It’s weird, but grieving is… waiting. It’s waiting for the minutes to add up to an hour, for hours to add up to a day, for days to string together like pearls. I’m not sure what the waiting is FOR. The worst that can happen has happened already, hasn’t it, the thing that triggered the grieving in the first place, so what are we waiting for? For the automagical moment of “it’s all better now” that never comes? Or just for the time to pass, letting the scab harden on the wound?
I had a meltdown yesterday triggered by a STUPID little snip of memory which I am not even sure where it came from at all – the memory of taking Deck to the blood coagulation clinic where he went to have his meds monitored (he was on blood thinners, and they had a certain bracket of Numbers they wished his levels to be at and this had to be checked every eight weeks or so, except in wintertimes when I wussed out and wouldn’t drive in icy circumstances and the boat got pushed out to longer breaks so i could snatch at a quick moment of good weather in which to whip him over there and back…) We’d get there, and we’d always have to go through the exact same song and dance – “everything still the same? still living at the same address? all insurances identical to those that were in place eight weeks ago? yes, you can sign for him on the electronic thingy… now write down your relationship to… oh, you’ve already done it… ok you’re all set…” and then we would go and park ourselves on the waiting room chairs and wait for the call for “Robert” (a name which always startled both of us because he NEVER went by his full moniker…) and the retreat back into the surgery rooms for literally five minutes at a time – look up profile on computer, prick his finger, get a drop of blood, stick it into the reader machine, note the number that pops up, you’re fine, thank you for coming, see you in eight weeks.
It was a boondoggle and an annoyance which he kept on grumbling about because the script never varied and he was always patted onna head and sent on his way after that five-minute interaction which took a half-hour drive there and a half-hour drive back (and no, during the worst of the pandemic we simply DID NOT GO AT ALL. it was not worth the potential risk for what did not seem to be a really DRASTIC need). But now… now… I think back on that, and I think I would give almost anything to have him here, to make sure he had all the necessary “spare parts” on hand (the hearing aid, the cane… the weight he wore on his bad arm, to keep it down… helping him on with the shoe with the leg brace on it…), to load him into the car, to drive him somewhere while he remarked on how pretty the lake looked that day, to have him hand me his glasses to clean when we got to the waiting room, to share some stupid little thing from the New Yorker or the Time magazine or even some celebrity gossip rag languishing there on the waiting room tables. To hear him laugh. To see him make his slow careful way back to the car from the clinic, or to run on ahead (if I had to park too far) and bring the car so that he wouldn’t have to traipse the length of the parking lot to get there.
I cried myself empty over the loss of that stupid, stupid, stupid little waiting room, and the lost waiting times that unfolded within it. Because THAT waiting was a wait for something shared to come, and to go, and a return to something else shared when we got home from it. Now I am alone in God’s waiting room, waiting to hear his name called, and will never hear it called again. I was waiting for something, then. I am waiting for nothing, now, and yet I am still waiting. And that solitary vigil is a long-term thing. I will be… sitting in this waiting room for a long time.
They say grief is the price you pay for love. Ah, but love is expensive…