Have you ever experienced one of those days where you are anticipating the phone to ring? Someone at home calling, or from work. Just to see how your day is going? Today's been one of those, where my hand is actually reaching for the phone that is not ringing. And did not, no matter what my subconcious was willing.
The other day, though, my phone did ring. And I rarely answer my phone these days, unless I recognize the number. Especially if I am at work. But, I had just completed all of the opening responibilities at the bookstore (including firing up the espresso machine so I could obliberate the rust that had accumulated, encasing my body, overnight, while I "slept"). I glanced at the clock - 8:05, I was about half hour ahead of schedule. Out of the corner of my eye, I caught the mosiac I've carefully constructed on the side of my filing cabinet. A potpourri of my life. Photos of Kim, bambini and family, brighten m office.
"What if this call is about one of them?" my interior, often nefarious, voice whispered.
I picked it up.
"Hello this is Dave." I said, half convincing myself.
"You don't know me, but..."
Ok, now there is a dubious opening line. Where was this going? I ask you - has this ever happened to you? A million things were going through my head, but, resoundingly, they all pointed to Kim.
"I read your blog. It has really helped me."
I sat down. Hard. In my swively chair (that the bambini like to spin each other in when I have to drag them to work on 'bad coverage' days). Staring at the mound of holiday Godiva chocolate stored in my office (talk about temptation!), I mumbled "Really? Thank you." Except "Thank You" really does not convey anything about how I felt. And once again, the words escape me. But, let me tell you, I felt gratified, that good things continue to emerge from Kim's passing. It made me feel as if there was something somehow worth while to come out of this, and that I might be contributing to some larger good, somehow. To 'help' someone? Made me feel relevant again.
Relevant. Worthwhile. Needed? All feelings that fade quickly in the aftermath of losing your best friend, wife, mother of the amazing bambini. Special, being another.
My caller went on to explain that she was Jill McClain. Mother of Amy, who worked with me several lifetimes ago at Toys R Us (We Be Toys 'N Sh*t in Philly). Amy was a young, recently married, toy stocker, who worked her way up rapidly into management, through amazing work ethic and wonderful interpersonal skills.
And Jill was a huge part of the Vail School District, who holds a great deal of my heart and has been such an incredible part of the bambini's life, continuing to lend love and support. Small world? Infinitely. Jill was on the governing board for 12 years. Contributing her time and ideas, making our district what it is today.
Jill and Amy suffered a horrific loss. Much as we did. But - their husband/father, was ripped from their lives in an instant. My heart went out to them when I had heard the news. And Amy has been in touch following Kimmy's passing.
I told Jill, that when I start going down, tangled up in darkness, I remember, that there are people, families, worse off than me. I told her that I felt blessed to at least have had the golden opportunity to say goodbye to Kim, and beg her to 'visit' (I asked her to haunt me). Jill's husband was killed, murdered and she didn't have that time.
Graciously and emphatically, Jill chose to say that the horrors that I faced in those lightning, blurry, 55 days was just as bad...my mind, involuntarily flashing to some of the low lights that still come to me in the wee hours of the night (it is always darkest before the dawn).
It was a motivating conversation, as Jill's story inspired me and was therapeutic talking to her. I also got to speak with Amy, later. I've been looking for an assistant manager, as one of mine retired, and I told Jill "this is too much of a coincidence, where is Amy working?" Fry's. So, I did my damndest to convince Amy that taking a 50% pay cut to work at the bookstore would be the right thing to do. She'd have to be insane not to agree. By the end our our conversation, I realized that Amy was insane. And staying at Fry's.
That morning, while overdosing on caffeine, I was thankful that I had answered my phone...
The past two nights, I've closed the bookstore. And while hurtling down I-10 (which, thankfully, has not digressed into slow-mo in some time), I saw a shooting star, at nearly the same exit - Prince Rd. I always remember the night that so many saw a shooting star, leaving its home, just as our shooting star did back on 12/13/10. Both those shooting stars brought a smile to my face...
My shooting star - another photo from our stay in downtown L.A. pre-Antonio...
Family portrait taken by St Frances church for their parish year book.
And I'm still waiting for the phone to ring....