Saturday, February 27, 2010

Everywhere I go, there he is

My family recently took a group vacation to Mexico; my folks and I shared a condo, and one night E and my dad were discussing the upcoming World Cup.  I don't care a thing for soccer, but it rang in my mind for a moment, and I tried to figure out why.  The World Cup had been going on around the time that A died, I thought; was that right?  And then I did the math:  4 years ago.  Yep, it was right.  It's going to be 4 years this summer, and I'm trying not to think about it, which means, of course, that I think about it all the time.

The next morning, E and I were out to brunch, discussing this and that.  I mentioned A, and the conversation got around to E asking me how A came to be found, and how I found out he'd died.  It seems he didn't realize I was instrumental in that, and I wasn't sure why.  I know I told him.  Had he forgotten?  Had I been so out of it that day that I never did tell him?  Was that time, with his wife in crisis, a blur for him as much as it was for me? 

I told him the story in a calm voice, but inside, my guts were churning.  They do that whenever I think of that day, so I try not to.  It was hard to tell him, but I was also glad he asked; or rather, that he cared to know, that one of the hardest things I've ever done (putting the wheels in motion to find A) was being noted and recorded somehow.

We don't talk about it much; not directly like that, anyway.  Me, because E lived through the worst of it with me, and it seems unfair somehow to foist more of it upon him too often; him because...I don't know--I'm afraid to ask.  Maybe because it doesn't occur to him.  Maybe because he thinks he's protecting me by not bringing it up.  Maybe because he's lived through the worst of it with me, and doesn't want to go there any more than strictly "necessary."   He always listens quietly, too quietly, maybe.  I have no idea what he's thinking, but my paranoid heart worries that it's "Christ, this again?"

But my deepest heart knows it isn't; my deepest heart knows it's "Christ, this still." 

Sometimes I wonder if I don't give him enough credit; it's a hell of a thing for a marriage to go through, and we are here, still standing.  He's generally a sphinx on the subject, and I'm a coward; I don't ask questions I might not like the answers to.  I guess we give each other the benefit of the doubt; can't really ask for much more, can we?

Thursday, February 11, 2010

My obit

I was reading this article today about a gala event in memory of Natasha Richardson. Donna Karan remembered her as "a woman full of joy and happiness." And I thought that was about as good a memory as one could hope to leave. I would love to be remembered that way. I really would.

I don't know if I ever was that person; I might be too sarcastic to ever achieve that. In my own recollection, I can say that there may have been a period of time in my life where that was true; maybe a few. But what I know for sure is that should I die tomorrow, that is not how I will be remembered.

That saddens me. I wish it weren't true.

But in my own defense, I don't have any idea how to become that.

I spent half an hour last night, maybe more, taking apart game pieces for the Albertson's Monopoly game. I played last year, too. I opened all the pieces and dutifully separated the stickers and put them on the game board. 17-18 of them, only to find that I did not, in fact, win big or at all. But wait! There were the online codes I could try, too. I "won" one prize: a coupon for a couple bonus stickers the next time I shopped. That was another 20 minutes. I couldn't really think of anything better to do, though, at the time.

Along with this, I have been entering online daily for the HGTV dream home. I don't play the lottery; it's not that I don't have the same urges and wealth fantasies that other people do; I'm just cheap, and I understand math, so I'm unwilling to blow my cash on impossible odds. But apparently, I'm willing to play if it's free, or money I've already spent anyway. Even as I've been wasting my time on these fantasies, I've been kind of laughing at myself, while genuinely wondering why I seem so serious and diligent about these two ridiculously long shots. And I think it's that I really want, maybe need, to believe that something really hugely and unexpectedly awesome can happen to me again. Because the last thing like that to happen to me died three and a half years ago, and deep down, I wonder if that was it for me, as far as lovely cosmic surprises go. Or rather, fear that it was.

Intellectually, I could say to myself that, as lucky as I've been in life, in love, I have an audacious amount of nerve asking for more. But what I feel is that it's going to be a long rest-of-my-life if I have nothing better to do than drag myself to a job I hate because it kills me with boredom and daily stupidity, drag my tired ass to the grocery store afterwards, and spend my few free hours trying to win sweepstakes prizes. (I certainly wouldn't be alone in this feeling; Powerball jackpots wouldn't be as high as they are if a lot of folks didn't feel this way.) For a long time, I had no hope that I'd survive losing A. Now, I'm looking for the hope that is the spark that keeps us going through adult routine year after year. Once you hit a certain point, there aren't so many milestones or changes that shake up your life for the better, like when you were a kid, or when you have kids. I've got menopause, retirement (if I'm lucky), and death left.

It seems a ridiculous whine, even to me. But while I've learned to live again, I don't have my groove back. I am distinctly lacking in joie de vivre. Am I just spoiled to think that that's something I'm entitled to? People in Haiti are living under tarps, having their legs cut off without anesthetic, and I'm moaning about my severe case of ennui? Maybe I don't need a spark; maybe I need an attitude adjustment; problem is, I don't have either at the moment.

I am so much better than I was. So much stronger. I enjoy my life so much more than I ever thought I would again. Or, more accurately, I enjoy enjoyable moments in my life, if that makes sense; I'm not sure of the life as a whole. And yet...jeez, there are some dark, sad corners within my head. Makes it kind of hard to be a person "full of joy and happiness," no?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010


Querido A,

Your pictures flashing on this digital frame have really gotten to me tonight.  I just miss you so damn much.  Your beautiful face, and all your different expressions.  I just can't believe it's been 3 1/2 years since I've seen any of them happen live.  I still can't accept that I'll never get to again.  How is that right?

I loved you so much then.  I love you so much now.  It never stops hurting, you being gone.  I never stop missing you.  Sure, I do fine; but when I think of you, I never stop wishing you were still here.

I love you, Sweetie.

Tu J, with tears in her eyes