No one to share with

Last year, September 17th was a Tuesday. I took the day off from work and George and I headed into the city to get our marriage license from the Clerks office in TriBeCa. We held hands throughout the day. I miss just having a hand to hold. Especially when there’s no good reason except all you want to do is feel the warmth of the other person.

We got our marriage license and we had to wait 24 hours to be wed. I had a California recruit coming to campus on the 18th and so without hesitation we agreed that we would be wed on the 19th. 19 is my favorite number and I always wanted to be married on the 19th. George didn’t care. He just wanted to marry me and be husband and wife until he died.

After we got our license we went to a vietnamese restaurant around the corner. The name escapes me because to be honest it wasn’t that good. With news that George was dying we both decided to give up being vegan. You see, we became vegan because we hoped it would help fight cancer. But it failed us, and why continue if we no longer could rationalize why to stick with it. We both ordered vietnamese sandwiches, and before it came I started crying. I’m not a crier by any means. I rather pass out before you see me cry in public, but I just dropped my head and my shoulders started quivering. I couldn’t hide it.

When I looked up at him, he had tears in his eyes too, and he told me not to be sad. When he spoke, his words fell flat on my ears, he knew I had every right to be sad. I remember fiddling with the chop sticks at the table, and he asked me what I was thinking about. My eyes met his, and I looked away immediately and murmured, “who’s going to share a bag a skittles with me?” We both sat there weeping as the waiter brought us our food.

When George and I watched Sunday TV- Breaking Bad, Dexter and American Horror Story- we always split a bag of wild berry skittles. Green was my favorite so he always picked them out for me.

It’s really hard to lose the one person that made you the happiest. I find peace in other ways, but happiness still eludes me. I can feel the billowing cloud of emptiness swelling inside me.

I was supposed to grow old with him, not be widowed in my 20s.

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Car accidents, basketball, and an empty apartment

When there’s days of happiness and limitless highs, they are always balanced by days of bottomless lows. Days where being curled up on the couch, crying and just feeling helpless, seem so necessary. The problem is, having these days that are so unbearable are best spent alone. Spent in the cocoon of your own home. But unfortunately I had a plate full of activities today. And it started off by witnessing and barely avoiding a major accident in an intersection…

One of my players was named New Jersey Intercollegiate Woman of the Year. On my way to the luncheon to honor her, I was waiting waiting at a stoplight next to a car. I was already running late and was anxious to gun it once the light turned green. So I was watching the opposing stoplight so right when it turned red I would begin to roll and then press the gas. Well for some reason I didn’t do it and the car to my left proceeded ahead of me. As I began to roll, another car on my right ran through the red light and plowed into the car that was ahead of me. I was completely stunned. Then proceeded to cry because I knew I missed this by seconds.

When I arrived at the luncheon I saw my player and her family. I haven’t seen any of the families since George died, and of course the first things they addressed was how badly they felt for me. I haven’t heard this in awhile, so I wasn’t prepared for it, but I SHOULD have anticipated it. I’m glad it happened because now I know what to expect when I see all the other parents when our games begin. I feel transparent though. Everyone knows my problems and the adversities ahead of me, but all I can do is stand there and say, “I’m okay.” Even when I’m not. One of the honorees at the luncheon was talking about how much of her success can be credited to her husband’s support, and when she was talking and detailing how wonderful it has been having him beside her, I tuned her out. I was about to lose it, but luckily the person next to me said, “if I had to coach with my husband, I would probably kill him.” I turned to her and smirked.

After the awards were over I drove back home and got ready to head into the city to see my college teammate. We were going out to dinner and then to the St.John’s vs Creighton men’s basketball game. I had the blast with her. I also really loved the atmosphere of big time athletics. I love my university, but it was cool seeing how much the university and students embrace college athletics. Afterwards I was on the path train and I started thinking about how I was going home to an empty apartment. How I don’t have George at home to talk about avoiding a car accident, seeing my player get an amazing award, and how fun it was going to the basketball game. I just come home, walk Bodie, and then sit on my computer tapping my day into a blog. 

Last time I was at Madison Square Garden was November 2009 when George got me tickets to Knicks vs Celtics for my birthday. I bought him a Celtics t-shirt to wear to the game, because I made sure he adopted my favorite basketball team. That game was close too. The Celtics won in overtime and I remember I was the only Celtic fan in a heavy Knicks section. After the game he brought me to his favorite restaurant in K-Town because he claimed it had the best fried chicken. This was before we went vegan to help treat his cancer with nutrition. We were out until 3 in the morning, and we walked home hand-in-hand, and I fell asleep in the nook of his clavicle.

Being home tonight, I don’t feel alone, I am lonely.

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How fortunate am I?

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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.

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Breaking apart

imageSeeing that the last 6 weeks have been nothing short of a nightmare, I can only anticipate the beginning of this year will be a moderate reflection of those weeks. It’s become clear, after seeing candid pictures (see above) from yesterday’s alumni event, I look sad. Not a little sad, but really miserable. As if just waking up and reaching for a glass of water to only realize your right arm is missing. As this nightmare meanders forward, my New Years resolution is to find peace and learn to cope with what is now my new reality. To do so I need to take care of myself. I’ve been reading more, so far so good.

It is the first of the New Year and I’ve already cried about a half dozen times and it’s not even sundown yet. I am emotionally crippled and I no longer want to be. Yes, I’m depressed, but what am I doing to help myself? Nothing. I eat, cry, eat, do arbitrary mindless things, eat, write, cry, sleep. Then it’s more of the same the next day. I have let myself go, although many of my friends and family say I haven’t and that I just “look like I’ve gone through a lot.” That’s so vague. I feel unhealthy in every aspect of the word.

I’ve decided I want to take hold of my grief and turn it into something. I will make lists of what I want to accomplish in the day. Demands of myself because I should expect more. I am a strong woman and I need to break the binds that are holding me back from me being me. Basically I intend to break myself emotionally. There’s this dark cloud that hovers over me wherever I go and it’s about time it breaks apart and let some light come through.

Here are some lifestyle goals:

  1. For almost 2 years I was vegan and I felt the best when I was. When George and I found out he was dying we both jumped off. I intend on returning to a more plant based diet. Not as strict but I can no longer allow fear and death into my body until I no longer suffer from fear and death.
  2. I was a division 1 athlete and have been good about my workout regiments in the past. Not allowing myself to gain too much weight. Well I need to return to a workout regiment. Again, I stopped working out the day I found out George was dying and that was almost 4 months ago and on one hand I can count how many times I’ve worked out. I will do a minimum of 3 workouts per week to get myself back on track. I will edit this as seen fit.
  3. One positive from all this is I have been reading more. I will continue to read and write more. It’s a good mental boost and I like losing myself in it.
  4. I will go out with friends once a week. I’ve been known to be a recluse but I need to be a better friend. Friends are a pain killer.

Today I will plug away at what I’ve set up for myself as lifestyle goals. I plan in doing 100 push ups and 500 sit ups and doing Hip Hop Abs before the day is over.

Update: I accomplished my short term goals. I did the push ups and sit ups. I didn’t do hip hop abs. Instead I did yoga and at the end I started crying. It was a great release.