The movie had been on our DVR for weeks. Every time I asked E. if he wanted to watch it, he demurred, and finally I asked him if he wanted to watch it at all, and he said that he did, but had heard it was sad. It's a 9/11-related movie; there's no way it could be otherwise. I told him I'd watch it on my own, when he was out of town. And at 10 o'clock tonight, that's what I did. Two hours later, I had A.'s picture clutched to my chest and tears rolling down my cheeks.
I remember the quest to find something else to do that would keep the link between us alive in a way more tangible than hope and belief, something I could do for him, something I could do for us, something I could do for me to make him less gone. As bizarre as the child's search was, I understood it completely. The desperation. The frustration of still holding the key, and having no lock to put it in; the key being actions, words, things I wanted to share with him, things I wanted to give to him, things only he would understand; him being the lock I could no longer find.
I understand the bone-deep need to make sense of something that cannot ever make sense, no matter how many times you revisit it. The only way to make sense of it is to tell yourself that people die sometimes, and sometimes the people that die are people you love. That is the only part of it that makes sense; it's the only part that can, because there's no disputing the truth of it. Everyone knows; it's in all the papers, all the time. You will never be able to make sense of why. Why him. Why me. Why us. Why then. Why heart disease couldn't give us a warning shot across the bow before it shot to kill.
In the movie, the boy says he was sure he couldn't live without his dad, but he was wrong, and he thinks his dad would be proud of him. Sometimes I am a little sad that I've learned to live without him. I'm also proud that I've managed to get this far, and for the most part, the pride (and the relief) outweigh the sadness. Until I watch a movie I know will open it all up, and leave me with A's picture clutched to my chest and tears rolling down my cheeks.
Maybe sometimes I need that key for all that I've locked up.