Continuum

Leave a comment

Last night I spoke to my younger son for the first time in three weeks.  That is the longest time I have ever gone without hearing his voice.  We had exchanged a few texts, and I knew that he had talked to his dad.  Of course, T filled me in on his conversation with our son, but that was nothing compared to having Luke on the other end of the phone. Continue Reading »

Need a Refill

6 Comments

I don’t even know what to write about.  All I know is that it helps me to write.

I’m traveling again, and I am lonely.  This is a trip that I’ve taken too many times.  I am at the state capitol for a legislative forum.  While I know that this is important, I also know that I have more important things going on locally.  More immediate issues require my attention.  I have brought staff along with me on this trip so that I can hole up in my hotel room and work from my laptop.  I wish that I could have stayed home, but the bureaucracy I am part of requires that I attend this forum. I tried my best to delay my appearance for an additional day, but that same bureaucracy won’t allow my staff members to drive an official car.  I could have asked them to take one of their personal vehicles, but I just couldn’t.  Even though they would have been reimbursed, it didn’t feel right to ask.  So I drove the official car.   It feels like I am their mother chauffeuring them on a field trip.  They are excited, and I’m happy to see that at least. Continue Reading »

A Cold Hell

1 Comment

 

If Hell is a hot place, then sign me up.  The past couple of weeks have been miserable on so many levels.  Hell, right here on Earth.  Underlying all of it has been COLD.  I haven’t been able to warm up.  I have been taking hot baths and drinking tons of coffee.  I’ve made pot after pot of hot, nourishing soup.  I dress in layers and huddle under blankets when I am home.  Nothing I do seems to warm me up completely.

Mom is still hanging in there.  She is failing, but it is a slow process.  We have begun hospice care, and she seems to love the extra attention.  She isn’t in any pain.  Something hovers around the corners of the room, though, and it chills me.  She is often confused, and she has lost her hearing.  Visits are brief and quiet.  I spend more time talking on the phone talking to the legion of healthcare providers than I do to my mother at this point.  Of course, life does not stop while we wait for death.  Four kids, work, my own physical needs, all of these things keep inserting themselves into the mix.

Last weekend T and I took Luke and his girlfriend back to school in Milwaukee.  I couldn’t/wouldn’t commit to going along until practically the last moment.  Mom was stable, and T insisted that I come along.  Luke wanted to show us the house where he would be moving at the end of the semester.  He had been looking forward to the four of us hanging out together on his turf.  It meant a lot to our son.  I knew that, so I went along.

I had been doing a pretty good job of concealing (denying!) the fact that I was sick.  I had too many things that needed my attention.  My mom was dying, for God sakes!  What did I have to complain about?  I pushed through it and collapsed at the end of each day.  The trip to Milwaukee took things over the top.

It was bitterly cold when we left that morning.  I got chilled and couldn’t seem to shake it.  (uh….a fever tends to do that!)  We moved the kids back into their dorms, T and I checked into our hotel, and we all headed out for dinner.  By the time we finally settled back into our room, I was shaking with cold.  I took a hot bath, but I still shivered.  By the time I crawled into the bed, T was concerned.  He wrapped me in his arms and held me close to warm me up.  Eventually, I stopped shivering, but my sleep was fitful.

The next morning, hours from home, I was still freezing.  I tried to ignore it.  I wanted to get out of there as quickly as possible and make the drive back home and to the hospital to check on my mom.  I jumped into the shower, and I don’t really know what happened.  Suddenly T was there.  I had passed out.  My first thoughts were disappointment in myself.  How could I be sick?  I had too many things to do!  I had too many people depending on me.  I couldn’t be sick now.  Not now.

I saw the doctor on Sunday when we returned.  Of course I didn’t listen to his advice.  Take it easy?  Uh huh.  No.  My mother was dying.  I couldn’t take it easy right now.  I was planning a meeting later in the week in Chicago, an important meeting.  Very.  “Taking it easy” was not possible at this time.  Thanks anyway.

I visited my mom, unpacked, did laundry, ironed, and went to work on Monday.  By Tuesday, I wasn’t even able to get out of bed.  I tried.  Believe me, I tried.  At 6:30 a.m., I dragged myself into the bathroom to get ready for work.  I sat in the chair by the counter and laid my head down for a moment.  I thought it would be a moment, but I fell asleep in the bathroom before I was even able to begin getting ready for work.  That was it.  I was toast.  I had to admit it.  I was sick.  I spent the day sleeping, and sleeping, and sleeping some more.

I was back at work the next day.  By now, everyone was looking at me like I scared them.  I must look like hell!  “Why are you here?  Go home!”  I couldn’t.  I had meetings all day in preparation for the trip to Chicago on Thursday.  I had to meet with the hospice staff in my mom’s room later that afternoon.  I had too many things going on and too many people depending on me to go home and be sick.  I pushed through.  I kept going.

On Thursday, I huddled in my seat on the train to Chicago.  I froze the entire time, wearing my layers of clothes, wrapped in my scarf and coat.  At the hotel, I begged for some coffee from the front desk.  A kind woman brought coffee and cream to my room.  I sat on the heating unit, looked out the window, and drank my coffee while I warmed my feet.  I looked down at the people below.  Everyone was scurrying to get where they were going.  The wind was biting and bitter.  I could feel it sweeping into the cracks around the window far above the people I was watching.   I had hoped to see my son while I was in Chicago, but he had been given tickets to a concert.  I told him to go.  I insisted on it, and then I sat in my room crying because I was so cold…and now alone, too.  I had come to the city hours earlier than the others so I could see Andrew.   Now I had four hours to sit there freezing and alone until I met them for dinner.  Once again, I hated Chicago.  The city felt impersonal and uncaring.  I was just a speck, a cold, lonely speck.  Pathetic.  I really, really hate feeling sorry for myself, but I was doing a stellar job of it!

The dinner was work.  Schmoozing is work.  I had to be ON.  We all had to be ON.  It was OK, though.  The whole dance of egos was interesting to observe.  I soaked it all in.  The parrying and the posturing amused me.  Several people attending the dinner had obviously spent a good deal of time in the bar before they arrived, so things were interesting from the word go.  Once again, I was glad that this is my job, but not my LIFE.  While some people live and breathe this kind of thing, I have my secret.  In my heart, I am a country girl.  At the end of all of this, I will be smack dab in the middle of a cornfield, safe and sound, with my ego checked at the door.  The reality of my life, mom, wife, daughter, hillbilly at heart, keeps me grounded.  I was amused as I watched the dance of self-importance at the table.

I was up at 5:30 this morning to get ready for the meeting.  I was excited and the adrenaline was flowing.  This was it!  This was an important step in a development project that I have been a part of for several years.  The results of this project will have a significant and lasting impact on the entire region.  I was/am thrilled to be able to be a part of this process.  The Willis Tower (forever the Sears Tower to me) is where we held the meeting.  As I stood in the lobby, I remembered a time years ago, when Luke was 3 years old.  He had broken his leg months earlier, and the treat that kept him going was knowing that once his cast was off, we would take him to the Sears Tower.  That day, years ago,  had been a victory for him.  Now, years later, I was humbled once again.  As I stood in the lobby, mentally preparing to make my presentation, I took a deep breath.  The Sears Tower!  I was giving a presentation in the SEARS TOWER today!  Well, look at this little country girl!  I squeezed my eyes shut and soaked in the thrill of that moment.  People strode purposefully past me.  Everyone seemed to have somewhere to go.  Everyone seemed confident.  I was a part of that!  REALLY??  Me???  Yet again, I felt amazed by the journey of my life.  The meeting was amazing.  All of the planning and hard work paid off.  More meetings are set for next week, and our project is not only on track, but it is gaining momentum.  I am so very proud (and lucky) to be able to play a small part in this project.

Several hours later when we stepped outside, the snow had begun.  It was beautiful, yet daunting.  This was not going to make the trip home an easy one.  I had train tickets for late in the afternoon.  By the time my train arrived, it would be dark, and I had an hour’s drive to make it back home.  I cancelled my train reservations, and accepted a ride home with a co-worker who had driven to the city.  Once we got on the road, I wondered if I had made a mistake.  It was a white-knuckled four hour drive in the snow.  We saw one accident after another and had a few near-misses ourselves.  All the while, I was freezing.

I’m home now.  It’s pitch dark outside.  No city lights here.  The wind howling up from the fields is the only sound I hear.  I’ve been snuggled under a blanket ever since I got home.  I took a much-needed nap, and I am finally beginning to warm up.  There are many things I should be doing tonight, but none of them will get done.  Tonight I am taking care of more important things with a dose of Great-Grandma’s blanket and a warm, cozy house in the country.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lost Love

Leave a comment

I’ve written a lot about my son Andrew, my oldest son, the one most like myself, and the one most like my father.  His life has been spectacular and tragic all at the same time.   Very much like my own life when I think about it.

When Andrew was a senior in high school, he was selected to be part of the Macy’s Great American Marching Band.  Two students from each state were selected through an audition process.  (Andrew is a fantastic drummer, guitarist, vocalist.)  Students from across the nation marched in the famous Thanksgiving Day parade.  He had just turned 18, and was excited to return to New York City where he had been for the first time the previous spring on a school trip.  This time he was going alone, playing the drums in a famous parade, and would be with students from across the country.  On that trip to New York City, Andrew met Katy.

During their week in the Macy’s band, they were inseparable.  Katy was from Montana.  He told us all about Katy when he returned home, but we didn’t make too much of the situation.  After all, they lived over 1,000 miles apart.  As the months passed, Andrew and Katy remained close.  It’s a different day and age.  A thousand miles isn’t as far as it used to be.  They talked on the phone daily.  They chatted on Facebook.  They Skyped.  They cooked up a plan for Katy to visit us the following summer.  I didn’t think it would happen.  What parents would send their daughter off for a month to stay with a family they have never met?

Katy and Andrew were persistent.  They talked to us.  They talked to Katy’s parents.  They had us talk to each other.  Before we knew it, the plans were set.  Katy  would be staying with us for a month.  She would sleep in the girls’ room.  We made plans to have another “daughter” for a few weeks.  Katy even scheduled several college visits for her trip.  We were beginning to see what these two had planned.  They were attempting to bridge that thousand mile gap.

I was apprehensive to say the least about having Katy under our roof for an extended period of time.  How well did these two even know each other?  What if their feelings changed the moment they saw each other again?  What if we were creating a month-long problem?

The moment Katy stepped into the airport, I knew that I was wrong to have worried.  Katy and Andrew ran towards each other with huge smiles.  They looked and looked at each other as if they were seeing a mirage that might disappear at any moment.  There was no reason to worry.  Katy was everything Andrew had told us she would be.  She melted right into our household routine.  She was kind, helpful, funny, and lovely.  There were tears all around as we drove her to the airport at the end of her visit.

Katy and Andrew’s  long distance relationship continued to grow.  The following winter, Andrew spent most of his college break in Montana.  Once again, the following summer she spent time with our family.  When the school year began, the distance would be bridged somewhat.  Katy was transferring to a school within driving distance of our home.  I was so excited to have her (my other daughter) closer to our family.  We talked about holidays and plans to have her spend time at our home during school breaks.

Suddenly, it was over.  Andrew was away at school, and so was Katy.  To this day, I don’t know what happened.  One weekend Andrew came home from school, and he was a wreck.  Katy had ended their relationship.  She cut off all contact.  He didn’t know why, or that is what he told me at the time.  I’ll never forget my then 20-year-old son pulling me into the bathroom to talk.  I sat in a chair, and he sat on the edge of the tub with tears streaming down his face.  “I don’t know what to do, Mom.  It feels like I have lost my best friend.  I don’t know who to talk to about this pain.  SHE is who I told about my problems, and now she’s gone.”  Seeing his pain, understanding his pain, was horrible.  We both sat there and cried.  What words can soothe the pain of losing your best friend?

Over two years have gone by now.  Andrew crashed, faltered, failed, and hit rock bottom during those two years.  He dropped out of college.  His entire appearance changed.  His demeanor went from happy-go-lucky to oftentimes belligerent.  He had lost his best friend.  Many times during those two years when I would try to reach the Andrew I knew still lived inside of him, he would remind me.  “I have lost my best friend.  What is my reason for going on each day, Mom?”  He once told me that if he didn’t know how much I loved him and how much it would hurt his family, he would not still be here.  By here, I knew that he meant that he had wanted his life to end.  It scared the hell out of me, because yes, I knew that pain.  Thank God for the strength of the love he felt for his family.

They say time heals all wounds, but I know that isn’t true.  Some wounds never heal.  Time simply teaches us how to push aside the immediacy of the pain.  Time teaches us how to cope with the disability of loss.  Andrew is moving forward.  He is moving on.  He is learning to redirect his focus away from the pain.  Sometimes he smiles now, and the smile actually reaches his eyes.  He is now 23 and back in school.  There has not been another relationship in his life.

I have spent the past several Sundays cleaning, organizing, sorting, and throwing out 23 years of “boy stuff.”  Last Sunday,  I concentrated on the room in the basement where Andrew keeps his drum set and where he practiced guitar.  Along with about 500 CD’s, scraps of paper with guitar chords and lyrics, I found something else.  There were several boxes, neatly wrapped in paper, with the Andrew and Katy letters.  Alongside the letters were other keepsakes.  In the midst of the chaos of the music room, were these mementoes neatly tucked away and preserved.  An antique dresser stands in the corner of the room, and I cleared a spot in a drawer to save them all.  I didn’t read them.  I didn’t look through them…as much as I wanted to! (It about killed me!)

As I continued to clean, I found the handwritten eulogy Andrew had given at his grandpa’s funeral.  I remembered how eloquent and heartfelt his words had been that day.  My dad would have been proud.  I sat down in a chair to read it once again, and when I opened the folded pieces of paper, I found something else.  It was a letter to Katy.  Andrew had written it, but never sent it.  Maybe he doesn’t  even know where she is now after several years.  This time, I couldn’t resist.  Why was it tucked in with the eulogy?  Would this letter explain Andrew’s tormented past several years?  I opened the letter and began to read.

As I read, the tears began to stream down my face.  It was absolutely, stunningly beautiful.  He thanked her for loving him.  He thanked her for her friendship.  He apologized for perhaps not giving their love and friendship enough thought or enough value.  He apologized for taking things for granted.  He reminisced about happy times.  He told her that he loved her.  He said that he still misses her, that a part of himself will always be missing without her.  His closing words were, “If I’m ever lucky enough to be sitting across the table from you again in this life, you won’t have to steal my fries.  I would gladly give you every single one.”

After reading the letter, I walked upstairs to where T was watching football.  I sat down in a chair across from him and tried to speak, but I couldn’t stop crying.  I just said, “Andy and Katy.”  T knew that as I had been cleaning that day, I had been  finding the things Andrew had kept.  He knew that I wasn’t looking at them, but instead was tucking them safely away.  He looked at me as I sat there crying, and asked me what I had found.  I told him about the letter, about reading it, and about how much our son had loved this girl.  T listened, as he always does.  He rolled his eyes a bit at my reaction, but he didn’t make me feel stupid.  He just listened.

I sat there sniffling and trying to collect myself.  I looked out the window at the bare trees and the windy November day.  God, how I hate November.  I looked around the room at our stuff, the stuff of a family.  I missed the boys.  I missed my dad.  I missed my grandparents.  I hate losing things that I hold dear.  I hate change.  I hate loss.  I sat there thinking about all of those things, and I turned to Todd and said, “Sometimes life is just so hard.”  He replied, “No, MOST times life is hard.”  I sat there a little longer pondering his words, and I realized that he is right.  Life is hard.

Later that evening, I called my son Andrew.  No, I didn’t tell him.  I didn’t even mention Katy.  I told him that I had cleaned the music room and that I had saved his things in the bottom drawer of the dresser.  We talked about a project that he was working on for school.  We talked about soul music, his recent fascination.  If it were possible for words to be a hug, if it were possible to send peace and strength through a telephone, then that’s what I tried to do.  I told him that I love him, was proud of him, couldn’t wait to see him at Thanksgiving.

Last night Andrew called me and said,  “Mom, things are getting back on track with us, aren’t they?”  I said, US?  What do you mean?  He acknowledged how difficult the past couple of years have been, but that he was feeling so much better about everything now.  He and I, who had never had conflict, had weathered a tough time.

I said, “Sometimes, some people in your life know you so well that they can see into your heart.  I think that you didn’t really want me looking.  I didn’t want you looking, either, and we both resented the fact that we could see it anyway.”

He laughed and said, “No shit!”  Oh, how I love my son.  🙂

A Word of Kindness

Leave a comment

Kindness is the language which the deaf can hear and the

blind can see.  ~ Mark Twain

I haven’t had much time for blog writing lately, and I’ve missed that.  I’ve been doing a lot of writing, though.  Last week was spent writing pages and pages of a grant narrative.  I was often frustrated as I sat staring at the screen willing the words to flow.  It was so very different from writing in the blog.  When I write HERE, the words flow without much thought.  Often, I don’t know where a blog post is even heading until I’m finished writing.  Last week, though, I was a frustrated writer.  At one point, when someone stepped into my office, they asked me if I was having trouble seeing.  I didn’t understand what they were referring to until I realized that I had a pair of reading glasses on my head, one on my face, and yet another tucked into the front of my shirt.

Eventually, I did complete my writing assignment.  The mass of papers was mailed out, and now I am keeping my fingers crossed that we will be blessed by the powers that be with a grant to fund the project.  By the time my words made it to the Post Office, it felt very much like stuffing my child into a large envelope and hoping for the best.

The boys are doing well away from home.  The girls are busy with their lives, school, and friends.  T and I are finding our way around a much-too-large space that was once occupied by the bustle of four kids.  All around me I feel change and transition.  I’m waiting it out, yet feeling a sense of isolation, melancholy, and loneliness.  Even so, I know that the dust will eventually settle, a new routine will become established, the voids I am experiencing now will be someday soon be filled with new activities and interests.  Still….  I don’t like this in-between time of waiting for all of that to happen.

I have been making a point to acknowledge to myself all of the GOOD things in my life by taking a moment and a deep breath of appreciation when something good comes my way.  Can I call that “cultivating” the good?  I am trying to exorcise the bad experiences, bad memories, harmful thought processes, by redirecting myself toward the good as often as possible.

Today is a busy work day.  I am speaking at a luncheon this afternoon, which means I have to ON.   Bleh…  Don’t feel like being ON.  Tomorrow will be even busier with meetings and my obligation to take my mother to the doctor.  On top of all that, I will be packing to leave for a conference on Friday.  There will be no weekend for me.  I’ll be sitting in conference sessions a thousand miles away from home.  I already miss my daughters at the very thought of leaving them.

A ray of sunshine entered my grouchy morning, though.  I received an email out of the blue, and it was full of kindness.  God Bless this Good Person!  It was a simple act of reaching out and spreading goodwill for NO OTHER REASON THAN TO BE KIND.  How incredibly needed and refreshing that felt.  Someone thought of me.  They thought kindly of me.  They reached out to me.

I know we haven’t seen each other in a while, but I wanted to let you know you are doing a great job.  (Name of my employer)  is lucky to have someone like you.

Thanks for everything you do!

My gosh!  I had tears in my eyes.  This person had no way of knowing what those simple words meant to me.  I will remember that feeling, and I will pass it on.  That’s one reason I’m sharing it here on my blog.  Take a moment today, please, to make someone feel valued.  Take a moment to be kind.  Pass it on!

Create Kindness!

Reading Other Blogs

4 Comments

 

Yet again, tonight I wrote a blog that is not being posted here.  It was frivolous.  It was a good blog post, and I might post it at some point in the future, but it was a cover-up.  It was cheerful, and I don’t feel cheerful.  It was lighthearted, and my heart is not light.  If I would have posted that entry tonight, it would have been a lie.

I wonder why I was prompted to write the lighthearted post tonight?  I think it was to prove that I was OK when I am NOT doing OK.  I wrote it, and it sat there like something disagreeable in my stomach.  It was heavy.  The lighthearted blog post felt heavy like a shroud.  It was a lie.  No, there were no lies written in the post, but it was still a lie.  It was not ME.

As I sat here looking at the words I had written, my phone buzzed.  An email had come through, so I stopped staring at my blog post to switch over to look at my email.  It was a blog post notification from a fellow blogger.  She had not made an entry for a very long time, but tonight something had prompted her to write once again.  I clicked through to her entry, and I grew cold as I read.  She wrote about an experience she had this evening.  It was an experience that I have had in my dreams many times, over and over.

She had attended a function in public and someone she cared about very much ignored her presence.  She was invisible in the loudest, most obnoxious way.  She was monstrously invisible.  She was so horribly invisible that this person who was ignoring her felt the need to shield others from her.  Do you understand what I mean?  Backs were turned.  People positioned themselves in a way to shut her out.  She was monstrously invisible.  How this made her feel was not important to this person who was once her best friend.  Her humanness was not important.  She was to be ignored at all costs.  Kindness or acknowledgement was not allowed.  No, the monstrously invisible are not subject to the same hospitality or kindnesses that may be shown to strangers.  Smile at a stranger.  Hold the door.  Wish them a good morning.  But the monstrously invisible are treated as if they are the living dead, a ghost, a horrible specter.  Avert your eyes.  Shield your loved ones.  Go about your business as quickly as possible.  Act with determination, be preoccupied.  Maybe the monstrously invisible will think you didn’t notice them.  Maybe they will slink back into their place of blackness.

I have had this dream over and over.  She experienced tonight what I have only lived in nightmares:  the gesture of greeting that is ignored, the smile that fades on the lips.  As she wrote, her pain was palpable.  She was real, right?  She isn’t a monster, right?  She has feelings, right?  She matters, right?  Of course she does, but there is no way that I can tell her.  I don’t know her.  I don’t know where she lives.  I don’t even know her real name.

All around people are hurting, and they’re hurting deeply.  Last night, I saw a website about (and I may not remember right) a national “Are You OK?” Day.  It was an Australian group whose idea in creating the day was to aid in suicide prevention.  The premise was to reach out.  Ask some one that looks troubled if they are OK.  Reach out to someone you may not know well, but who is going through a challenging time.  The day was about the power of kindness.  A kind word, a kind gesture, a hug, a pat on the back, showing someone that they are valued, that they DO matter, can mean the difference between life and death.  Imagine how little effort it takes to make someone’s day.  Reach out.  Be kind.  Please.

Tomorrow that will be my goal.  I will reach out where I see a need.  I will be kind in her honor.  In the honor of the monstrously invisible, I will try my best to make those around me feel valued.

Confused

7 Comments

I have been working on a blog post off and on all weekend.  I’ll write a little bit, quit, come back again later, and write a little bit more.  I feel like I should write about moving Andy to Chicago.  It was a significant event in all of our lives.  I have written out the facts and many of the emotions, but I can’t seem to bring it to any kind of conclusion.  It feels like I am writing a report for school.  “What It Felt Like To Move My Son Away From Home.”  Bleh.  It didn’t feel good.  Sure, I am happy for him.  Yes, it was a hassle.  Yes, it was emotional, but it probably wasn’t any different or more significant than anyone else’s experiences.  It was LIFE.  It was simply another step into the next stage of all of our lives.  The details aren’t what is important.  The fact that the apartment was a mess doesn’t matter.  It’s clean now.  The fact that it was hotter than hell on moving day doesn’t matter.  It’s cool now.  I’m wearing a sweatshirt.  What we had for dinner doesn’t matter.  Where we stayed while in Chicago is insignificant.  Those are the details that don’t matter in the long run.  They are soon forgotten.

What matters is now and what is to come.  What matters is the void that is left by the absence of my sons.   What matters is that they are happy and adjust well to what lies ahead for them.  I hope they are adjusting better than their mother.  I’m sure they are.

Four days.  We have had four days at home since Andrew moved.  I am already sad in so many ways.  I am shocked by the disruption in my own routine.  I had thought to feel a sense of freedom and relief.  Instead, I am feeling sad and lonely.  I had hoped that T and I would look at each other with smiles on our faces and think of all the thing we could do together now.

Andrew and I had a routine of watching TV together before we went to bed.  We would pick out something on Netflix and watch together.  T would always be in the room, but he usually fell asleep within minutes of sitting down.  I would sit on the couch with my laptop.  I would usually be writing, working, or messing around on Facebook while we watched.  Andrew would be across the room in the red chair.  (It’s not even red, but for some reason everyone in the family calls it the “red chair.”)  T would sit in the green chair.  (It is green.)  Now the red chair is empty.

The first night after moving Andrew, we ended up in our same places and turned on the TV.  It was just T and I now.  As we watched TV, something made me laugh.  I looked up to smile at Andy, but he wasn’t there.  I looked over to share it with T.  Ugh….  What did I see?  T sitting with his head thrown back, mouth hanging open, and sound asleep.  My God.  For over twenty years, I have looked at that!  My heart just dropped.  Now there was no one.  The boys are gone.  The girls were in bed.  It was just T and I, which essentially means that I will sit alone in a room, or I can choose to sit in a room where he is sleeping.  I know this routine.  I know it all too well.  I hate it.

I am tired.  I am so tired of being the only one who tries.  I am tired of trying to be entertaining so that he will stay awake.  On Saturday afternoon, I caught him sleeping on the floor of the boys’ old room.  He was supposedly in there cleaning, when Em came to get me.  “Dad is laying on the floor and not moving.  Would you please go check on him.  I’m afraid.”  I was, too!  That sounded really strange, so I rushed upstairs to see if he was OK.  Yep.  Sleeping on the floor.

On Saturday night, I watched a History Channel documentary while he slept in the chair.  He’s the one who turned it on.  I wasn’t at all interested in it, but I thought if he made the choice, then maybe he would stay awake.  He was out in less than 10 minutes.

Tonight Em asked me to watch a movie with her.  We sat down and watched about half of it (T slept across the room) until her boyfriend called.  He left yesterday for college in Wisconsin.  Seems all the young men in our lives are gone!  Emily was excited to hear about his day, so she went up to her room to take her phone call.  She asked me to pause the movie so that we could watch the rest tomorrow.

There I sat.  T was asleep, and I was wondering what to do.  It was too early to go to bed.  I’m a night owl.  I wasn’t even tired.  There was no one to talk to.  I just sat there thinking, “This is it??  Is this really it?  Is this what the rest of my life is going to be like?”

I know.  It has only been four days, but I am having some really bad memories return.  I remember years and years of this.  When the kids were all little, my day was lonely after they all went to bed for the night.  T may have been there, but he was inattentive and uninterested much like he is now.  His daily after work routine consists of dinner, slot machines on Facebook, sit in the green chair, fall asleep.

To be honest, I am shocked.  I didn’t think this was going to happen.  I hadn’t given it an ounce of thought.  Maybe it would be easier to understand this if I had anticipated it.  I thought this was going to be a good push in the right direction for T and I.  Instead, it seems like we were working well together in the interest of organizing and moving the boys, and now our partnership is over.

Today, I tried to have a good attitude.  I tried to be good.  I cleaned.  I organized things.  I shampooed the area rugs.  I went shopping and bought a roast and fresh vegetables.  I stood in the kitchen and cooked for hours.  A roast, carrots, potatoes (two kinds,) fried apples, fresh rolls, fabulous homemade gravy.  It took hours to cook, about 15 minutes to eat, and an hour to clean up the mess in the kitchen.  At least there will be leftovers for dinner tomorrow night.

Of course, I have talked to T about these issues.  There is no problem.  He is happy.  “What??   What’s so bad about sitting down to relax at the end of the day?  I’m tired.”  End of  story.

Tomorrow I will be heading back to work, and I’m looking forward to it.  Our next few weekends will be full, and I have a business trip to Charlotte later in the month that I’m excited about.  I’m not sure if I am ready to putter around all day and then watch my husband sleep in a chair all night.  I’m not ready to be an “old married couple.”  Life is too precious and too short to spend feeling sad and lonely.

All evening, I have been wracking my brain.  What can I do to change this?  Four days, and I am feeling like a caged animal.  Do I go back to playing in the band?  Do I take another class?  Maybe I’ll practice playing jazz piano.  Maybe I’ll dig out the clarinet or the sax and get back up to speed.  Maybe learn to play trombone?  Maybe I’ll do some serious writing.  I would have to set up an office.  Maybe I’ll repaint all the rooms in the house.  Maybe I’ll set up the loom and weave rugs again.  I have too much energy to spend evening after evening like this.  It seems that I have come full circle again.  All of the things I can think of doing, I will have to do alone.  Music, a class, home decor, all alone.  I am once again looking at things and ways to fill that void.

Sad, and yes…feeling sorry for myself.  Why is this so hard?  It seems like all I really want is someone there to care.  At the end of the day, I just want a friend.  They don’t have to be exciting, just awake.  They don’t have to entertain me, but just share a smile.