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Pain Increased… Again

Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I just read through two of my previous posts that seem to say similar things to what I am feeling again.  I mentioned that some emotions circle around and around and it is hard to “conquer” them.  Other times, I feel like I am finished with a particular emotion and I send it away only for it to come back with greater force, like a boomerang.  I read my post called, “Pain Increased”, and so much of it explains how I am feeling again right now.  I took time yesterday to pull away for most of the day to write in my bedroom.  In and out of writing, there were occasional conversations with my parents, who have been here since Friday for a visit, my four year old niece was here from 12:00 -5:00 but she took a nap for most of that time, I did a few things around the house, and I put together a dinner for six of us plus my niece.  It was nice to not glance at my to do list and stay home in my room for so long and write.  It was a very melancholy day and actually got even heavier as the afternoon turned into evening.

I did not have to cook much.  In my opinion, I was just putting things together.  I put a ham in the oven, which I had gotten with a gift certificate from Honey Baked Ham this week, steamed some corn on the cob that someone had brought over a few days ago, pulled out leftover potato salad that my aunt had made the day before, and another salad my sister had made, and I was going to make several tomato pies to go along with it.  The tomatoes had been sitting on my kitchen window sill and were just right for eating.  I also decided to make some sweet, lemon mint tea to go along with it all.   What I have done in the kitchen thus far, I would not qualify as cooking…. at least not for me.  Nothing creative or fun going on, just making do with what I have.  It was hard to begin the process of preparation yesterday, as small as it was.

I felt sad while I was beginning to work in the kitchen, but as with other things, I stayed in motion to get it done.  I put the ham in the oven, got the corn ready to steam in a pan, made the tea, and then began to get everything out for the tomato pies.  My dad came in and wanted to put some music on the iPod speakers and was in the mood for some American standards.  He chose Rod Stewart’s American Songbook and got the music started.  I have always loved listening to American standards, but I have had to choose my music very carefully since Michael’s accident.  We listened to music all of the time while I was cooking in the kitchen.  There were certain artists that were reserved for dinner preparation time, and Rod Stewart and his standards songbook was one of them.  Michael loved to come home to music, candles, and aromas from the kitchen.  He would quickly change his clothes, and then come down to join me over a glass of wine.  After chatting for a bit, he would slip outside to the back patio, and on his way out the door he would say,  “I am going to take my walk”, with a smile on his face.  This meant he was going for a stroll in the garden to check on things and enjoy the scenery.  It was a great way for him to decompress when he got home at the end of the day.  I would continue cooking and then, about ten minutes later, he would emerge back into the kitchen to visit with me again until it was ready.

Last night, my mom was sitting at the kitchen counter hanging out while I was slowly putting things together. It was slowly because my thoughts were far away from the kitchen.  Since I was wearing a white blouse, and was going to be working with cut tomatoes, I decided to put on an apron.  I leaned over to get one out of the drawer and suddenly I felt as if I was the only one in the room, with the sound of the music playing somewhere off in the distance.  I picked out an apron and thoughtfully put it over my head as I realized this was the first time for me to put on an apron since February 21st.  He had bought me the apron I chose about 20 years ago from one of our favorite restaurants at the time.  I remembered one day in early March, my sister Julie, my friend Nanette, and I were cleaning and organizing my pantry, when I said through my tears, “I can’t imagine ever enjoying cooking again.  I cooked and loved it because he enjoyed it.  He brought it out of me.”  I cried in the kitchen a lot that day.  Last night, it seemed everything was present for a good evening, but it did not feel good at all.  There was ambiance but it did not feel like it to me.  It felt lonely and each movement I was making in the kitchen was getting harder and harder.  The joy that had been there when Michael was in and out of the kitchen was not there.  It was fairly quiet in the kitchen, with the exception of the music.  I was not in the mood to talk and Julie was doing a little bit of small talk with Dad while she was opening a bottle of wine for us to have a glass together.  All of the songs that I was hearing seemed sadder to me than they had before Michael died.  The song playing at that moment was “I’ll Be Seeing You”.  It took on a whole new meaning for me.

I’ll be seeing you; in all the old, familiar places;
That this heart of mine embraces, all day through.

In that small café; the park across the way;
The children’s carousel; the chestnut tree; the wishing well.

I’ll be seeing you, in every lovely, summers day,
And everything that’s bright and gay;
I’ll always think of you that way.
I’ll find you in the morning sun,
And when the night is new,
I’ll be looking at the moon,
But I’ll be seeing you.

No one present was aware where my thoughts had journeyed, as I appeared to be busy with the task of cooking, but I felt like a robot doing what my body knew to do in the kitchen while my mind was free to be somewhere else.  As I was listening to the lyrics and was fighting the tears, I turned around to see Julie holding up her glass to offer a toast me and Dad, “A toast to another first.”  I broke down and shook my head.  I couldn’t do it.  I had held it in my own world of thoughts long enough and could not pretend a moment longer.  It was all quiet at that point and everyone joined in on my grief in that moment.  No one tried to say anything, (What can you say?), but hugged me and let me cry, which is what I needed.  I still was not up for talking.  I went into my office to put something away a few minutes later and took the time to cry a little bit more as I was looking at many pictures on the wall of the children and me and Michael.  I am not sure why so many more tears and sadness have hit me this week.  I know it comes in waves of severity, I just did not expect such a strong lash back.  The reality of life without my Michael continues to set in…


Anonymous Says:
July 20, 2011 at 4:36 AM

Praying for you-wish I could take your pain away.

Anonymous Says:
July 20, 2011 at 6:13 AM

Jene' I follow your post and pray for you and your family daily. I can only imagine the emptiness you feel. Bless your heart. P.S. Tomato Pie...I have never heard of it, will you please share your recipe. DH

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