Requiem

24 December, 2019
Rat Fink

As I sit here working on Dinner Theatre arrangements and thinking about the last two years, my thoughts, of course, turn to Michael, and all that’s happened since his death on Christmas Eve 2017.

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…

17 Comments

  1. I’ll never forget him. We would argue with each other and I would always get mad because he wouldn’t admit that I was right! ? In the end, though, we would hug and say we were BOTH right.

    I’ve never seen anyone take on challenges like Michael did. He always conquered them, too! Well, all but one. I miss my friend. I know he’s in heaven, healthy and happy. I think of you often, sweet man. I love you.

    Sis, I don’t believe we really ever move on from the loss of a loved one, we just learn to cope. Michael would be proud of how you’ve learned. We’ll see him again.

    I love you..

    • Love you too, Mavis! You were his angel of mercy and his dear friend. Thank you for being his caregiver all those months, sissy. <3

  2. Merry Christmas Linda.

    Merry Christmas in heaven Michael

  3. My Dear Friend…my heart aches as your emotions palpable through your thoughts and words.
    I think phrases such as “moving on” and/or “finding closure” are simply euphemisms we try to apply when we just don’t know what to feel, what’s next or what am I to do? I agree with Mavis, I don’t think we move on we just learn better how to move with.
    Love you my Friend!

    • Love you too, Dave — it’s been a long time. :-)

      “Moving with” instead of “moving on” is my jam going forward. I think that’s what the Thriller would have wanted. Looking forward to seeing what all the “with” entails.

      HNY!

  4. My dear friend, you and everyone who loved and was loved by Michael miss him and think of good times with him. We share in your loss; you are not alone although I know that on dark nights it feels like it.

    I for one am glad to be one of those friends that occasionally puts a smile on your face. My favorite memories are those silly times in #newbies, we hadn’t even met in RL yet but knew there was a connection.

    He was a special person and so are you. Hugs and love from me.

  5. L.,

    I love you, and I loved Michael immensely. I promise you – I’ll never forget him. He was such a wonderful, generous, sarcastic man. All pluses in my book.

    As I struggle through my first Christmas in 14 years without Sloan, I don’t know people say goodbye to loved ones. My heart is heavy. But I know that someday I’ll simply look back with love and joy.

    Smile. You’re one of the most beautiful people I’ve ever had the pleasure of loving.

    • I love you too, J — and having just lost Sloan, I know you’re struggling, even with the new pup. “Dogs are family” is in no way a passé axiom; it’s one of life’s absolutes.

      Smiling today from the north — I hope you’re enjoying time with your ma! Please tell her hello from me.

  6. I really love to hear your “voice” through your blog, even when it is as honest and filled with grieving words. I’m not sure if you have seen this Ted talk or not, but I like what she says. I do hope our paths will cross again in the next decade. I sure miss you. https://www.ted.com/talks/nora_mcinerny_we_don_t_move_on_from_grief_we_move_forward_with_it?language=en

    • I have seen this TED, yes! She is brilliant.

      I’m Idaho-bound some weekend this summer, to visit my nephew. Maybe book my flight to Denver for an overnight layover before Salt Lake? I miss you too!

  7. Sending love and tight hugs… I am stuck on the notion that “grief is love with nowhere to go” and that makes me both happy and sad. You might enjoy a sweet little book I just happened upon in the children’s library: My Brother’s Ghost by Alan Alsberg. No grand revelations but a sense that others truly understand – and that life and death are messy for all involved. Happy Christmas and a Nee Year full of cheer!

    • Thank you <3 I will check out that book, Darice — and did I see on FB that you had a birthday recently? If so, happy belated! I’m so glad we found each other here.

      HNY to you as well — I love, love, love your daily/weekly drawings!

  8. I can’t imagine sis! I met him
    once and liked him from the start. Please know we do think of you always and are here for you. Take a trip stop by so we can have a nice visit. Love you!

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