I've not written much since my first post months ago and have had several thoughts along the way that are in draft form, but the last couple of weeks have been particularly difficult for various reasons. As I thought about writing out my recent experience, I realized it didn't fit your original intent to capture family stories. After some more thought, I was able to tie in some recent and past events as well that include some of those funny stories.
I decided the "new" purpose would be to try to capture some stories for us to remember but also give the kids some insight into how I have been processing and dealing with the new life in the hopes it also helps them along the way. I hope to help them develop an emotional toolkit much earlier in life than I have.
The title seems appropriate as I think about the past and future a lot and how to apply past learning in a more forward/productive direction.
When I was a boy and someone said, "Hey", the canned response was, "Hay is for horses. And pigs like you." Recently, I imparted that knowledge to the kids... You'll certainly recall my tendency to do those things you may not approve of 100%... Mr. Blue Eyes apparently now uses that phrase regularly. I learned this recently because when I need to get the kids' attention, I simply say, "Hey." Mr. Blue Eyes recently responded, "Hay is for horses and..." and he stopped mid-response as he turned to look at me. I guess he thought better of saying that to dad.
That story reminded me of the time I let the kids watch "Back to the Future" against your advisement. That movie resulted in Carrie once asking you, "What are you looking at, butthead?" I, of course, could not contain my giggling. Disbelief. Thinking you were right about not letting them watch it... Thinking how I would just laugh it off and correct her if she had said it to me... Thinking your response would be exactly what it was and awaiting the impending punishment for Carrie (and me...). Apparently, Mr. Blue Eyes knows better about such things than Carrie did.
I have had two very vivid - and rare - dreams with you in them lately. In the first, you were smiling and waving from across a street. Although I woke up crying, it was refreshing to see you and your smile. In the second, you were back. You were here. Nothing else mattered as I ran up to you and picked you up and hugged and kissed you. Those dreams really took me back. The resulting powerful emotions. A lot of journaling and allowing the emotions and not being able to cry even though I felt like it and wanted to.
Those dreams come as I think and attempt to move into a new romantic future. Desiring to love and be loved like that again. But knowing it is not as "easy" as it was when we were 17. In fact, it wasn't easy for the 22 years we were together. Back then it seemed as simple as, "I like you and you like me, we share values, let's go out". But there was no way to know back then that either of us would make and maintain the commitment as long as we did and work through some difficult times to get to where we were. I have to remind myself that we didn't know back then, and I can't know now, how someone will handle a relationship. It seems like much more of a gamble at this stage of life - particularly with so many different factors to consider that didn't need consideration back then.
Ours was not a relationship of convenience, and I certainly don't want that now. It evolved into one of unexplainable depth and intimacy. But what is that elusive "recipe" now to achieve the depth of intimacy and relationship that we shared? How many people even understand what that is like? Probably the bottom line questions I'm wrestling with: Am I worthy of experiencing unconditional love twice in my life and, if so, does the other person understand what it really takes? Will I remember what it really takes? Do I have the fortitude to do it again? How do I ratchet back that depth to some more surface level and develop that depth over time instead of delving right in? How do I let it develop naturally without trying to determine up front whether or not it has the ability to be developed?
After some responses and some text messages I've seen, I feel I should clarify a little... Questions also include whether or not I really want to give up the freedom I have doing whatever I want whenever I want to do it (such as letting the kids watch "Back to the Future"??? Ok maybe a lot more than that). My point being it's a lot to think about. I'm not desperate or depressed. I could easily jump into a wrong relationship but have guarded against that fairly well, I think.
It feels like I'm being a bit of a victim while I type this out... As my counselor rightfully points out from time to time.
It still seems unimaginable that you are gone. Just seeing rocking chairs this last week and remembering talking about the days when we are old and on our front porch in rocking chairs playing with grandchildren. That will never happen.
But we are still looking forward and trying to navigate our new lives the best way we can as we direct our attention "Back to the Future".