Tuesday, April 17, 2007

The Measure of a Year

April 13th came and went. Tomorrow, April 18th, was the date of Jimmy's funeral. We said good-bye that day and it began the year that just passed.

April 18th was also our "Date-a-versary." Our first official date was April 18, 1968. Jimmy was eighteen and I was seventeen. We played Pitch and Putt, nine holes of golf. It was boring, but I told Jimmy it was great.

In those days most girls pretended to be into football or cars or all kinds of sex, or sex at all when they weren't. Soon I stopped pretending. I didn't want to have to play golf again. Or have the burden to remember to act excited about Ringo when I was really into Paul.

I remember I wore yellow. Lots of yellow to the golf course. I had yellow opaque tights and yellow hot pants, a silky yellow top and later, years later Jimmy told me how stupid I looked.

"It was like looking at the sun," he said. "the sun with big tits."

We used to go to the airport to watch the planes take off. I don't remember why, but we did. It was free. I guess that's why. We'd sit on the log in front of Carvel eating our ice-cream and I made fun of Jimmy because he always had vanilla in a cup with peaches. "That's a desert for a little old Italian man" I'd tease.

Friends and family tell me Jimmy would be proud of me now. They say this past year I've handled myself with dignity and courage. I don't know what that means, really.
Each day kind of fell into the next and decisions had to be made.

Jimmy's limo business is still up in the air, but I'm less frantic and more at ease about the outcome. I learned what a receivable is. I've attended business meetings and been on conference calls and sometimes I actually understand what is being said. Sometimes I even say something smart.

I sold two cars, a couple of horses, bought a new oven and redid the basement to be a playroom for Sky. We took a family trip to Aruba. These are some tangible things that measure the year.

The intangible is the love and support from my kids and from my friends. All have been beyond loving. My children are strong and caring and I try to fill some of their void and lessen a bit of their pain. But, I can't be Papa Bear for them.

I tend to hide away and do my best imitation of a hermit, but then an invitation for dinner draws me out. I'm a sucker for a glass of red wine to start.

I no longer avoid running into people in my neighborhood dreading their looks of pity or shock. I still feel more comfortable with my family and friends who knew and loved Jimmy. I feel safest at home and no, real estate brokers, I'm not selling the house.

I'm not dating. I've had some offers. That began at ten months. I clocked it. It's both flattering and disturbing.

I belong in a category that sets me apart. Widowhood is sad and strange and I miss Jimmy all the time.

Still, I wonder what next year will bring.