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When Michael died, I asked the hospice nurse for his ring. I wanted it immediately. I wanted to put it on my hand while it was still warm. To place it on my hand and to feel the last vestiges of his life in the platinum. My inscription to him still resting on his finger when he died. I wanted it transferred to me, and my hand, while the life was still there…while he was still warm and not quite fully gone.

I placed it on my hand and put my wedding band and then my engagement ring on after it (the photo above is my rendition of our 3 rings).

And there it has stayed. I haven’t thought about taking it off. Okay, I have but I can’t bear to.

For me it’s not only the connection to Michael but to what we were. True love. Real love. Endless as the circle. Going on forever. I twirl the rings several times a day. I look at them. I am proud of what we had. I am glad for the union we shared.

As we come up on a year I’ve contemplated taking them off but they symbolize so much to me. The way I was loved, when I was loved, by a wonderful, wonderful person. Some think that, as a year approaches, I should think of putting them away.

The balance in bereavement is always healthy grieving versus unhealthy enshrinement. And I’ve been aware of that as I’ve taken some of Michael’s things away and sold others and can’t bear to part with some odd things. I’ve been walking that fine line and sometimes I just don’t know.

The three rings for me are a comfort and sometimes a symbol of the love we shared and how a special being in this world actually loved me and showed me that love every single day.

It’s also the love I have for him. The love that cared for him every day in his last year of life. Who stood by him and advocated and stomped around holding everyone and everything accountable. While still tenderly kissing him and holding him and assuring him. It all means that much to me.

I don’t know. I thought that at a year I would know, but we’re almost there and I don’t know. And so they remain.

A VALEDICTION FORBIDDING MOURNING.
by John Donne

AS virtuous men pass mildly away,
And whisper to their souls to go,
Whilst some of their sad friends do say,
“Now his breath goes,” and some say, “No.”

So let us melt, and make no noise,
No tear-floods, nor sigh-tempests move ;
‘Twere profanation of our joys
To tell the laity our love.

Moving of th’ earth brings harms and fears ;
Men reckon what it did, and meant ;
But trepidation of the spheres,
Though greater far, is innocent.

Dull sublunary lovers’ love
—Whose soul is sense—cannot admit
Of absence, ’cause it doth remove
The thing which elemented it.

But we by a love so much refined,
That ourselves know not what it is,
Inter-assurèd of the mind,
Care less, eyes, lips and hands to miss.

Our two souls therefore, which are one,
Though I must go, endure not yet
A breach, but an expansion,
Like gold to aery thinness beat.

If they be two, they are two so
As stiff twin compasses are two ;
Thy soul, the fix’d foot, makes no show
To move, but doth, if th’ other do.

And though it in the centre sit,
Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans, and hearkens after it,
And grows erect, as that comes home.

Such wilt thou be to me, who must,
Like th’ other foot, obliquely run ;
Thy firmness makes my circle just,
And makes me end where I begun.

The Michael A. DiCarlo Brain Tumor Foundation is a proud member of the Grey Ribbon Crusade.

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Two years ago on fourth of July weekend, I brought Michael to his first Yankee/Red Sox game in the old Yankee Stadium (he had never been and it was the last year of the Stadium). I grew up in that Stadium and knew it was one of the last times I’d ever be there. I grieved the Bronx County Courthouse that you could see from the Stadium, the years in the Stadium growing up and all my fun times in the house that Ruth built.

What I didn’t know was that the man sitting next to me would start to fade from my life two months later and be gone 11 months later. I was so focused on the Stadium and not focused on my good times with the people in my life. It’s important to grieve everything…yes, even Stadiums, but not to lose focus of what you’re doing and who you’re doing it with.

I was so in tune with my grief about the Stadium that day (I even wrote about it on GPYP) the way a grief counselor should be. But I wasn’t tuned into Michael and the fact that he wasn’t having such a great time. Michael was fidgety and slow as a result of the growing tumors in his head. And I was annoyed to some degree. My youngest son counseled me to be patient with him. We knew something was wrong but we thought it was early Alzheimers. I know that part of me was raging against that possible diagnosis. I did not want him to be slipping away so soon into that kind of world. I had no idea that he had something more deadly that would take him 13 months later.

On that day in the Stadium I was careful to drink in all the sights and sounds that I had known for 40 years and that was closing. I had tickets to the last weekend and the last game so I saved some of my observance for that.

Little did I know that I would miss those game because Michael was in a coma in intensive care. There was no way I was leaving his side. The kids went all weekend and I was glad. Every one of my kids went to at least one game and I was glad. They needed the reprieve from the shock of what had just happened.

Now I know that I must be grateful for every day and every one in every day. My oldest sent my a picture of my oldest grandchild at his first day at Yankee Stadium, which was Friday. I was very touched. I love that my son is a good father. I love that my grandson is a rabid Yankee fan. 🙂 And I looked at the picture for a long time. And soaked it in, and appreciated it.

Yesterday I went to a cookout and my son and daughter in law and two boys were there. The boys were swimming in the pool and I was bopping them with a pool toy. They were squealing with delight as they paddled away and then came near. I was wet but happy. When we were all sitting around eating, I soaked it all in. I loved it. And I appreciated it. I will always appreciate any day I can be around my family. I will never ever ever take anything for granted.

I love those that I love. Not now and again. But every single day. No regrets.

I was watching VH1’s Undateable Men…what men can do to guarantee they don’t get a date and I was laughing. I would have never gone out with Michael had I listened to any of this.

1. “Manscaping.” HA. Michael was THE hairiest human being I’ve ever known. When he took off his shirt I joked about his Italian sweater. The idea of him shaving or waxing his body hair would have had him falling off the couch with laughter. He would have said, “I’m Sicilian. Deal with it.” Getting him to cut his hair or moustache or beard was usually a hassle. I could imagine asking him to remove any other hair. He would have thought I’d lost my freaking mind. Well, I liked having a man.

2. Cut off jeans. Michael didn’t wear shorts out but he did cut his jeans into shorts when they got too raggedy and he wore them around the house. AND the two legs were never even. Sometimes not even close.

3. Denim and Denim. They said to flee from any man who wore jeans and denim shirts and/or jackets. Michael sometimes wore all 3. The shirts and jackets usually said “Harley Davidson” but he wore it. A lot.

4. Can’t dance. Michael knew he couldn’t dance but I made him get up on the floor when I could. And I’d drag him around the floor. Some of the best dancers I knew were my worst nightmares. So screw the dancing thing.

There were so many others, I was laughing. Obviously cute, kind, loving, lovable and loyal didn’t count. Only if you were a hairless guy who could dance in nice clothes.

Yes, that’s what’s important. Ha. And I wonder why they’re miserable. Hmmmm….

I know I haven’t posted much. I think about it. I have some posts in my head. They’re working themselves out. They’ll come spilling out soon enough.

Sometimes I feel as if I’m floating by….feeling but not feeling…

I still have grief pangs at least a few times a week. A couple of months ago it was when Gina brought home her Senior photos. She looked lovely (though she wants to have them redone in the fall). She’s beautiful and smart and polite and an all-around good kid.

When she was younger her passivity drove me crazy. In the past few years I realize she is her father’s daughter. She would rather not argue, would rather not confront. She’s no push over but she’s a very go with the flow kind of kid. If she breaks the rules (not often but sometimes) she takes her grounding or taking her cell phone away with a grain of salt. No back talk. Occasionally a grimace. She is, for the most part, a sweet, cute, funny kid. And I know that Michael would be so proud of her.
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