Friday, September 6, 2013

Day 93


September 6, 2013

Day 93

Three months ago today…one-fourth of a year…a month from today it will be one-third of a year which sounds like a lot more but only a month more will have passed.  Still, a whole quarter of a year…  It’s in the 90s right now, but I know in a few weeks the air will cool and fall will be upon us.  That’s going to be seem so wrong (although autumn is my favorite season) because I feel like I should be forever stuck in summer now.  I feel stuck in June, anyway.  I have such a hard time these days remembering the date.  Sometimes I’ll say, “Well, it’s July such and such” and then I have to remind myself that no, Ben is back in back in school, and it’s September already!  Before I know it Christmas will be upon us, but that’s a thought I don’t want to even think because I am dreading that holiday without Paul.  But skipping it isn’t an option, either, since I have children.

I saw my second Lozier truck this week while out driving.  And…I was ok.  No tears this time.

Tuesday night the boys played flag football.  This will be every Tues. from now through Sam’s birthday next month.  Both Will and David played on the teen team.  To my surprise, they had a team for Sam’s age – I had no clue.  He wasn’t sure he wanted to play, at first, but I took him over and he had a ball (no pun intended)!  So I spent the entire time trotting from the teen game at one end of the field, to the 5 & 6 year old game on the opposite side.  This is where having Paul present would be nice!  But I guess I’ll call it my exercise and be good with it.  It was neat though – both Will and David had a sparkle in their eyes by the end of the game that I had not seen since before Paul’s death.  They really had a good time!  In fact, Will had such a good time that he tore up the skin on both his knees and has been limping around ever since.  Five years of regular football in the public school and I’ve never seen him in this much pain- must have something to do with all that protective gear he was wrapped in at school!  I think Tuesday nights are going to be good for all of us.

I miss going on dates with Paul.  We haven’t been out since May.  I remember we were going to go to The Checkerboard, like we usually did, but when I said that, Paul said, “Why do you always want to do the same thing?”  It’s true – I do.  I’m safe that way.  I always order the exact same thing at different restaurants (Olive Garden: chicken Parmesan, Fazolis: club submarino, etc) and I like going to a select few restaurants I am familiar with.  Paul was more adventurous.  He liked to try new places.  Of course, doing that we ended up eating at some real dives over the years, but we also found some real treasures.

I remember one date in Omaha he had found this little hole in a wall while working.  He arranged for us to go there one night for a date and when we arrived, there were roses on the table for me from him.  He was romantic that way.  I’m sure the restaurant is long gone, but my memories of that place will last forever.

Dates were important.  When the boys were quite little we got into the habit of not going out.  By the time we hired a sitter and went somewhere, it got expensive!  And Ben’s needs made it harder for me to leave him with just anyone.  Also, time was precious and had a way of slipping through our fingers.  But we soon realized we were hurting our marriage by not having regular times away from the kids, so we literally went through our calendar and marked down date nights for rest of the year. And it worked.  We’d see that “Date Night” marked and would began to prepare ourselves – financially, getting a sitter lined up, planning ahead, and looking forward – for our night together.  I’m so thankful for that!

So this last time we ended up at Red Robin’s.  I don’t remember why.  It’s not one of my favorite places, particularly since the one anniversary we were forced into eating there because all the nicer restaurants were filled with teenagers from across the state in town for the state wrestling championships!  It’s noisy and the food is only so-so.  Give me The Checkerboard any day!  I remember we talked quite a bit about Will’s upcoming graduating party and Paul shared some more ideas he had for finishing the kitchen (we were in the final throes of remodeling it then).  Then we went to Costco to look at some things for the party.  Afterwards, I took him to Orange Leaf.  As we sat there eating our yogurt, he asked, “Why have you never taken me here before?”  I know – pretty amazing place!  I wonder if there are serve-yourself yogurt joints in Heaven?

I miss dressing up for him.  I miss going to restaurants where we don’t have to order off kids’ menus.  I miss the hand-in-hand walks we would often take afterwards.  I miss the plays and movies and concerts we attended.  I miss his protective arm around my shoulders, his hand in the small of my back, the way he would help me into my coat.  Oh, I miss him…

Today the Littles and I ate lunch with a friend at her house.  Julie has sons Will’s age and a little one the same age as my Littles.  Sam stopped suddenly and asked me if I knew where her big brothers were.  I explained that they were away at college now.  Sam nodded and said matter-of-factly, “If Dad hadn’t died, Will would be away at college now, too.”  Yep.  The kid didn’t miss a thing, did he?  And then he went back to playing and I went back to talking with Julie.  Life goes on – interrupted – but on, nonetheless.

What do you suppose it was like for Paul waking up in Heaven?  I found myself thinking about that this week.  He didn’t know he was about to die so I’m sure the thought of Heaven was no more on his mind than at any other time (unlike the dying who probably think about it more, I would assume).  But he went to bed one Wednesday night, assuming he’d awaken in 8 hours, go to work, come home, and do the same thing the next day.  Instead, he suddenly awoke in Heaven.  What must that have been like for him?  I can only begin to imagine his excitement.  What did he see first?  Who did he see first?  Did he think about me?  When Paul would get really excited, his whole body would shake like a little child’s.  I bet he was quivering like a bowstring that morning!

I went to a funeral this week.  It was my first funeral, although I had attended a viewing just three weeks after Paul’s death.  This funeral was at the church.  I figured I would be fine because it was a different situation.  This death was for an older gentleman and his death signified a release from a body that had imprisoned him for so long.  But the closer I got to church, the bigger the knots in my stomach became.  Paul’s funeral was at the church and I’ll never forget the drive there that June morning.  A friend saw me and immediately gave me a hug, asking, “Is this your first?”  I didn’t even have to ask, “my first what?”  I knew what she was talking about.  Another friend came in and sat by me, which afforded me more comfort than I knew I even needed.  It was totally different from Paul’s funeral, though, and I was glad for that.  All the same, I kept reminding myself, “It’s not about you, it’s not about you!”

I think we’re about to get Paul’s gravestone.  I haven’t heard anything from the company – I’m just guessing.  Earlier this week I was up there and noticed three utility-type flags in front of his plot.  I wondered then if they were starting to get ready.  And then yesterday I was working up at City Hall when I saw a McCalls Monument truck drive through town.  They had a cement mixing type thing on the back; I had never seen anything like that before.  I suspect they were hoping there was a way out of town other than how they came in.  There isn’t, so they had to turn around.  I was curious, so I jumped in my van and followed them.  When they drove past the cemetery, I whipped in and up to Paul’s grave. They had poured the base for his stone.  I’m hoping this means I’ll soon have his stone.  I’m quite anxious for that.

David has designated himself as the chief seasonal decorator for the stone and I bought a small tub this week to store grave decorations in.  Early on, he made a cross with a picture of Paul and himself attached to it.  I laminated the picture, but it soon succumbed to the elements.  So we printed another picture, I laminated it, and put it in a small frame that we glued to the cross.  David was very upset this week to find that the elements had still gotten to the picture.  I wasn’t sure what to suggest, other than to forget the whole idea of having a picture up there.  David did not go for that idea.  But it occurred to me that there must be some sort of market for grave decorations.  So while I was gone today Will went on-line and found some grave photo frames.  Most of the reviews on Amazon seem to be favorable, so I guess we’ll try one.  They are actually marketed to pet owners to put a picture of their dead animal in there (ack – nothing wrong with that, I suppose, but I really get irritated by status that some people elevate their pets to these days) but there’s no reason we couldn’t put a picture of a dead dad in one.

Ellie has been so cute lately.  Well, she’s been a pain in the rear, too (that child continues to get into everything and thinks that decorating her arms and hair with ice cream and markers is perfectly acceptable), but a cute one.  She found her swimsuit (one piece) and has learned how to pull it on.  She strips down, wiggles into the suit, and then she dances.  It is the sweetest thing.  She makes ballet moves all over the kitchen in her swimsuit, that in her mind, is a tutu, I would guess.  She pirouettes and dips, and bows low – a tiny little brown dancer lighting up my life.

First Day of Kindergarten!
I sometimes wonder what it would be like to be going through this grieving process without having children around?  In many ways, I suppose it would be easier.  I could just sit and feel.  I could go days without cooking.  I might even be able to go days without talking.  I could just kind of float around in my misery.  Instead, I get up every day when I don’t want to.  I get one child on the bus, go over spelling tests with others, make lunches, break up squabbles, buckle little ones into car seats and haul them all over the county, pick up the same messes day after day, remind teenagers about the benefits of deodorizing regularly, wash load after load of laundry, attend music concerts and parent-teacher conferences by myself,  and cook meals that nobody really wants to eat.  As one friend told me a few weeks after Paul died, “On one hand, it’s too bad you have all these kids.  On the other hand, it’s really great you have all these kids!”  I know – benefits and drawbacks both ways.

But then I see little dancers in my kitchen and suddenly decide that I’m glad it happened just this way.






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