10.08.2007

Race for Hope and other tidbits


I would like to gauge interest in participation in Philly's Race for Hope (walk/run) for the Brain Tumor Society. Sunday November 4th in the am, meeting at the Philly Art Museum.

Depending on the interest, I will either be participating on the Jefferson team with Susan (and bax in a stroller) OR, if lots of people would like to join in, I will create the Mike Young team and we can get a whole gaggle of people together to raise money... and then we can have a post-race pizza party or some such fun at my house. Just drop a line in the comments section and once I figure out the response I'll post an update about the race and the logistics.

*****

So, Thursday Lonia let me know that she got a few days off from her nannying job in Cleveland and would like to make an impromptu trip to visit us. So, we got a nice long weekend with Grandma! Bax was loving it! As was I. The joy of having someone to watch TV with, chat with over dinner and breakfast and someone who loads and empties the dishwasher without being asked! dreamy, i tell you. She just left for her 9 hour car drive home at 8 am.

It's always a little bittersweet with Lonia, as would be expected. She looks like Mike. She has the same low-key pleasant way about her as Mike. And once in a while, I look at this woman and really process the fact that my husband, who I miss so f*cking much, came from her belly. He grew in there. He was her baby. Like Baxter is my baby. That brings a whole other dimension of sadness to the situation, as I experience not only my grief, but the entirely different kind of loss that she has had.

And yet, I watch her play with Baxter... I watch as we go for a walk together and the two of them run up ahead (yes... run. She is a fit and energetic woman, just like Mike). I watch as their matching red-heads bob up and down and they both stop abruptly at the intersection and giggle together. And I think how lucky I am to have these two pieces of Mike in my life. On the one hand, the mother who birthed and raised him, and on the other the baby who he made... who is now growing into a young boy.

The whole thing is all kinds of effed up. Because the reason they are both in my life is because of him. And he is. not. here.

But that hasn't stopped me from reaching across the giant looming king sized bed the last couple of nights to hold his hand. Not like I really have thought he would be there, but I have tried to recapture that "used to be familiar" feeling of reaching across the bed, feeling for his hand, knowing that no matter how asleep he was, if I squeezed his hand, he would squeeze me back. Three squeezes, denoting, "I LOVE you," with a strong squeeze on what would be the word "love." and then he would squeeze back, "I love you, TOO," with a hard squeeze on the "too." Yet no words would be exchanged... just squeezes. This worked for 7 years... and continued to work until about 4 or 5 days before he died. Once I told him he could go... he didn't do it again.

Am I really writing this shit right now? Am I really sitting here... now... 15 months since his death... writing this? with tears streaming down my face?

Fuck.

My mom and dad's gazillionth wedding anniversary is tomorrow. I think it's like 42 or 43... or something. I haven't gotten them a card. Mom and dad, i know you're reading this. I haven't gotten you a card. I spaced til just now.

And now... instead of buying you a card, I'm thinking that I wish I could have borrowed ... just a couple of those years from you... cause all I got were 3. three married years.

One of them was bliss. One of them was pregnant. and One of them was the hell of life with a newborn baby, followed by a stressful move, and a life-changing diagnosis.


Which brings me to a dream I had Saturday night. I was me now... dropping in on Mike and me from early 2005. We had baxter. He was about 4 months old... in his little red and blue summer outfit that we loved so much. We were walking together down the street. Mike was holding bax in his arms. My eyes were red and my cheeks were tear-stained. Mike looked tired.

In those early days I had post-partum. I didn't sleep at all. I cried from the second the sun would begin to get low in the sky until about 9 at night. I worried that I had made a big mistake. I felt trapped. By the time the 3-5 month mark hit, I was pulling myself out of that hole. I was connecting with baxter, sleeping more, getting some of my own work done. But it was hard. We did well as a team... we tried to see things as funny rather than daunting. But we got tired sometimes. and as I looked in on the old us, I felt so sad and angry. Angry that I was there with Michael and I was stressing about the next feeding, the next nap. I broke the barrier that separated me now from us then and told them to stop.

"You don't know how little time you have," I said, "It's hard, yes. But you're together. You love each other. Be together." And I watched as Danna and Mike looked at each other, and, with a fussy baxter in Mike's arms... they hugged. They hugged really hard and smooshed and cried a little.

I try so hard not to think about the "wasted" time. But... this dream made me think about it.

I know that living with the knowledge that he would soon die... would not have made for a functional partnership. I know that we loved each other hard and well and that we always knew how fortunate we were. But...


but what? But nothing.

Now I return to my class preparation for my "consumption and romance" class. Preparing for a conversation about the liminality of romance... how we conceptualize love and lust bringing us to an other-worldly place (in time and space).

I think I must be a fucking masochist.

5 comments:

Anonymous said...

I figured Mom was at your house for the long weekend b/c I tried to call her at home.
I was thinking about loss and how we deal with loss as I looked at Mike's picture on the bookcase with the other family photos. Then I thought that there are a lot of losses through life, some monumental and some small. I have decided that the only way to deal with it all is to literally squeeze the joy out of every single moment we have. Appreciate and savor everything. My weakness is to get bogged down in the mundane but I have come to realize that I have the choice to shake it off.
Love you and miss you lots;
D.

Anonymous said...

See you at the race!!! Joe and I are both volunteering and walking (the only time I walk my fat arse longer than a block is these charity things!!!!!!!) Keep moving forward Danna one day at a time!!

xoxoxo,

Judy

beth said...

Kebbe, Matthew and I are in! We'll walk on the Mike Young Team if enough people are participating to put one together, and if not, then we'd like to walk with you and Bax and Susan on the Jefferson team.

Love,

Beth

Anonymous said...

ugh. i think the race will be good. although it makes me think of a year and half ago when colleen and i went. and we felt a little out of place because we were convinced It was all getting taken care of. It was just a little tumor that was no real big deal. just needed one more surgery. we did not relate at all to the 20 people in coordinated purple t-shirts and purple balloons that say "we miss you susie." and the boards with all the pictures and stories and letters....we sort of watched kind of like outsiders. anyway, i definitely recommend a big group and bring pics of mike etc etc. -t

Kate said...

Danna,

I wish that Jeff and I could be there to participate in the race! That'd be so much fun!

The other day, I was looking at a photo of us taken in Phoenix in 2004 when we won the AAPOR Sudman Best Paper Award. You'd been sleeping through a good deal of conference because you were just at the end of your first trimester with Mr. Baxter. We had a fun time with Talia. Spent some time by the pool at the resort. I can't believe how much our lives have changed since that weekend. I don't like the curve balls that life has thrown both of us.

Anyway, you continue to amaze me and are truly a source of much needed inspiration.

With Love from Tucson,
== Kate