January 9, 2012.
It is an onion day, as I thought it might be, and all I do is cry. I wake at a friends house and cry from the moment I get out of bed.
I’ve been feeling as though I need some form of physical pain for a week now, and a friend and I go for a long drive to the Mountains, to a piercer there. I get a bar of steel put sideways through my eyebrow and it hurts and that feels good. It’s just another marker, just another medallion… just another way to leach the pain out through my skin without cutting myself until I bleed.
As the sun goes down my heart breaks all over again… is it really a year, since I last curled up and slept by him? Even when he was unresponsive, even when he was technically already gone, it was still the ultimate comfort to lay down next to him and sleep, to curl myself against his skin. That’s what I remember most about that last night- curling up on his arm and feeling the warmth still in it, the strength, the broadness of it. I’ll never forget the smell of his skin. There was ceremony to it… I knew, that this was our last night together as husband and wife, and I told him that too. That hurts, but I suppose there is solace in it, one I’ve never realised before… I knew, and could appreciate fully, our last night together, despite the pain it bought. Some people never get that.
My mum takes my kids and I leave my house filthy, work to be done, and run. I drive as carefully as I can, sobbing all the way, talking to Tony in the emptiness of our car. Please, please.. I need something. Something. Something to tell me you love me. Something to tell me you’re still here. Something to tell me it’s all going to be OK.
I sleep the night on Bunny’s lounge. I fall asleep with tears in my eyes, and don’t wake up for fourteen hours.
January 10th, 2011.
I sleep through half of this awful anniversary.
Half an hour after I wake- eyes swollen, really still asleep- my phone rings.
When a person becomes an organ donor in Australia, their family are given, amongst other things, a card to send off to a garden nursery. In return, they are sent back a Remembrance Rose- a specially bred rose bush only available to the parents, siblings, partners and children of organ donors.
We all sent our cards off months ago… February, I think mine went. While my Tony’s mother and sister received their roses within a few months, mine never came. I thought of it occasionally, but had mentally written it off- my card had been lost, perhaps. Or maybe the Universe just knew about my hesitation with the donation process and decided I wasn’t worthy of a rose.
It seems neither of things happened. The phone call I got was telling me my rose bush was ready, my name had made it’s way down the waiting list, and it would be posted today.
I hang up the phone slightly in shock. And I smile. If there are signs, then that feels like one. My rose, coincidentally- happily- posted on the anniversary of Tony’s death.
Bunny suggests that maybe the nursery waited, as a special condolence to me, maybe they do that with widows… wait for the anniversary of the death to call them and post out the rose.
It seems unlikely, but it makes me want to call them anyway, and check. In the end, I don’t. Years ago I had a friend who’s father was a devout Catholic with a set of rosary beads he prayed with daily, and had been praying with for years. Those beads had turned from silver to gold, an unexplainable alchemic reaction that it commonly noted amongst devout Catholics who often pray using the same set of beads.
“Hasn’t he taken them to a jeweler to have them tested, see what the metal is?” I asked her, skeptical.
“Of course not.” She smiles.
And why not, I ask? It’s simple, she replies. You don’t test a miracle.
It feels the same in this situation. You just don’t test a miracle. A sign is nothing but a happy coincidence… how it gets to me is meaningless.