Thursday, January 17, 2008

The Magic Beer Fridge

My husband only drank MGD (Miller Genuine Draft). He drank Budweiser when he was younger but then realized how yicky he would feel the next day and made the switch. He was not a beer snob, although he did like Dragon Mead, a local microbrew that came in jugs... but, mostly, it was MGD.
Our favorite thing to do on Saturday night was to put some music on, sit at the table and talk. He would have a few beers (sometimes a few x4) and we would talk...about his work, the kids, our life. He would wink at me now and then and I would feel so very safe, and loved. Cherished.
I would, because I wanted to and not because he made me, get up and shake the can he had. If it was empty, or close to it, I would get him another. We had nicknamed the fridge the "Magic Beer Fridge" because, just when we thought we were out of beer, I would poke and prod among the haphazardly balanced leftovers and condiments (you would die laughing if you saw the inside of our fridge) and, magically, come up with one more beer. And we would laugh. Sometimes I would stand in front of the fridge and say,"Oh...Magic Beer Fridge, give us a beer." and I swear to God it would. This never works with soda pop, eggs, butter or anything else but beer, so I wouldn't suggest you try it at home.
Tonight, I found a beer...way in the back, covered by a tupperware container of stew from longer ago than I am going to admit to. And it brought me to my knees. There's no one here to drink it and laugh with me.

It shocks me sometimes when you all tell me that I am strong, because all I can see is a weakening, a feeling of incredible loss and failure. Thank you for your encouragement. It means a lot in these days that are pulling me apart.


red tin heart said...

It is funny how that one thing that reminds us of the ones we have lost can do that to us, bring us to our knees.
I remember when my sister died, that after the funeral I was playing one of her albums in my bedroom and a letter rolled out of the album sleeve.
I read it and was shocked that it was about me. It was a letter she was getting ready to mail to my other sister in Indiania.
It talked about how Mom was mad at me for spending my allowance to soon. I just sat there and held the letter and cried.
She wrote that she thought it was funny. That she would have done the same thing at my age. And I felt comforted by her words.
Sending you loving thoughts tonight... xoxo Nita

Karen R said...

Dear Laura,

I have to come out of hiding. Your Magic Beer Fridge story is so funny. And then bittersweet when you found a long lost beer. Thank you for sharing. Hang in there, I think you're doing very well.

Hugs to you and your children, Karen

Gayle said...

At around 10 months, those memories and reminders started to make me feel good instead of bad, at least some of the time. Some things still bring me to my knees, as you so aptly desribe it, but more make me smile and feel warm inside. Somehow the focus shifts from the loss to the life.

I don't know when it will happen for you, but I think that it will. The sadness that he is gone will always be there, of course, but it won't be the prevalent feeling it is now.

Marshamlow said...

I do think you are very strong. Not because you don't feel the pain, but because you are able to be brought to your knees and get back up. You might have a good long cry but you are always able to get back up again. I am cheering for you everyday. I extend my hand to you whenever you need it. Sending good thoughts.

Michele said...

I would think that the little, subtle things like this would be the ones that would bring you to your knees. You expect holidays and birthdays and anniversaries to be hard and you have time to prepare a defense.

This is a perfect example of how long and back-and-forth this greiving process is. I still think you are so very strong.

Courtney said...

I second what Marshamlow said. You always get back up. E-mail me if you'd like to hear my magic beer fridge story!

Ronni said...

Strength is going on when you think you can't.

You are strong.

haylee said...

Dear Laura:

When I look back on the previous months -- especially to Nicole's illness -- "failure" is not a word that comes to my mind.

Maybe strength is not so much something one feels as it is doing what needs to be done despite the feelings of weakness and unthinkable loss.

This must feel like you're in a maze and can't find the bloody exit ... hopefully time will provide some peepholes to better days.


Nance said...

The fact that you are willing to remember shows your strength.

Cathy said...

I SO so so so so get what you are saying. Such a good post - it gets to the heart of exactly how you feel.
I wanted to let you know that someone gave me the book, "The Heart of Grief: Death and the Search for lasting Love". It is about loving and having a relationship through death (in spite of death). It is helping me A LOT. If I knew your address I would send it to you. Its on amazon.

Jess said...

As soon as I can I will drink a MGD in honor of Leonard. Hope your weekend has a bright spot or two, Laura.

rachd said...

LOL! I LOVE the magic beer fridge! :oP

It's awful, isn't it? To have the memories, but not the person? Strong is when you keep on keepin' on and you *really* don't want to. You're doing well, and moving through your grief as only *YOU* can.


Betts4 said...

Memories. sometimes they really hurt and sometimes they make you smile. Sometimes it's both.

Jim was a coors lite beer man. And got lots of crap for drinking it after the Coors scandal thing.

Thinking of you and sending warm thoughts your way!

Jackie said...

As I sit here drinking a Budweiser, I can only wish I had a magical beer fridge. Preferably one that randomly found me Smithwick's, but I digress.

It is the little things. I'm still upset that I misplaced my dad's keychain Swiss army knife when I moved into the house. I still have the matching pen and the letter with the knife (it was a political gift), but I can't believe I lost track of that nice.

On the other hand, when I finally went to his grave a couple weeks ago, I smoked a cigarette with him. I left one of my Camel Lights on the headstone for him, even though he was a Marlboro Red man. I don't know, in a weird way, it really made me feel better. Of course, Mel pointed out that my mom will one day complain that some miscreant is leaving cigarettes and a shot glass on his headstone.

Anyway, I'll be around late afternoon/evening tomorrow. Call me and I'll call you right back.

Shari said...

I was going to tell you that I could relate to what you said about how everyone says you are strong, but you don't think so. This is because people say that to me. I don't feel strong. I just go day-to-day, coping, dealing with it. That's all you can do.

Then I read the other comments. And I have to agree. You fall, you get up. That's strength. (from Marshamlow) and how the grieving process of loss is a back-and-forth thing (Courtney). I get angry, depressed, and go through it again.

I think I am beginning to understand so much more as I relate it to my condition. I miss what I had and don't want to lose more of it.

Does this make sense?

becomingkate said...

I really love that 'best friend intimacy' that you described in your beer story, and remember how bad the withdrawal from it made me bereft. Thankfully, a few years later and those stories brought comfort because I knew I was still loved, I could still feel it.

Donna said...

You are an Incredibly strong woman...either that have a family of munchkins living in that refrigerator and you need to...What?? What is that? Is that a smile I see??? 'love to you Sweetie!

Emblita said...

My husband loves MGD as well, ... I can imagine that it is the small things that you end up missing the most.

Maya's Granny said...

Just as courage is doing the thing you are afraid of, so strength is getting back up after you are brought to your knees. We need strength to lift large burdens, and we don't have to lift them easily or throw them to the cieling. We just have to get them up enough.