Thursday, February 25, 2010
I don't know if my mind and my heart took charge and rearranged things in order for me to protect my girls from the gruesome, violent and horribly awful ending of his life and the incidents that slowly led up to it over the last several years, or if this is one of those mysteries that I will never quite understand. I could blame his family, the lack of mental health services, the person who sold him the guns or the people who first introduced him to drugs. I could even blame myself, but there was no one who could take it back and change what happened. Regardless, the most random and wonderful memories crept up repeatedly over those first weeks- along with the most excruciating pain I have felt in my life.
I kept remembering details of my trip across the country with my girls in our old VW van and how I was anxiously looking forward to meeting him in Albuquerque on our way to our new property in Arkansas. I had never, in our entire relationship, been so excited to see him. I remember the fox and the coyote running across the freeway late that night in the middle of the desert with my girls asleep in the back seat, wishing he was there to see it so we could have some philosophical conversation and laugh about the significance of those two animals and what it must have meant. That was the last summer we spent together and the ending of his only year of sobriety. We spent that summer sitting out on our porch every night, surrounded by fireflies and thunderstorms before we headed back to California where everything quickly unraveled... where it all went grey and ended in that place of sleepless nights, chain-smoking and gut-wrenching pain; two little girls with too many questions to answer and too many emotions to comprehend.
My daughters were eventually ushered back to their own beds and the books and papers have been filed away, replaced by a small box of his ashes and pictures on our hallway altar. Chauffeuring to soccer practice and play dates transformed to shuttling to after school therapy appointments and planning weekend trips to grief camp. I worry about how his suicide, which happened immediately before he had planned to visit and take them camping, will influence their lives and their relationships. I worry about the extra burden I have been weighed down with as their mother and I worry that I will never be able to make it all OK for them. This is one injury that a kiss and a band aid can’t repair.
Crazy accidental double exposure photos of Dave and Ava by Sara Sanger 2001 and Jessamyn Harris 2009.
Mourning photo of girls and I at Dave's memorial in the Phoenix Theater by Jessamyn Harris 2008