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February 15, 2005

Visitation

I went to Athens tonight, a decision I had played by ear. Thank you, Holly and Steve, for giving me a ride, for holding my hand, for throwing an arm around my shoulder when I looked ready to sink into the floor.

I didn't know what to expect, having never done this before. Certainly I didn't forsee lively conversation, children running around, bouncing babies, and mix CDs from Mike playing in the background.

I spent most of the time talking to other visitors. His parents are great people - they're holding up incredibly well and were open, loving, and affectionate even as they were sad. When they each told me they were worried about me and wanted to make sure I was ok (!!!), I realized I needed to quit being an emotional ass. If they could be strong, so could I, and the quivery panic I'd been feeling finally ebbed away.

I'm so glad we've met, Stephanie. I know we would have preferred an official introduction from the man himself, under happier circumstances. (If you're reading this, Mike, know that you have at least two women extremely pissed with you for skipping out on us. Hope you're squirming, buddy.) You're extraordinary, Steph, and it's easy to see why Mike loved you. You made each other very happy, and I'm so grateful for that. Thank you for being a part of his life.

Mike in his pictures around the room was more real to me than the person I saw in the casket. When I first glimpsed him from the back of the room, I was able to register the thought: "It's not him. That isn't him. He's elsewhere, and he's ok now." It was unnatural to see him so still - he was always lively, always moving around, talking, being expressive, moving his hands. Smiling, laughing. Maybe it's an animal instinct - you see, you know he's gone, you keep your distance.

In the end, after talking to people and stealing glimpses at him from time to time, only then did I go to him. Briefly. Funny, I thought that the private, one-sided conversation I'd have with him would be some drawn-out, poetic speech, like some scene out of a movie. But no. I looked upon his too-still form, his face that didn't look like his face. I brushed my fingers against his cold, cold hand. Goodbye, Mike, I whispered in my mind. Goodbye.

Yours, &c., LC | 03:40 AM | | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

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Comments

Thank you for posting this. I wanted to be there, but I only found out yesterday. Thank you for making me feel like I was there, and for starting the memorial site. My thoughts are with you and with everyone who could be there today.

Posted by: Tiffany at February 15, 2005 11:19 AM

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