Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Slow steps towards new normal...?

Greetings All,

For all of you who have been inquiring if I’m going to continue writing, the answer is yes.

I was considering starting a whole new blog, and writing there, but in the end, as Shelley and I said tonight, a blog is a blog.  So, yeah.  Hi!

A recap of the last week seems to be necessary…  

We had the funeral home visitation on Monday night, and it was beyond overwhelming to see so many people come out to say goodbye to Amie.    Shelley, Anya, and I arrived at just before 1p, and had a half hour with Amie.  Once 1:30p came, people started arriving, and we were talking and greeting people until just about 9pm.  I think I sat down twice, and never stopped talking to people.

We didn’t count the number of people who signed the book until after the memorial service, but we’ve figured out that roughly 1000 individuals came to say goodbye and pay their respects.  Wow.  WOW.  

The memorial service itself was great, with Amy valiantly reading a book we asked her to read (The Fall of Freddy the Leaf) and Sarah giving some remarks, which ranged from poignant to funny to tear inducing sincerity.  All in all, it was a truly great farewell to Amie.

The time since has been….quiet, and full of activity.  Let me explain.

I’m not returning to work until March 16th, and Shelley currently has no work to return to, so we’ve had a lot of time to be with each other. We’ve been doing lots of things together, such as….

This is actually a bit of cheating, as it was before the funeral, but it's still a great picture.  We sent Anya to bed with her hair still damp, and she woke up like this.  So, so looking forward to HS graduation.

The full deal, had to share.

This is Shelley's new hat for me, with a fleece liner.  I have several hats to wear, but they're all quite thin, and now that I have no hair for insulation, I needed something more industrial.  She let me pick out the colors.  Of course, it never occurred to me that these are also the Tiger's colors (sorry Amy Q!), but people have been complimenting Shelley's knitting like mad, so the public approves!

We've been playing lots of games with Anya, to make her feel as special as possible.  I like this game quite a lot.  It's called "Put all the blankets in the house on Anya".

Shelley prefers to do more standard things, like painting nails.  How boooooorrrrring.

Anya has been giving horse riding lessons as well.  Baby Jumping made sure to wear her helmet.  Safety first, right?

But we’ve also had a lot of time for quiet togetherness, and lots of reading.  Shelley is reading books, I’m reading books, and Anya is reading books.  Reading, reading, reading.  As Amie one said to Shelley, “Momma, you know what Anya is?  She a REEEEEEEEEEAAADER.”  (we never got that on video, but man it would have been perfect had we done so).

It’s a strange mix of loss and freedom, this last week.  The funeral was one week ago today, and in those 7 days, I get gut punched at least once a day, in some way.  

Last week Wednesday, it was standing outside Anya’s classroom door, listening to the happy chaos of an elementary school building, and taking a moment to soak in the fact that Amie will never get to Charyl Stockwell, and know the joy that Anya knows in her time there.

Yesterday it was getting a phone call as Shelley culled down Amie’s clothes, and took them out of her dresser, and coming home to comfort her, as she was having a really hard day.

But those moments are tempered by the freedom we now have to do things, unencumbered by worries about stamina, bacteria, lack of immunizations, communicability of others, etc…  We can take Anya anywhere and do just about anything (that’s legal) to give her experiences that she was lacking the last two years.  There’s joy in that too.  Twisted, strange, and surreal joy…but joy nonetheless.

One of the things we got to do was go to the Detroit PuppetArt Theatre....

Shelley discovered the Detroit PuppetArt Theatre a few years back, and has gone to several performances thus far.  I've always had to stay back with Amie, so this is the first time I was able to go.

The performance was about Ananse, the basis for what some of you know as B'rer Rabbit.  He's the West African trickster God who is the storyteller.  The performance was about how he came to possess all the stories, and it was really, really well done.

Afterwards, for a few extra dollars and time, they host puppet making craft workshops.  Anya always thinks this is about the best thing ever.

We think we’re going to skip town and head to Florida later this week, but not altogether sure when.  It all depends on Shelley’s root canal today, and how that goes.  She’s getting the consult on it right now as I type.  

Shelley does not like dental work.  'Nuff said.

My perspective (which is always the correct one, absolutely, no matter what, right? RIGHT?) is that we’re going to be sad no matter where we are at, so we might as well be sad and WARM right?  

That's Clearwater today.

This is Howell. Which would YOU rather be in?

We're doing ok for now.  As I've said before, not sure what the other options are, all considering.  Not sure if I'm doing ok because of who I am, or the time we got to spend saying goodbye, but we really are, to be so presumptuous to speak for Anya and Shelley. 

Not sure of the frequency of my blogs for the time being.  I figure when I have something to write, I will. Sound good?

Thanks all.