Saturday, June 17, 2017

The Nest

The nest is nearly empty again, and I feel about half empty. As I once said, "I'm glad to see them come, and I'm glad to see them go." This time, less glad, but not destroyed...Hannah and Eli are taking Cal to his summer camp job, the same camp they worked the last three years. This year they are not able to go, but Hannah's youngest sister will be there, along with a gaggle of Macombies, but Cal is most looking forward to meeting new people. The staff is an international smorgasbord and the kids are New York city natives.

I am pleased that Cal was offered a full time teaching position in the school he was permanent subbing this past semester. He found his apartment this week, just before leaving for the two months in New Jersey. It all worked out just great. I am glad I got to help in the process last Monday, since I had taken the day off work.

So here's the thing. Every once in awhile I get sucker punched. Like when Adam's W-4 and health insurance verification for 2016 came in the mail in 2017. I just wasn't expecting that. This week, I was unable to find any record that the oil in the Camry had been changed since 2015. I realized in some ways I have been in a fog since Adam died. When I think about it that way, it seemed just a short while ago that Cal was going off to ISU for the fall 2015 semester, and I got the oil changed for him. Then 2016 blindsided us, and certain things dropped off the radar.

Funny thing, after months of terrible internet service, multiple phone calls, and finding out our internet was disconnecting an average of 23 times a day, Frontier sent two servicemen to remedy this situation. The younger tech guy told us that our computer was so powerful, it was disrupting the modem. He moved it further from the modem, switched out the modem, and Pat said "practically drooled" over the game computer I set up last fall that was Adam's. I hadn't related that it was about the time the internet starting going wonky, but yeah, apparently, Adam's taste in computers was top notch. Only the best for Nukie!

Pat went on a golf outing today, and it was a "blessing in the sky," as Cal would say. All I have committed to is one thing today, getting that oil change. I have lots of little dis and dats I want to do, and it's fun to just putter by myself.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Option B

I started reading Sheryl Sandberg's Option B after listening to her podcast about grief. She lost her husband unexpectedly while raising two young children. The book is part bio, part research on resiliency. If you're not familiar, Sheryl is/was the COO of Facebook and wrote Lean In about women in the workplace.

Page 21 reveals a familiar tune:

       Just as the body has a physiological immune system, the brain has a psychological immune          system. When something goes wrong, we instinctively marshal defense mechanisms. We see 
            silver linings in clouds. We add sugar and water to lemons. We start clinging to cliches.

I remember early after Adam's death, comforting myself with thoughts of being lucky to have had him 27 years, that everyone was able to get there for the service, that the arrangements fell into place so easily, that he wasn't living at home, so I was spared the daily void of him being gone and horror of finding him. Like my sister said, we could just kind of pretend he was "working" when the holidays or family get togethers came around. Cliches, or at least grief memes kept me going, knowing that others had gone through this, and understood how it felt. 

I will add more as I work thought this book. I have a feeling it will be slow, because I can only handle so much heaviness at a time. 

As I was thinking more about the gratitude I had in wake of Adam's death, as strange as it sounds, I was comforted that he had not been killed by a drunk driver, in a terrorist attack, or a random murder, because that would be even more senseless and would have left me angry and possibly bitter. As tragic and devastating as suicide is, it was something Adam chose to do. However impaired he was, I understand it on some level and suspect he had wanted it for some time. A random death would be even more unfair in my mind.

I can thank Adam for making me acutely aware of my mortality so that I feel an urgency to make the most of the time I do have on earth. I have heeded advice not to make large changes in early grief, but sometimes this feels like I have simply returned to baseline, and complacency with the status quo. I can teeter back and forth on this tightrope,

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Mother's Day

I had a wonderful Mother's Day, albeit, without Adam. It started with brunch with my parents and Pat. It was so sweet for my mom to cook our favorite, biscuits & gravy with hash browns. My parents are Rocks and help and support us in so many ways.

Eli wrote me a beautiful 3 page letter and spent part of the afternoon on the porch with us. Cal drove four hours, to surprise me with a few hours visit.

I see this everywhere, but may not have noticed it until it applied directly to me. I cannot emphasize enough how important it is. Out of all the grief quotes, advice, axioms and memes, this is the biggie. If mentioning Adam's name makes me cry, it's not because you reminded of something I'm trying to forget about. It is tears of joy (and some sadness) that you remember and have the courage to deal with emotions. I don't blame you if you don't. It's hard for me, too. But know that it means the world to me to hear others acknowledge my son's life and my role as his mother.

Wednesday, April 26, 2017


I cried myself to sleep last night. That hasn't happened in a long time. I miss that boy's skinny adult frame, and his firm toddler self, and everything in between. Still, still so hard to believe he is gone from this world. I pray for his safety and protection, his peace and freedom, and that he knows we love and miss him every single day. And if it is God's will, I pray that I will see him again.

I woke up (for the third time) to a loud crack of thunder. 

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Easter Sunday

The church lot is filled and the outlying parking lots jammed for this holy day. Another holiday without Adam. He wouldn't necessarily come home on Easter, but now he can't. We will miss him. This is the first holiday I've hosted since his death. First time I felt like cooking the big meal and entertaining the family at our home. There will only be seven of us. Just Cal staying here, so no fights over shower time. It feels a little hollow, like the cheap chocolate bunnies we used gnaw on as kids. Ears first.

Cal has been home for a week and the four of us have been hanging out some. It still feels weird that it's just us now.

Thursday, March 09, 2017

Adam's Antics

I went to the attic to find some old journals and notes to compile a list of "greatest Adam quotes of all time." Because he was the most brilliant child (top 3 anyway).

Here are a few gems:

Adam: Who gave this locket to you?
Mommie: Aunt Myrtle gave it to me.
Adam: I'm scared of Aunt Myrtle.
Mommie: Why?
Adam: Is she a turtle?
Mommie: hahaha
Adam: Don't laugh
Mommie: Okay

To Pat and me from Adam:
No hugging, no kissing, no putting your hands on each other.

Your Nukie is Patrick.  
[Nukie or Nuke was Pat's nickname for Adam- straight from Adam's favorite movie Bull Durham]

I'm not scared of bats cause I always have a gun.

I got a clam stuck in my mouth.

Guess what I did to my mommy when I was cranky? I pinched her!

Mommy, I love it when you pick me up from daycare when it's time to clean up.

I'm a little bit sad I don't have a ba-ba (10/16/91). 

Adam: I'm a little bit mad.
Me: Why?
Adam: Because that jerk drove in front of you.

Adam: I don't have any feelings.
Mom: Yes, you do. You have all kinds of feelings- when you're upset, mad, happy, jealous.
Adam: What's jealous?
Mom: When you want something someone else has. Like if I'm talking to Pat and you want me to talk to you. Then you're jealous.
Adam: Oh. I went to Thomas' birthday party and I wanted to take my toys. And my daddy said the other kids would be "jealous."

Friday, March 03, 2017

My Buddy

This little guy was my buddy from age 25-30 (my age). Here's a couple little memories from my cloudy mind. At the time Adam was born in Denver I was volunteering in a women's shelter for survivors of domestic abuse. The shelter was located in Commerce City, just north of Denver proper. I honestly hadn't spent time in a place that poor before.

Does this picture give you an idea? I can still remember the smell of that house.  Anyhow, I had been volunteering for some time, and was part of a new program where I was peer mentoring a woman after she left the shelter. I went to pick her up one weekend day to go to an event in downtown Denver (some type of craft show in a large convention center). She had a couple of girls, who sat in back with Adam in a rear facing car seat in the middle. I remember that drive as being excruciatingly long, because I was terrified that he had somehow smothered back there where I couldn't see him. That was probably one of my early panic attacks, but then again I was probably just a nervous new momma, and he was fine.

The year after we moved to Buffalo, Adam was two, and his dad decided to pursue a relationship with another woman and moved out. Our initial arrangement was that Bill picked Adam up Thursday after daycare (I had to work late one night a week) and brought him back Saturday afternoon. I'm sure they had some sweet adventures. One of my traditions with Adam was to eat brunch Sunday morning at a restaurant where my friend Mary Lou waitressed on the weekends. When it was nice we could eat outside. The restaurant was called Jimmy Mac's, and I always had one or two Mimosa's (I know). Then we would go wander around a local flea market in this really cool building on Main Street (they used to make cars here):

He was the best company. Very bright, inquisitive and up for anything. It was special to have that one on one time with my best boy. God, I miss this guy.