Hearing those words from Cid’s uncle turned my heart into stone. Cid had asked me to ‘be there’ for his mother once he was gone. He was afraid she was going to be lonely and he hoped we could spend time together in the future.
But hearing those words and looking at their faces made me shrug and walk away. I packed my bags and left and never looked back and never went back to visit with his mother. All I had done for all of that time was look after a man I loved and try to do the things he had wanted. Relaying his wishes had gotten me this and I had had enough.
I drove up to Cid’s condo the following day and began the long job of packing up his life. For everyone who has ever done this after a loved one’s death – you know how hard this is. Every single item is held and you try to get a feeling of the person you loved through an inanimate object. You smell and you feel and you press it to your face – and you cry. And you cry. And you cry.
My discovery that his mother had helped herself to the best of what Cid had only helped to drive home my feelings of disgust with his family. I had thought that I would help clean the condo as I packed so it would help with selling it. When I found that they had taken the vacuum cleaner – well those thoughts of helping flew out of the window – and not on pleasant wings.
I worked steadily for three days with the knowledge that my brother and cousin were coming with D and a rented truck on the weekend. Cid’s life was going to be packed into it and moved 200kms where it would become part of my life – again. Despair and loneliness and just plain missing Cid, mixed with my anger as I sorted and packed his meager belongings. I laughed when I found the storeroom that held treasures his mother would have loved to get her hands on. It was obvious they hadn’t known about it. I am not mean-hearted, but I had been pushed too far. Even with my mental condition I knew it and I responded as I pitched stuff into the garbage bin.
I could have taken what I wanted and left his mother and uncle to clean up the mess, but I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t do it to Cid. And to me that is what mattered. I felt I had to do what was right. What other people did was their choice. Not mine.
I thought of these things as I climbed up onto the kitchen counter and reached for the articles Cid had placed on top of the cupboards. And I thought of nothing much as I lost my balance and fell backwards onto the kitchen floor, landing on my left shoulder. However – over the next five years of physiotherapy and pain I have replayed those thoughts many times. That fall damaged muscles and tissue in my shoulder. I will never be able to sleep on my left side again, so pain is always mixed with my lasting love of that wonderful man.
I was useless when it came time to load the truck. I couldn’t use my left arm at the time as I held it against my chest and passed things using my right hand. All that was left at the end was Cid’s old beaten up couch that we didn’t know what to do with.
As I was taking one last look around, a real estate agent let a young woman into the condo. The three of us stood looking at one another – shock and embarrassment plastered on all of our faces. The agent mumbled something about wanting to get the condo shown as quickly as possible. It only took me a second to realize that his mother and uncle had struck again, and struck early. I shrugged my shoulders and walked out without another look back. I climbed into my car and followed the truck out of the city. D sat beside me and held my hand while I cried.