Monday, July 27, 2015

Clearly my posts have been few and far between recently.  I'm not sure what I attribute it to.

In truth, I've started, stopped, saved, and safely stored more partial posts than I've likely published.

Maybe the reality is that I'm healing.  And while the initial onslaught of posts was therapeutic, maybe I've required less blog therapy in the last month or two.  But I'm not sure I buy that.

No, I think at best I've been distracted.  Distracted by what exactly, I don't know.  But, every so often - more so in the last week - Jill's absence creeps back into focus.  I feel it heavier in my chest.

I think of her all the time.  All.  The.  Time.

And then I wonder, does she know that?  Does Jill know she's always on my mind?  Is she in my head, able to read my thoughts?  (I''d be okay w/ that.)  I'm certain she knows she's always and forever in my heart.

Then I think, how engaged in our lives is someone that has passed?

Are they omnipresent?

Do they dip in and out?  A periodic check-in b/c they have to share attention w/ so many others..?

If I want Jill to know what I'm thinking, do I need to verbalize it aloud?  If I don't speak it, does it go unknown?

Apparently I'm trying to create a structure that I won't likely comprehend until it's too late.

Sometimes I just go w/ it.  I'll lie in bed at night (still finding sleep hard to come by).  Our My room is black, silent.  And I speak to her, just over my breath.  It's kind of embarrassing, even doing it all alone w/ no one in earshot.  I don't say much.  Just a few lines to let her know I love her, I miss her, and sometimes that I'm doing okay.

Then, to further elongate my streak of insanity, I lie there and wait patiently in the dark, almost straining for some sign of a response.

It's amazing what you'll attempt to convince yourself of when placed in certain life-altering situations.  Outside looking in, I'd probably roll my eyes at my current actions.  What are you doing?  Don't dwell.  Don't sulk.  Move on.  

I'm not harming anyone.  I don't think I'm harming myself.  I'm just doing what feels right to get by.

It's fair to say that several times a day - still - I feel like the wind is being knocked from me.  I genuinely have to catch my breath.  And I'm okay w/ that.  Maybe that's just Jill's way of getting thru to me.  Maybe...

All love,

J, J, & r

Jill at Ro's first haircut


Monday, July 13, 2015

Fucking 44

My daughter's home from camp and I want to write about her return.  But, all I can think about is that Jill's 44th birthday is tomorrow and we don't get to celebrate it w/ her.

So, what do we do?

Do we celebrate in honor of her?  What does that look like?

Do we consciously avoid celebration?  

Do we just let the day happen and react w/ the emotions that invade us?  

Honestly, I haven't planned anything for this day.  And I feel a little guilty about it.  But, on the other hand, what's to be planned?  What's 'appropriate'?  

Over dinner tonight, Ro suggested we play "Happy Birthday, Princess" tomorrow morning.  When Rory was in her Disney phase, we stumbled upon this golden nugget.  And we've played it for one another's birthdays ever since.  It's obnoxious and over-the-top.  It's Disney.  We sing it w/ glee.

So, that'll happen.

But, what else?  I certainly do not want to gloss over the importance of the day.  And I won't.  Mainly I just want to honor my best friend in a way that is pleasing to both my child and myself.  I just don't know what that looks (or feels) like...

Since Jill passed just over eight months ago, my sister, Lindsay, and I have sporadically expressed the following curt question to one another in conversation.  "Where the fuck is she?"  

While I won't speak for Linds (though I probably can w/ some accuracy), I tend to deliver this line w/ a combination of perplexity, exasperation, and a minute moment of utter disbelief.  

This question rises up w/in me again tonight.  Seriously, where the fuck is she?

To this day, I don't think I fully accept or grasp the fact of my reality.  Most of the time I do.  But there are these openings, these pockets where that incredulity still resides.   

Over the past week or so, I notice I'm paying more attention to the Jilly pics positioned throughout the house.  Some I stare at, allowing myself to transport back to that moment, reliving a watered down version of it it in my mind.  Others, like the one that hangs above my head in the living room right now, I find myself looking at Jill for some kind of sign or communication.  Something from her to let me know she's okay, she's in a good place.  Ridiculous, but true.

I'm tired.  I've been tired all day.  I tend to get this way when something is working at me from the inside.

I don't know what to do, or expect from tomorrow.  It's not a day like any other day.  And I don't want to treat it as such.  I won't.  I just don't have a plan.

Jill would have a plan.

All love,

J, J, & r

Friday, July 10, 2015

Stability with Smiles

When you buy your first house, there's obviously a great level of responsibility that comes along w/ it.  One of the more obvious ones being maintenance - both inside and around the property.

I am not handy and I despise yard work.  Jill, on the other hand, could handle a drill and wasn't opposed to mowing the lawn.

Thank God.

In order to tend to the house, certain materials and equipment were required to be my wife informed me w/in the first week of us living inside our vacant house in Houston.  I'm fairly certain I fought her on every purchase...w/ no real leg to stand on...

"Do we really need an automatic lawn mower?  The yard's not that big."

"A hedge trimmer - really?  Can't we just twist off the few branches that stick out?"  (I'm an idiot.)

"No way.  I'm not getting a ladder.  I'm not getting a ladder b/c I'm not getting up on a ladder."

I've positioned the ladder on our slanted driveway as best I can to ensure maximum stability.  I'm climbing up toward the top, heart racing faster as each foot takes another step.  As I reach the top, I have to will myself to take that final (final?) step atop the roof.  (Apparently the gutters need cleaning.)

Well, I got up there.  And I flipped my shit.

Jill had been down below on the driveway throughout this ordeal, my one-woman-pregnant-cheerleader.  "Hey, you did it!  You're up there!"

(Is this where I inject the fact that we lived in a single-story ranch?)

"Yeah, I need to get down.  I need to get down now."

Jill could hear me cracking.  And really, externally, that was nothing.  Inside is where I was losing it.

Jilly talked me down.  I survived.

To this day, I am genuinely amazed and thoroughly impressed by anyone that can walk a roof.

So, why then would I ever consider voluntarily paying to jump out of a plane?

I've thought about that question.  And I think it has to do w/ stability...or the lack of it in certain situations.  A ladder, a tightrope, a balance beam - I never feel steady or secure in these situations.  (The truth is that I've never been on a tightrope.  I just wanted to use three examples.)

But, for some reason, the idea of stability didn't factor into my skydiving equation.

You jump.  You drop.  You parachute to safety...hopefully.

Jill gave me this generous gift before Rory was even an idea.  And as part of the package, Jill had signed herself up to go w/ me.  "I know you may not go thru w/ it if it's just you.  So, I'm making sure you do by doing it w/ you."


These were tandem jumps.  If unfamiliar, essentially that means you have a dude strapped to your back throughout the entire experience to ensure your form, timing, etc. are accurate.

I'm not a big fan of dudes on my back; but I went along w/ the process.

After not-so-extensive 'training,' we head toward the plane that looks like a prop from Indiana Jones.  The cabin is gutted, nothing left but a bench row on either side.  As we file in, Jilly and I get disconnected.  She's closer to the front, me toward the back.

As we begin to tumble down the runway dirt path, I remember leaning back to the guy strapped to me, "Does someone need to shut the door?"

"Nah, man, we're all going out that way anyway."

Shit.  He's right.

As the wheels lifted off the earth, the trained jumpers began to chant in unison, "Na-na-naaaaa-na, na-na-naaaaa-na, hey hey hey, gooooooodbyyyyyyye..."

At the time, I thought it was some sick ritual they voiced before each jump.  In fact, as I learned when safely back on the ground post jump, they were poking fun at the first time pilot.

As we're climbing, so too are my nerves.  The air in the cabin is cold, near frigid.  Shut the freaking door.

I look down the row to Jill for eye contact and comfort.  And I see her, happy-go-lucky, chatting it up w/ the people around her as if we're all on a private jet heading to a tropical island vacation.  The cabin appears brighter where she sits.  (The world was always brighter where she was...when she was.)  She appears as if she hasn't a care in the world.  She's content and right where she needs to be.

This was Jill.

I caught her eye.  She smiled her signature smile at me, lit up the cabin, and lit up my insides.

I could go on and discuss the unique rush you feel when free-falling back to earth.  But, that rush is nothing compared to that moment in the cabin.  And thankfully, it wasn't just that single moment.  Jill and I shared many moments like that smile exchange at 15,000 feet.

It's just that most of them were on the ground...though they often made me feel like I was flying.

All love,

J, J, & r

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

My Special Purpose

Both Jill and I have always had a soft spot for Steve Martin's film, "The Jerk."  And w/ that affection comes our ability to inject quotes from the movie into our everyday lives.  (Just last week I overheard Rory singing, "I am picking out a thermos for yooooouuuuu...")

So when the opportunity arose for us to see it back in the theatre, Jill and I jumped at the opportunity.
I remember it was a midnight movie, so we had to keep ourselves going and entertained until then.  While I was still a night owl at that time (shortly after college), Jill was never a night owl.  Regardless of what type of owls we were, we filled two seats in the theatre that night, laughing (and yawning) throughout.

I make note of this b/c I realized something while driving tonight.  (That's typically when my realizations - the car or the shower.)  W/o Rory present, I feel I've lost my special purpose.

Yes, admittedly and clearly, my special purpose is not (anywhere near) the special purpose Navin Johnson (Steve Martin's character) stumbles upon in the film.

In fact, very clearly, my special purpose is Rory.

Rory is my lifeblood, my focal point, my centerpiece.  And while I know she's in a great place right now (both physically and hopefully mentally), being detached from my special purpose - selfishly - doesn't feel natural.  And nor should it.

For a good stretch, my special purpose enveloped two beauties.  And, in a way, it still does.

But, w/ both physically absent, it's difficult to function like a complete human.  Outwardly, I think I'm passing for one.  On the inside, I know better.

Regardless, near or far, I'll always have my special purpose.

All love,

J, J, & r