Monday, June 13, 2011


invite too late

"You are cordially invited to attend an exclusive open house at our world-class model. Experience first hand this special event where we will celebrate history in the making - the nations first LGBT Retirement Community with a continuum of care.

Tempt your palate as you savor delectable bites and taste the neighboring Paradise Ridge's award winning wines. Enjoy a site tour of our ten acre, oak-filled campus with stunning view of Sonoma County Valley and Fountaingrove Golf Course."

Damn them. Damn the U.S. Postal Service for being the excellent trackers they are. And, damn life for it's ongoing kick in the stomach.

It has been 11 months since I move away from our San Francisco home, in need of a fresh start with as few reminders as possible. It's been two further moves once settled in San Diego. I didn't want to spend the rest of my surviving days being reminded of what we had, and what we planned to do. There were too many of them. There were so many plans that we had made, and so many that got tossed straight into the trash can when Michael received his diagnosis.

I accept that life gives us what it does. I accept that God moves in mysterious ways. What I don't accept, is why there has too be so many painful reminders of what we don't have. I get that for the majority of people my age, they are looking ahead to their golden years together as a aging couple. I get that they are carefully planning out their retirement, and that for those that are financially fortunate enough, they are looking into the perfect retirement community to live out their lives together.

Do I really need to have this single piece of mail track me down, 500 miles south of San Francisco, then travel up and down the streets of San Diego, making it's way from the initial house I rented, only to find that I quickly moved on and put down permanent roots here in my current home, and then find itself dropped into my simply stated stainless steel mailbox?

"No. Michael doesn't live here!"

"No. There is no happy couple interested in your retirement community."

"No. There are not two happy and loving faces that you can plaster on one of your lovely tri-fold brochures."

Okay. I know I'm being a bit childish. I get it. Where's that thick skin of mine, right? You know, I wear my armour every day that I leave my house. I expect that I can lay it down once I walk through my door. I also expect (foolishly obviously) that I can control that which hurts me, or cuts to my vulnerability within my own safe haven. But you know, this is what really goes on here. When no one is around, and it's just me that picks up the mail, well there is no buffer, and there is no need for it either. So, BANG! Shot to the heart.

"Is this very mature of me?"

"Can't I just get over it, and realize that these things happen?"

Grow up Dan. Be a man.

For the record, I did handle it very maturely. Nobody in, or around, my house are even aware of this small moment, or this insignificant piece of junk mail. The reality is (and all of you live this every day) is that nobody around me would even think to ask if receiving the occasional piece of mail addressed to the two of us is difficult to deal with. And, I'll bet that like me, most of you have those moments where life still knocks the wind right out of you. You probably take a deep breath, or immediately succumb to tears, or maybe still have those moments that drop you to your knees (those were always my favorite).

This is just one of those many moments that illustrate how it's just not so easy to move on.

me, to the world: "Yes, I am doing very well. I am making progress, even though most of you don't understand that there is still progress to be made. Yes, I thank you for telling me for the hundredth time how good I look. Not quite sure why one says that anyway. And no, I am not purposefully getting stuck, or wallowing unnecessarily. This is what I must do. Like it or not, this is who I am, and this is how I experience life."

Ouch! again.


  1. I was clicking on icons on my desktop and clearing some out when I clicked on one that simply said microsoft document yesterday. When I opened it it was blank but the computer told me this is a document prepared by David an I almost fainted! Years ago we set this computer up in his name. I did not need the shot of pain sent through my heart. One day I got a piece of junk mail that said, David, we want you back! from AARP I just sat down underthe mailbox and said so do I! and cried. It is huge to get these. I feel your pain. Sandy

  2. So well written for how it feels when a 'simple envelope' shows up at the mail box. I too remind myself that junk mail always comes, trying to not let it wound me before I find the recycle bin is the hard part!

  3. Great job Dan! Yes, the mail that keeps coming in my husband's name is terribly hard to handle. I wonder if my neighbors think I've lost it as I take the mail from the box and sometimes the tears just can't be held back.

  4. We named our only son Charles Joseph and my husband's name was Charles Jeffrey (Both Charles J.) and called our son Joey - not realizing that when Joey got older, he would also become Charles J.; Now I receive mail all the time addressed to Charles J. ____ and have to open it to see if it belongs to my son or my husband.

  5. Yeah. Depends on the day as to whether the mail makes me sigh or cry.
    Then there's the cell phone bill that I can't change into my name because the plan is discounted through Dave's employer. If I want to keep the discount I need to keep it in Dave's name. So every month Bell reminds me that my husband is dead. Nice.
    Today in the paper there was a glossy travel mag for nearby destinations just outside of our province. They were ALL the types of places Dave & I would consider traveling to this summer. It's very hard when that's just gone. Nothing to plan together or look forward to anymore.


  6. I had a screaming widow fit with a dentist's office that kept sending reminders to my husband for his six-month checkup. We had moved away and changed dentists years before, but they got our address. When they started leaving phone messages, I called the dentist's beeper and let him have it with both barrels. "He doesn't NEED a checkup. He was CREMATED! He doesn't have TEETH any more!!!" The dentist hung up on me, but I also stopped getting reminder notices.

  7. now see, I like getting mail with matt's name on it. Every time it happens, I want to shout to the people around me - SEE? He existed. He lived here. Y'all may not mention him, or care that my love died, but HE WAS HERE, and I have the mail to prove it! Look - it even has BOTH of our names on it, together.

  8. I'm with Megan. It doesn't bother me at all to get mail addressed to him. In an odd way it's a comfort. I guess it's a way of hanging on. I will share an odd experience I had two weeks ago. It was my husband's birthday (second one without him). I came home from work and played my phone messages. A local chiropractor's office has a recording with the staff singing "Happy Birthday." I was a bit stunned at first, then I remembered getting that call last year. I felt a little odd about it. I suppose I should call them and inform them.....

  9. Dan,I can relate to what you are saying. I got a phone call a year later a from a man my husband had left his name with for a car he wanted to buy, but the guy was not ready to sell. He had really wanted it, but now he was not here to get it. Also, a few weeks after he died, a flannel shirt that had been on back order arrived for him,I kept it anyway like it was a gift from him to me. Dan, please keep in mind that almost 2 years later, I still receive those reminders of my husbands life. Which depending upon tne day can bring a smile or a tear! It just is something we must deal with that other "normal" people do not understand how painfully that could be. I agree with you often times it is just a reminder of our lost dreams!