The day after Willie died was a day like today as far as weather is concerned.
I remember so clearly that morning after; looking at the cloudless blue sky and the bright sun coming up and my only thought was “how can the sun still be rising like everything is the same as yesterday when it’s not?” It felt so surreal to have the day so beautiful and gorgeous and indicative of what we all want in a winter day – sunshine and a bit of warmth. This on a day that I woke up feeling like I hadn’t woken up at all. A feeling in my stomach like there was no way in the world that what I remembered from yesterday had really happened. That followed by the reality that it did happen and that this feeling I was having was real.
Driving that day to the morgue in the sunshine…having to put down the windows in the car because the heat was so much from the sun shining in as we drove. I remember Ben, Willie’s brother, making a comment about how weird it was to have weather like this on a day like it was. It was such a complete opposite from how we were all feeling inside. Sitting in the car at a stop light I remember closing my eyes for a minute and the heat and the sun on my face in the car made me want to just go to sleep. I had been tossing and turning all night and was both exhausted and strangely wired awake at the same time.
The air had a chill to it but the sun was so bright that without the wind, it warmed you quickly. That briskness to the chill followed by spreading heat when the wind dies down for a minute. Like a hug that sends away the shivers.
I hated the heat and how good it felt after so many days of cold and rain that week. Hated it because it only made the emptiness inside me worse. That was the first thing that I realized was gone because of Willie’s death. The way the heat from the sun normally made me feel was tainted. I couldn’t sit and enjoy it because of how cold I was inside. Willie would never feel this again and that was something that I heard inside my own head all that day.
It was sunny all the next week. Everyday a repeat of that one. Sunshine and clear skies and the chill slightly off the air.
The weather broke the day of his service. One week after his death we awoke to a day of absolute gray skies and a downpour that kept steady all day. Pouring rain and a biting chill in the air that made you wish you had 3 more layers on. Weather that perfectly captured the loss and the feelings of that day.
On days like today, I walk in the sunshine and smell the chills in the air and remember that first day after and how I felt. And today I close my eyes and feel the sun on my face and the heat and I can smile again a little. Not as much as I used to, but a little bit.