“La gente que se da citas precisas es la misma que necesita papel rayado para escribirse o que aprieta desde abajo el tubo del dentífrico” Julio Cortázar – Rayuela
“That people who make precise dates are the same kind who need lines on their writing paper, or who always squeeze up from the bottom on a tube of toothpaste.” Julio Cortázar - Hopscotch
Death in the 21st century I am sure is no different from others. And yet.
In the other century when someone in the family died you
called up your other family and friends and then you put an obituary in the
local paper. People would then mail sympathy cards. I have received many in the
last couple of weeks since the death of my Rosemary. But the cards and emails have come for a 21st century reason.
What surely makes death be seen in another light or facet is the role of social media and in my case my posting of my blog in social media. When I saw what was coming I began to write blogs that describe the process of my Rosemary’s going away in a subtle manner so that few would guess outright what was happening.
Her death was an ordeal (surely to her) but to my two daughters and granddaughters, and of course me. I must write here that the writing of it all has given me solace in an understanding as I tried to put what I was feeling and thinking into words.
When my Rosemary died, not too many minutes later, I photographed her hand on Niña the cat (her cat, my cat, our cat).
It has been difficult for me to change from saying or writing “our” daughters, cats, house, etc to the singular “my”.
But what has been more difficult is the slow removing of stuff that reminds me of her that makes it painful for me to live alone in a house with two clingy cats,
I believe that they quickly forget of situations but understand that they now only have one human to attach to. And this they do. And this is calming and soothing. I don’t feel completely alone.
Removing that stuff is the difficult task. Her hearing aids went to a friend of my daughter Ale in Lillooet. I keep finding the little batteries for them everywhere and I must take them to London Drugs. My daughter Hilary will come on Saturday to sift through our bathroom drawers to remove all the medicines that are not needed.
I have been emptying the fridge since December 9, the date of my Rosemary’s passing. My daughter Ale and I thought of all kinds of food that we thought Rosemary might want. There was soft white bread, cut up melon, mango sorbet, Orange Crush and lots more. I have been eating it and have had to throw mouldy bread away. What am I to do with the Nestle Quick she mixed I heaps with her 1% milk? She would stir the mixture in a mug with a spoon and make a noise close to that of chalk on a blackboard. I hated the noise. I miss it now. What am I to do with the decaf coffee grounds she stopped drinking months ago? A curious quirk of her sickness was that strange female-pregnant desire to eat stuff for one day or two and then no more. How were Ale and I to know that a cancer of a liver (among the many things wrong with Rosemary) would not make her want to eat anything? In the last three days, Coke and ice was all she would consume.
Who Will Be First? May 18, 2013
Today I washed the sheets and pillow cases. I had changed them after Rosemary died. But there were death stains on the mattress cover. I washed it twice. Is this a remnant of her death, a presence that I have obliterated?
In the scan here you see the empty Kleenex box. She kept them and would fill them with cheap boxed Kleenex. The tube of toothpaste, she purchased all our toiletries. Once this one is used up I will have to suddenly buy toothpaste for myself. The kitty litter odour eater ran out last night. I emptied the kitty litter (Tuesday, tomorrow is when the garbage is collected) and bought the Arm & Hammer at the Bosley’s around the corner. I have learned to take out the garbage and my daughter Ale is going to slowly teach me how to pay bills.
Cooking is now a tad easier. I can eat what Rosemary did not want to eat. My food bill will be a more frugal one as opposed to “our” food bill.
Traveling, when that happens, will be complex. I worked with a travel agency called Rosemary Elizabeth Waterhouse-Hayward
Rosemary had a thing for paper napkins. There were at least three kinds with a Christmas theme. The one here is what we used for our Christmas Eve dinner (photographs to put in a blog soon!).
And yes I was never able to convince her in our 52 year marriage
that you had to squeeze the toothpaste from the bottom. She was obstinate and that was one more reason why I loved her.