But then the sun sets and I'm home alone and even though I've walked into our closet many times suddenly I see his clothes all hanging there as if I didn't see them before this moment and I find myself trying to find if any of his clothes still hold his smell. This is when the Beast leaps onto me grabbing me by the throat and just when I feel I might be able to catch a breath it will shake me until I'm on my knees gasping with sobs. I'm not sure I look real strong in these moments, probably sound a bit gurgly and far less then "good" too. And then the Beast will recede and this whole melt down lasts for only minutes.
I'm always astounded that I get up and walk away without the marks on my body from the grip this Beast held on me. But it leaves no visible mark. My heart is wounded though and I wonder what the scar tissue will hold for me.
Then there are moments of just sweet memories. My friend, Ted, was visiting from California for a week. I had comp tickets (thank you Rebecca!) to see Duke Robillard at the Landing in Pine Point. Duke played with Room Full of Blues in a great jazz spot in Providence R.I. Jim got to know Duke when he worked with the Providence Journal. When Jim was first diagnosed Duke sent Jim a CD with a wonderful note saying he was thinking about him. In the morning sometimes before I needed to be off to work and Jim's different therapies began I would put this CD of Duke Robillard on and Jim would start to sing. I can see him now, tilting his head just a little, pointing a finger at me and singing along - when he couldn't say a single word he could always sing (an interesting right and left brain thing) - and then he would stand and take my hand and we would dance in our living room even though his right arm was paralyzed and his right leg was stiff and not functioning he would still twirl me in and out and we'd dance.
At this concert I just went to, when Duke began to sing, the tears began to roll down my cheeks as this tender memory flooded over me. At times like this the Beast is simply a few tears through a smile filled with so much love.