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When Michael used to drive me to the train station we would pass a gas station where there was a truck outside with a “For Sale” sign on it and he would say, “I love that truck.” Every. Single. Day. Up the road was a house that was a farmhouse with two colors (one main and one for trim) that had been obviously custom mixed for them. Very spectacular-looking. So one day I said, “I love that house.” It was not in response to his love for the truck but just because it really stood out.

After a while with the truck, I would say, “Yes, I KNOW, you love that truck,” before he had a chance to say it. So when we passed the house, which I only said ONCE that I loved, he said to me, “Do you love that house?” It became a “thing.” We both did it. Even when the truck was gone I would say, “Yes I know you love the truck that used to be here.” Then he would say, “Do you love the house that’s still here?”

It was funny on so many levels but we both tried really hard to never laugh. We would just give that look to each other. It was one of the things that made us us. We had so so many things like that. Always amusing to me and to him and we tried not to let it show. We had some running jokes that were 12 years old that we did several times a year. Never got old with us.

I hardly ever go that way anymore. I can’t take the train anymore at all. I can’t get off it because I still look for him.

But last night the bus went “local” and went past the house. I hadn’t thought of it in a long time. As we passed I thought, “Do you love that house?” and burst into tears. On the bus, in front of a lot of people, and I couldn’t stop. I simply could not stop.

It seems like it’s been a long while since I cried like that, uncontrollably and in public. I simply couldn’t stop the tears. I had no control over them any more than I did the first few weeks after his death. So I just leaned against the window, closed my eyes and let the tears come. I had “kick in the stomach” moment where I just missed him with every fiber of my being. I was awash in how much he meant to me, how perfect “we” were, and how much of a hole was blown through my soul when he was taken from me.

It was “grief time.” A time when your body just lets you know it’s time to grieve a while here. I had planned to put sad songs on, Michael songs, in the car and cry on the way home. But my kids seemed to have other plans as two of them called me, each with some pressing life issue that I had to solve. Read the rest of this entry »


I sold Michael’s machinist tools on Friday night and today I went to the DMV to get the remaining car titles put in my name.

I sat in the DMV today, which was unusually horrifically crowded, in this complete Zen like state. I just kept staring ahead as I clutched the forms, the letters testamentary from the court, his death certificate and my identification. Everyone was complaining about how crowded it was and how long they were waiting. Everyone was talking to everyone else. I didn’t want to talk to anyone about anything.

I waited for an hour, then two. I kept staring ahead. I knew that when my turn came I had to go to the window and say “My husband died…” and I hate those words. I still hate those words so much.

When I got to the window the woman was very kind and I did not have all the forms and she gave me some and had me fill them out. Again, no emotion…just Zen like or maybe it was zombie like. I don’t know.

I came home and called the insurance company and said plainly, “I would like to take Michael DiCarlo off my policy.” The man said, “Well you can’t do that since he’s your spouse unless you have a decree of divorce.” I said slowly, “Michael is deceased.” It was just this horrible moment. Like I can never ever ever get used to saying it. Like it feels like a punch in the stomach every single time.

He said, “Oh I’m sorry…let me gather the policy information and I will get back to you.” Again I just stared ahead while on hold. He came back and said he adjusted the policy back to January since Michael was deceased before then.

So it is done. I will no longer see Michael A. DiCarlo, spouse on my auto insurance policy. Nor on my taxes. Nor on my work directory.

I didn’t think the tool box bothered me so much because he normally had it at work and had just brought it home before he got sick but when I pulled in the garage and it wasn’t there, it did bother me. All the things that made him who he was, the boat, the cars, the tools….they are slipping away.

It’s been almost 8 months since he died…19 since he got sick. It’s taken me this long to do these things. I have his cell phone still turned on and I want to record his message and then shut it off but that will take me a while longer as well.

I sometimes feel so disloyal. Other times I think that if he comes back, what will he think if these things are not here. I thought that the whole time he was sick. If he gets well, he will want his boat, his cars, his phone. I couldn’t touch them. And sometimes I still irrationally think that if he comes back…..

And then I am struck with the thought, “He is not coming back….ever…” and the grief wells up in me like it’s Day One. I don’t cry every day anymore. I sometimes don’t cry for three or four days at at time. I am stretching it out, learning to live without him…but the words “without him” can still steamroll me when I think about it too much.

And I sat there today staring ahead, for two hours, so I didn’t have to think that and I didn’t have to cry in front of the nice lady.

And we shuffled the papers and filled out the forms.

And then I walked out into the sunshine which felt bizarre and out of place. Like me.

And that was, somewhat, that.

Until the next time.

I sold Michael’s boat on Sunday. I’ve been staring at it in the driveway for 19 months now. He was working on it when he had his seizure. He had planned a fishing trip with his work buds and had just gotten his NJ fishing license (where most of them lived). He was very excited to be trying out some new lakes and taking his buds out on the boat. He never got to do that.

The boat has sat there and we tried to cover it the best we could. Michael was messy about a lot of things, but not covering that boat. This house was the first one that did not have a garage fvor it and he had made a shelter out of PVC piping and had taken it down just a few weeks before he took ill so that he could work on it.
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