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Stupid Bike

Hadley wanted me to get a bike so we could go bike riding together.  I finally agreed to it this weekend. Nothing fancy, just an inexpensive one from a random store. It was already put together, so we rolled it out of the store to the car. Getting it in the back of the car was a problem. It wasn’t particularly heavy, but it wasn’t super light; it was awkward enough that it would have been much easier with another person helping. I got more and more frustrated, and not just because I couldn’t get the thing into the car. It’s because so many things would sometimes be easier with another person.

Stupid bike.

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My, How She’s Grown

Sometimes I look at this little girl of ours and am amazed at how she’s turned into this lovely little person. She is loving, generous, empathetic, opinionated, sensitive, and just a wonderful human being (I know…I’m biased.). We’ve been having some rough patches like tantrums and regular 5 year old things, but also things like not wanting anyone to be different and not wanting herself to be different because her dad’s not here. I can’t fix either of those things but I try to talk to her about them the best I can. I’m probably not really doing it “right,” but it’s the best I can do.

Anyway, I’ve been looking at some pictures and thought I’d share some of them.

Who doesn't like a daisy headband?

Who doesn’t like a daisy headband?

IMAG0088

Just a year and a half ago.

Lemonade Day 2013

Lemonade Day 2013

I really think she’s awesome and I tell her that all the time. I hope she always remembers it. She may not have her dad here with her, but that’s not what makes her different. What makes her different is her beautiful soul.

 

The Ring

This weekend, I took off my wedding ring and put it away. It’s felt like more of a prop for a while, anyway. Another way to hide. It keeps questions away and it keeps me from feeling as if I might be being judged when it’s just Hadley and me out and about. I joked with my friend that I was taking it off in preparation of this picnic we’re going to, but that’s not true. I’ve been thinking about taking it off over the past few weeks. I don’t know what changed; I think it just started to seem like such a charade. “You and no other.” That’s what our bands say. We loved our rings because they are so simple. But the band doesn’t really tie me to Jim anymore. It’s just a thing. He’s not wearing his; mine is flying solo. I’ve been carrying both of them in my pocket for the last couple of days, planning to go to a jeweler to have them design a piece containing them both. I still want to do that. But if it doesn’t happen, Jim will still be in my heart and I will always remember the day we got married.

He wouldn’t want me to stay stuck, I know he wouldn’t.

Missing Man

One of the benefits of working in my building is that I have a great view of planes and helicopters when they are in the area. One side of our offices face the airport; I once watched Air Force One as it made its descent. Friday, the city held the Memorial Day service and it concluded with a flyover in the missing man formation. Because of my view, I could see the planes as they did their initial approach; as they turned to the north to straighten up; then as they flew over the monument and the designated pilot broke away to the west.

The flyover is always moving. For some reason, this year it was more so. I started to cry as they came into sight. Jim was in the Navy, not the Air Force, but still I cried. I cried for me and I cried for all of the rest of us who deal with the missing person formation every day. I will now look at this flyby differently. It will still be moving; now it is also just a little bit more personal.

Three Hours

In three hours it will be exactly five years. Nine hours ago five years ago was when it started. It was horrible. And surreal. And I can’t forget it. Nearly every single part of it. Jim started dying twelve hours before his body gave up. I really hope he stopped realizing it long before then.
A friend of mine sent us roses today. She wrote a lovely note and the roses were perfect. Hadley wanted me to read the card. I started to do it, not realizing what might happen. I got a few words in and thought, I’m not sure I can read this. But a deep breath and some additional resolve, and the tears were pushed back down where Hadley couldn’t see them.
I want to be alone but I don’t want to alone. I think I want to wallow in it a little this year. The proverbial sackcloth and ashes, you know. Just for a day. On April 7th, tomorrow, I will be out the other side for another year. All I have to do is keep walking.

Throwback

“Don’t cry because it’s over. Smile because it happened.” ~Dr. Seuss

I attended a viewing today for a co-worker’s daughter. She had said to me earlier in the week that she felt like this was dredging up old memories for me. Dredging would mean that those memories are not at the surface.

When we got to the funeral home, interspersed with the food set up we were doing, I kept remembering. There was advice for the family from various people; people who hadn’t been there. Who didn’t know what things the husband would need to help get through. How, even though he seemed to be completely calm and controlled, it is very likely that there was only a thin mental cable holding the control in place. I remembered how it felt to be standing there as people filed past. Today, I couldn’t do it. I watched the slide show and started feeling hot. I felt the tears here and there, but I’ve gotten good at pushing those down. Then the show ended and the Dr. Seuss quote came on screen. And I wished that I had done something as nice for Jim’s funeral.

I didn’t go through the line. I had the excuse of having to get back to pick up Hadley. I wanted to say something to the husband. To give him some heads up on what will come. To tell him he can talk to me. But I didn’t, because I know that now, none of that will mean anything to him.

I will be through this soon. I know I will. The sun continues to rise and set, the world continues to turn. I will get to the other side of this minefield in a few weeks.

Fragile Control

The entrance to the minefield this year sneaked up on me. My head must have known, but she was keeping it to herself…maybe hoping the rest of me wouldn’t notice. I’ve been cranky…and short tempered…and on edge. I chalked it up to needing a vacation as well as just knowing so many people who were going through things right now. And then on Friday, it hit me. At work, while I was crying in my office with the door closed, for someone whose daughter is probably not going to beat her cancer. Today marks the start of the chain of events from 2008. February 24, 2008 was Jim’s first day of his business trip…the trip when he just couldn’t shake his “cold” and was going to bed early every night.

And so it begins. I can recite the milestone dates. I can tell you what day of the week they were and nearly the exact thing I was doing at certain points in time. I’d like this version of photographic memory to go away, please. Where were you when I was taking placement exams at college? Why didn’t you show up until this point in my life? A photographic memory for only this particular 6 weeks of my life nets me nothing except sadness.

Sometimes I tell myself that I am doing this to myself. That maybe I don’t want to move through this. That maybe I am holding onto some of the grieving because I don’t know how to be or who I am without it. And then I tell myself that thinking that way is crazy. It’s blaming myself for grieving. Who is to say that this shouldn’t bother me anymore? Who says that someone should have “accepted it” by five years out? I’m a slow study…maybe for me, it will take ten years.

I’m sure my other external stress doesn’t help any, but I sure have wanted to scream at the world and kick some things lately. In six weeks, I’ll feel differently I’m sure. But tonight, I’d just like to curl up in a little ball and cry.

This grief stuff sure does stink.