I write because it reminds me of where I've been and gives light to my current path. I run because it keeps me moving forward. And I welcome you here because I believe it's through community that we truly find God's grace in the midst of our struggles.
Sunday, April 14, 2013
1:24am - Time for a Little Go On Again
April is the sort of month when I could easily eat the whole box of Girl Scout cookies in one sitting with some sappy movie playing on the TV. Last Saturday was particularly bad - mostly because it was a day with nothing on the agenda. That bag of cookies was staring at me from my kitchen table, almost laughing. Would it be the box of Thin Mints or the box of Tagalongs?
I knew that April would be tough, but I've also been recognizing more and more over the past several months that my grief journey has brought me to a place that is mostly full of joy in life and a measured hope for what may lie ahead. The truth is that most days I remember my Joe with a smile on my face and a sense of joy in my heart. That certainly wasn't always the case, and it's definitely not true of every day or of every moment of every day, but I do notice a vast difference from those first few miserable months.
I feel like I was prepared for the emotion of Easter and I cried when the sun rose over Lake Carnegie and when we sang The Strife is O'er in our service later that day. The emotion was raw as I watched Domani hunt for his Easter eggs, remembering just two years ago when Joe was there helping him.
At Easter sunrise service
Easter, with its imagery of death and resurrection, brought some inevitable tears and I suspect it always will, but when I woke up Monday morning I was caught off guard once again by the calendar flip. For those unfamiliar with the calendar flip, this is that moment for a grieving person when you realize a difficult month is upon you. It happened to me with full force in December (the month which marked 1 year since Joe passed) and a couple of other times. I have heard other grieving people refer to this affecting them as well.
That first week of April was packed with memories and moments. Monday was Opening Day and we had tickets that I had won in a Mets Instagram photo contest. I went to the game with my parents and the little guy and watched the Mets knock a grand slam out of the park on the way to an overwhelming 11-2 victory. Opening Day without Joe is hard, but we had a great time and there was nowhere else in the world I would have rather been at that moment.
Opening Day - April 1, 2013
Then came Thursday and Joe's birthday. He would have been 38. Much too young for a "would have been" birthday. The little guy and I found ourselves back at Citifield, this time with my Dad and my friend Michele. Despite a homerun from John Buck (those seem to happen EVERY game, right?), the Mets couldn't pull out a win. It was an emotional day, but seeing Domani's joy at the Mets apple and being able to cheer with him at a place that was special to Joe and me was a great way to remember him and his birthday.
Mets v. Marlins game on April 4, 2013
The next day marked 15 months since Joe passed and was also a night out to eat with some of the women in my young spouse bereavement group. Over dinner the subject turned to signs and through the sharing of some of the other women I made a connection that I hadn't before. There were quite a few instances that were shared where lights would go on (or off) unexpectedly or there would be some other similar electrical oddity which would point to their loved one. It was at that moment that I realized WHEN the radio had gone out in Joe's car (a car he had bought new less than six months before he passed away mind you). The radio went out right around the one year anniversary of his passing. Strangely, this realization brought me some comfort and being able to share it with some other amazing women who are also missing their husbands was special.
Perhaps the toughest day so far for me in April was last Saturday. I've realized that often happens when I don't have a lot going on or when there are things I am stressed about. For me, some of the loneliest times are Saturday and Sunday evenings. This particular Saturday evening I had a fussy toddler and a migraine which made things infinitely more difficult. I decided the only logical solution was to pop my meds, let the little guy sleep in my bed, and turn on 50/50 (laugh/cry movie of choice these days) until I made it through to Sunday. It worked. Some days are just like that, even 15 months later.
This past week I watched the season finale of Go On and in typical fashion it captured exactly what I've been feeling in one simple moment. At the end of the episode, there is a scene where Matthew Perry's character Ryan King is remembering how he took his wife Janie to a batting cage on their wedding day. And then, there is that voice over. It's a voice over I feel like I could have had throughout my whole week and really throughout the last several months.
"Ted Williams said that the hardest thing to do in a sport is to hit a baseball - round ball, round bat, and you have to hit it square...it's not easy, but when you connect and you hear that sound you just, you just feel like everything is going to be ok. It may feel like a solitary sport when you step into the box, but the truth is - you're one of nine." During the voice over, it cuts away to Ryan finally sleeping through 1:23am (see my blog post about the significance of that here) with the digital clock in his bedroom clicking through to 1:24am while he is still sound asleep.
I sit here as I type watching Trainspotting on The Movie Channel. Joe and I went to see this in the theater on our very first date. I mean our VERY first date - when I had not yet even started college and he was only 21. It seems like a lifetime ago. This time last year I would have been bawling my eyes out at this movie and the memory, but now, tonight, it makes me smile. It was a great first date and I will never forget it. I guess that's the point of going on...not forgetting, just living with what your life is now - weaving in the old with the new and knowing that somehow everything is going to be ok.