For the last 3 and a half days I’ve been incredibly sick. Fevers hovering between 100.8-102.3, some serious stuff that have my organs working overtime. Which reminds me one of George’s favorite bands was XTC. Organs working overtime…senses working overtime. Do you see the correlation? Okay, so I’ve been having some really weird and delusional dreams since getting sick. The worst came last night into this morning. Really messed my world up.
If you follow me on Instagram I’m always hashtagging “ineedtimetravel” knowing well that it won’t happen. So as I was weaving back and forth from the edge of oblivion at one point I looked up and fully BELIEVED I was back in our Park Slope apartment. I shuffled over in the bed to press against him to only have my feet drop to the floor. I was in a twin bed in my mother’s office room. From that point, somewhat hazy I went to the bathroom and in mid stream my mom barged in asking if anything was wrong. Matters had gone from confusing to embarrassing very quickly. I apologize if this is too informative, but unfortunately these are details of my life I am fully aware I am publishing to the web. But there’s a moral to this I promise.
I went to the walk in clinic to get my throat checked out, yet they wanted me to disrobe entirely and wear the medical gown… Okay I obliged. But all the PA did was take a gander at my nose, ears and throat and prescribe me antibiotics. I’m still unsure why I needed to disrobe for that.
After my mom brought me to the walk in clinic to get medicine- by the way I do feel like I’ve regressed 12 years and its 2002 having a parent drive me around- I came home to a message one of my high school friends sent me. It was very thoughtful and sweet but the opening line was “a love like this comes only once in a lifetime.” I reread those words a dozen more times and that empty spot in my heart began to grow. I hope I don’t only find love once in my lifetime. I’ll have such an unfulfilling future. I think love is the greatest thing this world has to offer and to share it with someone is the most amazing sensation imaginable. And I want it again. I want to lose myself in a person and get into nonsensical arguments about matching Halloween costumes.
As I felt the sadness bearing down, my phone started quacking at me and it was a NYC area code. I picked it up and as I mentioned above I am very sick at the moment. I don’t have a voice. The voice on the other end was shocked to hear me. “Is this Julia?” I croaked yes. He asked if I was okay and I reaffirmed what he must have already assumed; I’m sick. He then reminded me who he was and where we had met and said he’d call me back in a week. Then hung up. I put the phone down next to me and just started laughing. I gave my phone number to this guy in April! But what’s taken him so long to call? Just kidding I suck at returning phone calls.
I felt like George had his hand in all the bizarreness of today. Beginning with having my mom walk in on me on the bathroom to having a guy I met several months ago give me a ring. George loved awkward comedy and today it was at its finest. I think he wanted to see a show, so he set it all in motion beginning with the complete mind twister of feeling like I was back in Park Slope in total and complete bliss.
Behind my eyes, there’s an endless montage of pictures. On occasion, I stop to look at one of the images that cuts across my vision, and depending what’s there, I can instantly be brought to tears. When I’m participating in physical activity- like running, the montage quickly turns into a flip book and a hurricane of bi-polar emotions makes landfall. There’s nothing more embarrassing than whimpering on the elliptical machine, and then having a full break down while stretching. “She lost her husband, how unfortunate to hear.” “She’s so young too.”
I started packing my apartment up today. I should use the word “started” very loosely. I attempted to pack my apartment up today. That’s better and more accurate. I was able to do 2 bins worth before I found the birthday card George gave me on my 28th birthday… which was 23 days before he died. Yeah, this shitstorm happened really fast. Just to give a quick synopsis for any new readers:
- married 9/19
- wedding reception 10/19
- honeymoon 10/21-10/25
- 28th birthday 11/2
- hospitalized 11/15
- at home hospice 11/19 (2 months of marriage for you mathletes)
- death 11/25
At first I thought the card might have been from my parents, so I opened it up, and when I realized it was the card George gave me, wow did I lose it. Even my dog was worried, he jumped on the bed and was barking at me in a high pitch. “What’s wrong! Don’t cry! Pet me!” When I collected myself I put the card in the bin I was preparing and then I saw a journal George got me and I opened it up and the first page said “Julia- you’re my favorite story. Keep writing it down. All my love, George.” Well, that was a sign. Stop packing and write. So here I am, writing.
There was one image that popped up a lot today and it was when we picnicked in Prospect Park. We used to grab sandwiches at La Bagel Delight or S’Nice and walk to Prospect Park with our dog and just lay a blanket on the grass, eat and then cuddle. Sometimes the horseback riders would trot by, and Bodie would perk up and examine the enormous dog-like things clopping by. We then would take Bodie to the doggie pond and he would splash into the water carefree until we had to pull him out. Reciting this memory, I can feel the sunlight hitting my skin. I can smell the pollen in the air, and hear the laughter of people walking by when they would stop to see the little terrier going nuts in the water. I miss holding his hand, in the special way that we did because I hated sweaty palms. I loved how much bigger his hand was to mine, and how when he would hold on to it I felt instantly protected and safe. I miss how he would always grab my butt at inappropriate times. I want to hear his voice telling me how beautiful I am. Instead, I have pictures and notes that will remind me of those fortunate times we had together. No new memories will be made, but all I can do is immerse myself in what we had. But all I want is to have him back. How fortunate am I? I’m in love with memories.
There’s been moments during the day when I feel normal again. The darkness that swathes me lifts up, and I can feel the world at my finger tips. Yesterday, we still had my lacrosse team’s annual holiday party. It’s a tradition I put in place at my university last year, and despite how hard the days are for me, I remind myself there’s 20 other people I still need to consider. Seeing my team certainly warmed my heart for the time we were together, but I can see in their faces they know I’m not the same. They can see the cracks in my soul and how hard I’m trying to piece myself together when all I want to do is fall apart. Their creativity and humor tends to bring the best out of me, and I think they know it too. Our party broke up around 4:30, but some of them just stuck around the office. I tend to joke around that I don’t want to have kids because I have 20, 18-22 year olds, but it’s true. I care about them, and I know they care about me too. And that’s why going to work often times feels like I’m home with family.
Going from one family to another, I drove back to my parents house last night. In my car, it’s the only time I’m truly by myself with little distractions like tv or my iPad, and when my mind starts churning my emotions pour out. For some reason when I hit the Waterbury skyline, which I should mention at night looks like yellow christmas lights on short skyscrapers, I felt a shimmer of hope and my blinders were up. Hope that there’s an end to all this sadness, and that maybe with George passing away, he’s holding the door open for me to experience life to the fullest. But when I started thinking about that, I immediately retracted into the canopy of misery and felt guilty. But at the same time, he would be so angry at me for not going out on my own. He always encouraged me to go out of my comfort zone to experience new adventures and explore the unknown. He gave me a map of the NYC subways and would call me to meet up, so I would have to find a way to get to him on my own. He taught me how to love and maneuver through the biggest cluster in the world, which I now call home.
Side thought on this: One of our first fights (we rarely fought) was because I was supposed to meet George underneath the Brooklyn Bridge to watch a movie. About month into our relationship. I was in Fort Greene at one of my friend’s apartments and I called George to tell him I’ll meet him in 20 minutes and I was getting onto the subway. Well over an hour and a half later I finally got to the stop he was at. I ended up going toward East New York rather than toward Manhattan where the Brooklyn Bridge stop was. He was so angry at me when I got above ground to meet him. I always brought that story up to him when someone asks if we ever fought. I thought it was so funny because he just cared so much. He held my hand so tight on the subway back to his apartment afterwards.
Anyway, we traveled to Bermuda, when I never really wanted to go, and I loved it. He took me to New Mexico, when that wasn’t even a blip on my radar as a destination point. And it’s still one of my favorite vacations we went on. But when I think about venturing out, it feels different this time. I don’t have his hand to hold or his voice to calm me down when I get flustered or lost. But maybe that’s part of it all. It’s time to relearn how to be me.