Saturday, January 06, 2007

A Sign

It's not like we never talked about death. We did. Jimmy concluded that he would go first and he had facts to back him up.

"First of all, I'm a man. Minus me seven years right there.
Second, you probably haven't noticed, but I'm about 100 pounds
overweight."

We compared family history and that balanced. Aside from my father who died at 57 (a brain tumor brought on by my mother's aggravation) my sister at 50 (drugs, alcohol and taking herself too seriously) 'everyone else' in my family managed to glide into their late 80's and even 90's. Jimmy's Dad died at 72 and all his aunts and uncles on his mom's side lived into their 90's. Both of our mothers are living - mine is 82 and Fanny is 88.

Jimmy insisted (and the insurance company agreed)that my driving record put me at risk for an accident even though backing out of driveways so far has been my most major fender bender. Jimmy believed in God because of all the 'near misses' I had. "Someone must be watching over you." he'd say.

I slather on body cream and a host of moisturizers each night and we would joke that one night I would slip right out of bed and hit something vital or if I'm lucky, my head.

I love irony (not ironing) and sometimes I thought maybe I was going to die first because it would make such a good ironic story. After all, I'm the one who's in better shape and not responsible for the finances, etc. I have less stress. If I had a sudden heart attack everyone would say, "Oh, my God. She seemed so healthy." Jimmy would be shocked, too because he always said "My wife will never have a heart attack. How could she? She has no heart."

One time near Valentine's Day I was going to have a procedure (okay, liposuction)and
as a pre-op I needed to have a cardiogram. I saved the sheets of paper that showed my heart graph, enclosed it in my Valentine's Day card and wrote, "See - Proof - I do have a heart!"

Most of the time I agreed that yes, I would be left. Jimmy would go first. A few years ago my grown nephew asked me over and over again why we don't have a dog. "You love dogs," he said. "You should get one." he repeated again and again. I stuck to my answer, "Someday, I'll get a dog."

He continued "When? When? When?" like a five year old. Finally, his eyes opened wide and like he solved a big mystery said, "Oh, I know when...when Uncle Jimmy dies, right?"

I nodded sheepishly. I thought it would happen, but I thought it would happen 20 or 30 years from now.

With all our talking we didn't make a plan for contacting each other from the grave. Friends ask
"Do you sense him around you, in the house?" Aside from feeling closer to him when I'm in our clothes closet I really haven't felt his presence. I'm not sure if I feel cheated or if I'm glad.

We had over 30 years to put our heads together and decide, "Okay, if you go first I'll come to you each evening at 10PM and tap you on the right shoulder. Remember, when you feel that it will be me.

Why didn't we ever do that? Maybe, it's best. I would keep looking over my shoulder even more than I do now.