Diary of a Widower

Daily entries by a husband, who stayed behind with his two sons

Now how did she laugh again?

WEDNESDAY, October 20 – ‘Do you remember how Mom used to laugh?’ I ask Eamonn. We’re on our way to the park and for no reason at all he’s started pulling funny faces. Of course, he says and not only that.  Mom had a lot of different laughs. Give me an example, I say. He doesn’t answer for a while. He’s thinking hard.

‘Her snigger.’

‘What did it sound like?’

Eamonn sniggered. And damn it, that was exactly what it sounded like!  I couldn’t have come up with it on my own, but I recognized it immediately. Things have a way of fading: the voice, certain facial expressions, her scent, and now the way she laughed. It’s annoying, this gradual memory loss. Eamonn won’t be troubled by such fading for some time to come. He’s smiling as we walk on towards the vast expanse of grass in Beatrix Park where Elsa is challenging the other dogs to imitate her graceful leaps.

I’m going to chance it. I didn’t ask Eamonn to come along for nothing. ‘Exactly one year ago today we were here with Mom, Sander and for the first time Elsa.’

Eamonn looks around in surprise. ‘Really?’

Then he points to the edge of the field. ‘You’re right! We were over there running back and forth with Elsa.’

He immediately heads off in that direction, the dog loping along behind him. The colors of the approaching autumn are just as they were a year ago – so lovely that I can enjoy them without becoming overly emotional.

Secretly I am hoping that we’ll sense that kind of vibrating dimension we were aware of last November, the indescribable sensation, the certainty that ‘she is there’. But no luck. Unless it’s the double rainbow that appears as we head for home. We accelerate our pace, to avoid getting caught in a shower.

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