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.

Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Writing the Book

My husband and I had a joke of sorts. Or maybe it was wishful thinking/hoping on our parts. He loved to read the little essays I would write him and put in his lunch box. But he was easy to wow, because he hated to write, himself. I was always tinkering with this short story or that. Getting upset when my creative writing prof said I was more of a poet than a writer of prose. But, I do/did see more of the poet in my own writings after that class. My penchant for the run on sentence, abstract breaks, random ideas bouncing in...and, always, the incomplete sentences. But hey, that is what editors are for. But, I am getting off track. I had started a novel (interestingly enough, it was titled "I Promise Not to Laugh During the Seance" until I began this blog, and stole the title. It has sat on my computer for years. It has started and stopped, been deleted, recrafted and abandoned for months at at time. It was difficult for me to keep it together long enough most days to get anything down because,as mentioned, I procrastinate. I have so many memories of things I didn't get done that now wound me, because he asked me often about them.

And then there is the book. We would go out and look at houses. Sometimes they were slightly above our means. He would look at me and say,"When are you going to write that book?" with a wink. I would dither and say something noncommittal about how many chapters, writers block, these things take time, the kids... etc... Over about 10 years, we would sort of joke about this. It was always "When are you going to write that book?"

He will never ask me that again. Today, I realized I never will/can write that book. It belonged to him/us. I begin to think that I would/will have to completely reinvent myself in order to survive. And so, In a second goodbye/funeral/realization of loss, I called up the book one more time


I hit delete.

And I hope, somewhere, he is reading the book that I had already dedicated to him. The book that, using fictional characters designed for him to know that they were us, detailed a 2 decades long love story. A pouring out of all that I felt for him. A sort of collection of the things I had written on cards he had read, notes I had sent. They are gone from me now. Just as he is. And it was another rending, but I couldn't look at it sitting there anymore.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Just Babies, really...

That's all we really were. I needed him and he needed me. I am standing here on the edge of what feels like it will be a very long and bad stretch of time. I don't know why (yes I do) and I am frightened of what the days ahead hold. I can't pretend it away. I've tried...I've tried to tell myself that I will be "okay" without him and then I begin to doubt it. Hanging on, hang on, be there, I say to myself. Look, look, look at your kids.

Really, thinking about it...he helped me with my insecurities (there are so many) he told me I was beautiful even though I never saw it in myself. He praised my intelligence, all the while doubting his own. I remember, one night after I had gone back to college early in our marriage, showing him my grades. An earnest, beseeching question from him. "Do you think that I am stupid?" A little boy...wanting the assurance that no, he definitely was not stupid. God, he was so not stupid. I used to look at the programs he wrote, and listen to the things he said about them in awe. For I am truly dumb with numbers. Any household problem, troubles with the car...fixed, by him, before I could even begin to stress. But that one question of his,"Do you think I am stupid?" rang in my head and made me hurt so badly for him all of the years of our marriage. He was the baby in his family. I, the baby in mine. In my family, I was the only girl...adored by her father...tolerated by her mother at first. A tolerance that grew into disgust and competition. I craved love. I needed love. He gave that to me. He was the younger of two boys. The one that his father told his mother,"you can mess up, I've already got a boy." Or so that is what Leonard always felt. The heir...and the spare. The second. The stupid. The one who was always told so by his father. Always told, whenever he did something,"Now why the hell didn't you come to me and ask about it?" Now why would he? Why should he ask a drunkard. The man who took so many chances with his sons' lives that it was a wonder he existed for me to fall in love with? Here I should be grateful that he survived all of that...but he is still gone...not here...never to live here on earth with I who need and love him ever again. He nurtured me. I nurtured him. We gave each other the things we both craved as children. I still need that.

So I sit here in this empty house where we used to love each other, encourage each other, and cheer each other on. And it is such an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and need tonight. And I can't see it ending. Not when he is in my blood. I need to go house hunting with him, and watch stupid World Poker Tour episodes, to fix him a sandwich at 11 PM at night, I need to fight with him over the credit card payment being a little bit late, or our differing parenting ideas. I ache with this need. I need him to turn to me in the middle of the night and wrap me in his arms, burying his face (his oh so beautiful face) in my neck. A whispered,"Love you". That's what I need. I am selfish. I can't help it.

Monday, January 14, 2008

Go Tigers

The kids with newest Detroit Tiger Dontrelle Willis

Tonight we (the kids and I) met up with a friend of mine from DU for the Detroit Tigers Winter caravan stop at EMU. She was able to get us VIP passes to the meet and greet before the rally. It was a wonderful treat given by a wonderful human being. We were able to walk up and talk to the players, coaches and GM. They had a great time and Nicole was able to make it through the whole thing, even the rally. I was a little concerned but she made the decision to do it. Magglio had to cancel but I don't think it bothered her one bit. We'll save that for another time maybe. After the rally we went out to dinner with Molly. She was so very thoughtful and I am always knocked speechless by the kindness that people have shown to my children and me. It makes an unbearable pain a little less so.

I only had one moment where tears threatened, in an otherwise really happy evening. When they showed the season in review on video before the rally. Last year Justin Verlander pitched a no hitter. My husband used to bug us about watching every game. As in,"Do you really have to watch every game?" That night I walked in the door (I can't remember where I was) and saw him sitting in his chair, watching the game. I said,"You're watching baseball willingly?" and he smiled. He also chewed gum (for gumtime) right alongside us when Magglio hit the homerun that would vault the Tigers into the World Series in 2006. He was always there when it mattered, sharing the fun. And I can't imagine life without that shared happiness. Somedays I can't imagine a life filled with decades at all. So I try not to. I try to enjoy the little breaks and rests from tonight.

Thank you, Molly. That was wonderful of you.

Sunday, January 13, 2008

Blasted Sundays and Bedsheets

Sunday is, by far, the hardest. I almost wish I could sleep through it until Monday. But then I would miss one day with the kids in the house. I am a mess of contradictions. I sometimes wish he had bowled on Sundays, or golfed in the summer. But he never did. He kept Sundays for us. And Sundays without him are filled with tears in the bathroom and hours of waiting for it to be a decent enough hour in which to go to bed.

I was in our room today. I don't go in there very often, except to toss papers, that I don't want to deal with, on the bed, put away clothing, grab an earring or two etc... Today I was putting some clothes away and my eyes fell upon the bed. I haven't slept in that bed since Saturday, August 25th, 2007. And I know I could never sleep there again. Stupid and silly? Perhaps. It is just I cannot sleep there without his arms around me. I cannot stare up at the ceiling fan and think happy thoughts without hearing his breath (or usually, snores) besides me, or the weight of his arm across my chest. I can't do it. I know this is probably unhealthy, but it is the only way I can survive. Avoidance of some things. While I stood there, I realized I hadn't changed the sheets since that Saturday. They were fresh sheets that Saturday. So I ran my hand over the area that his sleeping body had last lain, next to me. And I cried again over how very much is lost, how much I hurt, and the realization that this will be how it is.

I begged for you over and over again, Leonard, to just come home, come back to me. I wish you could hear me...and then I dread that you do. I don't want you to worry anymore.