It’s been one week since we said goodbye to Ramón, and it’s been more than 14 weeks since I said farewell to the version of Ramón I’d known since December 2011. In many ways, I’ve been grieving since April, but the sorrow has taken a different shape now, knowing that the possibility of recovery no longer remains. At times, this materializes as feelings of relief, since the clarity for which I’d longed has arrived and is indisputable. However, other times I miss the ambiguity of where we were because it included space for potential and opportunity. And hope.
Although the past week has been heavy, it’s also been magically light due to the outpouring of love. I’ve connected with friends from many walks of life, I’ve heard from people whose lives were better off because of Ramón, and I’ve even linked up with strangers who happened upon my posts online. Despite the irrefutable absence that unexpectedly reveals itself throughout the days, the moments have been woven together by undeniable feelings of gratitude each time I’m reminded that the beauty of the story is what makes the goodbye so difficult.
The doorbell rings frequently, often signaling the delivery of comfort food. Though my first thought is one of appreciation, my second thought is how much I wish Ramón were here to partake in the endless food options that have slowly overtaken the counter and fridge. Simple things like dog cuddles bring feelings of contentment in one moment, but yield feelings of sadness the next, wondering if the dogs understand where their dad is.
When life was turned upside down following Ramón’s brain injury, I remember thinking I would never adjust to the current “normal.” At first it made me sad that Ramón was no longer in a position where he could do basic tasks of daily living. Then, over time, I’d find myself brushing his teeth without even thinking about the events that brought me there. Some nights I long to be back at the hospital getting Ramón ready for bed one more time – an activity that once felt like defeat but quickly became something I cherished.
If you’ve reached out to me, I appreciate you, whether I responded or not. If you’ve found yourself searching for the right words to say but haven’t yet found them, that’s okay, too. Life is hard, and we’re all just doing the best we can. Death is even harder, but it’s the piece that gives life itself such significance.