Monday, July 30, 2012

Grey Shirt

I went on a personal mission today.  I needed to find my old wedding scrap book for bridal shower ideas for my soon to be sister in law's party.  All of our things are stored in a small room in my parents basement.  I rarely go in there, but knew exactly where I would find what I needed.  After I'd collected my folder I saw the big white trash bags with blue painters tape.  They said "Laundry to be Done".  I remembered back to when I packed up our house.  I threw the dirty clothes that were on the laundry room floor into these bags, intending to wash them as soon as I transferred them.  Since I was already doing laundry today I hauled the five bags into the next room to get to work.  I pulled up a little stool and sat on it, turning each bag upside down one at a time.  TJ's underwear, his socks, some towels and his t-shirts all tumbled out in front of me.  Even though it was dirty laundry, I held up his shirts to see if I could catch his scent.  Each one I lifted to my face smelled like basement.  I tried to will my nose into smelling what I wanted it to smell, so sometimes I would think I caught a whiff, but when I settled back into the shirt it was gone.  I abandoned the sniffing and began sorting lights and darks.  I found myself holding on to a light grey shirt and debating which pile to put it in.  On a last ditch effort, I raised it to my face and was completely blown away.  Tears sprang to my eyes and I said aloud "Oh, there you are!  There you are..."  I stood leaning against the dryer clutching his shirt as tightly as I could.  I buried my face into it and inhaled over and over again.  Afraid to ruin the scent, I made sure to lift my face away from the shirt when I exhaled as not to get my own scent on it.  Right around the collar is the best place to catch him. 

I thought I would never get to smell him again.  Tears are pouring from my eyes with emotion over this delicious find.  I walked around the house with it draped over my shoulder so all I had to do was turn my head and smell him.  It's exactly how I remember it.  The smell.  It's beyond perfect.  A true miracle to have found this simple, unassuming grey shirt that holds so much importance to me.  How lucky I am to have been stumped by it's color.  To have impulsively raised it to my face.  It could have been like the others, already washed and folded in my basket.  What a precious gift, to be able to sense him again in some way.

If I close my eyes and only focus on the scent I can almost remember what it felt like to be in his arms.  I miss him so much.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Completely Random Thoughts Tonight...

I like not wearing deodorant.  Over time, I develop this sicky sweet smell mixed with the salty scent of perspiration.  It's the only thing that still reminds me of how he smelled.  I loved burying my face into his skin, under his arms as he rested over me.  He smelled salty and sweet all at the same time.  His breath tasted similarly when we'd kiss after he'd been drinking.  An overwhelmingly sweet taste came from him, mingling with his other natural flavor.  And I could smell it all.  It permeated my entire body when he would talk.  It's like I couldn't absorb enough of his breath.  We would laze away on the couch and he would get talking, all the while I was trying to be subtle about my long inhalations.  Like I was trying to brand myself with his scent.  I wanted it in my nose.

I find myself lifting my arms and turning my head to inhale my own scent.  I never knew it was so similar to his.  All of those years of wearing deodorant.  I still wear it on occasion, but when I can get away with skipping the application, I do.  I'd forgotten how nice it felt.  How nice it is to be able to smell him still.  It's the closest I'm going to get.

For the past few days I have immersed myself in my novels.  Living fantasy through them is drugging and satisfying.  When all you have to think about is the next chapter.  It's freeing.  I'm so overwhelmed thinking of what school will bring that I already mourn my beloved books.   I doubt I'll have much time for recreational reading in the next three years.  I feel desperate to cram in as much as I can before everything changes.

A future of my own creation looms in the distance.  And looming is the perfect word to describe it.  It's as if it's a faint shape I can see but is obscured in a dense fog.  I project onto what I see based on the outlines.  And though I try to identify it, I can't truly know it until I get a closer look.  Even though I feel this uneasiness I know this is what I want.  It's all there can be.  I have put all of my eggs into this basket and I will make damn sure not to go off and drop the thing.

Friday, July 13, 2012

For TJ

I received my class schedule in the mail yesterday.  I am still stunned that school is a reality now.  I obviously never thought I’d figure things out so quickly.  It’s really amazing that I am finding myself.  But then again, it’s not so surprising.  I have worked tirelessly to get to where I am right now.  I have poured an insane amount of energy into pushing myself forward no matter what my heart was screaming at me.  My mother and I had a long conversation a couple of days ago.  I told her that TJ prepared me for this life.  Not preparation for his death or the thereafter, but the planting of seeds.  Encouraging me to be the independent, self assured woman that he knew I could be.  When he would tell me what he saw in me, when he told me he knew I was capable of greatness, it was not always easy to hear.  At times, I felt insecure.  I would always listen and try to absorb his words, but I couldn’t help wondering if he found me lacking.  He was always learning something new; he worked so hard always to become a better man.  I realize now that he was trying to show me the way.  That when I was ready to make changes, I had all of the power within myself to make them happen.  

He never could have imagined he was preparing me for a life without him in it.  But I am so proud of him.  I am in awe of him.  He had such wisdom.  Such foresight.  When I am saddened by the fact that he won’t know this woman I have become, it gives me pause.  I still want to show him.  I still want to say “hey, baby!  See, I’m doing it!”  To see him smile knowingly at me, with that “I told you so” expression on his beautiful face.  But when I think he won’t know this woman, I realize that maybe he already did.  He saw her in me long before I made these strides.  It’s just that I didn’t know her yet.  I feel at home within myself.  I am confident and sure of this path I have chosen.  TJ lead by example.  I watched him learn and grow.  I saw him strive to be better and better.  I put him on a pedestal, not ever realizing that I could be on his level.  I feel that I am there now.  I just wish to God he was standing next to me, holding my hand.  I miss him so fucking much.  All of this self awareness just makes me want him more.  I feel like I am finally his equal.  I only wish he had lived to see me come into my own.  I yearn for his approval, for his support, for his unconditional love.  I imagine he’d even want to give me a boost so that my pedestal was higher.  

TJ, my love, thank you for always believing in me.  For loving me and wanting more for me even when I didn’t see it for myself.  All I do, I do for us.  I will live my life the way you taught me.  I will be forever grateful for your love and your infinite wisdom.

Monday, July 9, 2012


I’m not sure if it’s the mini baby boom my friends are in right now, or if its summer and living is easy.  Families and children are everywhere.  Vacation photos, pool adventures, baby showers, and births.  I’m feeling the starkness of solitary.  When I am so bombarded with these events and interactions, I see all that could have been.  I see all that I have lost.  The stuff that life is made of.  Husband and wife.  Father and child.  Mother and infant.  The more time that passes, the more families grow around me, the more I begin to suspect that I will not know this way of being.  I can’t help but think it’s all too late for me.  So young did we have such profound love for one another.  We could have never known our time would be so short.  We talked so much about our future children.  How we had plenty of time for all of that.  Later.  And now we have nothing.  TJ is dead and gone, and I am left behind.  The time for this life has passed us by.  I fear I will only be able to experience it through others.  And though I sense their joy, and share it as best as I can, I cannot truly know it.  Will I ever find contentment in just being included into these families around me?  To be the “aunt” to these beautiful babies; will it be enough?  I find my alternative path in acupuncture quite fitting for one who is so desperate to be a mother.  I yearn to nurture, to care.  This will have to be that outlet for me.

I’m looking at a photo of TJ and me.  It was taken my senior year of college at a bowling alley.  I’m sitting on his lap and leaning my forehead down to his temple.  His eyes are squinted.  His cheeks are round in a closed mouthed smile.  When I look into his eyes in the picture, it feels like he’s seeing me sitting here.  Writing.  Crying.  I wonder what he would think to see me this way?  It’s a very real possibility that I will never be a mother.  That my womb will never feel fullness with child.  That I may not ever have the means to adopt.  Seeing this shortcoming as a possible reality is sacrilegious to someone like me.  Someone who has hungered for motherhood for as long as I can remember.

I visited a friend today.  I went to meet her two week old brand new baby boy.  At one point, I was sitting on the floor holding the baby in my arm while playing a game with her two older children.  As I picked up a game piece to hand to the three year old, I spoke with the five year old then looked down at the baby sleeping.  It occurred to me at that moment that this was my natural state of being.  That I could not only handle that kind of life, but thrive in it.  And the very next thought was of their mother sitting next to me.  That this was not my life.  It was hers.  I imagined if TJ were to see me sitting there, surrounded by those sweet babies; if he could feel the peace I was feeling at that moment.  I imagine that he’d curse that he couldn’t give that life to me.  Later, my friend thanked me for playing with the two older children while I was there.  I don’t think she realized what a joy it was for me to be able to do that.  Hearing their little voices asking me to play with them.  Me.  They wanted me to play.  Call me silly, but it made me feel special.  I find myself aching to feel needed, and there is no one out there who really feels that way about me anymore.  TJ needed me.  His wife.  Now that he is gone, no one else really does.  Everyone has their own spouse, their own children.  Those babies have their mommies and daddies at the end of the day.  Those friends, those beautiful babies, they may want me around but no one truly needs me anymore.  The distinction between want and need is profound.  A distinction I feel each and every day now that TJ is gone.  I mourn my necessity.

Thursday, July 5, 2012


I've been having this terrible dilemma with my rings.  I went without them for almost three months between January 1 and March 3.  I put them back on because I needed them when his anniversary was looming.  I took them back off last month.  Then woke up in a panic two weeks ago because I didn't have them on.  So, I put them back on for two weeks and then took them back off yesterday.  This morning, I only put TJ's back on.

I feel the most torn about my wedding band.  I feel like a fraud because that's not who I am anymore.  I feel like an impostor when I wear it.  Maybe if it fit another finger and I could wear it elsewhere I would feel better about it?  I have no idea.  TJ will always be my husband, but I am no longer an active duty wife (if that makes sense).  I feel like I am misrepresenting myself to the world.  Perhaps it's also because I feel my life is so very different from when I was a wife.  I am alone.  I am starting over.  My life has changed so much from that which I had before, wearing my ring doesn't seem to fit who I am now.

There seems to be a difference between wearing mine vs wearing his.  Wearing his is more anonymous.  No one knows it's a wedding band when it only fits my right pointer finger.  It's like my own little secret.  It's so much more than a ring, but Joe Public has no idea how important it really is.  That wearing it reminds me of him; that I find comfort in it.  But wearing mine reminds me of the life I used to have.  The life I don't have anymore.  The life I can't have in the future.  It's become very painful to see it gleaming on my finger.  And yet I feel so naked without it.

It's awful to have these feelings.  To both cherish and abhor something so precious to me.  To love what it represents, but hate that what it represents is no longer a reality for me.  I wonder how much longer this on again/off again routine will last?