In less than two weeks, I will be flying to Massachusetts for the first time since Tony died. I did not go to his funeral because I had just had back surgery and couldn’t fly. Part of me hates that I wasn’t there. I was represented – my friend Jodi read the eulogy I wrote, and her parents attended too, and my aunt and uncle, and some of my cousins.
I’ve seen a picture of Tony’s headstone – his sister emailed it to me. She asked first, and I said yes. I bawled when I saw it. I’m not sure I’m up to seeing it in person. When I picture myself walking up to it, knowing that his body – which is after all, only a body and not the man I love – is buried there, I imagine myself falling to the ground and crying until I am buried in mud made by my tears, crying until the earth swallows me up and takes me to him.
Some of that is fear. I have been in the grips of such strong emotions for so long. I don’t fear them, usually. But when something like this, that feels so big, approaches, I find myself paralyzed by it. My trip to San Diego was one example. It was hard, but not as hard as I thought it would be. Somehow, though, this feels different. Massachusetts is where we met. On some level I want to believe that he’s really out there somewhere. That he left me, but not in death. That he just left, that he’s living somewhere else. That he’s happy and healthy and not afraid. If I see it in stone, it’s real. He’s dead. Nothing I do can change that.
I think I probably will go. I think if I don’t, I’ll regret it. I already have so much loss, so much to regret. I can’t bear to add to the list. I don’t know what my being there will accomplish, if anything. Maybe it will bring some succor to my mother-in-law and my sister-in-law. Maybe it will help me in some way I can’t imagine, yet. I hope so. What this tells me is that I am still wrestling with denial. I still want to believe this is all a horrible nightmare, the worst of my life, and that I will wake up and he will be beside me, warm and breathing. Alive.