Thursday, March 24, 2011

The Doctor, the Bankers, the Taxman and Hootie and the Blowfish

It has been a month exactly since my Daddy passed away. Even though it is on the top of my mind almost every minute of every day, that does not mean that the rest of the world knows that.

I think people are afraid to ask you about it after the initial couple of weeks they don't want to upset you; they don't want to make you cry. But really it makes you thinks that they just forgot.

You wonder how in the hell did the world possibly forget that I lost my Daddy. My world has changed, even if it is not always evident on the outside. There are things you can’t see on the outside. So I'll have to tell you, if I'm going to take it personal, I just have to tell the world it is OK to ask me about it.

Weeks and months later there will be people who don't know. You will have to once again gather yourself, and face the news. The Doctor, the Taxman, the Bankers, they will not know yet, you will have to tell them. It won’t be easy. They may not know how to react. There will also come a time down this new path that these people will have to be the ones to help with something. I'm sure they are sideswiped by the knowledge of this person’s death and they have about 3 seconds to make a choice. What to say...What to say? You can see the wheels turning. You can see their words forming.

In the last weeks Momma has had to cross the T's and dot the I's to take care of something almost every day since my Daddy passed. Everyday there is one more thing to take care of. She has encounter people that have been helpful and caring, thoughtless and insensitive. For some the wheels turn and the humanity finds a way to come out, they offer their condolences. There are others that turn a deaf ear to what you have just said, ignore the bright pink elephant in the room and just do their needed task and send you on your way. Is it because they don't know what to say, or maybe don't know how?

I like to think that for the most part people care, they just have their own reasons for their reaction or non-reaction. Maybe it makes their own grief come to the surface and they have no words for you. No words for you because it would be too hard for themselves. Maybe they don't want to ask how you are, they don't want to cause you more grief, and they don't want to make you cry. I don't know what the reasons are, but it is an unexplainable feeling to talk about my Daddy's death to a stranger—a customer service representative—and then with their expressionless face they just ask for my drivers license and turn to their keyboard, begin their data entry and never acknowledge what this is really about. What it is really about is that a part of me is gone, a part of my Momma is gone.

Customer service is an industry. It is the focus of meetings, conventions, books, seminars and it is the responsibility of every business—if they want to keep their clients and patrons. Customer Service is the face of any business to the public. You can't fool us, the public; we have been programmed to recognize the banter of customer service. We know to listen for good customer service. “Hi, how are you today?” “How can I help you?” “What can I help you with today?” “Would you like fries with that?” “Let me know if you need anything.” We always recognize bad customer service when we walk into it face first like a closed door.

From my side of the desk I want to know that my patronage of the business does not get some, programmed canned learned at a seminar style of customer service. I want to hear that you Mr. or Mrs. Customer Service Person are also human, and you recognize that my Momma is not a number My Daddy has not just changed addresses, he is gone, and he is missed. Recognizes that even if gone, he is still more than the member number that needs to changed and a new password noted. How about let’s hear a “Oh, I'm so sorry, let me help you take care of this.” Because as a client I should not be just a number, let’s act like someone’s life may have just changed. No it's not your life Mr. or Mrs. CSR, but the client's life and in this case it is our life that has changed. Let us add to the customer service seminars some quotable human sounding expressions to help us down this path—make that part of your job.

3 seconds is just about all it takes, the wheels turn.... and then they say...

The Doctor was teaching an intern during Momma's appointment, maybe he did not hear when my Momma said it. If he did not hear her I find that sad, because her words “I lost my Husband”...those are not easy to say. This doctor has always cared about everything before. He has been spot on with diagnoses and has always sought healing. I consider him as the best doctor I've ever seen. But on this day maybe while he was expressing the need of good bedside manner to the new student he just did not catch that tiny little part about Momma's whole life changing—changing completely, creating a scar that can’t be healed by his hands. He never reacted. I hope the intern learned all that is needed about bedside manner.

The Taxman did not know. We were talking about Darius Rucker from Hootie and the Blowfish and Hootie’s new direction in the world of County music. “Oh listen to this song”, the Taxman said to me and Momma. And there he was Hootie singing a county song. It was a beautifully lilting sad song, it was about loss. To me and Momma—exactly a month to the day later—it was to us about our loss. I'm sure the Taxman did not expect our reaction when he clicked play. Unknowingly he was sideswiped, but in those 3 seconds of wheels turning, he decided to show that he cared, that our grief mattered. Once he knew, “I'm sorry” he said. That was enough.

Of the Two Bankers, one made the right choice, one did not. Banker Number One knows Momma is a person with a heart that is broken. She is a face, not just a balance in an account. He made taking care of it personal. He knew her life had changed. His actions were the actions of understanding and caring.

Sadly for Banker Number Two, we were no more than another thing to do before lunch. We were the details on our drivers license. The Pink Death Certificate, the drivers licenses, the data entry and that's that. In the silence she took care of the shuffling of data, she was not can't be rude to just numbers. We said “thank you,” never looking up she said “you’re welcome. “ And with that her job was done. My Daddy was no longer the Primary.

The Primary...what a word.

How easy is it to remove someone’s responsibilities from the world? No Daddy no longer needs to be the primary on the; utilities, the checking accounts, Social Security, vehicle titles, life insurance the list goes on and on. There are multiple death certificates ordered because you have to prove to everyone and their brother's next door neighbor that a person is gone. But that notarized pink piece of textured paper with the State Seal more or less just says: I the State of by certify that this person has been relieved of their responsibility in this world. They no longer have to take care of all of these things. Thanks for spending your whole life being productive, this stamped pink piece of paper says best of luck to those left behind.

There were many times I saw my Daddy pull off the road for an oncoming funeral procession, of a stranger. He said the reason he pulled off the road is that “even if you did not know the person, this is the last chance to show respect for them and the life they had.” It is the last chance for a stranger to show respect to that unknown person. The last chance you have to say they were someone, the last chance to say I'm sorry.

As strangers that small gesture of pulling to the side of the road may very well be the last chance to show respect for that person now gone. But strangers have a chance to show concern and respect to those left behind. I'm not owed anything from strangers. I understand that. But if you are the face of a business I do not see you as stranger. You are that business. I will see that business for what you show me it is.

If you don't know what to say...that’s an easy one, just say, “I'm Sorry” that pretty well sums it up. That is all it takes, to the world of Customer Service out there I request that you please add that to your list of challenging expressions the face of your business needs to have at the ready. To make your customers know they are more than an account number. And to show that you, the business, understand these little changes are more than just altering “The Primary.”

For the family that is still heartbroken it is life that has been altered on this side of the desk. When that pink piece of notarized paper is on the table it is about the loss of a person. We have lost a person that was “Primary” in more ways than being the first name on some record.

I'm the Customer Service face of a business. I hope I have always shown concern. If I haven’t I owe an apology to anyone I have not shown respect to during their heartache. I hope as the face of a business myself, I can in that 3 seconds of the wheels turning pull up “I’m sorry” That maybe the last chance I have of honoring the person gone and showing the person right in front of me that they are more than account so and so.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Do You Have Your Funky Bus Fare?

Do you have your funky bus fare?
Let me hear you say HO!

How much is the Funky Bus Fare anyway, can I use my debit card? Do I need correct change, and can I get a transfer to the “I’m over 30ish” line after 2:00 in the afternoon?

In the past month I have had more than my share of reason to remember, delve deep into cry and to smile. The smiles are sometimes because of the overwhelming humor of my childhood memories. In the past month I have also been to two birthday parties for my daughter’s classmates. Let me tell you, not much improvement or advances from the birthday parties of my youth. There are some differences, but there are not so many that I can't recognize the things I miss from being young.

Growing up in a small town there was not much to do. We did not have a red light until it was too late. Part of the movie The Night the Lights Went Out in Georgia was filmed there and we had a skating rink. When the Howard family moved to town it meant that pizza did really exist. Their family's once small pizza stand opened and our town folk flocked to them. I remember sitting next to the Howard's youngest daughter in the fourth grade and wondering, “Why would you move here?” However I came to understand that even the Northern Mountains of Georgia deserve good pizza.

The 80's in our small town meant big hair, and skating rink weekends, just Saturdays if it was a football weekend. The school dance was there at the rink on Friday nights after the home games.

When you pulled into the parking lot you could hear the thump of the bass outside. You know I can't even remember if the sign said anything but “Skating Rink,” but whatever the sign said you could feel the excitement, even outside. The metal building you entered was a welcoming shag carpet haven of fun. My Mom would snag a booth to sit in and I would go exchange my jelly shoes for the borrowed skates. The rented skates were the color of a brown paper bag. They had a white stripe down the back branded with the size, bright orange wheels and dark brown laces. My Mom sometimes had to use a lighter to burn the ends of the laces if they were missing the aglet and frayed on the ends. When I close my eyes, I can smell the singed nylon now.

There were not many choices for birthday party fare in town. It was only the skating rink or McDonald's I guess. When I had my birthday party at the rink I opened the best gift ever! It was just what I wanted skates of my very own. If I remember correctly even my cake was shaped like a skate. It was one of my favorite birthday parties. I had on cream colored jeans printed with pink roses. Oh those were the days! Skate shaped cakes and rose printed jeans what more could a little girl ask for.

So the next weekend we were headed to the rink. I had some cousins that were crazy good skaters. I mean crazy good, like Starlight Express good. As a little girl when we would show up I would so be like “yeah, I'm with them.” (Please note how many “likes” it takes to convey my message of coolness) Some kid with coke bottle glasses and striped shirts would look at me like “you're with them?” And I'd be like...did I not just like walk in here carrying my bag with my purple pom-pom skates that says like “yeah I'm with them.”

My cousins would take the rink floor—it was like Moses himself was there and the waters part—they would pay their funky bus fare and it would begin. The Double Dutch Bus comin' down the street had arrived and they were the engineers.


I would watch my cousins skate with amazement while I was eating my jumbo pickle, grape fun dip, and drinking from a waxed paper cup branded with the old Coke logo. I might have walked in like “yeah, I'm with them” but I was never a skater like them. That would have been impossible. I would later take to the smooth blue rink floor where my new skates with the purple pom-poms of power were useless, they did not help me skate better. Oh no, the pom-poms had no magical powers. It was clear once I had run into the wall to stop halfway around the rink, and my mother had shouted “TUCK YOUR FINGERS!” when I fell--the ruse was up, no one believed my “like, yeah I'm with them,” no one. If I listen real hard I can still hear my mother’s voice over Super Sonic.

So back to the booth with my Mom, next to the metal fountain of the kids with the umbrella that looked like it was raining. The bottom is soggy on my wax Coke cup and my cheeks are red—both sets. I would regain my composure and make an attempt again. With each round I was getting better, each time wishing beyond wishes that Another One Bites the Dust was not the DJ's song selection just as I fall. Then the worst words a kid could hear...“couple skate” was announced from the elevated DJ booth of power. I wish I had a microphone in daily life—people tend to listen. Then after some slow hair-band power-ballad you would hear your release “now time for all skate...all skate.”

Let us fast forward a few years, the cousins have moved away and I have new skates with blue wheels. There is new music and bigger hair. You know what they say, “The smaller the town the bigger the hair.” There is no cousin coolness to ride on the coat tails of now, so I better bring it. With my blue eyeliner, rave hairspray, and my sequined LA Gear jean jacket...I so like brought it. You should never doubt that Rave hairspray is the official sponsor of the 80's and early 90's. I had a coiffure that will never be stylish again, but I rocked it then. NKTOB, MC Hammer and Vanilla Ice where calling my name and drawing me to that blue rink floor. I was now scared to death that there would be a “couples skate,” and that someone might ask me. I was not scared of the boy; I was scared of skating backward. I was a better skater now but the skating rink was not about being a good skater to me now, it was about seeing my friends and almost having an anxiety attack until they played Debbie Gibson. Spotlight on me Mr. DJ here comes Electric Youth.

Looking back I see that all of that time passed too quickly. Later on, weekends got busy, there were still the home game dances at the skating rink but it was not the same, for some reason going skating was not what I did anymore. Things changed, not the rink but me...what changed about me? Did I lose my Funky Bus Fare? I can't even remember when it happened but my skates no longer fit, they were pushed to the back of my closet and forgotten.

The next couple of high school years were filled with dates of mini golf, bowling, movies and ball games but no skating. Grunge music was what you were supposed to be into. My love of Debbie Gibson did not really fit into a mosh pit. The mosh pit is a whole other topic. Jumping in a big circle clump thingy? Did I really do that? Is that really dancing folks? Yes I fell into it, but no...No it was not dancing.

Then sometime later something clicked for me—I realized, I'm not really that girl. The mosh pit was not for me, not so much. I do like flannel shirts, but I don’t like Nirvana. I don't Smell Like Teen Spirit. I smell more like School Spirit, or maybe something floral. I was never all that angst filled. So hear this 1994—I LIKE TO SKATE, I like funk music. So I bought new skates. Kick ass new skates, with purple wheels and purple pom-poms of power. My hair was not as big now, but my love for skating was. Take that 1994! So you can take your angst, your mosh pit and go find someone else to wear your flannel. I’m going skating.

I find that time stands still for no skater. Here I am years later with my daughter at her classmates skating party. I watch her in borrowed glow in the dark skates, breeze blowing her pony tail back as she makes her way around a smooth rink. She is taking it all in, waving at friends, singing as she skates. There he is the “Biebster” blaring in the sound system...Like baby, baby, baby oh! Like baby, baby, baby, NO! (She may never know he is the Debbie Gibson of her time.) She is being young and loving the moment.

I guess maybe youth always has something to do with hair. My youth was filled with big hair, brought to you by small towns and Rave hair care products. My daughter will someday remember her youth filled with boys with premature comb-overs brought to you by Justin Bieber. But I hope she remembers these days, these moments. I hope she remembers how fun skating to Justin Bieber was. Being young and living in the moment. Black light skates and laces frayed at the ends.

Like I said before, kids’ birthday parties have not changed much. I realize what I have been missing—from this side of 30ish—I miss not knowing how to live in the moment like back then.

They say you can never go back, and that is true. My hometown skating rink is no longer there. It closed just after I bought those kick ass skates, the ones that still fit me today. There are days that I wish I had that Funky Bus Fare—if just for a moment. I think back on the wonderful memories of cousins, smiles, grape fun dips and Coke in a wax cup with the soggy bottom and I smile.

I think I might get my skates out in the next few days. Live in the moment, and not be afraid of falling.

Give me a HO if you've got your funky bus fare...HO… HO… HO
There's a double dutch bus comin' down the street
Movin’ pretty fast …....

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Beware of Puppies and Violins

I sale art. I work with the public. Which really means all day long I run my mouth, and we all know I love to run my mouth. I had a customer come in some time ago, it was a very slow day...and we talked. This very nice gentleman told me how much he loved his wife and seemed very introspective about their love and their marriage. “There is no secret.” he said, “Just don't give up. Learn each other’s ways.”

“Learn each other’s ways.”

Man that is deep and I am not sure if I have ever heard anything that holds more truth.

That is most of what marriage is, knowing each other’s ways. Beware of anyone who says that their marriage is puppies and roses, breakfast in bed and violins playing in the background. Be careful what advice you take from these people. Why be careful of this advice? Because puppies grow into dogs, roses die in the winter, someone has to wash the breakfast dishes and the violinist will need to be paid (probably 50% up front). Marriage is not easy, and pretty much it is always that is worth it...but it is work. I believe you are among the lucky if God guides you to the person that brings you balance. Life is about balance, and a marriage is about the balance you seek and the balance you also provide.

Balance is something you have to look for. Sometimes you have to look down to keep your balance, sometime you have to look up and trust that your balance will come from someone else. You have to “learn each other’s ways” and know when to jump in and be ready to steady each other.

I knew when I saw Lee that my Soul already knew his. It was a moment I will never forget. Lee remembers the same moment... however his was on a different day. Our “day we fell in love” stories differ slightly. But that is the case for a lot of folks, I guess. Your true love moment is not always the same.

Ours is my favorite love story, because we are the stars of the tale. We promised our vows, we believe in our vows. It is a deal we struck based on love. The deal goes something like this: I will protect you, I will encourage you, and I will call you down when you are being a jerk. I will be your best friend and hold your hand for the rest of my life. I will bring you balance.

A story is only as good as its characters. In great stories you learn about characters hopefully in some enduring ways. But as enduring as great characters are they will have struggles, they will have vices. Turning the page you learn more about each other. Sometimes more than you could have hoped for, sometimes more than you expected to find out.

1. He coughs once. In my opinion everyone should cough two times, the second being a smaller cough of finality. Try it now... I bet you coughed twice as any normal person should. The one cough, this will be a point of contention during times of illness, but I did promised in sickness and in health.
2. He thinks I'm a mind reader. Often at my most surprised times he will cap off a situation with “I told you, you don't remember?” But here is the clincher, how can I remember something I was never told.
3. Lee loves bacon, I mean really loves bacon.
4. He rounds up to the closet dollar on purchases. He will also balance a checkbook this way if given the chance. That never ends well.
5. He likes to take trips where we don't know anyone.
6. His jokes would not win over just anyone.
7. He likes expensive toys.
8. He would follow me to the ends of the earth to keep me safe.
9. He is an amazing gift giver and loves a surprise.
10. He makes me brave, and I know I'm not facing everything alone.
11. He will never realize I'm the funniest person he knows.
12. When the road was rocky he has carried me.
13. He will keep my balance when I can't look down.

1. I leave cabinets doors open, he never knew his job would be to close them.
2. I think he is a mind reader. If I'm upset and he caused it, why does he not know that? How can he not understand? Seriously?
3. I hate the way the house smells after bacon is cooked.
4. I pay the bills, I balance the checkbook. His need for round numbers confuses me. (If every gas transaction is 32.00 I wonder, did I duplicate? did they charge us twice? How many licks does it take to get the tootsie roll center of a tootsie pop? The world may never know).
5. I like to visit family on trips.
6. I love his jokes.
7. I'm cheap.
8. Sometimes I need to know I'm safe, He has to tell me.
9. I'm a terrible gift giver, I hate surprises, and I'm happy with sparkly new toilet seats for Christmas.
10. I want to be brave and act like I can face everything alone.
11. I think I'm funny, He can't quite understand why.
12. I don't want to travel a rocky road alone, ever again.
13. I will keep his balance when he can't look down.

Plans are great—if it is for something that has an end, but this is life, there is not an end to this story. We are all pages in a book still unwritten. There are just new chapters. We have today. Today is the day you can make the most of. Yesterday is spent and tomorrow isn't promised. In our marriage we have to try to stay on the same page or we might miss a very important piece of our story. Stories are always evolving, and the pages are always turning. We can't skip ahead; we can't go straight to the sunset-look at how much we would miss. My hope is that we may always remember the same moments, even if it is in our own way. I hope for balance.

Ours is a love story still being written. The moments captured and still to be captured in our memories will tell a tale of unexpected plot lines, celebrations, twists and turns, sadness and comforting. But if we hold to our promises of love for each other and be true to ourselves it will be the grandest story I will ever have the chance to tell. I don't think it will ever be in hardback. I don't think our story will be on a best seller list. It will be our story and ours alone. I will seek to bring him peace and I will require nothing less than peace for myself. We will find balance when at times it is too scary to look down. We are sometimes as different as day and night, but if we were the same, we would not both be needed. I love “learning his ways” it makes me let go of my need for understanding, it brings chaos to my need for order. He is my balance.

My husband makes me brave. Life has not been easy as of late but I don't have to face it alone. I will seek to bring him peace and I will require nothing less for myself. We will find balance. And balance is worth more than puppies or roses anyday.


Will somebody cut off that violin music? I did not bring the 50% deposit.

Lee, I'm sorry I did not get you the million dollars you ask for, maybe next year!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Rain, Tears and Coping

I have lost loved ones in the past—but it was never like this. My pain was never this pain. During times of others grieving, I had no idea what they were really going through. No doubt, my words of comfort to them were sincere and heartfelt. I wanted to say just the right thing to help ease their pain. But regardless of how sincere I was—I now understand that my choice of words meant nothing. However offering those words means more than is imaginable. There are no stories of how your own suffering compares that will matter. Your choice of words, what you think they need to hear, that does not matter. But the fact that you say something, you say anything, or in certain times hold a hand and say nothing at all…that is what matters. What matters is that we let each other know that we have known hurt and we are trying to understand. It is a common need to be understood that matters. That you know I'm hurting, that I’m longing and you say the words—whatever words so I know you care.

Today is my parent’s anniversary. I did not know that until tonight. That makes me want to hug my Momma and never let go. To say all those words for her to know I care, and that we are in this together, we always have been. We always will be. My heart is so sad for her. And I wish I was holding her hand always. What an Amazing Woman she is.

Tomorrow it will be two weeks since my father passed away.

That being said you can understand that the last 14 days have been filled with anxiety, tough decisions and wavering confidence in those decisions. You do what you think needs to be do what you think needs to be done. You deal. There is no right or wrong way to grieve. There is no right or wrong way to deal, or to cope. When the waves of reality hit you on any given day there is no right or wrong way to cry or to laugh.

As individual as the person you lost, so is your loss. This is going to be personal, this is going to be hard, and this is going to be individual. How could it not be? So all the prayers and kind words mean more than you know, but they do not alter your situation, they just let you know you’re not in it alone.

Coping is constant. I have found my therapy is in the small things. My daughters therapy comes from drawing, mine from counting things to remember about my Daddy, it's like counting sheep. Therapy is also brushing your teeth when you don't want to. Not hitting the snooze button when it is all you feel able to do. Facing the day, doing the same old things, but doing them now, now that your world is different. Making it past the “firsts” the first time you have to do those same old things, now that your world is different. Choosing to face the day, for whatever it may hold. Therapy comes in different ways, holding on tight or letting go. It matters not which you choose.

In the past months, as my Daddy’s illness worsened, there were more and more visits from out of town family and friends. Offers of “let me know if there is anything we can do”, came pouring in. One morning my Momma said, “When someone asks 'how can I help?’ I'm going to tell them the gutters need to be cleaned out.” We laughed over breakfast and how we all say it but what does it mean? In a few minutes however, with the help of my aunt, my wonderful husband was on a ladder doing just that, cleaning out the gutters. It made my Daddy happy. It was one of his last worries, of things he had not gotten too; “When I feel better, when I feel better” he'd say. Now His soul has found “better,” in a better place where he is released from his pain.

So now it is up to us from here on out. We will make the choices. We will choose, and those choices will be right because there is no wrong. We will find our new way. After this life changing loss there are decisions to be made, tasks to complete and steps to take to reach the next great adventure. You do what you think needs to be do what you think needs to be done. The next adventure whatever it turns out to be, you need to be open to it. You have to clear away the indecision, the doubt. It may seem odd but maybe it starts with cleaning out the gutters and pulling up carpet.

My parents have two homes, my childhood home in Georgia and their home near us in Alabama. There is nothing that could mean as much to me as them being here, being able to watch my daughter grow. And they are here just for us, there are no other reasons. They left a life, family and friends they’d known for years. For my Daddy he left a stretch of land he had always called home. They moved to Alabama to be with us and because of that, I had time with my Daddy that will be more of a treasure to me than any possession could or would ever be. He was worried about moving form the country, worried about living in a neighborhood. I hope he did not lose sleep over it—because he made friends in the new neighborhood that are now like family. He was always a good neighbor. You would think he had been here forever. Some people are lucky enough to call one place home. My Daddy made home where his heart was. He was always home when he was with us. Home is what you make of it—whether it is what you have always know or what new adventure you are willing to take. So on their new adventure they moved here and for close to six years their home in Georgia the “mountain house” has been waiting—patiently waiting. Waiting for what? I did not know until yesterday. It has been waiting to be made “anew.”

Yesterday I joined a crew of family pulling up carpet and sorting through my childhood home. There was rain, and then it rained on top of that rain. At times I was not sure if I was sweating, or if I had not dried from my last trip outside. My Daddy loved to listen to the rain on the tin roof. And I spent the day in what I will now call remembrance therapy. Listening to the rain, I sort, I remember and I add to my list of things to never forget about Daddy. Add - He finds a use for everything. Add- He wanted nothing. Add- I will never forget him. Add- He kept my cards. Add- He is still surprising. We sorted and purged, we cried and laughed. Memories that are treasures—treasures that hold memories. My Daddy was a collector of odds and ends. And he put away so may little things for safe keeping. And this is where I find that therapy comes in the small things. It was like a hunt, “Oh! What is that? Oh, did I really keep that? Oh, have you seen? Oh, there it is.” There are so many things, big things, little things remembered and forgotten things. The sorting, I thought it would be harder, harder to choose whether to hold on tight or to let go. But my choice was not hard, I choose both. Let a little go to make the things I keep mean even more.

I have learned more in two weeks than my head can wrap around—coping is constant, adventures change, and blessings are sometimes unseen. I will keep adding to the list, I will hold on, I will let go. Add- he always knew when the time was right. Add-he knew what the weather was going to be. Add- He loved an Amazing woman. I love her too. Coping is constant, and my memories will be made anew.

I hope it is a long time from now, but when I next speak words to console someone during their loss, I will still be sincere—as I have always been. I will say “I'm so sorry, and I love you.” But I will do it with an understanding I wish I did not have. Pains cannot be compared, it is yours alone. But I have known hurt, and I will try to understand, I will hold their hand. And when I say “Is there anything I can do?” I hope I get to work on something like cleaning out the gutters, and pulling up carpet on the way to their next adventure… to their anew.