This afternoon I went over to the house where Whit and his sister grew up. It was the first time I'd been there since Whit's passing, and it was just an unusual chain of events that brought me there.
It was hard, very hard. Various memories of Whit's childhood come and go all the time, of course, but it's an altogether different thing when you stand in front of the house and observe how ALL of it comes flooding into your mind at once. Birthday parties; reading bedtime stories; that first day of school, getting on the bus at the bottom of the hill; a swing set; family meals; and blissful ignorance of the future. Sure, there were difficult times as well. And I spent the last year in the house alone after Whit's mother moved out, and Whit was spending 8th grade at Howe Military School. So I don't need to be told that my memory is always selective in favor of just the good things, as some people in my life typically allege. But if I didn't choose to focus on the positive side of things and on the potential for good rather than negative outcomes, I wouldn't have been able to be there for Whit through it all.
But of course I'm crushed that all the active love and support weren't enough to avert Whit's death. I'm pretty much damaged goods by this time, and there doesn't seem to be a future worth hoping for or saving now. There's no way I can approach life the same way I did before Whit's death. As for the past, memories are painful, not helpful or consoling. I can't even listen to the same music I did before that existential watershed; songs that used to move me deeply now just represent a painful disconnect between what used to be and what is now. My capacity for passion is diminished to near nothing. Even checking this blog daily is becoming an exercise in disappointment. I remember how I used to check the stat counter several times a day so I could let Whit know how many new readers, how many pageloads he had. After his death there was a fairly long period of very heavy activity; and in recent weeks the number of readers has dwindled to near zero. Hardly anyone new is hearing about the blog, and the old readers have little reason to come back. Whit's voice is fading, and even those who were really close to him through the blog seem to have put the 'episode' behind them, and I don't hear from them any more. C'est la vie, and c'est la mord.