#9

Yesterday turned out to be such a hard day and a harbinger of hard days to come. And I wanted to hide from the world. Crumble. Go back to bed and pull the covers over my head and pretend I could make all the hatefulness in my email box go away. But, it just isn’t in my nature to lie down and give up. To not deal. And sometimes I hate that about myself.

I don’t know what you’re thinking about all of this. I want to talk to you about it so much it physically hurts to not be able to. I just know that we are so different in how we approach things like this. And I know how you would want it handled with your kids. But I don’t know if I can be the person you were… I don’t know if I can turn the other cheek. To let her walk all over me. To treat me so abominably in the worst moment of my life and get away with it.

So, I’m just here to say that I’m trying to find my way. To honor you and your memory. To do what’s right by your kids and still somehow hold in tact my own sanity and self-respect. Please help me, honey.  I need you here to help me with this…which is so irrational because if you were here I wouldn’t be dealing with it.

I miss you

Luce

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#8

I moved out of the rental in Maryland yesterday. Packed up the car, the dog, and the huge peace lily your Aunt Jane gave me along with all the other detritus from my life up there and started the long, slow, journey back to the lake.

I’ve never dreaded coming home like I do. Maybe it’s not dread, really. It’s a feeling I don’t think there’s a word for. A simultaneous feeling of wanting to go but not wanting to get there. An irresistible pull toward this place while feeling the knot in my stomach about my arrival. And it was every bit a hollow and lonely as I expected. The loneliness is physically painful and ever present.

When I finally crawled into bed, bone-tired from all the work of moving out and cleaning today, I hugged your pillow and breathed you in. Your essence still here but your you so frustratingly and unbearably far away and unreachable.

I miss you

Luce

#7

So, I’m at one of our favorite restaurants. Eating at the bar. Having a martini. Alone. It is both familiar and peculiar to me. We loved to eat at the bar. You introduced me to the charms of a blue cheese stuffed olive martini.

I wish you were here. Or at least I wish I could text you and tell you of my finds today and complain to you and hear you say how it was all going to be ok. Rant about your ex-wife’s insensitivity at asking me for your death certifcate…

But you’re not here. Except you were at the jewelry store when I was getting my rings cleaned and the TV showed Triple D’s Psycho Suzie episode and that made me remember our trip there. Thanks for giving me a wink. But it’s still not enough.

I miss you.

Luce

#6

The long holiday weekend has come and gone without you. I survived. It sucked. No two ways about it. I hated looking out at the lake, the neighbors on the beach with their picnic tables all set up and their paddle boards and beach balls enjoying their time together, but mostly I hated seeing the sun shining on the water. Every time I looked out, all I could think was how you would have been chomping at the bit to get out there on the boat…or wait, maybe that would have been me…

Either way, you’d have clapped your hands and yelled “yeah, baby” and started to grab the cooler and the boat bag and started to decide which snacks we had that were good for a long day on the boat. We would have talked about the plan- where did we want to go, would we take the dog (we have to take him for a little while and let him swim and then maybe bring him back…), when would we hook up with the other lake friends and where, what did I want to drink, how much should we bring, could I be convinced to have a margarita day?

And all that fun planning and organizing and zest for life is what I missed so much this weekend. Like I said in my eulogy- a black and white world where once there was color- this weekend was gray and dull and empty and wrong. The knot in my stomach won’t go away- like someone gut punches me each morning and the feeling lasts all day.

Each day gets harder, more real. They came and got your truck and computer, phone and all that yesterday. That was hard. Final. All these empty spaces where you used to be.

Andy emailed me yesterday and I emailed him back last night. That got to me too. I think it highlighted just how much we’ve lost, not just in the last few weeks, but since you lost your job… a whole social circle, gone. I told him I missed seeing him and Leslie each year- and it’s true- I really don’t think I realized how much I enjoyed those trips each year. Anyway, of course he wanted to know if there was anything they could do…like every other person…and you know, the things you want to say, I don’t know, you just can’t…

I wanted to tell him to go hug Leslie and tell her how awesome she is (cause he really hit the jackpot with that one), and do something fun she’s been asking to do, and hug her while thinking about how lucky he is to have found her, and make love to her. But you can’t say all that because it’s like showing someone all the deepest holes in your heart. The things you are grateful you had or did or knew. And saying those things is like cutting yourself and watching for the bloom of blood as it starts to bleed.

I miss you

Luce

#5

I’m trying to put your things away – some of the things I washed yesterday- so I’m emptying out your dresser, so I can put my things in there. We never had enough closet space in this house, but we never had all our clothes here so it didn’t matter much. But now I’ve brought most of my stuff from the place in MD, and I have your side of the bed full of clothes that need put away.

I knew if I started touching your things- folding them, placing them in piles, it would make it feel more real. I was right. I know I need to do it and to feel it, but it hurts so much. I pulled out the outfit you wore at our beach wedding and just laid my head down on the pile of your clothes and cried.

I’m just going to put the piles on the shelves in the downstairs closet for now. I’ll let Ryan and Grace go through them to see if they want anything. But then what? What do people do with their spouse’s old underwear??? I had to laugh when I pulled out that one pair… you had them the entire time I knew you… just couldn’t bear to part with them, I guess.

I realized this morning that our first date was on December 13th, 2008 and you died on May 13th, 2017. Exactly 8 1/2 years together. So does that make the 13th lucky or unlucky? I’m not sure. I just know…

I miss you

Luce

#4

I’m sitting here next to a pile of your clean laundry, neatly folded, and no longer smelling like you. The knots are in my stomach again- feels like all the time, really. I just feel lost, sidelined, and apart from the world. Not quite in it and not quite out of it. All things being equal, I’d rather be with you in either place, but just together. It takes a lot of energy to be here without you.

It’s an absolutely stunning day on the lake- hot & sunny. And all I could think was how we’d have been out there early. Stocked up with w/a Yeti full of ice and cocktails, beers, and snacks with a plan for swimming up the dog and getting him back to the house if it got too hot for him. You’d pack the drinks, and I’d go behind you and add more because I never felt like you packed enough. We’d make a plan to meet up with our Lake Friends after they did their yard work and household chores- things we’d left undone. We’d have a whole day on the lake to ourselves before we met up with anyone and I always liked that. How we knew to focus on the fun first and get the living in- chores will always be there, but we took advantage of the sun and smooth waters when they presented themselves. I’m glad for that. Thank you.

I’m trying to stay focused on the things I know need to be done, but it’s hard. I need to call the credit card companies and tell them you’re dead. I need to find the marriage certificate so I can process the life insurance policy. I need to clean off your side of the bed- since I just keep adding clean laundry to it. I keep to my side at night and wake up wishing your leg would come over and touch mine as you stretch out. But it doesn’t. Never will again.

I miss you

Luce

#3

I came back to the lake house today. I had knots in my stomach the whole way. I came back because I had to, but knew it would make it harder. And it did. Work left your golf clubs and lunch box on the front porch. That didn’t help much. Thinking about you telling me about the last time you got to use those clubs- with your new boss who took you to the fancy country club in Richmond where, for the first time in your life, you had a caddy. It was fun hearing you tell me about how you were ahead in the first 9 and what it was like to have a caddy. I remember thinking that you were one of those people who was so good at adapting to any situation. You made everyone believe you were in your element even when you weren’t. That caddy probably thought you had golfed with a caddy a thousand times. I’m sure Ryan will want your clubs- at least I hope so.

The house felt so empty without you. No hug. No kiss. No call ten minutes out to ask what I wanted to drink when I got here. No slumping on the couch to watch an episode of Scandal or House Hunters International. Just the nearly dead flowers you got me for Mother’s Day the day you died still sitting in the vase where I left them. And my unsigned Mother’s Day and birthday cards sitting on the counter. So many missing things replaced by one massive feeling of loneliness. Joylessness. I feel like white noise. Like blank space. An animate void- walking, talking, going through the motions of life without really feeling anything.

I don’t want to go downstairs. That image of you lying there lifeless. Not you anymore. Not us. Of taking off your ring and your hand slowly falling down by your side, so much like you were alive that I suddenly asked you if you could just wake up. I watched and waited, hoping insanely that you might take a big cleansing gasp and say it was all a mistake and you were ok.

But you didn’t. And tomorrow I have to start to deal with it for real. Until now, it’s been a holding pattern, but now I’m here. In our house, that’s now my house. And I have to take the first tiny step to making it real that you’re not here.

I miss you

Luce

#2

I keep looking at this huge canvas we had made of your obituary photo to stand in front of the urn. It’s on the mantel now and you stare right at me when I am brave enough to turn my gaze in your direction. And when I do it hurts to see you look so alive.

My thoughts turn to all the things we’ll never do again and how all the things we did will now seem so un-fun without you. Trips, and wine, and boating, and binge-watching Scandal.

I don’t cry though. I just look at you and hurt- and then my mind brings back that day, the moment, I guess, like a video loop that I can’t stop seeing. I ran around and did so many things to try to make it not be true- calling 911, dragging you off the couch to give you CPR, letting the 911 operator tell me to keep going and counting all the compressions, starting over with each 100. I don’t think you were there for any of that. I think you were gone before I even got you off the couch. But in those moments, I just wanted to rescue you. To do all the things, any thing I could to make it not be true. Maybe you were watching me. Maybe you were meeting up with your dad and brother and grandparents, not concerned at all about what was going on with your feeble little body- like the farmer in the painting of The Fall of Icarus– just going about his business, not concerned at all with the tragedy unfolding nearby. But that moment is what I see a lot of the time.

The scab fell off yesterday. The one I got from my knee rubbing on the rug while I gave you CPR. I liked it being there. Reminding me that this happened. That there was a physical reminder on me of what happened. That I didn’t dream it, even though I wish I had and I could wake up and hug you, hear you breathe, see all your arms and legs sprawled out across the bed.

But along with the scab being gone, I woke up today knowing you’re not here. Instead of your death having to dawn on me again and again each morning. I hated waking up and realizing it, but it’s no better waking up knowing you’re gone. Now my first question of the day is – Why aren’t you here?

I miss you

Luce

#1

I have no energy for catchy titles. A number will have to do for now. I may not number them all, but for now it just seems easy. It’s hard to focus and keep my train of thought, so trying to come up with a title, well, no. I cannot.

It’s been ten days. It feels like both longer and less than that… mostly I just feel numb. Still. I am really wondering when that will go away and it will start to feel real. I feel like I’m not mourning you right. I’m afraid you’re watching me and wondering why I’m not more upset. Why am I able to function? Why am I not crying uncontrollably every moment? Why was I able to manage the trip to the funeral home to arrange your cremation (including viewing your body), plan your celebration of life, drive to Maryland, write an obituary, pick out music and pictures, and food?? How did I write a eulogy. How did I deliver it…without breaking down?? The first week was a endless stream of decisions and motions that NEEDED to be done. The service was what I wanted – a tribute, a celebration, a bringing together of all of our family and friends. Yay me. I did it. I pulled it off. Now, it’s over. I can fall apart.

But I haven’t.

I’m just mostly waiting for it to seem real. For the big pain to come. For the little nauseous feeling to turn into full-blown wretching. For an ache to set in that is bone-deep and relentless.

I miss you

Luce