When we were at Ocracoke two weeks after Hudson died, Ed was sad that we did not have our camera. He’s had a long love affair with photography—at one point, it even included developing his own photos. For Ed, the camera and its art are therapeutic. (We only recently upgraded to a digital SLR camera right around Halloween of last year—I’m so grateful for this because it translated to six months of stunning photos of our girl that we would not have had otherwise.)
I was glad we didn’t have the camera—I was not ready to make new memories without our Hudson. It felt awful enough to me that she wasn’t there with us—I did not want photos to document it.
We spent this past weekend (Father’s Day) at Tilghman Island on the Eastern Shore in Maryland. We both thought that the water would bring comfort, as it usually does, but this time it did not work its customary healing magic. At a few different points, Ed got the camera out and took a few shots. When he pointed the camera at me, I asked him, for the first time since we’ve known each other, not to take a picture of me. I’m just not ready to make new memories yet without my girl.
I don’t have any room for these new memories in my head or my heart. Not yet. I’m still trying to retrieve and hold on to the memories I have of Hudson. I spent some time last night poring over my Facebook posts from the months leading up to her death, just trying to call to mind the ordinary things we were doing in our days. (I was shocked to find just a few posts in three months having anything to do with her—I hope I was more present with her in real life than my Facebook posts reveal.) If only I had known these would be the last moments I had with her, I would have tried to document them all somehow. Where is the rewind button?
I’m even more consumed with all the memories we will never make. How is it possible that we got to celebrate only one birthday? Only one Halloween? Only one summer trip to the beach? How is it possible that there will never be the magic of lightning bugs? Or the pride of using the potty? Or the joy of a big sister picture with a new baby? This is about as far as I can go in my mind’s eye before I crumple.
I have had the hardest string of days since Hudson died. The pain is so overwhelming and so constant that I feel at times like I simply cannot stand it, like I have no idea how I will make it through this. I long for her in a way that I haven’t so far, or if I have, I haven’t let myself feel it. I want her back so badly that I feel like I am breaking in half. I think my unwillingness to make new memories is in part still a denial that she is really gone. Like if I only wish hard enough, cry hard enough, remember hard enough, imagine hard enough, and don’t take any new pictures, then this will never have happened. And she will come back to us. And we can go on.
“Stop all the clocks.” Please, stop them.