The disappearance of a beloved happens in many ways, for many reasons.
People change. Grow remote. Divorce. Move away. Lose touch. Get ill. Die. In
our case, we held on to a long love in the face of loss upon loss. He had
dementia, but he didn’t disappear. Neither did I. We continued to see and to
know and to love one another.
“I’m terrified of losing you in me,” Francisco Goldman writes of the loss of
his wife, Aura Estrada, in his autobiographical novel, Say Her Name.
The reviewer Robin Romm observes that Goldman “furiously attempts to hold
on to what can be kept: mittens, hats, rings, as if they have the power to
anchor him in the world.”
Like Goldman, I want to hang on to what can be preserved: my husband’s watch, a favorite sweater, photographs, his letters and notes. It’s a way of keeping both myself and my memories of him anchored in the world. Through writing, I slowly sort through, piece together.