I have a friend whose mother passed away only two months before Priscilla did (yes, also from breast cancer). We were e-mailing this morning and she noted that certain days of the year are particularly difficult for her. This makes sense; in fact, last year my father and stepbrother had a hard time facing Mother’s Day without Priscilla. In my e-mail to my friend, I observed that I don’t experience a heightened sense of loss on any specific date. But I do sometimes have what I call “A Day.”
On “A Day,” I miss Priscilla with that horrible achiness that to the best of my knowledge only comes when you experience significant loss. I had “A Day” last Tuesday. I was struggling to get my sewing machine to work. Jason and I were discussing how to replant portions of our backyard. I was e-mailing my mom about both sewing and gardening. I couldn’t get the cat to come close enough to cuddle. Somehow the combination of all of these activities thundered so loudly in my head that all of a sudden I had a breakdown. I just sat on the floor and cried. And cried. Jason came home and I cried on his shoulder. Then I cried some more until the dog came to lick up my tears (she’s a fan of salt). All I could think about was how much I miss Priscilla. I wanted the opportunity to be able to talk to her about sewing, gardening, cats, dogs, having a fabulous crafty mom in Maryland and so many other things.
One day last October, I had “A Day.” I was flying to California and I read a terrific book. While reading a particularly meaningful passage, I thought to myself, “Oh, I can’t wait to tell Priscilla about this!” I completely visualized the conversation in my head. And suddenly I realized that I couldn’t tell Priscilla about the book because she is dead. I’m not sure I can explain how that felt, but it wasn’t good. I was stuck in the window seat of a crowded airplane, inwardly struggling not to burst into a million tears. I had to gasp for breath, close my eyes and pull myself together.
I miss Priscilla every day. My friend is right: it gets easier with time. But when I have “A Day,” it’s hard. I long for ten more minutes with Priscilla. I long for one more conversation. I long to hold her hand again. I have to calmly remind myself that I wouldn’t have such deep longing if I didn’t have such precious memories. But it's hard.