Saturday, July 23, 2011

Love Letters

I find it absolutely amazing when I see Bobby in one of my kids. I have two boys, and they both emulate their dad in different ways. They aren't even trying. It just is, and I love seeing him live on in our sons.

The other day, I found a pile of sealed envelopes on the dining room table with dates on them. The dates directly correlated with the dates that my son would be away on a sailing trip for teens. I asked him what the envelopes were for and he told me that he had written a letter to his girlfriend for each day he would be away for her to read each morning since they would not be in touch for the 10 days. (No cell phones allowed, thus no texting!!)

My jaw must have hit the ground. It reminded me so much of something that Bobby did shortly after we first met.

Ten days after Bobby and I first met, I left for a three week trip to Europe with my friend Christina. Unbeknownst to me, the whole time I was away, he wrote me a letter each day (well, typed me a letter each day, my beloved computer geek), and saved it in a file on his computer. (No email back then!!) When I returned, he printed them out and gave me the whole pile to read when I returned. Ironically, I came across this printout last week while cleaning out my office, the same exact day that my son was writing his letters. It was wonderful reading those letters that he wrote to me while I was away.

I realize that the exact details of what Bobby did are not the same as what my son did, but the basic premise is the same. When my son explained what the letters were for, I asked him if I had ever told him the story of the letters that his dad wrote to me, and he said no. So I told him, and he smiled broadly and said, "Really?"

He obviously likes being like his dad. I like it, too.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Vicious Circle

I recently read an article written by the woman who lost her three daughters in the much-publicized accident in upstate NY in June of 2009 (the Diane Schuler case). She talked about the ways – both positive and negative – that she was dealing with her childrens’ deaths.

One of the things she mentioned was that after the first year, she decided to continue to go out on monthly dinners with friends of hers. These dinners started long before the accident, so eventually she and her husband started joining their friends again.

She said in the article that she felt judged by some people, as if people were whispering behind her back, “How could she do such a thing? Has she forgotten about her girls?”

Boy do I know that feeling! I recently re-did my bathroom, and went on a nice vacation. And I do feel as if people are looking at me and whispering “how could she do such a thing?" as if I've completely forgotten all about him.

Truthfully, I do not know if they are saying these things or not. I really don’t know. I’m not supposed to care about what other people think. It’s what I feel that is important, but let’s face it...I am my harshest judge. A part of me does think that I am being cold hearted by doing these big things, like fixing up my home or going on vacation. Unfortunately, it takes a little bit of the fun out of these things.

I don’t know how to get over this. I don’t even know if I want to get over this. I feel like I need to carry some of this guilt around as a tribute to Bobby and what he meant to me. But on the flip side, it’s not easy living my life feeling guilty all the time. But when I think of giving up the guilt, it just makes me feel guilty all over again, and then I think again, do I really want to give this up? It’s a tribute to Bobby!

It’s a vicious circle, that’s what it is. It keeps going around and around and around, and I don’t know how to get out of it!

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Wedding Bell Blues

I went to my cousin's wedding on Saturday. It was a really nice ceremony...out on the beach. The bride looked beautiful. The groom looked happy. And for the first time, I saw a "Man of Honor" in place of a Maid or Matron of Honor...the bride's brother. I thought that was nice.

This was not the first wedding I've been to since Bobby died, but the first one I'd been to alone. My other cousin got married last month, and I was invited with a guest, so I took my friend Joann as my "Plus One". Joann had a great time, even though she didn't know anyone but me. She is fun and out going, and the perfect 'date' for something like this. I'm sure this is one of the many reasons her husband loves her!!

But this wedding was me alone. For the most part, I was OK, but there were certain times when I felt really alone. The first was when I had to walk in alone. Luckily, with the wedding being on a public beach, nobody really noticed as I made my way through the scantily clad teens and aggravated parents of toddlers who were just there for a day at the beach. I sneaked into the seat that my brother and sister saved for me between them.

At first, I thought I was doing OK...I surprised myself...until the officiant of the wedding started talking about marriage and asked everyone in the at the wedding to turn to their spouse and take their hand and remember their own wedding.

OOPS...seems she forgot...not everyone there has a spouse. I attempted to mumble "Yeah, right" when she said that but I think it came out too loud. I'm sure my brother, who was sitting next to me, heard. But he didn't react. (He's a serious sort of guy). But when I looked around, I noticed that nobody took anyone's hand. Even my siblings, who were on either side of me, didn't take their spouses' hands, who were sitting on either side of them. I thought that was a little weird, but I didn't say anything. Maybe they weren't paying attention. Maybe they've both been married so long they didn't think it was necessary. Or maybe they did it because I was sitting there. I didn't ask.

But I know Bobby. He would have taken my hand. He was corny like that.

Later on, the DJ announced the first bride/groom dance during the cocktail hour. In the middle of the dance, he called all married couples to join the new husband and wife. I just sat there eating my bacon-wrapped scallop.

The last time I felt really alone, was when it was time to leave. It was strange...I kept looking around for Bobby to walk out with, but he wasn't there. So I walked out with my aunt and two of my cousins. Lucky for me...there was another wedding going in the building and a very cute 20-something groomsmen came up to us and tried to pick up my 58-year-old cousin, who is HOT. I was so engrossed in this little saga that I forgot for the moment that I was alone. For that, I thank the anonymous groomsman. (I also vowed to myself that when I am 58, I will look like my cousin.)

However, when the valet brought me my car, I got in it, and once again I felt very alone.

Weddings just are not the same for me anymore.

Monday, July 18, 2011

Flying Solo...Literally

A few weeks ago, I flew to London to visit my good friend Jane who lives in England. I had flown there alone quite a few times, when I was in my 20s, but the last three times I had gone, I went with Bobby.

While I was waiting in the airport, I thought to myself, "This is just like when I went to visit Jane in the 80s." However, once I was on the plane, it was not like that at all. I felt so alone. I didn't have Bobby to lean on when I was tired, or to talk to when I got bored. He was not there to make fun of the substance that they try to pass off as food.

Traveling alone never bothered me before, so why did this bother me so much now? Because back then, I was single. I was not attached to anyone - I hadn't met my "soul mate" yet. I have now discovered that after I've had the experience of meeting him, and being in a wonderful relationship and marriage, it bothers me to travel alone.

Because I'm not single. I'm a widow. And there's a difference.

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Mending Fences...and Other Tasks with Tools

My older son recently decided to work on a Boy Scout Merit Badge called, "Home Repair". He showed me the requirements and asked me what needed to be done around the house. (The question is, what doesn't need to be done, but that's another story.) We looked over the requirements together and I gave him a few jobs.

These are repairs that Bobby would have done if he were here. He was very handy around the house. I'm not saying it's a bad thing to have my son do the repairs, in fact, Bobby was pretty adamant about his sons learning how to do simple home repairs around the house, along with some not-so-simple repairs as well. Two winters ago, when he was sick, he told me that during the following summer, he planned on taking both boys into the garage and teaching them all about tools and what each tool was used for. Unfortunately for him, and for my boys, he never got to do that since he died in the spring.

Now my son has to rely on the internet and my oh-so-limited knowledge of how to use things like pliers, wrenches, saws and assorted power tools to earn his merit badge. It is such a huge loss that he doesn't have his father here to show him these things, because I know that is something that they both would have enjoyed, or at least laughed about in the future.