I had deactivated my Facebook page, thinking I would be gone for most of December(all those painful anniversaries), but my friend Tonya emailed that our wonderful blog/FB friend Jane had been in a terrible accident. So, before I knew it, I was back on Facebook, sucked in and posting this on the 4th anniversary of Patt's death. It got a lot of attention, but isn't my best effort. However, it does truly express how I want to remember him, and I think he would approve.
What does putting up a Christmas tree mean to me? It mostly signifies triumph over my own feelings and frustrations, since it used to be a family endeavor and often involved the inevitable conflicts. We would argue over bushy trees versus Noble firs, medium size or huge(the 10 footer almost caused a divorce!) and which train to put around it, the green or the red. Lots of memories, including the one from 6 years ago when Patt told me that he had lung cancer while putting together his mom's artificial tree. You know the saying "My blood ran cold?" I didn't think it was real until that moment. And of course, today is the 4th anniversary of his death which brings out other feelings, yet mainly positive ones. After the first miserable anniversary of his death, I vowed to make this day more about his life than about his illness; he would never have wanted to be remembered for his last few months on this earth. It was not who he was; this is who Patt was: a gifted problem-solver, fiercely loyal to his posse of loved ones, a perfectionist stair builder, the guy everyone called in a crisis, intensely proud of and devoted to all three of his girls, a lover of camping, hiking, boating,(which often meant working on the engine in the middle of Puget Sound), bowling, golf, tennis, card and board games, John Denver, gardening, animals, etc. Remember that huge tantrum I had over the creative croquet course he devised, Jim Haddon? He was spontaneous (which could drive me nuts!) but he also took our group on many amazing adventures because of that gift. And one of his most important qualities? He believed in me and in my ability to handle things much more than I did. I think he would be very proud of how far I've come, and delighted that I'm finding joy and happiness in my life. He would have wanted that for me.
The reality is that you never get completely over a loss, but you do move forward, or try to. Like life, grief is a roller coaster. But it is also about grabbing the moments that present themselves. With that in mind, I took a half-day off tomorrow to spend the afternoon with Henry, who is still struggling with a sore back(no fun to get old!) but who wants to take a walk, or see a film, then go out to eat and chat. Now, I have to hope for NO SNOW to ruin our plans. :)