You are all amazing in your comments, your desire to even want to come back here. Those of you who have told me that my little blog has given you new appreciation of your loved ones...well that means more than you know. At his funeral service I got up (sort of impromptu and mumbly and the like) because I felt a real need to say something. Something about regrets and love and enjoying each other. So many people had come up to me in the week between losing him and his service and commented on how they had meant to stop in and see us. How they regretted not doing that. How they thought about him all the time. The neighbor's son got up to speak (Leonard had been a father figure to him since his own father showed a lack of interest outside of grudgingly signing a support check each month. Leonard had guided him through some of the tough-and the fun boy stuff too- as a child and as he was reaching manhood. Leonard would help correct him, but only when asked and always with a quiet lecture...just the two of them). This little boy ( I still think of him as little and he's 17) got up, stood at the podium and began to cry. A few people had not been able to talk as they wanted to and didn't even try. But this boy stood there, calmed himself down, looked up and said,"I took Mr. Harper for granted..." and my heart broke for him. And for everyone in that room who thought he would always be there. Our neighbor's son delivered a eulogy (one of so very many) that was so eloquent, so perfect, so much a tribute to my husband that I shall never forget a word of it. He made him come alive. It was if, at moments, he spoke with his voice. Because of his courage, I gathered something (it sure wasn't courage) inside me and told everyone that Leonard, also, had meant to see each one of them. That he would be saying the same thing if the situation had reversed itself. That lives get busy, and people don't always get to the things they intend to, but that it really is the thought that counts. That the only thing I had (and still have) is no regrets about my marriage and the way things were left that day when he went to the store. That he walked out the door knowing that I loved him. That is all I have. And that is what I talked about. About loving each other...even through the arguments. How very happy I was that I had made the decision (on the day he moved in) that I would get up and make his coffee and lunch each day and see him off with a kiss...even on the days when I would have rather smacked him. That is what I have.That is all I have. A marriage savored. That isn't to say that I still don't feel like I took him for granted. I have found that there is no way around it. We do it to ourselves. The what ifs, the I should haves. And they will haunt me, in some small way, all the days of my life.
I am having trouble dealing with my mother. Our relationship is and always has been a train wreck. When one looks at their child as competition, rather than forming a motherly bond (you have my permission to smack me or at least make a comment when you find me repeating myself) a steady relationship has no chance to grow. There is no room for trust and, while love may exist, it is fragile, tenuous and even uncomfortable. Because of our history, I don't trust that this "caring" is genuine. In fact I know it probably isn't. It is, in her mind, the long suffering mother coming to the aid of her daughter, despite her own pain. Gosh, that sounds so mean and uncaring, but I can't help it. It used to be that I could deal with her because there was always Leonard to lean on when he came home....and all would be good. Now, I have to learn to deal with it myself. She brought me to tears over his truck. A friend of hers is buying it. I'm only asking for the payoff because I don't (but sometimes I do) want to see it again. She has called several times to ask if it's out of the shop. If it was out of the shop I would have told her. I tried explaining all of the things that need to be replaced and how that takes time, which forced me to think about the truck, and him inside it, and I lost it. And then she started crying and saying that she didn't know how she could go on. That part of you that splits off in traumatic times, the part that kicks in to save you from insanity started working...what the---? I asked myself. My mother, who had spent the entirety of our marriage telling anyone and everyone (and I do mean everyone...right down to the dentist who told me,"You're nothing like your mother said.") how awful and uncaring we were, how we (with the husband who had fixed her roof, mowed her lawn, painted her shed and done any number of small jobs for her) were never there for her,had turned this around to herself...and how much she had adored her son in law, how she knew exactly how it was because her divorce from my dad was the same. The whole conversation messed with my mind, and my heart. I hung up after saying goodbye and spent a half hour on the back porch sobbing. I really thought that was it. I don't know how I got through that half hour of looking at the emptiness of my life without going crazy.
So now that I sound like a completely self centered uncaring person, we will turn to my son. Poor little guy drank a glass of Apple cider. The men of my family don't....ummm...shall we say handle apple cider well. It tended to mess with my husband's tummy and also does my son's. And they both adore it. But, the price they pay is horrendous and my little guy was in and out of the bathroom tonight and I felt so bad because he loves it so much.
My daughter is watching "America's Next Top Model" reruns and I could almost pretend life is normal and he is just "out". If only.
I am thinking of picking up his ashes tomorrow. I want them so badly, but I am so afraid it will destory me. We're trying to pick an urn out. My son wants one with trees on it because his daddy so loved being "up North" and the sound of wind through the leaves. But it is hard to pick one out when you want it to be perfect and are so afraid of making that decision. I can't bear the thought of his ashes sitting there. Without us.
I appreciate you so much, you friends I have made through the reading commenting on each other's blogs. For you are friends to put up with me. You, the ones who come out of lurkdom to talk to me. It is so very important to me. It is what I look forward to. Your encouragement. Your appreciation of my memories. All of it. All of you.