For the last few years, every night I took a hot bath after dinner. Brian would be home, we’d have eaten, and somewhere between 7 and 8pm, I would grab my book and a glass of ice water, and head off to soak myself in steaming, scalding water. This became “boys time.” Brian and the boys would wrestle around or watch tv or maybe just go off their separate ways reveling in the testosterone in the main part of the house while I (and Hank, always Hank) would close off in the bathroom. Most the time, everyone would leave me alone in there, but occasionally Brian would come in and talk to me and refill my ice water or just to sneak a peek (I was, after all, wearing his favorite outfit.) It’s been harder and harder for me to do that lately. It feels strange to come out of the bath and not see him on the couch. It is incredibly difficult to walk out and not hear his soft, throaty voice ask, “How was your bath, Baby?” He was the first person in my life who could and would call me “Babe” or “Baby” and not have me want to kill them. I miss that.
But, life goes on and the hot bath I took every night served so many purposes to me that I have started to try to do it again. I do it much earlier now, but I’m trying. Last night I managed to pull it off. I even managed to read a little bit, something I haven’t been able to do since he died. As I lay there in the steaming water watching the pages of my book curl with the dampness, I looked over my left shoulder and saw a tiny black dot moving on the shower wall, just inches from me. I swear it was not much bigger than the period at the end of this sentence. It was an itsy bitsy spider. We live in an old house and when it gets cold, we get tiny spiders and other noseeums coming in for warmth. Usually I just squash them with a finger and move on, but last night I couldn’t do that. I was mesmerized by this tiny little thing. It seemed to be waving at me. It would move around about a 2 square inch area, but it stayed right there, not really going anywhere, just keeping me company for an hour in the steam. An hour! That’s like a lifetime for a tiny little guy like him.
I’m not going to get all Shirley MacLaine on you here, but I will tell you that I believe that we are energy in bodies and that the bodies will die, but the energy doesn’t. You cannot kill energy. It is a scientific fact. It can change shapes and forms, but it cannot die. Period. I have believed this forever, Brian believed it, and it’s what we have raised our children to believe. Hell, it’s what The Big Bang Theory has raised our children to believe! It’s indisputable. Brian is still around, although he has changed. His energy has changed forms and is now in a condition where it can change forms as often as it wants to, needs to, whatever. Last night I couldn’t help but think that Brian’s energy was in that itsy bitsy spider and was playing peeping Tom. This opened up a HUGE train of thought and understanding and shift in me. This is why cows are sacred in India. I get it now. Killing something might mean killing someone. A whole lot of someones, maybe. Yes, that energy will go on living, too, but do I want to be the one to do it? Now all you vegans and vegetarians out there are standing on your chairs and cheering and I can’t really blame you. I’m not sure I’m ready to jump back into the vegetarian club just yet, but I will say this – I could have no more killed that spider than I could have killed my husband. Period. That spider WAS my husband. I’m sure of it.
Hours later, after the boys were in bed, I closed up the house and put myself to bed as well. I lay there and talked to Brian as I always do and asked him questions. What was it that he wanted to tell me? How could I still see him everywhere but not feel him? Can he help me make sense of things I simply cannot but desperately want to understand? And then the strangest, most wonderful, mind blowing thing happened. My breathing slowed waaaaaaaaaaaaay down. It almost like I wasn’t breathing at all, but I was at the same time fully aware of the breath entering and leaving my body. My chest cavity seemed to get HUGE and very full. My arms and legs started to feel like they were weightless. My pajamas started to ruffle and shift a bit although I was laying perfectly still. My right ear, the ear that was off the pillow and in the direct line of the box fan that we use every night, started to get very warm inside in waves, as though someone was whispering into it. At first I thought my heart was pounding, was racing, and yet I felt absolutely no panic, only peace and love. My heart seemed to beat so fast, but when I paid very close attention I realized it wasn’t beating fast – it was beating twice. Two heartbeats. Brian was there, not with me but in me.
Wrap your brain around that for a second.
This moment of pure amazement and bliss lasted for probably 3 solid minutes. I know that doesn’t sound like a long time, but really it truly is. Slowly, very slowly, my limbs started to get their weight back, the trippy ethereal feeling on my skin started to return to normal, my chest started shrinking, and I returned back to my normal state – except my ear. My ear kept getting warm in waves. Whisper whisper whisper.
Flash flash flash.
I am a two hearted woman. Maybe I should write a song.
update: As I was searching for images of two hearts, I came across this article that talks about a spider with a double beating heart. Okay, it’s from Faux News, but still! And the image is … whoa. Check it out.