When Andy was alive, I often had jobs where I would toggle wildly between being around people for like 14 hours a day, to days and weeks of total isolation. If our lives intersected in a way where he was in tech and then I was in tech, I could go 6 weeks with us only seeing each other for an hour a day. Maybe less.
There was one show he did a few years ago after I had our son where he put in 16 hour days for 3 solid months. It was so isolating. Being a new mom is already super isolating, but doing it with my husband unavailable for all that time was hard. I would make choices and observations about our son that I wanted Andy’s input on, but I would have to wait sometimes literal days to actually talk to him about it.
It was hard as an introvert to not get those days where I would be alone all day and could recharge. It was even stranger when I felt profoundly lonely despite having a tiny human with me all the time.
I worked very hard to get that tiny human to a place where he could be more adaptable and independent. I wanted to have some freedom from being attached to him all day. I watched other moms take this approach and they were fucking crazy. Like somehow they missed the part where their own mental health was suffering from being so involved with their kids. I knew with my hardy introvert-ness, I would need alone time, or as alone as I could get with a small child.
Fortunately, Ronan was happy to take some space from me and seemed to really want it. He would go to his grandparents’ houses with no problem and was excited to go to school. I was happy to not be doing things like bedsharing so I could have downtime every night.
But it’s so paradoxical how this has ended up. Because since Andy died, I have been aching to share a bed with my son. I sleep terribly when I do this, but the isolation at night is truly the hardest part. It’s where I feel the most vulnerable, where I feel his absence the deepest. Despite us working wildly different schedules, I could always count on that some point during the night Andy would crawl into bed next to me, likely holding my hand.
It’s very strange to not have that now. To go to bed in a bed alone, to wake up alone, to live a life of strange isolation, one that seems like it would appeal to an introvert, but in reality is miserable. Isolation to soothe introversion is only helpful if I know I’m not truly alone. Andy was the emotional safety net for that. The reminder that every night he would eventually come to my bed and lay his hand next to mine and, like, otters, we would fall asleep holding hands so we wouldn’t float apart.
He died holding my hand. To me it feels like the ultimate symbol that he felt he was safe as he moved into the Other World. I was there, laying beside him in the ultimate position of security. The daily reminder that we had each other because we always ended up asleep together.
Falling asleep now is hard. There’s no button to the ritual. There’s no punctuation that symbolizes the actual final moment where I’m choosing to go to sleep. The period on my day was Andy.
Now I live in a constant ellipses…all the moments blend together as I await the clarity Andy’s presence gave me to come back .