Wednesday, June 4, 2014
It was Wednesday
I wasn’t planning to write tonight. But it’s Wednesday. All week I have been mentally and emotionally reliving the events of a year ago. I don’t even want to do this, but feel powerless to stop this tidal flood of remembrance.
And now it’s Wednesday. June 6 is two days away. But today is Wednesday.
Tonight my kids are at VBS. A year ago tonight my kids were at VBS. I only saw Paul briefly. He came home about this time (6-7ish), changed into some work clothes and jumped in the van to head up to Des Moines to do a side job for a widow lady who called him from time to time. I think he was working on her sink. I called her a week or so after Paul’s death because I wasn’t sure if Paul had completed the job or not. I didn’t want to leave her hanging. I remember she asked if we had kids and when I told her “six” she gasped out loud. She sent a card a few days later with $25 – for a family she didn’t even know. Bless her.
I was loving that week of VBS. I wasn’t working that year (or this year, for that matter) and I could send more than half my contingent away for the evening. I don’t remember all I did that evening, but I do remember that I watched some “whodunit” news-type show on tv while applying fake french tip decals to my fingertips. It was a slow evening and I had it mostly to myself –a rarity for a mom to as many children as I have.
This was the night that Paul had surprised me with these two rusty fan-backed chairs he had happened upon earlier that day. They were awful looking but he promised he’d fix them up for me. I can look out my south windows now onto the deck and see them. They’re shiny and painted red now, thanks to my friend, Don. I imagine Paul would have done them the same way. I imagine Paul and I would have sat in them together out there on the deck.
Paul was home around 10:30 that Wednesday night, after all the other kids were already in bed. I had already taken my bath before he got home. I remember the nightgown I was wearing. I still wear it, but I always feel a pang when I put it on. I don’t know how much longer I’ll force myself to wear it – I war against practicality and emotion with that garment. It was one we bought in Colorado. I balked at paying $30 for something I’d only wear to bed, but Paul talked me into it, saying, “Every time you wear it, you’ll think of our trip.” So I bought it. Actually, I remember there were two versions of the gown, a long one and a short one. I was leaning towards getting the long one, if I got one at all. But Paul followed me into the dressing room and insisted it had to be the short one. He always did have a rather intense interest in what I wore to bed…
Paul showered, brushed his teeth, and came to bed like he did every single night of his life. I was already under the covers. He leaned over, kissed me goodnight, and said, “I love you.” Those were the last words he ever spoke out loud. We both fell asleep almost immediately. Thirty minutes later, a few minutes before midnight, he began to seize. He fell off the bed and suffocated to death before I even knew what had happened.
It was Wednesday.