I suppose I’ll think these thoughts for a long time:
- I miss his smart-aleck sense of humor, and how he drove us all crazy with his nonsense on the regular. I miss our talks and bantering, with me telling him he’s so full of crap, it’s a righteous wonder he has blue eyes, after which he’d laugh himself into a coughing fit.
- Sometimes I resent having to make all the decisions myself.
- My sons and sister are wonderful, of course; I don’t know what I’d do without them. But they do have to go home, and and as much as I tell myself — and everyone else — that it’s fine being alone, many times it’s not.
- At times, I feel cheated out of the plans we had for when I retired from teaching: the traveling, the acquisition of more Aussies to love and raise, enjoying our grandchildren, spending time with family, and maybe picking up and moving to an exotic locale someday.
- I still occasionally vacillate between self-pity and anger, albeit with periods of absolute joy and fun with my family, friends, colleagues, and students. I just wish he could be here to share it all.
- I wonder if he can hear me when I talk to him, or if he’s frustrated that he can’t answer me.
- I miss how he loved his own children, and remember fondly how he also loved my two sons — and their sons — like they were his own.
- I will always marvel at how, during the six months between his diagnosis and the end of his life, he never once complained or gave up. There was one incident around Thanksgiving 2017 — and only one that I remember — when I walked into his room to check on him, and found him on the edge of his bed with his head down, struggling to breathe. I sat next to him and asked him what I could do for him, and he whispered, “I don’t know, sweety; I think this might be it.” But that was the only time. He was and remains the strongest person I ever knew.
I think I’m still trying to figure out this “moving on” thing. I’ve tried stuff that definitely didn’t work, and I’ve tried just letting things go and endeavoring to find joy in whatever time is left to me. Not sure I’ll ever master my thoughts during the alone times, when everyone’s gone home. Remy still provides me with snuggles and laughter and companionship; I don’t know what I’d do without him, either. I sometimes wonder if he remembers Michael. I hope he does. I hope many people do; I know I will forever.
There will be joy for me in the holiday season again. There is joy now, actually, as long as I’m busy and doing my thing. I don’t want my family/friends/students to ever think that I don’t enjoy their company and all the crazy things we do together, because I do. It’s probably the singular thing that keeps me on the rails. But it’ll never really be the same, and I guess I don’t want it to be, because it would mean I’ve shut a door. Can’t do that.
I plan to visit him at the military cemetery next week. I hear they’ve put beautiful wreaths on the gravestones. I’ll take a photo.
Meantime, I will enjoy my family at this special time of year. I hope you do, too! Hold everyone close. Tell your spouse and kids you love them.
I’ll also try to write to you more often. I miss it.
Until next time…