And Back

A friend posted a note that ended “Love you both to the moon and back” and it reminded me of a book Kim used to read to Elena.

We both read to the girls a lot when they were little but there were some books they wanted Kim to read and some books they wanted me to read.

Kim always read “Little Bear” to Elena and she always read her “Guess How Much I Love You”.

Elena was our second child but Kim’s first birth.

We constantly had to explain that. I remember our first time at the childbirth class when Kim mentioned Maggie to someone and they said, “wait, this isn’t your first child?”

Kim’s family threw her a baby shower. We had nothing for the first year of a baby’s life as we didn’t meet Maggie until just after her first birthday.

A mother of a friend of mine gave us “Guess How Much I Love You” and told Kim how much she’d loved the story and the pictures.

I remember our family singing “I see the moon” when long car drives spilled over into the night time and the moon came out.

The point of the song was that even if I’m not with the one I love, we both look up to the sky and see the same moon.

That moon so far away is somehow joining two of us together.

Somehow, just as the sun reflects off the moon and I see it, my love reflects off the moon and they see it.

My love has travelled to the moon and back.

And yet.

It turns out the internet has arguments about that phrase.

Some people hate those on Facebook and elsewhere that use it.

“Why the moon?” some ask. “Why not a more distant planet?”

“Why the moon?” some ask. “Why not use a more precise measurement that has meaning?”

Shut up.

Is there no poetry in your life?

It reminds me of that early date with Kim where I made her get out of the car to look at the moon with me.

It reminds me that this year she took me outside because she’d noticed how beautiful the moon looked in the sky and I cried because she had noticed.

Kim used to read “Guess How Much I Love You” to Elena while Maggie sat nearby pretending not to listen.

The Little Nutbrown Hare would say to the Big Nutbrown Hare, “I love you up to the moon.”

The Big Nutbrown Hare didn’t say, “only the moon? Why not the stars?”

The Big Nutbrown Hare didn’t say, “really, that’s only a couple hundred thousand miles.”

No, the Big Nutbrown Hare said, “Oh, that’s far.”

In searching for the exact dialog I saw something I don’t think I ever knew about the story. The Little Nutbrown Hare and the Big Nutbrown hare are both males in the story. I always saw the story with Elena and Kim occupying those characters and thought they were both female.

It’s a story about a father and a son.

It’s a story about a love and a bond and the internet can just shut up.

If you do,

if you just shut up and embrace the story,

if you just hear the phrase,

you’ll feel the warmth when the Big Nutbrown Hare kisses the Little Nutbrown Hare goodnight, lays down nearby and whispers with a smile,

“I love you to the moon and back.”

 

Published in: on January 14, 2017 at 9:44 am  Comments (1)  

The Look

When you look at your co-worker what do you see? Do you see someone you work together with? Someone you want to see succeed?

What if you’re higher up in the organization than they are? Do you look at them with a look that says “man, I appreciate all you do.”? Do you have their back even behind their back? Do you let other people know how much you’re glad you have them working with you.

There was a moment during Obama’s farewell speech the other night when he looked at Joe Biden and you saw what kind of man each of them was.

This wasn’t a “he works for me but all the good that happens here is ’cause of me” kind of look. It was a “I’m so glad I had you with me on this journey” look.

I used to make fun of Kim when she’d tell me that this celebrity was a nice person.

“Why,” I’d tease, “because of what they show you on TV?”

“I know,” she’d say, “but I can just tell.”

She loved Joe Biden. She just knew he was a nice man. She loved Barrack Obama. She knew he was someone special from the first time she saw him.

Even though it was on TV, I think she was right.

There was a moment during Obama’s farewell speech the other night when he looked at his children and you saw the kind of dad he is and the kind of dad he wants to be.

It was a moment on TV. It was scripted. He knew he was being watched by millions. It still felt real to me.

I’ve seen a lot of politicians say things about their kids. This felt different.

I know that look a dad has when he looks at his children and his chest swells with pride knowing he had almost nothing to do with how great his children have become.

I have that look on my face sometimes when I look at Maggie. I don’t even mind that she rolls her eyes when she catches me doing it.

Someday she’ll know.

There was a moment during Obama’s farewell speech the other night when he looked at me. He told me to be vigilant but not afraid. He didn’t tell me that I can. He has never told me that I can. He told me again that we can.

It’s the African saying we learned at Upward Bound: I am because we are and because we are, therefore I am.

We are.

We can.

But the moment I loved the most was the moment during Obama’s farewell speech the other night when he looked at Michelle. You could see the rest of the room disappear for that moment and all he could see was her.

I thought this morning of Duncan’s iconic photo of the iPhone. He didn’t just capture the phone. He captured the people looking at the phone.

In that moment during the farewell speech we saw Michelle and we saw her husband, her partner, her best friend, and her biggest fan looking at her with a look that was indescribably wonderful, respectful, deep, and so full of love.

May you find someone you look at that way.

May you find someone who looks at you that way.

I did. It made me better in every way.

I am because we are and because we are, therefore I am.

Published in: on January 12, 2017 at 10:19 am  Comments (1)  

Look Again

The iPhone was introduced ten years ago.

Kim bought me my first iPhone for my birthday that year.

I don’t think I would have bought one for myself.

She was always smarter about that sort of thing. She pointed to my Motorola phone and said, “you can’t pull that out when you’re at Apple. You need their phone.”

She was right.

The first picture I took with the phone was of Maggie.

Elena had been dead for more than a year. Unbelievable.

That picture of Maggie is still my lock screen image on my phone. I love that picture.

My background picture is of Kim and Maggie from the Shaker Heights marching band trip to Turkey. It’s the two of them at Ephesus.

I was lucky enough to be at the keynote where Steve Jobs introduced us to the iPhone.

If I wanted to send the simple message “Hello” on my Motorola phone I had to press a lot of buttons. You had to press the 4 button many times to get an upper case “H”. The 4 button was g, h, i, G, H, I. Typing a message with the phone took time.

There were so many innovations that are now just expected.

When I used to listen to my phone messages on the Motorola I had to press all sorts of buttons to move forward to the one that I wanted. Until the iPhone we couldn’t glance down at our messages and select the one we want. Heck, now we can even see a beta transcript of the call and see what it’s about without listening to it.

I loved Jobs presentations.

He really was one of a kind.

After his presentation we wandered over to the show floor to catch up with friends and to see what the vendors were offering.

In the middle of the floor was a glass case with an iPhone inside and guards standing nearby.

People crowded the case all day. You couldn’t get near it.

People pushed up close just to see it. Others stood even closer to get a picture of it.

These were the old days. They had to use cameras. You couldn’t take pictures with your phone.

I was working with Duncan on a project for Apple business featuring some of developers. I recorded interviews with them and Duncan took their pictures.

At the end of the day the show floor was closing and we headed for the door.

“Hang on,” he said and reached for his camera.

There were only a few people around the glass case with the iPhone.

Duncan didn’t wait for them to move on. He didn’t wait for the area to clear. He didn’t move in too close. He didn’t avoid the reflections of the glass case.

I watched him frame what became the iconic picture of the iPhone display.

The story wasn’t just the device. It was the device on display in the case and the looks on the faces of the people as they pressed close to check it out.

Then and at other times Duncan taught me to look.

Then he taught me to look again.

Sometimes you don’t see the story when you first look at something. Sometimes the story is contained in the faces of the other people looking. Sometimes the story reveals itself when you get close, far, high, low, or shoot til you don’t notice you’re taking the pictures anymore.

Look.

Then look again.

Published in: on January 9, 2017 at 3:21 pm  Leave a Comment  

The One

Last week I told Kim’s sister about the only time that Kim and I had “fixed” someone up.

Against my better judgement I’d invited a friend of mine from a radio station to meet with Kim and a friend of hers.

“It’ll be fun,” Kim said.

It wasn’t.

It was painful and instructive.

Of course Kim had been right. The two people were perfect for each other.

On the other hand, they just didn’t see it.

“What do you like to do?” one would ask.

The other would answer, “I love to hang out in coffee shops.”

The first one would say, “Oh, I love to hang out in coffee shops too.”

Then they’d just look at each other uncomfortably. Neither would say, “we should hang out in a coffee shop together some time.”

It went on like that for forty-five minutes.

At one point Kim and the woman went off to the ladies room.

I sat with my friend and asked him what was wrong.

“She’s just not my type,” he said. “She’s not ‘the one.'”

He and she had agreed on every topic that had come up. They had the same likes and dislikes. They were each other’s type in every way but physically.

It turned out Kim had had a nearly identical conversation with her friend in the ladies room.

They came back. Everyone said goodnight. These two people who were lonely and so compatible went back to their separate lives and let this opportunity slip.

Kim and I drove home and compared notes. We didn’t really understand.

Kim and I weren’t each other’s physical types. With no offense intended to her former boyfriends, she tended to like men who were big and dumb looking. I tended to like women who were dark and Mediterranean.

That said, once we were together we were together. A woman would walk by and Kim would point her out saying, “she’s your type”. Not to be mean or jealous – so I wouldn’t miss her. I would do the same.

Neither of us were threatened or jealous. We just weren’t each other’s default physical type.

And yet, nobody was more beautiful, cuter, huggable, … than Kim. She was “the one.”

Actually, Kim and I didn’t believe there was only one person in the world for you. We didn’t believe in a canonical “the one”.

We believed you find someone that you mesh with, are attracted to, and fall in love with. Through that love and commitment you make them “the one.”

This summer Kim and I stood in the kitchen one morning drinking coffee and talking.

Man, I miss those talks. I miss her voice. I miss the banter. I miss the shorthand – not having to say everything. We just knew.

It’s those small things. Just hanging out in the kitchen talking and drinking coffee.

Anyway, that day she was talking about some of her girlfriends from work. They’re cute, smart, have good jobs, and they just can’t find someone nice.

“Don’t you know anyone?” she asked.

I remembered that evening twenty years before and asked, “We don’t have to be there, do we?”

“We could,” she said then saw the look on my face, “but we don’t have to.”

I suggested some names. She rejected each. Some, she acknowledged, would be perfect but no.

I looked at her and said, “thank God I’ll never have to date again.”

She smiled and said, “me too honey.”

I always assumed I’d die first. Kim’s family tends to live longer than mine. I figured she’d be the hot widow in the old age home when she was ninety.

Kim had almost married another man years before I met her. She’d dated a bunch of guys. She never said “I could have married” one of them or “I should have married” one of them. I don’t think she ever thought that.

We know people who say that all the time to their spouses. It makes me uncomfortable.

Kim is the one I married. From that moment on there are no others.

She was “the one” for me.

I’m so grateful she made me “the one” for her too.

A friend took me aside before my wedding and told me there would be a moment where I would turn to see Kim enter the church and the rest of the world would disappear. All I would see was her. It would be like a tunnel from me to her.

It was true.

From that magical moment to the day she died she was the center of my world.

She was “the one.”

 

Published in: on January 1, 2017 at 9:55 am  Leave a Comment  

Round Midnight

I was doing ok til everyone left.

Not that they should have stayed. They would have left at some point.

Just me and the dog and she just won’t settle down.

She keeps jumping up.

I’m no sure what she wants. I let her out. I let her in. She paces. I let her out again.

Finally, I’ve had enough. I sit down to watch TV for a while and wait til midnight. Wait til 2017.

There’s a horrible crash and the dog is running around with something in her mouth. I pull the dog treats from her mouth and see that she’s pushed two serving dishes off the buffet in order to get to the treats.

I push her out so she doesn’t cut herself.

I get a broom and a dust pan. It’s 1120. I’ve washed all of the dishes, scrubbed the pans, and now I’m sweeping up broken china.

It’s not the New Year’s Eve I imagined.

It was pretty good til everyone left. But at some point they would have left and I’d still be here. Alone in the house on New Year’s Eve or early New Year’s Day.

I saw in so many New Year’s with Kimmy.

We looked forward to another year together doing fun things, silly things, serious things – just things.

I finish sweeping up and take the bag full of broken plates out to the trash cans in the garage so the dog doesn’t hurt herself digging around in the kitchen trash can.

No sense in yelling at her. She’s moved on.

I check Facebook.

I don’t know why. But I do.

My friend Monika posts, “Another New Year’s Eve without Chuckie. I thought it would get easier, but I was wrong…”

It’s not what I want to hear. Monika is a year ahead of me with loss.

I check the page of one of Kim’s friends. She more years ahead of me and has posted a picture of herself and two friends out having a good time.

Maybe Monika and I are that many years away.

I don’t know.

I never minded not going out.

When I used to work in radio I had to go out most New Year’s Eves. It was a working night.

For so many years I’ve been happy to spend the night home with Kim and another couple.

They came over tonight. Except for the Buckeye’s loss, the night was great as always. There’s nothing like old friends.

But eventually, they were going to have to leave.

For the last twenty some years, we’d say goodnight to them, then Kim and I would go upstairs to bed.

Oh look – it’s midnight right … now.

I didn’t expect it to matter. New Year’s Eve has never really mattered to me.

I’ve been alone on New Year’s Eve before – but it was different.

This year’s alone feels alone.

I hear fireworks and gun shots and it’s now 2017.

My first date with Kim was twenty-five years ago this month. I think I was already looking forward to it on that New Year’s Eve.

This is the first New Year’s Eve in a quarter of a century where Kim is no where in my future.

I’m not real happy about that.

I’m heading up to bed.

The dog looks up at me.

“Come on,” I say to her, “Happy New Year Annabelle.”

 

Published in: on January 1, 2017 at 12:05 am  Leave a Comment  

Infomagical

About once a month I power up Kim’s iPad and clear her email.

I’m not being nosy. I’m just looking for commitments she might have made where the other person needs to know.

The only time I looked around her contacts was when I needed to contact people to let them know she was in the hospital. I didn’t have contact info for her childhood friends but knew they would be on her iPad.

They were.

I read through some of her texts a while back. Half of the texts she sent were details about meeting someone for coffee, for dinner, or for work.

The other half of her texts were just nice thoughts and encouragement from her. “Thinking of you honey”s. Letting people know she was thinking of them on their birthday or on an anniversary of losing someone or just because.

Most of her email is spam but every once in a while there’s a note from someone who doesn’t know about the accident yet or from a professional organization reminding her to renew.

I answer them from my own email account. It would be too creepy to get something from hers.

One email was from one of her friends who recently posted something about her on Facebook. I sent the link to myself and tried to open the page from my account but it was restricted to friends. I deleted the link. I couldn’t really post something from Kim’s account and it felt intrusive to send something from mine.

Kim also gets regular updates from “Note to Self”. She and I did their “Infomagical” week together this summer to cut down on our distractions and focus on what is important.

I’m going to re-listen to the Infomagical episodes and try to remove this overload of non-helpful information from my life.

I get tons of email every day and usually answer it within a day. Lately I’ve gotten worse about this but the last couple of days I’ve cleared out my Inbox so that it’s empty again.

But do I need to stay on top of it?

Kim’s been dead for four months and almost nothing in her Inbox is important.

I worked in a restaurant where we didn’t have the soup of the day like other restaurants. We had the soup of yesterday.

A bit pretentious, but everyone knows that soup tastes better the next day. Why not serve it then?

And what about email?

What if I never read email I received today? What if each day I took care of the email that was two days old. Most immediate crises would have been revealed to have been not that important.

Maybe I would have fewer bits of email that don’t really matter to anyone.

Maybe I would send email that has a longer shelf life.

Maybe more of my email, sent and received, would be “Thank you honey”s.

Published in: on December 29, 2016 at 8:49 am  Leave a Comment  

Christmas Snapshots

Kim would go to midnight mass. I would clean the house and go to bed.

Midnight mass at Our Lady of Peace is at 10 pm. It may have been later in the old days but that’s when it is now.

I’d let the dog out one more time, wipe her paws, and head up to bed.

Kim would come in around midnight. She’d hear the snoring and come into the bedroom quietly.

“I’m still up,” I’d say.

“Oh,” she’d say, “that’s the dog snoring.”

“Yeah. How was church?”

“Really pretty,” she’d say. “Father Gary says ‘hi’.”

“Nice.”

She’d brush her teeth, change into her pajamas, and get into bed. She’d snuggle up to me. Not for affection but for warmth. Actually, I guess, for both.

“Oh,” I’d say, “you’re cold.”

“Not any more,” she’d say rubbing her icy cold feet against mine.

I’d twist around and look at the clock. Just after midnight. I’d look back and say, “Merry Christmas, Kimmy.”

She’d smile and give me a hug and say, “Merry Christmas, honey.” Not even a second later her snores would blend with the dogs. I’d smile and join them.

Christmas morning I’d wake before her and look over at Kim. She’d be rolled over on her side facing away from me. She must have gotten cold during the night because I’d just see the top of her hoodie poking out from under the covers lying on her pillow.

She’d stretch a big stretch – well as big as she could stretch her short little self. Her joints would crack. She’d roll over and look at me. So cute. Only her eyebrows to her nose were visible between the hoodie and the blanket.

“Good morning,” she’d smile. I couldn’t see her mouth but I knew she was smiling. Her eyes.

“Good morning,” I’d reply. “Merry Christmas.”

“Merry Christmas, honey,” she’d say.

I’d reach my hand under the blankets and put it on her hip.

“What time is it, honey?” she’d ask.

I’d twist my body to see the clock. “Eight.”

“Ooh, I have to get going.” She’d roll back the other way and sit on the side of the bed stretching again.

“Want coffee?” I’d ask.

“I’ll make it,” she’d say.

“No, you have to get Maggie’s presents together. I’ll make it.”

“OK,” she’d say. “There’s Bailey’s in the refrigerator.”

I’d make the coffee and sit in the living room while she brought up the last of Maggie’s presents from the basement and wrapped them. She’d put the wrapping paper away and come back.

“More coffee?” she’d ask.

“Sure,” I’d say, “I’ll make it.”

“No,” she’d say, “that’s ok. I’ll make it.”

This year it’s different. So different.

Last night at quarter to ten a car honks in our driveway. It’s Kim’s mom. She’s going to take Maggie to midnight mass.

My sister is spending the night. She goes upstairs to get sheets and towels. Kim would have had them ready for her.

I let the dog out one more time and we head up to bed.

An hour or so later I hear the door open. Maggie’s home.

That’s it.

The bedroom door doesn’t open. Kim doesn’t join me in bed.

The dog snores.

I twist and look at the time. “Merry Christmas, puppy.”

The dog doesn’t move.

I don’t sleep well. My foot hurts and I seem to get up once an hour.

Soon, it’s morning and I’ve been crying for an hour for no apparent reason.

The dog wakes up and stretches a big stretch then wanders over to me. She plants a paw in the middle of my chest and licks my face. I scratch her ear.

She sighs a big sigh, turns around three times, and flops down on the bed next to me.

Annabelle is as cute as any dog but she doesn’t photograph well. I take a picture of her curled up beside me on the bed. In the background is one of Kim’s favorite paintings of a dog curled up on a bed, head on the pillows, as comfy as can be.

Annabelle snores.

Merry Christmas, puppy.

Published in: on December 25, 2016 at 9:21 am  Leave a Comment  

Fish

For years Kim’s favorite Christmas present from me was the Italian Seven Fish dinner I cooked for Christmas Eve.

When we were first married, Kim’s Christmas Eve tradition was to go to one of her aunt and uncle’s houses on her mother’s side. There was plenty of food, a ton of family, and Santa would visit.

One year Kim and I sat on the couch with one of her younger cousins who was watching the whole Santa thing from afar. Her younger sisters stood waiting for Santa and her older brother stood quietly taking it all in.

“Look at him,” the young girl said to Kim, “I think he still doesn’t know.”

Kim and I laughed.

Another year I sat on that same couch with Kim’s sister with one of her oldest cousins on that side. Carolyn was trying to decide when to go to church. She could go to midnight mass or she could go on Christmas day. She just wasn’t sure.

“You went Sunday,” I said.

“Oh, yeah,” her sister said.

“Then I don’t think you have to go again.”

I was teasing. Carolyn knew it. Kim’s cousin, however, was horrified.

“That’s not right,” she said. “You have to go.”

“But she went yesterday,” I teased.

“It doesn’t matter,” she said, “you have to go for Christmas.”

The year before, almost no one had gone to their house for Christmas Eve. There was a flu going around and most people stayed home very sick. Even I was sick at home – and I never seemed to get sick.

Kim told me that it was just a few of them. Most people in the family had been sick. She was glad she went and glad I hadn’t.

At some point we started going over to our dentist’s house for Christmas Eve. He wasn’t just our dentist. Al was a friend who also had played the organ at our wedding.

His beautiful house was filled with his family and that’s where we learned about the seven fish dinner. Course after course of fish that Al and his sons prepared and sent out to the table.

On the way home, Kim and I would take the kids to see Christmas lights at a development where each neighbor tried to top the next. We’d put the kids in bed and then Kim and her sister would go to midnight mass.

Kim’s Christmas Eve tradition ended when she got back from mass and checked that the kids were safely asleep. She’d then put the presents under the tree and fill their stockings.

Al died way too young.

His family invited us to Christmas Eve that year but it was different. I don’t know if they still gather for the fish dinner. The following year we started our own tradition – borrowing heavily from theirs.

I loved cooking for her. She had favorites and her eyes lit up as I served each course. We had other people there as well and I was glad that they liked the food too – but this was my gift to Kim. I got angry a couple years ago because the table talk was disrespectful to Kim’s religion and traditions and she wasn’t able to enjoy the night. It was like opening a gift to find the glass had shattered.

Most years it was wonderful.

We started with caviar on sour cream on crackers. I also filtered and marinated anchovies packed in salt and served them the same way. Carolyn would often bring shrimp and cocktail sauce and some years we’d have steamed mussels.

The alice (ah – leech) was something we’d taken from Al’s family. Spaghetti coated with anchovies, parsley, and bread crumbs. So hard not to take seconds but more courses were coming.

Fried smelts were also taken from Al. Lightly breaded and fried in the back yard so as not to smell up the house.

When Kim and I were first dating, I’d be at her apartment around Christmas.

“Smell that?” she’s ask.

“What is it?”

Her landlady was frying bacala, salt cod, in the basement. Kim’s apartment would smell of it for days.

Kim loved bacala. You have to soak it for days and change the water twice a day. I wouldn’t fry it. I’d cook it in a tomato sauce with anise and hot peppers and serve it over polenta.

In between we’d have pizza with a clam sauce and some calamari.

It took years for Kim to convince me that that was enough. I used to make a salmon or other fish as the main course.

Dessert was always an Italian candy that Kim liked. And then church.

Kim would go to midnight mass and my final gift was to clean up the dishes and put the dining room back in order.

Kim would come back into, what I thought was, a clean house. She’d look around. I’m sure she was making notes of what she’d fix in the morning.

“Thanks honey,” she’d say, and we’d go up to bed.

Without Elena, Santa could sleep in. Maggie never got up early and never went downstairs before we did.

There was the year, when Elena was still alive, that Santa forgot to fill the stockings. Kind of an awkward moment. The look on Kim’s face was priceless when she realized Santa’s mistake.

Tonight we’re doing things a little differently. Kim’s not here to cook fish for and Maggie doesn’t like fish.

We’re having a few friends over.

We’ll do a couple of fish items. Instead of the clam pizza, I’m doing a buckwheat crepe with the same filling to remember our time in Paris. I’ve got a roasted vegetable soup and a barley, pomegranate, dill salad. It’s also the first night of Channukah so I’m making potato pancakes and serving them with sour cream and applesauce. I’m also serving them with smoked salmon.

I don’t know why I’m having so much more trouble with Christmas than I had with Thanksgiving.

I think it’s because Christmas was Kim’s holiday.

Kim loved the magic of Christmas.

One of her friends wrote me a letter about how she and Kim used to go shopping together for Christmas presents.

I had no Christmas tradition before Kim.

For me, she was Christmas.

That’s probably why it’s so difficult.

Without her it’s just not Christmas.

Published in: on December 24, 2016 at 11:19 am  Comments (2)  

Future

Many people contacted me after Elena died to talk about miscarriages and children who had died before being born. Others told us of children born with conditions that would shorten their lives.

To them, their loss was the same as ours.

Elena died just before her seventh birthday. I have wonderful memories of those years. Some of those memories have stuck and some have faded just as they would if she was still here with us.

I suppose, if Elena were alive we would see flashes of the girl she once was in her eyes, in her actions, and in her mannerisms.

But that’s the Elena we lost – the future Elena.

We don’t have the Elena who would have been.

It sounds simplistic – it’s not – what we lost was the future.

Those parents of kids who died as infants lost a future.

People say to me, “it’s not the same, you lost a six year old.”

True. But we lost what that six year old would become. We lost her as a teenager. We lost her as a high school senior this year. We lost her going off to college.

I can still hear Kim’s voice crying after Elena’s death, that Elena hadn’t lived long enough to get her heart broken.

We lost a future. It’s hard to imagine that, in a way, since nearly eleven years of that future is past.

Those parents of kids who lost their kids before they became much of a memory also lost a future.

Is their loss different than ours?

Sure. All losses are different. But maybe not in ways that matter to them.

Some of the kids had names already.

Some of the kids had rooms that were decorated.

Their parents had imagined their lives as parents.

Now they had to imagine a different future.

Just like us.

Then Kim was killed.

I continue to get stronger and try to do more of what needs to be done. This week I’ve been trying to help organize a conference and I reached out to some people who would be great speakers.

One wrote me back that this is his first Christmas without his wife.

A year ago he was working to save his marriage.

It didn’t work.

This is his first Christmas since the divorce. She’s not dead, but she’s gone. He’s lost a future he counted on. His Christmases will never be the same. His future has been altered.

Is his loss different than mine?

Sure. All losses are different. But maybe not in ways that matter to him.

The future has been altered.

Christmas will never be the same.

 

Published in: on December 23, 2016 at 9:28 am  Leave a Comment  

Snack

When I get home, I head upstairs and let the dog out of her cage.

She runs down the stairs to the back door and waits for me to catch up to her to let her out.

Not yesterday.

Yesterday she must have heard me come in with groceries or smelled something from the kitchen as she ran to the back door.

By the time I got back downstairs, she had opened and eaten the smoked salmon I was going to serve as an appetizer on Saturday.

My fault.

I should have put it away before going to get her.

She was just being a dog.

I let her out.

I cleaned up her mess and put away the rest of the groceries.

I let her in.

She jumped up to lick me.

Her breath still smelled of salmon. She seemed to be rubbing it in.

I wiped her paws and let her go.

She went to her bowl.

Fair enough. That probably doesn’t count as dinner. It’s just a snack.

I got a cup of food and put it in her bowl. She waited patiently til I told her it was ok to eat. Then again, she couldn’t have been that hungry. She’d just eaten my smoked salmon.

Kim would have lectured her at this point.

“I can’t stand you,” she would have said. “You ate that whole package of smoked salmon. What’s wrong with you?”

Annabelle would have finished her food and looked up at Kim, head cocked to the side.

“Bad girl,” Kim would have said.

I’d look at Kim and say, “she doesn’t know what you’re talking about.”

“Oh, she knows.”

I smiled at the memory of Kim as I watched Annabelle drink a bowl full of water. So cute and so bad. Then again, it was my fault. I know better than to leave food out with the dog around. I just thought she’d head to the back door like always.

Annabelle pawed her empty dish for me to fill it again.

I did.

“Go ahead,” I said, “you’re probably thirsty from eating all that salmon.”

Annabelle paused a moment while drinking to look up at me. Then she returned to her water.

She knows.

Published in: on December 22, 2016 at 5:30 pm  Leave a Comment