partiality and perspective

 

My silly little cell-phone screen glares, making it hard for me to see what I’m trying to capture. My recourse is changing perspective and hoping for the best.

So, I bob and weave; step left, step right. Circle, bend, squat. Without fail, I find myself trying to figure out how I’m going to rise up without obliterating my knees or balance without plopping on my butt.

These five were an unsure series. None centered right. None captured the whole.

I spend a lot of time thinking about the disappointing gaps. What happened between the funeral pants and Thursday? I must have walked the dog; fed the cat. Fed myself; maybe not. Showered? Dressed? Yes, I’m sure, for the uncertainty of next. Were we done until Friday? Did I need to be somewhere?

I suspect there’s an unimportance in these gaps.

It irks me, though. This two-day series of uncaptured moments, and imbalanced partial pictures.

Quote for the Week: 2020 05 05 perspectives perfection is a difficult art jakorte

Funereal Fashion

After leaving the funeral home, I had to consider the next thing I never considered; funeral attire. Thank goodness my SIL thought to have my brother ask me.

I had plenty of black tops because New York/Music/Rebel black-is-slimming has been my legitimate style. So much so, that when I moved to Nashville, someone finally asked me if I ever wore anything but black. “Oh, yeah,” I’d said. “Navy blue and brown. Sometimes gray!”

Tennessee brought other colors into my wardrobe. Michigan helped with that, as well. There was a problem with my new palates, though. I no longer owned any black pants.

I was never fond of shopping to begin with. If I end up in a store it’s usually because I am looking for a specific item. Or it’s Kohls because they sent me a $10 coupon and a 30% off flyer sticker and a new clearance shirt is never a bad purchase.

But, luckily, that day I was numb and it was Sears, in the mall, because we were driving by it anyway. I wasn’t expecting much luck or fashion at size 24. Amazingly enough, the dowdy plus size section had plenty of black pants options.

I grabbed three pair, tried them on, took the least offensive and was ready to go. That was the day I earned a new moniker from my brother.  “You’re like a Ninja Shopper!” he exclaimed.

That made me laugh. Jeff shared the same observation but not with a title. To Jeff Lowe’s and Walmart were like exhibit changing museums to be indepthly explored, each and every visit. “Slow down,” he’d call from his cart. “We might miss something!”

I’m a fast shopper, unless it’s an antique store or a flea market.  I have almost endless patience for those. But, I’m also usually hoping to take home a salt-chicken. Or two, if there’re two to be found.

I had a fairly dressy black shirt, fairly fitted, point-collared and pinstriped. I thought nothing of it, at the time. Later, when I was willing some of my 20’s weight-loss wardrobe to a friend, I pulled it from the back of the closet and gave that away, too.

Even later, as in late-2019, I was jotting down outline notes, when it occurred to me.

The blouse I wore was black, of course.

Detailed with finely dispersed, shimmering gold pinstripes.

Unintentionally, black and gold. Which were, intentionally, our wedding colors.

Quote for the Week: 2020 04 28 sticking with what you know jakorte

 

Sweet Pea: Let Me Explain….

I had the thought to nip this in the bud early this morning when it seemed that what I had sort of managed to not look at miserably, was well on its way to misinterpretation.

Birthdays, I’ve come to realize, are importantly more thankful than death days. If it weren’t for birthdays, we’d not have the pain of the other day. There has to be one before the other, and in life there will always be both.

Appreciate all the support and advice, and request you not be offended by how it made me giggle.

Of course, the cemetery would likely be safe. I’ve rarely run into another living soul, there. I’d not have to keep a 6-foot distance from the markers, although the markers are safely keeping at least a 5-foot distance from each other.

Irony. I always keep wipes in my car in case I get by to tend to Jeff and Sally and Nannee. And Poppa Vincze. Although I’d not met him, he’s the other half of Nannee’s package deal. Oddly, enough, I cart around disinfecting Lysol wipes, to be exact. They conveniently come in-bulk from Costco and can only be tolerated when not used in an enclosed, unventilated environment with no opening windows, aka outside.

So, yes, I could have. Easily. I chose not to for residuals. I’d have to get gasoline and avoid the growing temptation to shop for Sprite and chips. I’m sure that seems light to some folks.

I’ve managed to stay safe by not having a face-to-face or even remotely public experience for an official four weeks. By sheer coincidence, I haven’t marketed since March 7th.

In addition to a life-long, silent, you-can’t see-it and would never know it, non-deadly auto-immune deficiency, I’ve been additionally warring with my body for control for thirteen months now. Finally, with correct medical intervention, I’m just beginning to feel progress in that battle.

The thing is, the deficiency won’t kill me. It can, however, heartily assist the Corona Virus in  accomplishing that.

So, I wasn’t any more lonely this morning than I ever am. I was thinking deeply about being thankful for the birthday and making the responsibly right choice for me.

I’m lonelier now in a lovely eye-opening way.

Thank you all for the love.

I miss you all who feel the same, today.

I know we keep saying it, but, damn it, we’ve really got to.

I’m thinking a grave-side Joke-Fest in July. Bring your best stupid joke, awful pun, long story.

I’ll buy out Lev’s and meet you there.

2020 04 25 birthday and the day god made you mine jakorte

 

A View to Goodbye

The laughter was a much needed segway that softened what I needed to hear next.

In my attempt to stay on-path with Jeff’s wishes, I completely failed to recognize some somber facts. When Roger told me that he’d asked the funeral home to prepare Jeff because he wanted to see him, I was shocked.

How could it never have crossed my mind that his parent would want to see him one last time. Or that his sister was still waiting to see him. Or that his brother needed to say goodbye, as well as everyone else there.

It certainly wasn’t an intentional blockage of family or selfishness. I was honestly disconnected, from everything and everyone. Disengaged, I guess, until I found myself raising my hand.

Jeff’s father explained that I didn’t have to go in to see Jeff if I did not want to. That I could go into the room but not approach if I did not want to. Or I could, if I wanted to.

Roger held my hand and we stood in the back of the room, as others made their way upfront. I expected a casket. I don’t know why.

Instead, though, the man I thought I would never see again, lay on a well-disguised table. Jeff, tucked beneath a lovely quilt, looked just like himself, asleep.

We moved closer and stood in front of the few seats that had been assembled.

Jeff’s dad asked me softly if I wanted to say goodbye. I didn’t. I didn’t want to say goodbye and hadn’t expected I’d have to. If would have been much less painful to not.

But gently lead, I did. I touched Jeff’s shoulder, his brow, told him I loved him. I cradled his face, kissed his cheek and took the hardest walk of my life, away.

It may seem odd to explain it this way, but Roger’s arrangements were a most compassionate gift. I understand it was something he needed. I understand it wasn’t intended to serve only me.

So, while the image of Jeff, deceased in our bedroom, remains vivid, I also have that last time; peaceful, unexpected, important, comforting, real. All, that I didn’t know I needed.

Quote for the Week:

2020 03 10 There is no shame in self-focused grief jakorte

The Last Laugh

 

I’d been dully sitting there, only half-listening to the murmurs. It seemed most everything had been wrapped up, and I was wondering what the etiquette was for what came next.

Do we go to lunch? Do I go back to Adrian? Do I go somewhere else?

I couldn’t tell you what time it was or even who was sitting to my left.

But, I know who was on my right, and I can tell you exactly when the pandemonium began.

Jeff’s step-mother had been delayed waiting for a pre-scheduled plumbing appointment.

Among her first words, directed to Jeff’s father were, “Your sons!”

“My sons?” Roger baffled back.

“Yes, YOUR sons! The plumber found a girlie magazine when he went behind the wall, to get to the pipes.”

“Behind the wall?” Roger puzzled, pushing back a bit. “How do you know it was one of my sons?”

“Because,” Nevie reasoned, “none of my sons would ever do that!”

Roger looked across to Jeff’s brother. “Did you do that?” he asked.

By the time I processed what the discussion was about, rapid succession flustering moments were piling up.

“No,” he incredulously denied. “I didn’t do that!”

With fast-forward film speed, I’d run through a conversation Jeff and I had rather recently while watching ‘This Old House.’

It seemed they were always finding odd things behind walls. That time, it was a baby shoe.

“That’s so weird and kind of creepy, ” I’d commented. “I mean, how did a baby shoe get behind the wall?”

Acutely aware, I needed to interrupt. Quickly.

So, I called on my grade-school training and solidly raised my hand.

I had to wave it around a bit before I garnered some attention.

“I know,” I announced.

Up until then, I hadn’t spoken much, so, I cleared my throat and announced again to be sure everyone heard me.

“I know who did that.” The room quieted down.

“Jeff told me.” It got a little quieter.

“Jeff told me,” I repeated. “He told me… ‘If Dad and Nevie ever decide to remodel the bathroom, they’re gonna get a big surprise!”

It was Jeff.

For convenience, he’d explained, he’d hidden his late 70’s, misappropriated and highly inappropriate periodical in a conveniently narrow slot between the fixture and the wall.

“Then, one day,” he’d laughed, “It got sealed up!”

In the history of funeral planning, I doubt there’s ever been a session that ended quite like Jeff’s did.

Raucous laughter, table slapping, the shaking of many heads, and one fist aimed amusingly up at heaven.

“That Jeff…” Roger mused. “I guess, he got the last laugh, didn’t he?”

Quote for the Week:2020 03 03 keeping track of weird things heard in life jakorte

 

Then and Still

 

The others whom Jeff left behind supported and needed support. Each at the table had at least two dedicated decades of love; some had the full 42.

I was acutely aware I was the one with the least of his lease on life.

In my mind, then and still, the foundations of long-standing years made their loss more severe. I imagined, then and still, the burden of that type of pain surely surpassed mine.

My heart hurt, then and still, for all who had the fortune of Jeff, longer. I only had him for 8 and I was lost.  If I had had him just a moment longer, I would have hurt one more moment worse.

Somehow, some things were already settled. I wasn’t aware of anyone else’s desires, nor did I ask.

My insistence on cremation was the echo of Jeff’s desire. I didn’t want that or not want that. It was what he wanted; therefore, honor worthy.

Surrounded by an invisible buffer, pressurized, cocooned in an observationist air pocket, though not physically isolated, I felt alone. And that was not a reflection of anyone present.

In my seat, I was alone. In my specific type of grief born of my specific role, I was alone. I was just as alone as the other roles represented that morning. None of our grief was the same; couldn’t be, shouldn’t be, would never be.

When we got down to business, the first task was verbally gathering family history and personal information – the sort you need for an obituary.

I was immensely grateful my brother took over proof-reading and corrections. Multiple re-writes and edits later, I felt a bit bad for the funeral planner kid. Which isn’t a derogatory statement. He was young; 20’s-ish.

Whenever asked a decision-required question, Jeff’s father would, in turn, ask it of me. Though deferred to, my choices considered heritage.

Like purposefully choosing the funeral pamphlet featuring a semi-silhouetted blue-hued barn, silo, and field. There couldn’t have been any other choice worth considering.

Quote for the Week: 2020 02 18 Unless we allow others the opportunity to prove jakorte

 

 

 

The Literal Grief of “I”

 

I’m getting tired of saying, “I.”

“I don’t remember…”

“I don’t know…”

“I think…”

You might be, too. I need to drop those I’s. Literally.

*

Don’t know which day it was: Monday, Tuesday?

Know my brother picked me up and took me to the funeral home. Don’t remember the drive.

Do remember arriving, entering and standing in the foyer of Handler’s. Think it might have been raining, or maybe the umbrellas and jackets are snippets from another family funeral.

Think the meeting room was downstairs. If not, it was still in what I thought was an unusual location. Not that I had any experience in usual funerals.

Remember being surprised and touched by the number of people around the table. Sorry, don’t recall everyone there, but I know the family group included one brother, one sister, Jeff’s father, at least one Uncle, my brother and me.

Fuzzy on whether or not there was an Aunt, non-step-brother or exactly how many cousins there were or if I am erroneously conjuring the other end of the table; same side, not in my direct line of vision.

Contemplated this on my walk home this afternoon. How wonderful it was to have the support of so many people to help me through, and how very touched I was.

A stride-stopping, startling thought smacked me – a whip-branch snapped back from those who should have been traveling the grief trail ahead of me. Slapped my mind – after 12+ years – my tunnel-visioned grief-blur ended today, on this revelation.

All of those people weren’t there for just me.

A bit shameful really.  Unfathomable, as well.  Can’t apologize for my thoughts because I’m not even sure what my thoughts were or if I even had any.

Benumbed, appropriately or not, the blinding spotlight on my grief was, singularly, “I.”

Quote for the Week: 2020 02 11 There may not be an I in teamjakorte