Tuesday October 19th, 2010: proofreading the document that nobody ever wants to read.
I didn’t want to get up this morning. I just wanted to stay under the covers and hide. No responsibilities, no duties, just can it all and put it away on a shelf somewhere for somebody else to handle. Unfortunately, there is nobody else to handle it.
I think that THIS, all of this is what growing up is really all about. It is about dealing with the responsibility of the life cycles of others. I never had children, but I was… wow that is still tough to say and write. I was married, happily to a beautiful woman that knew me better than probably I know myself today. I, We shared everything… except the love of seafood. She said I could keep that one, something about it being “too good and not wanting to interfere with the passion that I had built up for it over the years.” That’s ok, I feel the same way about cheesecake. So we made a perfect team.
Today I got a letter and an item that needed proofreading. I knew it was coming, coming soon in the next few days or so, but it was something that nobody really ever gets excited or “up” for with anticipation. It wasn’t like my Woody Woodpecker coffee cup and cereal bowl set that came in the mail when I was a kid… from the Kellogg’s company. Oh, what a treasure that set was. The cereal bowl was shaped like a tree log that was split in half and hollowed out. Four tiny knots or branch starters were used to hold the cereal bowl up so it would not rock and spill Apple Jacks all over the Kitchen table. A design and concept of genius proportions if ever one existed. The coffee mug, or juice mug for us 7 year olds was Woody Woodpecker’s head carved out of another stump of a tree. The comb of his head formed the loop where your finger would hook. Again… this was another piece of perfection and sheer artistry.
What came today was nothing of fun or frivolity. What came today was another reminder that Lee Ann is gone and not coming back. What came today was the approval proof for Lee Ann’s grave marker. It needed to be proof read and approved so that it could be carved, or cast, or hatched… whatever they do to generate markers now. So there, in the middle of my day I got to proofread the reminder and statement of fact that my wife is dead. And I have to thoroughly read it to make sure that somebody hasn’t miss spelled her birth year, or her name. So I read, then I re-read it. So that it was correct… then I went back and read it a third time just to make sure.
I still, on occasions dream that she will wake me up with a thump to the side and tell me that I was only dreaming. What I feel now is that the last 12 years were a glorious blessing of a dream. But now, for some reason I have awoken from the dream into the real world. The real world where she is no longer here, where she is never coming back, and where the pain of loss aches and hurts deeper than anything I have ever felt.
This must be what growing up truly feels like. Nothing to do with a send off, or a parade, it has to do with the duty and responsibility, the vows that we made that I now must uphold. That is what growing up must be, and what others have referred to as growing pains, nobody told me they would feel like this. I can see how these things change people, some for the better. For they realize how precious life is and will try to use the moments they have to truly experience, taste, and let life flow through them to the very core of their being. For others, it may scar them. The pain and suffering, the loss may be too great for some to grow beyond. This may bind them forever to the echoes of the past, for it is all that they know, all that they want to know. For them, the world, their universe stopped that day and they refuse to move beyond it.
The next few weeks will not be easy. I hope that as I move, that I move forward. It is what I am striving for. I will Never forget or run away, but to continue to grow, somehow. If roles were reversed, I would be very upset if Lee Ann did not move and grow forward. I do miss her so. I wish she were here to tell me that everything is going to be alright… But it’s not. Nothing is ever going to be ALL right again. That may be what growing up is also about. Knowing that things are not ALL right, but we just have to deal with them anyway. And if they are ALL wrong, and I mean ALL WRONG, we still have to deal with them.