Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Paying for Petty

According to my calculations, it has been 12 weeks. It does not get easier. I don't think it gets harder, but in a way... I don't know. I'm still not used to the idea that I am not married. The car dealership sent me a survey. (Yes, I traded in the car because it reminded me of Tom, and it needed work soon.)  One question asked if I was married or single. I clicked married, of course. I knew it wasn't technically true, but technically, aren't I still married? We never broke up. He died. Goddamnit. Of course, being the spaz that I am, I clicked back twelve windows before I submitted the survey to fix my answer to that question. I guess I am single. But I'm not really. Efff it. I still wear my ring, and I still use the hideous name of his family.

Funny story. I changed my name on a whim. I was driving past the DMV a year after we married, and I just turned into the parking lot. A fake, or ornamental, wedding certificate was in the car for some odd reason. I took it in, and I changed my name like that. What a position of privilege. People just love young heterosexuals getting married. But anyway, I changed my name with no hassle and no fanfare. When I got home, I handed Tom my new driver's license. The smile on his face threw me off. He was so freaking happy that I took his name. Ugh.

Really, I did it to piss off the bitches that I was working for. I hated them because they were so hideous to me. Mean Girls? No. Mean Old Bitches. I won't even go into their ugliness, but their brand of feminism was not mine. They were scorned by men but didn't have the desire to be lesbians. Ultimately, it just made them angry and mean to everyone. I digress, though. Every time they introduced me, they used my entire name. Granted, it's really a super, super fancy and romantic French name. I won't share it because this blog's anonymous, but whatever... I traded it for a German name. 'Nuff said. They were aghast and clicking their tongues over my forfeiture of self. The joke was on me, however. I was petty, and I have lived with regret for a long time. But now I can't change my name. I share it with the boys. They don't need the added stress.

Okay. That's it for this post.

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Downs and Ups

Basketball season is about to start. Last year, we were driving kids four nights a week and splitting up for different games on Saturdays. This year, I'll be the sole parent, and we have drum lessons and orthodontist appointments added to the mix. Even if I get help, I don't know how I'm going to do it. What's extra depressing is that Tom coached before he was diagnosed. Even last year when he was doing chemo, he showed up and helped out our youngest's team. I'm crying just thinking about having to go into the gym and have all of the parents look at me with sad eyes. Mehhhh.

Last night, I went back and read a bunch of old entries here. It was more good than bad for me to do it. Life was so hard back then. It's a different hard now- more of a resignation than a fight. More sadness than worry. I remember before Tom died, I read a blog of a woman whose husband passed away from cancer. She has a son, and she wrote about how much free time she has now that she's not a caregiver for her husband. Perhaps it's too soon, but I'm not seeing that. I have to do everygoddamnthing now. Grocery shopping, cooking, yardwork, parenting two grieving kids (Jesus Christ, the parenting is enough to sink a person),  paying bills, and...of course...working a full time. As I type this, I am ignoring about nine hours of work I need to do before I am even caught up.

This here is a pity party, but whatever. I am in a dark place right now. For the sake of embracing some positivity, however, I will list five good things in my life:

1. My sister is coming to visit next week.
2. The weather has been crazy beautiful and dry. Weird.
3. I remembered to take out the garbage, compost, and recycling tonight.
4. The boys and I love each other a lot.
5. Camper shoes are really comfortable.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

New Slang

Shee-it. It's been a long time since I've posted. I realize now that blogging is an outlet that I need.

I'm a widow. A widow. Fuck.  Tom is never coming back. Rather than easier with time, it has become harder to accept this. In the first month, I was surrounded by family and friends. I had a lot of support. Although I dreaded getting the mail, I'm gonna admit that getting gift cards and checks was a nice thing.

It's been nine weeks. The scaffold of good people holding me up is pretty much gone, as expected. I mean, people move on with their lives. That's cool. I'm serious. I can't be carried forever. Gotta get used to this new reality.

But really, I feel so  a  l  o  n  e.

This is it. After the kids go to college, I will have an empty house and will be regretting not hanging out with them more. My life is so different than I imagined. I mean, I kind of expected to live longer than Tom, but I did not expect to be fucking widowed at 40 years old.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Here We, I Mean They, Go


I'm pretty sure this picture has been used, but whatev. It's time to make school lunches again. I love living in a city that starts school after Labor Day. That's the way I grew up, although starting two days after the holiday is a bit weird.

Heh. I am a teacher, but I am on leave. It's official! No first day for this widow. I'm taking a month to be around for the boys, take care of the bullshit paperwork and bureaucracy of surviving a spouse (so, so pooptastic), and to grieve of course. I spent way too long making sub plans that probably won't even be followed. Oh well. At least I did my part.

On a rash decision note, I just bought us tickets to NYC for a long weekend. I gave the boys a choice- CA, NYC, or the Oregon Coast. They both chose New York. I'm so excited. I can't wait to see my brothers and the cousins. There's a new baby! Yay! For us, life is hard. School is hard. We need something to look forward to. Plus, now we won't feel tempted to go there over winter break. It's way too cold for me then. I'll take the dark, rainy days of the Pacific Northwest over being freezing to the bone.

What inspired this trip is so insane. There is this tradition with high school students in this city to go and hang out at a park on one weekend a year. It happens to be the park by my house. The only reason I even know of this tradition is from my times teaching night school (which I did just to add some diversity to my resume- what a freak I was). Compared to my day job, those kids constitute more of a partying crew. For years, I heard about this tradition, but it didn't dawn on me that they were actually boozin' it up. I honestly thought it was an innocent meet and greet where kids from different high schools mingle. Then we moved, and I got to see what it really was. Parrrr- ty. I'm talking hundreds of kids. Hundreds. The police come and break it up, and it's like rats from a horror movie. They all leave in a big huge pack, but I am so worried about kids getting in cars and driving. Man. It's just not okay. I am too sensitive to hole up in my house; I worry. I get super irritated. I pray I don't see any of my students. This year, however, I will be distracted!

And that is what I have to look forward to.

Monday, September 2, 2013

Accepting Normal


Last week was hideous and hard and depressing, but I'm coming out of it.

Yesterday I remembered how hard it was when Tom was sick. Constant pain, a broken hip, a damaged pelvis, and the inability to be self sufficient all weighed on him. Even if he had beaten cancer, if the tumor on his liver disappeared, the permanent damage was already done. Our lives would have been changed completely. In his last days, he could not walk, and he lost his faculties. He would never play basketball again. I'm certain he would become an angry man, and I would embrace being a bitter, martyr of a caregiver. Given the choice, he would undoubtedly opt to live, but it would have been hard. I will never forget how he looked at me with pleading eyes when I had to help him with the most basic of functions. He hated it, and we were both sad and scared. Living another year... sad to say even one more month...would not have gone well. Fuck cancer.

I am envious (inappropriate word) of people who get a terminal diagnosis. They can make plans and do whatever they want. Us? We hung onto the 5% survival rate for metastasized kidney cancer until the bitter end. He fought and fought. There was no fun. Vacations were put on hold. Everything we did was about making sure the chemo was working, fighting side effects, or building him up for his next round. Talking about death was believing his treatment wouldn't work; it was too negative, so we held it inside. We did not talk about him dying, nor did we ever mention any worries we had about the future. By the time I called hospice, it was too late to talk together. Cancer had already stolen his mind.

So now here I am, a widow. Only someone in my shoes can understand when I say that he is better off now. It destroys me to say it because we, our little family, are NOT better off, but he is. He is not in pain anymore. He doesn't have to chase opiate after opiate around the clock in order to roll on his side or to breathe without it feeling like he's being stabbed. He doesn't have to hate that he can't do the physical things he's accustomed to and expected to do. He doesn't have to impress people with how tough he is.

I am most proud to say that Tom left this world with his dignity intact. I made sure of that, and it was a lot of work. I don't think many spouses or people would go to the lengths that I did, but it was important to me. I explained to people, "His dignity is also my dignity."To elaborate would be dishonorable. I will mention one not too personal thing, though. I never got him a hospital bed. He stayed in our room, and in our bed.

In about an hour, it will be three weeks since he passed. I'm stepping toward what is going to be our normal. I don't like it at all. I want to scream out my windows and tell every person I pass, "My husband just died."But it's time for me to be okay. I promised him that it would be okay for him to die- that I would be fine and that I would take good care of the boys. I can't go back on that promise. One wonderful life was wasted, and that's one too many. I have to dig myself out of this depression. He would not want me in this dark place.


Wednesday, August 28, 2013

No Comparison

Today I went back to work. I'll do three days before I take at least a month off to..grieve, I guess. Why am I taking off work? I don't know. To take the kids to school and be around and not be my usual psycho beginning of the school year self, I suppose.

It felt good to be there and to be distracted.

Someone a few days ago made the comparison of my life to the life of a divorcee. I chose not to bite off her head. Personally, I see few similarities. There is no hunger, no desire to prove that my life is better without Tom. That's because it's not, and it won't ever be, regardless of how I adapt. Maybe there are some people who have been dumped that feel the same way, but those people are fucking idiots.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's Not Your Tragedy

I should not be wasting time on something so stupid, and I hope that by putting it here, I can put it to sleep. When Tom died, the only person his sister told (aside from her friends) was his ex girlfriend. I know this because she told me this...on the day that he died. I'm not even kidding. She did. Even though Tom and I were together for 20 years, and she is not even friends with the ex-girlfriend who lives on the other side of the country, she just had to tell me that tidbit. My sister-in-law is either thoughtless or she is a Mean Girl.

Today we got back from the beach. On the porch was a bouquet. The card read "We are heartbroken. Love, Your Family at ________" It was from the place where Tom and I worked in California...sixteen years ago. It was a great place, and we both loved it there. It's where we met. We send them a Christmas card every year. We are...were, I mean, the happily ever after that came from that place. I texted my sister and wondered if she contacted them. Nope. Then it dawned on me. The ex did! She worked there 20 freaking years ago! I took her job and her exboyfriend when she moved away.

What the heck?! Why is she even talking to them? She didn't even work there long at all. "Well, she had her moment of fame when she told them, I guess," my sister said. No shit.

All I want to say to his ex is this: It ain't your tragedy. Move on. You have no business being anything other than sad about his passing. Tom and I were committed to each other for 20 years! I am making a big deal and imagining much of this, I'll admit. I guess it's just me transferring my grief to anger. It's not like she has sent me a card, but she is obviously choked up enough to go blab it to my old work before I can do it.

I have never even met this woman. That is how insignificant she is. Before Tom and I were exclusive (in the early 90s), he went and met her halfway across the country at her grad school. His reason was that he did not feel like they officially broke up, and he wanted to do it in person. He told her that she should move away and that they would see what happens. What happened is that we ended up going out, and he felt like he needed to tell her it was over. He was to be gone a week. I was pretty bummed and pissed and freaked out, but what could I say? A week was way too long, but whatever. We weren't official at that time. Dude lasted one day. One day! He changed his flight and came back that night. We became officially exclusive after that. Well, after my jealous self made him suffer a bit. I was so mad at him that I made him wait a few weeks.

Like then, I am being such a brat right now, and I should be embarrassed. I guess I have issues. I have issues with his family, and I have issues that his ex is in my business. I wonder what his sister would do if I contacted her ex? He was a real cool guy 20 years her senior who had a mullet and wore L.A. Gear light up sneakers. But you know what? I am not a mean girl. I wouldn't ever even mention his name, let alone clown him. It would be so easy...