Tuesday, November 14, 2017

fortress

What is it?  I don't know why.  Will this ever stop, probably not.  Your princess remembered cave time tonight.  You would nap and she would watch a show under the covers with you right next to her.  As I picture that I see her sitting under the blanket, but in my mind she's sitting on your side of the bed, not really your side anymore.  It's now her side of the bed. Maybe I can't picture you there because this mattress that was meant to bring you comfort and relief from pain, never did. 

You truly never comfortably rested in this mattress.  You slept in the chair, a lot.  I so wanted to lay next to you, the couch had to suffice. I did lay next to you one final moment, once everyone was gone.  All the tubes were removed, the devices in place to make you comfortable all removed so our daughter could say goodbye, and remember you not with all those tubes, but at peace.  I still remember the moment, saying your name, waiting for that next breath.  Making the phone call to have your princess come to the hospital.  She still talks about diving for rings when you died.  The night before, Friday,  we had our final book group, really just a social gathering.  People came, brought food, we talked, people came to see you. 

I remember telling my brother he had to wait before he came in that awful Saturday morning.  I know I hurt his feelings, but it had to be done.  She needed time with me in there just the three of us, one last time.  Finally, after everyone left and decided to go down stairs I laid next to you one last time. Then I had to get up and leave you. 

A Saturday five years prior I had to make a phone call, he answered and all I said was "she's gone", then the next call I made was to you, though you already knew because you heard the house phone ring.  There was no removing the tubes for my Dad, she was just gone.  The two people she loved the most in this world were there next to her as she drew her last breath.  I felt so bad leaving her there, all crumpled and tubes every where.  I felt like I abandoned her, there was no sense of peace, she was just gone. 

I don't know why this is all flooding back to me now.  I just realized my Mom's birthday is on Sunday, maybe that's what it is.  I do not know.  This all started with your princess missing you something fierce today.  She really struggled tonight, I think when she talked about it she felt better.  I took her pain and tried to comfort.  Here I am talking to you. 

I know I should try and reach out, but it's still hard for me to ask for help.  I don't want to be a burden and be selfish.  I don't want it to be about me all the time.  Thanksgiving is also just next week, I sure hope I'm not slipping into a crevice, a place where I shut everything out and enter survival mode, hide in my fortress.  I don't want to be in my fortress, but it's safe there.  I really want to share the holidays, I just don't want to share this misery. 

I love you handsome man.

take care,

Wednesday, November 8, 2017

your words

I came across the list tonight.  The list I've been told about, the list that our daughter's babysitter had.  She promised to give it to me, just as soon as she found it after her move.  She's all grown up now, and your princess is more and more grown up as well.  Funny thing, the list has not been found by said babysitter and yet I've discovered it on my desk.  I don't know how it got here, I've never seen it before in my life.  I nearly threw it away, I was decluttering the desk and there it was.

You wrote this list when our little girl was seven years old.  A list of books you felt were important for her to read in her life time, "probably in her last few summers before going off to school" those were your words.

I sit here and read your words over and over.  The two lists of literature. A total of 24 works.  Reading and literature was such an important aspect of your life.

your words still haunt me and bless me all at the same time.

Lists aside, it is a pleasure every day to see her delve into books, to swim in the pages of some great story, or to be able to read aloud to her or to watch as my wife reads to her.  
Reading can be an act of love, one of the most pure. 


I plan to collect these 24 works of literature, hopefully some of the titles are still part of the collection of your books down stairs.  I will make this a gift for your princess along with your note, a graduation gift from her Daddy.  When you wrote this you were thinking eleven years into the future, now it is only eight.  Time does not stop, tragedy, joy, sorrow, excitement, everything keeps going. 

For me it felt like life stopped in 2015, my life did stop.  My life became an existence. I awoke each day and took each breath for our daughter; put one foot in front of the other, let each day start and each day end.  

Today I can say I'm living and not just existing.  Time does not stop and I'm looking forward, embracing each new day, maybe even with a little pepper in my step.  

love you handsome man. 


take care.

Friday, October 6, 2017

another candle

Another candle on the cake.  Actually had a cake this year, homemade from flour, sugar, and all the other stuff you put in a cake.  So much effort for little old me, it was really nice, wonderful in fact.

It's still another candle you'll never see on your own cake, I've surpassed you and there's no going back.  No more teasing you then holding my tongue for the last three months of the year.  I don't want to think about the last three months of the year, they've been challenging these last few years.  I'm focusing on today & remembering the good.

I still remember you trying to surprise me for my birthday, the year I was pregnant.  We're driving almost to the freeway and then you realized you left your wallet.  We get all the way home and you ask me, prego, to go upstairs and get your wallet; because your knee was bothering you. I'm thinking are you kidding me, as I recall I even mentioned something about your pregnant wife, teasing of course.  I knew something was up.  You would never have done that, you practically had me in a bubble those nine months.  So I trudge upstairs, making as much noise as I could, I open the door, SURPRISE!  People were over and everyone was making potatoes, that was my craving at the time.  I even got a Mr. & Mrs. Potato head toy set. 

I'm getting more and more use to that idea you put in my head, I'm not so scared.  I like the pace things are right now.  I even took a pretty big leap myself, we'll see how it goes. 

"If energy can never die then neither can love" 


I'm starting to realize that it's ok my love for you will never go away.  Not giving up on love does not mean I have to give you up in the process, I just get to bring you with.  

I'm getting there. 




take care









Monday, September 25, 2017

I'm scared

I just realized next week is October, another fall, another year.  So many memories have flooded my mind, memories I didn't look for, memories I didn't expect, almost feels forced.  Too many things remind me of you and how well you treated me, how you spoiled me so.  You brought me food at work just to make sure I ate, you use to tell me you'd never seen anyone work as hard; not just at my  job, but at everything I take on.  I've worked hard at this life, existence really, worked hard to be completely self-reliant.  Completed every task from start to finish, no longer part of a team effort.

I've come up with ways to make things easier, make things work.  I've finally come to terms with not always being available to help with homework for our daughter, not always being there for every activity.  I do my very best to attend all I can, I'm there for the big stuff I promise.  I know if you were here you would tell me not to worry about it & she's doing just fine, but you are not here anymore.  If I couldn't be there, you always could.  We would do everything together, from the mundane daily tasks of survival to the spectacular events of a lifetime.

I thought I was ready to keep that promise, I'm scared my love.  Part of me wants to let go, but part of me feels way too vulnerable, like I've shared way too much.  I want my wall back, my safe place, that place where I was alone and hollow.  That place were I merely existed, lived day to day for our daughter alone.  That place where I didn't have conversations, didn't have exchange of ideas.  I don't really want to go back to that place, but it felt safe.

Remembering when I first earned that god-awful title, I had to choose to survive.  There were days I didn't want to survive I just wanted to stop, but your princess kept me going.  She is the reason I am still here.  Now I must make another choice, am I ready to come out of survival mode and enter life?  Leave that place of safety, not retreat back to my fortress of solitude.  I want to, but I'm scared.

I don't remember what we did as a young dating couple, that was so long ago.  I'm not a young carefree woman anymore.   I have our daughter depending on me and our history, all those stories, all the ways you spoiled me.  I didn't spoil you like you did me, but I showed my love in my own way and you knew it was there.  When we were courting it was not you spoiling me, that didn't truly happen until later, it was more you trying to impress me.  Remember those awful lima bean burritos?  Me eating it politely, chewing a lot, "it's interesting."  You looking at me saying "you don't have to eat it, I know it's awful." We joked about that even after all of your years of culinary excellence.
What do I do love?  Do I just take a leap and let things happen? Live life & not give up on love?

You know it's always been so difficult for me to ask for help.  You use to joke that my tombstone would say, 'it's ok I'm fine'.

I keep hearing this song and it reminds me of you.  The best path is not always the easy path, we have to take risk in life to achieve anything.  I'm scared love, kinda like when I sat at that McDonalds on University all those years ago.  I miss you handsome man.


take care

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