempted to give an 11.5 month old H a haircut before his first birthday. The photo shows Matt stifling a laugh with a pair of baby nail scissors in his hand, while H sits in his lap with an expression of pure despair. It’s a hysterical photo, but I can’t find any way to relate that to our year of Hope or Post-Hope. November 1st is simply the day after Halloween. A nothing special day.
Lately, I’ve been thinking a lot about days after. The day after Halloween (obviously, for purposes of this post) and the upcoming day after posts: the day after H’s birthday and New Years Eve and the final MRI. I’ve been thinking a lot about what the day after February 6, 2019 will look like, too. When the story of the year is done, when there are no more stories to tell or posts to write. When I can’t tell a story about Matt and start with the words one year ago today.
A few people have asked if I’ll miss posting. I don’t know the answer to that. When I started writing, I spent every free moment picking apart moments from the past. That happens less now. When I started writing, I looked back at old pictures and saw only the comparisons between that photo and our Year of Hope. That happens less now, too. The hollow ache is there. The wish to just have him back is still there. But the tears behind big sunglasses happen less.
I don’t think that means the grief is gone or getting better or fading. I suspect the grief will always remain. But I think it might mean when the story ends and the posts finish and I reach that nothing special day after the final post, it won’t feel like nothing special. Maybe it’ll feel like peace.
But I hope so.