Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The New World

I thought I knew about Invisible Cities. I had committed the roads between them to memory. I had the maps. I had walked the paths. I recognized the shifts in landscape, from the craggy sharp jutting shale, to the humid and salty marsh, to the long stretches that never seem to end. I traveled as a tourist. I lived in them for many years. I owned property. I fled. I set up shop. I bought postcards. I couldn't leave. I sat by fires.

I can see these cities perched on top of a flat disk, like the way we thought the world was shaped hundreds of years ago. I see my Invisible Cities like a platter, a feast. Heavy with every different person, laden with the challenges of a life with a special needs child, rich in the incredible bonds that tied everything together.

I have fallen off my world. A sea monster came and thrashed our ship. The masts smashed to splinters by cancer and death sending us reeling, toppling, charging over the side of the world.

But I am still alive, though she no longer is. I come to in darkness. My arms are empty. My heart is shattered. What was blood has dried to stone in my veins. She is not here. No matter how much I call her name. I am in a world without the sun, moon and stars. I have entered a place more invisible than I could have ever imagined. Ghosts are more real than this place. They have more life, more body, more to tell us about ourselves.

In here, (is it a box? an ocean below all other oceans? the space inside your mind where you lock the door?) time is measured in seconds since she died. The weather changes all around you but you do not feel it at all. My eyes are turning black from lack of light, the pupils pushing the iris out to the furthest reaches of a border, coloring all I see with black black black. I cannot see because she is not here. I cannot hear because it is too quiet. The only noise is the sound left over. It is the sound of absence.

When you are tumbled by waves, lost in the ocean, you must go limp. You must wait to breathe and then, seizing your moment, follow the bubbles of your life up to the surface, where you will be able to breathe again.

I’m going to drown here. So much of me will die. But I am new and do not know what that means. Because even dead I am still alive.


Anonymous said...

The memories of Willa are too painful now and it is that immense pain what connects you most with her.

The day will come when her memories will be your soul's songs and you will smile and you will see Willa again in the light and in all that is beautiful.

Today Willa lives mostly in your pain. Tomorrow she will live mostly in your joy.

Willa will forever be alive in your heart and soul.

Keeping you in our prayers~

Ann said...

I just heard Oliver Sacks on the radio today - talking about his new book, The Minds Eye - so many of the images you describe remind me of his stories describing life with impared vision and relating that to seeing the world as a painting.

Your image of an eye with a decreasing iris of course reminds me of Paul, who has "Aniridia" - absense of Iris.

Thinking of you guys all the time & missing Willa.


Crittle said...

I'm still here.

I just wanted you to know.

Sarah said...

I was struck by your allusion to the sound of absence. One of my favorite blogs, also by a parent who lost a child (seraphicpress.com), has this in the "About Me" section:

"People tell us that time heals, but Karen and I know this is not true. Time grinds away doing its terrible work. Ariel is gone. Yet absence becomes presence."

Many months after his son's death, he wrote a memorable post announcing that after all this time, he'd laughed about something and felt happy for a little while. Maybe time doesn't heal, but it changes, and what it changes you into won't necessarily feel as heavy and lost as today.


Cole said...

oh my heart aches for you...

Jules363 said...

I too, am still here. Willa touched me forever, and I think of her, and of you, often.

Tara said...

I was thinking of and praying for you, today. Just wanted you to know that I have not forgotten your sweet girl.

Lisa said...

Still listening...