I’ve been missing Vernon for a long time, but its only recently that a new kind of loneliness has been allowed to seep in. I notice it a lot when I get still, when I talk to God, when I’m practicing yoga, or maybe painting in silence. The rest of the time, I can keep myself pretty busy, which keeps some of that at bay. This is the loneliness that is unattached to words, but I know that pressing into it makes me so sad to realize again that he is really, truly gone and won’t be back. That most of my life will be separate from our season of family, even though the decisions that came from the life we shared still affect us every day. I may have shared this analogy on here before, but I’ll use it again: when someone you care deeply about dies, its much like a piece of duct tape has been pulled from a painted wall after being stuck together for some time—part of the paint is left on the tape and part of the tape is left on the wall. When a person dies, you are changed (though not as much as they are, obviously)—a part of them lives on in you, and a part of you goes on with them. When its someone REALLY close, it takes awhile to adapt to the new version of yourself, because you are not who you were before and the world isn’t what it was before either.
It’s kind of a strange time again because I’m very aware are now in the final month stretch before the 3 year accident-versary. The first death. Or rather, the night his life slowed down—his body, his brain, our time with him—it was when his life out slowly toward the finish line, though we didn’t always realize/accept it. How could we have known? One always fights for life, even if it is in a shallow form, as long as one can. For us, it was the tape trying harder to adhere to the wall and the wall offering all the paint it could part with. It didn’t feel like letting go, it felt like attaching more tightly. So that we could let go, but be changed through the experience.
I went all the way to Denton, Texas, and look what I found waiting there. Pigeons painted on a wall…above an alphabet, bonus! I’ll never stop noticing. Also, here is some paint already peeling off Vernon’s bedroom wall, scratched away by the bed rails and possibly his hands. It looked like he was fighting to get out, but actually he was fighting to stay. And in his way, he made that happen too.