Thursday, November 27, 2008

Stuffing…

Well I made it. My first holiday without David. Suffice to say, it was one hell of a roller coaster ride. The morning was the usual routine. Honestly, it did not even really feel like Thanksgiving. I was not cooking a meal here, so the house didn’t have that Thanksgiving smell or the usual hustle and bustle it always had. David was always the turkey guy and he would be flying around the kitchen, getting this and that ready. The kitchen would be a myriad of smells and sounds. This morning, the kitchen was sadly silent…

But it did not stay that way for long. I was having Thanksgiving over at the In-laws and was in charge of making my stuffing. David loved that stuffing. I used to have to make a double batch, so he could enjoy it for an entire week. And he would eat it every damn day, never tiring of it. At first I thought it would be hard to make it again, because it became so quintessentially David during the holidays. He would come up with any excuse to make it, from now through December....and as many times as possible. And as I began, the smell reminded me so much of him. But it felt kind of good to be chopping away at something. Continuing traditions. Moving forward. And as I cooked, I actually smiled. Because as I looked around, I had dirtied a billion dishes to make that one pan of stuffing. And I remembered how it used to make David absolutely insane that I could dirty so many dishes for one meal…let alone one mere dish. And I laughed. And as I cut up the onion, I pulled out one of his latest contraptions to help dice up the onion quickly. David was always all about the efficiency and making everything as easy as possible. He was like that before cancer, and even more so after his diagnosis. His thought was that there is no use wasting time doing menial tasks when you could streamline or buy a tool that could make it faster and easier! And funnily enough, it did. It actually worked, and that got a smile out of me as well. And I thought to myself, maybe this day isn’t going to be as hellish as I originally thought it was going to be…

Yeah, not likely. I keep forgetting that grief is like a river that ebbs and flows continually. And you never know when you’re going to hit waves or worse yet slam into rocks. Today was no different. Not shortly after feeling like I may actually survive this day without the tidal wave of pain or tears. I was knocked down once again. Alec had a mini-meltdown in the morning after talking to Nana, who just recently returned home. Alec is having one hell of a time transitioning to her departure. He is unable to differentiate between going home, or away for a while and death. For him, it is all one and the same. So, he tends to refuse to talk to her since she left and also talks less about David as well. Not surprising I guess. Regressions should be expected and are part and parcel to this whole childhood grief thing. Two steps forward, one step back. But damn it sucks. To see the fear in his eyes. So terrified that someone else he loves is going to leave him. It breaks the heart. So, as I am talking with Nana he basically gets hysterical and tells me we have to stop talking to her because it is not “fun.” I asked him why it wasn’t fun, and he says, “because it makes him sad.” Can’t argue with that, I guess. And I am still continually amazed sometimes at how well he can express himself for an almost 4-year old boy. But we got through that moment and then went over to the In-laws to begin the next leg of this seemingly endless day.

That was tough. Tougher than I ever imagined. That house. God there are so many memories there…so many amazing moments. And my heart just aches. He lived with his parents when we met, so our courtship was there. And then the first couple months of our marriage as well, before we got our first apartment. And as I roamed around the house, the memories just hit me like a ton of bricks. And the crazy thing is, I am there twice a week to pick up Alec because they watch him while I am at work. And yet usually it is run in, grab the kid and then run home to get dinner, bath and night-night in. But today was different. I was there. For hours. And the memories surrounded me like a blanket. They were so wonderful and warm. And then as I became lulled by their warmth…they dug in and ripped my heart out. Everywhere I looked there were memories of us staying up late watching movies, having tea by the fireplace, long walks, long make out sessions, and you can imagine the rest. The start of our new life together, and then all the subsequent 16 years of holidays, celebrations, and all of the other little precious moments that make up our life. It was all there. And as I looked out the leaded glass window, I could picture with such clarity Dave flying down the driveway like he always used to. He was so excited and happy to come home to me. He would fly in and whip out of his car like a banshee and come running into the house to see me. His face would be alight with so much love and life. And he would give me the most tender and passionate kiss and then he would grab my hand and we would be off doing whatever crazy thing we had planned for the night. Those memories are so beautiful. And as I stood there staring out the window, the pain just washed over me. The desperate longing and sadness. I missed him so much I swear my heart was going to explode. And then behind me I heard this toy start making music. For no apparent reason. I was standing alone in that room and as my mind was drowning in one of those dark grieving moments…I believe it was David just saying, “Hey, babe. I’m here. You’re not alone my love…even though you can not see me.” I turned around and smiled. I could just feel him there. The toy did not make the noise again and I am not even sure how how it did it to begin with. But it does not matter. Because I believe my love was just reminding me that I was not alone, no matter how isolated and sad I may feel. But god how I miss him.

11 Comments:

At November 27, 2008 10:07 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skye-

I just wanted you to know I was thinking of you and Alec today.

Maybe Nana could send Alec a letter with some recent pictures of her?

Melissa

 
At November 28, 2008 8:18 AM, Blogger Satine said...

Reading your post, a sadness washed over me as well. You're able to recall and write details of your lives together in such an almost hour-by-hour sequence that it is amazing. I really feel for you. I am glad to hear you could make David's favorite stuffing this year though, and that you were able to be with the memories of you and David, even though it was so hard, because all of that preciousness was really with you on your first holiday without him physically there. I think if I had been in your shoes, the noise of the toy behind me/you would have made me smile too... you are loved.

 
At November 28, 2008 12:30 PM, Blogger Farm Girl Cat said...

I was thinking of you guys yesterday ((hugs))I remember David saying that he didn't know all this worked but that he would always be with you. I am sure that David will send you a reminder whenever you need them.
give Alec a big hug.

 
At November 28, 2008 4:06 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skye,
I thought of you and Alec yesterday and hoped that the day wasn't too hard for you. It sounds like as difficult as some moments were, you were able to enjoy the memories of the good times.

Each time I read one of your posts, I find myself in the moment right there with you. Your recount of the days events or relived memories are so vivid. For those of us who loved David as a friend, it's an opportunity for us to get to know him all over again as a man who was devoted and head over heels in love with the woman of his dreams.

I pray today is a little bit easier for you than yesterday and that tomorrow is filled with just a little more peace than today.

Love,
Olga

 
At November 28, 2008 7:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Skye,
It must be hard for Alec to comprehend everything he has had to deal with the last few years and especially the last few months.

One idea that some grandparents I know did for their grandchildren was send them videos - not just videos of them talking but videos of them singing songs, playing with sock puppets and just fun things. The kids absolutely love it and watch it continuously. It might give Alec the sense of being with her and near her. Another idea to "see" her which the same family I know does is use video cam through their home computer. They call the kids' grandparents every Sunday, chat and see each other at the same time. Might help him feel just a bit more secure in these rough times.

On a seperate note, I am sorry you experienced the pain that you did this latest holiday. You know it hurts to hear how much both you and Alec are going through emotionally. I can't even imagine. However, even with all the wonderful memories surrounding you I am so glad that you have the warmth and love of your in-laws - to be there for both you and Alec and love you with all their heart.


Love,
Sally

 
At November 29, 2008 10:49 PM, Anonymous TGLB said...

Hugs. I'm sure he was with you, and I'm glad you're open to "hearing" him. I know that exploding heart feeling so well. Still get it, from time to time. All that love just cannot be held in one heart.

 
At November 30, 2008 4:38 PM, Blogger Skye said...

As always, everyone has such kind and wise words for me. Some days I am mystified as to how open I am in this blog. You guys get to see my life, my raw emotions and me with David in its barest form. I am glad that others get something from my posts and are able to learn or discover more about David. He was an amazing man and it is a way to keep his memory alive. Also, I gain so much myself by being able to release all of the emotions and thoughts swirling around in my brain. Some days I am amazed they come out into any cohesive thoughts because the words just tend to flow out of me. But thank you all for taking the time to check in, give support and walk this path with me.

The letter is a great idea Melissa. Alec loves getting mail, and getting a letter from Nana would be even better! It would give him that reassurance that she is out there somewhere, even if he can’t see her. Also thank you Sally for the webcam idea, I had been tossing the thought about a little and then amongst all the chaos had completely forgotten it! I think Alec would adore being able to talk to Nana and I definitely agree it would help give him the security he so desperately needs right now.

 
At December 01, 2008 4:06 AM, Anonymous Roads said...

Against all logic and reasoning, somehow the toy starting its music in response to those memories doesn't surprise me. How could it possibly stay silent in the face of so much emotion?

 
At December 03, 2008 7:44 PM, Anonymous Mary Pluta said...

Hi Skye -

Could Alec Skype (internet phone/webcam) with Nana? We could help you set it up.

Mary

 
At December 08, 2008 12:45 AM, Blogger Sara said...

This was the most beautiful poignant blog I have read thus far. You should really think about writing, you have a gift for expressing yourself to the point the other person is drawn into your memories and experiences.

This too is my 1st Thanksgiving without my Mom. Mon and Tues I was just useless. I just stayed holed up in my bedroom.

Close friends of ours invited us to their house, being as I was just completely and utterly worn out from working upstairs and just couldn't muster the energy to cook.

Thanksgiving was bittersweet. Nice to not have to cook or the mess. But it felt so alien to me.

Normally we have our own dinner and my Mom would help cook certain dishes. Last year, she cooked the Turkey even though she was sick, but she wanted too. It ended up being the best Turkey we ever had.

Also thinking of the upcoming holiday, I realized we won't have the jello cake my Mom was so famous for and for some reason I can never get it to come out right.

We are also entering the time of year she was in and out of hospice. I can not tell you how much my heart aches to not have her here and even though balancing her and my family, as much as I hated the feeling of being stretched into 5 million different directions, I would do it again, right now, if it meant I could have her back.

I also think that is why I am pushing myself with my house and her house, to have that feeling of stress and utter exhaustion, reminds of her and makes me feel closer to her.

The toy that made random noise, I am 100% sure that was David. I know we have a hard time, being as some people don't beleive in those signs.

 
At December 08, 2008 12:52 AM, Blogger Sara said...

I also meant to say, Emily, who was 7 at the time. After my Mom passed away, she had a hard time when either me or her Dad had to go somewhere. She would get into hysterics and would want us to stay home, regardless if it was only one running somewhere.

She was the hardest on me when my Mom was sick. She wanted me home, she missed me so much. And I had a hard time telling her that it would be over soon and then I'll be home, that was what I hated with my Mom being sick.

Alec just needs to be reassured. After Emily started school was when she came to the realization that we don't plan on going anywhere.

Isn't this hard? We know what our grief feels like, but for a child, it's so much more.

 

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