Just never seems to end. Kathleen’s best bud, the freckled little face I first saw at the age of 4, is dying. Her third bout with ovarian cancer was apparently too much. She had a stroke, got pneumonia, the cancer is spreading, so they decided to remove the ventilator on Saturday.
She fought valiantly, and I was always humbled by the humor and optimism she showed. I tried to pep her up every chance I got, but every time I left I bawled. TO see her bald, so tired and obviously in pain…she called me Papa Ross. I didn’t earn it until lately, maybe, but she did. She will be remembered as the best friend every dad wants his daughter to have. Her speech at K’s wedding left us all in tears, her sassy red wig flipping as she gave THE dedication to my weeping daughter.
Times like this I miss you even more. I always imagine what it would’ve been like, if you were ever able to take care of me during times like this. Pointless now, I know. But I have a one track mind, and it tends to repeat things like that.
Sorry to dump this on you. I know you have other things on your mind. I am thinking of you.
I knew it wouldn’t be the same this year. That I’d feel out of sorts, maybe even a little grinchy. I can’t remember a worse year. and if one is coming I’d rather bury my head in the sand and pretend it isn’t. I guess there should be small comfort in the fact that the year is almost over, but I don’t have hope that 2014 will be any less a swirling mess.
I put up the tree. Mostly, because I wanted to see if the dog would bother it. He doesn’t care. I started to do my usual. The Santas, The decorations around the house. All of it, the way I have for many years, only to find I had no desire to do so. No desire to look at all the Santas lined up on the mantle, covering the tree.
Santa has changed. I can’t look at them and see any of that childhood joy once there. Santa used to be the ultimate squeal of joy, the magician who steals into your house, leaves the bounty, and disappears. Now, there is no such thing as magic in the world. No way to remember back to those times when the whole world seemed to revolve around that morning. I haven’t had Christmas morning with Kathleen in 13 years. Half her life.
The tree looks pretty. I’ll post a picture. It isn’t done yet – more ribbons and bows. It’s a quieter tree this year, which is good for me. I put the empty boxes under it, just to have something there beside the eventual dog presents. My boy, zonked out at the foot of the bed. My world, I suppose, since other relationships have escaped me.
I wish I knew how to live. What to do. How to shake off this constant sense of sadness and dread and sometimes, near panic. I can feel my life, my future, the parts of me that mattered…slipping away a lot. The joke and dark place that is work. The near empty home. The bed, alone but for dog snores. The lack of friendships and companionship and most of all, the love that I so treasured, almost worshipped, in the form of a tiny woman I loved to wrap myself around, inside and out.
I’ll get through the month. But just getting through isn’t enough. There aren’t any charms or spells to make it okay. Just the next day, yesterday’s near clone, each week boiling down to the same bouts of self-doubt, self-loathing, and increasing isolation from the world.
Christmas. No thank you. I want it past, I want the tree back down. I don’t want even the subtle reminders of what USED to be. The Santas can stay in their boxes, where they’re safe from my desire to just throw them all in the trash.
It’s a curse to remember, sometimes, but a curse I’ve cast upon myself so thoroughly that it’s inescapable.
I hope you are well.
It never ends. Never.
I know that on any typical day, there will be hundreds of reminders of you, big and small. The sock monkey looking at me in the spare room. Along with about every other aspect of this house, the moment I wake until I nod to sleep. Songs.
Then the secondary. The things that are new, but still tie themselves to you in some way. I’m finally watching The West Wing. There’s an awesome female character, spunky, bright…I check the credits, and her real name isn’t Maura, or Mara, or Mora…it’s Moira. Yeah.
I struggle very hard every day. Some days valiantly, some days poorly. I try to commend myself for struggling at all, but many days I’m not impressed by hollow victories, those battles that can’t be truly won, but just appeased until the next day, when they can be battled again, bled again, half won or lost. Again and again.
It’s like clockwork. Right around mom’s anniversary, I get all philosophical. It lasts til the new year, normally. I’m always glad to see it gone. The mind whirs, the thoughts click. Luckily I get some writing out of it.
Tomorrow. Me, the pup, Thanksgiving. One more than I had last year. Football, wine, a big meal. It will be sad, but okay. I miss family Thanksgivings. A lot. They were weird and funny and, after the fact, wonderful.
I hope your holiday is wonderful. You deserve that and more. Kiss those kids, if they’ll let you. : )
Years after, those were the nights that haunted me. The normal nights, the nothing special nights. Some people would have called them the boring nights, but they were my favorite, since anytime I got within fifty feet of her boredom wasn’t a term I could ever use. The stay at home evenings. Just her, me, a bottle or two of wine, some warm clothes, a movie while we sat on the couch and shared space. We occupied each other, built a little force field around us until our little spot on the couch became another world.
We always touched. She’d stroke my arm. Her hand rested on my thigh. I twirled her hair, rubbed her back, massaged her aching hands. We always touched. We could sit for hours, laughing at stupid movies, getting misty eyed at sad ones. Or some nights, just talking and listening to music while we kissed a hundred times, lost together. The main concern was just that we were there with one another, sharing something I still can’t properly describe. At times, the feeling, the energy, how we made the world…it almost overwhelmed me. I watched her face as she sat beside me. Her smiles, her tears, her laughter. I fell in love with her a thousand times.
We didn’t have to go to dinner, to a party, anywhere. We were. We were everything. Wherever we were together was the center of the universe, the best place to be.
When you’ve been in love, you will think of that person for the rest of your life, no matter how wrong it might’ve gone. You’ll remember the great highs. The passion. The important events. The heartbreaks. You recall them, play them back like a movie, wishing you could recapture those feelings. But when you’ve been in LOVE, you recall so much more, you long for so much more. You crave the quiet dinners at home. The talks that sprang from some simple thing one of you saw or heard. You crave the small days as much as the huge hours. You relive, you revisit, you twist every sensation around your mind, letting each tendril of memory dance like whispering smoke through every part of you that yearns and hopes. Once you’ve LOVED, nothing is the same, and there is no amount of time that takes away the intensity of what you were lucky enough to have bestowed upon you.
Five years later, I could still feel her against me. 3 AM, I’d shudder awake and imagine she rested beside me. I called her my little furnace, because the heat coming off her petite frame was incredible. Still, no matter how hot I became, I never wanted to lose contact with her. I would uncover my arms, my feet, my ass…anything so I could maintain that closeness. That sensation was engrained, and when I woke to realize she wasn’t there, it felt too much to bear.
This time of year, the light slips
stealthily away from the wintering sky,
leaving mornings awash in a dark film,
evenings struggling against black blankets.
I walk them both, early and late, trying
to feel past the growing smother of cold.
Music plays in my ear, songs we heard,
songs that remind me of all lost and found…
When I’m all alone it’s all right
It isn’t going to wound my pride
If anyone can claim they’re all right
So can I.
So strange that even on my tiny street,
a block from bright streams of a hundred cars,
I can go out late at night, into the backyard
and see a more dazzling set of lights.
The stars, the familiar line of Orion’s Belt
on its winter tilt, almost as though he settles
down into the coming cold for a warm sleep….
I will be over you when I can begin or end a day
without thinking of your tilting, down with me
into our bed, away from the sometimes cold world,
the way your warm body hummed in my arms,
the vastness of our nights matching the winter sky.
Funny and strange that I feel the need to write this tonight, when just a week before I convinced myself I wouldn’t post anymore. I’m full of contradictions, as you well know.
It’s the roughest time of year here. Being alone toward the holidays really sucks, of course. But it’s so much more. Our 6 year anniversary has passed. I thought and thought and I can only say, that in 2007, it was the 20th. A Tuesday. We decided on the 18th, but on that year it was a Sunday. Maybe as with most things, our best effort got us in the neighborhood. I do know for certain that I thought about you often. The 18th. 19th. 20th. All that really matters is that we kissed one another on that day. We found something again. My mom’s anniversary is next Monday. Then, the holiday. The only thing lifting me is that the pooch’s birthday, my best friend and loyal companion, is Tuesday. Otherwise, it would be so much darker. I know you understand with your own anniversaries looming.
I loathe this time of year now. Giving thanks. Celebrating family holidays alone. The empty promise of fresh starts and New Years looming. All false, because some things you never get to start again. Or forget.
I brought back the blog because it belongs equally to you, it’s of you, for you. Yours more than mine. it seemed selfish to keep it away from you, and I’m working very hard to not be selfish. To be a good guy. I hope that sometimes it makes you happy to read some of my words.
I do miss you so much. I haven’t gotten any better at dealing with that. Just better at trying to not complicate your life. I hope you’re okay, love. Know that I think of you all the time. I wish you well in my heart.
Today was the big day. In the courtroom at 8:30, out at 8:35. A few questions and it was over. Again. I spent the whole ride home wondering why the hell I ever got divorced a third time, because I never should have been married to her again. Live and learn, as I continue to discover about so many things,
So, I’m free again. Legally, anyway. I haven’t lived with her or anyone for 14 months, so the official paperwork doesn’t change anything but my official status. Am I really free? No. I was pledged years ago, to you. But I guess being legal is something,
I haven’t talked to you in three days. Don’t worry, I understand. First, it has to be hard to hear me, I’m depressing as hell these days, all gloom. Second, you’re a busy girl. Work, family, friends- the hours needed are many, the hours available are few. Third, for you to reach out, for comfort and support of me…just not an expectation I have. I think I’m trying a new thing where I have no expectations. That way my elevated sense of disappointment can’t engage. We are who we are. From our conversations lately, it appears that we love each very much, but don’t really think that much of each other. I guess it just goes that way, sometimes. It’s been an incredibly rough three days, every minute spent in grief. Yes, I wished you’d reached out, hoped you would, but I know the situation.
Sorry. I know I’ve been such a prick. I hope in the future I can be a better person. It’ll take time.
Still. I can never say I’m single. That word will never apply with me, you’re too deep. But I am legally alone, that’s something, even if the alone turned to loneliness long ago.
Too much to text. It’s easier this way.
Last night, all I wanted to say was that you had been through so much. Of course, it was taken as being possibly sarcastic. How, I have no idea. But that’s that.
I have never been madly in love with anyone but you. I’ve never been so willing to put down the barricades and traps and let you know exactly how I feel. To this day, it’s still a little scary – always is when you bare yourself to someone, even the love of your life.
I used to be so independent, so unwilling to let anyone help me. I’m not like that anymore. I’d still rather help than be helped, but I’m more than willing to accept a hand. I guess it’s just unfortunate that I’ve painted myself into a corner, one where no help is coming. I’ll get a kind word, a how are you doing. Believe me, I savor each one. But as far as what I need right now, which is someone to take care of me…well, there’s no hope for that.
I know I’ve always been harsh about you not taking care of me, not giving me what I need. Do I feel that way? I do. I’ve never gotten answers (either from you or myself) why it’s that way – if you’re unwilling, unable, or simply just don’t know how, despite me very clearly stating how,
And that is the most awful thing. When I read books and poems and saw movies, I saw what true love was supposed to look like. When I fell totally in love with you, I experienced how it’s supposed to feel. But I also thought that true love was supposed to encompass a lot more – that when you tell a person you love them, they’re the “one” for you, that you take care of them when they need it. That you rush to them, even if it’s inconvenient or weird or uncomfortable, because love tells you to put the other person first. Maybe that isn’t what true love is, if it even exists. I’m starting to think there’s no such thing.
In short, I guess I expected, so many times, you to be able to do some kind of magic to make me feel better. To take away my loneliness and sadness and hurt. But I’ve always expected way too much of you, of us, and I guess of love as well. Sadly, you can’t expect all those things of someone who was never truly yours. Maybe if you had been mine, it would’ve been and felt differently. Instead, I’m left with the worst combination – loving someone, longing for her to just make the pain go away, juxtaposed against the reality that the best I could expect is a few texts and phone calls, and maybe a short visit.
No one is going to rescue me. No one is going to really reach out to comfort me. I attribute most of that to who I am – I’m just not the person people are going to take under a wing. Not sure why – I’ve never made it a secret that I’m far more needy and sad and longing for comfort than people think I am. Maybe I’m just not lovable enough. Maybe I’m somehow paying for all the wrong things I’ve done. Maybe I’m just too proud, too independent.
All I know for sure is that I need to figure out a way to deal with this fresh chasm without falling into it. It’s so bad right now, and without the luxury of family (haven’t heard from any since they left) or a woman to tend to me, it’s sink or swim on my own. Jerry was good enough to let me rant last night, but it’s no substitute for what I really need.
I’d always dreamed we’d be so perfect. That we’d hold one another up, that we’d be the perfect beacon of how people in love are. Now, I just don’t know if we have anything. I know how I feel, but really sadly, it seems to me like your feelings have changed. I can accept that – no other choice.
The funeral is tomorrow. I’m going to march in with my head held high. I know he loved me very much, and me him. After it’s over, I’ll have until Tuesday to try to come back a little, so I don’t feel so doomed and desolate. Luckily I have the Coopster to love on me. He’s been great.
Once again, I have to rebuild myself. I’m just so tired and cynical and scared and, to this point, unwilling. Seems a waste of time to build back what will surely be torn down again.
I know you have your life to tend to, honey. Go forth and continue to do it. I am going to try to be all right. Please don’t feel you need to check in on me – I hate being someone’s obligation. If I am more than that…well, you should’ve shown it, not just said it. I think it’s too late for and do overs or repairs.