Angela had Aiden and his friends bring up Christmas Ornaments the weekend of Thanksgiving. I normally work on Black Friday and its a day that Angela would get both the kids to help set up the household decorations. This year, Aiden was there for a little bit of decorating… And I worked on Saturday as well. By Sunday night, we had one of the most “muted” trees I can recall. It was kind of like the way we used to do the tree before kids. Nothing silly or frivolous this year.
I turned in my petitions for the County Board yesterday. I knew this was going to be brutal. Unlike previous runs… I had little help from the “party” and needed 4 times the signatures I used to. By the time I got to the deadline, I was really behind the eightball. I have an established lump of folks in Tazewell 2 that I can go to… But this year was going to be different. I have not talked to some of these folks since the last election and have not seen them since Summer passed.
At one point on Friday night, I was attempting to walk the Tremont Tree Lighting festival for signatures and had a bummer conversation. I had just bounced off some guys who wanted nothing to do with helping me… And then ran into someone I “kinda” know. The next 10 minutes was a conversation about how hard the holidays are and how get through it. I had to walk it off… I cant handle this emotional yo-yo. Shortly after, Angela called me about the ongoing “closet project” and I told her I was ready to come home and help. I had accomplished very little in Tremont and I was about ready to throw my petitions in the trash.
Saturday, I grabbed a few signatures and talked to some neighbors. I had seen most of these folks a little over the past months and those conversations were much easier. I was building some emotional stamina.
Saturday night, I ran into a friend who was shaking the trees for signatures. “Bulldog” Pam told me to get it together and was even pushing me to get the kids at Casey’s to sign the petitions. This turbo boost was what I needed.
Sunday morning… I left the house at 10 AM and started working my way from Hopedale north. Hopedale, Tremont, Royal Colony, Groveland, Morton, Groveland (again) and finally Allentown.
The conversations were sometimes light. Sometimes political. But I had some serious Summer talk at a few stops. Deacon Tim and I dug deep and I was feeling emotionally gassed halfway into my run. I put my head down and kept going. A beer in Groveland at Shipley’s was much appreciated and powered me till nearly 7 PM that night before coming home with 60 signatures.
Yes, I could get signatures faster with strangers… But talking to friends means I don’t have to beg and do a tap dance to get past that “what does this guy want from me” moment you get with strangers. Plus, I am not wasting time with voters of unknown status.
Thank you to everyone who helped out.
As it turned out… Monday at John Ackerman’s office, I found that I am one of five people running for 1 of 3 spots open in District 2. The election is next March.
I was sitting down with an acquaintance for a signature on Monday and he asked how “my daughter is doing”. Kevin knew Summer was sick, but he did not know she had passed. I had seen him at Fort’s fairly recently, but I don’t stear the conversation in that direction unless someone asks. (This gets back to my Zorba post. We need an outward display to let people know we are grieving). He had that look like “Man, I am sorry I asked”. This is an expression I have become used too and I had to reassure him that he was fine. Its common. I see people on 6-month routines… If people come in and don’t know that she left us… They ask how she is doing.
These kinds of gestures and statements mean they have been thinking about her/us. That means a lot. When strangers, acquaintances and good customers come in and make a point to ask. I am happy to know she is in their thoughts.
We ran into Patrick Torry’s parents at COSTCO randomly this week. That conversation with them about loss and the holidays had me crying in the cart area in front of the card checker. We had to look like a mess to passersby. (In my fractured brain, I had said William… sorry if someone caught that earlier!)
Angela and I were walking through Menards last week (more closet drama) and halfway down the back aisle in front of the appliances… She turns and says to me “I miss Summer”.
You might think this is something we say a lot… But we don’t. We go about our lives with a lot of unstated feelings. I know she misses Summer. I’m sure she knows I miss her too. Again… PTSD. In nearly 30 years of marriage, we have always been moving forward. I cannot think of any times when we were not working towards something. You will notice there is very little free time around La Finca (Siempre Verano). The idle mind is berated and not allowed in this house!!! We do not sit around and talk about our feelings. We keep pushing forward as a rule around here.
So… Yeah. We can’t push past this obscene tragedy without picking it up and carrying it with us.
I had a thought when Angela said what she said at Menards “I need to figure out a way to fix this”. That’s what I do. I fix things. I have always had the toolbelt to fix whatever she needs. I had a workbench in the basement to fix anything the kids needed to be repaired. Customers bring me broken things at Fort’s every day… And we are there to fix them.
The thought that there is something that I cannot “fix” or improve seems alien.
I said before that I feel like the universe has breathed cosmic fire down upon our world. I went further when I recently said that God ordered “sweep the leg” on us. This is not something you can “fix”… Or “get over”. Its a profound change in the chart of our course in life.
This is a car (our life) that has been in an off-set collision test. We don’t get another car. This car is permanently busted and it’s on us to push out the dents and do the best we can to keep driving down the road (of life). As analogies go. It sucks. But it’s my biz… So, I will use it.
I never understood monster movies. Zombies, Vampires, Ghosts Frankenstein movies, or books. They never resonated with me.
When I think back now to Bram Stoker’s Dracula with Kenau Reeves and Winona… I was sure that Gary Oldman stabbing the cross in his church after his wife died was all for shock value. Let’s ramp the audience up with the sight of blood pouring from the marble while Dracula curses God.
Same with Frankenstein. This is an exercise in gore to get the audience squirming at the madman using body parts to build a companion.
I still have no love for the genre as a rule… But looking under the hood… I go back to the “how can I fix this”. I think that whoever wrote those stories knows the grief. Dracula. I know the hate and contempt for God at that moment. Frankenstein, the illusion that you can rebuild this or find pieces of your loved one to keep them alive. I know that feeling.
I had a blog post about Monster Movies and death that I was going to work out… But life is so jammed up. Blog posts come at quiet times with some solitude. When Angela and I were rotating duties in Memphis… I had the time and focus.
A new Ghibli movie is out. The Boy and the Heron. Summer would have demanded we see it… Or she would have seen it with Nate. I will figure out a time to see it this week.
I added a bunch of Italian language accounts to my Instagram. I constantly browse prices for going back as early as April. I have a problem. I want to go back tomorrow.
Spotify Wrapped came out for 2023… I picked up Summer’s phone and screenshotted her music data.
MUSE… In her last month, Muse was her top artist. Fall Out Boy and Yung Gravy were there as well.
I should take a dive and see what she liked about them.
Recently, I have found myself thinking about Hospice a lot. I didn’t used to. But I think this might be part of the healing.
Photos from that time seem very odd to me. That was not the Summer in my mind. I remember proclaiming that the body that left Hospice and was on display at Hendersons was what was left of the warrior. Her scars from the fight were now visible for all to see. I think that was the right frame of mind for the time. I am shocked that my mind has swept up some of that and repressed her shape and vision in my mind.
That’s enough for one random post. I have to say this is mostly positive (in my eyes at least).
I get very bitter sometimes. I had a pretty honest talk with Deacon Tim while hunting signatures the other day. He said he would pray for me. Like i said before… Knowing that people are praying/thinking of Summer and our fam means a lot.