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.

So I didn’t get to do grief time in the car.

I got to do “Kids are freaking aggravating” in the car. I did say, out loud, “These kids honey, these kids.” I don’t talk to Michael as much as I used to but I still do when I’m in a “me” situation that would have been a “we” situation. Honey, Michael and Gina are bugging me. Can you see what the hell they want? Sure, sure. he would say. And each of them responded to him in a way they didn’t respond to me. He would have scraped Michael off the ceiling and given Gina the choices I just gave her but in a way she would choose one, for him, without whining. And he would say, “Listen to Mom.” Although he pronounced it more like Mum than like Mom. Another Boston/New York distinction. My kids call me Mom as in M-AH-M. Occasionally Ma. No more Mum. I miss the way he said it. I miss the way he just ended the circular discussions of me and the kids with a calm, soft, “Listen to Mum.” And that was that.

******

This morning I came into my office. As I’ve written about on here, Michael and I shared an office for 4 years after we got married. It was always fun, sometimes irritating, but always fun. When we moved from that house the next two houses had an office only big enough for one computer so he kept his in the family room. When we moved her, I insisted on an office big enough for both of us. He seemed really happy that I wanted him in the office with me. Of course I did. I had never told him how much I loved those years when we shared an office, side by side (me doing school work, him doing games). I even found some of the games he had way back when and found new games for him.

One day we were sitting in the office and he said to me, “Do you hear FatAss?” That was his name for Goobies, our 35 lb Maine Coon. I stopped and listened and I did but neither of us could find him. We looked everywhere.

We sat back down to the computers and there it was again. Michael peeked out his window. It would be absurd for Goobies to be out there as he was a huge cat, could not land on his feet and therefore avoided high places. There was only a lip outside the window, nothing to really hold onto.

But there he was. On the lip clinging for his life. Michael had to take the screen off the window in back of his computer to grab him. He said, “Comere FatAss. What the hell are you doing out there?”

We had no idea how he got out there. We checked all the windows, none of the screens were open.

A few days later I came into the office and Michael was at his computer and Goobies, who tended to follow Michael around, was laying on the window sill in back of his computer facing Michael and looking content with his tail doing a slight wagging movement and his eyes were slowly closing. I sat down. Michael was playing a game.

As he grew sleepier, Goobies leaned back against the screen and pushed it out far enough that it opened a space in the bottom and thumph, he rolled right out. Again he was hanging on for dear life.

Michael was laughing so hard he could not contain himself. I had no idea what had happened. All I knew was that Goobies was out on the ledge. I ran over while Michael was doubling over with laughter and pulled Goobies from the ledge. I think it was 15 minutes before Michael stopped laughing.

I come into the office every day, several times a day, and it was only this morning that I flashed over to Michael’s window as I walked by and the scene with Goobies came rushing back.

Again.

Sobbing.

Uncontrollably.

I miss Michael. I miss Goobies. I miss how happy I was just two short years ago when they were both here and entertaining the hell out of me.

I guess it’s a grief weekend. I am all tattered and torn in a way I haven’t been in quite a while. Recycling. Anniversary? (His birthday is in May). Mother’s Day? (he always bought me such great cards and gifts). I don’t know.

But I need to lean into the grief as much as I don’t like it. Otherwise it will keep pestering me at inopportune times.

So it’s time to put on some music and just let the tears come.

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