7.14.2008

And that week comes again...

It's July 14th. On July 18th we will have been without Mike for two years. Two entire years. How can that be? I feel like he was just here. I also feel like it was another planet... a lifetime ago.

I have a new life. A very different life. A new love. A new job. A new sense of who I am and how strong I am.

But it seems impossible that this man, whose energy informed the world and everything around him so much... could have been gone from us for two entire years.

I have been "in it" since yesterday. Not awfully like debilitatingly in it, mind you. Just sitting with an aching hole in my heart, still going about my business, laughing with PJ and Bax, getting work done... but aching and crying at everything and nothing.

Yesterday, PJ, Bax and I went to see the new Pixar movie, Wall-e. In the movie, Wall-e is a trash compacting robot who lives on an uninhabited earth 700 years in the future. His only friend is a little cockroach. Wall-e spends his off hours collecting odds and ends of human society and watching an old video of a musical in which two people fall in love. Then, one day, a spaceship comes to earth and out pops Eve... a white, streamlined flying robot sent with a "directive" to find something to bring back to the "mother ship."

Eve and Wall-e become friends. He shows her all his odds n ends and introduces her to the musical. He falls in love with eve. And then he shows her the latest addition to his collection of junk, a small green plant. At the sight of the plant, Eve's alarms go off, and her belly opens up and she puts the plant inside. It turns out that gathering the plant was her directive.

Once the plant is found, her entire system shuts down. Her head and wings close in and she becomes a hovering egg-shaped capsule, with a small green light indicating the contents contained within.


Wall-e is heartbroken. He says her name over and over. he tries to get inside. He takes care of her. Thinking that exposure to the sun with recharge her, as it does him, he wraps a Christmas light string around her and drags her outside into the sun, day after day. When it rains, he holds an umbrella over her. He drags her to the edge of an overlook where he watches the sunset next to her, still trying to reconnect. He tries to pry her wing apart from her body to just get the feel for holding her hand - but the wing snaps back and pinches his hand.

For days and weeks and months, I was Wall-e.

So, there in the theater, I tried to swallow my nausea and hold in my tears.

Soon, Eve's mother ship returned. it sucked her up and started to take off. Wall-e panicked... took off after the ship and latched onto it as it took off. And there, on top of the many piles of junk left on earth, was Wall-e's one little friend, the cockroach. Watching as Wall-e disappeared into the stratosphere.

From in between PJ and me, I hear a sob coming from the seat. It's Baxter. He's a wreck. He's crying so hard.

"What is it, beaner?" i ask, thinking that he dropped some popcorn or something.

"The bug is going to miss Wall-e! I don't want him to go! I want him to come back down! I don't want him to Goooooo!"

Fucking hell. Now Pixar has successfully ripped open two grief wounds in the Young household.

PJ and I console bax and explain that Wall-e will return. We explain that he is in love with eve and so he's following her into space. Finally Baxter calms down.

Later in the film, when Wall-e is almost entirely destroyed up in space, Eve, who has been reconstituted, remembers that Wall-e's spare chips and other parts are back on earth. She flies him back home, puts him back together, and he comes "back to life."

But for a good 1-2 minutes, Wall-e the robot is back, but his soul is still gone. He starts functioning again, rolling around to crunch up trash, but not acknowledging Eve, who's trying to reconnect with the person she loves. Wall-e looks through her, disconnected, until finally she holds his "hand." His binocular eyes begin to dilate and finally he says her name.


Even writing it now, I'm crying. Here are two inanimate (sort of) objects who engage in dialog that consists of no more than 3 words each. And I feel like I've been ripped open. I don't think I have felt such a gut -wrenching sense of what it felt like to sit in a room hour after hour with a man who's not there.

After we got home and put Bax to bed, I sat on the porch with PJ and told him the full, detailed unabridged version of the hell that was 2006.

The unresponsive face, the blank stare, the slumped head, the torso and hands strapped down to the his side. Then at Magee, coming into the hall to see the man I loved sloppily dressed, his clothes falling off of his slumped shoulders, sitting in a wheelchair across from the nurses station gazing at the floor... knowing he had probably been there for hours. Wanting to throw up every day, but just trying again and again to find him in there, to reconnect, to find a glimpse of this person whose spirit made life brighter for everyone around him.

Bringing Baxter in and just wanting to curl up and die as the father to my son was, in many ways, more of a child than the 18 month old in my arms.


Then the last day. that awful last day. Watching his blood pressure drop point by point, until the nurse asked if we could shut off the monitors. Taking down things that I had posted on his hospital wall, but this time not to move them to a new room - just to take them home (which I never did). That fucked up feeling leaving the hospital that day. The hospital that had been the center of my universe every day... and now it was a big empty crater in the middle of philadelphia.

Going to daycare that afternoon, opening the door to see the tear stained faces of the women who worked there to care for Bax. Entering the room to see Bax in the teachers arms. He was smiling and happy. Unaware.


I told PJ all this sitting on the front porch last night and he held my hand and stayed with me as I cried. Speechless.

I have come so far. Things in my life are so very good. But there is a hole in my heart that will be here until the day that I die. It will be there on my wedding day. It will be there when PJ and I have another child. I will not subtract from the beauty of these moments... in fact, it will make me feel them even deeper. But it will be there, nonetheless.

Fucking Pixar.

7 comments:

Anonymous said...

Your writing and ability to articulate emotions and experiences that often utterly unfathomable is a gift! Thank you once again for being beautifully human!!!

BIG HUGS and much love to an amazing woman!
Judi

Anonymous said...

And that hole continues to make you be the beautiful person you are. A person I'm so honored to call my friend. I've been thinking a lot of that dreaded summer as well. I've also been thinking how thankful I am that PJ appeared in your life.

Much love, tons of admiration.
Marianne

PS...Don't let Baxter go anywhere near the movie ET.

CryssyeR said...

Sending you cyber-hugs! This was wonderfully written, and I sense the raw emotion there. Wishing you peace this week.

Anonymous said...

Danna,

Good luck on Friday as I, too, will take time to remember Mike.

I love you.

On Saturday do something happy with your PJ and Baxter.

Smiles.

Anonymous said...

Thinking of you today and hoping that you are getting through okay.
Amy

Anonymous said...

I am thinking of you.

Love,
Deb

t-money said...

ugh. you're in my thoughts babe. -t