Friday, October 26, 2007

My Husband as a mushroom...

Because I mentioned it yesterday I thought I would look for the photo and post it. When he first showed me the picture, I couldn't figure out what it was, but yes, it was a mushroom.
I cannot lie. Today is a horribly rotten day. I can't focus on what it is that has happened and I am having difficulty seeing forward...into a future without him.
We had Sandcastles last night. And it went well for the kids. They separate themselves into groups by age. My son had a great time. I was in a group with parents. And you had to introduce yourself and say who you had lost and when. I couldn't do it. I can't face saying it, so I broke down into tears. And the think I hate most is crying in front of people. I could cry in front of my husband, but I hate doing it in front of other people. And the reality of it was too much to take. So I sat like the zombie I have become, wishing that this were a very bad dream. It is, and it isn't. It is my reality, and I don't want it. I want him. That's it. That's all. I am really glad the kids are working through.
Someone asked me how it happened. I am still having trouble thinking about it, that day (even though my everyday begins with thinking about it) that sharing the horror of the day my life ended is still a little too hard to post here. Perhaps, I hope, I can someday. It was just something that shouldn't have happened. Not ever.

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Here There Be Pirates

Both of the kids have decided to be pirates for Halloween this year. My daughter wanted them to do this last year but my son was in a "sisters are awful people" stage (well he still sort of is) and didn't want to. This year I bought him the $24.99 hat which makes anyone with long hair who puts it on instantly look like Jack Sparrow. I am writing about this because I actually bought these costumes a month ago. I have never bought a costume with more than two days to go until Halloween in my life. As a matter of fact, last year I was out with my daughter at 8:55 on October 30th looking for a black dress to go with her bird costume (which was a fall back anyway, because her mother didn't get it together enough to get the stuff for the costume she really wanted...which I can't remember what it was). It is weird to walk in to a costume shop where all of the costumes are still there, with no "sold out" stickers, and they aren't ripped...or stuffed back in the bag because the last person who tried them on really doesn't care because they aren't going to buy it. We also bought some decorations.

But, I seriously think I can't go through with either the walking around with James, or the handing out candy. I am thinking too many memories. Even my next door neighbor is apprehensive about it. He and Leonard used to take the boys out with a wagon. Why a wagon? For tired toddlers? No. For overloads of candy? No. For the cooler they used to keep refreshments for themselves cool? If you answered that, you answered correctly. My husband was not a fan of Halloween (or Holloween as he spelled it, and used to crack his daughter up), because of some of the ridiculous costumes his mother made him. His brother got to be superman...Leonard? A pumpkin. His brother got to be batman! Leonard? a Mushroom. "But I don't want to be a mushroom..." He stopped trick or treating the year she dressed him as a girl.

Slowly but surely, through the joy and excitement of our children, he was beginning to enjoy the day...the beer helped as well. This is the first of the "family holidays" and I really don't know if I can do it at all. But I know that I have to. I've tried running, it doesn't work very well.

My kids are going to look really cute though. My daughter didn't even pick what her father would have called a "pirate slut" look...even though there were lots of those to choose from. They both look like normal pirates....down to the bird.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

My Father, My Friend

My dad comes over just about every day, with the exception of the weekends. I am so grateful for his appearance at my door, and feel so guilty that I cannot present a better me to him. My father, as I have noted elsewhere in this blog has done everything, meant everything to us. He is also a do-er, which is probably where I got it from. Only, I don't want to do anything anymore. So he does it for us. He took care of the truck, because he knew I couldn't bear to look at it. He bore looking at it, and remembering his son-in-law, for me. He hurts. He says so. He dealt with it for me. He has dealt with the COBRA, the stupid calls from where my husband worked. You name it, he is there. And I appreciate it. He doesn't feel like he has done anything...because nothing has given me peace. Nothing has brought back the me he used to love spending time with. But me, as I used to be is gone. It was me, with the light of Leonard's love in my eyes.

I miss my husband and it shows too much, I guess. I used to worry about my dad (I know a lot of us Daddy's girls do) and then when he got kidney cancer the thought of losing him became very real. Only then, I realized that if, God forbid, the worst thing happened, I had my love, my light, my Leonard to lean on. He's not here anymore.

My father told me today that he cannot bear this. That he worries. And all I can say is, I'm so very sorry. I wish I were a different person. I wish this didn't hurt me...affect me...or cause the changes in me that it has. I wish I could be his girl again. But that girl is gone.

Monday, October 22, 2007

I can't breathe...

In reality, I am breathing, it is just that it all came crashing down on me today. Nothing seems real. Nothing seems right. My father came over today, and all I could do was sit and cry. It was good to have him over, because the loneliness is the hardest part. This is becoming (or always has been) so very difficult. I sometimes think I am not strong enough for this...scratch that...I realize that I am not strong enough for this.

I was hopeful that getting away would be for the good. I do think it was, for the kids. And that was what was important. For me? Too many Mamas and Daddys...too many "whole" families. Too much to handle. Too soon. I get this lightheaded, not breathing enough feeling. I wake up each morning with plans, at least things that I have to do. I spend each day drinking cup after cup of coffee...remembering stupid things, like how many containers of coffee I have gone through since he was last here. This morning I put away the sliver of soap that was the last bar of soap he had used. Silly, but necessary to do. I had removed it from the shower and set it aside. I put it in a baggy along with his hairbrush...which contains the hair he was always asking me to clear off of it. I am glad I didn't. All of these things are stupid...goofy...but I need to do them. I need to preserve each last little tangible bit of his presence... the proof that he really was here for me to love, to take care of us.

I was trying to respond to emails today, and private messages that I have received from a couple of boards I am on, and I couldn't remember who I had written to. So, instead, I spent the time thinking about how his collar used to fit to his neck. And then I went and ran my hands along the inside of the collars of his shirts, attempting to feel him once more. I placed my hands on the bag that contains the urn with his ashes (it is a temporary urn-I have yet to be so I final as to order a permanent one) and attempted (once again) to will him back to me. Our room is a disaster. Two months of piled up "stuff" doesn't bode well for a very small room. We gave up the master bedroom for our son, when his toys soon outnumbered the amount of time he would be young enough to enjoy them. I stopped looking at his pictures at...I avert my gaze when I walk by them. I click on "new post" quickly here, so as not to be confronted with him...with the face I long for.

Rachel often speaks of feeling like life is a yo-yo ( I hope you don't mind me speaking about it Rachel) and how, many times, it feels like the yo is on a down swing. The past few days, or is it weeks now, the yo has been spiraling down. Down to where I didn't think it was possible to go. To the leaden ache in my chest that has me again wondering about hearts and breakage and the possibility of that happening; and to the competing thud in my head, as each minute brings about that realization that he is gone. Again, and again. No relief, no respite. So many recriminations-things I should have made time for. Dinners eaten too late, weekends wasted. And forever the thoughts of that day, of him, of me, our son, our daughter. It is as if things stopped making sense on August 26th, and all of the study, soul searching, and rest cannot make it literate again.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

We Are Back

We are back from our weekend away. I think the kids had a good time. It was nice to have a couple of extra girls to add to the chaos and keep my mind working.
It was a bit of a later start than I wanted. Apparently, even with it being just me to pack for, and James' bag to double check (he forgot pajamas and I didn't notice) we still can't get going on time. We were delayed in leaving for an hour and a half, for no good reason that I can think up. You know you are running behind when your best friend (who is as big a procrastinator as yourself, and whose daughter is coming along) calls to see where you are.
Traffic was not too bad. For those who don't live in the Midwest, that means we only got stuck by the orange barrels of pain 3 times over a 150 mile drive. The kids were really excited so there was no complaining, only laughing and talking. I wanted to get them to the lodge in time for them to spend an hour or so playing in the water park. I was pretty upset with myself or not leaving early, as planned. We got to the lodge at about 8:30. And, wow, was it ever busy. I felt really badly for the front desk staff, as there was a concert (Halloween, purple people eater, Monster Mash...played at migraine inducing levels) going on in the lobby, not more than 10 feet from where they were trying to work. Despite that, and the many,"What did you say?", "What", and "huh's?" that transpired, we did manage to get checked in, find a parking spot less than a mile away and find our room.
The room was really nice. If you haven't been to one of the Great Wolf/Great Bear Lodges, and you have children, I highly recommend it. The room was fairly large (albeit with a small bathroom, which is trouble when you are traveling with 3 girly girls) with a king sized bed and a "Kid Cabin". The Kid Cabin was a faux log room off to one side with a bunk bed, day bed, television and desk. The kids (even the 17 year old) LOVED it, and they all slept in that room, leaving me a huge bed all to myself.
The suited up and off to the water park they ran. It is a nice waterpark; all indoors, with two big slides that you use innertubes for, two regular slides, two children's slides and even a baby slide. The zero depth entry pool was very nice, as was the sport pool, with volley ball nets, basketballs, and a floating "worm" to hang onto. They were exhausted afterward and pretty much feel right asleep. I sat on the deck for a few hours, really missing Leonard, and then went to sleep.
The next day was the trip to Cedar Point. Not having the time, the pages, the desire to bore you-let us just say, the kids had a blast. The girls rode most of the big rides, and my son went on quite a few too. I love the picture of him, above, about to take his first roller coaster ride ever on the "Iron Dragon". "Halloweekends" at Cedar Point (if the weather cooperates) are so much fun. When dark falls, There are haunted houses and walkways. The one my son loved was "Carn-Evil", which is all about carnival side shows, gone wild and roaming among the crowds. Lots of smoke, lots of flashing strobes, screams, and fun or the kids. We stayed until close and I bought each of the girls a pair of sweatpants and a hooded sweatshirt for James. It was good to get back in the car and head back to the hotel. I have never stayed in the area before, usually choosing to drive all the way back home. That is exhausting, after a long day, and long lines at the exit, so I was really grateful. That and the fact that, everywhere I looked, I thought I saw Leonard. Everywhere I went (even though we had never been to Cedar Point together) were memories of times we spent at other parks... roller coaster rides we took, the antique cars, the elephant ears...and God, how I missed him. I wanted to lean against him while waiting in hour long lines at the rides. I wanted to find him another magnetic address/phone number book to replace the one we bought on our honeymoon.
It was that way all weekend. Me, wanting him. Beds are so very big when your loved one is gone. It hurt so much more than I thought it would, to see James playing in the water without his daddy. Us, without him. Me, running away to nowhere to run. I just cannot escape this feeling of loneliness, emptiness and hurt.
I cannot see me, without him. I cannot be me, without him. I ache for his arms...I miss, too much, the feeling of his whiskers against my hand. It becomes unbearable. No, I am wrong. It is unbearable, and there is nothing I can do about it. I am so angry at Fate. As the days go by, it gets even harder, as the realization that this really happened comes knocking again and again. I am grateful for the resilience that youth offers for my children, but I still cry my eyes out at the thought of my baby boy growing up without his best friend. To make it through the weekend I pretended. I pretended, to myself, that Daddy was at home...working...and waiting for us. Only he wasn't...and the house, our house, our security,was dark and empty when I drove up.
Some have asked and yes, I see a counselor, as do the children...Sandcastles starts up this week for us. But there are some things in life that can't be fixed, or rationalized, or talked through, gotten over or recovered from. The death of my husband, my life and my soul has fallen into this category. He is my first need when I wake up in the morning, and the last longing I have at night. I want him back.