I have been thinking lately that I have got to bite the bullet and start really going through things in this house so I can move in the summer. The thought, that most of the things I have to go through were last touched by Michael, makes me almost nauseous.

I went into our office, the place I once spent so much time in and just can’t seem to visit since he got sick in September of 2008. I’ve written on here several times that we had an office together when we were first married and used to sit in there and chit chat and play video games and just keep each other company. We sat back to back on our computers but we were together and often swiveled around to talk to each other. We had a private space (we had a lot of kids living at home including a wee one) and we loved it.

When we moved from there we didn’t have a room big enough for us both to use our computers. And I found that, over the years, I missed it. When we moved here I insisted that we have an office we could share (which is odd because if you know me, you know I like my space). But we reverted, immediately, to the “old days” when we would sit in there for hours, talking, laughing, or just each playing some game that we both liked and trying to beat the other one.

The office basically fell into ruin after he got sick. It had been my place to sort out bills and keep files and when he got sick, I couldn’t go in there anymore. I could just imagine him at his desk and the cards I gave him and photos of me were on the shelf behind it. I couldn’t bear to move them.

I don’t see some things anymore. The pool table that no one plays on anymore. And all of the boys love to play pool but I think that no one can stand playing without him. But it’s there, everyday, and I don’t think much of it. There are other things of his that I hardly see with emotion anymore. It used to be that everything I saw of his made me cry.

But the office always did me in, and sometimes I would think back to the night of his seizure when he was trying to research, online, why he felt so horrible. And I went in and gently guided him from the computer. I remember it was gentle, but I was also exasperated. He was acting very strange and somewhat annoying. Less than 6 hours later we would find him on the floor having a seizure.

So I stopped using the office. I would get mail and literally throw it in the office and slam the door shut. Over the course of his illness, the lights blew out, the cats went in there, things got increasingly messy. It took me almost a year after his death to straighten it up and I did and started using it again. But it didn’t last long. His computer is still there and I’ve turned it on a time or two and the messages and the saved games are still there as they were in Sept 2008. I think of reformatting the disk but can’t bring myself to do it. It feels, to me, like I’m wiping him out. Erasing him. But keeping it the way it is represents an expectation that he’s just going to walk through the door and sit down and play Tumblebugs, which was the game we were playing, like crazy people, the few months before he got sick.

So I wrestled with healthy/unhealthy…clean it up, leave it…don’t destroy it…dismantle it.

Lately I’ve been thinking I have GOT to start somewhere and I have a giant bin in the office that contained all of our miscellaneous stuff over the years, bank statements, mortgage papers, closing papers, things like that. Many of them are over 10 years old. No sense in saving them.

I sat on the floor in the office and started rummaging through the bin. The first time I came across a joint account statement, I cried. And that was about 5 minutes into it. Stop it, I said, stop it and keep going.

A few minutes later I came across a piece of paper in Michael’s handwriting with numbers of the kids and my best friend and my law school dean and a study group person. I thought to myself, “Why does he have all these numbers?” I thought to myself, “Was he spying on me when I was in law school? What is this all about?” I could not reconcile the thought of Michael spying on me with the Michael I knew, but I couldn’t figure out why in the world or HOW in the world he had my study buddy’s phone number (the study buddy was a guy…) But part of me was thinking that if he had done something so horrible perhaps it would help me in some way…it’s not the first time I’ve kind of wished for some horrible unknown fact about Michael to come to the surface…I know it’s twisted, but I sometimes wish for it. Not often, but it is sometimes there.

I kept staring at the names and numbers trying to come up with a reason he would have them. Then I turned it over and it has “John Muir Medical Center NICU” on the back. That was where I was following my near-fatal car accident. He had been collecting numbers of people to call about my accident and let them know I was in the hospital. The fact that he had contacted my law school dean and a study buddy astounded me. And I cried….and cried…and cried.

I said, again, STOP IT and get on with this. I went through tons of stuff, so many bank statements and tax returns and other documents. Most of it dry and bland.

Then I saw a piece of paper, several pieces of paper, in my handwriting. It was a letter to Michael that I wrote when I was in Santa Barbara during our second year of marriage. He had given me the trip to get away from the kids and the house and everything. He hated hated hated that I required alone time, yet he gave me this trip despite how much he would miss me and how hard it would be for him. And I wrote about that in the letter. How wonderful he was, how I loved him so much and our life and even our demon children (that’s what we called them) and that we would grow old together.

When I got to the page where it had “grow old together” I completely lost it. We did not get to grow old together. We never will. I just cried and raged and pounded my fists on the floor.

One of the most troubling things to me about this grief is the disbelief that he’s not here anymore. Some days I just can’t believe that he’s not in this world. That his life is over. That his heart does not beat anymore. That as much as I can see him, and feel him and hear him, he’s not there. After all this time I still fall into disbelief that he’s not around. I still fall into disbelief over how much I miss him still. Over how much I ache when I think that he’s never coming back.

I have a love/hate relationship with this house. It’s very nice, but it’s too far from the city and I didn’t expect to be here alone. We had planned to go through all the boxes that remain packed together. And I know that a lot of the boxes are his car collection, he collected little replica cars (kind of like Matchbox cars, but the high end) and in Texas he had built shelves all over the family room for his car collection and his shot glass collection. And he wanted to do that here and I didn’t want him to. And we were still in negotiations when he got sick. And I feel guilty that his cars sit in boxes. And yet I have no clue what to do with them.

After the letter I managed to go through a few more documents and then bring a few folders downstairs to store with things that are going with me.

But I lost steam completely after that letter. One day I’ll put it in its entirety on line because it’s really quite a beautiful love letter to a wonderful man, but for today I can’t do it.

I wonder, a lot, about erasing history. Erasing people from memory. Erasing their things from this world. Michael carried all of his family’s stuff with him and he wasn’t even that fond of them. I think it is so that they were not erased, or he just couldn’t deal with getting rid of it. I know that if I had gone first he would have just packed up all my stuff and it would stay with him the rest of his life.

But I can’t carry all this stuff with me. I have to start going through it…and do it in a timely fashion…but I’m still so deeply affected by the idea that this is like a giant pencil eraser I’m taking to the life of the most wonderful person I’ve ever known.

It haunts me and it hurts me. And I’m not sure where to go from there….

Advertisements