This, above all:

This, above all: To be God's best for The Coach and for Anna

Thursday, July 12, 2007

My withness

With his helter-skelter sched, The Coach hardly has time for TV, but these days he'd gladly lose sleep over Commander in Chief. Tonight, after the segment where Mac Allen's mother still mourned for a husband long gone, The Coach hugged me and asked, "Will you miss me if I die?" I would, definitely, infinitely, and sprung on him the same question, almost flippantly, wanting to see if he'd give me a proper eulogy.

But now as he sleeps and the night is moonless, I am unnerved. What is life without this beautiful man, one who is—to borrow from Kate Knapp Johnson's Meadow—"my withness, my here"?

In the first years of our marriage, I would sometimes wake in the darkness, and not hearing The Coach's breathing above the hum of the air conditioner—he is not one to snore unless exhausted—I would slide my head down from my pillow to catch the silhouette of his chest against the muted light that filters through the curtains. I would monitor the rise and fall of his breathing, and only when so assured could I go back to sleep.

Many years of everydays calmed me, lulled me to thinking that together is a forever word. Until tonight.

Jane Kenyon

I got out of bed
on two strong legs.
It might have been
otherwise. I ate
cereal, sweet
milk, ripe, flawless
peach. It might
have been otherwise.
I took the dog uphill
to the birch wood.
All morning I did
the work I love.

At noon I lay down
with my mate. It might
have been otherwise.
We ate dinner together
at a table with silver
candlesticks. It might
have been otherwise.
I slept in a bed
in a room with paintings
on the walls, and
planned another day
just like this day.
But one day, I know,
it will be otherwise.

from Otherwise, 1996
Graywolf Press, St. Paul, Minnesota

1 comment:

Ayen said...


(maybe it's a coincidence, but the word verification text i had to punch in in order to leave this comment was: "tgoxs." it might have been otherwise.)