Year Two.

Dear Scott,

They say that if a person passed herself on the street that she would view herself as a stranger. The theory is that our own image in real life is unrecognizable to us; we’ve only seen our face on flat photographs, through the lenses of a camera, and in mirrors. An ironic side note that I’d like to make: it’s also been said that our soulmates are the mirrors in our lives.

I’ve spent half second increments of time bargaining with God.

Maybe we could have you back and I’d promise not to ever speak to you. You could just be the kids’ dad.

Maybe you could come back just for one conversation on what I’m supposed to do in my life without you.

These ideas intrude my mind, and I brush them away like mosquitos. Blood sucking. Useless. Irritating. I know that these thoughts are impossible requests, and it angers me that they creep in from time to time. It feels cruel.

That being said though… Considering all of what I just spoke on, I wonder if you came back, would you even recognize me?

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You see, two years ago I was stripped bare. A tree. Shaved of all leaves. All branches. Shaved of all bark. Left to die.

As this dying tree sat there (to some, already dead), she had few choices…

The tree could say it was good while it lasted and give up.

Or.

Look to its own sap filled insides, now exposed to the elements, without bark and know there’s not much time. She could take a deep breath but had no leaves with which to inhale. Maybe ask the Sun for help, but she had no branches with which to reach.

So she remembered that she still had roots. She turned herself upside down, reached for a knife and carved herself into something useful.

I’ve spent the last two years uprooting myself and carving me into something of use to this world. That’s all I can think to do if I’m going to be here without you.

I reflect on my past life. I remember someone so scared of so many forces outside of herself, and I remember the person consistently loving me through those fears. I think of us, making our way out onto the patio to analyze under the stars and plan our life. I think of the beautiful soul that was beyond this world. A soul I knew so well then and understand so much more now. It took your death to show me the depths of how truly enlightened you were.

Regardless of what I knew then or what I know now, one thing is positive.

I carry you with me.

Sophie came to me last weekend. She cried, “I miss the memories.”

I thought she meant that she missed making memories with you. She went on further, “It’s not just that I miss Dad. I miss the memories of Dad. I’m losing them.” My heart ached, but then I realized it in that very moment. We carry you.

“I know, honey, it’s hard when we feel those memories slipping from us. Write them down while you still have them. Old-woman-Sophie will appreciate it.”

“Ok…” Her tiny voice quivered.

I grabbed both of her cheeks to look into her eyes, “We will never forget Daddy. Daddy’s presence is so strong both surrounding us and within us.”

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“That’s for sure.” She said, with a clear tone.

“We will miss him every day, for every event. We will miss his laugh and his smile. We miss the memories that fog within our minds, but Daddy is so much more than those things. We carry him everywhere.”

“Yes.”

She and I hugged and cried on and off for the afternoon, but we both knew a single truth: You have been absorbed into us.

It’s because of this, I’ve had the strength to change. Thank you for being my motivational speaker. Thank you for stepping out of work to call me because you got a text that said:

I need a Scotty pep talk. 

You don’t know the thousands of times I’ve wanted to text you during these last two years… To need the comfort of your husband over his own death is a duality that few will ever know. Just a bare tree…yearning for your comfort before realizing that you are absorbed into my roots.

It hasn’t been pretty. It’s been ugly.

But it’s been necessary; while I’m not sure you’d know who I am any more, I am certain that I will always recognize you. Like the Maya Angelou quote says:

People will forget what you said.

People will forget what you did,

but people will never forget

how you made them feel. 

Your spirit is unforgettable.

Until we meet again, I live every day for the reunion.

Love,

Meg

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Lovely Days

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Happy Anniversary.

When we talked about it a few months ago, it’s not the one that either of us thought we’d be having . I was looking forward to the ‘surprise date’ you were planning for us, and I think of it often… what was it?

What would we be doing right now? This morning?

That, I do know …

You would pop up to the first sound of your phone alarm – set to the song “Lovely Day” by Bill Withers, and I would pull the covers tighter, with my eyes still closed and listen as you opened drawers and selected a shirt from its hanger. On special days like Fridays (or anniversaries), I could hear you dancing or singing as you chose your ensemble. The creaking of the floor boards as you walked back and forth from the bathroom to our bedroom were like an extra blanket to me. Pure comfort.

Then, once your shower was finished, you were dressed and cleaned shaved. You always came and sat at the foot of the bed on my side, tucked into my little nook of blankets and the grumbled mess that I am in the morning. You would sit there, with your socks in your hand, and I would feel you thinking.

That’s when I would open my eyes.

This was our time to discuss plans for the day. See, it was the same thing every weekday morning:

6:45 a.m. Bill Withers’ Lovely Day

6:47a.m. Choose a shirt. Take a shower.

7a.m. Sit by Meg with socks and think.

My mornings are different now. They’re still the exact same replica of the one previous to itself, but the routine, itself, changed overnight. Mornings are difficult for me. You’re probably laughing because they always were, but this isn’t the “hit snooze 12 times” type of difficult.

I wake up every morning, sore from head to toe. The therapist tells me it’s because I’m a person who “internalizes” my emotions. I lay in bed and subconsciously beg God every morning that this isn’t true. Please tell me how to undo this. Immediately, I become angry with myself for even asking that.

Then there’s fear…

How am I going to get our babies and I through the day today? Do I have the strength to get up and make them breakfast? Get them to school?

Usually by this time, one of the kids has woken up, and I’m reminded that there is no questioning. There’s only doing.

And I’m doing my best.

6:45a.m. Lay in bed, awake.

6:47a.m. Pain, begging, fear..

7a.m. Get on with the day.

I know you’d be in awe of the way others have supported us. It makes me sad to know that some of these kind faces will never get the pleasure of hearing your enthusiastic voice. My God, do I miss your voice.

These are the things I miss the most. I miss my morning guy. I miss acting like you annoyed me, when secretly I admired your cheerful disposition and your energy. I’m really pissed at myself for not telling you every second of your beautiful life that I felt this way.

I’m sure our date would’ve been perfect, but it’s not the dates that I miss. It’s things like ordinary mornings and the sound of your voice.

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Painting in a Tidal Wave: Finding Enjoyment After Loss

Grief.
Contrary to what I thought prior, it’s not an emotion. It’s a condition. An illness. 

 I am ‘fine’ for several minutes strung together at a time. I can even carry on a light conversation without losing “it”. Once again, I can do this for several minutes. 

Then the wave washes over me.

And that’s when I lose the “it” I mentioned above. 

Yesterday, my best friend of over 20 years, Lisa,  took me out for the first time since Scott passed away. It was a painting event during the day, and the proceeds went to the American Cancer Society. We even signed a petition while we were there. It was to get a law passed, making it more affordable for everyone to receive the pill form of chemo therapy. 

I was nervous about going, but I, like my kids, have “safe” people who are tender in my situation. Lee* is one of these people. 


When we were there, I met some of her coworkers. I shook their hands and said “hi”. I was working hard to hide my shattered heart. Mimicking my old ways, I wondered if the act was working or if my face betrayed me. No real way of knowing, I felt it was best to get lost in the art project at hand. 

Painting pallets. 

The highlight: We were able to beat the crap out of our pallets. They had hammers, mallets, and chains, and safety glasses. It was very official stuff, and I was into it.

So into it, that at one point I realized I was the last person, whaling on my pallet. To say it was a release would be an understatement.

I proceeded to paint my piece of wood, appreciating its knots, experimenting with different colors. Once we were finished with that, the art teacher told us to wait. It needed to dry.

We sat for a few minutes. Waited. We laughed at the spelling error on my stencil.


 I waited some more. We all waited. 

Then it came.

Your husband is dead.

It, just a thought, a whisper, a reminder from nowhere, washed over me like an ocean filled with the weight of 60 years of memories. Lost. 

It struck me so concretely, I spoke aloud, “What the hell?!” 

I rushed to the bathroom, locked the door, and stood in the dark and sobbed.

 What was happening? I don’t know. I really don’t. Here I was in the dark at 2 o’clock in the afternoon on a Sunday. 

Then came something else – a different thought, whisper, reminder…

It’s going to be ok.

I cried more, refusing to accept this.

It’s going to be ok.

It persisted. I was silenced.

I turned the lights on, wiped my tears, and turned them back off. I stood in the dark, holding the handle of the door. You can do this. 

I remembered to breath, then I opened the door.

As for my project, here it is: 


Then and Now: a Confused Woman

“As much as you’ve wanted to, you can’t control the future, Megan,”

A notion I heard countless times before, yet never was able to wrap my heart and soul around its concept. Even still. Now. I remind myself that it is not a concept. It is a truth.

The future is out of my control.

Me: comfortably mediocre since I was an adolescent. In my own way, I thought by never doing much, I could never lose much either. I’ve been in limbo for years. Quietly panicking about the future, I’ve slept in a constant state of ordinary, not knowing what else to do. Throughout my life, if I couldn’t control it, I put no effort into it…

He awoke someone who had lived within me, dormant for so long. The woman who does what’s good for herself, who believes in herself… a woman who is happy… I couldn’t understand her before. Someone, once frightening, is now here and alive.

She is me.

He awakened the woman who puts the effort in…

And this is the point where I cry.

For years, I’ve been trying to put into words what Scott does for me. It’s like everyone else talks to the mediocre me. Scott speaks to that sleeping woman within me.

And she listens.

December 1, 2007. I will become Mrs. Megan Bajorek, but it’s more than that. It’s the day that I embrace that sleeping woman who he sees. It’s the day that I deny the girl who is fine with ordinary.

“…you can’t control the future, and neither can I! But I have you here, and I want you to be there in my future, by my side. That’s what I do have control over.” ~Scott, 2006

 

*EDIT– I wrote this by hand, before blogging and social media were gigantic. It was later posted to my MySpace, but I thought I would share it here.

Scott passed away in a car accident last month and reading this brings me both pain and gratitude. I wish I could have one without the other, but apparently, all good things come with a price.

The pain needs no explanation. He was the love of my life.

The gratitude is to him…

Leaving the school parking lot today, two moms power walked past my van. Sweet ladies, laughing and carrying on… I smiled, while wondering what they were gabbing about.

They’re probably talking about their diets, or the shape of their butts, or recipes they’ll be trying this week. They’re probably complaining about their picky eaters at home. These thoughts streamed through my mind and then one floated to the top. They’re probably complaining about their husbands.

I used to complain about my husband.

“He didn’t…” “He forgot…”  “He’s so…”  “He’s too…”

I look back now on these statements and see how oblivious and spoiled I was.

Me. Me. Me.

I was given such a gift. My person. Someone who not only understood me in a world that couldn’t, but he also asked me to be brave. He encouraged, almost demanded, that I be myself. He loved the ‘me’ I worked so hard to hide. All of that, and he gave me three babies.

Why would I ever pretend that it wasn’t enough? It was everything.
I don’t pray to turn back time. 

I miss being the sweet, spoiled, oblivious wife, but I know that’s just a distant fantasy now. My prayer is different. I pray to God for one statement: thank you.

I want to give all those mindless complaints back to speak those two words to him.

I plead for it daily.