Peppa’s health improves and they let her come back home. I wonder if she would be happier dying in my arms? Momma thinks I should tell you about her, but I won’t. I’m trying to erase you–to move past “us” into “me.” Why is it so hard?
By the time we stopped being “us,” your resentment of Peppa weighed down our home. Dogs notice that kind of thing, and so did I. Try as I might, I couldn’t give back you lost: your dignity, your self respect, and God knows what else.
I tried everything. I wanted to save you, but I understand now that that was an impossible dream. The only person who could save you was you, Josh. I tried to support you as best I could, but that was never enough. How could I fill the holes in your heart when you wouldn’t let me? The frustration turned me bitter; you corrupted me. I had no choice but to give up on you to save myself.
I’m losing Peppa, too, despite my best efforts. She’s all I have left now. Is this how a mother feels when her child dies before her? No one told me it would be like this. How can I let her go? How will I live after her?
I don’t know if it’s possible. I just don’t know what to do. How is a world without her so fast approaching?
I can barely persuade Peppa to go on walks now. All she wants to do is sit by the door. She used to wait for us like this, day in and day out. Who does she think will walk through that door now? I know she doesn’t understand that you won’t come around anymore. You didn’t even like her. Why does she mourn you? Why can’t she move past you?
Is this what depression is like, Josh? I am used to the hollow silences of my mother during her spells, but I cannot fathom this emptiness in me now. Just like I could never fathom the angry, resentful silences that echoed in our apartment. How could I have saved you when I myself was drowning? How can I forgive you now?
Why does Momma still talk to you? Momma says you’re better now–quieter, like you used to be. Have you changed that much without me?
Should I have given you time to heal? Maybe we could have learned to heal together–to embrace one another as full people, instead of splintered pieces of self.
It’s too late for that.
Time is grinding to a halt.