I feel like if I had all the answers then things would make sense. if I knew all the things, if I could puzzle everything parse everything. if I could see where every single little thing fit in the world where all of the things had their place then perhaps I would know where my place was Because I do not. I see all the things and I don’t know how they fit I don’t know how I fit I don’t know where I fit. . big things huge things loom out of the dark like I didn’t know they were coming like I just fucking forgot (no, you didn’t forget you just forgot where you put that part of your memory ) does anyone else see the difference?
Ten. The babies are ten years old today. Oh-six oh-seven oh-eight.
Teaz’ka and Mojo. Ivan Rumpelteazer and Yevgeny Mungojerrie. The $50,000 Rescue Cat and Sgt. Mojohowicz. Stinkerbelle and The Fangster Gangster. My fanged, furry barnacles. My constant companions since you died nearly nine months ago.
My love, you worked from home, were home all day for them, *their* constant companion (whether or not you paid strict attention to them). They taught you their games, taught you how to play Fetch, Human! Teaz’ka became your 3pm alarm, telling you he needed his second dose of phenoxybenzamine.
Since your death, any time that I am anywhere close to being horizontal, there is at least one of the two on me, and usually both. They both sleep on me at night, in the middle of our king-sized bed. They are never far from me when I am home. I worry, now, about what would happen to them should something happen to me. I trust no one to care for them as I care for them; no one. The doors are always locked the second I get home, my phone is always with me. A few very close friends have keys to the house, just case. I am remiss in not writing out their care plans, their medication schedules, sharing my passwords with those friends for just in case. I’m not sure that I haven’t begun to become a bit more mad than I already am over this.
They are literally the most important parts of my life now, the reason I get up every single day. My friends, my family, I love you but you simply do not need me the way these two little creatures do. This isn’t to say that I do not love some among you more than I can express, more than I think some of you can handle, and I know that there are those among you who I lean upon with a sometimes (and many times frequent) desperate intensity. I know that some of us share a calm when we’re together; that we are a peaceful respite for each other. These boys these *cats* are my respite when nothing else no thing else no one else can help me. When there is nothing but noise and rage and pain in my head and heart these two beings are what keep me here.
For those of you who have met them, have had the pleasure of their small, soft, warm bodies snuggling into you, you get it; you know. I trust their judgement; there is not a single person I’ve allowed into this house in the last nine months who I’ve not felt comfortable around. They are my keepers as much as I am theirs; we take care of each other.
Happy birthday, babies. I wish your Daddy were here.
Six years ago this weekend, Gary gave me the gift of a six-hour studio workshop class at The Arm Letterpress in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, to learn how to properly print letterpress. It was the formal beginning of my love affair with this art, this absolutely not-obsolete, tactile beyond measure, satisfyingly delicious art. Handling cast iron machines built a century ago and built to last well beyond the next, sorting and discovering type in metal and wood and photopolymer and even some that’s 3D-printed, adding incredible words like “kerning” and “forme” and “quoin” to my neverending/always thirsting vocabulary, watching and listening to the movements and sounds these machines make, rhythmic and steady, heavy and sweet, showing others how to do, how to make, how to be one with the type; this is one of the best, most lasting gifts my husband has ever given me. The gift of education and knowledge.
Thank you, my love, for believing in my hands, knowing the magic they possess, trusting my excitement to carry forward.
Although this year was the most difficult year of my life, the most difficult year of my nearly half-century on this planet, I have learned, I have been shown exquisitely just how much I am loved and cared for and supported. All of you who are still here, all of you who are still friends have shown me so much care, so much kindness, so much tenderness that it makes me weep.
Although my house is so much quieter without Gary here to fill it with his big, booming voice, although it is colder, without Gary here to fill it with his constant stoking of the fireplace, it is still mine, and will remain so. One of the things on my list for 2018 is to make it more cozy, to make it more snug, to make it a more comfortable place for me and the kitties and for you guys to come and spend time.
I’ll be ringing in the new year across the street at the home of dear friends. Although in my heart of hearts I am wishing that Gary could be with me, I am truly okay. I am comfortable in my own skin, I am as much at peace with myself as I ever have been. If sharing our saga, our story, what has become This Widow’s Life helps anyone feel seen, feel heard, feel less completely alone, then I am grateful.
The only way forward is through. Forward, ever forward, into the new year, into my new life.
*this is in reference to a FB post at the end of 2016 that went like this: “Everyone comment about the good things that happened to them, instead of drowning in all of the bad things that happened in 2016.” It ended up to be really positive when all we wanted to do was sheetcake*