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Jul. 6th, 2009

stepping out

I walked the talk

Last night I told Robert of my plans to get Dave out of my closet.

That's a funny thought, Dave out of the closet. If he weren't cremated, he'd be rolling in his grave for that one. I told Robert it was just time, as far as I knew Dave wasn't coming back and didn't need my shelf space. I can't live like that any longer and it has to move behind me. One foot in the past and one in the present is not healthy. At least it's not for me. I don't mean I want to throw any of his things away. I had decided years ago what was important and precious. I just didn't need for it to be in my face everytime I need to change my clothes or get a pair of shoes.

From there it seemed to be a natural easement into everything else I have been wanting to tell Robert. I told him I am sorry I can't be Terry for him. I can't be the wife he use to have. I can only be me. I'm a good person though, but I'm not going to be happy if I keep doing things for the wrong reasons. I finally said the words

'I don't want to go to Sunday Bible class any more.'


There was a pause that seemed to last an hour. He had been hugging me, as I was talking, and with those words his caresses stopped. I had decided that the worse thing he could say to me is 'you have to leave' or something equally as awful. But I wasn't going to play this charade for the rest of my life. I resent Dave for the overflow of my closet and stewed over that for 2 years - how was faking it through a bible class, where I wasn't wanted and didn't want to be, going to be any better? Miserable. Every single Sunday I was miserable. I sat there out of respect for my husband, but I was doing him a disservice. My resentment of him and this life I found myself with was beginning to fester. One way or another it had to end.

Very softly he said 'I understand.'

Now, whether he means it and won't try to make me attend class this Sunday is another matter entirely. But I've said it and I'm far better for having done so.

Why now? Why after all of this time have I finally said something? Because I am no longer afraid. I've remembered where my backbone was and have put it back in service. I've found my groove. Got my confidence back. I've reminded myself he knew who I was when he had us move here. No secrets. No agendas. What you see is what you get. Being a pushover is not me. I'm a damn strong woman. I've been through hell and back. The worse that could've happened is not the worse. I've seen the worse. Been there, got the t-shirt. If he has a problem with my decision, then it is his problem, not mine.

The bigger problem was not saying what I have felt all along. That goes for everything in my life. I know how important it is to speak what's in your heart. Life is too short and who knows what tomorrow brings? The beauty, the majesty, the empowerment of speaking from your heart is the gift you get when you aren't laughed at. Reciprocation. That it was okay all along. That the issue was never a big deal and you could've saved yourself years of misery if you had spoken up earlier. I can't live a life of regrets and I won't. An added bonus is how fantastic it is to say what you have felt all along. It doesn't mean what I've said is right or wrong, but it feels so damn good to have it out there in the universe.

yea me!

Jul. 5th, 2009

stepping out

and another thing!

I'm going to stand up for myself.

I am going to have to tell Robert I don't want to attend bible class with him on Sunday mornings. I hate it. I mean I really REALLY hate it. The only person who wants me there is Robert, but that's not enough.

I disagree with everything they say. I can't stand the narrow-mindedness the permeates the room. I'm not wanted there. I'm not Terry - I don't fit in. I'm not quiet, dowdy, conservative, reserved, submissive (well, not in church ;-) - I don't fit. Not only do I not fit, but I don't want to fit! He fits in there and I'm happy for him! It works for him, but it doesn't work for me. I like me! The woman Robert married the 2nd time around happens to be a loose catholic practitioner, occasional utter of 4 letter words, wants to dance, likes to drink adult beverages, plays her music loud and her music is adult alternative, not my mom's easy listening elevator music.

Now I just have to do it. Will take some time. Taken me 2 years to arrive at this.


Jul. 4th, 2009

stepping out

I got me some plans for this week

I am sick and tired of sharing my closet and the house with dead people. So, I am taking EVERYTHING that was Dave's out of my closet. This week. I am.

Shirts, CDs, toy cars, awards, baseball caps - all of it, out of my closet!

No idea where I'm going to put it all, space is at a premium around here, but I'm sick and tired of being sick and tired.

Jun. 30th, 2009

Calvin & Hobbes

Oh, The Things You Will See

Hope, Arkansas and the boyhood home of President Clinton
Getting lost and turned around in Memphis, Tennessee
a terrific thunder and lightning storm in Nashville, TN
countless Cracker Barrel restaurants
truck stops, trucks and truckers
road alligators a.k.a tire debris
Smokey Mountains and the winding roads through those mountains
McDonald's which you can always count on being open somewhere
First impressions proving you wrong, the front desk lady at the Day's Inn was very nice and her teenage kids were quite well mannered
Mary screaming bloody murder two hours out from Bristol, TN when she realized she forgot her Nintendo DS back at the Days Inn.
Phone conversation with manger of the Days Inn in Bristol who ran to the room, found the DS and mailed it off to us at our destination in Pennsylvania
Civil War Battlefields
Shenandoah Valley
passing within 5 miles my friend Melissa's house, but sadly she was at work
passing within 1/8th of mile of Dave's parents old house in WV and wishing them a slow and painful death
crossing the Potomac
Whooping and clapping as we crossed the Mason-Dixon Line
arriving in the rain to our old Valley and seeing nothing had changed
my old neighbors
our old home
Bruno hugging me after we gorged ourselves on his fantastic pizza
the cemetery
Deb hugging me so tight I thought I'd never catch my breath, whispering 'I've missed you so much' into her ear though she is deaf.
My kids running and flinging themselves into the arms of Deb's kids
Dave's signature on the paperwork at the bank when I closed out my accounts
Alex's Lemonade Stands and countless paper cups of sugary sweet lemonade.
The nice lady at FedEx who was just pleased as punch to have someone to chat with
The best roast beef on a hard roll sandwich I've ever had in my life at the Phillipsburg Diner in NJ
The sweet Sikh boy who told me that it is his life long desire to move to Texas, the 'Promised Land'
Sitting with Lucy as our kids were off playing in the cul-de-sac
the sadness over how the new owners of my old home have neglected the gardens that Dave had planted
Lucy making me laugh when she said she'd like to plan a nighttime commando raid, dig up Dave's peonies and plant them in her yard
Sitting in Terry's kitchen with her and her husband having a nice laugh
My kids playing with friends
Chinese dinner out with just my Mary
The reddest, juiciest, sweetest watermelon in the world at a roadside stand in Grantville, PA
riding the Comet rollercoaster with my girls & cursing how hard it is to ride amusement park rides when you are party of three
attending mass at our old parish and seeing friends
The Statue of Liberty
dinner with Mike & Maribeth and our kids playing as if they've known each other their whole lives
doing laundry at 1am in the hotel and sitting back with the night staff and chatting
emails and messages from friends and frenz
downtown Bethlehem, PA
wondering if we could keep count of the deer carcasses in the Poconos
Upstate New York and the guy who kindly made my day
laughing with the Customs Officer at the Canadian border
Embassy Suites in Niagara, Ontario - where we stayed 6 months after Dave had died. We've come so far
Being the talk of the restaurant in Brantford, Ontario because I had driven there all the way from Texas with two kids in tow
Missing the turnoff for I-69 and heading south all the way to Selfridge Air Force Base on I-94 before I noticed, which ended up being a very nice detour
Seeing my sister and brothers, nieces and nephews and pleased that everyone is well
Running in the rain around the lake and giggling to myself when my sister calls it 'jogging' - sounds so 70's
Watching my kids learn to fish and liking it
Going for a ride in my brother's very nice and very fast roadster
Getting gas in Gary, Indiana and explaining to the girls that this was where the Jackson 5 were from. Then explaining to them who the Jackson 5 were.
Wondering if Central Illinois was as flat and less populated than Central Texas
JH Hawes Grain Elevator Museum in Atlanta, Illinois - officially the oddest museum I've heard of
President Abraham Lincoln's home in Springfield, Illinois
The the tour called 'The Widows Tour' at Lincoln's home and being really pissed when the young & naive park ranger stated '200 years ago widows didn't have the resources and life insurance payouts they have now and relied on taking in borders in order to not lose their homes.' Except she doesn't know that in 200 years not much has changed.
Realizing we had seen 4 NASCAR tracks on our journey - Bristol, Pocono, Michigan and Gateway
Being first in line at the St. Louis Gateway Arch in the driving rain
Being pleased I didn't have a claustrophobic freak-out on the pod ride to the top of the arch. I've never gotten over the Mission Space ride at Disney World
Wondering what the total would've been if I had counted all the sex shops we've driven by
Getting absolutely LOST in St. Louis and not one traffic sign to direct me back onto I-44
Being saved by the Wonder Bread delivery man who got me back to the interstate
Amish Boys driving their buggies
Ozark Mountains
Missing a rock slide by about 30 minutes
Old woman pushing a wheel barrow alongside the road
A dairy cow lose on the roadside - farmer and a guy in a little red car frantically trying to corner it
Laura Ingalls Wilder House. Was everything I had seen in my minds-eye.
Pa's fiddle
Laura's crochet all about her home & knowing how badly mine is in comparison
The awful tollway system in Oklahoma
Cheering when we crossed the border into Texas
Sitting in the worse traffic I had encountered on our trip, in Dallas, and not caring because we were almost home
Walking into our bedroom and finding the food section of last week's newspaper propped on my pillow that read 'Hey There Cupcake!'

Jun. 26th, 2009

stepping out

but my friends are right where I left them.

I have to say that I flat out have the most wonderful friends on the planet. All of 'em. Every single one of them. God love them, as do I.

What I think is brilliant is that I can walk up to a friend's door, after having been away for 2 years, and it's as if I never left. I sort of slip right back into place. Have a drink, sit at the kitchen table (I love sitting at kitchen tables) and have a good old chinwag about everything and everyone.

I miss dishing gossip with my girlies.

I miss having friends nearby.

It takes time to create an inner sanctum and recruit members. I don't take friendships lightly. There's no halfway, no half in and half out with me. I consider my friendships to be my cobbled together family. It's not that my friends are like minded. No, they are all vastly different from me. My only criteria is that they be good people, which is kind of difficult to come by. Too many times people want to pass judgment, pigeonhole you, befriend you only when it's convenient. Being a true friend is standing by someone when it most inconvenient. You have to overlook faults and silly mistakes and take in the big picture of a friend.

Here I am, two years into living in Texas, and I've just begun to make friends. Robert seemed to had thought I would just become friends with his late wife's friends. That's all so wrong and far too uncomfortable. I need my own friends. My want for friends comes fast but the creating of friendship takes time. Patience is a virtue, eh?

In the meantime I am comforted by the fact that I have great friends, though they are physically far away from me. In my heart I am always sitting at their kitchen tables.

Jun. 23rd, 2009

stepping out

he's not there

I managed to shake off the expectation of finding Dave and found our way to our home for the next week, the Marriott Courtyard, a brand new hotel 2 miles from our old house.

The staff was wonderful, the front desk man in the evenings turned out to be a fellow Central Texan and UT grad - he took very nice care of me and my girls. I can best sum up the hotel as a stationary cruise ship. The kids fell in love with the ginormous HD-LCD TV in our room and the morning breakfast buffet.

Once we had checked in & found our room, we decided to go for pizza at Bruno Scipioni's. That was where we always got pizza from and, after Dave passed away, where we ate a lot of our meals. First we decided to cruise by our old house.

It was strange. It felt like it does whenever I return to the town where I grew up. Everything felt smaller - closer. My mind had mangled my memories of our neighborhood to a sprawling oasis of large lawns and wide streets. No. It was, and always has been, middle American suburbia plopped on 1/4 acre lots. The wide expanses of Texan ranches and farms, the ability to see into the next county while on a small rise on a farm to market road, the privacy that acreage allows you, all of that and more has tainted me.

I've never felt attached to an area of the US other than NJ. I consider myself a Jersey Girl first, though I was born in DC and lived in Maryland until I was nearly 5. Moving from state to state in my 20's, 30's and now my 40's, has made me feel as if I have no homeland. No allegiance to where I am from or where I live. I admire a friend of mine who wrote to me that he is prouder to be a Geordie than British, or something to that effect. I don't have that. While I deeply appreciate how fortunate I am to live in America and be a US citizen, I wish I had a place I could call home. Instead I am hodgepodge of my experiences, which I suppose is all right, as I do quite like myself. Still, would be nice to have a place to call my home. Even here is not home. It's Robert's & Terry's house. And while we have a great marriage, it is nothing like my previous marriage. At times I feel like a roommate. I support myself. Pay my own bills, groceries and necessities for the kids and myself. I receive no monetary assistance from my husband, other than he pays the utilities, homeowners insurance and satellite internet. It's a weird existence, one we stumbled into - it works, but yet I still feel as if I'm an outsider.

Oh boy, talk about going off on a tangent.

When we came upon our old house we met a neighbor who told us that Dave's father still drives by our old house and as recently as a month ago. That scared the fuck out of me. Why does he still do this? Hoping to find someone who would rat us out? Delusional that he was a loving father and grandfather? Bastard. He'll rot in hell, no matter the lies he tells to justify what he did to us.

What upset me the most is that it drove home how, even if I could have afforded it, we had to leave.

Jun. 22nd, 2009

stepping out

to answer my earlier question

as to if you can go home again, the answer would be a big fat


Our epic journey through North America was wonderful, but the excursion to Pennsylvania was a bit too much to bear.

It started with how I felt inside when I drove the highway into Allentown. It was if I had never left. That these last two years in Texas was a blur. A dream. I honestly felt as if I had just been away for a few weeks and totally expected to be able to drive up to our old house, walk in the front door and find Dave waiting for us.

I was reminded of the heartache of being where we lived as a family. How every place, store, street, EVERYTHING was linked to a memory of our lives with Dave. It was awful. I don't know how Robert does it, the day in & day out of living where he had such a long life with Terry. I am certain that had I not left for Texas, I would've lit out for some place else. Canada, Florida, somewhere - I would've never been able to stay there.

more on this later...

May. 31st, 2009

stepping out

Can you really go back home again?

and is it even 'home' anymore?

It's not home. Here is home, for better or for worse, this is where I hang my hat. My sister had this weird notion the kids and I were going to head back to our old house and would play with the neighborhood kids on our old street, in front of my old house as if we still lived there. How strange of an idea! Our main reason for going back is to visit Dave, take care of some business matters and see my friends. That's it. Given a true choice in the whole matter, I'd much rather spend $130 a night on a hotel somewhere a bit more glamorous than Bethlehem, Pennsylvania.

I WANT to go to England. I WANT to go to Italy. I WANT to go to Greece. No one WANTS to go to Bethlehem, Pennsylvania and/or the suburbs of Detroit, which is the second leg of our journey.

But, back we're going, first thing tomorrow morning. Robert is staying home, minding the house, my fledgling garden and our pets. Just me my my monkeys for 17 days. 7 days traveling in a car. A small car. I worry about our safety, about something horrific happening. Not that I am a crappy driver or that I anticipate anything bad, just that, well, I stand on shakey ground. Ever since Dave died I have a very hard time with trust, security, planning... it goes on and on. I rationalize this with the notion that fear keeps us safe, a small amount of fear will keep me on my toes.

I will drive carefully, will rest often and be hyper-vigilant about our safety. My dad didn't raise no fool. ;-) Still, offer one up to St. Michael and St. Christopher on our behalf.

Next stop, Arkansas...

May. 12th, 2009

stepping out

year #3

I miss him.

I miss his booming voice yelling out to me 'hey hon!' when he came home from work.

I miss his massive callused hand holding mine.

I miss the way his eyes crinkled up when he laughed.

I miss his snoring.

I miss the way he obsessively watched the Weather Channel & ESPN.

I miss the way he cuddled with the girls.

I miss his lousy kisses.

I miss his shoes lying all around the house.

I miss the way he made me feel so diminutive when wrapped in his embrace.

I miss how he could spend all day in a shopping mall.

I miss the way his hair felt in my fingertips.

I miss his unending enthusiasm for yardwork & home repairs.

I miss his generosity.

I miss how he wouldn't go anywhere without a baseball cap.

I miss his screaming at the TV while watching football, hockey & baseball as if the players could actually hear him.

I miss how he laughed out loud at incessant viewings of Porky's, Animal House & Major League.

I miss how he confidently sang off-key.

I miss his impatience with inanimate objects.

I miss watching him with our girls.

I miss him.

I miss him.

I miss him.

Apr. 14th, 2009


closing in on that 3 year mark

Last night Mary came into my bedroom crying; she missed her daddy.

As I held her and tried to comfort her she said,

'It's been so long since I've seen him.'

My god, my heart aches for my girls. I mean what do you say to a 9 year when she's telling you that for 1/3 of her life she hasn't laid eyes on her daddy? Hasn't touched him or spoken to him in three years? All I could say was 'your daddy loves you very much baby.' She went on to say how he would hug & kiss her, make her breakfast in morning and played with her in the swimming pool.

I know baby. I know.

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