Another anniversary of sorts


So I spent part of today, the second anniversary of Karen’s death, tending her tarantulas. A few of them are off their diet, so that worries me. But I’m feeding them more often than she fed them, so perhaps they’re molting more often? I hope so. I joined a tarantula group on Facebook. Hopefully they’ll give me some good advice.

A few days ago I had to watch the video, which I thought was my only video of Karen. But this one (beginning at about 2:00) has some good vintage Karen off camera. That’s her stern voice (but good-humored). If I just trust to my memory, all my traitorous memory provides is stern Karen without the humor. But that voice. It’s an anchor. It’s a key. It’s the only thing that gives me access to Karen-as-three-dimensional-human, which memory alone won’t provide. Of all the violence done by that last year or two, that’s the worst of it, I think: that the memories more often than not are harsh, or desperate, or lonely, or hopeless. It can be hard to remember why I was so crazy about her.

Her voice is in that third video, too (Chapter 3 of Lisa Altalida’s Idiots Guide to Dating Girls). But I can only take so much of this.

Maybe it’s all for the good. If I carried within me an accurate representation of Karen-in-her-prime, the sense of loss would be unbearable. And yet sometimes I need to feel that loss and all of that pain. While I’m awake it comes in split-second flashes. In dreams, rarely, it all comes out. A real downpour.

All I’m certain of is that I miss her and I can’t have her. And that she faded away from me for at least a year or two before she died, and I didn’t fully realize it until she was gone.


1 Comment

  1. Walnut says:

    I don’t suppose I’ll ever understand this: that I could be with my high school girlfriend for three years, and after breaking up, have her voice in my head for years; and yet we were together for 32 years, and you’re not there inside me. Perhaps because you were a quiet person, especially in the last few years. But that doesn’t seem correct. I think I pushed you out of my head before you ever left.

    All I can think of? Excuses. That empathy was too painful, so I had to develop the same calluses toward you as I did in my profession (not that it helped my doctoring skills toward you one bit). That we both knew this was coming and, like threatened tortoises, we pulled our heads back into our shells to try to ignore the threat. That it was hard to be there for you, really be there, because the injustice of your life was just too maddening for words — I know I’ve never been able to accept it. Maybe you weren’t able to, either.