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Yesterday I got my car stuck in the driveway, in a snow bank. And despite the fact that it’s 4WD, it was tough to unstick it. I actually had to go in the house and find the snow shovel and shovel out all of my tires a few times. And I couldn’t get up the driveway. It was not possible.

I had a few frustrated, “Dammit honey!”‘s but I didn’t have any sit in the snow and cry “where are you, honey?”‘s. I didn’t feel particularly abandoned as I usually do in these “Michael would fix all this without me having to so much as lift a finger…” scenarios.

When I went in the garage there is a pair of mechanic overalls hanging in the middle. As I went by I punched them. I didn’t feel particularly angry, but I punched them anyway. I looked in his car. I looked around at the ground. I looked for some sign that he was here and that I really didn’t have to dig myself out.

But I extricated myself from that fantasy, found the snow shovel, and went out and dug and revved and slid and dug and revved and slid. I did that a few times and finally freed my car to the point where I could back down and drive into the garage. I thought about attempting the hill again (my driveway is a straight up hill), but thought better of it. The snow was wet and heavy and icy underneath. A fluffy snow, even one of several inches, is easy to navigate up the hill in lo 4, but the wet icy stuff is impossible.
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As I updated on Facebook, this is very promising research news today. I hope this quickly leads to better prognosis for glioma (brain tumor) patients. Michael’s Foundation gives (and will continue to give) to the wonderful organizations who funded this research, so I’m very grateful to them and to you who have contributed this past year.

That’s all I can say.

I’ve been a widow for six months now. I still can’t grasp the concept sometimes. I’m still not “in” the definition. I am going to the National Conference on Widowhood (or widow camp as they call it) this summer. I’m reading Widows Wear Stilettos and am part of that group. But still the W word gets tough to swallow. Not because of anything it says about me. But because it says that Michael is not here.

I’ve just started to call Michael my “late” husband because a lot of times when I talk about my husband people who don’t know me think he’s still alive and it gets uncomfortable for both of us when I have to say what happened. I still talk about him like he’s still alive and I’ve realized I have to let people who don’t know me, know that he’s not.

The other night I was driving home and wanted to call him and tell him something. I then thought, “This is life after Michael. Do I like it? I don’t know yet. I’m not at the ‘liking’ it stage yet.” I’m OKAY. I was happy on vacation. I LOVED being with the kids and grandkids and daughters in law. I’m happy giving interviews. I’m happy when I’m caught up in book things. I’m happy when I’m talking to Gina about college and life and traveling. I’m happy when the gkids come to visit. I’m happy when I think about the new granddaughter due in April. I’m happy when I think about Opening Day at Yankee Stadium. I’m happy when people call me “author.” I’m happy to be going to see my best friend in high school after 30 years. I’m happy when my son offers to come back home to help me out with the house and everything. I am happy when I think I have good kids.

But each of those is a niche happy. When Michael was here, I was content happy. Like all was right in the universe in every area of my life.

Do I like being a widow? No. Will I find a way to happy eventually? Content happy? I hope so. We shall see.

I dialed Gina’s number and accidentally dialed Michael’s instead (we have the family calling plan so their numbers are one off). It jarred me to hear his voice when I was unprepared. It hit me like a whole new ton of bricks. I know I have to discontinue it some day but I’m still not there yet.

It wasn’t Valentine’s Day that upset me yesterday. It was the Daytona 500.

Michael went into mourning between the last NASCAR race of the season and the first one. He would tell me, all through January and February, how long it was until the Daytona 500. It was a holiday in our house. He would load up the snacks, lay down on the couch and he would be grinning from ear to ear….he would watch all the interviews later and the Dave DeSpan show (sorry Dave if I spelled that wrong, I never really watched you but Michael was a HUGE fan).

In 2001 Dale Earnhardt Sr. was killed at Daytona. He was Michael’s favorite driver. Michael raced cars and motorcycles and he said that his style was very much like Dale Earnhardt. Judging from the way he drove, I absolutely believed he drove like the man they called “The Intimidator.”

They were 3 weeks apart in age, had the moustache thing going and had a very similar attitude about life. So when Dale Sr. was killed at Daytona, Michael was bereft. We bought him, for all of the succeeding birthdays, Father’s Days and Christmas, at least one Dale Earnhardt Sr. item. We even managed to combine his passions. Nick bought him a Dale Earnhardt Sr. pool cue. He hung it up on the wall and no one was allowed to touch it.
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You took my hand
You showed me how
You promised me you’d be around
Uh hu, that’s right
I took your words
And I believed
In everything
You said to me
Yeah huh, that’s right

If someone said three years from now
You’d be long gone
I’d stand up and punch them out
Cause they’re all wrong
I know better
Cause you said forever
And ever
Who knew?

~ Who Knew sung by Pink (lyrics by Martin, Moore and Gottwald)

My firm puts out an internal “info book” every month or so. It contains your name, home address, home phone and your spouses name next to yours.

The February book came out today and for the first time, there was no name next to mine. I honestly felt as if I had been stabbed in the chest. It physically hurt.

It felt like someone rubbed a big eraser all over my life and that they’re rubbing out a special someone whose name should stand, forever, next to mine. Maybe whoever made the decision to take it out thought they were doing me a favor.

It did not feel that way.

At all.

Just like I did in the early days of grief, I fought back tears the whole way home and then just lost it in the car and sobbed for about 45 minutes over the disappearance…the fading away of such a special person who loved me so deeply.

It was like he was here for just an instant, and he said forever.

Who knew?