Two steps forward, one step back

That is how I feel everyday now. Somehow it’s easier to walk through life when someone walks beside you. Even if he spent most of his time in his chair. Everything is different. I can’t explain it. I don’t sit in my chair by the window. It doesn’t have the same comfort. I don’t watch Jeopardy anymore. It seems so stupid now. We watched for thirty five years. How could we do something so silly for so long. It took me two months to sleep in our bed. Only because our grandson came for a sleepover and wanted to sleep in Papa’s bed. Now I sleep on his side. Then there is his room. The “Dads room”. His TV and Lazy Boy chair. All of his autographed memorabilia. His signed jerseys. His Wayne Gretzky autographed stick. I remember the day he bought it. How uncomfortable he was telling me how much he paid. His collection. His picture on the old course at St. Andrews. I sit there sometimes in the afternoon. In his chair. Its not the same.

His hockey bag is sitting where he left it the last time he played. It aired out for three months. I zipped it closed and left it on the floor of the music room. His guitars hang silent on the walls. The keyboard is dusty. Boxes of pictures sit piled after the flurry to prepare for the funeral. I close the door. That was his room. And Sam’s. I watch the videos. Rene and the grandkids making “music”. Rene’played everyday. Sometimes I would wake up in the middle of the night and I could hear him singing in the basement. He couldn’t sleep. So he would pick up his guitar. I call his phone just to hear his voice message. I can’t cancel his cell phone. I don’t want someone else to use his number. I cried at the licensing office. I had to get new license plates. The old plates are registered to us. And now there is no us. Now it is me. Just me.

My son said something quite profound one day. I am not depressed. I am sad. In addition, I am not lonely. I am alone. I have never lived alone. Before now. It is very odd. Sometimes it feels like I am just watching a movie. I remember when Ethan died. Rene’ went to the Mall and he was struck with how emotional he felt as he watched people go about their lives. He said “How could they just go on like nothing happened. Don’t they know my son just died!” In the beginning I felt that way. I reached out to strangers. I cried when the tears welled up. Today I saw a cashier in a store. She was the first person I told about his cancer. It has developed into an odd friendship. A bond. I know life goes on around us. I guess it has to. Now I feel I just watch it go by. I go through the motions. Some things help and others don’t. I look at the bag of sympathy cards from the funeral. I keep thinking I will open them one day. Not today. But one day.

I do busy work. I got up one morning and decided to tidy the spare bedroom in the basement. I found all the new vinyl flooring under the bed. We had purchased it over a year before and never got around to installing it. I took the bed apart, moved the furniture to the garage and started ripping out the old floor and subfloor. I did the whole basement. Then the doors were too short. (I didn’t replace the subfloor). So out came the doorjambs. I built new ones. Installed new casing. Baseboards. Cried because I didn’t know how to work the compressor. Alan from Windsor plywood brought me to the back and gave me a quick lesson. One morning I took a bunch of garbage to the alley. Ripped apart the old garbage stand. Decided to make a new stereo stand with the reclaimed wood. I gutted the basement bathroom. God I hated that room. Now I am putting it back together. It is a journey that helps me along. I cry along to music as I jackhammer the floor and move the plumbing. Before he died he told me to do all the things he didn’t want to do. So I am. I am so grateful we didn’t waste time doing all these things while he was here.

It is 1:11 a.m. This is the number I see quite often now. I feel it is my hubby telling me he is near. Right now I think he is saying it is time to go to sleep. My Anniversary is over. I made it through. I made ribs. His favourite. Tomorrow, or rather today I will get up and carry on. Finish the tile in the shower. And then, when it is all done I will find another project. And then spring will bring gardening. More make work busy time. I know in time life will feel okay again. I will cry less. Things will matter again. But tonight, I danced in the living room. I opened the last bottle of wine we bought in Napa Valley. The accidental trip where we just turned left. And I just pretended for awhile that he was still here. Singing my song…

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