Last Thursday I woke up before the alarm, contemplating my re-entry into the blogosphere, which I had decided would begin that day. Where would I start? What sort of pithy synopsis could I give that would fairly and entertainingly encapsulate the last 4 months of our lives, if indeed I still had an audience to be concerned with? Would I start by announcing the pregnancy, the gender of the baby in my womb, the nightmares and fantasies that have ensued since I peed on the stick in the bathroom at work, not long after writing the last post on this blog? Or would I start with Sydney, her various transformations, her struggles and triumphs, our adjustment to the idea of life as a family of four? I lay in bed, listening to the slight, muffled sounds of my daughter's morning stirrings, and realized I was looking forward to writing again.
But then. Sydney and I were having breakfast when Cade called downstairs with the news that Ashley Morris had died. I sat, stunned and uncomprehending, while Sydney happily dragged her waffle through the dregs of syrup on her plate. I started to cry. His wife, I thought, his babies. What kind of fucking sense did this make? I heard Cade upstairs, getting into the shower, and later, when he kissed me goodbye and agreed--in that soft, quiet way he has that always makes me feel like a raving lunatic--that this was terrible and made absolutely no fucking sense, I was struck again by the essential singularity of our psyches. I had no idea what he was feeling. Shocked? Scared? Disoriented? He always seems a little resigned to me, like he has come to expect that bad things happen and so when they do they don't come as a shock, but how accurate is that perception? I wanted so much, in that moment, to know, to understand, to merge. And I didn't want him to get into his car and drive away, into the bad, big world that takes good people way too soon.
I didn't know Ashley very well, although blogging is a funny thing: you get to know people intimately without the myriad of face-to-face interactions that normally constitute a relationship. And Ashley was such an open book, a real person, an often kind and sporadically vicious person who called it like he saw it. I liked that about him. And when we did have the occasion to talk face-to-face, I was always struck by the timbre of his voice, the softness of which was so incongruous on his large frame, his large persona. I liked that about him, too.
I'll attend his funeral tomorrow, along with many, many people who knew him much better than I did, with my unknowable husband and our child, our son, kicking his way into life in the soft, dark, safe interior of my belly. I'll try to be brave, like we all have to be, and push away the panic that rises in my throat when I drop my daughter off in the morning, when I kiss my husband goodnight and goodbye, when I think of everything I have to lose and how it would, or will, feel to lose those things.
We should feel happy we have so many things to lose. We should feel happy. We should feel terrified.