Tuesday, June 10, 2008

My relationship with Greg

A friend from my high-school years e-mailed: "There is, still, some curiosity toward what about the man contributed to the depth of relationship you two shared."

And I replied:

I don’t know if that comment was only from you or from others, but it made me think. I guess what happened is that we were kind of set adrift – without family or close friends – when we decided to move to Houston. You know, many of us have long-time friends that we have had for years. Well, we still retained those friends (only the closest ones, as the years went on), but only made a few friends that we would ever grow so close to in our lifetime, here in Houston. We have both always treasured family and friends, and we had that in common.

So, anyway, in the absence of “old” friends, I guess we developed into each other’s best friends. We enjoyed a lot of the same things – browsing at antique malls, being the keepers of our family momentos/old photos/etc., listening to music – he really knew the “family trees” of old rock groups, had common political leanings, etc. I used to think we spent too much time together and would sometimes plead for a little “alone” time (little did I know that I would have more than I wanted). I loved to cook, he was very good at barbecuing, and he always assisted in the kitchen (chopping up onions and celery and other veggies is time-consuming, and he would willingly do those things). He wasn’t afraid to do laundry, wash dishes or do other mundane things that some guys will not even attempt. He was a good and fair partner and a very loving, warm, humorous guy. His sense of humor is what first attracted me to him.

I’m not trying to bestow sainthood on him, by any means. But I guess you don’t appreciate what you have – what WE had – until that is taken away from you. I don’t think I’ll see these qualities in one man, ever again. And I miss him. I miss his fairly reliable once- or twice-a-day phone calls. I can’t remember his voice, so I have to call the house to hear the message he recorded. It is so difficult, and I wouldn’t wish this on anyone.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Genealogy and death

Today I entered my husband's death date in my genealogy program. So hard to do. I inadvertently entered it under my name. But that was sort of fitting, because a part of me died that day. I hope you don't experience this yourself (loss of a spouse), because my crummy little sorority/fraternity will have grabbed another member.

I have so much to do. I must find the info on the airline tix that Greg set up back in May (I think) and double-check on the car he had leased. I did find a confirmation number with Hertz written on the same slip of paper. I suppose the airlines will also want a death certificate in order to refund this. In a little over a month I will be flying solo, except Greg's "ashes" will also go with me, in the small, but heavy, box that they put them into. I am steeling myself to open this container, because I want to remove a small portion of these to keep with me here. I still don't know what to do with his remains, so I hope to store them at my nephew's home in a Mpls. suburb until I am back living in that area.

I have been going through his summer clothes, to sort the ones that will be given to a shop which does resales for those less fortunate in their financial status. Since Houston is so hot in the summer, I have not even entertained moving other clothes along yet. I am sure that some male of larger girth (38" waist or so) will welcome a choice of some very good men's denim and dressy shorts. So something good can at least come from his unfortunate death.

I have to force myself to eat something, which is now compounded by the fact that I seem to have temporarily upset my tummy. So I was sipping on beef broth and chewing on soda crackers this morning. Unfortunately - memories of Greg on his last evening with me. He had been having digestive upsets, so I had made the beef broth and then added some soda crackers for him, too. I felt so guilty when he died that next day, since I had rather nagged at him, that he wouldn't get better if he didn't eat something. And now here I am....

I didn't go to church this morning (because of my queasy tummy) and miss seeing my elderly friends who were so supportive of me through all of this. Betty rode along with me when I drove up to the funeral home to pick up Greg's ashes, then invited me in for wine and cheese at her house. Very nice lady. Never thought my 56-year-old hubby would be the first of our dinner group to die - Betty's husband will turn 80 this year, as will another spouse in this group.

My sister said that the lessons she learned from her husband's death, were ones that she used to help my mother. And also she has helped me now, too. Don't want to dwell on all of this, but it is just hard to deal with - and you do NOT know unless you have walked in these shoes. Do not tell me that "I know what you're dealing with". I prefer the honest statement, "I can't imagine what you are going through". Or just, "I'm sorry for your loss". And a figurative hug, anyway, if you do not encounter me in person. That's all.

Need to shower. I think I am downright disgusting in personal appearance right now and must run some errands. Until later....