She had pictured it many times before…that moment when she would get the phone call. She heard the vague voicemail and knew the time had come.
He had passed away the night before.
She listened and stayed neutral. Her feelings hovered right above reason. Every time she had pictured this moment she had always wondered: would there be a funeral or memorial service? Would she go?
She didn’t know right in that moment what she would do. She needed time.
She finished out the day-pick up The Bigs, make dinner, bathe the baby. Always on her mind was this, this news. She forgot to eat lunch.
When it was time to read to her baby girl, the gates lifted. She only cries one way when processing this. She forced herself to finish every word of: You’re all My Favorites. The story bittersweet as she mourned what could have been and rejoiced in what was.
What could have been. Decisions made so many decades ago led him to this, this moment. She wondered if a decision here and a decision there had been different-maybe she would have been there at his bedside. Maybe she would be planning the funeral, reading the will, mourning the loss of this, this man of such unfulfilled potential.
Shocked or surprised was not what she felt. No, she knew that this was imminent. She had thought about visiting him while on the road trip this summer to have one last, final in-person moment. She had received some correspondence from him in the past year which she could not bring herself to return.
Her tears were not for regret of her choices, but of course, for his. Mothering, taking responsibility for these souls, being there for her children, waking, feeding, helping, bathing, clothing, washing, maintaining and repeating day in and day out is an exhausting sacrifice that is worth every bit of energy it saps from her. She found herself questioning what kind of man abandons ship. Why couldn’t he do it? Why couldn’t he be there?
And now it’s over. She will never see that name on her caller id, or that email in her box–she will never again be surprised by his sporadic decisions to surface. She is free. And so is he.