Sunday, April 27, 2008

The concert (Jimmy Buffett) on Saturday night was far and away the most fun I have had at a musical event ever in my life. There was a spirit of whimsy and laid back energy that was so wholly freeing. We had a wonderful time. Tonight we went to my brother's house for burgers, hot dogs and wine. Being with my family feeds my soul. Every time I spend time with them, I feel another part of me heal.

Joe and I did some shopping today. We are getting the countertops redone in the kitchen and are starting to make plans to revamp the master bathroom. We're trying to find some kind of a desk for him that doubles as an armoir or chest of some kind, so that he can put his work away and let it be truly over with when the work day is done, which can be tough when working from home. We went to Fry's to look at some computer equipment. While we were there, we walked down an aisle that was all about robotics. Next thing I knew, I was staring at boxes of robot kits for kids Joseph's age. The Lego Mindstorm stuff, which he wanted so badly. Robotic penguins and inchworms that you make yourself. The sort of thing he would have just enjoyed so much. Next thing I knew, I was breaking out in a sweat, felt like the walls were closing in, as if I could not breathe. I started dropping stuff and got foggy brained. The surprise of his death doesn't sneak up on me often anymore, but it certainly did today.

Nick is about to be taller than me. He is almost exactly my height now and will have surpassed me by the end of summer. It made me realize today that Joseph would be very tall now. I miss him horribly, and my experience in the store just about ended my day then and there. But Joe took me to Jeff's house to visit with my brother, and my aunt and uncle, Roger and Deana, and their daughter, Brady, who are in town to attend the concert with us. It helped so much.

Monday, April 21, 2008

Dreaming Him Home

I dreamed of Joe-Gi last night. Finally. Gratefully. I have only gotten to dream of him about four times since his death for whatever reason, and most of those were nightmares that brought back the trauma of his illness and our attempts to save him.

Last night I grew so emotionally weary. There was no reason for it. Nick and Alex were camping with thier dad and we had an entire weekend to devote to ourselves and our house. We worked really hard, went on a luxurious picnic on Saturday and did the traditional romantic cuddling on a blanket with a pirated in bottle of good Chardonnay parked between us. It was a fantastic weekend and I have been happy. Content. So I don't know what triggered me last night. It would seem that nothing did. I just started to miss him. His laugh. His face. His gentle mannerisms. I was having a terrible backache and went to take a bath to help soothe it, and I curled down in the warmth and thought about him and wept. The yearning I feel for him is so overpowering. I miss him desperately.

As I fell asleep two nights ago, I sent a little prayer to Joseph tell him I love him and miss him and asking him to come visit me in my dreams and to send me signs that he is all right now. Yesterday, in checking a favorite website of mine that posts cute and funny pictures of dogs with captioning added by readers, the above picture had been posted. Perhaps that was my trigger. It reminds me so much of Joseph, of his own playful spirit, of the dog, Stretch, that he wanted to adopt when he got well enough.

During the night last night, I dreamed that I was sleeping, oddly enough. I dreamed I got up and out of bed and there was a large, huge dog sitting outside a screen door that had been added into the wall of my bedroom. Joe was not there. As I turned to get back into bed, I drew back the sheet and beneath it was Joseph, laying on his back. I was frightened immediately, as he looked dead, like the bodies on TV before they pull the sheet over them. But then he opened his eyes and I started to apologize, appalled at myself that he had been in bed with me all that time and I had not noticed. I don't remember the exact details, though I am scrambling now to recover them from my foggy mind. He was happy and healthy, though he was bald. He was so loving and kept hugging me and the only thing he would say was "Love Momma", a phrase from a little game we would play when he was smaller. I took him to my old office for some reason and he wandered the office. Then I was back in my bedroom and he said he needed to go back to sleep...or maybe he just climbed into bed and I knew that is what he needed. There was a window above the bed and sitting outside on a ledge in front of the window, facing inward, was a religious statue of, I believe, Jesus...again...foggy. It had seemed eerie at the time. When I turned back, Joseph was sleeping hard and I felt heavy and sad again. I knew he was going away. The big dog returned outside the screen door, tongue lolling, dappled gray, black, white...a huge mutt. Now it had a very small dog with it. I went to the door and the dog bent down on his forepaws as if he wanted to play. I slapped my thighs and both dogs joyfully took off running hard, away and across the fields, smiling a wide doggie smile, legs churning madly. I closed the door gently and got back into bed, and Joseph was gone again. And in my dream, I went back to sleep.

Are they two signs from Joe-Gi that he is happy now? I certainly felt him near. I could feel his skin when I hugged him. I could smell him and hear his voice so plainly, could see his every facial expression. I can take a lot of comfort in imagining he is happy now.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Something Accomplished

Yesterday was an interesting day on a lot of levels. A year ago yesterday Joe and I sat before the mortgage broker with a pile of papers a mile high, pen poised in his hand and my stomach a giddy knot of delirious disbelif, his features turned to mine with resolute eyes, boring into my own, asking me "Is this what you want?"...and smiling with light and sureness as he began the long process of signatures that bought our house for us. It was a series of mishaps afterward, including finding the seller had locked us out of the house (wrong keys given), so we made our first impression on the neighborhood by sitting under the big tree in the front yard drinking beer as we waited for the locksmith to arrive. We had intended I think to go inside and baptize it as ours by making love on the floor, but by the time we got in about seven hours had passed us by, the carpet was rattier than we remembered and the whole places had the scent and presence of cat everywhere and we were weary. We owned it, but it was not ours yet. Now it very much is. I remember the serenity though as we sat beneath the tree, its leaves freshly fluffed with new spring growth and whispering to me high above, reminding me of the huge trees on my grandparent's farm as a child...and I felt Joseph near and thought to myself that I would find Joseph in that sound always. I wonder why I forgot that, why I don't sit more beneath that tree? I have friends who know the loss of a child who do so well seeing and accepting signs and reminders from their child. I seldom get signs, almost never, and I cannot help but feel it is most likely because I have not been paying attention.

I went to the office after class last night and turned in a petition for graduation. I am almost embarassed to say anything about it. Its just an Associates of the Arts General Studies degree and took me until 37 years of age to complete, started at the age of 17. A two year degree in 20 years...ha! I really thought it did not matter to me, but that with this Statistics course I fulfilled the last requirement, so I may as well accept the degree and know that I finished something I started. It surprised me to have tears falling as I walked to my car, and an inner sense of having been cleansed somehow. I cannot tell you the depth to which my battered spirit thought I could not do this. Long before any of my kids came to be. I didn't think I was smart and I didn't think I had enough gumption to get through the math and science courses that were required. But here I am..I did. It makes not one whit of difference at this point in my life in terms of earning power and I don't plan to get a cap and gown and walk across stage or anything like that, not this time. But I will get that degree in the mail and know I have closed a chapter of self doubt.

I found yesterday that UTD offers a degree in creative writing and also one in literary studies. My heart was thumping so hard in my chest. I want to be a nurse. I think I would be a good nurse. But I continue to fear the classes I must take and specifically the grades I have to make just to get into nursing school. I pretty much have to have a 4.0 to get in, and at times, when I am not doing as well as I need to, I feel positively sick with stress about it, and I fantasize about writing for a living. It would be foolish to try it, the equivalent of running off to Hollywood to become a movie star, with about as good of odds of succeeding too. Maybe some day when I have made my fortune I will go back to school and study writing, simply for the joy it would bring me.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

I am not being a very good blogger, am I?

Things are moving along right now. I have definitely been more stable since coming back from Nebraska, at least as far as Joseph goes. Joe and I have been quarreling, but we had a terrific talk Sunday night and making up was rather fun and we seem the closer for it now. I hate it when things are not right between us, but I also know I can be very hard to live with. We lived alone for so long, sometimes the little things rankle. But we are coming up on one year since we took this incredible chance and he moved here from Detroit and we moved in together after five years long distance. I can't belive its been a year already. Today is the day we closed on this house! And it shows how happy I am because realizing that just now brought tears of gratitude to my eyes. I do not know what I would do without him.

Joe has been having a lot of fun planting tomatoes, peppers and herbs in the back yard. Mom got me a drawf lemon tree for Easter and we've got that in the ground as well as the two new Bradford Pear trees, which are doing fantastic. He has been busy putting in plugs of sod so that we can finally have grass rather than an eclectic assortment of weeds and clover. We talk now and then about having a little party with our friends here and I hope that comes to fruition, maybe between school semesters. Its been a cool spring so far, but warming up steadily and being outside is like getting to breathe again. We both really enjoy feathering our nest. A guy is coming this afternoon to quote us for new countertops and I cannot wait. AFter that, the backsplash and the kickboards under the cabinets our work in the kitchen will be complete. The only things left to fix up then in the house will be painting the hallway and remodeling the master bath. I really love this house.

Joe and I are talking about going to Scarborough Faire on Saturday, and in a couple of weeks we will be at the Jimmy Buffett concert, which will be a lot of fun. Two weeks after that we are toying with meeting my Aunt and Uncle in Austin for golf and shopping (he golf, me shopping).

Statistics is not the fun I once thought it was. I feel rather betrayed both by the concept and by myself a little bit. So. many. freaking. formulas. Gah! My last two exams I made Cs on, so though I have near perfect average on homework, labs and quizes, I have fallen from an A to a B in the course. This means I have to make at least a 90 on the last test and on the final exam if I am to make an A in the class. Which I really need to make. I am feeling the pressure and its not fun anymore. I just try to imagine how I will feel to see that A on my transcript after busting my butt and to keep that feeling in mind when its time to study and I don't want to.

Alex is going to play baseball this summer and he already has practice several times a week even though the games don't start until May. He isn't complaining though. Nick went camping with scouts on his own last weekend, and Stewart and the boys are going camping this weekend, the three of them. Both boys are doing really well in school now, which helps me worry a little bit less about their emotional health. I am trying to plan a birthday memorial celebration for Joseph's birthday, which falls this year on Memorial Day. Not sure yet how that will come out.

Have a great day all...time for me to bring Joe his coffee and kiss him awake. :)

Thursday, April 10, 2008

This is a picture of all of the grandkids (and one great granddaughter) on my father's side of the family. I got to see them all at my Grandpa's funeral. It was the first time in over 20 years that all of us have managed to be in the same place at the same time. It was a really special time, getting to see all of them again, saying farewell together to the patriarch of our family. I had the great honor of writing and delivering Grandpa's eulogy. It was so moving for me, to get to publically proclaim my memories and my farewell. I have become a bit of the "funeral girl" in the family. My aunts jokingly told me I would be responsible from here forward for everyone's eulogies. I said I probably ought to write them all before they die and send it to them, so that they can know beforehand how I feel about them and what I remember. We had a good laugh over it. Honestly, I love to write and I love to do public speaking. But getting so many accolades over eulogies feels wrong and I was a little embarassed by the attention it got me.

I have been doing better since I got back from Nebraska. Seeing my family did my heart so much good, like touching a part of my past. I have no idea why it comforted me as much as it did. But I have felt more settled, more accepting and more spiritually sound since I returned. So much so that I have toyed with what it might be like if we were to move up there. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of jobs in small town USA for folks who just want to up and move there. Maybe when I am a nurse...