Archive for April 2010

A lovely surprise

25 April, 2010

Sundays are not the best day of the week for me. Doug died on a Sunday. I just don’t really like them much anymore.

This Sunday, today, was surprisingly nice though.

LiDo was with my Mom this weekend so I had two days to get some things done around the house. Saturday though…well, lets just say I didn’t start anything until about 9pm at night. And then I decided that I would spend it in the basement going through boxes down there. I just couldn’t remember all that was down there. I came across a box that I had put a lot of our personal things in – letters, cards, pictures. Things that I treasured. That he treasured. I could barely see anything through the tears but it felt good to be reading the things we had said to each other. It made it real…not his death…but his life. Our relationship. You see, I just feel like it isn’t real. That none of it is. His death, his life, our relationship. I constantly feel as if I am in a dream and what is, what was,what will be is not real. Reading the cards and letters and seeing the pictures made our relationship real again. It told me that it did happen. I didn’t dream it. I went to bed and slept through the night. The first time I had done that since Doug died.

Then came Sunday. I went to brunch with a neighbor and we walked and shopped a bit afterward. We chatted on our walk back to the house and it was just nice and easy. It was good to be out. I felt alive for brief moments of time. It was just me and I could take my time with everything. I was myself for a couple of hours. Not a Mom. When I got home I decided I would hang some curtains that I have been putting off doing for months now. Better to do it prior to LiDo arriving back home…to get into the mood of cleaning and hanging curtains I got out Doug’s mp3 and plugged it into the speakers and searched for some good music. I saw under ‘artist’ there was an album named “J”. Under it was also some other albums starting with “j” and I figured it was songs he had downloaded from his friend Jay’s year end music list. So I picked the first album simply named “J” and “Lovin’ in my baby’s eye’s” comes on by TajMahal….then another…then another…it was the album he was putting together for me. All of the songs he loved that reminded him of me, of us. I listened to it over and over again today. LiDo and I spent about an hour listening to it and dancing. At one point he grabbed for one of the pictures of Doug…and we all three danced in the living room.

It was as if we were beating away the demons and telling them that they can not take away all of our happiness. That we will have reminders like today and last night. Reminders of our life we had. Reminders that it was real. Reminders of the person we loved and lost but have not stopped loving.

This Sunday showed me that the life I loved and the person that I loved was real and is still woven into every fiber of our being, of our life.

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Sitting here…

22 April, 2010

Sitting here watching (listening to) Food, Inc.

Probably not good to do. I used to be so into eating as much organic from local farmers, etc. when we were in Portland where quite frankly it was easier to do. Now in the midwest…a little harder. Kind of seems unbelievable right? Well, corn and beef and that’s about it. I am looking into some local farmers but I’m afraid that it would go to waste. My love of cooking has waned. It is hard to cook for one…LiDo is into mac n cheese and peas and hot dogs. I try my best. He did eat a veggie burger tonight. He hasn’t done that in a long time. He only ate half of it but I’ll call the half success. He loves fruit right now so I’m happy about that.

It is just depressing cooking for one. Cooking our old meals…the ones we enjoyed fixing together. It is amazing how grief and longing permeates every single thing that you do.

Like today…I took LiDo to the TRex Restaurant and he loved it but what was up with this afternoon being the day that every Dad took their kid out to lunch? Aren’t they still in school? No wives with them…just Dads and their kids – mostly boys. I thought by going on a Thursday would be ‘safe’. Guess not.

Well – I’m off to really watch this show and maybe it will get me to cook more and worry about what I’m eating and what LiDo is eating so we just stay in and eat at the house.

7 Months

19 April, 2010

My Dearest Husband,

Tomorrow it will be 7 months since you died. I’m sitting here in this new home I bought after you died and after LiDo and I moved back to KC. The house is no longer empty. I’ve unpacked nearly everything, although if I take a closer look at the boxes downstairs and upstairs I may change my mind. I haven’t really hung pictures. I have several of you around the house. On the mantel, in my bedroom, in LiDo’s room. But the other pictures, things we each had since our college days that have always decorated our walls. Those are the things that I can’t put up right now. I guess I did hang the pictures you framed for me for a birthday. They are in the family room above the sofa that you and I bought when we first moved to Portland. The same place they were hung when we were all together. Just in a different house and a different city.

I’m not sure what it is about the other pictures. I can barely figure out some of my other responses to other things let alone this.

My greatest sadness, besides losing you, is that LiDo will not know us as parents together. Lately he hasn’t wanted to say goodnight to your picture and that has really made me sad. However, the past couple of days he has picked up various pictures of you and me and keeps kissing the picture. I was happy to see that. I don’t know how to teach him about you, tell him stories about you without him carrying my grief. I know he has felt the loss of you and has missed you and has looked for you. As time goes by I’m afraid that he is losing that – he is used to the us being just me and him – not you, me and him. I know that he will not remember much of you. That hurts so much just to see it in words. But it is true. I know this. I just want him to know you so bad. I just need to figure out how to do that without making him carry my grief with it.

I can tell that hitting seven months has been a lot harder than hitting six months. I think I was anticipating the floor dropping out from under me at six months. And the day came and went. Time kept moving. Now at seven months, I really feel like I am still in a fog. I just can’t believe that I have been parted from you for so long. I think the longest we were ever apart was a week. I still cry every day. I still think of you constantly. Everything that I do I think about you. That has not changed.

I still haven’t really dreamed of you. It pains me every time I go to sleep…I hope and pray that I see you that night. Then when I wake in the morning, you have not visited me. I wish I could see you. That is one thing that I wish I was able to do. To see you one last time, even if it was just your body there. You were so broken though that they would not let me see you. All they would let me do was to hold your hand, your left hand. Even then, I couldn’t really touch it except through the body bag. I wrapped my arms around your entire body and held you. I felt you broken. I smelled the death. I’ll never forget the cheesy music they were playing. How the lights were dimmed. Kleenex box was set out. Hallway was quiet. The feel of the blanket they had over the plastic bag. The smell of it. The feel of your hand through all of it. Trying to feel every single thing I could. Every knuckle. Every ridge. Every nail. Your wrist. The bones in your hand. Every little thing I could feel through that plastic. I wanted to climb on that table with you. I wanted them to just zip the bag around both of us.

The fog that I am in now is nothing compared to those first few months but it is a fog none-the-less. I feel that I am in a constant state of keeping my feelings at bay. In order to function, I have to turn a switch off. How do you grieve, truly go to the depths of the darkness in order to see the light once again when you have a child to care for? I’d love to just lay in bed, on the couch, do nothing. Cry and scream. Drink too much and smoke constantly. I guess though that even though the thought of being able to do any of that is enticing, I wouldn’t actually lay around all the time even if we didn’t have LiDo. It isn’t in my nature. However, I do at times, feel like this grief is something to beat. That I have to wake up each day and say ‘fuck off, you aren’t taking me!” I wish it was something that you could beat. That it was something that I could compete against. I could conquer. I suppose this is the problem. It isn’t something that can be beaten. It isn’t something that can be conquered. I don’t know how to do this. It is quite an interesting journey that I have to be on. A journey that may teach me how to not compete to win. A journey where I must find peace without keeping score. To learn to live with my grief and my sadness. Learn to embrace it lovingly. Especially when all I want to do is punch it square in the face.

I haven’t spread your ashes yet. I’d really like to make a deal with you on this. If I spread your ashes, you have to visit me in a dream. And it can’t be just a hi how are you doing dream…it must be one with some oomph. Some power to it. The first place I plan to spread some of your ashes is at Yellowstone. The spot where you proposed to me. Undine Falls. After reading the story behind Undine Falls – or rather the myth of Undine – I think that it is an appropriate place for you to rest. At least a part of you. You just have to promise that you will give me a doozy of a dream. Otherwise, I’m keeping your ashes in my nightstand.

I miss our talks. I miss our not talks. I miss being happy. The ‘real’ happy I was when I was with you. God how I wish I could go back in time. Change something. Do anything to be able to keep you by my side. It is still, at seven months, a nightmare. One that I wish I would wake up from. Sometimes, I lie on the couch and try to pretend that I am laying there in our old place, you are on the computer in the other room. That if I fall asleep there, you’ll come wake me up to go to bed. Or when I am rocking LiDo to sleep I imagine that we are in his old bedroom and I hear you out in the hall. I see you walk to the door and just look in on us. Loving us. I wish I didn’t have to imagine these things.

I miss you so much.

Loved in this life, in the next,

Yours.

19 months

15 April, 2010

My Dearest LiDo,

You will be 19 months old tomorrow and I’m hoping that when you wake in the morning you will have gotten over your screaming phase. I won’t hold my breath on that one but it would be nice. For now though I will try and cherish the fact that your screaming and shrieking is all a part of you gaining and wanting your independence as well as being on your way to speaking to me in full paragraphs.

We have had quite the week. I’ve made it a point this week to take you to places in the mornings when you are at your finest and with the most energy. On Monday we went to Liberty Memorial and walked around the statues and looked over downtown and even got to see the life flight land and take off. It amazes me that you know the difference between the sound of a helicopter and the sound of a plane. You’re spot on all the time. Tuesday we went to a farm where they had chickens, calves, cows, fish and ducks. You were semi-interested in the animals and definitely interested in how everything worked. You were trying your hardest to get the pin out of the holding pin that held the calves. You had figured out how it worked and you tried your hardest. Unfortunately it was a bit taller than you but I think with time you would have figured out some McGyver way of getting the holding pen undone. At the pond feeding the fish, you were more interested in seeing how the ropes looped through the posts and if you put your weight down on the rope in front of you then the rope further away went up…Much to the chagrin of other mothers there…hey – I can’t help it if I have a little engineer on my hands.

Wednesday found us eating lunch with Nanna and a friend of Mommy’s and then we all headed down to the horse fountain and let you guys play for a bit. You were hitting your wall so we didn’t stay for too long. On the way home you crashed so¬† took the opportunity to go and buy new running shoes. That afternoon after your nap we took a run and I did over 3 miles…and am still paying for it. You just lounged and I think really liked it.

This month would have been your Dad’s 35th birthday. We spent a few days at your grandmother’s house including part of his birthday there. You had fun going to the garden that morning. It was beautiful and calming.

You are starting to talk more and more. Most of the things I can understand….you started this new game of pointing at everything and wanting me to tell you exactly what it is. You especially like doing this at the dinner table where I tell you that that is ‘mommy’s plate” and that is “LiDo’s plate”. You start out slow and then get faster and faster. I think you think it is a game to see how fast I can talk and explain things.

We’ve had our difficult times this past month…with your screaming and all. You are certainly testing the boundaries and I’m still trying to figure those out to a certain degree. I do wish you’d wake up in the mornings and instead of just wanting to go…you would play with your toys for a bit while I wake up slowly. At least you are not waking up at 5am though. It’s just hard to be going through this stage with you without your Dad around. I end up getting frustrated and just wonder if you would have been better off with him rather than me or trying to figure out what your Dad would do. He was always so good with you. He just had such an easy going manner and laughed. I try my hardest to be like the Mom I was with your Dad but I feel like I am failing in that. When I get frustrated I just think that your Dad would just handle it with a smile or a laugh or a firm voice if needed and time out as well. Once I think of how he would be it makes me know that I’m doing okay even though I don’t think that I am. We were similar in parenting…I guess I just miss him being there to support. This morning didn’t start out very well but it got better by the afternoon. I just couldn’t sleep very well last night and neither could you. This doesn’t make for a pleasant combination in the mornings.

You are a very independent little guy but you still need my hugs and my kisses now and again. You love getting butterfly kisses on your face. When you want one you take my head with both of your hands and starting blinking at me…it is really very cute and I love it. You love wandering the house as I’m cleaning. You love the freedom and I’m about ready to take down the baby gates in the family room. With summer here we don’t really hang out in there and watch tv anymore. We are either outside doing something or on our way to some activity. I bought you a little plastic slide for the backyard and you love climbing and sliding down. Just yesterday you figured out that you could hang your feet off the side and you were trying to jump off of the side…I stopped you and you ended up ‘covering your intentions up’ by sliding down sideways. You are a climber. You are constantly hanging on to the side of the counter and trying to see what is going on up high. You get so excited when you see a dog and tonight you practically ran across the street to get to one. I think that you scared the lady walking the dog when you screamed out “DOG”. She ended up coming to our side of the street so you could pet the dog but again you were more interested in taking the leash and figuring out how it worked and walking the dog yourself. She let you walk him a little bit – until you let go of the leash…I think you just wanted to see what would happen.

You still ask “what’s that” all the time. You understand me when I give you directions to get the soccer ball or the red balloon or your pirate ship or truck or car. You love helping me unload the dishwasher and you set the table with your plate and fork as well as take your dirty dishes to the sink after you eat. You love the Panda Kitty and constantly want her to sit on your lap. Although you sit on her so she never quite knows what you want from her at any given time. She comes back for more so I can’t imagine she is holding much of a grudge. She did bite you today a couple of times which I honestly can’t say I don’t blame her. You were being pretty rough with her and she gave you one of her ‘get away from me bites’ which is similar to her “love bites”. You didn’t mind too much and it got you to stop. Maybe that is what I should do with you when you scream??? Tempting….

It is wonderful to see you how much you are growing even though at times it takes more energy than I have. I just remind myself to stop and breath and just look at you and let you be a kid. You are a wonderful kid and you are affectionate, you are stubborn, you are willful, you are sweet, you laugh, you have humor, you make jokes.

I love you my sweet thing.

Your Mom.

This photo pretty much captures you this month…so much attitude and knowledge all wrapped up at once…

The Rope

Watching the big cows eat…

Birthday picture for Daddy…

At the garden…GQ Pose….

Running

14 April, 2010

I started running this week. A friend of mine wants me to do a half marathon at the end of July and that got my butt in gear although I’m not sure that I’ll do it. I really like just running by myself and for myself. Doug and I used to run together every once in a while. It was nice to do together but he really didn’t like running much and I really didn’t like having a running partner. I always found myself trying to keep up or do more than I really felt at the time…so he stopped running with me because he didn’t really like it that much (he did a little) and I liked just going at it by myself.

Tonight was my second run for the week. I was just going to do my first route for a week to get used to doing this and give my body some time to adjust. Tonight however, I just kept running. I ran for about an hour, well, I walked as well but I ran for the better part of it. I did over 3 miles. I was going good and felt really great and then towards the time I was thinking of turning back, I saw a dad out with his little boy, teaching his son to ride his bike. I passed them on the trail as they were going the opposite direction I was going…and then the tears just started flowing. Somehow I knew that this would happen. Even if I didn’t see this scene that will never happen for my son. I knew that me getting back out running and doing some hard physical stuff would just release some of the sorrow I carry with me.

It was good.

I have been afraid to run quite honestly because I knew, knew that this would happen and I just really haven’t been wanting to go through it. Pretty much the same reason why I haven’t started counseling. The pain is there. The sorrow is there. And I know I’m shoving it down deep. And I’m okay with that. It’s what I’ve needed to do to survive thus far.

Today though, my body was telling me to just push. Push and go further than you expected. Keep going was all it was saying. Keep going. I cried for a better part of a 1/2 mile with the tears just mixing in with the sweat. I just kept running. Then after the tears slowed a bit and I could see, I stopped and kissed my little boy’s forehead. I told him that would be him and me in a few years.

And that is okay.

Evening

9 April, 2010

Tonight was really the first time where I really really felt that the other half of me was missing. It wasn’t upsetting as it was happening and it isn’t still right now but I’m sure this strange feeling will linger. Probably for the better part of my life.

The grill was put together and I invited a small group of friends over to just sit and enjoy the weather, have a few drinks and christen the grill. My next door neighbors joined us and they brought over a bottle of wine they had made and we all sat around and enjoyed conversation. It was during the conversation of course where I felt that I was just not completely there…not mentally but just the other person who made part of me was not there. There was lots of talk of music, ‘days of youth’…things where Doug was just so much more knowledgable than me. Much cooler. Could add to the conversation with history of bands, who he’d seen, obscure music he loved, etc. I kept finding myself on the brink of saying something but not remember the title of the song nor the band name and wanting, longing to look over to him and he would jump in and say what and who it was. But he wasn’t there. So I had to rely on Google.

Google was my replacement tonight for my husband.

That sucks.

Don’t get me wrong. I had a wonderful evening just sitting back and listening to the conversation and feeling ‘at home’ as best as one can in this situation. I loved that the day was spent with kids running around playing in the backyard until there were multiple meltdowns and my son was falling asleep on my shoulder (which he never does when things are happening around him). Then an evening of being kid free and adults around me with adult conversation and laughs. I wanted all of this in this house…these are the things that help make it a home. A home in this new life I’m leading. It was nice to have people around me for a relaxed evening. Doug was brought up multiple times as well which is always nice and it didn’t make anyone flinch – even my new friends, my neighbors. That, I think, was the nicest. To include him still in conversation. After all, so much a part of me is because of him. My story.

I do miss that he isn’t here right now. To relax with me after a fun evening. To talk about how cool our new friends are. Talk about how it was so nice to see the kids outside all afternoon playing nonstop. That is what I miss at this very moment. The bear hug and kiss I would have received during the time I would be putting things away – him making me pause and just be with him and only him with no one else around. The dishes would wait.

It really is those little things that I miss so much. Small gestures. Small pauses.

But I will walk away tonight with new found friendship. Old friendships staying strong. Laughter still ringing through the house and in the backyard even after the lights have been turned off. Love.

Love in this new house that is slowly becoming a home.

This all that one evening can bring.

Cherish the evenings.

Productive day

8 April, 2010

It was a very productive day today and one which I will be paying for in the days to come with sore muscles and all. It was really nice to have gotten so many things done today and none of them were things that I necessarily ‘had’ to do.

LiDo woke up at about 3am which wasn’t surprising since I was awake as well at that time. I swear that if I wake up for any reason, he is soon to follow. It is very strange and I can’t remember when this hasn’t been happening. Anyway, I brought him into our bed and laid down with him and he soon fell back asleep. I was able to get back to sleep as well which was nice but then we both woke up again at 5am, then really up at 7:30am. He’s so funny when he wakes up – he goes from completely asleep to sitting straight up and pointing at things and talking about them and asking questions. This morning, I was ready for it and enjoyed it more than I have for quite a while. I think it is because I went to bed at 10 instead of my much later time as of late.

We got up, went for breakfast at Leslie’s and then headed to the lawn and plant store. I was looking for a nice jasmine plant because the one I had bought Doug, bit it on the move out here. Unfortunately they didn’t have any yet but I did end up with flowers for the window boxes, hostas for the side yard, a couple of potted plants and a hanging basket for the sunroom. The shopping was interesting…what I ended up with…I kept picking things up that had things in their name which reminded me of Doug. I didn’t realize it until I got thing into the cart…like the Astoria blooms for the window boxes – we had a great birthday celebration in Astoria…And the hostas – the same we had at our old house…the oregano and lavender and rosemary – all things we had at our place in Portland. Actually, I think I was at the lavender farm on Sauvie Island when Doug died.

All of them were purchased and most things were planted. The lawn was mowed – I’ll tell that story later. The branches that came down the other day in the storm were picked up. The little car I got LiDo was partially put together as well as the sand and water table for him. Dirt was put along the area where I want to build up beds in the backyard and lay down some paving stones…but I need a lot more dirt to finish it. The grill isn’t put together yet but I have tomorrow prior to 5pm to start and finish that project.

LiDo loved being outside most of the day and waved at every helicopter that flew overhead. He heard one and I thought that it was just a mower going on the next street and told him that this is what I thought and after he gave me one of his ‘looks’, pointed at the roof of the house and then smiled when a helicopter flew over – I knew I had been proved very wrong by a 19 month old and that he knows his helicopter sounds!

It was good to be busy all day. LiDo I think really enjoyed the day. I took my time with him as well and just enjoyed him more and didn’t feel rushed to do things. He seemed happier, didn’t scream as much as he has been lately and smiled a lot more just like he used to.

Well, it is 10. I’m off to bed. We are heading to see a preview of STOMP tomorrow afternoon with a friend and her little boy. Then it is back to finish the grill and get some of the yard stuff that I need in order to finish things that I started today…