but the chute is opening.
I never expected grief to knock me out so completely. Then again, I never expected grief.
My best friend and lover, Jim Young, died after a short decline and surgery. I was there for him, which helps. I held his hand for the time he was in the hospital and throughout his last night/morning. I found myself living in an unreflective moment, unable to consider much past the current situation. My brain numbed. I was unabashedly emotional and swung wildly from sobbing to singing. I needed him to wake up. I needed him to be at peace. I NEEDED.
What about Jim? He was well-cared-for in hospital, with sponge baths, frequent turning to stave off bedsores, lots of attention to his tubes and cleanliness. They did what they could for him. In the end, the tumor was too much, and grew back aggressively after the surgery.
I have such guilt. If I'd convinced him to go to the hospital when I first noticed symptoms (loss of words, loss of memory) he could have been diagnosed, operated upon, undergone radiation and chemo... and still died in about a year. A year of pain and fear and degraded Jim-ness.
If we'd gotten him to a doctor when we were all certain SOMETHING was wrong, same thing. Probably a shorter term of chemo/radiation/pain before death.
If Jim had awakened after his surgery, he would have had... dunno, a couple of weeks? Before, once again, passing away, with full knowledge of everything he'd lost.
So I guess it was a good thing he never awakened. He slipped into deeper sleep, and finally let go. He was well-medicated for the last day and yes, one stoned human being. It was the best possible outcome of an awful situation.
So many unfinished conversations. So many places we never went. We discussed, in one of our last walk/talks, going to Hawaii, where he'd never been. We discussed, a couple of months ago, his outline for a story set on Mars, which will now never be written. I don't think he even got to see his movie, NAZIS AT THE CENTER OF THE EARTH.
And I miss him. I miss his snark, his eye-rolling, his sincerity, his kisses. I miss talking about Africa and other politics, I miss talking about writing and reading and music, I miss bumping hips with him. I miss the coffee (decaff nonfat latte for him) and the dinners and finding delicious new things to taste. I miss him saying, "Oh, Kelly," when I made some particularly wild statement, which I sometimes did just to hear him say, "Oh, Kelly." I miss the scar on his face and his wild forelock of hair and sharing popcorn at the movies and talking, always talking.
I've been numb for about a month. The numbness is wearing off. Now I'm missing him.
The chute is opening, I'll land with a thump and not crash and smear. My friends have talked to me a lot: Jay Lake and Sandra Odell, Marta Murvosh and K.C. Ball, Stephanie Cass and Sean Thom, others. They've had patience with me. I am lucky to have these people in my life.
I'll never need to sky dive, now, cuz I already know what it feels like.
- Free Fall