I can't let the day end without acknowledging that Jeff died exactly one month ago today. I'm starting to appreciate just how much this is gonna suck.
I finally had my "Mr. Miyagi moment" tonight after I worked myself up into a sufficiently potent (and pathetic) mood of self-pity. First, I have to say that self-pity is hard for me to come by. My natural disposition is just stoic enough that I generally feel sorry for no one--and this includes myself. I mean, young parents die of cancer all the time. It is not an uncommon tragedy. And I dare say most of them leave their families in far worse positions than Jeff left us. We are fortunate to have enough food and money and medicine; I have a good job and nannies and a cleaning lady and more offers of help than I could ever accept. I have friends and neighbors who are extraordinarily rare in their generosity and overall helpfulness; my children are well-adjusted and happy; we are healthy; my kids will continue to live in the same house and go to the same school and have the same friends and teachers and bikes and bedrooms and backyard that they had before cancer ever invaded their lives.
And even when cancer came, it struggled for 21 months in the inhospitable atmosphere Jeff created for it and although it claimed his left leg and, ultimately, his life, it never claimed his wits or his pleasantness. Jeff was "Jeff" until the end. There was never a moment when he did not recognize us; never an instance of unconscious aggression; no scary memories of seizures. So, as terrible as it is and has been-- cancer and treatment and Jeff's death and the month that has followed have all been very humane considering the possibilities of what it could have been like, and what could have happened to us; and after considering what does happen to other young families who do not have all the blessings and good fortune and fairy dust that we apparently have. So, (before you wonder where I'm going with all this), these are just a few of the reasons why I find it hard to feel sorry for myself.
However, tonight was an exception. Today two of my dearest friends--married with kids-- mentioned that tonight was "date night" for them. The idea of a "date night" with my husband only emphasized how unmarried I am and how no night is "date night" for me. How there is no one to get dressed up for. Nothing to get excited about. Nothing to talk about and no one to listen. No one to point out the things on the menu that I might like. No one who'll pick-up the tab and pay with our money then drive us home to our house in our car. These thoughts especially stung because I spent "date night" crying through a dinner I ate at our kitchen table alone.
Aubrey had to babysit one of Regan's friends tonight and Regan was invited to come along. A friend brought dinner over, but by the time it arrived and we were done visiting (and by the time I got everything and everyone to the table), it was time for the girls to leave. They took their plates with them and Jack finished his dinner while I fed Finn. Only then, could I, myself, eat and by then Jack was in the basement watching a movie and Finn was playing on the floor. I was so exhausted and sad that I just started to sob. It concerned Finn enough that he came over and crawled in my lap and gave me a sweet baby hug. As I sat there eating and crying, it made me think of a scene from the move Karate Kid (which was one of Jeff's favorites, by the way). In it, Daniel quietly watches Mr. Miyagi mourn his dead wife on the anniversary of her death. Mr. Miyagi gazes at her candlelit picture as he sobs to her in Japanese--all while completely drunk.
Likewise, on the anniversary of Jeff's death (albeit the one-month anniversary) I indulged in my self-pitying ritual while I ate and cried and I had no excuse as good as utter drunkenness.
Hasn't anyone the decency to offer me a drink?