The Irish, I am told, are fond of sex during wakes. This is very likely one of those gross cultural abstractions, one that bears no resemblance to the real world.
And yet, in those early days, I understood the terrible and fierce appeal of celebrating life and love in the midst of death. I understood carnality.
I wanted my husband in a way that I had never wanted him before Gabriel’s death. I wanted him because I wanted to shake my fist at death. I wanted to proclaim the wonder of life and lust and joy in the midst of such sorrow. I wanted to get back to what I only enjoyed for a brief period.
I don’t think I have ever told him this.
I was ripe, verdant when I was pregnant. After years of trying to not get pregnant – living life a bit shriveled up, convinced I would be the teenager, the young woman who ruined her life getting pregnant. (If only I had known.) I lived with the baggage of a Christian background, guilt and miasma heaped on me. It isn’t that I never enjoyed sex, but I never fully let go. I may have been married for 7 years, supposedly able to copulate guilt free, but there was no revelry.
At the end of my first trimester, and in a way I had never understood in all my 29 years, I just relaxed. I enjoyed, luxuriated. I loved sex. It was spectacular. My body had finally performed as warranted, and it was my time to revel in this. I told you I felt verdant – but it was more than that. I was full, round, fruit ripened in sunshine. I was soft and lush - fecund. I felt not just sexy, but sensual. I loved that word then and I still almost hate it now.
Would it shock you to know I was angry I lost this after Gabriel died? I wasn’t verdant after all. There was no ripeness in me.
I wondered, worried, fretted, freaked - was I forever destined to yearn and dream for that feeling of fullness again – all of that roundness and all of that ripeness – would I never taste it on my lips again, feel my body laid back and splayed out in glory? Maybe 24 weeks, well, 12 weeks of good sex maybe that was it. And if that was it, if 3 months had been paradise and I was in paradise lost, why on all of this green earth hadn’t we had sex every day? Why hadn’t I rolled around, found satiation every chance I got?
I haven’t really looked back like this – applied the careful thought to sex that I do to grief. I have found the experience remarkable. I have found that the words, the images and the adjectives that spring to mind to be surprising.
Continuing the discussion from Jess’ post, as yourself or as anonymous. Use words or images or snippets of poetry. Do you regret? Yearn? Wish? Is there loss in this as well?