It’s been a long time since I’ve posted. I don’t know how many times you can say the same thing over and over again.

It’s been an incredibly difficult year. In September my daughter left for college in the middle of the hurricane. Although I was going to miss her, it had been very difficult getting her through high school and keeping her on her game, on her studies, while her father was sick and after he passed. She was the epitome of daddy’s little girl and his sickness and death devastated her.

In her senior year it was imperative for her to stay on the straight and narrow and I think she was fed up with it by that time. Tensions ran high between us but all in all she is a very respectful kid and listened to what I said most of the time. She stayed on the high honor roll all through senior year (don’t know how, honestly) and graduated with an advanced diploma. She was going to NYU in the fall and so when she graduated I was very relieved. But then summer parties resulted in a few groundings and her phone taken away.

In August she turned 18 and in September she moved away to college. I was happy/sad/proud/relieved. I was looking forward to not having to be on a teenager’s case about grades and curfews and what have you. She was my youngest of 4 and, to be honest, I was exhausted.

But a week after she left, I fell down the stairs and fractured my back. That set off a chain of events where I felt as if the world were closing in on me. I was home all the time and couldn’t work. My boss, I knew, was unhappy but couldn’t fire me under the FMLA.

This was the year Michael and I were to celebrate our wedding anniversary by renewing our vows, taking a trip to Italy (second honeymoon) and preparing for a spring motorcycle ride across the country. We talked about it for years….when Gina leaves for college…. when there are no kids in the house… It was the great carrot at the end of the parenting stick.

I’ve been a parent for 34 years. We had wanted that freedom tour so badly. We had a whole other vision of the future. And although I knew all along it wasn’t going to happen, when it came the time when it was supposed to be happening, I could barely go 5 minutes without crying day after day after day after day. I just sat in the house and sobbed almost every single day. I didn’t want the holidays to come (our anniversary was the night before Thanksgiving).

I had to move out of the house as I could not be there by myself with my disability. I wanted to move from there into Manhattan but it wasn’t going to happen. I didn’t have enough strength and was in too much pain to pare down the house to move into a small apartment in the city. So I moved to Westchester county and am in a nice neighborhood and in an apartment that holds all my stuff. I have a river view and my cats like it here. It’s not where I want to be, but it’s a good stop.

So, somehow I bounced back and did go through the holidays with my kids and grandkids. And it was okay and things were good. Much better than I thought they would be.

Then it seemed, in January, as if I wasn’t going to be able to return to work and my world crashed again. All those months alone in the house had taken it’s toll and I wanted to go to work. And the insurance company thought I was somehow milking my insurance claim when the truth was that I was still in a lot of pain and the solitude and lack of direction was eroding my mental health. If I could go to a job every day, I would. If I could travel or spend more time with my grandkids, I would. I am certainly not faking or milking it. Insurance companies. What assholes.

Then one day I was pulling out of a parking lot and I guy comes flying in and hits me. He was yelling and carrying on and telling me it was my fault. He said he was calling the cops and I kept saying, “YOU hit ME.” and he kept telling me I was being dishonest. I hit a truck a couple of months back and LEFT A NOTE on the car within 5 minutes of doing it. I called my insurance company and had it all done within an hour. The man left a message thanking me profusely for being honest and NOW this guy was yelling at me that I was full of crap, that I hit him when I knew I didn’t. He was calling the cops and asking me how I could say I hit him. I figured that even if I was in the right they were going to cancel my insurance at this point. I said to him, “Look, you have one story and I have another story. That is what courts are for. You tell your story and I tell mine and the judge decides. I know, I’m an attorney.” And he says, “You’re an attorney? Forget it. I’ll never win.” and he jumps in his car and leaves without waiting for the cops. I was relieved but it still bothered me that he had been yelling at me and calling me a liar.

Also, I sold Michael’s pool table. The very nice one I bought him when I graduated law school. He loved that pool table. It took me a long time to put it up for sale even though no one played pool on it anymore.

When they were taking it apart, there was a repair in the slate. It had been cracked and fixed. I had no idea. They continued to take it and the man who bought it was freaking out at me as if I had somehow duped him. It was so hard for me to listen to it. I knew nothing about it. I felt as if everyone (this guy, the car guy, the insurance company) were calling me some kind of liar and that was pulling me further down. No one has ever accused me of lying or being duplicitous or trying to “get over.” It just about crumpled me. Especially since Michael loved my honesty and he would have stuck up for me. It took me days to get over the pool table thing and feeling like everyone was saying I was full of crap which is something I’m just not used to as no one has ever said that about me. It really shook me as I am just not used to being accused of being dishonest.

I sold the remaining pieces of our bedroom set. When we first got married we went furniture shopping and Michael actually picked out the set. Michael had zero taste and zero sense of style (and could care less about either) but the bedroom set was a good pick. It was beautiful. We replaced the bed a couple of years ago (I bought a new one when he got sick but he only slept in it once before he had to be in a hospital bed). I kept the long dresser (the one that was his) and the end tables and the curio hutch. But I sold them a couple of weeks ago and then I immediately regretted it. I have a small bedroom in the basement now and don’t have room for anything but a bed and 2 endtables, TV stand and narrow cabinet but I still miss my bedroom and our furniture and all the trinkets we had given each other which were all over the room. I still have a few in my room but most are packed away. I don’t know if I’ll ever look at them again. And it makes me sad.

Right after that I locked myself out of my house and just felt like sitting down and crying. I had to go for some spinal injections for my back (yes insurance company I’m just doing this because I’m not actually in pain!) and the woman kept asking me if I had a ride home (I didn’t). Michael had been my rock and always accompanied me to doctor’s appointments and when she asked me for the third time, I broke down and started to sob. On the day of the injections the nurses treated me so kindly as if they were taking pity on me. Poor dear, she has no one.

Just a couple of weeks ago my first love, Davy Jones, died. I felt devastated by that and I’m a person who doesn’t normally feel much when someone I don’t know dies. But whenever I saw Davy on television even if it was a Time-Life infomercial, I stopped and watched. Whenever I saw him, it made me smile. And it’s funny that I always described Michael as someone who made me smile. Both Michael and Davy had those deep brown eyes and Michael wore his hair long for his whole life. They were both short and I once saw a photo of Davy fishing and it reminded me of Michael fishing. The funny thing was that they were built similarly and I once told Michael once that he had the build that heart attack victims have. I was always on him about his heart. And Davy was the one who had the heart attack.

I thought about Davy’s family and how hard it must have been for them. I don’t know why. I remember seeing photos of him and his wife Jessica and thinking she was so beautiful and I was glad he had her. Such things I never think about celebrities or musicians. I never do, but there was something about him that made me think warm thoughts. And I just felt so deeply affected by his death and knew that it was somehow connected to Michael.

I thought about this for days. It seemed like all I could think about was the passing of my childhood idol. I kept thinking my first love and my last love are both gone. And I cried. A lot. I went to the store one day and put on all my Monkees songs (which is, like, all of them) and started to cry and then I was crying so hard I had to stop the car. I started to write a post about that day but deleted it. It sounded so ridiculous. My reaction to that startled me. I don’t normally respond to that kind of news in any kind of way. But I did. Still sorting that one out. I heard that many many people had a similar reaction and that it was felt hard across the world. But instead of feeling a kinship with the whole world, over a loss, it still felt like in this year, it was something I was all alone with.

The ripple effect that started in September is still being felt in my life. I have decided to do more with GPYB and turn it, finally, into a business that is viable. I took on a business partner who knows finances and marketing, two things I know nothing about.

I believe that the spring will be tough…the time we were supposed to be on the road…and I felt that when Daylight Savings Time came.

So Gina is home for spring break and we’ve made it through the year so far. I expect many new things in my life since all the old seems to be vanishing.

I’m trying to recognize this year as the one that needs to happen in order for me to finally plow through but I’m not having an easy time plowing through.

But plow I will.