I went to Matt's grave alone after that... the first time I ever went by myself. I made sure to tell him, first and foremost, to take a good look at what an awkward situation he's put me in: talking to my dead husband at his grave... probably looking like a crazy person to whoever might have seen me. Although I'm sure no one did because it was the crappiest weather ever. No one in their right mind would be out in that mess. But regardless, it was awkward. About as awkward as looking at him in a coma 11 years ago and not knowing what to say. I'm pretty sure I touched his hand and uttered a, "Hi, Matt..." Yeah, I think talking to his soul is more awkward than that. This man has put me through too much.
So after pointing this out to him, I continued on. I read his anniversary card, at which point I definitely lost what little composure I managed to fake, fumbling with the umbrella, his card, the rosary and the Bible while kneeling on a baby changing pad in the wet grass. After reading the card, I prayed the rosary for his soul and read the Bible. That was pretty much it. By the time I was done, my legs from my knees to my toes were completely numb. I told him the least he could do was help me walk back to the car. See? Crazy person. Don't even get me started on the times where I think I see him for just a fraction of a second upon a random glance.
But between the jewelry shop and the cemetery, I failed to mention my flower shop excursion. When I walked in, a man asked me if I needed help with anything. I told him I was just looking for a little something to put on my husband's grave. My husband's grave... how old do I sound? Yes, Aaliyah, age really ain't nothing but a number. (God rest her soul.) If only age could really keep us from enduring such things. "You're not supposed to bury your husband at 26."
I have been all over the place in the last 2+ months... sometimes I forget where I am. And bless these poor children of ours. They've had no choice but to become seasoned travelers. We drove to the Raleigh airport on July 23 and flew to Detroit. From Detroit, we drove to Rockford where the kids and I stayed one night, then we transferred to Grand Rapids to be closer to my Hales family. We were in Grand Rapids doing funeral stuff for about a week and then we drove up to the cottage at Crystal Lake. We stayed there through Matt's birthday (July 31) and then drove up to Petoskey where I think we stayed another week. Then we drove to Grand Rapids (I think) and flew back to Raleigh. This was somewhere in August. Then from Raleigh we drove back to our house in Greenville. I finally stayed in one place for about a month after that to keep a semi-normal life working part-time but also packing up everything. Then we made the journey back to Grand Rapids via road trip for the next 18 hours, stopping to stay overnight in Mt. Airy on the way up. I stayed in Rockford with the kids for a week, drove up to Crystal Lake for a night, and then back to Petoskey... our new home for the next three months if I'm to start school this winter. Then we will move back to Rockford. It is just madness. I'm used to it.
I remember the day Matt died - my friend April drove me home. I opened the garage door and Matt's car wasn't there. Every day I would come home from work and hope to see Matt's car in the garage when I hit that button. The door would start to raise and I would watch to see if I saw his car appear while I pulled in. I was happy when he was home before me. Truly. I just loved him. I loved being around him; we had so much fun together. He was my best friend. Sometimes, although this rarely happened, he would get home later than normal and I would think the worst while waiting. Not even on just those occasions; I would think the worst on normal days, too. I guess because he spent 75% of his day driving. And maybe because it had happened before. And because he had seizures. Not very often and never while driving but it was still a contributing factor to my mild case of paranoia. And then... July 20. There it is. I don't know if I'll ever be able to wrap my mind around it.
All the little things we wish we said or did... when you know you will no longer get to see someone on this earth ever again, all those little things weigh heavily on your mind. It's like you wish you could go back in time and make up for all the time you now know you'll miss. But really... it doesn't matter. It only affects you. So I didn't tell Matt I loved him that morning. That doesn't mean I didn't love him. He knows I loved him with all my heart. But it was my last chance to tell him that. Neither of us knew it would be my last chance. He didn't tell me he loved me either, obviously. But I can tell you that's not bothering him a bit. And that part doesn't even bother me. I know he loved me. He didn't have to say it constantly. I don't care that he didn't tell me that morning... I only care that I didn't tell him. Funny, isn't it?
Just make good memories. Don't forget about the little things. The little things are important, too, but they are not things over which to obsess. The important thing is making good memories. Those memories will bring comfort to your loved ones when you are gone and they are mourning.
I made the mistake of attempting to view Art Prize downtown yesterday. It was HORRIBLE. It started out being horrible because of the crowds and two small children (I wasn't alone though). Then the horribleness was increased ten-fold when I happened to walk by a bride and groom getting their pictures taken outside of the hotel. The same place Matt and I had some of our pictures taken. Her dress was even similar to mine. I tried not to look, that's just what I saw at first glance before I realized what a sucky situation I had just created for myself. I was trapped in hell. All I could do was look straight forward and try to walk as fast as I could pushing a stroller down a crowded sidewalk. I actually made it to the car and as far as 131 before I finally lost it. Thank goodness for that much. I'm doomed.
I wonder how long it will be before Noah asks, "Mommy, why are you crying?"
I stopped by the cemetery again today with Chloe. Noah was with the g'rents at church. I stayed behind because Chloe has a pretty bad cold. Snot fountain. Boogery eyes. But it was really nice out today so I wanted to stop by one last time before coming back here. I took back Matt's anniversary card (sorry, Matt). It was either that, or it be thrown out so I took it. I also took a stroll through our section. Getting to know our neighbors, if you will. Plus, I was just paying attention to the headstone designs since I am close to having ours done. Well, I noticed a young man who died at 24 (born in '82, died in '06). He was in the air force, I think. There was a picture of a helicopter on his headstone so I hope that's a safe assumption. He and his wife got married in April of '06 and he died that same year in October. Sigh. They got married the same month and year Matt proposed to me. I wonder if they have any kids. There was a bible verse on the base; Philippians 1:21:
For to me life is Christ, and death is gain.