Our cat, Moe, puts up with everything. Literally everything. Briar, the perpetually love machine, carts him around upside-down as an impromptu backpack. Moe regularly endures being cuddled in a well-meaning but overly zealous fashion while the little people in our house attempt to fall asleep. He rarely complains when being dressed in baby clothes or as he zips down the driveway in a doll stroller. Once, I even had to interrupt a friend mid-conversation to inform her that she was standing on Moe's tail as she spoke.
We had planned to keep Moe indoors for two weeks after our move to ensure that he knew where 'home' was. We didn't want our special and sweet teddybear of a cat to go missing. After a week of Moe's pleading, however, we succumbed to his requests for some outside air. He stuck close to home but rolled around in the fresh grass as if he was expressing his extreme pleasure in the luxuriousness of its' lush green carpet. After that he came and went as if he had always lived here. One morning last week, as the plumber and contractor came and went I noticed that Moe was looking a bit nervous with all the activity involved with all the new bodies in our house. He stuck close to the ground and ran in short bursts from corner to corner of the room with a wary look in his eye. That was the last time I saw him. Heartbroken, the kids and I made ads pleading for Moe's safe return. Liv wrote her own posters and I went from door to door asking our new neighbours if they had glimpsed "Mohito Meow Mein". Days passed and no Moe. I started to brace myself for the worse and worried as I made my rounds yet again to the ditches on our street that I would find his little body mingled with the mud and weeds found there. Three days later as I sat on the toilet (Sorry for too-much-info there) in my nightly preparations for bed long after the kids had fallen asleep, I thought I heard a slight "mew". Listening more intently, I realized that it was coming from the wall beside me. Staring in disbelief at the drywall between the bathtub and toilet the contractor had repaired three days previously it dawned on me. Moe is in the wall!!!!! I ran to the garage to arm myself with some tools all the while loudly reassuring poor, entombed Moe that it was going to be okay. I ripped that wall apart, pulled out a pile of insulation, and to my joy and amazement two little golden/green eyes stared back at me. An extremely grateful Moe devoured his food and lapped up water for an amount of time I would have thought abnormal if the situation had not been so far from normal. Although he was so dehydrated even his little puckered bum-hole was even dried out and flaky (again, too-much-info - Sorry), he has fully recovered after his under the bathtub burial and he doesn't even seem to hold any ill feelings toward the bathroom.
Our sweet little, Moe-lasses! We love him to bits and pieces!
Although apples and oranges are both fruit, they taste, smell and feel different. They are both round. They are both sweet. But one is crispy and succulent and the other is juicy and zesty. Some similarities but you would never mistake one for the other.
When attempting to understand another person's circumstance we often seek out seemingly similar situations that have occurred in our lives or the lives of those close to us in an effort to empathise and comprehend the feelings of others. These attempts are most often an effort to offer solace and comraderie to the speaker of said issues. As with most people, I have had this occur so very many times....and these kindly meant comparisons have increased in abundance exponentially since Jeff died. I have had people liken the loss of my husband to the loss of their cat, the death of their grandfather when they were three and most often, a divorce in their family. As a child of divorce and as a generally empathetic person, I can certainly see some very pronounced similarities. But I would never go so far as to say that I fully understand how a divorced person feels.....or that someone who has experienced the break-up of a family from divorce completely 'gets' the loss of a spouse to death. I have to admit that at times, this comparison gets my hackles up. I feel angered at the thought that my loss is at all.....chosen. I realize that often people do not want to get divorced. I can see that no one sets out when getting married with the idea that they will also get divorced....and that in someways, we should be more prepared for the death of our other half (because death always does eventually happen) than the separation of spouses. But in Jeff and my situation -death, no one CHOSE to leave the other. It was, essentially out of our hands. There was no lead up. No warning. Yes, Jeff wasn't feeling well for a couple of weeks before his death. But neither of us suspected that his lack of zest would result in the loss of his life. Yes, like a divorced single parent, I do my parenting alone. But I do it alone everyday. There is no one else to consult (which at times I am sure is a real blessing) and no one else to send the kids to on a regular basis...or even an irregular basis. The kids have me to watch their extracurricular activities. Just me. There is no one else to cheer them on (or to glare at me from across the field). There is no one else who loves them as much as only a parent can (although I am aware that in some unfortunate situations, even an alive parent does not provide this unconditional love for the little ones either). Fortunately, I never have to see the love of my life with some other woman's hand in his. I know he died loving me. I do think that having someone I love tell me that they no longer cared for me would tear my heart into tiny smithereens. When I see Jeff's expressions staring back at me from my little one's faces, it is a joyous moment - he still exists in them....and I am sure that at times this must be a difficult experience when you dislike or have been hurt by the other parent of your child intensely. Although in divorce, you watch your marriage 'die', you do not watch as someone you love dies. Yes, metaphorically it is very similar. In 'real life', it is grossly different. Different pain, different sadnesses....different phobias. As with many divorcees, I am lonely often. Bone-achingly lonely. I still wish that our lives had turned out differently. I worry for my children and wonder how this loss will affect their lives in the coming years. But I have the luxury of loving my dead husband. And you have the luxury of hating your live one.
**I do so hope that this entry does not offend anyone or their feelings regarding death and divorce. I have been musing over it for quite sometime and just felt it pour out....**
It's actually 3:28 a.m. as I write this. Unpacking from our move and working at the clinic have kept me so busy that I haven't spent any amount of time ruminating about what thought of loss has most taken up my mind this week. But as I've driven to work, opened boxes of photo albums and placed Jeff's dresser in the corner of the room, the thought of the impending "Father's Day" has popped into my head briefly and painfully. I have come to fear this day for my kids. I worry that they'll begin to notice other 'normal' families out for Father's Day breakfast. That the flyers in the mail advertising copious amounts of tools for the other kid's dad will highlight their lack of an alive one. That the ties or other seemingly useless items that kids make to mark the day that they celebrate their dad will cast little shadows on my little one's hearts. On Sunday, you'll find me at work. My kids will be babysat until I return to them. There will be no special brunch, fancy formal wear accessories or tool belts to give to Jeff to mark what a kind, funny or loving daddy he was. So in the afternoon, the kids and I will practise our own father's day tradition. We'll head to the beach with helium balloons clutched in hand, tiny folded notes tied into the strings and send Jeff the father's day messages we wish we could hand over with a huge and mushy hug. I hope he'll get them. I hope he will know that we remember what a fabulous daddy he was and will never forget his part in making our lives as special as they were...and are. Thank you, my Jeffrey, for our little ones. Thank you for your giant love. We love you right back. Happy Father's Day, my love.
We're finally in the new house...every night. The shower is fixed. The beds are in their permanent positions and the playroom is festooned with all its' miniture household items. I have been unpacking like a crazy person. I am determined to have the house functioning in an efficient manner before I go crazy. I dislike the temporary and chaotic feel a house has until all the garbage cans, towels and books have their spots. I like to know where the scissors live so that when I need them, they are where they should be. Finding them wedged between the wall and a cardboard box just doesn't do it for me. Anyhow, the house is getting a more 'homey' feeling and I am feel less panicked. I have started my new job and am really enjoying it. I am working in a doctor's office as an M.O.A. (medical office assistant). My favourite parts are smiling at the little ones who come in a bit fearful and hopefully making their visit a little less scary. I find that if I tell them about my kids, they seem to trust me more....and I LOVE doing urine tests. I never thought I would love doing something that had to do with someone else's bodily secretions....but it's really COOL! I am enjoying learning and am finding that I sleep better knowing that I'll be able to buy groceries without having to do the financial juggling act I usually have to. I don't like being away from the kids....but I love getting home and telling them about all the new things I've learned. The chickens and ducks don't have a permanent housing arrangement yet as we still have to get a fence up in the backyard. So far it's only deer netting that is keeping them somewhat contained. We've walked to the beach a few times and collected so many salmon berries that Liv has taken to making 'jam' for on her toast. I haven't yet had a moment to complete my assignments for the organic master gardner course that I finished....but I am hoping to have them done in the next few weeks. Liv is LOVING the backyard, the deer that meander through, the GIANT mushrooms to look at in the woods and looking into the stream. Briar is enjoying riding his bike up and down the driveway, spraying the garden hose on anything and everything and cuddling with the chickens (as always). I think we're going to like it here. I think we're home.
We’ve moved. Our stuff is in the new house…..but the house isn’t finished. The shower doesn’t work and two of the rooms remain incomplete. Although the garbage and previous tenants belongings have finally been removed, we haven’t been able to unpack our stuff and claim the house as ours. We have been staying with friends until it is safe and comfortable to stay here with the kids.
I’ve felt angry, frustrated and without ‘roots‘. Unsure what to do and how to express my disappointment, I remained quiet initially. This was Jeff’s department. He was the vocal advocate for our family.
One of the lessons that I’m trying to teach myself in the wake of Jeff’s death is the ability to voice my concerns and to act as the proponent for our family. It’s hard. I feel like a ‘bitch’ if I express my displeasure. I also agonize over the thought that they may not take me seriously. (Jeff used to say I was about as terrifying as a ‘hissing kitten’ when I got angry.) I worry that others are hurt or angered by the voicing of our family’s needs or expectations….but there is no one else to do it. No one else to turn to. If I expect to have my concerns heard, I need to say them out loud to someone who can make a difference.
So although I felt like vomiting at the thought of possibly causing discord, I spoke to the landlord. I expressed my worries and the concerns for my children’s safety amidst the broken glass that littered the property. I spoke about the need to have a working bath for the cleanliness of my kiddos. I told them that I hoped I would not be charged the full amount of our rent for this month…..and I didn’t cry. They didn’t cry. No one got angry or yelled. It was amazing! I stood up for us and I did it without Jeff. I know he’s looking down at me and smiling. “That’s my girl!!”
In times of stress and unease, I occasionally look for quotes to use as a mantra to repeat when necessary. So tomorrow as we move from the house that we shared with my beloved best friend/husband/father of our little ones, I will be repeating yet another appropriate phrase in the hopes of easing the fear, sadness and sense of loss that this change is bringing....along with its' intrigue, curiousity and excitement:
"All changes, even the most longed for, have their melancholy; for what we leave behind us is a part of ourselves; we must die to one life before we can enter another." ~Anatole France
This blog contains a fair amount of swearing, painful and difficult subject matter. If you have objections of any kind, I believe it's your right to not agree. But, please, keep those objections to yourself and keep yourself busy withsomething else.
A few musings of a homeschooling, crafting, neurotic, organic loving and, most of all, kiddo adoring mommy...I've now become a widow. My best friend and husband died of a pulmonary embolism on March 25th, 2008. This blog has now become a place for me to mentally unload and try to figure out how to do this and who I am without him.