Today, Marquita and I drove down to LA to meet someone who was interested in buying an oak table we’ve been trying to sell for about 4 years. The table sold and the buyer even let us keep an extra $10… so that went well. And we programmed the extra garage door opener remote for Aubre as well. Marquita took photos of the rail on the deck and of an old wagon that she wants to sell as well.
While Marquita was upstairs taking pictures of the new deck and rail, I went through the back basement door to open the garage door… The table was in two pieces in the basement, and as I lifted the heavy top, I noticed something blue in the dirt partly under a tool box, and I took the base and the top of the table into the garage and dusted it off…
I went back and retrieved a knife. One of Ethan’s pocket knives… a one handed thing with a non serrated locking blade. The blade was dirty… with something black and sticky and I wondered when exactly he had dropped it there and what we had been doing… something maybe with the bathroom remodel a few years back. And I remember buying it at the Home Depot.
So there was a moment. Crouched in a dusty basement, staring at the blade of a half opened pocket knife… thinking about the son, taken from me by suicide almost two years ago. And I stood up, flicked it open with that satisfying click, and then closed it and put it in my pocket.
In the car, on the way to eat dinner and then to Ikea to buy some shelves, I heard Fix You by Coldplay… and then Gone Away by the Offspring. Big triggers, but no tears today. And I thought about how Gone Away would have appealed to Ethan a bit more… and that it is one of those few grieving songs that you can rock at full volume… and somehow I knew that enough time had passed… that I could breathe and listen and think… and not turn into a total mess. Memories are a bit less painful today, and yes, it does get better in time. At least a little better.
I thought about an online conversation… “How do you do it? How do you go on?” he asked. “You just do.” I wrote. “I think it gets easier in time.” “I mean, how do you prepare yourself, to lose a child?” he asked. “You don’t. You can’t. You really shouldn’t. No one should.”