By Erica Richmond.
I drove Rain and Moxie to Dresden this weekend for your inurnment. Up until now I didn’t even know that word existed. I guess I should thank you for increasing my vocabulary.
While I’m at it, thanks for giving me the opportunity to explain cremation to our kids (I’m not sure it translates well into the afterworld but that was sarcasm). Difficult conversations seem to be a regular occurrence for me these days and I had to explain how your body could fit into such a little box. I told them that you had wanted your body to be turned into ashes before being buried. Rain’s eyes grew huge and he asked,
“HOW did they do that?”
Before I could even formulate any sort of appropriate and non-traumatic response he continued,
“Was it flame thrower or laser beam?”
God I love him.
When we turned down Trerice Street toward the Dresden cemetery I pointed out the high school we had both attended. Did I ever tell you about my first memory of you? It was here at my Grade 9 dance. You were in Grade 14 (that can happen when you leave town for a while to play hockey) and you ran past me across the dance floor with the Police and principal right behind you. Squeals of laughter and chants of “RUN HOOP – Don’t let them catch you!!” echoed over the early 90s dance music. You’ve never been boring.
Did you notice that Bittersweet Symphony started on my playlist as we entered the cemetery? It IS a bitter sweet symphony that’s life…. Well at least sometimes.
The ceremony itself was short and sweet. Hallelujah. You must have been as proud of Rain and Moxie as I was. They stood quietly between me and your parents and listened to the minister read a piece that one of your friends had written. I bet you chuckled when he even read the word ‘shit’. Did you notice that Moxie had chosen to wear the fancy black dress you had given her? Did you like the red roses they picked out for you?
After the service we went back to your parents’ house. The kids took off to play tag and the rest of us sat around the backyard eating sandwiches, drinking OV and sharing our favourite Hoop stories.
There are 2 things that you can be certain of:
- There are a never-ending amount of Hoop stories to be told.
- You were (and continue to be) incredibly loved. As dark as your world had become for you I hope you had some understanding of how much you would be missed.
I had brought Rain’s hockey gear and had him try it all on while the guys helped me sort out what still fits and what he needs. Your Dad gave him some bigger skates (right on!) and reminded me the importance of keeping them sharp (oh yeah, I guess that’s my job now). The goalie pads will work for another year (*phew!) but I might need to do another duct tape patch job on them (#DuctTapeForever)
I am really not looking forward to hockey season this year (okay, less than usual). For one thing, you’ve left me responsible for every practice and every game. If we get stuck with 6:30am practices again I will curse your name every single one of those freezing cold mornings.
It could also be a tough season for Rain. He loves hockey. But he loves it because of you. He used to come home from your house excited to tell me about how you played road hockey all weekend. He would arrive at the arena for his games and look for you even before finding his team. He knew you were proud of him regardless of whether he got the golden jersey for an outstanding game or if he let in more than his share of pucks.
You’ve already missed an entire season of soccer. The first game was only a few weeks after your death and I had been prepared for Rain to struggle with your absence. And he did miss you. But he was also busy playing and concentrating on the game. Moxie, on the other hand spent that game wandering around aimlessly until she finally curled up on my lap.
“Soccer is so boring without Daddy.”
Of course. I hadn’t even thought about this but of course soccer is boring without you. You played with her along the sidelines every week. You made her feel like the centre of your universe for that entire hour. And now you and your universe are gone. I offered to play with her. She smiled and gently said, ‘No thanks mommy.’ I get it. I can’t take your place. She knows that as much as I do. So Fuck You for making her so sad and for leaving me so helpless at making it better for her.
What the hell were you thinking?
This is where my brain will defend you and remind me that you didn’t do this on purpose. And I know that you would never have wanted to hurt Rain or Moxie. I know that you loved them so incredibly much. And I know that it was an illness that took your life.
But even though I know all of that, there’s still a huge part of me that just doesn’t understand. And I probably never will. And I guess that’s okay. Or at least it will have to be.
Regardless of whether or not we understand why you did what you did, we are healing. As part of our healing, the kids and I talk about you every day. You probably know that. And you probably laugh about how fucking nice I have to be to you now. No don’t worry; I never used to say bad things about you (out loud); I just never went out of my way to say nice things. But now there are days I am so sick and tired of saying nice things about you that I just want to gag. You really owe me one. Tell you what? If you can figure out a way for everyone to start sleeping functionally again, I’m willing to call it even. Maybe you can make friends with the Sandman?
I feel your presence around us most days. The kids feel you too. I know it must be you who keeps knocking the picture of Rain and Moxie out of the kitchen window. I wish you’d stop doing that. You, of all people, should know how much that freaks me out. Jerk!
Now that you have your final resting place, we will come visit you. Although with gas prices it probably makes most sense for you to keep visiting us. And the kids seem to find comfort in your presence. So fine, you can stay – just behave!! (Yeah right – who am I talking to?)
And even as we continue to heal, you will never really leave us. You will continue to live in Rain and Moxie; in their hearts, in their laughter and in their spirit. And you will always be loved.
About Erica Richmond: I am addicted to Canadian Indie music, words and adventures. I am a single parent to two amazing children and we call ourselves, Team Adventurers. I wrote this letter to my ex partner and father of my kids after he took his life. I am on twitter at @pixiepaperdoll7.