We are home. We decided to fly out of San Francisco on Saturday. It was time; we need to get things done here. I was sorry to miss the marches, but as my good friend Ellen pointed out:
I wasn’t sure I could go into the Boston apartment, never mind sleep there, but we did, and it was actually somewhat comforting. Also, by chance, my sister and brother-in-law were staying in Boston that night, and it was also comforting to spend time with them.
Random Thought: Barbecued Oysters
I really appreciated the notes from all of you who were grateful for the trip reports. It was easier to grieve out there, close to that spectacular coastline and those ancient trees. Caitlin felt with us. Now, home, she feels very much absent again. We will work on that.
Our last day, Jess took us up to Point Reyes where we sat at picnic tables in the freezing cold and ate the most delicious barbecued oysters. If you’ve never had barbecued oysters, you’ve got something to look forward to.
Random Thought: 2012
Five years ago it was 2012, and 2012 turns out to have been one of the most wonderful years of our lives. Viking was publishing Cascade. Nick and Caitlin and I took a relaxing winter trip that turned out to be one of our best. And that summer, after living alone in Paris for a little bit (a longtime dream), Caitlin met Andrew.
Yesterday, I found an old email I sent to my sister:
Caitlin really clicked with that boy. She said they talked instantly and forever, of ‘things’ and that he was very smart and kind. As she was telling me about him, she said “it’s like he was the male version of me,” and then her face went a bit white, and she said, ‘oh my god, that’s what the psychic told me. i would be the female version of this person i was going to meet.’
He felt the same. How lucky they both were.
Also, in 2012, Caitlin had been on a kind of wonder drug for a year. Kalydeco, invented by Vertex Pharmaceuticals, targets the specific genetic CF mutation that Caitlin had. Within hours of taking it for the first time in 2011, she felt better. She gained weight and had fewer lung infections. If Kalydeco had existed before her lung damage happened, it would have been as good as a cure. Although it ultimately came too late for her, she did enjoy a couple of relatively healthy, hospital-free years because of it, and enjoyed talking about her experience to a few groups, including Vertex and the Boston Business Journal. Drugs like this came about because of all the support for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation, and we all thank you for that support.
Random Thought: Hereafter
Yesterday was the first day I spent alone in the house. Nick went back to work and kept himself busy. I managed to take a shower, but mainly I cried all morning. The news was all horrible and the day was gray and reminders of Caitlin were everywhere. There is a mountain of cards here and we are so incredibly grateful for them. I tried to read one or two but couldn’t manage any more, yet.
I finally decided to watch a movie that I love, “Hereafter.”
Hereafter came out in 2010 but didn’t do well, mainly I think because people went to it expecting a disaster movie–it opens with incredible special effects that depict the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. But it’s not about special effects! It’s an intelligent, engrossing, and very well-written movie that ruminates on whether there is an afterlife.
Matt Damon plays the part of a reluctant medium very very well.
After watching it again yesterday, I realized that it was written by Peter Morgan, writer of The Queen and The Crown. No wonder it’s so good, I thought.
In Pittsburgh, Caitlin and I loved to watch series-type shows after dinner. Our last show was The Crown, and we finished it right before she went into the hospital in November.
At the time, I looked up some of the actual events that took place in the show, including the Queen’s friendship with “Porchie,” and came upon this statement she made after his death:
She was, in turn, quoting from Dr Colin Murray Parkes, a hospice pioneer:
“The pain of grief is just as much part of life as the joy of love: it is perhaps the price we pay for love, the cost of commitment. To ignore this fact, or to pretend that it is not so, is to put on emotional blinkers which leave us unprepared for the losses that will inevitably occur in our own lives and unprepared to help others cope with losses in theirs.”
With this quote in mind, I want to point out that we are always going to want to talk about Caitlin, even if our voices crack and our eyes fill up. The pain of our grief was definitely worth the price of our love, and we’ll be paying for the rest of our lives. That’s okay.
With much love for all of you as well,