Silence

May 19, 2009

The unspeakable silence cannot be known without experiencing it. I learned early that yelling doesn’t break it, even though that did not stop me from trying it over and over again. She occasionally asked me if I was angry at something. I explained to her that she had never seen me angry. Losing her allowed her to see me angry. I would ask her at night, when the silence was the loudest, if she had seen me yelling at God that day. I recall my lowest day, one of many, but definitely the lowest. For me, it was the saddest day of my life, even though it happened 92 days after her death. I had moved back to my home town of Greenville, SC in order to get support from family and friends. I had moved into a rental house on the northeast side of town because living with my mother for two weeks was about a week too long. My mother is an amazing, strong woman and a great help. But, I wanted no condolences and her mother’s heart could not conceal her wanting to express her love and needing to nurture her first born child. My pushing and her attempts at engaging were not good for either of us. On the morning of my worst day, I dropped my daughter off at a friend’s house as I had to endure the practical issues of getting my cars registered and paying taxes. It would have been extremely nice if I could have had someone that would have completed all the practical necessities of life for me. After driving 30 minutes to downtown and standing in line, it became apparent to me that I didn’t have anything that proved my new address. When it was my turn to present my documents and receive my okay from the Tax office, I had to explain to a very nice older woman what had happened to me. Somehow, I kept the tears only flowing on the inside as I tolerated her questions of “What happened…?” “How long were you married?” “A little girl… How old?” She was nice enough to let me use my Select Comfort return form as proof of my residence, in spite of the large print on the sign in front of me indicating otherwise. Of course, you cannot accomplish all your needs at one window, so I received more documents from her and went to wait in another line in order to submit payment. After payment, I had to go to another building and wait in line to get SC tags. A few hours later, I was heading home. About 20 minutes from home, I began crying and that turned to sobbing and talking to her and asking God to comfort me and begging him to talk to me. I was crying so hard that I had to pull off Wade Hampton Blvd onto a back road in Taylors. My intent was to pull over on the side of the road, because I could not see through the tears; instead, as I continued to drive, my sobbing turned to rage and tears. I yelled at God to speak to me and asked him why. I hit the steering wheel and dash. I was shaking. I yelled, “Silence?” “Are You freaking kidding me?” I passed by the train tracks that float 60 or so feet above that field of kudzu and I pictured my lifeless body hanging from the arch. I have thought of death much since she died but no time was as dark as this one. No other time was it at my own hand. “Isn’t she more alive than me now?”  Shocked at what had come out of my mouth towards God and thoughts in my mind, the rage again turned to sadness and bottomless tears. I made it home, only to sit in the driveway weeping. When I finally went inside, I collapsed on the couch where I cried myself to sleep.

I’ve had a few tough days, weeks, hours since that day, but none as feral. There is nothing but silence now and I am not sure what is more pathetic … fighting for its finale, yelling for its end or accepting its embrace.

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