I called for her again today. The A's laugh at me when I call them by the name of the other, or when I stand, dumbfounded, trying to simply recall their name as my ability to remember dashes in and out of shadows within my mind.
I'm not sure that they've heard me call for her; it always seems to be when I am alone, lost in some other thought, some other habit, some other time when the most natural of my impulses take over.
It's been three years now, so one would believe that when I do call out her name the seconds that follow wouldn't bring such a rush of emotion; the waiting for her to come; the realization that she is gone, still, a punch to my gut, a knife in my heart, a tear falling to the floor that I wipe away with my foot.
It's hard to let go of such a soul that you love so much. I remember laying in my bed for months prior to our goodbye, daring God that if he existed to prove himself by letting her go peacefully into the night rather than forcing me to make the decision. I remember the way that the dawn of one of the darkest days of my being began to rise; I remember her laying beside me, as she had for sixteen years, I remember thinking, "I cannot do this."
It was a beautiful fall day, which is probably why I tend to call for her more in the fall. We spent it outdoors together, me tenderly lifting her so she could stand and sit, until finally I needed help to lift her for the last time.
Little A swears that she still comes to visit her in her dreams, although she was only a toddler when we said goodbye. Big A refuses to speak of her, for she doesn't like to talk about the things that make her ache inside.
I still see her, sometimes when I'm dreaming, sometimes when I am awake. I still cannot say her name or speak of her without crying. I suppose that is what love does to you when you love completely and have to say goodbye; smashes you in ways that make you able to go on, but never in the same way. I wonder if perhaps it isn't Time at all, but rather the weight of those losses that make us feeble and ache as we grow older; unable to move under the burden of the goodbyes.
I believe Edna St. Vincent Millay described it best when she said, "Where
you used to be, there is a hole in the world, which I find myself
constantly walking around in the daytime, and falling in at night. I
miss you like hell."
Until we meet again, Jessie, my love.