I just need it to be quiet for a while.
I don’t know how to do this, or what I am even doing. The sunshine pulled me out of bed this morning, pushed me into the shower and through the motions of the morning. I stalled in the closet. I put on a shirt and some pants and even my shoes. And took it all off. The material didn’t feel right on my skin. It felt rough, uncomfortable, unworn. These clothes I’ve worn countless times that have done me so well so often. I found something soft and cushiony. My skin feels raw. I feel chafed all over. My chest is exhausted and stretched-out-feeling. Cause I don’t usually have this many emotions rolling around in there. Doing that work. It’s like bumper cars. I walked to the kitchen. I contemplated lunch. Nothing will taste good. Nothing will have a taste. I have to try. Life is short, I should be living it happily. I am being selfish. Nothing is any different. It’s been 5 days. Me having knowledge doesn’t make anything different, I shouldn’t be feeling this way. How should I be feeling? What should I be doing? I need someone to give me the a-okay. I need someone to say that this is okay. That this is how to act. This is grief. I know. I don’t need anyone to walk me through it. But I would rather not feel like I’m a fumbling idiot. Thank god the sun is shining. The past few mornings have been rainy and dark. I needed that sunshine to remind me of other days. Of future days. Of new warm bright days.
It wasn’t until I was in the car driving to work that I remembered my dream from the night before. In my dream, we found you RiRi, there you were. Beat up and worn out, but whole and alive, and I don’t know how I had forgotten that dream from the time I opened my eyes til then, but I had. But suddenly it hit me, that feeling of hope and incredulity and happiness I had in my dream upon seeing you, and knowing that everything was going to be okay. You were present and found and fully alive. I thought I had turned that corner. I thought I had left Hope in the waiting room and gone in to see the doctor to get the prognosis. I thought…I was wrong. I guess. I don’t know myself as well as I’d like to think. All these words. All these words keep spinning in my head and I’m leaving a trail behind me. I need to condense them, make them into something concise, but I can’t seem to pinpoint it. Can’t seem to nail it down and get it to stick. Something else comes along and bumps it out of the way. Try this word. Try this description. Try this.
Who am I? So selfish to be sad, when there are so many others who knew you better or longer or newer. Being sad doesn’t fix anything or make me feel any better, or make you any less gone. It seems like a waste of time to be sad. But I don’t know what else to do. And no one will tell me. No one can tell me. And I just sit here trying to act like I know what I’m doing, but this is hard. Thank god for the sun and the other people around me.
This is my dream. This is my career. I never thought I’d be sending anyone off to their death. Misery, sickness, various ailments, sure. Uncertainty, discomfort, of course. Life is chaotic and crazy weird and anything can happen…of course I know that, but this…to turn away for one second to find you gone the next, no.
I was feeling hollow again so I walked down to the Mary sanctuary on campus. I passed under the Taiwanese flag. I was cold. Burrowing into myself. I sat there and I stared at the bugs crawling all over the benches and the statue. Life all around. So much of it. I look out at the river. I think about all the reasons to be sad and all the reasons to be happy. And then the clouds blow off and I look up and feel the sun on my face. There it is. It filled me up. All the warmth in that empty space. Here I am. I loved you, Richard. I love you, Richard. You are good people. I’m glad we met. I’m glad to have known you. I will know you forever. I will miss you forever. But I have to keep living and I have to keep living well. You know that. You would say that. I think you did say that, last night in my dream, today at the Mary statue. It’s going to be okay. I’m going to be okay. We’re going to be okay. You are happy and safe and whole, wherever you are. That is enough for me. That is all I need. I won’t be enjoying the ocean any time soon. But I can enjoy these days and these moments just like before. I can make the most of it still. I won’t forget you, RiRi, and I am always here to talk about you. To talk to you. That’s all we need.