After Joe passed, I took the girls and we split town for a while. I needed to find my reset button. I was in such pain and I was so lost and I wasn’t thinking clearly and I was all jumbled up.
On this trip, we were standing at the base of an escalator. It was one of the longest I’d ever seen. At least two stories tall. The escalator moved from the subway to the surface. And we were there at rush hour. It was jam packed full of people. A crushing amount of people that I’d never seen before. Even during my time in New York City and Chicago, I’d never been in a crowd like this. They all needed to funnel up this tiny, giant escalator. Everyone a commuter on their way home from work. Why I chose to take us on public transportation at rush hour is beyond me.
We stopped in a corner and I made a plan with them. I’d hold their hands but if we got separated, they were to continue to the top and when then got to the surface, they were going to get onto the street and turn right. Wait for me there. We reviewed right hand from left hand and even though they were both middle-schoolers I didn’t want to lose either of them, I took no chances on a miscommunication. I was by myself with them. I had no support from another adult should I need it. It was me and them and that was it.
When I first started this blog I tried to make an analogy about sponges and having a hole in your heart. It was dumb. I told everyone not to read it. Analogies are dumb and in literature they can be a mess. But when I try to explain what it’s like being a bereaved mother to someone that hasn’t experienced this kind of loss, it’s difficult. Analogies are the only transportation I have. It’s still dumb.
I’ve had lots of reoccurring thoughts that my brain has made up to make my pain *that much worse*. I’ve invented painful memories. I attach sentiment to actual, literal garbage. My mind is on constant repeat, reminding me she’s gone.
I’m at the base of this escalator. The one that goes on so high that I can’t see the top. I’m holding hands with both the girls. We’re in a crush of people and I hold on tight. But something happens and Z gets separated from Alex and I. She’s stopped. She’s on the other side of the railing. She’s not on the escalator anymore, but Alex and I still are. We keep moving up and up and Z is just standing there. She’s not moving anymore. And I can still see her right now and I’m yelling for her and I’m reaching for her but I can’t get to her. I can’t reach her and she’s getting further and further away. She’s stopped. Alex and I are still moving. I see her in the distance, falling away from me and I can’t get off the escalator to find her.
We have a plan. If we get separated, finish the ride and go onto the street. It’s bright on the street. Much brighter than the stupid escalator in the dark. I’ll be able to find her there if she gets lost. When I get to the top I’ll turn to the right and I’ll find her there. She’ll be there waiting for me and for Alex to get her.
I have 50 years until this escalator stops. Alex has 70 years. But we have a plan so that if one of us gets lost, we’ll be able to find each other.
I have to trust the plan. I have no other option.