Tuesday, March 30, 2010

In my dreams.

Last night I dreamt about Alan. He briefly appeared and it was good to be with him. He seemed happy, carefree and it had been months since I'd seen him. He was healthy. His neurosurgeon was in it too but Alan didn't care, and his doctor's presence seemed incidental. Regardless, to see someone so dear to you who's passed on - is a gift. Nights continue to be dark, though just as my mind was spinning the other night, Lily giggled in her sleep. That moment, too, was a gift and it put my mind at rest. To hear her dreams aloud in such happy moments help to ease my mind. There was a moment a month or so ago where she awoke crying and when I checked on her she was standing in her crib, arms raised in front of her, hands wringing together a la Lady Macbeth as she wept. What could upset such a little spirit so early in her years? I hope it was fleeting, her life is too new.

I don't think that Alan, Lily and I were in my dream together. That would have been even better. I'll wait. But the past few mornings Lily has taken his picture in her hands when she wakes. Perhaps he's been in hers.

Sometimes it's just too much. Got a comment the other day from someone infamously yet unwittingly insensitive about the fact I still have my wedding ring on and it got to me. I'm in awe of people who can sprint through life without taking a moment to take a deep breath and actually pause for some self reflection. Listen to the words that come out of their mouths, consider the person on the receiving end of those exclamations, stop - really stop to consider how their thoughts might be felt by someone else. But the people who say those things, generally aren't capable of much introspection - possibly because the running they're busying themselves with 24/7 is an escape from their own demons. If they ever really had the strength to contemplate what I have been through, what I face daily, or tried to imagine what it might be like to go through it themselves it just might be too painful. I get it, and know the intention wasn't to hurt. I'm generally able to let it roll right over me but this time - it just got me to the core.

I think I'm doing pretty damn well as a women who lost her husband of ten months twenty-one months ago, and brought a child into the world eight months later. I will always feel married to Alan. Will I ever find room in my heart for someone else? Maybe. I did for Lily and while I loved her the second I knew a baby was growing within, I worried about my ability to love so fully again . She proved me wrong the second she started her acrobatic midnight performances when I was pregnant and jump-started my heart the second I laid eyes on her, held her in my arms, seconds after she was born. Might I love someone else again? Anything is possible, but I still long for Alan, he was my man, my other half, the father of our girl.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Everyday Blues.

Sunday morning I slipped out to a restaurant, tax prep materials in hand while Lily went out with her grandmother. It was a cool but sunny spring day and I felt good. I could relax, enjoy a quiet breakfast, tally some ominous numbers and not feel as rushed as I usually do. And as I happily brought my perfectly toasted, perfectly melted, scrambled egg sandwich to my mouth a thought interrupted my momentary near-enjoyment;

"God damn. I am so sad."

There it was. Didn't even see it coming. No warning sign as with my migraines, or a rude postal worker, it just showed up. Reared it's ugly head and knocked the wind out of me. And Lily is the most beautiful antidote for pain but even she, the second wonder of my world, can't always soften the blow. My heart just constantly aches and I am still getting used to the fact that it's never going to go away. Nothing the sandwich could do about it either. I have marvelled recently at the fact that even though I have always loved food and relished in anything delicious, nothing tastes that good to me anymore. Truly. Ever since Alan floated away nothing satisfies other than holding Lily. Foods I once loved no longer do it for me. Of course I still go after them, in hopes that perhaps I'm merely having an off day (or else the chef is) but as a food lover, it's as though I've lost one of my senses. The deadening continues even though every day I really do choose life. It's just this constant gnawing. Sondheim sums it up aptly in "Everyday a Little Death" - it's written and sung in a different context but I hear it as the more you love the more you hurt and the more you have to love, the more you have to loose. How very true. How tricky life is. Well worth it, but painfully true.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Oh New York

The weekend was a beautiful one. Spring has begun to show itself and it was liberating to come out of hibernation with a t-shirt on. Lily has hit the park over the last few days with only a sweatshirt - so she is even more agile when it comes to collecting bits of nature wherever she roams. Unfortunately yesterday, the second we got to the playground my daughter made a beeline for every single piece of trash in sight. First it was a shopping list, then a popsicle wrapper, then a juice box. Not sure Woodsy Owl would be pleased - of course Lily was drawn to their color and shine - but I found myself overjoyed to fish leaves and sticks and pebbles out of her mouth because at least they weren't trash. I love NYC but I don't love the carelessness with which people throw wrappers into the street, toss cans and bottles into bushes. I remember Alan berating me for berating a man in Times Square for littering - it took me a few years to understand that in New York City, people aren't all approachable and that confrontation can take a life if you're not careful. But when it comes to the playground it saddens me to see it - Lily saw a plastic bag flutter toward the play structure and while it did have its own beauty as it floated through the air I didn't want her chasing it. On the subway recently some teenage kid glared at me and told me to switch seats and yesterday I sat next to a foul mouthed girl on the train who was proud of her attitude and seeming toughness. All of the sudden I am now regarding the world through the watchful eyes of a parent and I'm even less in love with what I see and hear. Grit is fine, dirt is fine and I love that this city is overflowing with color and music and plenty of unusual and dimensional personalities. But my child is defenseless, and a sponge for all that she sees and hears. She is beautifully undescriminating and I have much to learn from her. But I often feel like a mine detector these days, constantly on the look out for danger ahead. It is a joy to see her fast asleep at night, arms sprawled over head, one knee bent and flopped to the side, the other leg carelessly hanging between the rungs of her crib. In her most quiet moments it is a relief to see her so free - wandering safely in the confines of her dreams.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

More firsts.

Everywhere I look, I see families. That was the hardest thing about Valentines Day. Not seeing couples on dates, Alan and I weren't big on the holiday, but seeing new parents out with their babes celebrating their new love as a family. That hurt. I was out and about, frantically doing errands while a sitter watched over Lily and I was almost oblivious to the day except for the families I saw in cafes and on corners. Many widows struggle with images of happy couples, walking the streets in bliss, but that never really gets to me. I'm genuinely pleased for their love and it reminds me that I, too, had it. It was short lived, but I was graced with it. But when I see parents together, oggling over their little ones - exchanging glances with one another, speaking that language that only parents share with one another, that is painful. My envy is immeasurable.

And that is how it goes. I am showered with photos of friends and their newborns, or families on momentous occasions and just like wedding photos, they consist of all family combinations and parent/baby portraits - I am fine until I see the father/child segment and then I fall apart. I recently had to see a slide show of images that covered close to forty years of a marriage and as the images progressed I had to avert my eyes. So many memories, trips, parties, moments - it was unbearable. Beautiful, but much too painful to watch.

How I wish I had just one photo of Alan adoring Lily.

This last weekend she turned one. She had a ball on her birthday, I think she knew it was a special day. In the morning she played the guitar and pet her new rocking horse, midday she celebrated with a hearty portion of mac and cheese with family and other mac and cheese loving kiddies, and she toddled all afternoon with energy she must have been reserving for the day. She was all smiles and busier than usual - had no time for cake, or naps. Sunday she went for her first haircut. Dramatic as it was she remains a stunner, inside and out, and even though she refuses hair-clips, I can now see her dreamy eyes once again. As I wheeled her home - locks of hair attached to a certificate - carefully tucked away, I longed for Alan. These are moments of a lifetime, and I feel such guilt that he's been deprived of them, and such sadness that we couldn't share the experience together. Lily's new "do" brings her even closer in resemblance to her father but as I observe her everchanging behavior and evolving personality she really is one of a kind. I know if he were here that we'd marvel at her animated antics - in jest we'd look suspiciously at each other if she did something "inherited", and we'd celebrate with humor and affection our truly unique sprite.

Just yesterday morning I caught a glimpse of her as she fairy flew (as her grandmother so aptly put it)the distance of her crib. It was 6:14am, and I've no idea what it was in her little mind that propelled her with such excitement as she reached the other rail - but she was awake and full of life, ready to cover more ground. I cannot believe we've already journeyed for a year together - quite a milestone for the two of us and her everloving dad.