Sunday, July 20, 2008

Birthday Blues

Tomorrow is my birthday. I don't know that I've ever felt less like celebrating it. I normally love my birthday. But it doesn't feel like my birthday this year. Today I had a mini celebration with my younger sister, the wife, Mom and the Boy. (Dad always called the girls The Pigeon Sisters, from The Odd Couple. So I'll be referring to the them as Cecily and Gwendolyn, just to make my life easy.) My sister, Cecily, makes great French toast with powdered sugar and that was on our menu today. They wanted to do a little something so my day wouldn't pass unacknowledged. Which was very sweet of them. I think it was prompted by the following exchange:

Gwendolyn: (reading a sticky note stuck to Mom's cabinet) Annie birthday 7/21. Is this so she won't forget?
Me: yes.
Gwendolyn: Oh, I'm so sorry.

So we went to their beach place, ate, swam in the pool and had a very nice day. We've all been getting along. I'm all for calm seas.

Tomorrow, Mom and I and the Boy will have dinner with my aunt and uncle. Same thing-dinner, cake, little gifts. And I appreciate that everyone wants to make it a nice day for me. I just feel too blues for the whole thing.

We leave on Saturday for Vermont. My brother in law already came by to pick up Dad's boat to prep it for the trip. The driveway looks empty and forlorn without it. The distribution of possessions has begun and it freaks me out. It's just weird to see the empty spaces around the house. Mom cleaned off Dad's dresser and it just looks so strange. I didn't expect her to keep everything here as a shrine but I guess I didn't think things would change yet. I don't know why. Vermont is going to be really hard. I think part of the hard part is that, again, I won't have any time alone. I think living away from everyone with a husband who deploys has made me a bit of a loner. I feel like I need some privacy and alone time, especially when I'm stressed. I have a feeling the sum total of my alone time will be on my runs. Which I may just take every day. I know I'm supposed to be drawing support from my family, but I'm somehow finding it hard to do.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Pushing Through

It's been almost two weeks since we lost Dad and I don't know that it has really hit me yet. The first week was absolutely consumed with preparations and ceremonies. Days spent in a funeral home for viewing are some of the longest you'll ever live. I haven't done it in almost 20 years. In the exact same place, as a matter of fact.

I cannot begin to explain what the fire department did for us. They stood honor guard, every minute of every viewing. The did a farewell ceremony the second evening. They did a final farewell the morning of the funeral and lined the halls in honor as we each left for the church. That almost did me in. Like every Junior fireman touching my Dad as they walked past his casket. The entire department stood honor guard at the church. Every fire truck was in his procession. He rode in the floodlight he restored. They had flags over all of the major intersections. We drove past the fire house and they had his turnout gear out front. Which broke my heart. They set up the whole luncheon for us at the fire house. Between viewing times, people came to our house and did food and drinks and tables for us. I can't tell you what they all mean to me. I know I need to write them a thank you but I can't even get started. I haven't started on any of my thank yous yet. I feel like it is going to be such a private thing, I don't knwo where I can do it. But I have to. To thank my friend who was with me every step of the way. To thank the friend who drove 8 straight hours to be with me without thinking twice. To thank the friend who sent his parents in his stead. To thank all of the people who supported me and helped me. It's just exhausting to think of starting. A little like when I was trying to pack to come home in March.

My son doesn't understand what has happened. He keeps asking about his Papa. Are we going to see him? Why can't we go to Heaven? Can he talk to him? Why? It breaks my heart over nad over. But part of me wants him to keep on asking so I know he remembers him. Not that he doesn't make me laugh too. He's learning the Mickey Mouse song. He had Mom and I peeing in our pants singing all together. He hits the high points.

Mom is trying to set the land speed record on writing her thank you notes. She writes until she's dizzy. She's written about 400. Seriously.

It's comforting to know we aren't the only ones who love him.

Now I'm trying to establish a routine again. Down time is my enemy at the moment. Last weekend dragged on forever. Like I said, I'm still waiting for it to really hit me. I'm running as fast as I can.