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It's The Little Things That Get Me

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I have had to be away for the last week in terms of writing things here. Last week started the competition stuff for the newspaper I advise. That meant combing through all the papers we put out this year--we are one of the only daily high school newspapers in the country--and the job takes forever. My grades for third quarter are due a week from tomorrow. I have dropped in a few times just to read but it isn't the same as having the time to write what I am thinking and feeling. I feel I have moved backward a little over the last week--and I blame the fact I have been forced to ignore me and what I am feeling in order to deal with the needs of my students--and those of some of my friends in the non-digital world.

Things are not likely to get better this week either. In addition to grades, a friend who is moving to Ohio called to ask me to come help do some packing this weekend. She got the flu last week and has fallen behind in her packing. She has bailed me out big-time on a number of occasions and has been among my best friends for ages. I will go there. I also have the MS walk next Sunday.

That same day is Jane's four month anniversary. I am doing the walk in part as training for the Walk for Life in June. But a very dear friend of ours has MS and has had a particularly tough year. In the past we have simply made a donation--but this year I really want to do more than that. Some of my students asked me to join their team for the walk--when they asked i was deeply moved.

It seems like a perfect storm--which is either going to be very good or very bad.

I may get a hint of that tomorrow. It's my birthday. We had a thousand little rituals for each of our birthday's. I'd be ambushed by cards and small gifts throughout the day--starting with when we first woke up when she would give me a card and a wrapped present. There would be an inflated cake or blimp at breakfast. Then we would go out somewhere special for dinner. This year, her birthday dinner was in the hospital--but we still found ways to make the day special. She joked about how she had gotten a new heart for her birthday--and i gave her different cards over the course of the day. She did not remember any of that a week later--after to blood pressure crashes and two comas. But at the time, we were happy--convinced she was coming home--that she would be moving out of intensive care within a day or two. And then be home before Christmas and getting ready for the next battle in the war against the cancer.

We were innocent of the days ahead. We had grieved her mother's death, but neither of us really knew what this kind of grief looked like--felt like.

But I suspect tomorrow will be ok. I just got off the phone with her sister. She and their father have invited me over for dinner tomorrow night. The newspaper will get printed--as it always does. My students will keep an eye on me and won't likely let me get too down. I will visit the cemetery--even though it is supposed to rain most of the day--and spend a few minutes there remembering that we are all mortal--that we do not get to decide--except in rare cases--exactly how we will go out--and when and where. And that I am not the first--nor the last--who will feel this sting. And I will remember the knowledge we shared about life, the universe, and everything--and remember again that in the cosmic scheme of things this is no more of a separation than the average business trip. And I'll be ok--I think. Because every time I worry like this about how I will be able to get through the day, my expectations are so low that there is very little chance I will not beat those expectations in some positive way.

And i will get through the four month anniversary on Sunday. People will find ways to keep me busy. And if they don't, I will.

It is the regular days where the real ambushes lie for me: the short story that uses her name as the protagonist's, the carnations at the grocery store, or the mums at the florist, the chicken breasts on sale at the grocery, the piece of mail from city hall that still has both our names on it--or worse the statements from the insurance company or the bills from the hospital that arrive addressed to her, the random pollster or telemarketer that asks to speak with her on the phone. I want to scream at them--but i can't. They are working from a prepared list and following their prescribed script. They don't mean to rekindle bits of grief I thought i had put away into a compartment where i could examine it slowly and carefully--defusing it like the bomb that it is behind a blast wall of meditation and symbol.

It feels, for now at least, as though I have developed a sort of armor for the big days. It is the little stuff that gets me--like the thin poinard the yeomen used on the French Knights at Agincourt and Crece. And i just never see them coming.

Thanks for listening.


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Birthday wishes to you, birthdays will never be the same but the good memories will be there. It's good that your in-laws are still part of your life and invited you to dinner.

You are going to be busy on Jane's 4 month Anniversary, maybe that's a good thing. I think we tend to anticipate the worst on special days and that causes more anxiety than the day actually brings.

Sixteen months into this, many of the "regular"days are still very hard to get through.I still find the weekends hard even though Lars had been retired for 9 years prior to his death.Weekends were just our special time to do things together and spend quality time time with the family.We still get together,but a special person is missing and to me it doesn't feel quite right.

Hoping you have a good day tomorrow.


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and remember again that in the cosmic scheme of things this is no more of a separation than the average business trip.

Harry I really like this way of thinking!

We were innocent of the days ahead.

2mo befor I lost my Honey he had needed some more mouthwash, I remember thinking, when I grabed the biggest bottle I could, "There now he cant die on me till its all gone!" Im not sure at all where that idea came from but suspect that my brain saw something my heart didnt want anything to do with! It took me 7mo to finish that bottle while alternating with my brand. I couldnt just through it out. Then 2 weeks befor I lost him, he needed some bar soap, but this time I kept forgetting to buy some, I still have that last bar of soap. I couldnt bring myself to get rid of it or use it...it doesnt make any sense but I guess it really doesnt have to does it?

I added this link to one of my posts. I caught myself typing it all again.


My link

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I agree with you, Harry, when we are drawn away from ourselves too much we tend to lose ground. Yet, it is good to be involved. Always a delicate balance. Yesterday was my birthday and thanks to friends, I made it through the day and had a lovely time with people...and would have traded all the gifts and cards and wishes for 3 seconds with Bill. This week was the first anniversary, anniversary of burial and the next day my birthday and I made it. You will also. Those students are good distractions. Someone said to me that all the firsts are over now and my reply was that every day forever there will be firsts...the first time he is NOT here for some event. Yes, it is the little things that get me. He would have celebrated my day yesterday with all kinds of little rituals that we had developed...cards, breakfast in bed, dinner out just like your day would have been. Somehow we plow through all this and make it to the next day. YOU are doing it well....I wish you some quiet moments as you move on to the tomorrows....soon we will all be reunited with those we love.

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Happy Birthday! It sounds like you are doing positive things and keeping busy and that's good...there will come more time for you before you know it and you'll have more time to spend here. For now just do what you need to do. I hope a lot of good wishes come your way today!

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