Rule #23 – Focus…
I can’t believe it’s been two years since you left. I remember each moment of the last few days together like it is still going on, and I’m watching a horror movie. You did leave peacefully. But since then, so much has changed. They say the second year is harder than the first. And the ubiquitous "they" are right.
The grief never went away. It gets less painful with each birthday, anniversary, and holiday. But it’s never gone. I really did feel like I lost a vital part of my being when you left. Like I had an amputation… and I still have some phantom pain in my heart.
But I’m writing this to let you know that I’m doing better this year… we are all doing better this year. I’ve taken steps to improve my life without you. It hasn’t been an easy task at all. Just those words “without you”… they are such a huge hurdle to get over.
All of the financial things were taken care of immediately. I took my own advice and now have a will, with hand-written codicils for specific items. I will keep as much money out the hands of the state of Maryland as I can, just as you wished. But no, I will not move out of state. I will stay within a day’s drive of our kids. Your sister is finding out that the state of Texas isn’t the retirement gold mine she thought. Not sorry we didn’t move down there at all. It’s too hot there anyway.
I did clear most of your clothes out. Some worthy person will be wearing your work clothes. The flannels are the real exception. That was your trademark. Each person will get a shirt, and how they honor you with it is their choice. I did find your travel tee shirts. Your cousin offered to quilt them up for me. I will take her up on it. Your ties – all of them- will go to our soon-to-graduate-into-the-business world nephews. You hated ties anyway. I found myself back in grief counseling after I was finished and everything was out of the house.
Now the big project is the basement, or better known as your Cave. I can’t figure out why you liked it dark and stuffy, but you did. Lots of the piles of things you kept are now gone. I have a person who may want the radio equipment that is left. I got the basement door replaced and it no longer needs a jamb to keep it closed. It’s also mouse-proof. Next job is the windows… getting security block windows down there. That type of window gives more natural light. Through the winter coming up, I want to finish off the basement with better walls and traffic flow. I want it to be a useable space for anyone, and not to look like a Cave anymore.
This year, I was able to garden more. I had no desire last year. But now I need to clean out the gardens, get the leaves up and mulch them, and get things ready for winter. I had the energy this year. And I need to do this myself.
I haven’t written as much, but my muse is coming back. Slowly but surely coming back… I was able to work with the dog book and the snow dance book this year. I even submitted the snow dance to an agent for critique. There is hope for this writing career and I’m willing to be patient and enjoy the process of writing and researching. You were not so patient. I remember you saying that everything I wrote should be published immediately and I should make a million dollars. Not sure I want the IRS headaches of a million dollars. I just want to enjoy what I’m doing.
Some other things… the Orioles made in to the championship level of the playoffs this year. The Ravens aren’t doing too badly either. Yes, I am having baseball withdrawal symptoms already. I went to spring training last year, and had a blast. But I did it by myself. It was great to explore Sarasota. I met up with lots of our friends and got to walk around lots of gardens – something you were not too keen on doing (the garden thing). But when I turn on the classic baseball games on MLB network, I can hear you moaning out loud, “You’re kidding me!”
Our daughter is getting married next year… but you knew that. You found a way to let her know you approve of her choice. And he is a great guy. You would be so proud of how the wedding is coming together. I’m glad we put money aside for it, too. I’ve been able to give her a great venue and caterer for next year. They are taking care of the rest of it all. And her dress… well, it’s gorgeous. She’s going to look fantastic walking down the aisle. But you are missed through this whole process. Oh, so much!
There are times I feel so alone, without you. I talk to the walls out loud like I talked to you. It’s as if you are still around. Now if I’m caught talking like this, I’m sure there will be psychotherapy recommended. Maybe it’s time I allow myself to possibly start dating again. Not sure how to do that, since it’s been so long. I’m just trying to be happy and productive in life. I’m not used to focusing only on myself.
You’ll be happy – or jealous – to know my health is still good. My blood work numbers are all normal – something that drove you crazy. I did join Weight Watchers to bring the tonnage under control. And I am exercising, though not as much as I should. I’ve got to change that, and I will. Baby steps, Hon, baby steps…
Yes, Love, I’m getting things done around the house here. I’m still traveling. I’m taking care of myself. I’m seeing the kids and our mighty hockey playing grandson as often as possible. I’m still involved with church activities. Garden club is still my neighborhood connection. I am in group therapy for the social part of moving on. I’m ready to embrace the next year without you to see where it leads.
But I’m still doing all of this without you. And I miss you beyond words. But don’t worry about us at all… we will be ok. Yes, just ok… because you aren’t here to share all of this with.
And now to focus on life…
With all my love,