Things that Made Me Cry Last Week

Sometimes the reality of him being gone, it just smothers me.  I fall into a routine and everything seems relatively normal.

Until the permanence hits me.  Once again I remember is not out of town, at the dentist or at work.  He is not coming home.  This routine is forever.  This alone routine.  And I weep.

There are other times, however, when something random or minor will set me off.  Over the past week, here are some of the specific instances that cut me deeply enough to scar.

“Runaway Train” sang through my radio, reducing me to a blubbery mess in my car.  Why?  Was it ‘our song?’  Certainly not.  Was it a favorite of his?  Nope.  There is no reason this song should have pulled such a response from my heart.

A character on The Last Man on Earth gave birth.

I said that Chris Pratt was nice looking, and K instructed me to NOT MARRY Chris Pratt.  I almost died laughing,, glowing with the K’s adoration that he would even see that as a possibility.  He continued, “Don’t marry anyone else ever, OK mom? I don’t want another dad.  I had a dad and he was the best dad in the world and I don’t want a replacement.”

Shadow on American Gods packed up his dead wife’s belongings.

I saw an ad for The Gunslinger.  I loved those books, and waited for years to share them with my non-reading husband.  This would have been amazing.

I realized we kept meaning to go to a Supernatural convention.

I found a stack of papers with his handwriting on them.  One had his signature.

I revised my will.

I took my child to an Occupational Therapist.  Alone.

I took my kids to a pro baseball game.  With my parents. The other kids there all had dads with them.

I realized Mother’s Day was coming up.

I saw the Anne Hathaway episode of Lip Sync Battle.  Again, no reason for this to spark pain.  I have no idea why her lip syncing to “Wrecking Ball” would make me cry.

I saw someone smoking.

I watched the second episode of American Gods.  I laughed and applauded at this stunning adaptation of one of the few books we both read and loved.  I cannot say enough about this show.  Trey would have loved it.  We would have watched every episode together multiple times.  I cried my way through the entire episode, through the laughter and applause, the tears and sobs.

I thought about getting rid of that horrible Scarface poster above our bed.  I hated that thing from the moment he brought it home.  This is the kind of thing that happens when your husband arrives at your new apartment a week before you get there with the rest of your stuff.  He buys a ginormous Scarface poster and hangs it in the living room.  Throughout the years I’ve managed to get it shuffled off into the bedroom.  I could now get rid of it.  But now I won’t do that.  I’ve gotten rid of acres of his things, but not that thing.

Toilet Seats

A couple of months before Trey died, I bought new toilet seats for all three bathrooms in our house.  I placed a box containing a new seat in each of the bathrooms, where we were sure to trip on them and fight with them every time we opened the bathroom doors.

I asked my husband to take care of changing them out.  Weeks went by with no action on the matter and company was coming, so I proceeded to change out the seat in the guest bath.  I’m no helpless female — I can change a toilet seat, after all.

“Did you change the toilet seats?”

“Just the one.”

“Babe, I’m supposed to do that.  I’ll do the others.  You don’t have to fuck around with changing out toilet seats.  Don’t change the other two, all right?  Let me.”

Another couple of weeks passed with plenty of stubbed toes and curses from the well-placed boxes.  No action on the matter was taken.

Then he died.  Without ever changing out the toilet seats.

After Trey’s death, I continued to leave those two toilet seats in their boxes, instrusively located on the bathroom floors.  Company came, and more company, and family and friends came for the funeral, stayed in my home and used the bathrooms.  Still the boxes with the new seats remained sealed, stubbing toes and eliciting curses.

He had told me to wait for him.  He told me he would do it.  I was still waiting for him.  I was waiting.  To let him do it.  Like he said.

This week, it became too much of a pain in the butt.  Literally.  The seat in the master bath was cracked, and it pinched my butt cheek every time I used it.  So I changed out the seats.  Now we have new seats on the toilets.

The world didn’t end.  I didn’t even cry.

It’s just one of many items on his honey-do list that I will now be handling.

Two Months

It’s been two months, which seems crazy both because it somehow feels like I’ve aged a lifetime and also because I am still always surprised and saddened to not find him here when I get home. Two months feels like it can’t be right because it simultaneously feels much longer and much shorter than that.

I remember that the second house we bought together- our house in Tulsa – we bought without him ever seeing. I had fallen in love with the house, and that was all he needed to kno

A Month Later

It has been over a month, and everyone has moved on with their lives. All the family, well-wishers, and friends shed their misery, returning to their regular routines. They were only so much noise anyway, drowning out the echoes without filling the void.

I showed every indication of possessing the strength to handle his death. Until this week’s slide. As it turns out, I am not doing well at all. My insides are grinding to a halt. I am lost and lonely and see little reason to move. I’m not fine, thank you for asking. (If you do ask, please note I will tell you that I am doing as well as can be expected, I have plenty of support and am making it through this. My struggle is none of your goddam business, and I don’t want to hear your greeting-card words of support.)

Every morning the idea of getting out of bed is more ludicrous than it was the day before. Each night I spend less time sleeping. Each day I spend more time crying. More and more often I accept gravity’s invitation to lie on the floor staring at nothing. Thinking of nothing. Being nothing.

Mommy instincts keep me moving forward, keep me going to work, keep me showering at least once every three days whether I need it or not. I cry at work now. I stare at the screen. I’m behind, and I just don’t give a fuck. If there were no kids, I would be on the floor in my favorite knee socks and a blanket. Am I supposed to care that someone’s office will be painted two days late?

Little League, school meetings, homework, dinners – I force all the trappings of normal family life while stealing moments to hide away and be nothing. I wear my person mask for the coworkers, the parents, and the kids. Washing dishes, folding laundry I can wear the bright red snot nosed face of the hopelessly distraught and enraged. In my room, however, in my room and after the kids go to bed – there I can be catatonic zombie. That’s my favorite. That’s where I want to live.

Eulogy

We held the memorial reception for Trey this weekend. I deliberated carefully on what I would say. I wound up unable to say anything at all.

Trey didn’t believe in obstacles. He believed in the power of every person to better themselves, to achieve success according to whatever standards by which they measure it. He believed everyone could be happy. Time after time, he would meet someone who was unsatisfied with their life and feeling unable to change their situation. Sometimes the person had made mistakes in the past, or survived a trauma, or was dealing with physical or emotional factors that they felt were trapping them. Trey’s response was always the same: “How are you going to use that to your advantage?”

He didn’t see flaws – he saw beauty. Every scar, every piece of baggage, every hidden pain – he saw them as signs of strength and sources of power. He believed in wabi-sabi, the perfection of imperfection.

Trey saw potential in everyone. Within ten minutes of meeting a person, he would have outlined a life plan for them. If you wanted to live outside of society and join the circus, he would give you the steps to own your own circus.

As people share their memories of Trey with me, themes repeat:

-Trey encouraged and coached me to achieve what I never thought I could.

-I felt judged/outcast by a lot of people, but Trey always accepted me.

-Trey made me laugh.

I believe he would be pleased with this legacy.

I never stopped seeing him as that fifteen year old boy with long bangs and purple shoes, acting tough. He was my universe.

So many people have offered support to me and to my family, for which I am humbled and grateful. This is harder than I could have imagined. We are taking it one day at a time, sometimes one minute, one breath.

Thank you to all for the support, well wishes and for the memories.