I Even Miss Missing You

I haven’t really talked about death much to my child.  To be honest I kind of avoid it.  When she sees a dead bug I usually say it’s sleeping, and if we find a random mouse head that my cat eviscerated I tell The Munch that the head is looking for its body.  I don’t know how to explain death and am slightly afraid of the follow up questions she will ask.

But yesterday was the 13th year anniversary of my best friend Bitty dying, and I decided to bring The Munch to visit her grave.  When she asked me where we were going, I told her to visit my friend Bitty and The Munch got so excited.  It made me want to cry. I wished so badly that we were going to visit Bitty in the same way Munch assumed we were -to actually see a live person rather than a stone in the ground.

We met Bitty’s little sister Maggie and her kids at the cemetery.  Munch kept telling me she wanted to go to Bitty’s house, and I kept telling her we were already there. I told Maggie about the dream I recently had about Bitty. Where I hugged her and tried to tell her how much I missed her, but she wouldn’t let me.  Whenever I dream about her Bitty she will never let me say I miss her.  And even though in my dream I know she is dead, I am always wondering where she has been, and ecstatic that she is back – even if just for a few moments in the ethereal world of sleep.

When Bitty first died the mourning I felt was so intense.  It was almost as if it created a space in my brain and heart just to specifically feel the pain of that loss.  No matter what I was doing, there was this nagging feeling that she was gone.  It was the first thing I thought about when I woke up, and the last thing I thought about when I went to bed.  Bitty is dead today.

Years went by with this haze of grieving.  It was so hard for me to move on.  I remember vividly the day I finally went to see psychiatrist about it.  It was the first and only time I have talked to one, but what she said changed my life forever.

Shrink: “What do you think Bitty would think about how you are reacting to her death?”

Toni: “You know, everyone always tells me that she wouldn’t want me to suffer like this. I know they say that because they don’t want to see my sorrow and are trying to be helpful, but I think Bitty would be happy I am this upset.  She was my best fucking friend.  If I just moved on because that is the cycle of life she would be like ‘What the fuck Toni? You better be sad as shit for a while because I meant something to you!’”

There was such a freedom in that realization.  To recognize that I was tormented because I fucking loved her and she died when she was 20 and that really sucked.  The reality that there is no way to make new memories together is heart wrenching. All I am left with are the ones in my head.

It took so much time to not think of Bitty everyday… and you know what? I almost miss that just as much.  I miss the mourning because I felt so connected to her during it.  But after a certain point you have to let go.  Not totally, because that is impossible, but enough so that you both can move on.

When The Munch and I were leaving the gravesite she said again that she wanted to go see Bitty and her house.

Toni: “Munch, we were seeing Bitty at her house.  She lives here now at the cemetery.  She is dead.”

Munch: “She is dead?”

Toni: “Yeah she is.”

Munch: “She is far away now?”

Toni: “Yeah.”

Munch: “Did she go up high? Past those rocks?”

Toni: “Yes she did?”

Munch: “Did she walk there?”

Toni: “No I think she flew.”

Munch: “Well I want to come back again tomorrow to visit Bitty.”

Toni: “That we can do.”