Thursday, September 28, 2006

City of Freakin' Hope

In my mailbox today...a large manila envelope containing cd's of Dalton's last two CT scans. The note reads, "We are returning your CD/Films back to you for your personal use..."

Well, I've been looking for some good reading material, right?


Angry. That's today.

Monday, September 25, 2006

Anatomy 35

eludes me.
Talk of cadavers and hyperplasia
steers me eerily away from the classroom
with its flourescent lights
and too deep seats.
Instead I am holding his hand,
grown pudgy after days of excess fluid,
signs of organ
He grips back,
But, really, he doesn't.
They have dimmed the lights.
I suppose.
They say it will be "soon."
Why does it have to be at all?
I have no interest in cadavers.
Or hyperplasia.
I do not like the wooden seats.
I only want to hold his hand.
I want him to grip me back.

Saturday, September 23, 2006


Iain's Godparents made a me a generous offer. This is nothing new for them; they've been going above and beyond since Dalton and I first asked them back in December. We often joke that they didn't know what they were getting into, but they did. And they really show it in both their friendship to me and their love for Iain.

Anyway, back to the offer. They would keep Iain overnight so that I could get some much needed rest. I could take a sleeping pill, go to bed early and wake up when my body said it was time to get up instead of when Iain decided he wanted out of his crib. I said "YES!" and settled down for a good night's sleep.

Interestingly enough, although I appreciated the sleep, what I really treasured was the morning. First of all, I woke up on my own (after the sun was already up) because my body was finally well rested. I wasn't sore, cranky, or desperately trying to think of a way to keep Iain quiet so that I could grab just ten more minutes of snooze. I slowly made my way out of bed, grabbed a lightweight robe and wandered into the kitchen. I casually poured myself a cup of coffee, turned on The Shins, switched the stereo to "Outside Speaker", picked up the book I intended to read while Dalton was recovering from surgery and stepped outside.

It was Fall. The sun was shining. The air was crisp. A light breeze was blowing. And the shadows were longer. Dalton always said that there was one day when your body became aware of the fact that Fall had arrived. Today was that day. And I was lucky enough to sit outside, sipping my coffee, and enjoying a really well written book. I wasn't rushed or melancholy or preoccupied with whether Iain was eating his yogurt or wearing it. It was the nicest morning I've had since just before Dalton went into surgery.

And eventually, I felt like going to pick up Iain. And I put the top down on the convertible, turned up the radio and smiled.


Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Let's waste time

chasing cars around our heads.

I have resisted the urge to download Snow Patrol's new album, "Eye's Open" for four months. A friend gave me the cd shortly before Dalton died, but I misplaced it, and that was probably a good thing.

Chasing cars kills me.

All I can see is us laying in bed together the morning of May 16th. He wanted to go to school and I just wanted him to stay with me.

I just wanted a little more time.

Just a little more time with the love of my life. to chase cars...

We'll do it all
On our own
We don't need
Or anyone
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel
Those three words
Are said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?
Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads
I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see
I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all
If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

Please, can I just have a little more time? to chase cars around our heads?

Read the Others

There are others who like Dalton, fought this battle and lost. And, there are some who have won. And, there are others who are still fighting. Please read their stories, think about them, pray for them. Those of us who get dealt the cancer card early in life feel really alone. There is a whole community out there that needs your support, so share the love. Here's a start

Tuesday, September 19, 2006

A Really Long Business Trip

This is a roller coaster ride. Right now, the dips and twists and turns seem to be weaving their way through anger, determination, optimism and extreme sadness. Yesterday, while moving my car from one parking lot to another in between my lecture class and my lab (a task I must do if I want to pick up Iain before the preschool closes), a stack of pictures fell out of my purse. I had tucked them into the outside pocket after a visit with some of Dalton's friends from work. They were pictures of Dalton feeding Iain his first solid food last 4th of July (guacamole) , the three of us visiting our favorite local winery, and Iain hanging upside down while his dad tickled him at the LA County Fair last year. For some reason, I became a blubbering idiot and had to sit in my car for several minutes while I composed myself.

I still can't believe that he is gone.

I know that is absurd, but it's true.

I think that most of the time, I just fool myself into thinking that he is on a really long business trip and will be back any day. I can't tell you the number of ties throughout the day that I think about calling him and telling him a funny thing that happened or letting him know that I'm runing late. And, when I realize I can't, I usualy just chalk it up to him being unavailable, not dead.

Iain is watching Winnie-the-Pooh right now and the Pooh song just came on. Dalton used to sing a modified version to Iain as a bedtime lullaby.

Iain the Pooh, Iain the Pooh
Chubby little cubby all stufed with fluff
He's Iain the Pooh, Iain the Pooh
Willy nilly silly old bear

Iain the Pooh, Iain the Pooh
Chubby little cubby all stufed with fluff
He's Iain the Pooh, Iain the Pooh

Time to go to sleep little bear

And I'm a blubbering idiot again.

Sunday, September 17, 2006

Friendlies Only

Please don't read this post unless you are my friend and can accept me as I am. This is a whiny, selfish post and I am reluctant to blog it. But I said I would be honest about this process and that means blogging when I am not who I would hope to be. Note that I am aware of this shortcoming and will rectify it, get beyond it, and live happlily ever after but right now, F-it.

There. I feel better. The Dodgers lost. Actually, Iain was amazing and made it through all 9 innings completely content to be outside in the hot sun. He cheered and clapped and kept pointing out ant the field saying "bay-ball"! I went with his Grandpa, my mom's husband, Larry. Larry and I never really cliqued until Mom died and since Dalton's death, Larry has really stepped up to the plate (forgive the baseball metaphor) as Iain's Grandpa. He comes over virtually every Saturday to be with Iain and do "guy" things around the house, like bring in the garbage cans and hang shelves. That is not the whiny part of the post.

Here it comes.

I am 31 years old and I am spending my Sunday afternoons going to baseball games, cooking dinner for, and sharing a bottle of wine with my Stepdad. Where is my husband? No, I don't even mean where is my Dalton. Just, where is my husband. I don't want to discover that I already had the best of what my life was to be. That doesn't mean that Dalton wasn't amazing. It just means that I've got another thirty years to go (assuming I die young!) and I don't want it to be downhill from here.

I'd like to think that I still have some spunk to bring to a relationship - joy, spontaneity, passion, intelligent conversation, fun, adoration, etc. But, crap, I can't do that yet. Dalton hasn't even been gone for 4 months. And, that makes me really, really selfish and uncaring. Of course, the truth is that Dalton has been gone a lot longer than that. Dalton has been gone since January 23rd when they cut him open and rearranged his insides. And, except for three weeks between January 1st - January 22nd (which were incredible and priceless), he had been gone since October. But, heck, who's counting right?

Alright so that is really the selfish part. I don't really want to go through the pain of grief. I'd rather skip it and move on to something better. And I know that makes me a biatch. But my God, I am not dead. I didn't die with Dalton and he wouldn't want me to.

Of course, he wouldn't want me to be over him after four months either. But trust me, I am not. I just don't like having to live here right now, alone.

If the title fits...

At what point do I actually consider a sleeping pill? This is getting ridiculous. For the third night in a row, I am wide awake in the middle of the night. Then again, maybe I should just come up with a list of things to be done around the house - clean out closets, organize pantry, hang art, etc. At least then the time would be productive instead of frustrating. Yes, that's it...I'm off to clean out the hall closets. There are towels to be thrown away.

Saturday, September 16, 2006

Single Ticket

The Dodgers are in a penant race and I am watching the game alone. And again, this isn't the way things are supposed to be.

Dalton should be sitting in the chair caddy corner to me with a glass of this Vitiano Falesco in his hand. I should have put Iain to bed early, while Dalton set out some manchego and poured me a glass of sherry. I should be standing at the kitchen ledge in the pink vintage nightie that he gave me for Chrsitmas watching with awe (even after 10 years) at was an amazing host he is. On a summer night like tonight, the game would be on in the background but the night would be about us. Saturdays were our night, the only night we kept sacred.

Tomorrow I am taking Iain to his first baseball game of the year. He's been once before, when he was 3 months old, when his Dad wasn't sick. I don't know what to expect. Actually, i have avoided baseball for most of this season, but as I said at the beginning, the Dodgers are in a penant race. This isn't the way things are supposed to be, but it is the way that they are. And I want Iain to like baseball. I want it to be our thing. I want us to go and talk about Daddy and tell him about the game we went to when I was two months pregnant and the Dodgers clinched the division in the bottom of the 9th. I want him to see the picture of the three of us at Dodger stadium and know how much we enjoyed it. I want him to cherish it the way I do. So, we are going to the game and I will tell him the stories and he will babble and ask for more hot dogs and I will buy him another hat.

And hopefully the Dodgers will win.

Friday, September 15, 2006

Christmas in New York

According to the little clock in the bottom right of my computer screen, it is 1:53am. I have been laying in bed for the past four hours trying to find some way to get to sleep. Clearly, nothing has worked thus far, so I may as well write.

I'm definitely angry these days. Not angry in a bitter nasty way, but in an "I'll show you!" kind of way. I met with my therapist today and explained my meadow metaphor and the fact that I feel like darting off toward the mountains or the ocean (anyplace but straight ahead). This, along with my obvious spunk sparked an interesting conversation.

In an oversimplified manner, here's what I realized:

1) Dalton was the pragmatic realist. I am the idealistic dreamer. Without Dalton, I am not especially grounded and tend to get caught up in the "Why nots?" of life. Why not visit a different city every month? Why not go to New York for Christmas? Why not flirt with the cute guy at the bar? Why not buy the best available seats for Sunday's Dodger game and take Iain to his first game of the year? Why not bet $300 on one hand of blackjack? Why not train for a triathlon? Why not take a leave of absence and wander around Europe for a couple of months? Etc, etc.

2) I like this part of myself. It is the risky, adventurous, fun, spontaneous side of me. Dalton like it too.

3) It is the start and a part but not the end or the whole of who I will be when I come out of this.

Dr. D. contends that as long as I hold some of the tension between reality and fantasy that I will be ok. Howver, she is strongly cautioning me from running into pure escapism simply to avoid the pain. Yeah, yeah, I know she is right, but it is so much more fun than being miserable all the time.

Thankfully, I have Iain, who grounds me in the same way his father did. I can't/won't spend all my money, bail on my job, risk my health (wine is good for you, right), or abandon him to world travels. However, everything else is fair game. And besides, I think he is going to like New York at Christmastime.

Wednesday, September 13, 2006

Not Quite Settled


I haven't written recently, because I haven't stopped going. I caught an early plane last Thursday for Northern California and spent the weekend with good friends indulging in wine, witty conversation, and a fabulous end of summer party. Immediately following my return, I buried myself in Human Anatomy, specifically osteology, in preparation for today's grueling practicum. This is my first real "break".

As it turned out, the weekend was actually a catalyst for a personal paradigm shift.

I love airports. I've never been one to seek out or even appreciate alone time. The extrovert in me thrives off of being around other people, so I usually make an effort to minimize downtime. Airports, however, don't offer a lot of options to the individual traveller, so what's an extrovert to do? Go to the bar of course, order a Makers Mark Manhattan, and observe.

It was a Sunday afternoon and there was a football game on, so the bar was full. At one table were a bunch of middle aged women chatting about charity work and comparing notes on where to find the best deal on their panini grills. At the bar, their were mostly men in their thirties drinking beer, focusing on the game, and sneaking the occasional glance at any attractive women in the room. At a corner table, their was a young women nursing a baby. And wandering about was a man who looked lost, an assumption confirmed by the fact that he was drinking a glass of house white wine during a Colts game. There was an old man and his wife sitting behind me. And, each time a new flight boarded, there was a continuous game of musical chairs.

It was a intersection of every lifestyle and life circumstance, and I was fascinated.

Here is what I realized.

For the past four months, I have been saying that I no longer have any ties that bind. I am an orphaned only child who was fired just over a year ago from her ministry job following a nasty church split and whose husband, lover, soulmate, and best friend died after a seven-month battle with esophageal cancer. I have a beautiful baby boy who is still young enough to be mobile and untethered by school or friends. And, I technically, have the financial resources to temporarily take some time off work while I figure out what the hell I want to do with the rest of my life.

I have been saying this for four months.

It took an airport to make me emotionally accept it. And embrace it.

Let me explain it with a metaphor (my husband would be proud).

I am in a meadow. I am surround by people. Everywhere I look, there are people bustling about. 99% of them are moving in the same direction, toward the same goal. What is the goal you ask? To get married, have some kids, find a good office job that doubles as a career, settle down in the suburbs, and buy a plasma tv, of course. To be happy. And you know what, I already did that, and I was happy, but what do I do now? Do I jump back into that tide? Bury myself in nursing school (after all, it is a noble calling and a profitable career), log on to and seek out my next new husband/provider? Or do I look around and notice the 1 % that are swimming upstream, heading toward the mountains that border the meadow on one side or the ocean that borders it on the other, unsure of what lies beyond their visual framework, but curious nonetheless. It might be horrible. It might be dismal, and dreary, and dangerous. But then again it might not. And the only way to find out is to go.

See, Dalton and I used to look longingly at the people swimming against the stream. We used to dream of aritsan cheese farms, and jet setting, and adventure. But there were two of us, and we had family. We had ties that bind.

I have no ties that bind. I have no ties that bind.

Of course, I also have no sense of which way to go. So right now, I am stuck. I am sitting in the meadow while everyone bustles around me. The difference is that I am enjoying the view. I am entertaining thoughts of adventure and wondering what lies beyond what I can see. I am preparing myself for wherever I choose to go next, and I am letting myself think outside the stream.

It feels good and defiant and angry and passionate all at the same time. And who knows how it will feel tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 06, 2006


I drove past Hadleys today on the way home from Palm Springs. We used to stop there on our way to Idylwild. It wasn't really on the way for us and actually required driving five miles beyond the actual turn off for Idylwild, but dried papya and salted cashews make for excellent snacking on our mountain cabin's deck. And the kitschyness made it irrestible.

I have travelled quite a bit since Dalton died. No place all that interesting. Just elsewhere. The busyness of travel and distraction of my travel buddies seems to dull the ache. Almost so that I can't recognize it. But like a migraine that returns once the medication wears off, the ache returns with a vengeance once I return to my home. And even then, it isn't until the quiet of the evening that I realize the pain is actually acute.

The moments build up throughout the day. Little things. I let them slide. On their own they are but fond memories or subtle regrets. Today for example, I was pouring my coffee while everyone else slept and I recalled Dalton and I sitting at our kitchen table enjoying coffee as the sun came up. Refilling my gas tank I realized that Dalton would never let me pump my own gas. Scurrying around the house preparing to check out I remembering how effieciently we directed the clean up of retreat centers following the Alpha weekend away. Walking down the hall of the new science building at Mt. Sac, I knew that Dalton would have been proud of me going to class regardless of the fact that I was late. Then I picked up Iain and the "migraine" exploded. It had been hanging out in the background, but Iain's first painting put me over the edge. It was his first painting and Dalton didn't get to see it.

It's funny because I wanted to write all day but seem to be suffering from some block or distration. In rereading this, I proably shouldn't post it, but if this blog is my journal, then this is an interesting study on how disjointed I am right now.

I hope to write more regularly now that things are setling down.

We'll see.