Saturday, July 28, 2007

Who Jumped Into My Body?

Yesterday I opened the back door and actually breathed in the summer air without retreating fast to my crisp air-conditioned kitchen. Instead of my usual "Ugh. It's hot. My hair" I was "ahhhh. The sun. Feels good."

Scratch my concern about my hair because it's been straighened the new Brazilian way. But I'm dumbfounded that I've spent a lifetime avoiding the sun, the beach and convertibles and yet just this morning I couldn't wait to be outside manuvering a push broom to sweep my front steps. Then, I grabbed the garden hose and like an old lady warning "Get off my property" I nosed the nozzle at my driveway. I saw a rainbow. It was wonderful. It was invigorating. "Look Jimmy, I'm outside!

If Jimmy is watching me, I know he's pissed. He would beg me to go to the beach. I hated the scratchness of the sand. He'd promise to drive his convertible slow enough so my hair wouldn't look like a rat's nest. Of course, he lied. How do you do 20 mph on the Long Island Expressway? He'd conjole me to have coffee with him on the deck and I did...until the sun got too intense. (6 minutes)

I happily lived in a dark cold cave and now that Jimmy is no longer alive I suddenly appreciate what he wanted me to soak in with him. LIFE. Yet, if he hadn't died I never would have deeply known how fragile life is, how the sand can hug my heel and my arch and make walking a whole new almost life affirming experience. I guess, it's not always about the shoes.

I so regret that I didn't take more strolls on the beach with him and that we rarely just sat together sipping a cold drink on a hot deck. It took losing him to understand.

Don't get me wrong, though. I haven't turned into a nature freak. I may be seduced by the smell of freshly cut grass, but I'm still not about to roll around on the lawn and risk staining my white pants.

Friday, July 06, 2007

Lucky Me - 07/07/07

I'm baaack. After nearly three months of sitting on my hands (not literally) here I am blogging again. I wrote my last post almost a full year to the day that Jimmy died and it felt then like a natural ending for the blog, too.

Also, people "in the know" warned "If you put it all out there on your blog no one will buy your book."

To those "in the know" people I say, "You don't know squat." People "not in the know" know just as much. This leaves "people who only know a little" and they voted "undecided." Some didn't come out to vote. They just stayed home and washed their hair. All this is not important. What is important, at least to me, is that I am eager to write and fill in these last three months.

After the dreaded year anniversary passed it clicked into my thick head that this is it, my life is going to continue on without Jimmy. It's not that I expected him to come back. I just didn't expect it to get easier. It has. Something shifted.

Coming home to an empty house is not as jarring as it was. It no longer feels so weird to make plans without checking. Only a handful of months ago I'd be out and suddenly I'd panic. I'd need to be home. I felt out of place wherever I was.

These days I'm fairly comfortable shopping, traveling and eating alone. "It is what it is" I tell myself. This says nothing, but somehow explains everything.

Memorial Day Weekend I took off my wedding ring. Why? I'm not sure. My friend's six year old who knew Jimmy looked at my hand and asked, "Is that a wedding band?"

After I nodded yes I wondered if maybe this was the time. It was spontaneous in the sense I didn't plan to do it, but I was aware that once it was off I wouldn't put it on again. That night I had a long talk with Jimmy in the closet. He understood. I feel married and not married and I needed to look at my ringless hand and remind myself. It was a way of moving forward.

Gene, my bereavement shrink laughed when I told her I talked about it with Jimmy. She said, "That reminds me of what widows do when they're ready to remarry. They go to the cemetery to ask for 'permission.' I told her I understood that. She smiled and said, "Isn't it interesting that none of these husbands ever say 'no?'

So, tomorrow is my birthday, my second one without Jimmy. Four of my closest couple friends are taking me out to dinner at The Crescent Beach Club. I've learned that the trick to not feel like a fifth wheel is just to be myself and to keep reminding myself that that's enough. It's hard to sit there and watch the intimacy between two people, but when they begin to bicker it helps.

My birthday, tomorrow is 07/07/07 - the reason I've always felt I'm a lucky person. I was 27 in 7/7/77. I don't remember that being a particularly great year, though.
It's clear that feeling lucky is a state of mind.

Recently, a new doctor asked me questions and I was forced to face that my life doesn't look so good on paper.

Doc: Are your parents living?
Me: Well, my father died in 1967 at 57. My mother is still alive. She's 82.
Doc: Is she in good health?
Me: Um, it's hard to say. We haven't talked in several years.
Doc: Any siblings?
Me: (Nervous laugh) My sister died 10 years ago, complications from crones disease.
She was 50. I'm beginning to feel like 'Queen For a Day' here.
The doctor glanced down at the form I had filled out...
Doc: I see you circled widow...
Me: Yeah. Just last year. Burkitts Lymphoma.
Doc: (nervous smile) I'm a little afraid to ask, any children?
Me: Oh, yes. Two. They're fine! They're fine!

My life doesn't look so good on paper. This is true. I'm kind of like the lost dog: Description: He has three legs, a chewed ear, and missing patches of fur. Answers to the name "Lucky."

Hey, life throws you lemons - just add vodka.