Okay I don't EVEN think it's possible to have better friends, both new and not-new (not old, just not new). I've been blown away by your comments, by your encouragement and honestly I didn't think anyone would really understand the magnitude of John's death. So thank you and you can bet while it might take me a day or two to get all my ex's and oh's in, I'm gonna. (I'm still chugging away at that PowerPoint...then I'll comment, then PP then comment then PP...you get the picture).
John, Niki, Alex and I went to the memorial at the nursing home today, and I'm very glad. I told you before things were a little 'awkward' before, so I'll explain. John's only family nearby is an elderly sister, who is a bit controlling. It took several years for his sister to finally learn to trust me and know that I simply loved him. She eventually did and would call me when something was going on with John. So I wasn't prepared to find I'd missed an opportunity to say my final goodbye, that she called some folks from church but didn't think to call me. I would have been grateful for the chance to hold his hand if he was afraid and read to him from his worn out Bible.
Then she told me about the funeral service Tuesday and invited me to come to the Thursday memorial. She explained that only a few good friends and family were coming...and when I asked I was included she said "Well, John loved you, I can't deny you that...you and your husband can come for a few minutes, I guess". Ouch.
I know she loved John dearly and I know her controlling nature is what has gotten him through all these years, so it's hard to fault her, really. But I also know how deeply John loved me and my John, and he would have been hurt that we didn't say goodbye. She called back that afternoon and apologized and invited us to come for the whole ceremony, lol. I told her I'd think about it, but thank you.
John and I decided we would stay put, that it would be awkward at best to go knowing she didn't really invite us. So I took Alex to the zip lines with a homeschool group. (Photos down thar....) I regret not going...very much. That evening I got home to a message... she was crying and begging me to call her back, telling me over and over how much she loved me. It broke my heart. It was too late to call that night, so I called yesterday. She again apologized, told me she didn't have her head on straight and was ashamed of herself...would I please forgive her for her bad behavior? And that ended it right there ---I regret that I missed out, but I also must respect John and will never hurt her heart.
So...today she told me during the service that John was buried wrapped in the Scooby sheets I gave him. I can't think of anything more comforting than that. I brought home the Scooby Alex gave him, it smells like his room. I like that. And my John and I will go to the nursing home next week to help her move his things out (I know I know--close enough to John to do that....but it's okay, it's still for John). I think after this week, we're going to remain friends, his sister and I. I've lived enough losses to know death can bring about some downright cruel sides of people (one day I'll tell you all about my step-not-my-mother). But I don't think that was her heart, I believe her need to control got in the way. But only for awhile.
Now that I've gone and written a book, if you're still hanging with me, here are zip line photos!!!
This is the one of Alex going downnnnnnnnnnnnnnn.....wait! That's where he would have been if I had gotten the shot on time. Sigh. Sorry. Bad Mom. We only got one chance. By the time we hiked the 2000 mile 90 degree angle hill to the zip line, got their gear on, did the instructions, etc, they only got one ride.
Did I mention I almost died on the hills? I could have...the only thing that kept me going was Alex. How awkward for him if right behind the mom with the 20 kids, running with them up the hill on the return hike, had to come back for me and pull my crumpled body up? For that reason, I did it! Mmmhmm, I just pasted a smile on, nodded as my friend Susan chattered next to me, ignored the burning in my lungs and the cramping muscles down the backs of my legs. I wanted to take off my wind breaker half way in, but I was afraid the motion would have sent me tumbling backwards and my shirt would probably come off with it...and Alex might not think I'm the coolest mommy in the world anymore! I perservered...I conquered the zip line trail...and I will.never.do.that.again.
I've heard a few of you have missed the expression shots---here ya go--just before the zip line adventure (and clearly before the 500000 mile hike):
PS--I ripped this song from my friend Sharon's blog, she's got it going on right now. It's been in my head for two days now. It's a great little song though...so Rita, this one's for you, girlfriend.