August 25th, 2008
Sometimes it is hard to accept that all but the present is out of our hands. This morning, moments ago, I semi reluctantly but without reservation turned all things to god. The wise old man on the hill god no longer seems to work for me. But neither does trying to bend everything to my will. I recently told Josh, my pastor and dear friend that I felt I needed a new relationship with god. I think that may be synonymous with needing a new relationship with myself as well. So this morning I turn all things to the care of god and pray to be a vessel of that energy. I offer up that which I cling to most. May I be of service to those I love on earth and in the big blue heavens.
I have been greatly missing some really close friends these last few days. Ori and Tamara are both on vacation (i don’t think I’m ever gonna let them leave town at the same time again). Alec has gone off to college, and though I could not be prouder I still miss him. And of coarse I miss Andrea. Sometimes joyfully and sometimes with great sadness, but not a day goes by that I don’t wish for ten more minutes. I am grateful that she is here in spirit in so many ways, but a little fearful that this will lessen with the move. I guess we’ll see.
August 20th, 2008
Yesterday was the hardest day in quite a while. I had been looking for secrets or things I had forgotten while packing over the last week and not finding much. I wanted to remember the Andrea before cancer. The one I fell in love with. The one I changed my entire life for. She did cancer with grace. But let me tell you she did life… I was in awe. Yesterday I found what I was looking for. A love letter here, a picture there, marriage vows… I wept for hours. In moving I will be saying good bye, though my fondest memories are not even in this house. They lie in a crappy little 3 bedroom row home on oakdale street. I pulled it all back together in time for clay to get home with his loving girl friday (Jenny). I had the good fortune of talking with two amazing friends who continue to help me keep it all in perspective. And the boys are always there as well. Today I am In love with the world and all its possibilities. Thanks for being here.
August 16th, 2008
Hi everyone! Alec here with a quick little update. A bunch of people wanted to know my address at my college, so they can send me letters and what not.
I live at…
2276 NATHANIEL ROCHESTER HALL
ROCHESTER, NY 14623
Send me letters if you want to…but be forewarned, I’m not very good at replying back
Much love to you All
August 15th, 2008
Sorry friends for being away so long. I feel guilty as if I have let you down. Or maybe it is Andrea’s memory. I will not let her fade so quickly. Not that she would let me anyway. I feel her presence often almost as if she got to stick around a while to see what happens. I think that though not perfect, I was a good husband. I don’t know much about being a good late husband or even a single parent for that matter. On a spiritual level I feel that death has rocked me far far of coarse. I guess I had expectations about the relationship between god and death that were not met. I pray that Andrea’s expectations were and hope I get to find out some day. If God is there then I’m sure he is watching over me and my family in this temporary state of disillusionment and if this is all we have then at least I believe strongly in love and humanity.
So as far as the title goes… I need some help. Help could come in a few different forms I think. My situation is this…. As you know we need to move around the 25th or so. I have managed to survive the day to day grind without my wife. I have even managed to pull of a few shining moments of parenthood amidst a little guilt about just getting by. I have not been able to pack for the move or tie up all of Andrea’s affairs and the clock is ticking. Part two of my dilemma is that Naomi was planning on coming down for a month and taking care of the baby so I could get a lot of this stuff done, but can no longer because she can’t afford to take time away from work. She really took quite a bit of time and energy away for her life to be around during the time of Andrea’s passing and for that I feel forever in her debt. So what I really need right now is for those who are good with kids (and know my little man) to maybe donate a few half days of their time to take clay out to the park or zoo or… so I can get some of this other stuff done without breaking the bank on childcare. Please feel free to give me a call on Andrea’s old phone if you think you can help. 215 806 8573. I will be making some individual phone calls as well to those who already said they might have some time, but even that is hard to find the time to do so if you want to beat me on the draw feel free to grab your calender and call. You guys have all been amazing with helping this family stay afloat financially and emotionally, and I thank you . I will try hard not to be a stranger for so long anymore.
August 4th, 2008
Hey everyone, there is gonna be a fundraiser for Clay’s childcare at Delicious Corsets (see flyer). The fundraiser is a Pie-Throw in the Face Booth. So have some fun chucking some Cream Pies
August 4th, 2008
So as of today, I have exactly 20 days before I move in to my college dorm…and needless to say I’m really excited. Is it weird that I’m not nervous at all? I guess I’m just ready for some change in my life…
So I guess the point of this post is to…I don’t know…hmm…Well, I guess I can talk about Saturday. So on Saturday, Kelly and I went to the Download Festival at the Susquehanna Bank Center (it should be called SBC…Susquehanna Bank Center is to long to say). The Stooges played, but The Killers were the headliners….probably because they get a bigger draw. Iggy was awesome! At 61 he is still a god! I was so excited, screaming the words to No Fun, 1969, Search and Destroy, and I Wanna Be Your Dog. I realized how much my mom would have loved to be there, screaming the words with me. It made me really miss her. Sometimes it feels like she’s not really gone, she just went on vacation and she will be back in a day or two, but she never does. The next couple of months are gonna be hard. I’ve never been on my own without my mom being a phone call away to help me. I’m not nervous about college, I’m nervous about going to college and not having my mother to call when I’m homesick or want someone to cheer me up the way only a mother can.
It really sucks sometimes, my friends (the friends who are my age) try to act like they know what I’m going through, but you can’t understand this pain unless you experienced it first hand (with the exception of one of my friends who did lose her mother). And even if you understand, it’s still impossible to help. This pain is too real and painful.
Before my mother died she got a bunch of notebooks for each one of my siblings and I and started to write stories in them about when we were little. She wrote our medical history, she wrote what she wanted us to accomplish in our lives. Things like happiness, a good marriage, kids, etc.. But she also wrote what we needed to realize. The one thing that is reverberating in my skull now is what she would always tell me when I was had a bad case of depression: “You are strong, kind, intelligent and truly LOVABLE. You are deserving of all good things”. She was the only person in my life who could make me feel like that was true…I miss you Mom
July 30th, 2008
Hi Everybody! This is Shayna writing. Though most of you won’t know me, Andrea was my good friend and a wonderful friend to my daughter too. We miss her. (great big sigh) Towards the end, I told my daughter, Jahna that we needed to say goodbye. I told her to think of the things that she wanted to say to Andrea. By this time Andrea was heavily medicated most of the time, so visits were unpredictable. Sometimes she was asleep. Sometimes she was upset. One day, perhaps a week before she died, we planned a visit. Jahna had written out the things that she wanted to tell Andrea. It was a list of all the things Jahna liked about her. We finally got to see her late one night and lucky for us she was awake. It was the last time I talked to her at length and it was really perfect. We told her how much we would miss her and how we loved her so much. She told us she loved us too. She said she wasn’t scared. That always amazed me. As usual, the kids were in and out of the room and Andrea was talking to them, directing them, advising. She was a mother right up to the end, telling Alec what phone he should get, telling Jesse which bedroom he should pick at the new house, talking about clothes for Bailey’s new school. She gave me some good advice too. She told me that when it comes to love that no one is perfect, that everything goes in cycles. She told me to be patient and to stick things out. Then her eyes started to shut. And I just held her hand and Jahna hugged her goodbye. Jahna still had her list, but Andrea was too tired so we left.
These are some of the things from Jahna’s list:
1. Her feet were a size ten (which made me feel better about my feet).
2. She only did her food shopping at Trader Joe’s.
3. She intimidated everyone.
4. She looked beautiful and put on make up even when she was really sick.
5. She knew everybody.
6. She had great fashion.
7. I loved to just be with her.
8. She told good stories.
9. She had a “Looking Good for Jesus” tote bag.
10. Her house was full of good energy.
11. She was totally different from anyone I had ever met.
12. She dressed Clay like a rock star.
13. She was hilarious.
14. When she ordered pizza, she told the pizza guy how to cook carmelized onions because he always did it wrong.
15. She had a mink stole (that always scared me)
16. She loved leopard print.
17. She rocked at board games.
18. She totally loved God and was never embarrassed to talk about it.
19. She really was a punk rock mommy.
20. She always told me how much she loved me
Last year I walked 60 miles in three days to raise funds for the Susan J. Kohmen Foundation. I walked in Andrea’s honor and it was really fantastic. I raised 2200 dollars in her name. Most of that money came in through people that I had never even met. People that read this blog, that loved her.
Andrea was really happy that I was doing the walk. At one point, I had walked about 40 miles and she called me up all excited. She had just gotten some seemingly good news about a scan and wanted to tell me about it. It was an optimistic time. She told me she was proud of me and said she could never walk 60 miles. I told her that fighting cancer was so much harder– but she said that she would rather have cancer than walk 60 miles! That was Andrea’s kind of humor. Well, this year my step daughter, Erin and I are both walking in honor of Andrea… in celebration of her life. It has been a great honor for me to be a part of her life and her death… and a part of her family. As much as I miss her everyday, I feel so lucky too. So, I do this walk as a thank you to Andrea —for the time she gave and for her six completely awesome kids and in hopes that someday soon research will lead to medicines that give women like Andrea more time. Please visit our sites and thanks to everyone.
July 29th, 2008
I don’t feel like I get to miss my wife as much as I’d like to. When I do it hits me like a ton of bricks. I hope that soon things will slow down enough that I find time to sit down and remember her and actively miss her. I just worry that being a single parent is so overwhelming and details fade from memory so fast… I just want to hold on to some thing.
Things have been moving along how they do, sometimes easy, sometimes seemingly more than I can handle. Contemplating giving up Slo (the basset pup) as a toddler and a puppy is a bit much for me right now. This is a bitter pill as Andrea was really on me to try to make the puppy work out… Alas I can’t do it on my own and the kids are less than thrilled about training a pup no matter how cute he is. Sooo Any takers ? As for everything else I feel like I am settling into a single parent groove ok but everything else is coming pretty slowly.
I have a bunch of stuff to get organized, Andrea’s stuff to pack a million phone calls to make, accounts to close …ect. I tend to knock about one of these things of my list a day at the most. The list is getting smaller, but still a bit overwhelming. We’ll get through it all eventually. I joined a gym with the boys and they have been trading off days working out with me . This is great for me because it makes me work out every day. They are really enjoying it much to my surprise and I used work out daily for years so I have a lot that I can teach them.
Finally I just want to say that I miss writing what I call the Morrisey blogs, You know sugary sweet and all about love. Sorry it turns out that I was writing those for Andrea and you guys got to read along, the thing is now I don’t feel sweet about much… cept clay, I try to be hard but he cracks me every time.
thanks for stoppin by
July 26th, 2008
Our grief seems to manifest itself in many strange ways. Collectively we have: Building a blanket cave in our room and living there, not doing chores, calling the puppy names, pooping in the tub (ok that may just be because he can), starting fights over dumb stuff, starting fights with everyone in the house, professing unrequited love to a close family friend, unsuccessfully looking for blind dates on the internet, retail therapy, playing video games well past bedtime, still not doing chores and acting confused when it is brought to ones attention that the house is a mess, answering every question with “I Don’t know”, being uptight with those only trying to help, living on the internet… ect.
I guess we are all right on track, beautifully F’ed up. Seems pretty much perfect for now. The trick is to catch one self or call each other on it. I frequently have to remind the kids and myself that things are seldom what they seem. When we are jammed up about the “little stuff” if we take a minute to feel we will usually arive at “Damn, I miss her.”
Other than that I have been working my way though a little bit of the stuff I need to every day. Car insured, license renewed, ect. Apparently the social security benefits that Andrea though the kids would be getting don’t exist. Apparently she didn’t work enough in her lifetime to have the government do anything for the kids. Lousy, because that was to be a big part of my child care fund. Folks are always asking if they can help… so yes, If you are good with kids (and I know you) if you want to take Clay somewhere and do something with him for a few hours here and there ( especially during the rest of the summer) so I can have some time to pack, make appointments, go to the gym, make an AA or church meeting…. That would be super helpful. If you want to come over some night and cook our food and have dinner with us… That would be supper helpful (ha ha get it). I get a strange pleasure a out of knowing that Andrea would be rolling her eyes at that last one. In case you didn’t know I married the queen of the eye rollers.
I feel like the universe (that means you) has already been more than generous for this lifetime, But fyi any donations to the paypal account at this point will most likely go to childcare… And that would be helpful. I am trying to do the best I can as a single parent and some days are better than others. Unfortunately I can’t multi task like the missus used to.
As we of the secret handshake like to say.
This too shall pass.
July 22nd, 2008
My apologies for making you all wait it out. Its hard to be here right now. I want to honor my soulmate and at the same time am struggling hard to get out of cancerland and on with the business of living. Single parenthood has its ups and downs but I am so in love with my little man that its worth every exhausting minute. The other kids I love equally but they are easier (they can talk) and Andrea did such an amazing job raising them. I have been busy taking care of as much stuff as I can before I go back to work 3 days a week. Some moments I feel free to laugh with friends, other moments an overwhelming emptiness washes over me. I’m sure it is the same for the kids. It manifests itself in different ways with each, but I know them so I see it. Being a widow is strange. It is not being single. Being the widow of someone as well loved as Andrea makes me feel both like royalty and totally untouchable at the same time. To a certain degree this is true ( I did a reality check with a few close friends and they agreed.) Grieving, I think for men seems to intensify you baser needs. I feel guilty for being that cliche. I guess I miss being held at night the most. Andrea was my true love, so much so that I got the words true love tattooed down the backs of my arms shortly after meeting her like some decoration of purpose or saying I believe in true love. Cancer is so hard to go through with your lover. The loss gets deeper as you go but you need to make it ok for your partner. Loss of breasts… People would say “they’re just breasts” in trying to help. As if I shouldn’t feel loss over this. They were beautiful breasts and as a husband they were often quite comforting. The loss continues and one by one things that I love about my wife disappear. Probably the hardest was the last 3 months with the growing need for pain killers. I began to miss her before she was gone. This was not the woman I fell in love with although enough of her shone through that I was still madly in love. Now that she’s gone I feel a little bit empty and scattered. The familiar doesn’t always comfort me in the way it used to. I guess I equate it with loss. When I step outside my social circle I don’t have to talk about cancer if I don’t want to and that is nice. I am starting to focus energy into taking care of myself again. This is something that I did little of in the last 6 months. I have to be doing things now that are healthy for me so that I actually have something to give the children because I feel about empty now. It would be nice to be on speaking terms with God again. It’s not that we aren’t talking its just that my understanding of God got a little rocked in the long hours of Andrea’s death and is now in flux. It is what is and I’m really hoping not to get 100 spiritual advisers on the comment list. I hope this still helps people out there. I’m no punk rock mommy.