I took an extra day off at the tail end of my weekend because… as I figured… Kateri’s birthday was probably gonna be the peak of the emotional mountain expedition. (no… I’m not a mountain climber or have any desire to scale Mt. Kilamenjaro or anything. Walks though… those are good) I wanted to make sure I had a little extra time so as not to have the sense of rushing it… and I’m glad I did!… cuz it’s been rough! I mean, yes it’s been rough, but I have come to expect that. However, I was surprised by the amount of crying I did. I was surprised by how early the water works and the “I miss those days” reminiscing started… a couple of weeks prior to her birthday. I was surprised by just how much… how many emotions… I had pushed to the side as I try to figure out how to maneuver, how to live in the present, how to get everything done in this new life… without her. And I knew I was gonna need a couple of days to recover from the onslaught of everything on Kateri’s birthday… on St. Patrick’s Day.
Yesterday, I basically tidied and cleaned the house. I wanted to for that whole “organized” feeling it brings me. It’s in my head that if I keep my house in tip top shape, if I don’t let things turn into “piles”… mail doesn’t count… (and piles is in quotes because I refuse to define what a “pile” is), if I stay on top of most stuff then… well… I should be good! Or, at least I think it helps. So yesterday was my “Gettingshitbacktogether Day” before I’m to be reintroduced back into normal life… and today… I went for a drive.
I had gotten up around six and hit the road at 6:30am for breakfast at George’s… in Gloucester… two hours and forty-three minutes away. It was gonna be my “I’m taking Kateri to the ocean for her birthday” end to the weekend, but when you drive for a few hours by yourself… the brain kinda does it’s thing! (having control over the radio has it’s advantages, though) As I thought more and more about it, I wasn’t taking Kateri to the ocean… I was taking just a part of Kateri to the ocean… and I was taking only a tiny fraction of what is left of her physical body… that which we cremated. I could try and make myself feel better by attaching her… by attaching Kateri to my little road trip, but she wasn’t by my side. She didn’t order bisuits and gravy or shoot the shit with line dude. She didn’t feel the ocean air on her cheeks. And I didn’t take a selfie of us on the beach with her in the background doing some funny little kick… or doing anything at all. Yes, Kateri was with me in my memories, thoughts, emotions, and spirit as I drove 71 miles per hour across New England, but she wasn’t by my side… and I realized I just needed to cover some ground for myself as I remembered my wife… and all the wonderful “Let’s go to the ocean!” adventures we had.
So I had breakfast, I saw the ocean, I sat and thought about life. Luckily, Kateri’s birthday was the day for bawling like a baby so the last two days of my 3-day weekend were a little more manageable on the tear factor and I didn’t have to tell myself, “I don’t care if people see me crying on this bench… as I stare at the water”… while other tourists snap and bark at their partners because they aren’t holding the paper doll cutout correctly while posing beneath the memorial to fishermen lost at see! I mean, I got emotional here and there, but it has been a much mellower couple of days.
This whole gig is just a matter of getting through… of holding on until that one day… that one good day. After one of those days came for me… I waited for another… and it came. I’m still in the time of “firsts”… birthdays, holidays, wedding anniversaries… the first March 20th without Kateri. As I thought about it on my drive home… from not taking Kateri to the ocean… I realized all these firsts are basically the same on some levels… and on the most basic level. “Widower Day 1” came the day after Kateri passed away. Just the same as “Widower Day 244” came the day after Christmas or Day 211 showed up right after Thanksgiving… and 156 didn’t care that our wedding anniversary was on 155. Some dates are harder than others, sometimes the emotions are a bit much, sometimes the date has nothing to do with the emotions!… but it’s all a challenge…….. and tomorrow is still gonna come. Although I would not say I have a bad life, the hope is that tomorrow is in some small way… just a little bit better.
Widower Notes n Thoughts:
- A men’s rest area bathroom on a Tuesday morning reminds me of why I will never have a roommate… the noises alone!
- I didn’t really think about the fact that I took my drive on the last day of winter… I just kinda like the attachment to the whole “change of season” thing.
- I don’t know how I feel about this, but I found myself bobbing my head to… The Jonas Brothers.
- The snow is melting! I’m so excited to hang out in my garage!… and I just can’t hide it.
- I’m up to between 3 or four pints of ice cream a week… finally might need to cut back a bit… but the shit keeps calling me man!
- PS-I was gonna go to the ocean on Monday… but a half hour in I realized I had forgotten Kateri. Yup, the brain has been a little scattered.
- PPS-My buddy replenished the “pill” supply… I love that man.