Megan’s beloved hermit crab died the other week. She sobbed and sobbed over Isabella (whom Benjamin always delightfully referred to as “Mrs. Bella”). She cried in my arms when we found her deceased crustacean companion, and then again when we buried the tiny, now-exposed crabby body in the front flower bed. Megan used Isabella’s rainbow shell to mark the spot.
After the burial Megan said to me rather frantically, “Mommy! I need to get another hermit crab! Can we go right now? Please??!!! Let’s go right now!” She hopped up and down and swiped tears from her face with forearm. She was in a desperate panic to fill the void.
I’d already told her that we’d get another crab, but no, we weren’t going to get one that day. I told her, as I had the night before when we’d found Isabella dead in her cage, that it hurts when someone we love dies and that it was normal to feel bad about it. You’re supposed to feel bad and there’s not much you can do about it. And then eventually you won’t feel so bad about it anymore, even though you’ll always miss your friend.
Bigger than a hermit crab
My mom called me last week and said that I seemed sad. I said I was. A major relationship in my life had just ended, I reminded her. I felt bad about it. Because I was supposed to feel bad when I had to say goodbye to someone I loved.
I wanted to have my moment of silence in the front yard and then go about my day.
And at first, that’s pretty much how I handled it.
Then I spent a few days being pretty angry about the whole thing.
But then Friday morning I had to go to the bank, which is near the Irishman’s house. He had a whole lotta stuff over here, so I bagged it all up and was going to leave it on his porch while he was at work.
But he was home. I considered driving on and doing it another time but that seemed stupid.
He answered the door. It was all pretty perfunctory. A few sentences from each of us that I found myself playing over and over and over on the way home.
Then I dropped off Benjamin at school and spent the rest of the day completely unraveling.
It was so not pretty. I’ll spare you the details. You’ve probably been there at some point or another and can fill in the blanks well enough.
Then I spent yesterday with my family and managed to only randomly fall apart twice.
Today I feel slightly better.
(And thanks to the many, many, many friends and strangers who reached out to me. It meant so much.)
I’m processing all of this. I’m filling notebooks with my thoughts — because I guess that’s what I do. It’s all still coming together. Maybe later it will all make more sense.
Hard to say goodbye to the good times, of which there were many. Hard to say goodbye to the little daydream I had about what our crazy mixed family could’ve been like. Hard to feel the cold bitchslap of reality when I remind myself again that that daydream wasn’t real and that any future was probably going to be much less cozy and far more turbulent and full of angst.
Angst. Yes. Great word for it.
I went out to dinner with a friend on Friday and unloaded the whole story on him. “Tragic,” he pronounced it.
Yes. Another good word. I told him “Today I’m in mourning. Then I don’t know what.”
Then I guess it’s time to bury it all in front yard. Time to heal a little bit. Then time to dream some new dreams.
Up around the corner
A longtime, soul-sista friend of mine adopted a baby two years ago. Her holiday card from that year is a closeup photo of the two of them. Her gorgeous little girl is in her lap, looking at the camera. My friend is in profile, looking down at her precious new daughter, whom she hadn’t known only a few months before.
I’ve had that photo stuck on the wall above my computer for two years now. It reminds me that sometimes the people who will have the most impact on us, the people who we will love the most in this world and who will capture our hearts completely, are sometimes people we haven’t met yet.
You never know when they’ll arrive. Today, tomorrow, maybe just up ahead around the corner.