8th AprilBy Emma Pearson
December 6, 2023
Photos my own, taken today
8th April 2023
It generates a sicky feeling in my tummy.
A sinking of my heart.
A shortening of my breath.
An increase in my heart’s rate.
A tensing of my belly.
A weakening of my arms’ and legs’ strength.
This date. 8th of April.
Typing it out.
Seeing it in my diary.
Being IN it. Living it. Experiencing it.
A Saturday again. As it was back in 2017 when you died.
Saturday, 8th April 2017.
Now again, Saturday 8th April 2023.
Same. But different. Forever different.
Six years on.
I am now “just 56” as opposed to “just 50”.
The age gaps with the kids seem all the more dramatic.
Ben, “coming up to 24”, as opposed to “coming up to 18”.
Megan, “coming up to 22”, as opposed to “coming up to 16”.
And Julia. Sweet Julia. Forever 15 and a quarter, as opposed to “just 13”. As opposed to “should be just 19”.
I wonder what today, this date, 8th April, would be like if Julia hadn’t died.
The two 8th of Aprils we had after Mike had died but with Julia still alive feel so very long ago. Megan and Ben were away – either studying in the UK or on a gap year.
It was just me and Julia. I can barely remember those times.
And I wish I could.
I hadn’t yet started online dating, and so hadn’t met Medjool.
It’s all a hazy daze. Holey memories. Gaping gaps. Brain like a colander.
I do have writing from that time. Including one of my most poignant pieces. About the day you died, and written a year afterwards. http://www.widowingemptynests.com/2019/04/08/your-last-day/
If I hadn’t written during those weeks and months and years, I’d have no memories. I feel quite certain of that.
Just existing and lurching from moment to moment. Trying to function. But being on auto-pilot.
Today just feels numb.
After all this time.
And as I finish typing this, it is just after 3pm – the exact time you died.
I feel the breeze as I sit outside on the patio. It’s chilly with the “bise” wind. I like to think that the breeze, the “bise”, is you coming to say “I’m here”. It’s a beautiful day. Sunny and bright. And fresh. Perfect spring weather. You’d love just hanging outside with me here, enjoying our village life.
Medjool asked me earlier, “how would you spend today, and Easter weekend, if Mike were alive?”
Such a sweet question. So hard to answer.
It would just be a normal Saturday. Easter weekend Saturday or not. The French schools only take off the Monday. It’s not necessarily time for school break. So we’d just be doing Saturday stuff. But that would be when the kids were at home. We never had that time alone without them. So I don’t know.
If the three kids were alive, it would just be us at home by now. With the pets.
Julia would be away studying, I imagine. Ben and Megan are both doing internships – one in London, one near Bordeaux. I don’t know where Julia would be, but hopefully studying, as her friends are.
I can no longer picture that life.
I just have a sense that it would just be fuller. Sweeter. Easier. I’d have more ease.
I wouldn’t have a sicky feeling about this date.
It would just be a fresh spring date in April.
My memories are fading, and I don’t like it.
In the time it’s taken to write this, you’ve gone from being dead for “just under six years”, to now being dead “a full six years”.
Still so unimaginable.
No wonder my brain is so holey.
I suspect it will always feel unreal.
Our playground – out on a walk earlier today