The death certificate has arrived, a rather ornate bureaucratic piece of paper, not unsimilar to a birth certificate. It means the State of Texas now officially acknowledges the death of one of her native sons, a piece of paper to be used as proof of death for the various bodies who need to see such a thing.
I am not one of those bodies. My body aches with the knowledge of his death, vibrates with the pressure of his absence, wanders aimlessly in the spaces in which his presence is still palpable, sits in his chair holding his grieving little dog, inhales the scent of his soap and aftershave and is shocked at the rawness of the loss.
I opened his closet door yesterday and nearly fell to my knees at the impact of familiar scents, textures, and colors of clothes, all meaningful only because he wore them. Slamming the door shut startled the dogs and sent the cat running, but didn't stop the waves of pain. I stood short of breath for a moment, dizzy with the need for oxygen, and him.
So I organize the kitchen, a place set up for the use mostly of a 6"1' man who was, well, a pack rat, a man who never met a plastic storage dish he didn't love, or had too many extra cans of corn or beans in case the zombie apocalypse hit east Fort Worth and we had to hole up for months on end. Or, more likely, feed the 20 or 30 people he would invite over for some celebration and remember to tell me about only on the morning of the party.
The kitchen was his territory -- I was simply the person who vainly attempted to keep it in some order.
I am only 5 feet tall, so now there are many things I simply can't reach without my tall person. So I have been divesting myself of plastic vessels, donating canned goods, and dumping mysterious lumps of frozen stuff from the back of the freezer, all the while talking to him along the lines of "What were you thinking, my love, when you saved all this stuff?"
This divestment has freed up space on lower shelves for the glassware, plates, bowls, etc., that I need to prepare my own meals now that my creative inventive nutty personal chef has ambled off to other feasts in other places. That and a sturdy stool insure that I can at least access all of the cabinets, shelves, etc, on which are stored kitchen paraphernalia.
The problem is, who cares? Without him here to share meals, to talk with over our food, to share stories of the day, to read bits of the news to, to laugh with, why bother? The food was just the platform on which we daily reinforced the structure of our marriage, binding our selves more closely together with each morsel of our lives generously shared, savored, and valued.
I miss you so, my love.