I’m not gonna do this for the next fifteen days or anything, but I figured it was kinda cool to revisit a year ago… that whole, “look at how much has happened since then” type thing. This has been an emotional three days, but they’ve been good. Emotional… but not exactly too much more than any other day or what was to be expected. The flood of love and support is somewhat overwhelming… in the best possible way!… but definitely adds to the waterworks.
Really, I just wanted to start year two by remembering Day 1 of this new life. Day 1 was… strange. I was exhausted. I was in shock… and in a fog. You would think it is the hardest day… the day after losing a spouse, but for me… I was numb. I just floated through it. It’s when you come out of that fog and have to live life again is when it gets tough… stoopid reality sets in.
I read through these note… thought about that day… looked back at the last three days… and I’ve gotta say that I feel good! I’m proud of myself for getting through this first year, by doing it however I thought I needed to do it. People say there isn’t a road map for this type of shit… and from what I can tell, they’re correct! I’m glad I was able to bushwhack for a bit… find my way… and I feel like there are gonna be some open spots up ahead so I’ll stay on the “as positive as possible” train for now. There are no more first anniversaries… there will no longer be days that I can say, “On this day last year, Kateri was… yada, yada, yada… alive.”. Time is a funny thing… and I’m starting to think it likes to fuck with you.
My favorite part about Widower Day 1 was Heman. Kateri and I had never met Heman… I guess Kateri just hasn’t… but we spoke about him often as we made up stories from the limited information we had acquired through the two and a half years since buying the schoolhouse. He’s a neighbor just a few houses down the road, has the bushy… somewhat frizzy big white beard, is a machinist who loves old cars (he has a beautiful old Studebaker… it’s gorgeous!), and there are stories that he has lists… that you don’t wanna be on. Kateri’s high school (?… I think) French teacher used to live down the road and he told us that once he saw his name in the ol’ 18 spot. Some time had gone by, him and Heman caught up… AND HE SAW HE WAS NUMBER 4! Didn’t know what it meant… but didn’t think it was good!
Heman is just one of those characters in life that everyone has a story about. Honestly, a vast majority of the stories I have heard from various friends and neighbors put him on a pretty high pedestal. He’s a good, honest man that will help you out if you need it… and yes, I kinda wanna be him when I grow up! (I mean, I wanna be Braedy’s dad, as well… but that’s a whole nother story that involves tractors and tighty whiteys)
I remember it was brilliantly sunny that morning… it felt nice… after, well… losing Kateri the night before. When I’m outside, especially when I’m on the porch, I wave to everyone who drives past the schoolhouse… and this loud ass purple Chevy was no exception. I watched it go by and when I heard that it stopped out front and was backing up it was kinda like… ok? this may be interesting?!… not knowing who it was at first, but when I saw that big ol’ beard… I knew exactly who it was. I can’t tell you the impact this encounter has had on my life. Although I was in a daze from just losing Kateri… I felt a smidgen of comfort. I’ve gotta tell you, Heman was nowhere near the bubble of people I thought I was gonna encounter that day, but he probably had the most profound affect on me. Day one of my new life… just happened to be the day I got to meet Heman.
Heman: Hallo… My name’s Heman… I live just down the road. Figured enough time has gone by that introductions were in order.
Me: Heman… I can’t tell you how fantastic I think it is that you stopped by today, but I’ve just gotta let you know that my wife passed away last night… and things are a little strange.
Heman: Oh, oh my gosh… I’m so sorry for stopping. I’m so sorry for your loss.
Me: That’s ok Heman. This is why Kateri and I bought this house… our first home… to set roots. I think it’s absolutely perfect that on the first day of my new life… on day one… I got to meet a neighbor… and it was you. I just wish Kateri could have been here to meet you, too.
Heman: I’m just so sorry for your loss man. If I still drank I’d invite you down to the porch for a beer, but I gave that up blah, blah, blah 2012.
Me: That’s ok Heman… I haven’t had a drink since September 9, 2006… but I smoke pot?!
Heman: SO DO I!!
Yup… and Heman basically got back into his loud ass purple Chevy, cigarillo coming dangerously close to his perfectly unkept beard, and went off to do whatever it is that Heman does.
It’s been a long strange year… and now, I’m ready to see what the next year has to offer, but this is what I did the day after Kateri died. I remember it being strange in itself to open up a computer in bed to make these notes… we never had “screens” in bed!
ps-I have yet to hang out on Heman’s porch… maybe in Year 2!
Thirty Days of Mo(u)rning
Day 1… Woke up at 10:00am-to alarm-Dr. Phil moment
Just Scottie, Maria, and myself
a. Heman drove past, stopped, backed up, and pulled into our driveway.
b. Figured it had been long enough and introductions should happen
c. Told him my wife passed away.
d. We bought this home to set roots and it meant the world to me that a neighbor… Heman… would stop by the DAY AFTER Kateri died meant so much to me as I am in the first day of my new life
e. Scottie left around 12:45PM
Bobbi stopped by after checking her mail. Sat on the deck
Keith and Michelle came by. They brought me a BLT hoagie
Moose and Fam came by.
a. Went over cremation papers… decided on Wednesday.
b. Made list of who would be invited to cremation
c. Tony’s first time to the house.
d. This is what a “home” is… a place for friends and family to gather… I’m glad I had that realization.
Chichi and Benjamin came by with 6 pizzas
a. Gave me a… card.
Never really left the front deck
Got sun burnt on my face
Facetimed with my family… they were at Dina’s house.
Went to bed at 5:00am
Widower Notes n Thought:
- The first day after Kateri’s death was the first time in a long time I didn’t feel… worried. It wasn’t until a friend mentioned it up at the fire pit, but she was 100% right… that “worry”… any worries… kinda just leave you for a while. Of course, then they’re replaced by a whole new set of worries, but for a few days… everything just stops. On the “Widower” side of things… In a strange way… I kinda miss how it felt that day.
4 thoughts on “2.2.367… Heman… and Widower Day 1”
So many wonderful memories you have. Just hold on to them as you enter this next year and live as fully as you can. Doesn’t mean you will forget for you never will. I always try to live the kind of life that was denied to the people I love. That’s what I know they would want for me. I wish you well, my friend.
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It changes with time. You change. But the love for your wife will never change. You shared so many memories and now you are on the road to making new ones. Not to replace the old ones, but to add new ones. I hope you have many more opportunities to open your heart to friends and family and neighbors.
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Darren, I have been thinking of what to say to you for a few days about the “anniversary”… I am stumped. I am also very close the this milestone. I also don’t know what to think about that… Lenore passed 7/1/18.
All I know is that I can really relate to what you are saying, and I appreciate your writing.
Thank You. You and Kateri sure are blessed with good Friends.
Sure is a strange trip Huh?
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Definitely a strange trip! I’ll be thinking of ya as you make your way to… and through July 1st… and last of the firsts! Take care of yourself… while you remember Lenore!