Saturday, November 3, 2007

Road Trip

A short one, anyway. Today I am going out to my cousin's house in Lansing to visit with my aunt and uncle. They are up from Texas and are going home soon. I saw them last weekend when they came out to my house for a quick visit. We're hoping to spend the day there.

I am looking forward to and dreading it all at the same time. My husband was so much better at keeping in touch with family and friends than I am. That sounds strange because a lot of people usually think the wife is better at those things. I was better at names, birthdays, Christmas cards and he was better at,"Hey have you called Linda recently? We should get together."

My cousin was one of the people that he was constantly asking me if I had contacted. He really liked her and her husband and would say that we should see them more. That it was almost a crime that my cousin lived so close and a year or so would go by without seeing them. We are surrounded by his family. Because I was a transplant from Wisconsin, my family is scattered-with the closest relatives still being in Wisconsin and spread out all the way to both coasts.

Visiting with people who knew him and loved him is always so tough. Going to the places that we always went to together hurts. I have now become an avid weekend hater...those were our times, which are now mostly empty times.

I hope everyone has a great weekend. Well, a great today. I'll be posting tomorrow because NanoBloPoMo says so.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Day Two

I used that for lack of a better title. I'm bleary minded this morning and yet there is so much I want to write about...and no way to put it.

I hate mornings. I hate waking James up from his sleepy warm nest and making him get dressed, feeding him and making him walk off into the cold to school. Actually, I drive him, but I still have to watch him walk that lonely walk from the car to the school. Of course, I am projecting a lot of my own feelings toward school and its social situations onto him and he probably doesn't feel the same way about it, but I can't help myself. I just want to wrap him up and put him away so that the world doesn't get to him or anything bad befall him. Although, really, the worst already has.

I had nightmares all last night. From images of my him being the subject of a message board where horrible things were being written about him, about us. I know this stems from a search through Myspace and some of the comments that were left on my daughter's friends' sites. I am torturing myself.

Because, with each realization that he is not coming back comes the realization of how much I needed Leonard for my life to be right. I am frightened. Of not seeing him again. Of the wholeness of the emptiness here in this house without him. Of having to deal with everything on my own. It is lonely. I can't be so unlucky as to have my worst fear realized. And I wake up and it has been. It still is.

I started this this morning and then had to go off to work. I do work, sporadically, still. But it is becoming too much to handle for right now. The house I went to was a brick ranch, much like ours. They are a newly engaged couple in the process of remodeling. They are sanding the floors and repainting. They painted their living room the exact same shade as ours and looking at it, and the floors, brought back a flood of memories. Leonard and I, believe it or not, had so much fun doing the living room. We had so many plans for this house. And I have let our sweet little house go. I raked leaves yesterday and it was so hard to be out in the yard...his backyard, his garage...the places he worked, and puttered. I can't seem to look at anything anymore without thinking of him.

I had joined a message board for young widows (grrr...I hate that word) a few weeks after. Reading the messages would bring me down because they would all say things like,"Two months is the worst", or "4 months is hell" and I think How can it possibly get any worse?. So I stopped reading. Last week, at our Sandcastles group, a woman was saying,"The second year was way worse than the first..." and it frightens me.

What I am afraid of is how weak I really am. How easily I can shout at people (grandma, dad, well meaning friends). How quickly gut wrenching sobs can come and pleading with him to come back to me.

I look at the leaves that are falling, and I don't want them to fall. They grew when he was still here. His boots are where he left them, inside the door of the bedroom, and I yelled at the dog for knocking one over. His cat walks through the house, sobbing for him. Literally caterwauling all day long. And it is just me. The kids are doing really good. James has his stumbles, but much less than I thought. Nicole scares me because I wonder when it will hit her... and life goes on.

I am sorry for being so low so often. I feel guilty for not making progress. For not being able to reassure everyone that everything is "okay". I don't know what okay is. Or will be. Working from the fear angle, I am afraid that this is what it will always be.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

And, we're off...

Here's to attempting to blog every day for a month during NanoBloPoMo. Good luck everyone who decided to take up this endeavor.

I am tired , and I slept fitfully last night. It was one of those nights where you toss and turn and doze, but are aware of your surroundings...while also having nightmares. I could tell James also did not sleep well, and so I am being a bad Mom and keeping him home from school today.

He had a good time trick or treating. his sister took him out and also stayed in her costume, along with her best friend. No, they did not trick or treat. Just the boys did. I could not believe there were actual adults, trick or treating along side their children. But then, you never know a person's situation so I never question it.

It extremely rough evening for me...made better by the fact that my husband's cousin came over with her son to share the holiday. And grandma was here of course. Grandma, who I had blown up at mere minutes after my last entry here. I had asked her to please realize that I was having a difficult time, that it is kind of hard to even hold a conversation these days and that I cannot always run for her or listen to the complaints. Her response was,"Yeah? Well, my life is pretty difficult. I'm not wanted. No one cares." and I blew. And I am sorry. I regret it, but I had reached a boiling point with here. She is very much cared for, and taken care of, even though her health is terrific. She often spends time with us, lives with my mother, goes on vacations. So I went to clarify and she put up her hands and said,"Here me one listens...and..." and I screamed,"My wonderful husband is dead, my kids are trying to deal as am I! I am sorry I cannot make it about you at this time, but I really, really can't..!" Only it was much worse. To which she said," I guess I'm not can take me home now." and I refused and went outside for an hour or so. I sat on the swing that Leonard and I used to love to sit together in after he came home from work, and just cried. and screamed. and ranted. And my wonderful neighbor quietly went inside and let me. and calmed down. I went back in the house and, after an hour more, told my grandmother,"I love, I want you here, there are just certain things I don't want to talk about. I can't play mind games about anything's just not important. But, you have to know I'm just not the me you want these days." and she sniffed and walked away. But was better. She didn't ask to go home.

Thank God for Deb. She came over with her son to go trick or treating and brought some Birthday Cake flavored coffee. My husband used to stop by her house after work once in awhile, grab a cup and say,"Are you drinking that flavored crap again?". Once, he brought over a big can of Maxwell House. Every once in awhile she would bring some over to my house. He would come home, go to grab a cup and say,"I see Deb was over with her flavored crap again...

We talked about how much this day hurt without him, how much I still need him. I shared some of the cards he had written to me, and some of the conversations we had had. And, as a result, I can barely open my eyes this morning, from the swelling...which goes with talking about a man who is missed more than I guess he realized.

This night, this holiday, was a precursor to the next holiday and the next...and I honestly can't see myself doing them. But I have to. For James. For Nicole. and even for Leonard. But I don't want to. This hurt, this ripping, this poking Q-tips into an open wound that will never heal appears to be here to stay.

Here are my children, dressed for the night. As you can see, James added to his costume and made a most awesome Johnny Depp. And I finally got the parrot to stay on Nik's shoulder...with a lot of safety pins and some hair bands.

Thank you so much, dear friends, visitors and fellow bloggers. For reading. For caring. For commenting.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween

My little (okay, not so very little) pirate is off to school. It hurts a little because his teacher doesn't believe in room moms. I hate that he is growing up so fast.
I hope everyone has a wonderful day.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Hour by Hour, Minute by Minute, Seconds really

This post, like this day, will probably drag on. For that, I am sorry. I find myself wondering on so many days why it seems like they are so very, very long. Just two months ago I was begging for extra minutes and/or hours because it never seemed like there was never enough time. And, because I procrastinated until I was really under pressure.

To begin the day, I had a hard time letting my son go off to school. I am battling with his principal about a letter I received. Actually, I cannot even call it a battle because I cannot get this man (who I couldn't stand before hand because he is a pompous you-know-what) to even respond to my repeated emails and phone calls. I am *thisclose* to taking James out and putting him in the private school that his sister went to. Only, they know what happened and I really dread moments when I have to relive that day again, for someone else's benefit. Perhaps I am being too demanding, but I don't think so. They have him recorded as having 12 excused absences and I should "know that the district takes attendance very seriously and frowns upon any absence excused or unexcused over 10 days a year..." or something very close to that. The problem? My son hasn't been absent for 12 days. He attended the first day of school and then spent the evening crying in my arms. It was less than a week after his father's service and he just wasn't ready. His teacher was aware and agreed with my assessment of his ability to cope. Since that first week he has taken exactly 2(two) days off. One because he spent the entire night crying and one because he had a doctor's appointment. So 12? I don't think so. The principal not having the dignity to call me back when I email? I don't think so. Anger? Very much so... but still, always the helpless feeling.

While waiting for the email/phone call/acknowledgement from my son's school, I was dealing with Grandma. My relationship with her has become difficult at best. She is 84, healthier than most of us could ever hope to be (only don't tell her so because she is ill, ill, ILL, she will say). Before I lost Leonard, I could deal with her a bit easier because I could lean on him. She is demanding. She solely exists in her world. She will fake stumbles, and falls, and illnesses for attention. She is angry with me today...not talking to me in fact...only to say things along the lines of,"Well it's apparent that I am on my own..." or "I really should have let Cindy (Cindy is the woman my husband and I jokingly called my mother's "new daughter" because my mother has never felt I do anything for her, or care, and will freely tell the world as much) I was going to be staying at your house." Yes, she should have let a stranger to me know that she was going to stay with her granddaughter. Let it go, Laura, let it go. I wish I could. I have even confronted her (today) with the words,"My beautiful young husband is dead, not here, and I am trying as hard as I can to handle that and I am really sorry that I cannot feel bad for you right now... but I can barely think straight." which sent her off to my son's room to cry. GA-A-A-H... I really can't do that.

Moving along, I had a doctor's appointment today. I had successfully avoided the doctor for four months and was finally told that I needed to come in in order to get my prescriptions filled. So I went. Leonard and I loved (well liked a whole lot) our doctor's office. It took us 7 years to find a GP we felt comfortable with, and this doctor is thorough (sometimes too in my opinion), nice and has a really great staff. We liked him so much that we have referred my father, my mother, my grandmother and a few friends to him. They had recently (after Leonard) moved offices so I was not confronted with memories of the many times Leonard had sat in the waiting room with me, holding my hand, or messed around with the blinds in the exam room, threatening to expose my paper gowned glory to the traffic driving by. It is a new office-one that my husband had never been to. But the faces, the tears, the disbelief were the same. First, it was a nurse saying,"We just couldn't believe it when we got the call." and," I cannot imagine what this is for you..." It is not comforting to hear these words from the people you go to to make things "better". His doctor, our doctor, finally walked in. I had already spent a half hour relating the story to a nurse who had absolutely adored my husband, spoiled him, swooned over him (I was okay with it because she is happily married and old enough to be his mother) and who said she wanted to make sure that I knew how much she cared. By the time the doctor came in I wanted to run from it again. We talked about it for just a second... he is good that reading patients, knowing limits. It was all business for the next 15 minutes. The blood pressure? Is it stress? or is it out of control again? The joint pain? Strain? or a flare up? "You need to sleep..." "Take the Xanax" etc. etc. and then, as he was getting ready to leave he stopped, put his hand on my shoulder and said,"He was a really good man...", stood for a moment and then gave me a hug.

***He was a really good man*** Why does it have to be was? Why can't God, Fate or somebody realize how much I needed/still need him? He was for so many people... and he IS for me. He always will be.

I did "do" something today. I made dinner, and sat at the table-me, my children and my grandma-and I tried to choke it down while looking across at not my husband. *Thank you Shari from The Daily Three, that recipe was really well received by the children and my grandma which is really saying something.*



It was time to carve the pumpkins. Daddy's job. Daddy with the jack knife to cut off the top and then carefully, artistically follow every sharpie drawn line that his little boy had made. Daddy who would call out,"Come on Mama...come get these seeds so we can bake them and have some tonight." as I, rather happily did the dishes because I detest pumpkin guts. And we would admire our son's, and his father's work, look at the latest Old English D done by my Tiger loving daughter, admiring her talent. Our son would go off to shower, our daughter to homework, and I would wait for the moment to come where we could cuddle ourselves to sleep. A Family. Tonight I cut the top off my son's pumpkin with a regular knife, because I can't look at Daddy's knife,let alone use it. Tonight I let my son use one of those "saw like" utensils they sell now to cautiously cut his pumpkin, while my daughter did her old English D... and I cried. I cried while I tried to keep my voice light and my face hidden behind my son as he stood at the table. I looked at the empty chair across the table where 7 previous pumpkin carvings had joyfully taken place. I covered a bowl of pumpkin seeds to bake tomorrow because my son begged me for them..."for Daddy." and it hurt and it hurt and it hurt. And there is still no one to cuddle with. And he still feels just plain gone. And I don't want it to feel like this. And I don't want to deal with principals, and grandmas, and doctors, and drugs, and pumpkins and having to somehow pull it together for tomorrow night...where there will be endless memories of a wonderful man and his children...enjoying a holiday he once detested. And I am so very afraid.

These are pictures of tonight's carving. As you can see, my son is a very happy boy. I am so proud of how well he does so often while, at the same time, breaking apart at the thought of him growing up without the man he adored and so wanted to be like.

Leonard, your family aches for your presence.

Monday, October 29, 2007

New computer. Same life

I didn't blog this weekend because me laptop lost a key and 5 or 6 of the other keys didn't feel like working six out of every ten times I hit them. I was getting frustrated and decided to go out and buy a new one. One with hopefully sturdier keys. Or maybe I will take better care of it. Leonard was always telling me that it was disgraceful, the way my Vaio looked...with the crumbs and the worn off letters etc. It was a "well used" laptop. I am going to refurbish it and give it to my father. He has done so much for me he deserves it.

Saturday and Sunday were filled with missing who I used to be. My aunt and uncle are up from Texas and they came over on Sunday for dinner and visiting. My aunt really wanted to see the DVD that his cousin had put together and watch the video of the service. They were not able to make it up for the service, given the short notice. It was that day again. And all of us-my aunt, my uncle, my father, his girlfriend, my daughter, my son and I cried for what has been lost. This incredible man...this giving husband, and perfect daddy. I had been missing watching the DVD because I do love it, but I am afraid to watch it alone. I can watch it with others around, and cry because they too are crying.

And I hate myself for slipping backward. For screaming and shouting and crying in the car every morning when I drop my son off. Or any second that I get to myself. For wondering who I will be when my children grow up and go off on the lives they rightfully deserve. I find myself wishing it was not my life he had saved that night in January of 2005, but his own. My father begged me to come back today. He begged me to be who I was before all of this. Only one can't do that when they are missing their driving force. This is not how I want to be. I don't want to hurt. I don't want to care. I don't want to wonder. I do want to be existing purely for the sake of my children. But the book that was my life is only half written and there is nothing here to fill the other pages with. That is my fear. I am trying. God, how I am trying. But, when you close your eyes, and your mind is filled with your husband's face, and your last sight of his hands...the hands you wept over, kissed and attempted to breathe life into-in desperation of bringing him back-you lose the ability to know how to finish that book.