We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...

We Climbed before the Klimb 4 Kim...
1997's Climb

Thursday, November 15, 2012

On the Road

               I love that story by Jack Kerouac - "On the Road".  Have you read it?  It is a classic.  My sister, Sherri, gifted me a copy many, many lifetimes ago.  I read it three times.  It was written in 1951, but holds its relevancy so well. 
On the Road portrays the story of a fierce personal quest for meaning and belonging.  It is an epic journey across America...

I love the part where he is cruising through Tucson, down Ft. Lowell...
If you haven't read this one, do.  Anyways, I gave the copy to a friend, the Duff Man, who did his own epic journey from the shores of Beach Haven, L.B.I., where Kim and I loved to lay on the dunes, out to Denver, CO, where he once visited us and he got lost in the Rockies...or something like that.
Sorry, got a little off the track there...The point being, that, whatever Kim and I did, we made fun.  When we would drive across the country, we'd always come up with a few things that we wanted to do as we hurtled across the US freeways.  Once, it was simply to hit as many McD's as we could, to try to win a grand prize in their Monopoly game.  We ate more McDonald's in those couple days than we probably had up to that point in our lives!!  And, we managed to win a few Big Macs and some fries for our efforts. 
We weren't complaining.  We had made it fun!
Each journey would start with making a tape...Later a CD...of tunes we both loved.  As I wrote last night, the Wallflowers "One Headlight' was one of them. (remember, I added it to the playlist, feel free to queue it up!).
We actually tried to go see the 'largest ball of twine' while trying to survive the miles spanning MO to CO...a relative barrenness called 'Kansas', in which at the very first 'rest stop', we were quizzed by the local antiquestrians about our religion.  I think they were trying to convert us..."To what Dave?  Children of the corn?"  Kim quipped.  I loved her selfless giggle!
Once, while taking the northerly route, we enjoyed St. Louis.  While not by any means  our favorite city on our journeys, we explored the 'Gateway to the West', rode a riverboat on the mighty Mississippi, toured the Bud brewery and saw the Mets v. the Cards, back in the Darryl Stawberry, Ron Darling of the Mets and Jack Clark of the Cards. 
And we got Strawberry's autograph!
We hiked Garden of the Gods in Colorado Springs...and watched the sunset there....
Watched eagles soar at Tallequah, OK.
Drove beneath to golden arches of the country's largest McDonald's in Tulsa, OK.  The arches span Rt 40!
I remember traveling across with our first pup, Cajun.  When we did stop at a motel, we'd always ask for ground floor so it would be easier to sneak Cajun in and to walk her when she needed to go out.  Once, in Amarillo, TX, we successfully snuck her in, but the noise level of the motel was too much for Cajun and she barked and barked until we were busted.  Hard time in Texas for dog fraud.
We fell in love with Cracker Barrel on the open road.  Stopping at many. One time, in Tennessee, while driving in the wee hours of the morning, we saw a Cracker Barrel and decided to stop for breakfast...they weren't even open yet.  There was a blinding rainstorm, so, instead of continuing our drive, we stayed in the parking lot, huddled together to stay warm and ended up falling asleep!
     We always wanted one of those large, double rockers that they sell there and have on their front porch.  Over the years, scheming on how we could roadtrip to the closest one in Texas and strap it to the top of our car to get it back to Tucson so we could rock on it and share it.  Eventually they opened here in Tucson and we did invest in a chair...for the bambini!

                     They still cherish it to this day, taking turns getting comfortable in it when we watch movies together.

                     Columbus, Ohio was a fun city to visit.  We walked the downtown area and ate a sidewalk cafe.  And once we saw a beautiful stone bridge, naturally formed over a canyon, somewhere in Virginia.
                    I remember visiting Sherri, when she lived in Muskogee, OK - the halfway point- for a meal, a nap, a shower and on the road!  Having played with our nieces and nephews at the elementary school, a block down from her house.  And her little pup, Nittany, tirelessly leading the way.  And, when we moved out to Tucson over 18 years ago, we stopped at Sher's and I whacked the big tree in front of her house with our moving truck, which I thought would clear the lower branches of the tree...but did not.  Incidentally, I did get our security deposit back when I convinced the attendant here in Tucson that the dent had already been on the truck when we picked it up in PA.!
                   Albuquerque was always one of our favorites.  My younger sister, Lauren, lived there while her husband, Jason attended New Mexico U for grad work.  The Sandia mountains being so pretty.  Jason introduced me to the beer, Fat Tire while they lived there!

                   We used the road to entertain us.  I'd often try to convince Kim how much safer it is to fly and how much time we would save..but, I always enjoyed our roadtrips together.  Kim made them fun and memorable....

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Nothing is Forever

              1 year.  11 months.  I talked to several people who know loss today...one, lost their significant other 6 years ago and they are still swept under, missing them, by the high tide of grief.

              "So long ago, I don't remember when, That's when they say I lost my only friend."

               I sent this link to another;

                They responded "Thanks for the link Dave. I am always surprised to read the words of others and think, "Yes, it's just like that!" thinking that only I have felt and experienced what I have been going through. Although we all grieve differently, there are so many similarities, which serves to reassure me that, if nothing else, I am not alone in my grief. Sad that we, and so many others, are all members of this desolate club, but again, it helps to know that, yes, there ARE people out there who get it."  There are some who expect you will be the same, do the same things, act the same way - despite being completely out of your mind!
"I seen the sun coming up at the funeral at dawn"

                Incidentally, the link was sent to me from another who lost a spouse.
                I checked in with a Bookseller at work today, who had lost their mom in a horrific knife fight, similar to the one I lost Kim in.  I told him that grief would find him like waves.  Some bigger than the others, most a surprise.  He told me that one got him tonight, while straightening in our children's section, he picked up a copy of a book his mom always read to him as a little one 'Guess How Much I Love You'.  Didn't see that coming.  You can try to watch for the waves, and sometimes, you'll be able to get ahead of them and ride them out.  But, other times, they just envelop you, crashing down, as you tumble towards the beach.

"She ran until there was nothing left. She hit the end, it's just her window ledge."

               I didn't set out today to talk to these people about our shared commonality - loss, it just happened that way...

               ...in fact, my day began at San Xavier, watching the most wonderful wedding ever, playing out in my mind - 5/21/1994...While lighting candles for Kim and a friend...

"Nothing is forever..."
                   Praying for patience.  It's always so peaceful there.  Today, the 8th grade class of San Xavier school attended Mass.
                   From there, over to Carondelet, to put in a little work for Kim's Foundation...Then to St. Jospeph's to check out the progress on the new chapel...

Long ways view from the east side of the chapel

This will be the entrance.  Kim's Foundation is helping with this construction!
When I was done, of course I ran the steps, but was disappointed that I did not recognize anyone at work today on the 5th floor...
Going backward, took the bambini (including Breanna) to see Kevin James' newest movie 'Here Comes the Boom'...I always seem to find some message in movies these days (mostly that whole the hero defies incredible odds to save the day and ride off into the sunset with the girl).  It seems there is always something to remind me of Kim.  And there was.  In one scene, Salma Hayek, the girl of Kevin James dreams, shows up to see one of his fights and she is dressed up for the occasion.  It made me think of how Kim used to like to pick out outfits especially for me. 
So, if your loved one has not died in a knife fight, next special occasion, cherish that they tried to pick out some shirt. Or pair of pants.  Or skirt.  Or boots.  Or did their hair differently.  For you.  And make sure that you enjoy the moment!
The movie was funny, the kids all loved it (we even got Cody to attend!) and we met up with Andrea and David at Chuy's...yes, we are thankful that they reopened!!  Watched a little Monday night football, ate some good food and re-energized.

"But somewhere here,
 in between the city walls of dyin' dreams
I think her death, it must be killin' me"
Step back into today...on the way home from work, around 11PM, and channel surfing, I came across the Wallflowers "One Headlight".  This was one of Kim and I's summer theme songs.  I remember preparing to drive across country, the 2500 miles, to Philadelphia and thinking this was a great driving song.  Kim agreed and we played it over and over...
  And, interspersed throughout this post, are some lyrics from this tune.  I added it to Kim's 'playlist' - click on it and sing along, if you wish.  It is a catchy tune.  We had so. Much. Fun.  Making our way across this country of ours.  This was my wave for the day...Mostly, I can now see them coming now and ride them.
'Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome"  It's come up.  It's why the people I spoke to today relive their loss over and over.  It's why time moves strangely.  It's different for everyone, there can be no time table or deadline for it to pass.  I never thought of it that way.  I think I've always associated this syndrome with combat.  A battle.  But, that's what it was, only I couldn't shoot at the enemy.  It makes sense.  And, I told another friend today, who's been there through the thickest of it all, ("Got to keep the loonies on the path" ok, that's Pink Floyd, not from the Wallflowers). I do feel stronger each day.  Focusing on the bambini, who continue to ask questions...everything from wanting to hear about our first 'dates' when we were 12, to what Mama knew....
Thank you, as always, for listening...


Sunday, November 11, 2012

Odd Life

          Took up a complete row at the theaters yesterday...to see The Odd Life of Timothy Green.  Tonio and I were skeptical, but, it was more about the experience and the company...Angie, her friend, Darlene, Andrea and Breanna, Janene, Bryson and Kason, Micah and Mariah (Kim and Roshan's kids), Autumn and Tonio.  Full row. 

          ...Kim would have loved this movie.  "It's a good story."  she'd have told me.  Kim would indulge me, watching any action movie that I wanted to see - especially with Jason Statham - like the Transporter series, Snatch - and Brad Pitt, also in Snatch and Inglorious Basterds.  But, from time to time, Kim would say 'Let's watch one tonight that is a story.'  She had to explain it to me more than once over the years....you see, she liked to watch movies, but only some of them were a good story.  'What's Eating Gilbert Grape' starring Johnny Depp and Leondardo Decaprio...good story.  "City of Angels' with Meg Ryan and Nicolas Cage...good story.
          The Odd Life of Timothy Green would have fallen into her 'good story' category.
          It made me think of her right from the start.  From the way the main couple in the movie just wanted to be great parents and have the best for their child, to when the leaves began to change to full autumn foliage.  It reminded me of the walks we took on autumn days to enjoy the colors of the leaves, jumping in piles and loving the time of year so much that we vowed to name our daughter Autumn one day.
          But,the movie had some sad twists, too.  The couple's little boy comes to them in an odd way (thus the title) and leaves quickly and suddenly ( I can relate to that).  He tells them "We only have so much time..."

                                                               That is so true.

            And, no matter how you measure it, you always wish for more.
          When his parents realized that Timothy knew he'd have to go from their lives for some time, they asked him why he never told them...
         "I never told you because I knew that there was nothing you could do, no matter how hard you tried."
         Although the whole movie reminded me of Kim, this was the one line that brought me sudden clarity - I understood.  Kim knew,too.  She knew her time here was short, but she spared me.  She saw the horror I was fighting, how out of my mind I was trying to save her...and she knew that no matter how many injections I gave her, or knife wounds I cleaned and dressed, or medication that I timed, logged and gave her, or meals that I made, clothes changed, the times I washed her hair or gave her a bath...not even how much I cared or loved her...could save her.

        She knew this, understood it and excepted it stoically, without question and...
                                                      ...with a smile.

         Afterwards, speaking of smiles, pizza at Mama's!  Kim, Roshan and Andrea's son, David, joined us all there.  Their 'Family' pie is ginormous!

         Shortly after we moved here, searching for a good slice and living in the Tanque Verde Apartments at the corner of Tanque Verde and Dos Hombres, one of our neighbors insisted that we love Mama's, cuz, the "owners are from New York.".  Solid credentials. 
        Sure enough, we found ourselves at the Mama's at 22nd and Kolb, pre-kids, enjoying their large slices, instantly making Mama's one of our favorites.  We frequented Mama's for special occasions - anniversaries, birthdays, Cody's 8th grade graduation, our first lunch together, with no kids, once Tonio hit kindergarten...Great memories.
         We put away a family pie, salads - Autumn had a huge plate of pasta, too!

           "We only have so much time..." 
                                                            Today, we enjoyed the time we did have...!