I had the coolest dream last night. I was part of an elite espionage team on some kind of dangerous mission to stop some bad guy from doing something…well…bad. Unfortunately, our team of assassins wasn’t getting along and during the mission we broke up, each of us going our own way and trying to get out of wherever we were without getting killed. It was one of those rare dreams that is so unusual and different and fun, you can’t help but remember it–even be excited about it–as you wake up. And as I was rising out of the drowsy mist of slumber, I couldn’t wait to tell Ken about this amazing dream.
Those sweet, flirty milliseconds between sleep and sentience had fucked me over. Yet again.
These past couple of weeks have been tricky. In typical fashion, it took my out-of-sorts self longer than I can believe to realize it has to do with the time of year–leading up to the second anniversary of Ken’s death on June 1. It was this time of year, watching his once-razor-sharp brain spring leaks, letting long accumulated knowledge begin to slowly drain away was one of the most frustrating and humbling aspects of his decline those two months he was home for hospice. Unlike me, Ken was a compulsive lover of crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and learning of any kind. His brain was a sponge. He loved learning new things. And of the things he already knew, he was so highly skilled.
It was a difficult time, watching his once-steel-trap-of-a-mind grow more and more unfocused. On the other hand, I was silently grateful and sincerely hopeful that he didn’t fully grasp what was going on. Although I do remember painful moments when he’d surrender a remote control, or his iPhone to me to carry out a task, remarking “I used to know how that worked.” In my memory it was more a statement of fact than a lament. As if he wouldn’t give up completely. He may not remember how it worked, but he sure as hell remembered that at one time he did. He knew how everything worked around our apartment. Fact is, I’ve only used the DVD player a few times since he died because I can never get it to work right with the speakers.
This time of year I can’t help but think about our last great adventure together to get his tattoo. I wrote about it last year, but it’s been on my mind all week, and was the first thought in my head when I woke up on Sunday morning–which was the actual anniversary. I can’t help but think about his single-mindedness in accomplishing his desire to get a tattoo–even if he wouldn’t be able to enjoy it for long. It was his beautiful journey-oriented mind that drove him. And though he was having occasional mental lapses by then, he blew past my cautious roadblocks, calling his oncologist behind my back to get the medical “thumbs up” to proceed. It shocked me that he’d done that–in a good way. It took mental prowess to be sneaky.
He wanted that tattoo and he figured out a way to get it. But it wasn’t just the tattoo he wanted, it was the adventure of getting it–with me at his side–that I think we both loved the most. The experience is chock full of beautiful metaphors as much as it is drizzled in sadness for me–much like the month of May itself.
I miss not needing to know everything. And having someone to roll over and tell me crazy dreams to. But for now, I’ll settle for vaulting my feelings into the ether, and taking the joy each morning offers in finding my pup, rubbing her belly as she stretches and trying to remember how grateful I am for all that I have.