Lately, when time allows, I’ve been consolidating all our digital photographs and backing them up to the cloud. I’ve made my way back to 2009. Prior to this, the images are on discs and on some hard drives (from retired computers). They go all the way back to year 2001, and maybe even a few years earlier. Before that time everything was developed on film.
Here’s the thing… I’m having a real problem with even wanting to continue. I’m not sure I can, if truth be shared. I know it will tear me apart to see those pictures and videos from the good times. Those days when life was good and Ryan was…. well… Ryan. I’ve never had the courage to even try.
I don’t need to even guess what it might do to me. I had Sue show me what happens when we take a stroll down Memory Lane. She did this once, late at night, and that was enough. It was in late-2010 and I want to share this with you.
I was with Ryan (when we had his room in the main-level office) and Sue went upstairs to our bedroom to do something or another. She was gone for longer than I expected. I secretly hoped that she had fallen asleep on the bed. Our bed. The king-sized comfort that we have not been in together since four o’clock on the devastating morning of November 7, 2009. The instant we lost a decent night’s sleep, intimacy, and so much more.
Then I heard her from the upstairs. Foolishly, I thought she might be laughing.
Oh, how I couldn’t have been more wrong.
I heard our bedroom door open. Before I could even see her I knew she was in tears. It was the sound of what I can only describe as a “heaving cry”. The type where it is so bad that it takes everything to get a breath and the only way to do this is to almost gulp the air in. I could see her legs shaking underneath the full-length blue-printed night-gown. Each step she took down to the next step was entirely too purposeful. You know how I mean? Like she had to think about where her foot was and that it was surely planted before taking the next.
I practically launched myself to help her. But in that weird way, like when you’re involved in the an automobile crash, slowly — almost frame by frame— her full body came into view as I closed the distance. I simply can’t recall her ever looking any more sad in her life (although I’ve seen her equally as sad… more times than I care to remember). It reminded me of how she looked when they told us Ryan would not likely live more than seventy-two hours.
She went directly to Ryan, who was in his bed for the night. She held him so tightly that I was watching to make sure he could breathe. She wailed. Yes, she actually wailed. It reminds me of another time that I once wrote about, Her Turn to Cry: I want the Old Ryan Back.
She was inconsolable all night and much of the next day. I could tell it affected her for weeks, perhaps months, later. I’m sure she feels it to this very day. It was an epic mistake to do what she did, and she knew it. She was upstairs watching some old slide shows and videos (that we previously converted from VHS to digital) on our bedroom’s DVD player. I sometimes wonder just how long she watched these before she broke down?
I don’t know how she could have done it. I can’t even think about it, let alone watch. Sure, I know exactly what’s on those DVDs… they joy of every Christmas mornings, each passing birthdays, summer vacations, endless ballgames, first days’ of school, homecomings and proms, and any other moment that had even the tiniest bit of significance. Those images in time that demanded to be captured so that we could, one day, break them out with Ryan (and Kari) with his children to watch in joyous remembrance.
Now, they are but reminders of a different time. A different life. Sue clearly showed that there is no joy in reliving this. No, now it is… what was. What could have been. What is. It’s only heartache, longing, and despair that runs so deep that it is at the most basic level of my existence.
How else could every cell in my body scream with such hopeless agony?