So. Today is the 11th week ... 77 days ... sometimes it seems like forever, sometimes like just yesterday.
I was having a bit more narcolepsy last night, so was doing some fitful websurfing on the laptop, and decided that I was tired of the old default background. Going to the 'change wallpaper' part of the screen controls was trivial. I came across five pictures of Penny. They were the shots I took after the police finished, and just before the tiny girls from the mortuary arrived.
No. Not going to make that my background screen, thank you. Only one of them doesn't clearly look dead, and that one isn't really a very good picture of her. Anyway, seeing those, though it wasn't particularly horrid at the time, has stirred something up, and on top of having an incipient cold (sore throat/sinuses) and thus working from home... I'm having pretty intense flashbacks.
I should be working, I've been trying fitfully to do so all day, but keep disconnecting from what I'm doing. Lots and lots of diffuse rage at the various rotten things that happened to Penny in her life. Sometimes, directed at particular people. None of it useful.
Part of it is that I've been reading her letters to anita_margarita and seeing just how exuberant and hopeful she was then, and remembering how so many of her dreams died. Between the malevolence of her grandmother and her mother (both badly broken people, and both forgiven by Penny and me) that deeply wounded her through much of her life, and the malevolence of the people who were supposed to be teaching her, nurturing her as an artist, and the sullen stupidity of the horrid job she had after graduation, the flu that reinstated the asthma she had been free from since childhood, the increasing injury to her knees, the slow inexorable weight gain that imprisoned her in her own body... thank you "Liquid Protein Diet" for starting the curse, thank you Nutra-System for the gallstones, and the subsequent diabetes triggered by inflammation of the pancreas and the inescapable weight-gain, thank you Kaiser for refusing to use known effective treatments that could have reduced the gallstones and allowed her to lose weight (can't do that with gallstones), thank you Kaiser a second time for treating the diabetes with insulin-boosting drugs that caused more weight gain and long-term pro-cancerous changes in her endometrial tissues, thank you Kaiser a third time for finally treating the gallstones by having a man of questionable skill perform a laparascopy with a too-short instrument, permanently scarring her liver ... and not to blame everyone else, my own failures of vision and ambition that might have made things better for both of us, might have let her push harder for her dreams. We never had children, we didn't start the business we talked about many times, we didn't go on that cruise to Antarctica.
She still persisted, her whole life, in finding things to hope for, to work towards.
Despite all our efforts, in the end, all her hopes except for two were extinguished.
She was gradually, slowly, imprisoned by her body, and then her own traitorous tissues devoured her.
She wanted to be my partner for life, to share our time on earth, and we got that, for better and for worse.
She wanted to serve God, and in life, she did, though not always the way she wanted. But in death, she was freed from that prison.
As I said before... I dreamed that she was taken out of that prison because God needed her for something else, for a very important work that only she could do. When I talked with her before she went to that place I can't yet go to, she had that same hopeful, shining optimism, that same exuberant optimism that I remembered from college.
Sometimes, to be truly free, you have to leave behind things that hold you prisoner, and in leaving the prison, you leave behind as well the things that made the prison tolerable. I wonder, though, what beautiful things she is creating now.