Last night, on a whim, Ed and I went to see Sting perform with London's Royal Philharmonic Concert Orchestra at a big outdoor amphitheater in Virginia. It was a beautiful night—still a bit on the warm side, but a clear sky and slight breeze made it more than tolerable. Sting’s performance was amazing—the symphonic arrangements of “Every Little Thing She Does Is Magic,” “Russians,” and “Every Breath You Take” were mesmerizing. I’m glad I got to see it.
But, like almost every other thing I’ve undertaken to do since May 13, it just felt wrong. I couldn’t shake the feeling that I should have been at home, watching TV or reading a book, while sweet Hudson slept peacefully in the next room. There are so many things we can do now that we could not do before May 13, and the fact that we can now do them makes me not want to do them at all. We can go to concerts or out to dinner on a whim, we can work out in the mornings without complication, we can run off to Europe. But who wants to? “I can run all the way to Texas but my daughter can’t.” (I will save for another post how much I have always loved Steel Magnolias, how accurate I find its portrayal of a mother’s grief, and how sad I am that I will probably never be able to watch it again).
The first time I felt this sense of utter wrongness was either Friday or Saturday after we came home from the hospital. Ed and I took a walk alone around the block with Bess, just to get some fresh air and be by ourselves for a few minutes. There was no stroller for Bess to avoid. There was no Hudson delighting in “holding” Bess’s leash. We got about halfway around the block before I stopped walking, said, “I can’t believe this is our life again,” and began to cry. Ed took me in his arms (as he has done over and over again since this happened to us, that dearest of men) and we stood embracing for a long time on that corner, wrecked with the beginnings of realization that this was our new everyday reality.
I felt it keenly again when we were in Ocracoke. That Friday night, just two weeks after Hudson died, we went to a bar that had five-cent shrimp hour between 9-11PM. We ate a lot of shrimp, surrounded by a bunch of loud, fully grown drunk people and an NBA playoff game. As we walked back to our house, I said, “What are we doing? This just isn’t right.” And cried again.
And I feel it almost every moment of every day. Every morning that I get to sleep in past 8AM. Every time I go out for a bike ride or a row or a yoga class, all things I never had time to squeeze in before. Every time we leave the house for an outing and don’t have to pack a diaper bag and a cooler of milk and snacks. It’s all so very, very wrong.
I do not want this life. I want my old life back. I want every precious, inconvenient minute of it back. I want Hudson back. I do not want this life. I do not want it.