30 July 2010

Again, early morning. Saturday. I did not take a sleeping pill last night, had a bit of trouble falling asleep, but a more satisfying sleep over all. I just have to exhaust myself and maybe a few glasses of wine helped.

We went to the rehearsal dinner last night. It was really a meal for all of the people who came from out of town. Julia was the only child and she was doted on by many of the grown ups. She loved it. She insisted on being called Julia Dinosaur -- Cheshire and Alice have taken dinosaur names too and insist that Julia call them by those. Julia is always anxious about seeing Cheshire, but loves her once she is with us.

We all enjoyed the dinner. We got to meet more of Alice's family, as well as Alice and her parents' other friends. I will not remember any of the names! At least, apart from those I spoke to for a long time, but I enjoyed them all. They were kind and embracing, and I like that immensely.

One strange thing about going out into the world is that I no longer meet people with David. I am, for all intent and purposes, single. Well, I am single. It is very strange not to explain my life in terms of our relationship. And now people do not ask directly. I both want to talk about David and want to keep my status to myself. I am not looking for pity but i am not yet completely single. I feel very much on edge as to how I deal with my status -- still much to raw to be flippant. But I am carrying on and strength is building all the time.

We have the pleasure of having Linde with us for the weekend. Having Cheshire and Linde chattering is such a pleasure. And so reassuring that life does go on. I am, at times and naturally, straining for normalcy. It will be a long time coming and I feel that once it does come, I will miss the days that I was closer to David. Everything, every movement, comes with a price.

Today, the wedding.
Julia just woke up -- very late indeed -- and picked up a kids' book about the gingerbread man. She opened the first page and started reading all the words that she knew. She doesn't know all the words and the ones she knows do not necessarily convey the whole story, but she is working through the pages.

What a miracle! How I wish that David could see this! I am so proud of this child. She is my wonder.

Early Friday morning

It is early morning on Friday and I am awake. I hope to write a bit and then turn over for another hour or so. Sleep is still woefully short, even with a pill. I feel like I pass out when my body and mind is at the bring of exhaustion and wake up as soon as the utter exhaustion has waned. I am walking around constantly tired -- I look just awful with deep circles under my eyes and my eyes never fully open -- but I cannot complain too much. This is what my body seems to need to do to cope with my soul. I will abide with all this. And it will get better in time.

Julia and I had a lovely time yesterday with Brad -- David's cousin -- and his family. They are the first people, other than David's sister, that I've seen since David has died. There were waves of pain that came over me when I was with them. Each time we have been to there house, we were all together. I've always really liked them and their daughter growing up is just lovely. How to make sense of being there without David. I imagine that somewhere deep in my heart, I expect David's relatives to reject me. As if, I am responsible for not keeping him alive. I know this is an irrational feeling, but there it is. I will not let it keep me from reaching out, but boy, who needs that burden to carry around?

I will go out east and visit everyone I can this fall.

Julia had a grand time, after being really anxious about Brad and his family. Brad's daughter was so kind -- she is 15 -- and entertained Julia for most of our visit. Julia loves attention from "big" girls. She also loved their gifting her with a stencil kit and some books, one of which Anne worked on. She said to me that it was okay to go and visit them again, which is fortunate because Brad offered us lodging for our last night when we return from the Isle of Wight and before we leave in the early morning.

Tonight the wedding festivities begin with dinner for everyone who has come from afar. Linde will be joining us for the weekend, and we will be partying for three day.

29 July 2010

a few day in pictures

As I said before, Julia was a very good traveler. She even helped at times which was delightful. As a help to her, I did a verbal list of what we had to do and then ticked offed the items on the list as each was done. Here she is waiting for the bus to the tram to the airport.
St Albans is a very old town. The Romans were there and left some buildings behind. The cathedral was started by the Normals and the added to ever few centuries. This is a picture of a tiny door we found on one side of the bell tower. Just the perfect size for our little girl dinosaur.

At the door of the cathedral in St Albans. We only spent a little time walking through. Ches and I have been there before but I wanted Julia to breath in a bit of the ancient even though I knew she would not really understand much.
Just a nice picture of the two prettiest girls in London this week.
Julia's first train ride going into London. She really liked it, and the underground was also a fascination for her.
Julia posing in front of London's Museum of Natural History. A great place for kids and adults, by the way.
A building picture to show a bit of the vastness of the place. There is a whole new side which is as large as this older side of the building.
Just gotta love gargoyles!
Julia showing off her dino knowledge. Really, it continues to amaze me how many she knows. And now, if she can't figure who the bones belong to, she guesses based on looks and many times comes up with similar dinosaurs.
Julia loved this cool column with created fossils.
And we saw many, many animals, fish, and birds that were stuffed and in glass cases. At first we had a seemingly unending loop of 'are they alive?' 'were they alive?' 'how did they die?' 'how do they look so good?' But sooner than I thought, she stopped with those questions and starting asking about attributes of animals which is much more fun to answer.
After a busy day, we returned to Victoria Station and started our journey to our little house. Julia really enjoyed a piece of carrot cake before heading for St. Albans. We managed to find a Chinese restaurant on our way home and she enjoyed some noodles when we got to the little house.

27 July 2010

Tuesday

Oh, my days are confused, and I just emailed a friend of a friend about seeing him on Wednesday or Thursday although tomorrow is Wednesday and I already have plans. Oy! Also, I have to call Brad to see if we can visit him tomorrow or Thursday. From Friday til next Monday, we are in wedding mode.

After we managed to all get up at noon today (Ches was up a bit before, how much I don't know) and out soon afterwards. We went walking in St Albans, finding a place for brunch, some new clothes for Julia in a great sale at chic shop called Monsoon, re-touring the cathedral at St Albans, and getting Cheshire's old British phone up and running. Julia complained about all the walking and asked where our car was. But she did all that walking and was quite pleasant when we were shopping and in the church. Umm, she did peek into one of the dressing rooms where someone was changing right after we left our dressing room. The other customer pulled the curtain tight, and I expect did not find a peeking child amusing. I had to apologize but had to bite my cheeks. It was funny!

We left the store with two new outfits for Julia -- skirts and shirts -- very cute and half price. Pictures will follow soon.

Julia and I spent the evening in our "little house" as Julia calls it. This is a tiny flat but fits us comfortably. It is nice to have a flat instead of a hotel room, and our landlord has stocked with enough supplies for breakfast and snacks that it makes us very much at home.

We ate some much too greasy chips -- I had chicken and Julia had a hot dog. We had gone out looking for Chinese food, but the closest Chinese restaurant was closed (on Tuesdays) and it started raining. It has been raining slightly for the last two days -- I probably should have bought rain gear, but it is still lovely. The fish and chips place was the closest after the rain started. So, that was where we wound up.

It has been a nice day. Lots of talking to Cheshire, talking about David, talking about how we are both feeling, talking about the future and what the room in her new apartment situation is going to look like.

26 July 2010

Oh, it is late in London, Julia is having trouble getting to sleep, and I am having trouble staying awake. I feel so compelled to be present with her these days. How can I sleep when she is awake.

An interesting day which ended so well.

Julia and I got off the plane at 6 in the morning after sleep a woefully short time. Julia slept as we landed -- figured -- ate her breakfast as we taxied to the gate, and was not that crazy of getting off the plane when we did. She was thursty and wanted water. No water to be found just off the plane. We walked forever which I usually don't mind but Julia hated, good mid-western girl that she is.

Then came immigration. I had our passports, perfectly in order, but could not prove that Julia was my daughter. Funny thing was that had we had the same last names, there would have been no question. But as our names are different (and next time, I will include Buchko on her passport because it is on the adoption papers), the officer doubted me. He asked me how I intended to prove my parenthood. I had no answer. He asked why we were here, I told him a wedding but I could not provide him with an invitation. He motioned with his head at Julia and as her, "Who is this woman?" He was high above her and not looking at her. She did not take to this at all, and said, "No, I don't want to answer." He asked if there was SOMEONE in the UK who could vouch for me, and I COULD give him Anthony and Harriet's phone number. He was very grumpy -- I must have either been his first or last customer (?) of the morning. He shoved a detainee paper at me and told me to sit down.

He went away and called Harriet and from what I heard later, she gave him an earful. He came back contrite and very sweet. I resent having to present more than other parents for this sort of officer, but I will carry adoption papers the next time we travel. Why make it harder on ourselves. And I don't want to damage Julia fragile hold on family and belonging.

We found our taxi driver, who chatted constantly as we went to St Albans. I learned the history of the ring road, the new terminal at Heathrow, a St Albans seed distributor, and some opinions about Alice's new in-laws from Canada who he had driven the week before.

We arrived at our tiny flat met by a very charming landlord. The tiny house was still being cleaned but the housekeep, finished one room and then we went in there and waited out her cleaning. We laid down and eventually fell asleep. Contrary to the jet lag myths, we fell into a deep sleep and I finally woke up at 2 in the afternoon.

Julia and I went for a long walk, met Cheshire back at our flat, and saw Alice for a little while. The three of us then were picked up for dinner at the family mance. Dinner was very good, dessert was incredible, and the talking was so very comfortable. It was all very wonderful and hopefully I will crash in a few minutes and sleep for a long night.

From yesterday and on the plane

We are over Canada, Julia and I. We managed to get out of the house only a half hour later than I wanted, and to Chicago almost on time. We parked, shuttled, checked in, went through security, got seats at the gate (and were upgraded to economy plus -- what we use to know as economy), found some noodles for Julia, and boarded the plane. I had asked Julia to be cooperative and laid out what our steps were. We went over the list as we mentally checked off each task. Julia became anxious just a few times, and I asked her to do something to calm herself. Twice she complied and once she apologized for getting angry at me. This is wonderful control for her.


Julia drew in her travel journal during take off. She has no fear at all about flying, no sick feelings reported. We’ve had our dinner -- she pasta, me chicken and rice --, watched our respective movies -- she Toy Story, me two parts of two awful films--, and now we should be ready for sleeping. I have Julia two benedrill tablets 20 minutes ago and I hope that helps. I could use the sleep, but I need her to fall asleep first before I will be able to.


We are sitting in the middle of the plane with a very nice man sitting in the thrid seat across. He has graciously tolerated Julia’s dinosaur talk and entertained. She loved it, and I just hope that she is not daddy shopping. I don’t think so, but we’ll see how she responds to other men that she will meet in the next week.


This is my first trip to Europe without David. I felt the challenge of doing it all alone. Nothing I couldn’t do but yesterday I was turgid, moving way too slowly. I’ve stopped looking at pictures of David for a bit. Completely. It is too hard, too alive. I am not avoiding thinking but I don’t need any more reminders than I have inside.


And it is queer. I am functioning as if I always knew they would be the way it is. It chills me when I realize it.


The thought running through is that I don’t always want to be alone. I’ve already talked to Lisa about someday moving in with them. I love Madison, and it could become home base for a long time, but I am not so independent to be without other adults. I am lonely, these days in a desperate sort of way. I hope I can be healed of some of that.


Julia is trying to sleep. Maybe I should too.


So far, we are great travel companions.


__________________________


Later. Over the middle of the ocean.


Julia slept for a short time, tossed for awhile, and now tells me that she is done sleeping. It is about 9:30 our time and she should be happily asleep. So much for benedryl. And she is hungry. The only thing I can scrounge is a brownie -- probably not good for sleeping either.


We’ve are night owls together tonight. These days, it is just me most of the time. Even with a sleeping pill, I find it hard to sleep. And I have not be dreaming, probably due to the sleeping pills. I am used to dreaming. Sometimes I’ve have memorable dreams, but these days nothing.


Lisa told me she has dreamed of David twice -- short dreams and elusive. And another friend, one who was long lost, had a dream with David in it. I have not. It saddens me some.


Oy, I am tired and not sleeping, and now, my own writing is boring me. And now, Julia has taken out her travel journal and is drawing planes and birds. I don’t want to turn on the light but there is enough light from the seat next to our for her to draw by.


I could use a long nap -- just an hour would get rid of my headache.


25 July 2010

Peace of the bed this morning.

Julia is still sleeping at 9:04. Remarkable for her but considering that I let her stay up until 10:30 last night, maybe not so much.

I had our traveling clothes all over my bed and packed while we watched the end of Wall E. When it was over, she just hung out on the bed while I finished. Now, she could have laid back and closed her eyes, but she is no where near that relaxed yet.

I am beginning to feel some pattern, some order in my day. My usual wander-lust may be kicking in. Perhaps I am longing for the journey more than I even realize.

This morning -- lots of last minute details -- like packing Julia's back pack -- to do before we head off in two hours. And so, once vertical, I will keep moving. Nothing like yesterday.

24 July 2010

One more thing. Ach, maybe more than one.

For a little while today, in fact, right now, I am comfortable with being alone. Intensely lonely, but unexpectedly content. I know it will not last long, but is this a taste of from now on?

I was happy with friends checking in and visits.

Maybe I just can't be completely unhappy for longer than three weeks. There is relief in not suffering so much.

Now, I have to pack.
We didn't sleep until 10 but we slept hard. I don't remember turning off the movie but it was off when I woke up.

The day has been slow and not very productive at least in the direction that I had wanted it to go in -- uber packing and some cleaning up before we leave tomorrow. But as two of my friends who called to check in said, the house doesn't need to be clean to leave it. I figure those two calls were close enough to a direct message from the universe, and so I will not stress this.

How many things do I need to learn not to stress about? Certainly, not about ending sentences with prepositions.

Clothes to pack are still on my bed and my last load of clothes is in the dryer but a new computer game is loaded on my laptop for Julia, I've packed the drugs. Oy, I hope everything fits in the two smallish bags I want to take. I am trying to fit everything into two carry on bags -- one with wheels. Now this is usually the way we travel but the wedding clothes -- fluffy dresses -- and extra shoes for that one day might tip the balance.

Enough about packing and cleaning! Is there anything more boring??

I still don't have a place for us to stay on the Isle of Wight, but I have incredible faith it will work out. How could Julia be deprived of a great dinosaur museum?

Julia and I was watching Wall-E right now and I am amazed that she really understands it. When David first brought it home, Julia did not like it. That was a few months ago. Tonight, -- and this is not the first time she has seen it enthusiastically -- she is asking good questions. Like, why the other Wall-Es are not working (you can see them in the beginning sequence), and whether Wall-E and Eva understand each other. And she is very interested in how they become friends -- Eva is first "mean" to Wall-E , she says.

I really like the beginning of the movie but the script is deeply flawed. I wished someone would have harder on the second half.

Julia has been such a little companion today - making me think of the days when Cheshire was this age. We were searching for an Indianapolis house when Ches was 9, no 8, but close enough. She shared my laptop with me, gave me time to review my mother's estate tax form that arrived by overnight this morning (which I mailed this afternoon), and pretty cooperatively did my errands. And she played alone and with me happily, although right now every dinosaur, little pet, and calico critter is on a floor.

Debbie, our lead therapist, came over to gift us with a garden bench from all of the therapists who work with Julia. It was a perfect gift, memorial. I almost cannot believe its appropriateness. Of course, these women come to our house 25 hours a week and have been doing it for a year now. I smile at my initial incredulity.

I am not excited about traveling. Or packing. Both of these usually fire my imagination like mad. But I am not unhappy about it either. I am just doing it. One step in front of the other.

One step.
12:48 a.m. Julia is not sleeping because of thunder and lightening. I am not sleeping because she is not sleeping and because I didn't take a pill. So, we are putting on Ponyo, I'm taking a pill, and maybe we will both sleep til 10 in the morning.

23 July 2010

I don't know whether it is stranger to feel not like myself or to feel exactly like myself.

Today, I concentrated on paperwork and spent the day filling out forms, mailing, faxing, visiting the bank, and making copies. All towards the effort of reducing my pile before I leave for England. Did I write yesterday that the funeral director had the death certificates for me -- ah, I think i did. That was what I needed to do the work of the day and I sat myself down first thing this morning and started. I was able to make the outside errand run in the early afternoon and then get back home to pay some bills online -- learned this week and a real pro now -- and do a bit of my mother's estate work. This is, of course, not the end of paperwork for David's estate, but apart from one retirement fund in Indiana and an IRA with our present bank, everything else has the initial information that is called for.

Whew.

Julia, during all this time, had at home therapy all day. She also had a visit/play date with one of the girls she played with last weekend. I would say that it wasn't a perfect play date. Julia does not get the idea of taking turns picking out activities, and one of her therapists who was with them part of time, noticed that Julia was playing like she did a few months ago, not like she usually does now with them, but that is only to be expected.

I haven't gotten a report from the girl's mom. I am dying to know if her daughter will consider coming again when we get back from England. This girl really like dinosaurs and loves to draw and paint. If Julia can let her in just a little bit, there is friend potential here.

Be still my beating heart!

I have laid out a few clothes but the main task of packing will happen tomorrow. Julia will enjoy the time of uninterrupted play. I also hope that I can figure out how to handle our bags. We will be carrying more than usual because of wedding clothes and shoes. I am hoping to get it into a small roll on and a large overnight bag, but that is for tomorrow. Even though these bags will have carry on potential, I will probably check them just so I don't have to deal with them on the plane. Anyway, I think so.

Ummm, maybe not. If I don't check our bags, we will have less of a wait for customs when we land.

And so this day, with its paper work and thoughts of packing ticked away as if it was normal. I realized when I was walking around the square downtown that I was walking slower than usual and objects or places would suddenly jump out reminding me of the last time we were there with David. I am still getting movies from Netflix that David put into the cue. I was full of purpose today but memories pull stray threads from the fabric of the day.

This is going to take a long time. And sometimes, not often and not for long, I want to refuse the process of grieving and returning to life with all of my might! I want to be back at his bedside, never having moved away.

And then that passes. I feel that a mighty disorder has taken over my life, and I know that I just have to live with that feeling until I find order again. This place, Madison, that I like so much, that I have felt a real home, is suddenly not . . . I don't know . . . just not what it was. I would be hard to leave, to leave more of David, but it is hard to be here as well.

Julia is having a hard time falling asleep. She had a hard time yesterday because of fierce thunder storms that rolled across our town. I think she is over tired right now. I think both of us will sleep late tomorrow, and other than packing and the pool, do nothing with our Saturday.

One other thought: My well of sadness is very deep right now but I also have an incredible love that David and I shared for 35 years inside of me. My girl has a well of sadness too, but from neglect and hurtful treatment in China. She has not fully shown her sadness, bits and pieces are coming out now. How much more she must have inside. I hope she deems of a worthy mother to help her bring her sad heart into daylight. I take my cue for strength from this child.

22 July 2010

It rained and stormed today, and when it was not raining, the humidity was building and clouds were threatening. The sun came out a few times and almost to the minute, the tornado sirens would let loose. The worst of the weather was just north of us -- we just got some wonderful soakings on a hot summer day.

We dashed in and our of the car through out the day -- no umbrellas for us today. Julia does not like getting wet, but she was game to run from the car to a doorway with me. When we came out of the noodle shop we had our very late breakfast in, it was drizzeling lightly.

She said:

Mommy, this is soft and gentle rain.
I like this rain.
But it still wets my face.

And she grinned.

I did not give her adderall, her stimulant, today, and my skinny girl ate like a horse! Thanks be! We went to the Vietnamese noodle shop for our first meal, and she inhale some friend shrimp and a big bowl of Pho Ga, chicken soup VN style. So good to see her eat. I am wondering about doing stimulant vacations every now and then so that she might put some meat on those long bones.

She is having trouble sleeping tonight -- too many storms.
Today, was better -- but then yesterday was awful.

A few steps forward -- the mortgage company called back. Totally unexpected on my part. And offered that they would refinance my loan even if I did not have a job. The refinance will take 6-8 weeks which I knew, and starting now or next week, will shorten my waiting for a change in the payments.

My worries about money in both the long and short term are somewhat of my own making. I will have enough for a few years if I used what we've saved plus David's life insurance. But i want to do more than that. I would like to, for once in my life, to be smart enough about money that I can manage a pretty good life, here or elsewhere, without needing full time work. A tall order, to be sure, but I am fretting over making it happen. I need to stop fretting and just work at it. A tough one for me. Worry is the most wasteful of exercise, but it is hard to let go of.

And the lovely funeral director, who handled David's cremation, managed to get the death certificates for me. I think he went to the pertinent office and picked them up. A very nice man! And so, I returned home about 3 and started filling out forms. I have to have a few notarized tomorrow, but hopefully, I will send off the first batch. Oy! Lots. But some only want a copy faxed -- I have to learn how to fax on my printer -- maybe tomorrow, maybe when I get back from England.

I will also be able to change the bank account, probably cash David's last pay check, and know that when I get back there will be no problem at all paying bills, including the funeral costs. I know, I know. I have no need to worry. But a bit of control, which is what this amounts to, and a chunk of work off the pile is going to feel very good.

And then, when I picked up the death certificates, I also picked up the small cardboard cube of David's ashes. This was bazaar. I have no feeling yet, or now, or ever? for this box of ashes. It is in the bedroom now, because I have no idea of where to put it. I don't want it for display.

This box, however, is the earthly remains of David? No, we are the remains of his life -- me, and the girls, and our family, and all of our dear friends. I get messages and comments about things that I've written here. And they fill my heart so full -- smiles or tears. i am humbled that someone will take the time to take a line and respond, and give a bit of their heart to me. Friends call, and thank goodness that they do, and let me ramble on about all the details of my grief laden day -- I talk about tasks, complain about insurance, discuss traffic and weather. And they let me. And they tell me they will come to visit me or invite me to visit them. And just be with me. It is a phone shiva. A phone and email shiva.

I drove past a cemetery today and wondered what it would have been like to bury David. That would have been totally against his wishes, and our philosophy. He did not want to burden the earth. I like that. We have deep enough foot prints carved by our modern lives. And as strong as I feel about the importance of place, I did not need a place to mark his presence, his life. He is in my air. David is remembered, not in stone, but in hearts, not in a final piece of real estate, but in words he wrote, tasks he did, and lives he touched. This kind of remembrance is what we always talked about wanting for ourselves. It is not easy. It is ballet; it is good jazz that never gets recorded.

21 July 2010

Not myself

Really tough day. I am not myself. The talking with the mortgage company left me very alone. Utterly. The only way to get help from them is to be desperate (meaning that many assets are used up) or have enough of an income to not need to refinance. The idea of going to them before either of those situations occur is a waste of time.

I will figure that out.

After our therapists left today, I took Julia in my arms for a hold/cuddle. She essence was rigid; and I knew she needed it. Sure enough, when I took her, she resisted and got angry. She did not want me close. She wanted to push me away. I feel, and this is just my gut, that I must impose myself upon her, keep close to her right now. Not let her stray from me emotionally. She is hurting her loss, and there is a chance that she could close up to me as well to avoid the hurt of losing me. We have worked too hard as a family to let this happen.

As she started talking about missing Daddy and being sad, I started crying. Well, I am not a crier -- Cheshire has only seen me cry a few times, and honestly I don't cry easily. But the tears came. Julia asked why and I told her how much I miss Daddy. She took my face between her hands and told me how much she loved me and gave me a bunch of kisses.

Right or wrong, I have no idea. I don't plan to make a habit of dumping on Julia, but maybe it was good for her to see how much I miss him.

I don't know.

And then there was word from Cheshire that she had lost (or the victim of a thief) her passport, wallet, money, and credit card. She is traveling with friends and she will be fine until Monday when I see her. It struck me that it is in no way surprising that she lost her travel necessities. Even though Cheshire is an expert traveler, and packing her essentials as carefully, if not more, than I do, she is not herself either. I can't wait to see her on Monday.

The hardship department

I profess my willingness of going through the process of grief and finding this new life of mine, but really, I want it all over with. And nothing is going to happen quickly -- not the grief, not the estate matters, nothing.

So there is the brick wall and I am scraping my nose on it.

I finally got to talk to a person at the mortgage company, who told me that I could not refinance my mortgage right now because I did not have a job. I told her that I wanted to reduce my monthly payout, but of course, that is not enough. They will let me keep paying the mortgage that I am paying now. I can even talk to the "hardship" department -- boy, can you hear the attitude. In fact, (okay I am be paranoid and a bit sensitive today) when I told her that I was not working, I could hear 360 change. No more was I the grieving widow. I could speculate what I had become in her eyes, but I will not, because I can only be sure of the change, not the reason. But the change was not good. Suddenly, I became someone she did not want to help at all. Was I too far out of her box? Was my "not working" status just too far from her ken? Had I become a financial leper?

And she knew "nothing" of what goes on in that Hardship department. Could not answer my questions about . . . . well, nothing that did not fit in the regular refinance mold. Really, are they that narrow? Or is it that those in that department grow that extra tough skin, those dinosaur plates on their backs. What the hell happened to the help that banks are supposed to be extending these days? When I asked if I had to miss two mortgage payments before I could get any help, her only answer was that she would never suggest missing a mortgage payment.

Once again, like the Bank of American Master Card, the PNC Mortgage Company, with whom our family has taken three mortgages and paid without a whisper of a complaint, does not feel that it needs to extend itself to me.

I read this over and almost laugh at myself -- well, if I fell out of the most favorite kind of customer category, why should anyone care, especially those who have been making the most money from me, touch me with a 10 foot pole. How I adore capitalism. I know it is not personal; it is only about the money.

"Call when you have a job, or income." The PNC representative said.

Transfer to the Hardship Department, anyone?
This morning, Julia with her therapist, Morgan, is putting a dino puzzle together. Julia with dino hand puppets on her hands making the picking up of pieces and fitting of pieces a challenge. I hear Julia asking for help, cheering that the two of them did something together, and suggesting high 5's for "team dinosaur." These are all giant steps.

And in the morning, Julia's mommy is in a better mood too.

20 July 2010

A day. I paid bills -- mostly my mother's estate bills -- tried once again to get an actual person to talk to me from our mortgage company -- I'll try once more -- I filled for Badger Care -- the state supported health insurance which may come in handy in the short term -- and started putting fills away. I am still without the death certificates -- which I have been told is normal -- but it also leaves me without access to money that is in the form of insurance or pensions, and just leaves me feeling like I can't do the work that will do the most good.

I am cranky tonight.

Friends have been checking in today -- thank you all -- I sounded better at 2 than I did at 8. I was reminded that being tired -- which I am all the time right now-- is a sign of depression. I make grand statements about changing my life. I am grateful for the grad workshop that I have lined up to take in the fall. I stared at a picture -- a quite ordinary picture -- of David that was on my computer. I wanted to swallow it whole.

To never, ever see him again. I am not yet wrapping my head around that one. Not at all. The picture looks much too alive. Too just right here and now. And as I looked at it, I thought about how he will now always be 54, almost 55, and I will not. I will remember him not as an old man. The feeling of not wanting to leave his bedside after he died returns. I am understanding not wanting to go forward.

I am sad tonight.

Julia and I had a -- not really a fight -- tonight. I was on the phone with a friend a bit later than I should have been. Got off at almost 8:30 and told Julia that it was time to come up to bed. She did not want to come up. I closed up the first floor and saw to my tasks, and she insisted on playing with dinosaurs. Then, she couldn't find the mother t-rex -- her favorite excuse for not doing as she is told -- I insisted and did not demand. I went upstairs and started getting stuff ready for bed. Julia did not follows. By this time, she was angry at me -- what was interesting, really interesting, is that it was anger towards me and never got into a real tantrum. She told me she didn't like me, she hated me, she would walk away from me. I gave her one more chance to come upstairs and then went down to get her. I physically directed -- without a lot of effort fortunately -- her upstairs. She was insisting she would not sleep and I just walked her to her room. I told her to get dressed for bed. She told me she wasn't going to bed and more dislike for me. I told her that then she could sleep in her own room -- whereas she is a permanent occupant of my bed right now. I closed her door -- she told me not to lock her in. The door has no lock and I didn't even close the door all the way. I went into my room and just hung out waiting. She yelled and then cried. She made noise with the door for attention, but without trying to hurt the door. I told her I was not going to talk to her and I didn't for about 10 minutes. A long 10 minutes. Indeed.

But is was crying and anger, and Julia never lost control. And instead of escalating, fueling itself for a long time, this episode wound down. I could hear her getting tired. This is the first time that I've heard Julia get tired when she was angry.

After that 10 minutes, she was still sniffling and I was still not talking. I saw a little face hidden by hair peak around my door. I asked her if she should blow her nose. When she did that, I told her to put on pjs and come into my bed. And she did that.

She climbed into my arms and we laid together. We talked about sadness and why she has to listen to me. We talked about her crying. I hope she is understanding some of this. I told her that I was not going to read to her because she took up her reading time in her bedroom. I gave her a kiss good night and turned out the light. And Julia slowly went to sleep.

Strange progress, but definitely a change in behavior.

19 July 2010

Two weeks. I have to check the calendar to see if it is only two week and really two weeks. Time is moving fast/slow but always ahead. If David was to come back into my life today, I would catch him up, but for how long? I don't mean that I think he is not gone forever, but part of me is automatically saving experiences for him. Part of me is still planning to fill him in and worrying that I will forget something.

And so, another Monday and another week.

Julia and I met her new meds doc (ADHD meds) today. He has more personality than the last one, but I do feel still that I need to keep one step ahead of him to be able to suggest what to do next. This is crazy to me -- still, I bristle at the fact that I who know so very little takes the lead. But I do. We are increasing the antidepressant to 20 mg from 10 mg. I think that the 10 mg has reduced her rigidity, and made transitions easier. We will see if 20 will make any difference. I'd like to increase the Adderall also, but not until we get back from vacation. Then, we will be working again each day and I'll be able to see any changes. Vacation is too varied to give me much information.

Julia had wonderful sessions at Speech and OT today. She did speech first and used the four picture sequences to tell stories. She played a very educational (read, kind of boring) computer game very well, and then did something else. All with a good amount of interest, without too much dragging of the feet, and with dino conversation in the in between times. During OT, she played a kids crazy 8s game -- with a bit less interest but with no complaints, and then did swinging and balancing that showed off how her core strength is getting better, and then did a small craft project that she instigated. It was so good to see her engaged with her therapists. I felt like this was the new level to account for the stuttering that has been going on recently.

Because we had so little in house therapy today, I did not get to do more estate work, and as the death certificates are not here, I could not do the most important parts of the work. Ugh. I hope I can send off death certificates to pensions, savings, and life insurance accounts before I leave for vacation. It is just the first step on all of these, but it would be so good to have it done before I leave.

I am rather weepy today - close to tears a lot of the time. I don't exactly feel David's absence as much as I feel wounded. Some part of me has been carved out. I am hurt.

I wonder if this is what comes after the numbness of the last week.

I need a push -- usually from myself -- to get me going, but I am doing it, at least small things every day. I am getting used to living in the house alone with Julia. I'd say it is an increase in responsibility but not really much -- more in my perception than anything else. Just no one to share locking up with, or pulling up or down the shades. Very small things and they mean something.

I am asking Julia to do more for herself, and slowly I see her doing the things -- getting dressed and undressed by herself, brushing teeth and washing face, putting her dishes on the sink when she is finished. God, so small. It feels like she knows that I need this help right now.

17 July 2010

Tonight, I am ready to write about Julia again. There are times when it is all so normal -- life moving on, life without David, but oh so normal. I want to ask was it all a dream, and of course, I know it wasn't. But this streams through me.

But then tonight . . .

Julia and I, the new we, went to friends for dinner. Suzanne, my friend (I now know 4 Suzanne which is amazing after a lifetime of knowing very, very few), has two kids -- one a bit older than Julia and one a bit younger. Suzanne had prepped her kids a bit about Julia -- she sometimes uses third person to refer to herself, and sometimes thinks differently, and warned them about calling her Julia Dinosaur -- and when Julia arrived I let her go and play. She went upstairs to play in the kids' rooms, and interestingly, played more with the older child than the younger one. But that child, J, also has an interest in dinosaurs and Julia asked questions of him and he answered. She came downstairs with the other kids for supper and then dessert. And was just a bit reluctant to leave when it was time.

I have been shy about having Julia play with kids of my friends. Even when they, the friends have offered, I did not want it to be difficult for the children. But I see that Julia can handle more and more. There was no whiff of any hitting or physical threats. There was no problems with sharing. There haven't really been for a long time. And at the end of the visit J offered to lend Julia a special dinosaur book and Julia was so happy to do the borrowing.

Once home she told me she had fun tonight and then set to drawing dinosaur after dinosaur in her new drawing journal.

And so, I will endeavor to find Julia some playmates. Maybe some will stick. Maybe one or two will become friends.

A mother can dream.
I have been thinking today, not doing. Not today. I thought we would get to the pool today, but we didn't and I am resting before we go to dinner at a friend's house. I seem to need naps right now. Julia doesn't mind. It usually means a movie for her and clay work or drawing.

I see that I have been working all week, not trying to keep the thoughts at bay, but doing so anyway. The calls, the letters, the visits, the figuring out, and the cleaning up make me so tired right now at night that there has been no big chance to think, but walking, shopping for what we need for our trip, playing and talking to Julia, and I am thinking again.

And changing. I feel like I am changing, by the day, by the minute. I wonder and then I am sure that people who have lost long time partners feel this way. I am not running away, instead I am moving away from the life that I have shared with one person, my person, and towards a life that I am more single. Not single exactly. But us without one of us. I don't have a hole inside but the impression of an always that has ended, at least in the conventional sense.

So changing. When Cheshire and I stood by David's bedside after he had died, I did not want to move. It was that when we moved, we would move away from David, we would share this terrible change with the world, and it would become real. And we would move beyond David's ken, beyond the life that we shared, beyond and into somewhere I did not want to go.

But move we did, and took in the world as it was then reconstituted. I have been living terribly in the present -- maybe not terrible, but very changed. And if I must live in this changed world, then I do not want to live as if the world was as I knew it with David. I cannot seem to imagine a past or future. I have lived in those times since I was a child, touching down in the present only when it was necessary, and surely, always, amusing myself, diverting myself with my imaginings. I cannot do that now. I am only now, and it is very strange.

Bear with these ramblings.

I am going wild. I have told some people about this -- Cheshire, Lisa, Barbara, a few others. And no worries about changing too quickly or making rash decisions. I am way too conservative is so many ways -- a good middle class upbringing -- nothing will happen quickly. But it will begin. Begin now. Began so soon after the moment that David was no more.

I have no intention in living as we lived. We have been utterly conventional for years and years, since law school, maybe since we got married. Now I want utter change. This morning we had cold soba noodles and dumplings for breakfast. Julia loved it. I moved my bed yesterday, and the shape of the room changed. I want to do my renovation but I want to satisfy myself completely. Gosh, these are so insignificant that they cannot explain how I feel -- but they are the first small steps on a spiral. I am sure.

I want to do what I can for children like Julia -- maybe trauma, maybe autism, maybe just the neuro-effects of neglect and trauma. I want to do something for those children and their families. I cannot become a doctor or therapist -- I am frankly too old for those adventures. Too old in my own mind, I don't want to take the time either would involve. But I can still do things.

I will take the LEND course that I was accepted into a few weeks ago, and see where it leads. If that itself doesn't present me with opportunities, then after a time, I will go to China and create a foster home for older girls who could be adopted, or go to Bolivia and work to get that country's orphans into homes and to open it to international adoption, or move to the place with the most advanced autism research in the world and help them somehow.

And I will write. Probably most and always, something like the books and books of journals that sit on my shelves, and the entries in this blog. Maybe a book -- What is the most recent about a life after tragedy? There will have to be another of those. Maybe one like that -- one where the writer is still PTO president and teaches her challenged child about dinosaurs and cannot immediately move to Paris.

I write this in whispers of prayers that it will be so. It is hard to shout right now. I don't know how David would feel about any of this, except I know that he too longed for adventure when we were able. I hope that the able time is coming. I hope it is now.
I have been waking up very early, writing a bit, emails mostly, and going back to sleep. Crazy, and much like my menopause days -- can I actually remember that fondly? Julia is sleeping beside me. I was snuggle with her soon. I rearranged the bedroom slightly and will do more when I get back from traveling. Slowly, I need to make this house mine. Not quickly because I want what is left of David to linger. But somehow, I don't want it to become cold -- I don't want lumps of death. I need light and air and a memory of David alive. It is not in his messy desk, cluttered with medication notes and pill bottles.

Cheshire found a folder of new writing that David was doing. I am so sad to know that it will not be finished, but rejoice that he felt the creative urge and was starting his word work again. He did have a bit of the optimist in him. Even when he was ill.

back to sleep. I hope.

16 July 2010

Not quite mid-day. I've cleaned up clothes and did a neat sweep of the upstairs. I need to do the same of the downstairs but not now.

I have paperwork spread all over the table in the dining room and on the floor and it strikes me suddenly that I have to start setting up files. God, I thought I'd be emptying out the file cabinet of my mother's estate and here I have to add another estate. And I have bills to pay on my mother's estate -- I was trying to hold off until I got some more estate checks. Without those checks I have to cover the bills. I can do it, but boy, nothing is easy.

okay, on with the day.
A few days after David died I woke up to the thought that I own a house. I own two cars. I own a lot of stuff. Its not that I did not own these things just two weeks ago when David was alive, but we owned them together and it did not seem like that much. It is not that these things are a burden, not really, but more like a young friend said last year at Thanksgiving, "Why do you have so much of it."

In the last year, maybe especially after my mother's death and the clean out that we had to do there, David and I have been intent on clearing away what we do not use. Oh, we didn't get very far -- we got caught up in so many things, including these last four months, his new heart and how everything would return to the normal that we knew, almost. Oh, we were cocky.

I will start that process again. Clearing. I can begin again with the stuff that we talked about getting rid of and slowly work in. David and boxes and boxes of manuscripts. I don't think I will touch them for a long time, but I will one day. One day.

Last night, on the way home from clinic I talked to Julia about our new responsibility -- I never know how much she is able to listen to these boring conversations. I told her that the puppy house belonged to my and her (and Cheshire of course, but I was going to make a plug for cleaning up toys and didn't think that a Brooklyn owner would really induce Julia to clean more). I told her that where we used to have two grownups to take care of things, that we now had just me and I needed help. Her help. Julia was very quiet.

Once we got home, I was on the phone for awhile, talked to our supper delivery person (and thank god for friend's food), and cleaning up in the kitchen. Julia cleaned up the living room -- not in the orderly way that I would really like it, but she did it, and presented it to me like a gift.

My girl.

On the way home, I was talking to David's father, calling him "dad." Julia immediately started asking if I was talking to her daddy. Oh, that sweet heart. I immediately explained that it was grandpa and not daddy. Later, when I got off the phone, she told me to call grandpa, grandpa.

Before we went to bed, when I was talking to my sister, Julia started telling me how she was going to find me a new husband. She added last night that it would be a husband with a good beating heart.

The kid thinks of everything!

15 July 2010

The day was hard and long today, but generally, I held myself together much better. I found myself taking big deep sighs of relief that I could focus, function, and accomplish tasks. I don't mean that I have been incapable of putting six cogent words together, but I have felt like I was coming from a great distance to do most anything -- I was so grateful for Lisa and Cheshire and Mary to drive me around last week. I could force myself but I have not been in any way at my best. Today, seems to be turning a new corner.

I am sure that there will be plenty of backsliding -- days when I cannot do much more than absolutely necessary -- but knowing that there are more productive days helps.

Still, it is so hard to believe. I still talk in terms of "we", I don't exactly think that David is coming home, but I don't feel the lack of his presence yet. It is as if he is on a trip. I miss him, but it is not yet a missing of someone gone forever.

Julia continues to insist that she will find me a new husband. Tonight, she added that the new husband will have a "good working" heart. I admire that girl's pluck. I remember over and over that she has been through so much worse. I feel she is appreciating me and really making an effort to take care of me and also do what I say. That doesn't always translate into actually doing what I say, but she talks about doing what I say.

We do have to manage the toys better than we have. I have not felt like my usual sorting and cleanup of her stuff, and the result would put the work of a minor tornado to shame.

the social security office was a bit of trouble, but by being a bitch just once a day, I am plowing through the work.

But yee gawd, am i bushed!


14 July 2010

Today started out pretty poorly. I felt defeated -- worried about too many things whether or not the worries were rational -- and I didn't want to do anything. But Julia and I visited Marilyn, and then Cheshire and I went shopping, and then I made phone calls. I have only ONE phone now -- my cell! And I made an appointment with social security for tomorrow, and I will see personnel at the court tomorrow. And I needed a nap. And then I felt better. I felt a bit of myself again.

And that was just today.

From very far down to almost myself.

13 July 2010

Tuesday

Bank of America Master Card sucks! I called to change the account, but because David's name was first, they canceled our card, took away my status as a cardholder, took away our rewards, and wanted me to apply as a new customer and wait 7-10 days for a new card. I said no thank you and called Chase who will get me a card in three days.

So that was the crabby part of my day! Really not bad in the bigger skeme of things. Now, let's just hope Chase is good to its word.

Julia went to clinic for therapy for the entire day and I attacked the paper work. I barely made a dent but I have a list. I have not really made a dent, but lots of initial calls. And I have to find a lawyer -- someone to help with the estate. Oy, and when are the death certificates coming -- soon, I hope.

This is not quite settling in yet. It is still some in-between time, some limbo, something that is clouded and strange. I wonder how long I will have to wander here -- more questions to embrace. I am not lost, not really. I am somewhat confused, somewhat scared, somewhat insecure. I don't know where I am going right now but then I don't expect the answers to come streaming in. Hopefully, it will come with time, and I will be waiting.

12 July 2010

the week that is over

It has been such a time, such an indescribable time. David is dead a week and that itself is unbelievable. David's death happened in minutes, and I will explain it, but not yet. Suffice to say that when I went into the hospital on Monday morning, I planned talking about about getting him into the rehab unit at the hospital to get his strength back -- the infected gall bladder seeming to rob him of all strength. Just after his lunch was brought into his room, his heart stopped never to be started again. I was with him for most of the time, and I am grateful for the medical staff that fought so hard and valiantly to save him. I sobbed and wailed when they stopped their heroic efforts, but I could do that only because I knew how much they cared for us. Heart transplant patients are special. They are the VIPs, the dearest children of medical invention.

Cheshire, Julia and I were immediately surrounded by friends from near and far. I have been fed body and soul by such care that I have received. My dear friend Lisa, responded to my plea for her to come out from Maryland before I left David's bedside. I also had, as the heroic effort was going on, called Mary, a friend who lives close. She came to the hospital and then was my shadow for the day and my handmaid for days, doing what needed to be done, intercepting phone calls, making sure there was food and necessities in the house, doing the slightest of tasks to make the day bearable for me. Lisa was with me from late Monday night until Sunday night, and although I truly hated letting go of her even then, her presence, her sense, her planning, her wisdom steered the ship around here for the week. These women know how grateful I am, but truer sisters I could not have.

Our friend, Linde (Cheshire's friend from 3rd grade), joined us for the week. She worked, she talked to all of us, she helped with Julia, she has always been part of our family, now only more to share this time. Madison friends visited on Monday night to check on me (and put Julia to bed), and so many other days to bring food, take Julia for some fun time, and just to talk. We filled the days after David's death with tasks -- funeral home, church, shopping, planning, writing. Lisa planned and presided over the memorial service. Lisa has been a Unitarian minister for almost 20 years and her expertise was so needed for me. She wrote beautiful things to say about David, sang to us a haunting hopeful song, and led us through a difficult, sad service with grace. My Madison friends from Julia's school and the theater company that perform David's play in the spring planned and executed a lovely reception after the service at the home of another dear woman friend. A harpist play the loveliest of tunes during the service, and the shuffle on David's ipod gave us music during the reception. I thought of Debra during the service and her harp. It was so right. I spoke during the service, and also our friend Chip and the Chief Justice of the WI Supreme Court and the dramaturge who was the last person to talk to David about his work -- just a week before he died.

And all the people who came. How incredibly dear. Friends from Bloomington, Indiana, Indianapolis, Chicago. Relatives from New Jersey, and Boston, and Layette, Indiana. Law school friends, court friends, theater friends, and Madison friends. I was humbled and so very happy to see all of the faces. I needed all those hugs.

Before the memorial, on Friday, July 9, David was cremated. Lisa, Mary, and I went to the funeral home, said a good bye to his body, which was simply prepared and which had been placed into the simplest biodegradable box. We gave him our thoughts, Lisa said a prayer, we covered his body with red and white rose petals. We obeyed no religious law, no creedal dictate. We obeyed only hearts and if there was somewhere for David to smile from, I have no doubt that he chuckled silently and raise one eyebrow. I was able to help the funeral director push the box into the oven, and finally, I push the button that started the fire.

This was the process, the full process, that I needed to start my own healing.

During this time, Julia has been with us or friends, or with her intensive autism therapists. These women redid their schedules to give Julia blocks of time that were long enough to us to get what we needed done. That effort continues to part of this week as well. And they did so much more. Today, Morgan cleaned Julia's play room, putting toys away and clearing days of chaos.

For all the pain of last week, those who were in this house could not ignore the grace, the communion, the dearest of times that was going on. We were cocooned together, a chrysalis time, a time of transformation, metamorphosis. Right now, I was our small community back, but it is inside and feeding my spirit.

The work of this week is the paper side of death. I have worked on the estates of my niece, my father, and my mother, so it is not at all strange. This time it is for David, and it will be harder. But tomorrow, I will clean off the desk, make my list, and start making calls. By the end of this week, I hope to be done with most of it -- at least the first round. Cheshire is still with me but she will leave by the end of the week to go to Europe - not quite as she planned but modified and I hope enjoyable. I will join her in St. Albans, England, on July 26. Cheshire, Julia, and I will attend Alice's wedding at the end of the next week. I hope to see some friends in England and to get a change of scene that I need.

HELP

HELP! Cheshire is trying to change her Virgin Airlines ticket from Wednesday to Saturday, and Virgin wants to charge her $1600 more for a new ticket. This is with a death cirtificate. Anyone have any ideas?
It is Monday now and in a few hours it will be a week since David died. I have reflections on the day, the week, but not for now. Maybe sleep. just maybe.

11 July 2010

This is a day of contradictions. The sun is shining, Julia, Lisa, and I enjoy an early simple breakfast. Julia fully enjoys the opportunity to have chicken korma and rice for breakfast. I know she misses rice. I haven't been making it this week. We sit now -- her in the dinosaur room, keeping her toys out of the living room for another day, against her will for sure, but she is doing it. Julia's potential shines out every day. Her resilience is my master.

I sit writing, after coffee in bed with Lisa, and then eggs downstairs. I finished what I will say today at the memorial, working on the troublesome final paragraph. Cheshire feels that some of it is not personal enough and it took me until today to see what she was talking about. I wrote it from the most personal place inside of me -- yes, I quote poets in my personal place. Cheshire's good criticism helped and I can see it now, see what needed to change and what needed . . . . and that was how I edited what I was to say.


Sunday morning

It is too early in the morning to consider this the day yet, no light peeps pasts the shades, but the relentless clock is companion and nudge. And today, Sunday is the day of David's memorial and this is what I will say during the service:

I’ve been looking at this blank page for two day trying to impress upon it something that would tell you of my David. Something very special, something secret, something so apparent that some of you would yawn.


I started with Dayeinu which is a Hebrew word that means "enough." At Passover seders we sing about each successive step of God's provision for the Israelites and we sing a chorus of Dayeinu -- that would have been enough. I could do that chant but in the end I could not/ cannot feel Dayeinu. It was not enough. David and I wanted more. And I am having trouble with Dayeinu.


Just before David and I married, we were reading a lot of Rainer Marie Rilke. We were caught up in his book Love and other difficulties. In particular, this piece:


The point of marriage is not to create a quick commonality by tearing down all boundaries; on the contrary, a good marriage is one in which each partner appoints the other to be the guardian of his solitude . . . . A merging of two people is an impossibility. . . But once the realization is accepted that even between the closest people infinite distances exist, a marvelous living side-by-side can grow up for them, if they succeed in loving the expanse between them.

In our vows, we promised to guard each other’s solitude and to witness transformation, reconfiguration, melting into nothing, and springing to life from the phoenix fire. I had the front row seat to stories, refinished windows, hagadas, a pond, acceptances and rejections, plays, plumbing, novels, putenesca sauce, songs, tears, speeches, silence, articles, and the silliest man I have ever met.

In the expanse between us, we made our life and that was not always easy. We were both passionate, both sure we were right, neither one willing to give in for the sake of peace. Well, maybe David was sometimes. David gave me the first unconditional love that I ever knew. Our love honed the pointy ego places that could have kept us apart. His soft voice quieted my shrill; his silences encouraged my talking; his perseverance inspired every uphill battle that I fight. And there was a moment, more than 35 years ago, when my eyes met his, over the hood of a beat up Dodge Dark, that was magic. And slipping my hand into his made everything in my world alright. The love, the devotion, the complete attention of one person is so much more than enough. So much more than I had any right to expect. Dayeinu.

10 July 2010

Saturday

I will be writing more, much more very soon, but I am busy with so much on the outside. So much I want to describe, so much I want to discuss, so much . . . . Today, we are having a dinner that Cheshire is hosting, and we are all fried. Thank god for take out.

I am still writing what I will say tomorrow at the memorial. Still trying to give words, beautiful words to my life with David. I have something, and what it ends up to be must be, it is all that I can do. all I can do right now. And now is when I need to say it.

So many fears right now. So many rotten irrational fears that I have to live with until I can quell them with the rational thought. Rocky, rocky, rocky road ahead.

But for today, we are a chrysalis.


06 July 2010

Some thoughts and plans

This is what I wrote to our circle of friends. I wanted to share it here as well.


It has been a very hard day, made easier by my dear friend, Lisa. Lisa is not only friend, godmother to Cheshire, and keeper of my secrets, she is also a UU minister who has all of the expertise that we need this week. We are working efficiently and with such love because she is here to guide us -- and also do tremendous amounts of the work! Lisa will be conducting the memorial service that I will tell you about. Cheshire, Julia and I have also been gifted by the presence and help of one of Cheshire's lifetime friends, Linde. We are talking and there is some life in the house. We need this so much right now. I am reading all of the messages and emails that are coming. Thank you all. The comfort and prayers and love and support helps.


These are our plans so far: David's body will be cremated at the end of this week. A memorial service celebrating his life will occur on Sunday, July 11, at 1:30 pm, at the First Unitarian Society of Madison, Wisconsin (900 University Bay Drive). You are all invited to come although I completely understand that this circle of care is far flung and travel will be impossible for some. If you cannot attend, please keep us in your thoughts, hold us in the light on Sunday. After the service, we will have a reception -- a meal that David specifically asked to share. It will be at the home of my friends, Suzanne and Mike Swift (1811 Jefferson Street, Madison). This is a beautiful house and an incredible gift to us because Suzanne and Mike have been experiencing some challenging times over the last few weeks.


I would love to invite you all to stay with us for the weekend; however, our home is small. Another wonderful friend is getting a list of local hotels together that I can send tomorrow. She will also be available to answer any question that out-of-towners may have. Of course, if anyone comes up to Madison for David's memorial and has some extra time to spend with us, we will be home and we would love to see you.


In lieu of flowers, please send donations to the Forward Theatre Company, P.O. Box 14574, Madison, WI, 53708, or through their website:www.forwardtheatre.com. The Forward Theater Company did a staged reading of David's most recent creative endeavor was Kiritsis, a play in the spring which David, just home a week was able to attend. It was our first foray into the Madison theater scene and David enjoyed it completely.


One day after

Today. The day after David died. I've made "arrangements." I've signed papers. I have been hugged, driven around, taken care of, not slept much, eaten what others have brought. I took a shower this morning and managed to get dressed. I wrote a check to a very nice young man who mowed our lawn. I found where David's original will is. I talked and talked and talked to people who called or who I felt a need to call.

I've done all those things today.

And David is not here.

Especially to those who have asked, Julia is doing as well as she is able. She really loves having Lisa, Linde, and Cheshire at home, but she is missing David. We have gone through period of time during the day when she asks over and over about whether David is alive, whether he is sleeping, whether this heart can start up again, whether she can wish him alive. The questioning goes on and on -- my dear girl, trying to understand the new order of things. Every so often, Julia stops and asks me if it is okay if she is sad, if she can cry, if she can have tears. Julia had a bit of trouble at clinic today -- a hard transition with tears, and kicking and screaming. Debbie said it didn't go on for too long. My girl, my girl.
I did not sleep much after writing what I wrote, and now, with the morning and with Lisa here to help and abide, my head aches, my tears are still coming. I hate getting out of bed but clearly there will be no more sleep right now. We will plan today for the immediate few days but everything else, my whole self is cut up in tiny pieces and all over the floor. Everyone says take my time but part of me is too scared to do that. I will try to move slowly. I don't know if I can. I am both still and running to catch up with something I cannot see.

David's death 1

Nothing is going to work and I will not get to sleep tonight until I write this day out, at least a little. Just a bit more than 12 hours ago, David died. I still cannot believe what I am writing. I cannot get the reality of this deep enough into my bones; I know it but I am not knowing it.

It was not an awful death, it was not a long dying. There has been pain this past week and fatigue for awhile, but it was not so long, and I am so grateful.

I hated leaving his body. Even after it has turned cold, even after the blood was beginning to pool under his head and part of his back, I did not want to leave. Leaving was moving, moving on. I and we took a step and then two and then more away from David.

You know, there is so much that I am grateful for, so many thank yous that I have been saying because my friends are so wonderful, so giving, so caring of us. I knew all of this but i know better now. There is the belief that you can jump and the angels will catch you, I fell today from a great height and dear and caring people are catching.

Last week, after the ambulance and the ER and the night at the hospital as the docs figured out what to do to help David, I emerged shaken terribly but sure and strong, knowing that I could handle anything. It was an amazing feeling -- not that I was invincible, but to be sure that I was ready to take on everything that had ever scared me. I did not realize that I would need to use this new found empowerment so soon.

I just did not know so much.

04 July 2010

The wedding we missed

Just one picture, and that from the Jersey City Journal, of the grand affair that we missed yesterday. I am so sad that we missed it but have no regrets because David needed us here. Hard to want to be in two places at the same time, but good to know the place just right.

I bought a yellow dress.

Yes, I bought a yellow dress for the Fourth of July. It was for the day after Chris and Sophie's wedding in New Jersey. My sister was going to have a bar-b-que and I thought this was such a cute sun dress. We didn't get to Jersey or the wedding or the bar-b-que, but we went to church today and to the hospital and Julia to a play date, and I thought she should wear the dress.

To those who might wonder why I didn't put her in something red, white, and/or blue, well, that is such so much me. Too many years of school uniforms for me to ever conform to holiday colors. So you will not find us in red or green at Christmas, blue for Chunukah, green for St. Pat's day, or red, white and blue for the Fourth. Okay, sometimes it has happened, but ever so rarely. And it is not a conscious decision. I have a deep, inner rebel.

My girl loved the dress but the bare back -- ties in the back -- was not comfortable even in this sticky summer weather. So, the little sweater shrug that was bought for the wedding went on. To me she looks almost prissy, such a proper little lady.



And I love this close up smile. I tried to take a few of Julia and Cheshire, but they did not come out very well. I have a week to improve on that.
David is doing better. And Julia and I did some dinosaur work today. We are still in shaky territory but maybe we are on the road to normal.

02 July 2010

Staying with David this evening and watching the movie "nine" together. Strange movie to watch in a hospital room. Strange movie in general.

David made some strides today -- taking two walks outside his room and eating much better -- but he is still in a lot of pain. The pain which didn't really seem to be an issue for the last few days. Or is it the weakness that overrode the pain and I didn't notice like I do now.

I took Julia to the swimming pool after therapy. Julia has not been excited about the pool at all which is quite change from the last few years. She has always loved swimming, now, she says she is scared. I am not sure of what she is scared of. I was dying to be in the water, so I paddled around the pool and Julia waited for me in a chair. Just as we were getting ready to leave, one of her friends from school came up to her and asked if she wanted to go into the pool. Julia again declined, and her friend asked if Julia might want to play in the sand box (a huge pit of sand where kids of all ages play). Julia wanted to do that and the two of them went to play for awhile.

I don't know. Sometimes I think I am seeing a sadness in her.

After the pool, we came to the hospital and we all had supper together. The lenght we go to for a family meal.