Tuesday, September 20, 2011

It has been three months. Time is supposed to heal, but it has not yet had a chance. The pain still feels, at most times, absolutely unbearable. I couldn’t get to work yesterday and did my best instead to work from home. I found myself finally trying to get cleaned up mid-day but sat down in the shower and sobbed until I couldn’t anymore.
His sports biographies and history books are still in the bookshelf next to our bed. I still sleep on the right side of the bed, usually with one of the kids next to me, since they still don’t want to be alone at night. His clothes still hang in our bedroom closet, the silly ties, the guitar shirts, his Cardinals jersey and some of the work shirts and suits that made him look so handsome. His home office is mostly untouched.
I still have the text message on my phone that he wrote wishing me a happy anniversary on the day he died.
There are still unheard voicemail messages on my cell phone, I’m sure sending me condolences, which I don't have the strength to listen to.
When I am unable to conceal my grief – friends/family ask what brought it on. There is nothing specific – I’m sad all the time – sometimes it leaks out at the wrong times. There isn’t a specific trigger, and everything, after over 20 years together is a trigger.
It’s driving home at night and seeing his car in the driveway and knowing he’s not at home, and never will be.
It’s the absolute fear of raising two kids on my own.
It’s the life insurance claim that has not and may not be paid.
It’s having to sell our home.
It’s having a daughter that wants to go to MIT and a son who wants to go to Stanford, with grades that may get them there and no earthly idea how to pay for it.
It’s the inability to stop thinking what if we had known earlier that there he had such advanced heart disease and tried to treat it?
It’s not having him around to kiss good night, or tease me, or watch ESPN sport center with his son. It's not having him next to me at the softball field when his daughter knocks it to the outfield, again.
It’s the exhaustion of trying to get the kids where they need to be and get them fed and help with homework and then go to work and repeat that cycle every day alone.
It's taking care of his stupid dog.
It's the embarrassment of crying at work. Every day.
It's teaching Charlie how to drive, even though we both agreed I was wound to tight for that assignment.
It’s seeing all these other families that have their husband and father with them.
It’s going to the Autzen stadium and having his seat empty.
It’s the horror of imagining the kids who adored him reliving what they went through the night he died.
There are some welcome distractions – when the kids are happy or proud of themselves – I can find some peace. I’m surrounded by family and friends who I know want to help. The thing is, I just don’t know what they can do.I want the father of my children back. I want my husband back. No one can give me that.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Small victory this week. I clogged up the kitchen sink yesterday trying to shove some leftover pork roast down the garbage disposal. The first 10 minutes free I had to work on this problem was about 9:30 last night after getting the kids home from softball and water polo and getting them fed. Life as a young widow of two busy teenagers would be more doable if I didn’t have to work, but that’s not going to happen. I had to take apart the plumbing under the sink – remove about 5 pipes, but I did clear the clog. I was happy with myself because my first thought was to call a plumber, which would have been expensive.

This would have fallen to me before Chuck died too… ( There’s one memorable Christmas dinner when I was pregnant with Charlie and my father-in-law, his wife, along with Chuck sister’s family all came for Christmas dinner and 20 minutes before time to serve, Chuck put several pounds of potato skins down the disposal. I was on the ground, hugely pregnant with a wrench and a bunch of towels, unclogging it so we could get our holiday dinner on the table)

It just felt different this time, because it HAD to be me.

Overheard at our house this week:
  • When asked about having me sit in on his grief counseling appointment again, my son said: “Be sad on your own time.”
  • When asked why she banged her bat on the plate when she was at bat, Samantha said: “It’s like a dog peeing on a tree. I’m marking my territory - telling the pitcher, this is MY HOUSE.” Chuck would have LOVED that, as he would have loved the way she’s been hitting the ball. We miss you at the softball fields, Papa, even if we can solve the minor plumbing crises on our own.