I'm not going to go into the nasty, awful, messy details of breaking up, except to say it was a bad one. I think, partly, because everyone, except me, towards the end, thought we were going to end up together, married, etcetera. The awful details of the death are this: he had a brain aneurysm, in his sleep. They found him with our dog licking his face, trying to wake him up.
I didn't go to the funeral, for a number of reasons. I think that funerals are probably a really healthy thing - everyone gets together and decides to grieve together for a certain amount of time and then, one can move on - but for me, I didn't need to see a lot of strangers to grieve. Not to sound melodramatic, but I've already grieved over the death of our relationship and I've already grieved over Al. I realised somewhere along the way he was never going to be well, I was never going to be able to make him well, and I had to leave him to so that he could begin to figure things out on his own.
I spent most of Friday morning sobbing, I mean really sobbing. I think I even screamed a few times. Then I went to the barn because you can, or rather you should, for your own safety, leave your emotions on the ground when you get on, so I thought it might help me feel normal again. But instead of riding, I went to a school fete with my friend and her children. I ended up drinking a beer with a man who went to the same tiny, smaller-than-a-lot-of-high-schools, photography school that Al went to, Brooks.
So there I was, in the middle of central New York (well, actually closer to the Pennsylvania border), talking to a complete stranger about my life in Santa Barbara. Reliving moments and reminiscing about things that happened during my life with Al. It was a little surreal.
I keep waking up in the middle of the night and remembering that he's dead. It's really awful. I did it three times last night. I start going through conversations that we had - everything from the mundane to the excruciating. No particularly vivid dreams yet, though. Just an awareness of his presence in a lot of them.
On Saturday night, I left a strange party early and went to bed by myself. I called Margo and started crying almost instantly. I'd gone from being tremendously sad to feeling abjectly guilty. I'd read his obituary and it just seemed so trite and banal - I think he would have hated it. Well, I hated it anyway. It made me a little sick. I don't know what else I expected - it was filled with all the usual obituary stuff. I think it was because it reduced someone who was larger than life down to a few lines on a piece of paper.
So here I am, Wednesday morning and getting back to work, finally feeling more normal. Still tired: I overslept this morning - it's 11:16 and I haven't even made a cup of tea yet.
I think I'll do some work and then head out to the barn. My mother said something that struck me as apt: "You know, I just can't quite get it into my head that there's a world without Al in it."