Friday, October 19, 2007


All of the bracelets have been sent out to those who emailed me their address. If anyone else would like one, you can find my email addy in my profile under email me. Thank you so very much for caring and commenting. It really is what keeps me going a lot of the time.

I have decided to leave the computer at home for the weekend and concentrate on the kids. I am just hoping they have a good time.

Take care, see you Monday

Thursday, October 18, 2007

A Homecoming

I finally went and picked up his ashes and brought them home. My father came with me and I don't know if that was a good idea or a bad one. I was "okay" (i.e. not breaking down) until the director said, "and when did he die?" Because I keep waking up, hoping for a miracle. Each time I am forced (or decide) to do another thing that has to do with his loss, the hope for that miracle fades. Each time someone asks me questions about his death, or I see his name in connection with "In memory of" or "deceased" etc it is like realizing it for the first time, all over again.

We had to wait about 5 minutes for the director to return with them and my father quickly took them and tucked them away under his arm. The director was really very nice and told me I could come back when I was ready to transfer to a permanent urn. I signed the paperwork, and he finally came back from the store. I really didn't know what to think. I know that we came in the house, my father had a cup of coffee and then had to go to work. I know that I took his ashes into our bedroom and was slammed with the realization that this will be the only way he will be in our bedroom ever again. And the forget to breathe, ugly, aching sobs began. I sat on the side of the bed just realizing that there will be no miracle. This really is it for us. Our little story really has ended. The lights that shone so brightly on our future dimmed for good.

I am a person that has always had to make things better. Leonard called me a S-mother because I am constantly attempting to hold stuff together. To get dinner on the table, laundry done (I failed miserably at times, but I tried), keep children happy, and find some small way to let them know I loved them. When he was sick, he would get irritated at me for trying to cover him up, take his temperature, kiss his forehead and make it better. I was constantly badgering him to go to the doctor for the slightest thing...

This, I will never be able to make better. I told a friend that that weekend (when it happened) was like I was running around, trying to hold water in a napkin. And the napkin ripped, the water spilled out and was lost and, as any seamstress knows, a napkin isn't nearly strong enough to sew back together again. You can try, but you'll only create more rips. That's where I am.

I am hoping to get "away" this weekend. I am taking the kids to Great Wolf Lodge, one of several resort/waterparks in the area, and maybe to an amusement park the next day, if the weather holds. I may or may not bring my lap top, and may or may not write depending on how late the chickens stay up. A couple of my children's friends are coming along as well, and you know how that goes. I thank you all so much for visiting here. If I'm not here this weekend, I'll be back on Monday.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007

I Have Loved You This Year

Today-oh what can I say about today? I woke up not wanting it to be here because I signed the papers and sold his truck today. I hadn't seen the truck since that day and my father did all of the set up for what to do with it...except I had to sign the papers to allow them to clean it and then send it to the body shop. Nothing in widowhood, the dismantling of a life, the saying good bye on paper to a person, is ever easy. Selling the truck came with its own set of problems. I battled with the bank yesterday that held the loan I paid off because they didn't want to accept a Cashiers check (which is verified funds) as good enough to sign off on the lien even though their headquarters told me that was the right thing to do. See? I call before embarking on these little trips of hurt to make sure they won't be even more so, and they inevitably are anyway. So, title in hand, I had to go to the Secretary of State, aka DMV, aka 5th circle of Hell to transfer the title to my name because it was only in his name. So I had to bring one of the "the certificates". That is what I call them because I am fooling myself. Surprisingly, the title transfer (erasing of yet another marker of his existence) went easier than I thought...until she tried to tell me that I needed to transfer the registration and that would be $272 please. I said,"No thanks, it's being sold tonight, and there is no law saying that I have to register it in my name to sell it..." She began to argue using the "Ma'am" and the eye rollies and all and I pulled out all the stops and said,"He's dead, okay? Will you just please allow me to sell this truck?" and she dropped it. And I cried all the way to the car. Great big sobs of God-how-I-hate-this-I-don't-want-to-be-me-anymore-without-him, while my son (my poor little boy who doesn't deserve this and only wants to be good and make everything better) clung to my hand saying,"Don't cry...shhhh...don't cry...I'm here..." And he's too young to have to do that.

My father drove the truck over to my mother's (it is a friend of hers that bought it) and then met me on the street outside her neighborhood because I am a wuss and couldn't stand the sight of it while still yearning to see it, but knowing it wouldn't contain what I wanted it to. And so ended another chapter in the book that is Trying to Survive Even Though Everything You Once Believed in is Gone. My father also gave me the box of his belongings that he had on him that day. My father had kept them until I was ready. I said I was ready. Actually it is because I need every bit of him that is still here on earth here. These were the items I signed for the day I went to the police station. And, stupid me, I opened the box...and saw his handkerchief and the glint of his belt buckle (and oh no, not his pocket knife it really did happen) and I had to close it and put it away. I did not get his ashes, because we ran out of time. And I am mad at myself for letting myself run out of time when, in reality, I did have the time-I just wasted it.

Later this afternoon, right before my son came home, I was ripping through the cupboard looking for my "Costco Passport to Savings" circular because I have not properly grocery shopped since early August. I was pulling out the cookbooks when a card fell out of one and (I kid you not) hit me, right in the eye. Because that's the kind of luck we have here in this house.
It is the card that Leonard gave me for our very first anniversary. I remember that day so well. He had gone shopping with his mom for me (remember he wasn't well versed and didn't realize that Mothers in law are probably not a good choice as a shopping companion even if she is your own mother...I cut him some slack, we were still newlyweds). He bought me a Brett Favre Jersey (I am a Packer fan by birth), a cookbook (which might upset some wives but I love to cook so it was perfect), and this card, which I kept in the front cover of the cookbook. His mother said I would hate the book and the jersey, but he got me. He really did. And it was a wonderful first anniversary-July 19th, year from the birth of our miracle and the adoption of our daughter, 10 years before this horrific bad dream that I can't seem to wake up from. I would have never guessed, as we sat at the kitchen table of our little mobile home that it would fly by and I would be left here, like this. I can't bear to think of it, and yet I can't help myself.

The cook book was The New Good Housekeeping Cookbook and we decided that night that we would go through all of the recipes and I would write the date and what we thought of the dish, dessert, beverage etc and also any important events. A family history of sorts, for the children. There are 100 dates-Sept 11th, the night my water broke with James, the day my aunt died, my daughter's last day of 8th grade, my son's first day of kindergarten, other anniversaries, our special Mardi Gras parties (I'll talk about those another time, but it hurts so much to think of doing those without him), the day I made the spinach potato soup and it was neon in color so I chucked it and we ordered out. And the book looks so worn and splattered, and there are so many blank pages, but I don't think I can ever write in it again. I begin to believe that I can't do anything we used to do again.

And then there is the card. I remember reading it that first time and how it left me breathless, because my husband was not a super mushy, "I'm going to go and buy a card that tells her how I feel", kind of guy. It didn't photograph well but it says:

On Our First Anniversary

I have loved you this year
For marrying me...
For saying I do--and meaning it (the underline was his)

I have loved you
For being solid and dependable,
but still full of surprises.

I have loved your gentleness,
your humor, your way
of seeing
and understanding.

I have loved you this year
Knowing that it is the first of many:
A lifetime of discovering
more things about you
to love.

Happy Anniversary

And he signed it Love Leonard (in his beautiful handwriting that I wanted to share with you all)
and he put a heart around a #1... He did that on every card for all 11 years of our marriage.

When I read the part about knowing it is the first of many, of a lifetime and I realize that our lifetime together was only 11 too short years, 49 short of the 60 I thought we would have, I get so angry at the unfairness of it all. I hate this so very much. It is walking around with a solid pain in my chest. I want that lifetime with him. I needed that lifetime with him. I wanted to turn to him on the day our youngest left the nest and wrap my arms around him and spend all of those years together. And I can't do that. I can sit here with the echo of his last "I love you" in my mind from that last day and wait. Only I don't know what I'm waiting for anymore.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007


This is the stone that my brothers, and their families, gave me. It was part of a beautiful arrangement at the service. They bought it because I had noticed it at the florist when I had gone to order the family flowers for Leonard's service. I was so much in shock, so wanting to just be done with it... to not force myself to think about it. We did the funeral home and florist in one morning and I was having a horrible time. Someone mentioned about getting extra papers with his obituary and I said,"Leonard can do that." So much of it was stuff that Leonard would usually take on, take care of, or just do... Only he was not there. As we were placing the orders (I wanted all yellow roses for me and the children because yellow roses were his only favorite flower and what I had made for him to wear at our wedding) I was starting to "lose it", drifting away, zoning out, wishing I guess. I looked over my sister in law's shoulder and saw this garden stone and it was if (I know this sounds really silly) he was talking to me. It 1. made it so very real and I completely realized at that moment that he was lost to me and 2. became something that I had to have. I was going to go back to buy it, but my brother did instead. And there it was, at the funeral home. It is currently in the living room but, next summer, I plan on building a little garden in the back yard surrounding the stone with maybe a little bench. It is too late in the year to begin anything now, so it will have to wait.
This next picture is of me (well the back of me which is the only part of me that I am confident in showing these days), my son, and my dear friend from England. We are walking in one of the pedestrian walkways between the Ren Cen and Millender Center. It really was a nice day (despite the spitting rain) and it went by too fast. I really hate saying goodbye to people these days.

Why is my post titled "Attempts"? Because I am going to attempt to pick up my husband's ashes for the eighth time today. I have gotten as far as the parking lot and have had to come home. But I hate the thought of him being there alone. But I hate the thought of that being all that is left of him... I hate thinking at all these days.

I had a dream last night that he had died. I used to have these dreams about once or twice a year. I always believed it was my subconscious mind giving way to my worries. And I would wake up, roll over and give him the biggest hug. Only this morning I couldn't do that. This morning it was too real.

Monday, October 15, 2007

Weekend Recap

Saturday was the Texas Hold'Em benefit for Leonard. My father, myself, my brother in law and our dearest friends, Patty and Luke, drove out together. When we arrived I found that my cousin (Leonard's cousin, but I call his cousins family is small) Rob was there and also Leonard's childhood friend Al, and Jerry, one of my husband's favorite coworker/friends from years back. Also there, that I knew, were a former golf partner (and good friend) and about 4 guys from his work, and 6 from his golf league. The rest of the group were die hard poker players I guess. I had thought it was put together by a friend of his from work, but it was put together by a man who had coordinated several of the tournaments that Leonard had gone to over the years. He was so stunned and saddened, that he wanted to do something... so he did this. It brought me to tears that this man I really did not know at all had done this for my husband. Again, his impact greater than he ever would have believed. I spent the first 15 minutes outside, trying to collect my thoughts and banish the tears for the evening.

My family members/friends are not card sharks...they're not even minnows...or perhaps they are because they were the real sharks within 45 minutes. But I think they had fun...only I kept waiting for my husband to walk through the door.

I handed out a bracelet to each person there, telling them the story behind it, and I was so happy to see each person putting one on. (Laurie I got your email and will send you one, Rachel, I think I have your other email address still, or email me your address and I will send one out, Shari, I didn't get your email :( so if you send an email with your address, I will zip it right out to you). I have gotten a lot of peace, handing them out. It helps me to think that he won't be forgotten. I still worry so much, that he will be forgotten. We were home by 11:30, so it wasn't too tiring and I got a chance to speak with everyone there...and learned so many more stories of my husband, the golfer, the poker player , the coworker, and the friend. It was a good, if more than bittersweet time... I again found myself aching for his smile, the sight of him...sitting at the table, cards in hand. But that will never be.

Saturday was a day that I had looked forward to since July...since before... A couple of friends (one all the way from England who has been a dear and much loved friend for years) that I had met on a message board I participated on, came for a visit. It was so good to see them. It was so good to forget about the reality of my situation for hours and take a visit down to Detroit. To show them what is still good and beautiful about this often trashed (and sometimes with good reason) city. I took them for a ride on what passes for "public transportation" in this city that could use a subway system. It is called the "people mover" and it basically moves people (I bet you wouldn't have guessed that) from various parking lots to various places (read: casinos) to spend their money. We stopped in Greektown and had a delicious lunch...and I was able to talk to two people, that I have cared about through word, in actual real time. I could hug them, and look into their faces, and know that they cared. We also took a drive (on the way down to Detroit) along Jefferson Avenue-from the starting point (by my house)through where the fabulously wealthy (and/or amazingly stupid with their money) live. Down past where the Fords, and the Dodge brothers used to play. And the we hit Alter. Alter is the dividing street between the haves and the have less than nots. There used to be an actual wall along Alter that the rich would not have to realize that they lived right next door to the poor. It is really very sad.

After a wonderful afternoon we came back to the house for coffee and tea, and again my girlfriend Patty and her husband came over to meet my guests. Patty participates on the same board. It was a wonderful evening.

This morning I woke up with an amazing amount of pain in my jaw and found that I had yet another infection...and I lost it. My husband, sweet and caring, always there Leonard, was the one who babied me through these things, held my hand, asked the questions, and stayed by my side until I was well. And I am honest and selfish and all those horrific things when I realized I don't want to go through these things with out him. I think I can't take the thought of him not here through this round of antibiotics and steroids and whatever else. It is here where I hate the fates that brought us to this. It is here that I want to give up most. And so I stare a little bit harder at my son as I put him to bed, and I go and take the meds that will hopefully make me better...even though a little part of me doesn't want to, if it weren't for them.

I had booked a suite for us for this weekend at the Great Wolf Lodge (a hotel with a spectacular water park) outside of Sandusky and I am hoping that my face feels better by then.

Reading back on this entry, It was a good weekend. Not great, for he is not here, but not full of the despair that was all of September's weekends. I long for him so much it just doesn't feel humanly possible to miss the physical presence of someone so much that it feels as if a limb has been severed.