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01 December 2013
Sunday Morning - December 1st
The emotional flips continue to bounce between grief and relief, anger and acceptance. As I told the salesman at the furniture store when we finally decided on the loveseat for the SD only to find it was out of stock 'let's see what else you have because I have a short shelf life on decisions these days - need to strike while the iron is hot or I'll forget it all together.' In that case, it worked, because as we continued to look we actually found a better piece but it too was out of stock. His daughter, knowing me, dragged him up to the counter and had him write up the order with no money down. She wanted her furniture.
I'm wondering if I need to go out and google 'appropriate mourning etiquette for the grieving widow' and then again I may tell my SD to 'bite me'.
I decided instead of going out to a restaurant yesterday I'd just do whip up a homemade chicken, tortellini soup with bruschetta, pesto, spinach and mediterranean vegetables. We put up the folding table and ate like a family again. Three times in one week. That's more than the last ten years. This served as a dual message to me. One: I do need to continue to keep 'food' in the freezer for last minute decisions like that. Two: I'm staring at my living room off and on thinking of a way to put that loveseat I'm considering over on a wall to make room for a permanent table should these spontaneous meals continue to occur. As the TV is now no longer the focal point the furniture doesn't need to be arranged with theater sitting.
The reference to etiquette was because during the meal she pointed out I was wearing a plain gold wedding band on the wrong hand. I am not sure if she's sensitive or clueless, or if I am. I've NEVER worn MY real (good) jewelry around the house, especially when cooking. This was a practiced hammered into me back on my very first wedding set as advised by the jeweler.
Cutty loved to give me jewelry, real jewelry, good jewelry. He would not allow me to wear costume jewelry. I'd explain that there are some pieces of costume jewelry that are vintage and actually more valuable than gold and diamonds but he stood firm. The ONLY compromise he made was earrings because he knew how easily I'd lose them. He actually bought me five, yes FIVE, wedding sets BEFORE we finally exchanged our wedding vows. He just couldn't make up his mind. Another wedding set on our 10th anniversary. Many diamonds, sapphires, emeralds, etc., throughout the years. A huge 4ct ring we appropriately dubbed 'ZsaZsa' for the 20th. Heaven only knows what would have come on our 25th next April. I'm wondering if Bart at the jewelry store is building something as I write.
Ever so often he'd comment 'why don't I ever see you wear 'that ring' or 'this ring' and I explained when I wore all of the rings at one time people wanted me to read Tarot cards and predict their futures.
But as I explained to the SD upon her admonishment, "I know which hand is correct and I know what I'm doing."
Twenty years ago I bought Cutty a gold chain link bracelet. He always wore it on his right wrist because his watch was on the left. As he grew sicker and could not get his own rings to slide comfortably onto his swollen, curled fingers, he told me his bracelet was his 'wedding ring' Each time he went to the hospital I'd remove it; each time I replaced it on his return home we referred to it as 'putting the wedding ring back on.'
I'm wearing his bracelet on my left wrist. A plain gold band on my right ring finger. This is around the house, where I never wore jewelry period. A long explanation to share that I have given this much thought. I'm not sure what I'll do tomorrow when I begin my return to 'public life.' I am still trying to figure out the 'rules for Widows'. Maybe there's a 'Widows for Dummys' short version out there.
Last night I searched on line for a 'theme' for the first real Christmas tree in years. I don't actually have any of the old 'cherished' decorations as we gave them all away when he just couldn't tolerate all of the trappings of a holiday in which he couldn't participate.
Again, feelings of 'timing' and trying to make his world special. Last year I did put up a 4ft table top lighted tree in the living room. It was one of those 'surprises' I mentioned where he came out one morning and found it and because it was small, contained, minimal it was acceptable and appreciated. I am not sure if I can explain that in writing but will try: it showed I was trying to give him a little bit of Christmas without OUTDOING it the way he would have done if he'd been able to get to the store. Shopping online was never Cutty's thing. The knives purchased this summer off TV was a reminder. He liked walking and looking and touching and filling real shopping carts, not virtual ones. Those knives are in storage bins for now. Not sure what the future will hold for them.
But after seeing him accept the Christmas tree, I continued it for several months - different trees for the holidays not typically recognized with trees. I decorated trees with themes for Valentines Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patrick's and Easter. And of course, he had a 65th Birthday tree. I could probably pick up a few bucks if I decided to take orders for that Valentine tree. It was a small white artificial lighted tree; I went to the dollar store and with another $20 or so in various puffy red and pink hearts, garland and silk roses it was so pretty that every man who visited him offered him a $100 for it to give to their 'wives' as it was something so unique they knew it would be appreciated.
Cutty LOVED Christmas. We'd started dating in November and I was conflicted with joy and dismay to watch him fill my townhouse with Christmas decorations - back then too, for the first time ever. I'd NEVER gone to that much effort for 'just me'. The other conflict was I knew he was spending almost his entire paycheck to do so and this sort of financial frivolity did not bode well with my penny pinching ways. Centerpieces, napkins with rings, candlesticks, train sets and more. As his health declined to the point he could no longer go into the stores to see all of the 'really cool neat things that we could finally afford without hiding from the car payment' so did his enthusiasm. My buying it and bringing it home to him just didn't have the same joy.
I'm trying very hard to 'find myself' without 'buying it all'. I don't want to replace 'caretaking' with 'retail therapy'. As we walked the aisles at Lowes and looked at the carousels and Nut Cracker Suites and more, I fought the urge to fill the cart ala Cutty. I have always loved carousels and have many with music boxes now accumulated via gifts from him throughout our marriage. So as I couldn't decide a theme last night, I began rejecting the idea of the tree altogether.
I was reflecting on one year when funds were so tight that we did go out and chop down our own tree off our own land. He made the stand. I cut up a couple of table clothes and tied them into ribbons and bows for the branches. A quilt for the skirt. No lights. Someone had given me a box of candy canes at work. That was the entire, simple, zero cost but endearing tree.
This morning I'm looking at pewter type picture frame ornaments. As our marriage preceded the 'digital cameras and Iphone' period, we accumulated thousands of photos already printed.
I slept last night. Medicated but nonetheless, slept. I'm a little more rested than I have been for days but a bit dismayed because of the dreams. In my dream Cutty was telling me he really wasn't dead and that I needed to catch up the payments on two properties he owned but I didn't know about. This is likely my subconscious working because he did always have a couple of surprises up his sleeve or things going on he forgot to tell me and I'm wondering who'll climb out of the woodwork now with their palm outstretched. Like the time we were driving on the last true vacation we took together nearly 10 years ago and he says, 'Oh, by the way, I'm building a racecar.' So the conversation about 'Uh, I thought we agreed major purchases would be a duel discussion' ensued across a whole state.
I'm frustrated with the dream because it's the same one I've had for 15 years since my Grandmother passed. She's in my dream, telling me she's back and I need to catch up the payments on her house. I've never known what it meant and now it's happening with Cutty. It did make me think, just maybe, we had credit life on the ranch mortgage and I may need to look at that. That would be nice.
Cutty did not have any life insurance. Not a dime. As I explained to my step daughter before AND after his passing: "Dad's death isn't the lottery for anyone, not even me.' I'll still need to step out in the shop every day. While our building and hers IS paid for, allowing that should times get even harder I only need to earn enough to pay the annual taxes and insurance (and of course, utilities and general expenses of life) I still need to pay for the other commercial buildings. But that ranch mortgage, that would indeed be a relief financially. Guess I have a project for the weeks ahead.
I continue to be touched by your endearing patience and support. This journal allows me an open forum to write, monologue, and move on. And then you come here and read and comment. It's so needed, so appreciated. I'm avoiding the phone and people in real life because, as usual, I'm finding myself listening to them rather them to me. I get it, as I've always been the listener. Maybe that's why I do write so raw, honest, expressive? This is the only place I get to proceed without interruption or having the conversation steered back toward their agenda. And I so appreciate the space I have here and the friends I've made. I'm truly blessed.
Much love, and even a small hug and an air kiss,
Make Peace with Myself
30 November 2013
Saturday Afternoon - November 30th. Despite the frequency and length to which I journaled in the past I feel the need to do so much more right now. This week has been a blur; recording these details will help me later I'm sure.
After submitting my journal this morning I found myself at loose ends. My energy has peaks and valleys. I realized I was hungry and wanted to dine out again - something that I haven't been able to do with any spontaneity or convenience for so long. I also wanted to spend some time with my grandson's so I phoned them and said 'If you can get up and be here in 15 minutes I'll buy you breakfast at Cracker Barrel - they were here in 5. The promise of food to two growing boys - get's 'em every time.
I can't remember if I mentioned this but WoodWick has incredible candles. They flicker like a fire and the scent of a medium candle fills the house. Another first in a long time - burning candles in the home. Any scent like that, even a warming pot, caused Cutty even greater difficulty breathing.
After breakfast we went to Lowes. My backyard has taken a backseat the past few weeks. Several freezing temperature days in a row and my mums are all gone. I picked up a flat each of purple and yellow pansy's. I will plant them either this evening or tomorrow. I remembered thinking how Cutty will enjoy them when he looks out the bathroom window. I still forget.
Soft little timing bells continue to ring. When Cutty turned 65 on his birthday in October I was able to enroll in his insurance; it became effective the first day of November. And he reminded me constantly to take care of it until I did. He knew.
Many people in town often joked that Cutty was the equivalent of 'The Godfather' so in honor of him I put the DVD on today and invited the grandson's over. My SD refused but later appeared saying 'can't be home alone right now.' Did I ever mention Cutty's TV in the living room has a 73 inch screen? It's like a private theater in here. The bedroom TV is 62 inches; we call it 'the small TV'.
Breakfast at Cracker Barrel was 'Mama's French Toast' and hot tea. Obviously my two little munch monsters don't wake with as great an appetite as they display in the evenings. I fully expected them to finish off the other three slices of my toast; they didn't. Neither did I. I just had Orville Buttered Popcorn for the first time in nearly a year with a Seagram's Blackberry Sparkling Water. I'm craving Italian food thanks to the movie. I may go out for dinner again.
The funeral home phoned to tell me Cutty's cremains (what a word, aye) were already returned and available to pick up. I thought it took weeks. I'm not even going to scatter them until January 10th (the day we got engaged).
I found a Christmas tree I liked at Lowes but watched the last one be snatched by another family. Ahh well, that's why there's online ordering. It's 7.5 feet tall. A life size tree in my living room for the first time in nearly ten years. I haven't decided a theme yet. One day at a time.
Thank you for stopping by. Bless you.
Make Peace with Myself
30 November 2013
Saturday - November 30th - 4am and I've been up for over two hours. I'm now sitting in Cutty's chair sipping sleepy time tea hoping the muscle relaxer kicks in and I can go grab a few more hours of sleep.
I didn't get out of my pj's until 5pm yesterday and that was only because I wanted to go look at living room furniture for my SD. I'm a little aggravated the 'other' furniture store refuses to take back the $1400 adjustable bed I bought for Cutty, the one he was in less than a week. I can get the whole 'he slept on it' but they won't even give me an in store credit for the frame. Monday I'm going to ask my attorney for his opinion. That's too bad if they don't; we've bought a lot of furniture from them for over 15 years for us and the kids but that business relationship is over as they've forgotten the concept of customer loyalty. Typing this just now gave me an idea. I think I'll research the company and write or contact the owner directly. I think the latest new manager (effective Friday) probably lied to me when he said he did contact the owner and ask. Something about his tone when he phoned me. As I often write: this is why I journal.
7am now - I did manage to go back to bed a grab a couple of hours sleep. Mushy is sleeping so tightly pressed against me lately I'm humanizing her again with 'she knows and she's cuddling for comfort'. Typically one or two leg pushes or playing with her feet and she'd scoot over to 'Daddy's side' in defense but not now. Maybe I'll need to take that side of the bed, eventually.
At 'the only other furniture store in town' my SD picked out a reclining love seat with the center console and I am seriously considering one here in my own living room to replace the recliners with the table between them. A different look for Bellawood. I continue to balance out the moments of panic and grief at the reality that I'm 'all alone now' with the realization of possibilities that comes with I'm "all alone now."
Some parts are still very sad. Looking at the refrigerator with the French doors I'd been considering recently was overwhelming. It seemed SO Large for just 'widowed me' now. No way I needed that much space for my own food as I plan to continue with my refrigerator reform instituted this summer. I do think I may start having the occasional 'Sunday Dinner at Moms' now that we won't be disturbing Cutty or making him tense with a room full of loud people. That will help me use a lot of that pantry food they don't mind eating although I will still eat fresh.
But in balance, pulling out the many boxes of framed pictures from storage, pictures I'd displayed at our previous home but Cutty did not want hanged here because he didn't want the hammering or the holes in the walls, I thought 'well, it's my decision now and that's why they make putty and paint ((to cover the holes later)). I picked up a beautiful frame last night to give new life to one of my favorite photos of us - it was taken about 15 years ago at a Chili Cook-off before he became so ill. In the photo he's kissing me but you can tell I was still yakking away and I have my index finger pointed as if still in mid-nagging.
I put it on the wall this morning at 4am, waiting for the 'what's that damn banging and you know how I feel about holes in the wall reprisal' and accented it on each side by some new wall art with little 'messages' One reads 'Life is not measured by the number of breaths we take but by the moments that take our breath away' and just now typing that I realized there is a double meaning as he had so much trouble breathing, period. The other reads 'Life takes us to unexpected places, love brings us home' and that too touched me because he'd always be accepting and encouraging of my corporate travel 'as long as I remembered to come home now and then.'
Mindful eating has stayed with me throughout this so far. Yesterday I didn't eat until 6pm (we went for Sushi after the furniture store). How odd, how weird as I sat down at the table and immediately pulled out my cell phone within view 'in case Cutty phoned' because he always did. Even odder as I didn't feel the need to eat in a hurry and we just meandered at the mall later. It was after 8pm when I returned home. I had cottage cheese and berries before bed because I truly felt hungry again. I'm not sure what I felt at midnight when I grabbed two Fig Newtons after letting Mushy go potty resulted in setting off the security alarm. I sure don't need a Pavlovian response forming like that 'sirens equate eating'.
Speaking of Pavlovian responses, I think Mushy is trying to tell me she too will be okay in her crate while I'm gone for a while to ease my concern of having to retrain her. She'd began equating 'Mommy's keys are jingling, she must be going somewhere" with automatically getting in her crate. Another prayer of gratitude expressed to God. I'd prayed so much he would give me the strength needed during this chapter and he is giving it to me.
When I was telling my 'sort of sister (a story for another journal) of Cutty's mood swings toward the end especially with his dropping and spilling and asking the same question repeatedly and borderline verbal abuse, she said 'I don't know how you did it, I wouldn't have had the patience.'
I reflected on how so many times I've journaled of being at my wits end with him and trying to hold my temper until I could escape to my bathroom or scream into a towel in the laundry room but never really experienced that feeling that much in the past month. I recognized God was protecting both of us during this time as well as he gave me a wealth of patience needed to pick up the dropped things, mop up the spilled things and still be able to cradle Cutty in my arms with true love and affection. That gift has helped me move through these days without guilt. I'm not amnesic, I remember times this year of expressing my frustration at him but not in the past few months. Timing is everything.
My SD continues to search for 'what happened' as if it's a puzzle. She IS dealing with her own guilt for her lack of participation in his life toward the end. I'm not really sure if I can help her with that nor do I need to. She has her Father's gift of 'rewriting history in her own mind' and I'm sure within a month or so she'll be telling the story that 'she was with him to the end.' She'll leave out the parts that she only did that because I PHONED her and said 'you really need to come home NOW' despite her callous absence for two days preceding. Yes, I'm still trying to balance my resentment with the knowledge that I need to forgive, forget and move on.
And life goes on. When I sit quietly and read your comments on my journals and private messages, I pray more gratitude. For this to be 'all things food' I have to repeat, as so often expressed in my journals, this community is so much more. I'm blessed to have found this site and have been incredibly blessed with the people here. You are all such great people I'd invite you over for dinner and wouldn't even serve you the processed food from the pantry.
Make Peace with Myself
29 November 2013
Friday - November 29th. Intermittent sleep continues to control my schedule as I'd grown so accustomed to only doing it in two hour intervals for so long and remaining in bed past 3am had become long forgotten memory. While I am doing well to avoid turning to alcohol to numb me through this process I did take an extra muscle relaxer this morning to help me return to bed at 4am and stay there until 8am. Much needed rest but I woke, noticed the sunlight then looked at the clock and panicked until I remember not needed; Cutty wasn't waiting for medication or meals. Mushy did get her pill late and I may consider moving her 12 hour schedule up a bit. I like being awake early but maybe not 3am unless I plan on taking up a paper route.
His obituary should be in the paper today. I will walk over to the newspaper office and get several copies to mail to his family out of town.
Just as I have related so much of my food habits and weight loss to metaphors and correlations, I am doing the same with this loss. I have been thinking about 'timing' and the intervention of the universe.
It may seem shallow but I compared it first to the Keurig this morning. I remember thinking so many times when it first came out how 'well, that would be fine for a person living alone but I can't see it for more than one person.' And yes, it made sense in an office setting because I did know the aggravation of walking into the break room to always find the coffee pot empty and thinking 'do I want it that badly?'. So to have finally decided to order and receive it less than a week before he passed .. well, you get the idea. While the individual pods seem pricey, so was the expense connected to pouring 3/4 of a pot down the sink day after day because I'd make a whole pot not knowing how much I'd want (when he was in the hospital).
Another timing thought yesterday, Thanksgiving. When I told him the 'kids were coming and I was cooking' he insisted I order a long table and folding chairs for the meal. This was when he still planned to be here. I'd said 'we can make it work with the ...' and he'd barked 'stop arguing and do it, please.'
As nine of us (twice as many as expected) set around that table (plus another) as a family, rather than eating on our laps, sitting in the floor, etc., me at the head of the table now as I began to assume my role as the surviving Matriarch, I would look at them and then up toward the heavens and say 'you knew, didn't you.' Because he, himself, would not have been able to sit up at that table. Had he been here, he'd have had to watch from his bed.
And he would have been miserable with 9 people filling a room typically occupied by just us (and Mushy of course) Just as I'd pondered cancelling it earlier this week to protect him from that anxiety, I had to connect the cosmic timing of his passing.
Even the decision to proceed as planned with the dinner was arrived at using his form of logic, ala, 'What the hell, you've already jumped through hoops to get the 40lb bird thawing in the fridge, what are you gonna do, open up a soup kitchen that day?'
And bittersweet, while we did have some great Thanksgivings before he became so ill, they always had that typical family drama. Back in the day Cutty drank he was a very happy drunk at first but would turn a bit aggravating toward the end of the day. He'd never be mean to me, or perhaps he was but I was too obtuse or hardened after having grown up in a household of similar examples, but his daughter never managed to grow her '90 proof suit of armor'. She'd allow him to reduce her to tears every time.
And after he stopped drinking I finally recognized he was as uncomfortable with large groups of people as me. We were both genuine introverts and preferred our solitude. But as he hadn't spent a lifetime of skillfully stuffing his emotions into silence with food, he'd lose his patience and bark at someone anyway. More tears. As he grew sicker, it grew worse, until we just did not have people over for 'Thanksgiving'.
I remember last year, at Christmas, thinking 'that one' could possibly be his last (and I was right, something I realized just now as I typed that) I tried to have a 'day' without attaching all of the holiday sentiment day. So instead I labeled it the 'Cutty Family Snack and Game Day'. I wasn't trying to be irreverent toward the true meaning of Christmas. I just wanted to have a good day with his family. It wasn't. He was irritated and projecting it on all around, hence my hesitation at whether to proceed with yesterday when the expected guest list somehow doubled without intention.
But, to repeat, bittersweet, it did not end in tears or hurt feelings. Without him here to blast the TV at us for being too loud (or laughing) or having to rush everyone out as soon as they put their fork down, we laughed. We told stories about him. We shared experiences and memories. We laughed and danced and for the first time in a long time I saw a look of relaxation on the faces of those around me. Maybe they saw mine. I was a Mother Lion with my Cutty; his feelings came first above all, but I knew the toll it took on me as well as those around him. Walking on eggshells wondering when 'Gramps' was going to explode has been the standard operating procedure for so many years that I could see them looking back at his chair waiting for his reprisals.
I knew the eggshells were here for the grandsons. They were such easy targets for him. They were in total shock to be 'dancing to loud music with Nana in the kitchen.' We've never done ANY of that, ever. I am not sure if they are as bad a dancers as me or just did it because I am. We looked like fools. My youngest grandson actually smiled and relaxed. It's a new era in Bellawood.
His father died one day before him years ago and the way the Thanksgiving holiday always moves around to accommodate the last Thursday in November it was the '25th'. He outlasted his father by one day. I can imagine he tossed in a 'I beat ya on that one, Pops' as one of his final breaths.
More timing comparisons. I'd already planned to close the store this weekend anyway for the holiday. For the first time in about 5 years I could actually phone my friend and say 'hey, let's go shopping and lunch' without inconveniencing his daughter to have to sit with him on her day off from work when she'd like to do the same. Yet, my friend went out of town to visit her brother. I caught myself thinking 'really, of all times' and then had to remind myself this wasn't that 48 hour pass I had back in August, this would be for the rest of my life.
It's odd. Very odd. It's as if (another reference to time) my watch broke. To have spent the so many years on such a rigid schedule this absence of the internal clock brings me both panic and relief. While I wonder about 'being on time' it also feels, yes, I'll say it, like a release from responsibility. How many times have we used the excuse, 'I'm sorry I'm late, my alarm didn't go off'?
As so many of you have encouraged me, I'm not doing anything I don't want to do right now. The other night someone stopped to visit and when they couldn't get me to the door they went next door where my step daughter lives and asked my son in law to notify me they were here to see me. I was sitting in the back, in the home, with my step daughter, wearing our silly socks and drinking hot cocoa. I told the SIL to say 'she's resting'. I didn't feel like visitors.
More time relations - I believe the 'old school' rules for widows exacts a year of wearing black and being in mourning. How ironic as 90% of my wardrobe used to be black but as I began morphing into a new me the past year I began wearing more color and discarding the black. Does this give me an excuse to go shopping or the power to make my own rules?
I was also thinking about when he was in the hospital a few weeks ago, the night I made myself NOT go to dinner, NOT have wine, NOT fill that time with activity. The night I made myself SIT here and appreciate the quiet and serenity of my own home without the TV blaring and oxygen machine whirring and BiPap machine humming and his constant 'I want, I need' requests. That was the universe telling me 'learn to relax in your home alone.'
I finally understand it. Rather than that feeling of 'I'm actually free of responsibility this evening, I should be out shopping and doing something' I also connected that many times the reason I did want to go elsewhere, when he was here, was to escape all of that chaos of the TV and machines. My bathroom and backyard provided that at times but many days I wanted more.
I realized that this morning. It's 9:30, sunny, not unbearably cold outside, yet here I sit. No urge to run off. No anxiety to escape.
This may read callous or it may be read with understanding. As the old saying goes, it's my journal and I want to recognize everything I'm feeling.
Thank you for so many wonderful, kind, compassionate, supportive, and heartfelt comments on my journals lately. I am not obtuse to the one sidedness of my interaction here as I have not read nor commented on yours. I appreciate your understanding and patience with me as I work through this phase and promise I'll soon resume a more balanced interaction in our friendship here. For now I'm having to have so many listening conversations in real life it's a comfort to come here and pour out my thoughts. And you are all so special to me for allowing me to do so, I'd even, yes, let you hug me :-)
Make Peace with Myself
28 November 2013
Thanksgiving Evening. I'm curled up in Cutty's chair with Mushy and reflecting on the day. But let's do the food part first: nine people here but I made enough food for fifty. And it's all gone - taken home by others. I saved enough to share one more meal with Mushy but that's it. I didn't want a fridge or freezer full of leftovers.
The food in the house is overwhelming me. Not in a 'I want to eat it all' way but in a 'I'll never eat this food' way. Cutty always took great comfort in seeing the pantry (measuring 10x10x4) full of food. As I try to eat as fresh as possible I rarely ever use any food from the pantry for myself outside of the canned tomatoes . I am fighting the urge to box it up and give to the kids or a food shelter. Two rack of lambs in the freezer. I'll eat those. Frozen breaded fish - nope.
After submitting my journal this morning I decided to move on to a few 'chores' including changing the bedroom linens. That's when I lost it. I could still smell him on his pillow. I began sobbing. That progressed to a deep painful howling. I started pacing and left the bedroom and went to check the turkey.
More howling as I remembered how he always cooked the Turkey before he got sick. Cutty was a heck of a cook and I can still remember him setting with the chef down in New Orleans getting his recipe for the embrochet. I was angry. I felt cheated out of good years with him.
But the lyrics of the song I'd shared in my journal earlier were still running through my head and I began humming. I brought music from my studio into the kitchen and played the song for real and began dancing and singing, imagining him with me. Back in the day before he became unable to operate more than a TV remote he ran the show. He would have the music on in the kitchen as he cooked and we would dance.
So I began dancing. Around and around imagining him with me. I danced so long and hard I actually got my sweat on.
His daughter had been hinting that she wanted one of his rings. He'd given one to each grandson when he was alive. I went through his jewelry and picked out the ring I gave him for his birthday the first year we married. Story time.
Cutty was notorious for spoiling my surprises. I obviously telegraph or talk in my sleep. He'd mentioned ONCE that he wanted a certain type ring while we were dating and I bought it a week before his birthday. I wrapped it and put it in the pocket of a 'new robe'. In my mind I imagined him giving me a forced 'oh, a robe, thank you' and then finding the ring when he stuck his hands in the pockets. The wrapped box was my equivalent of the Trojan Horse.
Two days before his birthday the statement from the jewelry store came in but the ring charge hadn't recorded yet as I'd timed it that way. He looked at the bill and saw the available credit and said 'I think I'll go get that ring I want for my birthday.'
I couldn't believe it. No way I could wait or stall - otherwise, he'd think I only went and got the ring because he brought it up. So I tossed the wrapped box at him and said 'happy early Birthday'.
My stepdaughter was expected to come over about 10am to help me in the kitchen - I phoned her at 8am and said 'it's not an emergency, but I need you to come over here for a few minutes. Pajama's are okay, no one's here, but please come now.'
Yesterday, after the final viewing at the funeral home, I went to a department store to walk around for a few minutes. Again, so odd not worrying that he's home alone and needing me. I bought two china coffee cups with beautiful flowers and butterflies on them and two pair of 'silly toe socks'. I called my step daughter over and made her pick one of the hands behind my back. She was crying and I said 'nope, time to wear silly socks, relax, laugh and drink hot chocolate'. I also made bacon quesadilla's for us and we just lounged in the recliners - after I unplugged the phone.
When I slid the ring on her finger she started crying. I turned on the music and told her 'we're gonna dance with Dad now.' She remembered those days. We danced for another half an hour - spinning and turning, twisting and leaping. When my grandson's came over we danced again. At one point one said 'it's hot in here' and then stopped in surprise. Cutty kept it so cold in here for the past two years to help him breathe we all ran around in warmer clothes and bundled in blankets. My legs are sore this evening. I bet I'll be feeling this tomorrow.
I ate so mindfully during the meal it was if EWYL was guiding the fork. I picked out the foods I wanted and even had half a slice of pecan pie. I ate slow, did not over eat, and felt satisfied. Such a change from last Thanksgiving when I sweated every calorie, decided this was one day to 'over indulge' and spent the evening sick and uncomfortable both physically and emotionally.
I still forget he's really gone. I still think he's just in the hospital and I'll move something thinking 'oh, he's going to hate that.' When he was still walking it was with great exhausting effort so he was most comfortable with very little furniture around. He also wanted very little light in here. So dark, so barren for so long.
I've added a chair from the upstairs bedroom and have two more lamps illuminating. It's bright and looks like a home ready for company. I keep thinking 'I wonder what he'll say when he comes home.'
One day at a time, right?
Make Peace with Myself
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