Words started coming back to me at the most inopportune moments. Driving in the car, walking along the beach, hiking on a trail... nowhere near my laptop, of course. I knew from experience that I wouldn't be able to repeat the raw emotions I was processing, so I did the only thing I could to capture them: recorded voice notes.
The first one I recorded was two weeks after Larry died. Right around the time I took the picture up above. Since then, I've recorded eighteen more voice notes that range anywhere from fifty seconds to twenty-eight minutes in length. Some of them are just one main thought while others weave through a jumble of emotions that I needed to get out of my head; everything from rage to remorse to a simply describing another thing I had to deal with in the aftermath.
I've shared a couple of recordings with friends when I couldn't quite explain what I was going through without self-editing to avoid making them uncomfortable. I needed my closest confidantes to understand so they could help me keep going through the raw pain, in case I decided it was too hard anymore. I wanted to make sure I'd keep leaning in and getting it all out, no matter how much I would want to retreat.
I'm just starting to transcribe some of those recordings. I started with my last one because it contained part of a bigger story I've been working on offline. Although the daily tears have mostly dried up, there are still moments that memories come rushing back. This was one of those moments. I was lamenting the loss of all the things we had in our last home together. It started with a prayer, which reminded me of the kitchen table. That's when I pictured us sitting together at dinner. Instantly, I was in the house again and I could see all the things that made up our home. After talking through the memory, I ended with this:
"I know I’m still gonna have these days where all these pictures in my head come rushing back. I’ll never be the same again. I know that. I don’t think I ever want to be the same again. But.. I don’t know… I had the strange sensation today. I was watching a movie… a documentary on a girl who had a stroke and uh… her brain was just not functioning properly anymore… and I thought, Oh my God... if my life was like that... I could see how people would give up. And I had the strangest sensation... I don’t want to give up… I don’t want to let go… most of the time I feel fear when I think about death. But at that moment, I felt just like, we’re gonna end up in the stars again anyway. Like suddenly, I just felt like… when we die, we’ll be among the stars again. I don’t know… I don’t know why that thought came to me."
Well, I've done some thinking about that idea ever since that night. Every time I come back to it, I am less and less afraid. Like, suddenly, I grokked the mystery. I'm in no rush to leave my physical body, but I'm not afraid of it anymore. I feel like I'm already an infinite being, as opposed to becoming infinite after death. Like... I've been here... we've been here.
Our mortal existence is scary and sad and a struggle... but it's also beautiful knowing that, for a brief moment in eternity, we are here. Our stars have collided at this particular time and place. For some reason, or for absolutely no reason whatsoever, we've crashed into each other on this plane. And one day, when it's our time, we'll return to the stars. But for now...
How lucky to be here now and to live and experience the chaos and the love together.
*The picture above was taken out in the desert two weeks after Larry passed away. A friend was kind enough to take me along on a photo excursion when I needed to escape. I sat on top of that rock and marveled at the stars. For a fleeting moment, I felt it... that we are stars. Now I know.