As we approach Cora's service on Tuesday, I have a heaviness in my heart. It's natural for things to reach a sort of crescendo in the days following someone's death, and then after a while, to have things calm down a bit, and in some way, to have life go on. It's just that, for us of course, it can't ever just "go on" again. We will do normal things as we always have, as we have even during these past few dark days, but there is a very large hole in the world where Cora used to be and very much should be, and we are left staring it, not really knowing which way is up.
Our life feels oddly quiet.
I got a photo today from one of our beloved nurses -- she was just telling me that they were thinking of us and of our little Lionheart. It came at a nice time, just as I was reading Cora's obitutary. Those two words together are so fundamentally wrong; no unnatural. Insert child's name here: ____'s obituary. I just believe having to say my child's name, and then the word, obituary, is cruel. At the same time I hated having to read it, I admit that seeing her beautiful face shining back at me from the newspaper made me feel the slightest bit better. Cora's eyes always work their magic.
Dom and Cosie have been weaving Cora into their regular conversation. Poor Dom is trying to make his way through how to grapple with it, vacillating between deep grief and a kind of nonchalance. And Cosie is mostly just trying out a new vocabulary. A conversation in our house today went:
Dom: That's Cora's stuffed animal.
Cosie: Yeah, but Cora died.
Me: Yes, that's true.
Dom: Yeah, but that's okay, right mama? It's okay that she died, right?
It's either that upbeat tone, or his big sad and begging questions, like, "Who will be Cora's daddy where she went?" or, "We haven't been to see Cora at the hospital in a while, won't she be getting lonely?" We do end up repeating the same information over and over again, and we probably will for a long time.
Fortunately there are still some more humorous conversations, like this:
Cosie: I'm gonna marry Wyatt.
Dom: I lost the person I was gonna marry.
Cosie: You should marry someone else, Dom.
Dom: Yeah, I think I'll marry Joaquin (our friend). Because boys can marry boys, right Mama? That's possible, right?
Me: Yep. That is possible.
Dom participated in a quarter-mile running race today. He sprinted the whole way; he was so proud. He got a medal. It was a bright spot. And later at Grammie and Papa's we swam with the kids, dove for things on the bottom of the pool, and watched them spin in circles in a post-ice cream sandwich frenzy.
It's all very normal, only it's not at all.
I am spending a lot of time looking at pictures and watching videos. Never was a child, especially a third child, more photographed than Cora. And thank god. I treasure every single video we took, every picture. I've considered wallpapering my house with them so I could look at her sweet angel face every minute of every day.
One photo in particular, I love. Well, I love so many. But in this one, my Mom had come to visit and I'll never forget, she was putting so much energy into doing this puppet show for Cora. She was practically breaking out in a sweat. But her efforts were worthwhile, because Cora was delighted. She was so, so happy that day. And the picture makes me smile, but of course, it also makes my cry.
Little Shebs, one of the four loves of my life. I'm missing you very deeply tonight.