Sunday, July 4, 2010

July Memories

2007 SF Fireworks from USS Hornet
Originally uploaded by
Thomas Ricard

Let's keep this brief tonight. It's July 4th, and I keep thinking that Michael was still alive on this night last year. I don't think in these terms all the time, it just hits me on certain days. Coming up soon is the first wedding anniversary of my niece. I remember last July, wondering if we would make it to the wedding. I had bought flight tickets for the whole family, but had been arranging for the kids to fly on their own, as Michael hadn't been feeling very good about this time. In the end we did go, and we had a wonderful time. I remember hearing how some at the wedding were amazed to see me and Michael out there on the dance floor. Everyone knew that Michael's health had made a turn for the worst, and yet there he was kicking up his heals. After he died some people couldn't believe that the person they saw having a good time at the wedding, was now dead. My niece later sent me a picture of Michael and I at the wedding, which was very sweet of her. I think it was the last picture we took together, and I'm very fond of it.

Today is also the birthday of my best friend. She lives on the east coast, so we don't get too see each other very often. Yet in recent years there have been more opportunities than usual. About 6 months prior to our wedding, Michael and I took a trip to Provincetown. While on the east coast we made our way to visit my friend and her family in Connecticut. We had a really good time. They later came out for our wedding, and stayed on a few days so we could have a nice visit. After Michael died, my friend, Peg, decided that rather than come for the memorial, she would come the month after. You see, she knew that I would be needing a friend to talk to, as she was also widowed many years before. The one thing she remembered from her experience, was how everyone seems to disappear just when you need them the most. I really appreciated her doing that for me, and our visit was perfect. During the time of the memorial I was completely numb and shell-shocked. In the weeks that followed I started to feel things more deeply, and needed some company. I will also be seeint her this August in San Diego.

In the next couple of weeks will be my father's birthday, and Michael's mother's birthday. Although I won't be down south by the time my father's birthday comes around, I will be there shortly afterward. I look forward to sitting with him in his home, and sharing our memories of Michael. I do hope to visit with Michael's mother before I leave. I want to be sure to give her the birthday honor she deserves. She gave so much to Michael over the years, but especially during his last few months. His mother stayed here with us for most of the summer, and it was such a loving honor to share in his care with her.

July, full of memories.


  1. July is full of memories for me too. Each summer, we would briefly debate whether to drive to Nova Scotia to spend two of Don's three weeks of vacation time each year. Regardless of our decision, as soon as we got into the very hot, humid weather of mid-July, we would be making a hasty decision to toss everything into the van and drive 800 miles to the ocean. Well, here I am now - right where we drove to each summer. I've felt odd this last week or two... almost as though I came out ahead this year and that Don should be arriving any day now. Last week, while unpacking one of the boxes of stuff, I came upon a nice framed photo of Don - one that I took of him sitting on the rock formations of a beach here back in 1997. He looks so young and well and happy. I put it on the mantle in the living room which I use as my bedroom on the main floor of this old house. It's sort of like he's here in Nova Scotia with us now.

    The other thing that has been bringing back memories of July is that good friends are going through the C thing now too. Listening to what they are going through has caused a landslide of memories of hospital stays, chemo treatments, trying to figure out a super protein diet to keep strong and prevent weight loss due to chemo, etc... By July two years ago, Don's health was going all to hell. The line of chemo he had been on had completely failed and caused serious heart damage as well. I've been doing better at pushing those memories away, but lately, they're sneaking back. As I well recall, this happened around the same time last summer too - while I was trying to get the farm sold. Sometimes I wonder how many years it will take to selectively obliterate certain memories. I wonder if that's possible? If so, I would like to keep the good ones, but send the bad ones packing.

  2. Dan,
    You have a month of family memories - beautiful, bittersweet.
    This time last year, Dave was recovering from a very invasive surgery and was just getting home after a 2 week hospital stay and then 5 weeks at his mother's house. I took him to a performance at the Jazz festival on July 1st and then we moved back to his place. It was a quiet month. We were full of the future as the doctors were certain that they had gotten all the cancer. We were making plans and enjoying each other's company. Dave was so positive and optimistic. God love his positivity, he was amazing. I was as protective as a mother bear. Dave died of that cancer 8 months later. Now that I look back at that July, I feel naive.

  3. This time last year, everything was amazing, beautiful, and I was so thankful for me, for matt, for our life. This time last year, he was in colorado, hiking his highest peak, sending me messages and photos of him up there above the clouds, grinning. Less than a week to live, us, at this point in July - melodramatic, I know. Horribly. I am so thankful I knew I was Home, so deeply loved, so much goodness. I have spent most of today wracked with fear of forgetting that. July 1 through the morning of july 12 - awesome. How could such a thing being coming, with such goodness all around.

    It is weird to look at photos, isn't it. How could someone so alive, so HERE, simply not be anymore. I think of that for both of us, for both matt and I - though obviously differently.

    Thinking of you, in your July.