Wednesday, September 20, 2017

88

It hurts to smile, but not in the way you're thinking.  My cheeks are sore because happiness has entered my life.  Not just distraction, not just an event to keep my mind occupied, to forget the happiness we shared, to temporarily fill the void.  Actual excitement, to experience new things like stick races in the stream.  I have a purpose again, not just to take care of our daughter, a purpose in my life, I'm contributing.  I looked through your posts and so many of your poems, the beauty and feeling is still there and will never go away.  I find comfort that they will alway be there and I can share in my new life.  Two years ago a friend suggested I write stories here to help remember the good, I started once upon a time, but decided to use this forum to talk to you and express what I could, to let out what only I could share with you.  I want to share my stories and remember the good, my soul mate that left this earth, is it possible that can happen twice in a life time?  I suppose anything in this universe is possible. 

88th birthday

You knew well before me.  We met at ages 23 & 24, me always teasing you as older, but I had to keep my mouth shut the last three months of the year.  For the last three months of each year since 1998 you were not old because I was not old.  However, once January rolled around you of course were old and I still was not.  We met in August at Friedrichs World Coffee on University.  You were with another, she in fact introduced us. We became fast friends, discovered we had so much in common.  We shared very similar music tastes, looking at my CD collection there were so many comments and expressions of delight.  "I have that one, I love Enya, that's a great Tracy Chapman song . . ."   When your eyes found my beloved John Denver Collection no so much excitement, the polite smile and twinkle in your eye because you still found me amazing.

In that apartment on the east side I remember you sitting in that orange velour chair that rocked and swiveled and me across the tiny living room on the love seat.  We talked for hours.  Asking all kinds of questions, sharing all kinds of stories.  I remember your biggest fear as a 24 year old, it was to be alone.  I distinctly remember you saying you did not fear death, but did not want to be alone in life.  As I sit here remembering that conversation that very late night on the east side of Des Moines I wonder if part of me never ever forgot that fear of yours and if that's why I made sure you were never  alone during the last weeks of your life.  I was not able to stay as I so wanted to, to spend the nights in the chair next to your bed.  I was only able to do that once, to take care of you as best I could.  Your princess stayed home with family, but that proved to be too much for our little 8 year old.  I had to choose her well being over staying with you.  The first of so many difficult decisions.  I'm channelling Senor Marias, I digress.

Des Moines, you and I became friends.  You knew well before I did that it would become more than friendship.  The relationship you were in was not good and you felt so very mistreated, the coloring of your skin was even a shade of gray, a shade of unhappiness.  You were on the brink of leaving, trying to find the courage and strength.  You said you found hope with me, that life could be so wonderful & you wanted that with me.  I felt just horrible because you were ending something & I felt responsible.  You assured me it was not my doing and the mere hope that some day we would be together is what gave you courage to end the hurtful relationship.  I was not ready to be more than just friends, I felt this horrid guilt and even tried to stay away.  I couldn't though because you were my friend & hurting, trying to get out of a bad situation.  I was there, I listened, I cared, I was your friend. 

You worried about me going home at night because I lived in a rough neighborhood.  The first snow fall, the first time I ever drove in snow you came all the way to my place of work on the east side and followed me home to make sure I got there safe.  You always asked me to call when I got home, a time before mobile phones, just to make sure I got home safe.  You cared for me.  Eventually you moved to my apartment complex, just down the hall, closer and closer we became. 

You wanted to be more than just friends, I just wasn't ready and didn't know if it was right.  You said you would wait, no matter how long it took, you'd still wait even if it was your 88th birthday.  You knew, I don't know how you knew, but you did.  I remember one night we had dinner at my apartment and I actually baked a cake, I even frosted it.  It was our dessert after a roasted chicken from the grocery store.  I bought numbered birthday candles, two candles lit on the cake 88.  We started dating and became a couple.  I suppose the rest is history; so many more stories to share and tell.  See I didn't forget, the little jokes and teases will come back to me.  I like this, remembering the happy past and living again in the present, not just existing to survive.   As someone told me, I will always love you, but I'm keeping my promise. 

take care





Saturday, September 16, 2017

the switch

I sit here listening through the walls, her little ears not knowing I can hear her so clearly.  I hear her rage, her sobs, her absolute anger.  I keep telling me self she is in pain, she doesn't mean a word of it.  It still hurts to hear.

"Life would be better if she died instead of him.  She is so mean, I wish she would suffer and die.  Life would be so much better if she died and not Daddy" 

What do I do?  Do I sit and let her go, do I reach into my bag of tricks and put on the goofy hat be her friend and not her mom.  Is there truly a part of her that wishes he was the only parent now.  I was the stricter of our team, or at least that is what it felt like to me.  I think when we were together I was the strict one, but at times when it was just you and her you laid down the law, or at least that what I was told by Rich.  He comments on that look you could give her and she would straighten right up. 

I decide to let her go and get everything out of her system, pretend the walls are so thick I can't hear every painful word that bellows from her mouth between sobs and tears.  She comes out to check I'm still here, I'm not going any where.  As she closes her door assured I'm still here, I gently rap on her door and she opens and just puts her arms around me.  She cries and cries and screams and I hold her as tight as I can, to fill the empty space.  She tells me she wants to see Daddy again, she wants it to be the three of us again.  She just sobs, tears, and shallow breaths come from her.  I just hold her and silently let her get everything out of her system.  The tears come to my eyes as I see her pain unfold in front of me.  She stops and looks at me and confesses.

"I had some bad thoughts in here, I even said them out loud.  I wanted you to die and suffer.  I'm sorry I had those thoughts and said those things."

It's ok, I just hugged and told her, "I still love you, no matter what you say, what you do, or what you think I will always love you."  I could feel the tension, the sadness, the anger just melt away.  She unloaded all her pain and I gladly took it from her.  Now I sit and try to figure where to put it.  It's ok, I'm the adult I can take it.  It's amazing, it's like a light switch.  She's absolutely fine right now.  She's writing and escaping into her world.  It's ok, I can take it, I'm the adult. 

I am by no means angry with her, I'm just so glad she can get the emotions out of her system, the emotions that hold her back.  I've taken today's pain from her and hope tomorrow will be better.  In my mind I know she did not mean those words, but in my heart I wonder sometimes. 

I do my best to balance the fun and the strict.  To teach the importance of work and play.  I sit here and see the pictures on the wall, a few I've added since you left this world.  She is so much older now, her own little person with her own sense of humor.  You'll never laugh at the funny things she says, that booming laugh when something was particularly funny and caught you off guard because it was so unexpected.  You'll never see her smile so full of pride as she crosses the finish line. We'll never have moments where there is a joke only we understand, the jokes are gone.  No more raccoons in the kitchen, what sad is that I'm starting to forget some of those stories.  The little things we would say, I remember we had all kinds of little things like that.  I'm forgetting the details, I'm so sorry.  I don't want to forget I really don't, I don't know where those memories are, maybe that's where I'm storing her pain.  Underneath all of  her pain she's released and all of my pain are the little stories and phrases we shared. 

I wish there was a switch for me like there is for your princess.


take care

Sunday, September 10, 2017

Review.

I've been reviewing and thinking back a bit tonight.  I've skimmed these passages for the last hour or so, time seems to escape me right now, though I've got my best girl to think about.  I just reviewed "hospice time of year" and don't feel that way this year.  I'm not sure what the holidays will bring, but I'm looking forward to fall and maybe even my birthday.  It's not the beginning of the end, or the beginning of unbearable memories, it's the beginning of a promise.  I've come quite a long way in nearly two and a half years.  I want to keep going, want to explore, want to live in love & laughter again. 

take care

Monday, September 4, 2017

don't give up on love

DON'T GIVE UP ON LOVE
 You made me promise, you made me say it.  You were laying in that hospital bed and you made me promise.  You loved me so much, so selflessly, so completely.  I'm keeping my promise, I think I might be ready.  Now to only feel comfortable enough to share this with our closest friends and family.  Will they hate me, will they disrespect me, will they think I'm dishonoring you.  As for our little girl I must proceed with caution, this is one thing I do not want to get wrong. 

I still love you handsome man, I'm just not giving up.


take care

Friday, July 21, 2017

trying

It's been quite a busy summer my love.  I've noticed that I'm either super confident and I can conquer the world or I'm lost and not sure.  I where my heart on my sleeve yet I'm not trusting of everyone.  I'm living cautiously, just with a little more fervor these days.

Our daughter is growing up, she reminds me so much of you.  Quick witted, a great sense of direction, kind hearted, and enjoys and really needs time to herself, downtime.  I'm doing my best to do right by her and instill the values we would have done together as a team.

I miss you something fierce.  I also miss having conversations.  I miss talking about my day and hearing how the day went for you.  I'm trying to meet new people, to make friends, to make connections.  I'm not the social butterfly.  I'm trying.  I love you handsome man.

take care.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

"Damn it feels good to be a gangsta"

Wanna hear something funny?  I've started to run again.  Starting over from scratch. That wasn't the funny part.  I listen to my running app as she coaches me when to run and when to "slow down and walk" I survived the first two sessions.  I still have my running play list of music that plays in my ears as I desperately wait for the "slow down and walk" command.  Here comes the funny part... Friday it's just a gorgeous day outside.  I'm out for a run and my music is playing.  My running music has some songs that you won't hear on the radio because they can't play the lyrics on the radio, I know super unexpected coming from little old me.  Any who, I've finished the run and I'm completing the "5 min cool down walk" to get back home.  There are tons of people outside, neighbors visiting with each other, the doors of winter have been unlocked the spring has beckoned us to come outside and greet each other again.  There are families outside playing, a couple sits on the front step of their house and watch as their toddler child plays in the yard.  I'm watching all this new life and reintroduction to the outdoors after our long cold winter and in my ears the next song plays.  "Damn it Feels Good to be a Gangsta" bass thumping and all.  I can't help but laugh as I watch my surroundings in my suburb neighborhood with families playing outside, a senior citizen couple riding bikes,  And everything's cool in the mind of a gangsta.

I had to share with someone, didn't know who.  I miss sharing my stories with you.  I thought of three different people I could relate that story to, but then I thought better of it, might be awkward.  Sometimes I think I need to take more risks and let down my wall, but with that comes fear and anxiety.

love you handsome man.

take care

Friday, April 28, 2017

slipping away

I guess I'm back already.  I don't know why I'm sinking deeper and deeper tonight.  It's been one of those grieve in the shower nights.  You know, when you're in the shower alone and you just silently let the tears come, you want to sob and just let everything out, but can't because those not so little ears will hear you.  She'll be very concerned and anxious that you are falling apart.  Yup, one of those nights.  I don't even know why.  I'm exhausted, but at least I can still fake it in front of her.

I'm forgetting you.  Things you would say are no longer flooding my memory.  I'm forgetting what you smelled like, I know if I open that bottle of your cologne I wouldn't be able to hold it together.  I'm barely making it right now.  I can still imagine how the softness of your cheek met the stubble of your beard.  You are slipping away from me, I'm grasping but there is nothing there.

I've had these moments of "this is my life and it's OK" now I feel I'm back to day one, consumed by the hollow.  It hurts to smile.

Good night,

take care,

I love you handsome man.