Archive | Grieving

the reset button

Today I need to get some sad out. Things have been going really well with the move and getting used to our new town but I think the sadness has been building up a bit. So here is me getting it out…publicly, I guess. I apologize if this sounds like a therapy session but I guess that’s kind of what this blog is for me.

Anyway…

Some of you may know or remember that when Greg got sick, he had a reset button. When he would think sad or bad thoughts about the future and dying, he wanted something to help ‘reset’ his mind. So he took this button off of our old Filter Queen vacuum cleaner. He brought the button everywhere we went and even in the middle of the night, I would hear that sad little clicking sound. And then I’d cuddle just a little closer to him.

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When the movers took our bed out a couple weeks ago, there was Greg’s reset button on the floor. I wanted someone else to be there to share this important find with me. But there was nobody but James, one of the movers. So I blurted it out to him as well as I could explain it in a few sentences. He looked confused and didn’t really know what to say. I wanted to just yell out, “It’s really important!” But I felt stupid and started crying and clicking it myself. James hustled out of the room to go move something else.

Lately I’ve been pretty vocal and that’s a little worrisome to me. I’ve always tried really hard to say the right things, think of the best way to say something so as to not offend anyone and make everyone like me. And being more vocal = more chances of feeling like a fool because of something I’ve said.

And now I have this blog, I’m talking and meeting a lot of new people and getting things off my chest. I’m feeling empowered but at the same time extremely vulnerable. I really miss having Greg here with me to let me know that I’m doing alright. I think he thought I was always the centered, confident one but I don’t think he ever knew how much confidence he gave me. Because I ALWAYS knew that no matter what silly thing I would say or do, he would still love me. And not only would he love me, he would completely be on my side. If I was ever worried if someone would be offended by something I did or think I was stupid because I messed something up, his response was always something to the extent of, “Fuck ’em!” as he wrapped his arms around me. I just didn’t have to worry because if I ever needed back-up, he was always right here.

There is a long list of things I miss about Greg but today I’m so sad about the fact that I don’t have him to scoop me up and let me know I’ve done alright. I’m proud to be a strong, confident person but it’s a hard realization that I’m back to relying on myself that what I’ve done or said is the right thing.

I’m keeping this reset button for myself. Click.

xxx,

Mariah

2

slowing down

I’m a very social person. I love being busy, doing things, going places.  But Greg wasn’t like that and when he was alive, we had a fairly slow life. He worked 2nd shift and I chose to/was able to be a stay-at-home mom. I’ve always considered myself lucky for that and very thankful to Greg for working so hard that I could be home. Since Squirmy and Squeaky were young, we didn’t have to wake up for school, work, anything, so we rarely felt rushed. The girls were our alarm clock and they would climb into our bed in the morning to play under the sheets, read books or watch a video if Greg and I weren’t ready to get up…zzzzzzzzzzzzz.

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Greg and Squirmy at Horicon Marsh

We were able to choose if we wanted to go to a play group or story time that day, wander to the park or around our yard, ride bikes, stop over at a neighbor’s for lemonade (Hi Jan!), without being rushed to get to some class or event. And that felt good.

When Greg got sick, things sped up. And they haven’t really slowed down much since.

A week or two ago, as we were driving from one event to another, I asked the girls, “Do you like doing all this stuff and going all these places or would you like to slow down?”  Nine times out of then, when I ask them both a question they say something different. But not this time. They both said, with enthusiasm, “SLOW DOWN!”.

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Greg and Squeaky at 4th of July in Monona

Yeah, I agree. This is all great stuff and I’m thankful we live in a community where so much is available and we have lots of friends we want to see, but sometimes I can hear Greg telling me to slow down a little, stop planning so many things! I think of the times that I left him with the girls to run an errand (thinking he would take them somewhere or do something eventful with them) and they would be in the same place I left them in, still playing, reading books, flopping around, happy as clams.

I’m hoping the move will help us slow down a bit, something I need help doing.

So, here’s to taking a deep breath and slowing down.

xxx,

Mariah

0

goodbye to BLOO

Greg named his car Blue. But since the correct spelling wasn’t available for Wisconsin license plates, he settled for “BLOO”. He loved this car. He bought it when we first started dating, it was like a fresh start for him. Everything about it was bright and cheerful. The light blue exterior, the light leather interior. (Do I sound like a car commercial?) It helped that he always had good music playing in it too. It was the car he took me for dates in when we first got together and after having kids and driving the minivan, it once again became our “date car”.

I sold BLOO last weekend. :(

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I was just about to give up after it had been on Craigslist for over a week with absolutely no interest. I was prepared to slash the price to just get rid of it and had arranged for a friend to take it and sell it for thousands less. Literally, two seconds after making plans for him to come and get it that evening, I got a text from a guy wanting to see the car asap. And that’s when I broke down. It seemed like I had been waiting and waiting to sell his car and was getting anxious about where to store it, how to take care of it, that I wouldn’t be able to drive it enough (It NEEDS to be driven, you know!), etc. But it was too real that someone wanted to see it at that moment and I was overwhelmed. I broke down in front of the girls. Squeaky came over and rubbed my back. Squirmy walked away from me but I realized she was going to get me a tissue. We talked about it and then Mama felt a little better. I also got in touch with a neighbor who came over to help since I’ve never sold a car myself before. Thanks again, Scott!

So, about the buyer. There is a connection with his name. My grandpa’s name was Kenneth. I never knew him because he died at age 46. Greg’s middle name was Kenneth and he ALSO died at age 46. The rabbi at Greg’s funeral was Kenneth. And when the guy who came to look at BLOO last Friday shook my hand and said, “Hi. I’m Ken”, I wanted to look up into the sky with my hands outstretched and yell… “Okay, Baby – Thank you!” …but I didn’t want to freak the people out so I just did that yelling thing in my head.

Sometimes it sounds like a stretch when I try to explain it to someone, but it’s a connection that gave me comfort that Greg’s car was going to exactly the right person.

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Squeaky*, Squirmy and I took a drive in BLOO and posed for some pictures before it was gone.

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The girls yelled, “Bye Daddie’s car!” as Ken drove it away.

xxx,

Mariah

*I bought Squeaky a new winter jacket and snow pants that I had her try on. She wouldn’t take it off. saying, “I’m wearing it until winter!” So I let her wear it outside until she started sweating and it was sticking to her. :)

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for the record

A few weeks ago, I received a summons to report for jury duty. Sigh. Why am I being called for jury duty for the first time NOW?  Well, I think I might know why.

I had to go through a little paperwork to be excused for jury duty this time. But in the process, I was put in touch with the jury clerk in Madison…someone I needed to talk to in order to get the following information…

Back up to spring of 2012…When Greg was summoned for jury duty, I remember he had a good time and was excited to tell me all about it. On some questionnaire he wrote out his age in days instead of years, which is SO Greg! I also remember a story he was very proud to tell me. The judge was asking questions during jury selection and Greg got something about ME put on the record. I have a horrible memory and that’s all I remember about it, but getting my own summons for jury duty brought it back up.

As I was making my case to be excused (I’m moving), I decided to ask the jury clerk if she could look into the records for me, to find anything from the day Greg was there.  I had JUST come across a paper with Greg’s jury pool number and ID on it about a month ago. She told me there is not usually a transcript routinely prepared unless there is a request for one or an appeal but that she would look into it. Twenty minutes later, she called me back and said that she talked to the court reporter and they both remembered Greg and this certain instance in the courtroom. AND SHE FOUND THE TRANSCRIPT. She said, “I’m folding it up right now and sending it to you.” And then I could hear her start to cry. She managed to get the words out, “It’s really nice.” And then I started crying. And then we were both sobbing and I hope she heard me say thank you about ten times before I finally hung up. I felt a little rude but it seemed silly to stay on the phone crying!

It turns out the part about me was what Greg had written on that form, my occupation. So here it is:

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Just another example of what a sweetie Greg was. Thank you for this, Baby.

And thank you to the Dane County jury clerk, Maureen, for treating this as an important matter and finding it for me.

xxx,

Mariah

2

tremble before greg’s high score

Greg loved video games. He played a lot growing up and was brilliant at Robotron. A friend told us about a Vintage Arcade Week at the Wisconsin Historical Society back in 2007. So of course he went and he won two t-shirts for getting the highest score on Robotron and another game. The girls (especially Squirmy) loved it when he wore one of his “robot shirts” and would always want him to name all the characters. He knew all of them and would list them off one by one!

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One of the places Greg loved going to was Rossi’s Pizza in Monona, WI. When he had the chance to do something by himself (because his wife is not a fan of video games), he’d head to Rossi’s for a slice of  “pie” and some arcade games.

Rossi's pizza

When Greg got sick, we talked a lot about making a list of things that made him happy and he loved; things he could do one last time. But he got so sick, so quickly, he wasn’t able to even start that list.

After a long morning at the hospital sometime in April, Greg was feeling okay, even though he had to wear a mask because of the neutropenia he had developed after chemotherapy. We were planning on getting something to eat on the way home and I asked him if he wanted to go to Rossi’s. He lit up and said, “Really?” like we were going to play hooky or something.  It was so hard during that time because we were gone from Squirmy and Squeaky so much, we were usually so anxious to get back home to them. So this was a big deal, especially since I was the one suggesting it.

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Greg played two or three games but got really tired out from them. While I’ve never really liked video games I have played Ms. Pac Man a few times. So, I played Ms. Pac Man while he leaned back on a stool and watched me. He was impressed that I was getting so into it. Ha! He was happy, doing something he loved. And it was nice that we could share that happy moment together, one last time.

And before we left, I wrote something like, “I love my hubby forever!” on the chalkboard wall in the bathroom.  :)

xxx,

Mariah

 

1

what he left behind

After Greg died and I started going through some of his things, thoughts would run through my mind like, “This shirt is still here? How could he leave his sushi shirt behind? He loved this shirt! And this Fawlty Towers episode book? He needs this where he is!” And then I’d realize how silly those thoughts are. But I still go through that thought process. Now that I’m going to sell his car, I keep thinking, “How is he just letting me sell this car that he loved?” It’s like a joke and he’s just dead until he realizes he left his car or that sushi shirt and he’s going to come back to claim it, like “Just kidding! You really think I was going to die without bringing my sushi shirt?”

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Greg in his sushi shirt with Squirmy at her 3rd birthday party. He had just finished being a clown. :) This shirt is definitely a keeper!

I even laughed to myself over getting rid of a couple things that he loved and I did NOT. There was one shirt that we’d laugh about because he loved it and I hated it. I’m sure this is a universal husband/wife thing, is it not? If Greg ever put it on for something that I thought was important, I’d have to plead with him to change. I imagined that his ghost was trying to wrestle me to the ground because I was getting rid of that ugly zippered shirt with the collar that had a permanent, dirty crease in it. I’m not sure he really loved it all that much, more that he loved laughing at my reaction to it!

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I have saved a lot of Greg’s things, all I have left of him that I can actually touch. Things that remind me of him, things that I can feel and imagine he’s still wearing. I page through a book that he loved, hoping that doing so will make him walk back into the room. I realize that thinking he misses these things is completely ridiculous. But his things that meant so much to him when he was alive, have become so important to me now. And of course, I know the only thing in this life that really mattered to him was his girls.  We are what he would come back for…if only that was possible.

xxx,

Mariah

2

my husband just died

I want to say it all the time. Everywhere we go where people don’t know our situation. I’ll get a comment on my wedding ring, on how sweet the girls are, asked if I know what aisle the couscous is in, and I tell them. I have Greg’s picture taped on the inside of my wallet so when I open it up, I can see him. Sometimes I think I put it there so that other people can see it too and if they make any sort of comment on it, I can just blurt out, “That’s my husband and he just died!” I just want to get it out. Not because I want to shock them or get sympathy but because that is our life right now and you just can’t tell from the outside. We’re in pain. Lots of pain. And I want people to know.

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I’ve been trying to pay attention to other things going on in the world, right in front of me, but I still seem to be in a fog. All I know is my husband just died. It’s still hard to think about much else. Slowly, it is becoming more about the day-to-day…4k and preschool and blogs and selling cars and houses and stuff on craigslist and jury duty. Yes, jury duty…sigh. But I have to just say it because that’s the truth. And maybe every time I say it helps me to move forward just a little.

Our whole situation may be shocking right now but in time, I guess it won’t be. I’ll say, “My husband died last year…five years ago…ten years ago…twenty years ago.” and people will just nod, because that happens. And then I’ll just nod. And then hopefully I’ll smile – or maybe even laugh…and think of a funny story about him and how much I loved kissing him. And it’ll feel good to be able to just smile.

xxx,

Mariah

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