Friday, July 31, 2009

Home Again

We've done this before. Just not without Art.
Yesterday we left home to travel east to visit our families. It was the first trip we have made to "home" without Art.

I got on 95 in Portland and traveled home today.
I remember how I hated letting Art drive in bad weather cause I just didn’t think he was paying close enough attention.

I remember driving these roads with two dogs, two bikes and other young couple accoutrements that made us feel cooler and hipper than we undoubtedly were.

I remembered driving these roads with hope in my uterus and fury at any reckless driver.

I remember driving these roads with one baby, a pack-n-play, stroller, babyswing, sling, Baby Bjorn, 17 outfits for 3 days, breast pump, two dogs and no bikes. And the same amount of fury at reckless drivers.
I remember driving these roads with screaming babies, poop on my hands, vomit in my hair and
laughter on my breath. Did this really happen all in one trip?

I remember driving these roads with his large hand resting on my thigh, awed that this was my life.
I remember driving these roads not sure if it was a life I wanted.

I came home today.

Home is the place where my life with Art began, where we met, where we began our family, where our hopes, ideas and beliefs about marriage, parenting, love, family and community took form.

And while I drove, in the rain, listening to all the music he downloaded. I laughed. I sighed. I wondered "Is he really gone?"
"Yes" the heaviness tells me.
Being here feels complete. I needed to come back where we began and drive these roads. From this home place I see clearly what a great husband he was. What a powerful father he will always be. What an unbelievable partner he will remain.
And I had him.
He asked ME to marry him, here in this state. This home.
Holly shit....I am so damn lucky to have him! Being home is indeed sweet.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

OMG Tuesday Tip #8

OMG Tuesday Tip # 8

Wash Their Car

When a person is in crisis or grief, doing the ordinary takes an extrodinary amount of effort. So why not help them out and wash their cars.

Remember when doing anything to help, your job is to make it as easy as possible on them. Below are some tips on how to do that for your friend.

  • Call and arrange a time that works for them.
  • Ask them to leave a key for you in a secret place. This gives them the option to visit or not and they won't feel obligated to chat.
  • Take the car to your house or to a car wash.
  • Don't forget to clean the inside of the car too. If there are items you are not sure if you should dispose of, place them in a bag and leave them on the floor of the passenger side of the car.
  • Return the car within the agreed upon time frame. You don't want them wondering where you are.
  • Leave the key in the prearranged spot.

Voila! You have an act of kindness that is helpful, thoughtful and simple for you!

The OMG (oh my God) I Need to Help Tuesday Tip© 2009

Every Tuesday (or in this case Thursday) I post a tip on how you can help someone you love in crisis. These tips were partially derived from the amazing community that my husband, Art, and I leaned on during his two bouts with cancer. He lost his battle in April 2009 and this amazing community continues to support me and our three children.

May you be part of a strong community for your friend. You can make all the differenc in the world for them.

To get more tips, go to

Thursday, July 23, 2009

The Man In My Bedroom Door Way

The man was filling my bedroom doorway. His wide shoulders, long thick legs and pronounced chest blocked out the light coming from the bathroom. The man said “I can’t sleep.”

I was in bed. I didn’t open my eyes. “Have you tried the breathing techni..?” “Yes” he says before I can get the last words out of my mouth. I am surprised he understands me. Breathing techni comes out breeeaaattthhhhiiinnnnggg teecccchhhhhnnneeeeee as if demonstrating the words to him will make him sleepy and he will go away.

“Try counting your brea….” “I did.” Rapid retort, sleep beginning to hide. I turn my back to him taking advantage of the darkness his body has brought to the room. Conveniently, he stays in my doorway. There is silence for a long moment. The man walks over to my bed, places his hand on my shoulder and shakes. Annoyed I say “Think about jumping off the peer.”

“I’ve tried everything.”

“Get into bed with me.” I hold the cover up. No man has refused that offer before…well not any that I care to remember.

“Mom!” the space after that word filled with the kind of disgust that is reserved for my are-you-masturbating question or eat-the-eggplant.

I get up, follow Langston, my 12 year old, into his room, rub his man-back till the fan blowing numbs my forearm. Returning to bed, the clock glares 12:41 am.

Bang, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump, thump.

A little body slides into Art’s side of the bed bringing with him all the little sand he has collected on his little dwarf like dead-of-the-night-sprint from his room to mine. Tomorrow night, I will end up with little lacerations on the entire right side of my big body when I attempt to ‘slide’ into bed. I will think about putting Neosporin on the lacerations but that will require that I get up and get the Neosporin. It also means I will have to wash the sheets the next morning which requires that I remember to take them off the bed. My husband just died, damn it. I can’t do everything!

The little head attached to the little body announces “Mom I’m here.” 3:41 am say the red lights. “No shit. Go to sleep” say I. “Mom, you shouldn’t swear” says righteous sand bringer as he settles into what has become his pillow, on his side of the bed with his sand that he doesn’t seem to notice. 7 yr old skin must be laceration proof.

“Mom? I’m sick.”

I move Ezra over and invite the third visitor tonight into my bed. At least she accepts with no apparent disgust. She settles in and I notice my skin is on fire. I think of the damn sand and then don’t recall the sand ever making my skin burn. Burning, hot, dry skin… only where her skin touches my skin. A fever. I climb over her, accidently putting my weight on her ankle causing her to cry out and her brother to stir. I shift my weight and my right knee crashes into the floor with spirit.

Into the bathroom, on to the lip of the tub, balance is misplaced and my right hip goes into the towel bar. I will find the bruise in the shower in two days and wonder how the hell did I get that bruise. I will shake my head in disbelief and maternal disapproval. I find the thermometer, shove it into her mouth and it beeps, telling me it’s 4:41. No wait, that’s the alarm. What? Who? Smash. It’s on the floor, under the bed. My hand searches frantically. Stop the beeping. Stop the god damn beeping. The thermometer says 102.3.

Back into the bathroom. Tylenol and little cup with water. I am not going to the kitchen for one. There is a lot of stuff along the living room wall that is on my right side. I don’t trust my early morning walking capabilities.

“Back to your bed” I tell her hesitantly because I sense there is an opportunity to create something here. If her fever is high enough I can turn the sand in my bed into glass. We could color and blow and shape it into night light covers. We could sell them to friends at first and then Nordstroms would call. I am sure that I could find pipe thingy in the garage. It would, however, require I go out to the garage and on my way become the biggest pray to walk into some lucky spider’s web. Too many variables. Besides how much should I charge for a hand blown night light cover? I ease my daughter out of my bed.

5:15 am I write.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

OMG Tuesday Tip # 16

The OMG (oh my God) I Need to Help Tuesday Tip© 2009

Every Tuesday I post a tip on how you can help someone you love in crisis.

These tips were partially derived from the amazing community that my husband, Art, and I leaned on during his two bouts with cancer. He lost his battle in April 2009 and this amazing community continues to support us. May you and your friends be that strong community for your friend.

To get more tips, go to

OMG I Need to Help Tuesday Tip #16

Please don’t ask me:
--if I’m “over” it yet. I will NEVER be “over” it.
--if I feel better. Bereavement isn’t a condition that clears up.

Please don’t tell me:
--to get on with my life. I’m still here, aren’t I?
--he’s in a better place. Better is here with me!
--you know how I feel -- unless you have lost a child, a sibling or a partner.
--God never makes mistakes. You mean He did this on purpose?

Please don't say:
--“At least he’s not suffering.” I haven’t come to terms with why he had to suffer at all.
--"At least you had him for ---- many years.” At what age would you choose for your daughter/son/sister/brother/husband/wife die?

Please just:
-- say you are sorry
--tell me what you remembe about him.
--just let me talk if I want to.
--let me cry when I want.

------- Written by Allison Marich

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

July 15, 2009

An 11 year old girl was killed yesterday

during a routine Jr. Life Guard (JGs) practice doing something called a speed drop, where the kids jump off of a moving boat. She was killed by the propeller of the boat as it came around to pick up the kids.

I can't stop crying.

Langston does the same program here at Venice Beach.

Langsotn loved doing that exercise last year.

I want to tell him about the girl.

I want to make sure he is extra careful.

I want him to see how precious life is.

I want him to know his death would crush me.

Oh and I want him to be just a regular 12 year old.

So I will try not to put the pressure of my well-being on him.

And suddently

this ground I stand on

one day before the 90 Day mark of Art's death

isn't so steady.

It never really was, it's just

I pretend it is.

My heart going out the family who just lost their daughter isn't enough. Nothing is in grief.

Turn and kiss someone you love right now. Do it for me. Do it for the parents of this child. Do it becuase you CAN!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

OMG Tuesday Tip #1

The OMG (oh my God) I Need to Help Tuesday Tip© 2009

Every Tuesday I post a tip on how you can help someone you love and who is in need.Help comes in many unique and wonderful ways, these tips can help you help others in those alternative ways, beyond bringing a meal.

To get more tips, go to

OMG I Need to Help Tuesday Tip #1
Don’t say “If you need anything, let me know.”

When you say “anything” it puts the burden on the person who is in crisis. They now need to figure out what you mean by “anything.” Did you mean scrape the crude off the kitchen floor, sit with them at 2 am or babysit a sick child? Even if you mean anything, it’s just not a helpful statement. You’re goal it to relieve some of the burden, this statement only adds to it.

Instead, be as specific as possible about what you want and/or can do. “I’d be happy to be the on-call babysitter.” Or “If you need groceries last minute, please call me!” The person in crisis is more likely to remember your offer if it’s specific. It’s helpful because they don’t have to guess at what you mean by “anything.” If it’s specific the person is more likely to call you.
OMG Bonus Move: Write your name, phone number and the specific offer on an index card and place it on their refrigerator.

Monday, July 13, 2009

July 13, 2009

I am so crazy for male company...

That when friends of the male persuasion come around I want to suck them dry.

It's not lust. It's not sexual. It's like primal.

I am lonely for the adult masculine presence in my house, daily.

I want that male to say those male kind of things like...

"Why don't you just..."


"Huh, really?" and to not expound on every point.

I miss having a man in the house to ask me "Are you OK?" in that wonderful, male way which only men who know you can ask.

And they only ask if they mean it.

And they only ask if your answer to the question can be fixed with a reassuring hug, by running an errand or doing "something."

The men I know talk and laugh and are thoughtful but their view of the world is powerfully different than any woman I know. And I miss that view, those thoughts, that feeling of awe when you meet someone who is like you but so very different.

I miss the sex too. But not in the same way I miss the sure presence of a testosterone carrier.

God...I didn't even know this existed, this masculine need. I didn't know he provided that...balance.

Holy shit...I feel like I'm standing on a lopsided boat!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

July 12, 2009

Ezra and Pallas in Art's clothes
In hindsight...

I do see changes in my ability to get through this life without him.

I cannot spend the entire weekend with my kids without plans.

I remembered that...before the weekend.
I called Johnny our babysitter.

He came yesterday and took the kids.
He stayed late to help me get them into bed.

And it wasn't that I needed the extra hand.

I just needed another adult in the house.

And when I called him and when I asked him to stay

I saw with confidence that I will get through this.

I saw that I am adapting.

I saw that this stage of needing help is not forever.

That it, like the grief, will fade in and out, with feriousness and then gentleness.

That I, like the grief, will need a lot of help, then no help, then some help, not in any order.

That my job is NOT to provide order or calmness or peace for my children.

My job is to show them how to survive.

Friday, July 10, 2009

July 10, 2009

I am drunk.

I've had two glasses of wine.

I am a lightweight.

I've been sitting on the front stoop, drinking those two glasses and reading my blog...from the beginning, in 2006.

I am amazed.

I am scared.

I am awed at the innocence I had back then.

I am awed at this life experience.

I am waiting for a male friend from high school to rescue me.

Only there is no rescuing.

I walk this path alone.

And I find fear and desperation and loss of hope

And faith and comfort and love.

It's good.

And it fucking terrifying.

I had such a great day today.

I was treated to a massage and lunch.

I got to reconnect with a woman who is me, only a different version.

It was a gift and now I am crying about it.

I cry for the beauty of the adventure in self-discovery Art's death has granted me.

I cry because in so many ways I didn't want it this way.

I cry because I miss that masculine energy in this home.

I cry becuase of my courage that is not really courage but my back up against a wall.

I cry because he is not here to edit my work and keep me from embarrassing mispellings.

I cry for the deep gratitude that is beyond expression for the so many, many people who have touched our lives and made it easier.

I cry for $20 gas card that came in the mail this week from an anonoumys person.

I cry because I am lonely.

I cry becuase in 6 days it will be three months since Art died.

I cry because I am drunk.

This is what the early stages of widowhood look like. Full of discoveries, love and joy and filled with dread and doubt and fear, all of it enough to fill Mt. Everest.

Good, powerful moments followed by broken pieces on the floor.

Tuesday, July 07, 2009

OMG I Need to Help Tuesday Tip #8 -- Run Errands

The OMG (oh my God) I Need to Help Tuesday Tip
© 2009

Every Tuesday I post a tip on how you can help someone you love and who is in need.

Help comes in many unique and wonderful ways, these tips can help you help others in those alternative ways, beyond bringing a meal.

Tip #8
Run Errands

All gestures of kindness are worthy, it's just that some are more helpful than others!

Monday, July 06, 2009

July 5, 2009

From Sunday, July 5th

We had cupcakes for dinner.

After Ezra said,

“Mom, next time you kick us out of the house, can you tell us where to go.”

After I explained that I was running on empty since Saturday morning and should have told them.

After I seeped guilt.

After I called Langston and told him to come get his butt up to the house and get his siblings becuase

“In a crisis I expect all of you to take care of each other.
Being kicked out of the house is a crisis!”

After Pallas and Ezra came back.

After I oozed with righteous anger.

After I screamed

“That’s it! Leave the house.”
And meant it.
Before I realized I had nothing to offer them.

Saturday, July 04, 2009

July 4, 2009

I am getting ready to

give away Art's clothes.

I want someone to come with me.

I need a witness to the loss, the change,

my independce embraced and hated.

I think also

that is why I witness myself.

Friday, July 03, 2009

July 3, 2009

Motherhood, widowhood and sexiness
collide on Appleton Way and Glydon Streets in Venice.

My cute 46 yr old divorced neighbor drove those cross streets yesterday while I was helping Ezra get his bike up on the curb. I was in running shorts, top, and sneakers. A ratty bandanna was keeping the hair off of my face and I was wearing “ode du three hour old sweat” from a run. I felt frumpy, wholly unattractive and guilty. He passed before I could wave back.

“Crap, he always sees me when I look like shit.” I think.

“Why do you care?” I retort.

I stand straight as Ezra peddles away from me, and start walking, far behind the cute driving neighbor…confused.

I knew how to be sexy for Art. It was not in the taking off of my clothes (although that always helped). It was in a laugh, a nuzzle in the crook of his neck and that dress he loved on me. It was in knowing he was watching me while I wrestled with Langston and in the power that flowed from me after a long hard workout. It was in my touch of those wonderfully commanding thighs of his.

Motherhood sexiness ebbed and flowed around, under and through the kids and illness and bills and arguments, pregnancies and dress sizes. I rediscovered it, lost it and found it over and over again, each time stumbling on different hues of our connection.

I have always enjoyed a good flirt, an arm touch or a straight out gawk from or towards other men. I did it from behind the “sanctity of marriage.” Looking was good. Touching…not worth the risk.

I can touch, now. Only…OMG! What do I wear? Will I be like those young girls who laugh a bit too hard, smile too broadly and lean in a bit too close? How many dates before I sleep with someone?

These questions startle and concern me then make me laugh out loud.

As a new widow, I stand open and ridiculously vulnerable. How does this whole man thing work again?

It’s the second coming of being a teenager only less awkwardness and with the wisdom of who I was, am and becoming.

Curiosity mingles with fear and fascination. This will be an adventure!

An untraveled path to a destination I can’t quite comprehend.

When will it begin? When will I decide it's time to start?

I continue following Ezra down the long side walk.

"Man, I hope that he at least noticed my tone legs!" I say to myself and giggle.