Monday, December 5, 2016

Five Years

Five years ago the Giants had lost to the Packers in a Sunday Night Football game that they almost won. If not for leaving Aaron Rodgers with enough time on the clock to get into field goal range, Eli Manning might have led the Giants to a victory over the undefeated Packers. Instead, the last Giants game I watched with my husband was a narrow defeat, which then somehow paved the way to a miraculous Superbowl season. Joe died the morning after that loss to the Packers, right about this time 5 years ago.  It's startling to my spirit that it has been five years. As I said in another post, it passes like a flash and like molasses all at the same time. Who knows what this season has in store for our Giants given the way those Cowboys seem to be rolling along, but I will admit that quite a lot has changed in five years.

Five years ago, I was a different person. Spiritually, physically, and emotionally. It certainly began with Joe's diagnosis, but even more so after his death I have changed. The things that were important to me then are just not that important to me anymore. The ways I spent time then, I tend not to anymore.

More people. More travel. More health. More experiences. More life.

I run and I race. I go to Mets games and Giants games and Rangers games and Red Bulls games. I protest. I eat and I drink and I enjoy it. I do my best to say prayers with my son every night. I go to concerts.

I celebrate everything.

I choose time with family and friends over time at work. I try to learn something new every day. I make plans with friends. I organize get togethers.

It's not that I didn't do any of these things before, but the rhythm and drive now is just different.

I see this change in my friends and family too and for that I am thankful. Every time that someone tells me she is living her life differently because of Joe my heart leaps. I think to myself "we are breaking through"...."we can get to what matters"...."the world of our children will be different".

On the last day Joe was alive, he and I looked back through the photo album from our honeymoon. We had gone to Boston. We ate Boston Cream Pie every day and toured the history and ate and drank. We let our competitive edge run wild playing the Megatouch game at the bar around the corner from our hotel. Five years later, I can play Megatouch anytime I want in my basement thanks to Joe who bought me one for our first Christmas together. And, thanks to my own competitive edge, I can reach out and touch my Boston Marathon medal right from my bed. In my book, that has earned me all the Boston Cream Pie in the universe.

Five years ago, the Mets sucked. Even through the misery, we brought Domani to his first away game (in Washington, DC) and to his first home game at Citifield, but our boys finished the 2011 season 4th place in the Division with a 77-85 record. That's a far cry from the fun of last year when Domani got to live it up at Citifield during the postseason and even this year when we squeaked in to a Wildcard game despite a rash of injuries. Now, five years later, we are looking forward to a 2017 with Yoenis Cespedes on the roster for 4 years and plenty of young pitching to keep things going.

On the last day that Joe was alive, our son Domani gripped his hand and said "dada". At that time, Domani knew all of two words - dada and doggy. Five years later, he can read and write "daddy" along with dozens of other words. Oh, and he almost knows more Spanish than I do. Each day, I walk him to the school across the street from our house, just like Joe and I had planned out eight years ago when we decided this was the perfect home to buy. Domani is potty trained and opinionated, has already run his first 5k race, and knows how to sing, dance, and act. He is also one of the kindest and most compassionate kids I know.

Five years ago, Joe and I were watching Greg Dulli on a solo tour in Philly. We were at The Trocadero and it was the last concert we ever saw together. We sat in the balcony because he was not well enough to stand on the floor as was our custom. Right after Joe died from colon cancer, Greg's band The Afghan Whigs announced a reunion show which turned into a tour which turned into a new album. Now, five years later, the guitarist of this, our favorite band, has colon cancer and I'm about to head to New Orleans for a benefit show. Talk about FUCK cancer.

On the last day that Joe was alive, we were surrounded by friends and family. As much as things change, some things stay the same. Those same people are all still with Domani and me today. Joe's best friends have made a point of being my best friends and they love Domani with all they've got. Joe's family continue to take us in as a natural part of their family and for that I couldn't be more appreciative. There have been births and deaths, engagements and weddings, and our circle has had more than our share of health scares. It all makes me deeply grateful for such a strong core of support.

And I am even more thankful for the way it has grown over the last five years. There are so many more amazing people though who have been added to the mix since Joe died. I have made friends through grief and friends through work, friends through running and friends through the Afghan Whigs, friends through church and friends through the Mets. I have even been lucky enough to fall into a new relationship after five years of being out on my own.

Five years ago, Joe would have been the first to tell you that I wouldn't have even looked at an olive and certainly would never have eaten one. I could barely run two miles, let alone 26.2. I had no idea how to check our home oil tank, had never mowed the grass, and freaked out over killing any bug. Oh, how times have changed in the Deak household. Joe would be surprised. But somehow, I think he already knows. After all, I'm one that believes in signs and he just keeps leaving them all around.
From yesterday at the cemetery.
I listened to "Who Tells Your Story" from The Hamilton Mixtape
performed by The Roots (feat. Common and Ingrid Michaelson)
"Who lives....who dies....who holds on to all our lives....
Time and time and time again....will they tell your story in the end?
Who lives, who dies, who tells your story?"

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