Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Odds ....

                                                          picture from here

.... and Ends.
Or rather ..... some ends make you feel very odd.

Or .... some odd things seem to never end.

Before I explain myself I want to thank Michele for always being ready to stand in for blog duty .... even when it comes only 24 hours before publish time because a certain writer lost track of time, and of duties, while she planned and then left on a vacation to Mexico with her 6 kids.
I'm not naming names here.
Other than Michele's.  Because she rocks.

I also happened to take my children (who number 6) to Cabo last week.  Which just happens to be in Mexico.  Not that I'm admitting to anything here .... it could be just an odd coincidence.

We had a great time and I loved being with all 6 of them for 7 days.  And I miss 5 of them very, very much.  I'd miss all six of them but the youngest happens to reside in my home, so I don't miss him so much.  HOWEVER, let it be known that if he did not live here .... he would indeed be missed. (you have to really be careful to cover all of your bases when you have 6 kids .... a job that's getting harder and harder to do.)

Anyway, the day we came home I was back in my bedroom with a couple of my kids and we were all talking about various aspects of the trip as I unzipped my suitcase and removed some souvenir items.  And then the oddest thing happened.
Not odd in that it happened, because it used to happen all of the time 4 years ago.

But odd in that it happened now.  Four and a half years later.
Very odd.

As I was holding some of the souvenirs in my hand and listening to the kids chat about the trip, I thought,
"I need to tell Jim all about our trip!"
That thought flew into my head .... and then flew out as fast as it came.
But it left me leaning over my suitcase, fighting as hard as I could to not react as strongly as I felt .... which was stone cold and almost breathless.  And then I think my next thought was, "What the hell?!"
I had no idea where that thought had come from .... or why it had come, when it hasn't come in a very long time.
So long, in fact, that I can't remember when it last happened.
Or I couldn't before Saturday.
Very odd.

A very odd thing brought about by the end of someone.
At first, as I wrote above, it happened all of the time.  At least a few times a week.
If I turned the TV on and saw that Oklahoma State was playing a basketball game, I'd find myself starting to call out Jim's name to tell him that the Cowboys were on TV.  But I stopped myself.  And cried.
The first time I went out of town with a couple of friends (my first trip to Cabo) I arrived at the Cabo airport and thought, "I need to call Jim and tell him I made it ok."  Then I remembered that he wasn't at home and so he was not worried about my trip .... and if I made it .... or not.
And I cried.
One of the last times it happened, was well over a year ago .... maybe even two.  I ran into a friend who had been a friend of ours before we moved to Texas.  We knew them from Tulsa.  They were transferred down here several years after we were.  When I ran into her that day she told me they were being transferred to Chicago, where we had also once lived.  After we chatted for a while and then said goodbye I thought, "I need to tell Jim about that".  And then I realized that not only was Jim not here to listen to my story, but no one else in the world would understand that we had known them "before" Texas.
None of my friends here knew them.  So I had no one to tell about running into her .... and that they were moving again.
No one.
And that felt very, very lonely.
And odd.
And it made me cry.

But this time .... this time I didn't cry.
It was odd.
It was VERY odd.
And the knowledge that follows right after that thought flies through your head is ...... well, it felt "unsettling".  And it made me feel a little shaky.
But I did the best job I could to brush that thought, and it's after effects from my mind like they were sticky cobwebs.  It took a little bit of effort, but I did it and managed to keep up with the kids' conversation and continue my unpacking.
But the unsettled feeling?  It never left.
I still feel it.
And I still wonder, "What the hell?!"
Where did that come from and why now?

Odds and ends.
We always have odds and ends around ..... in some form or another.
Ends leave you feeling odd.

And the odds are ..... we'll all experience an end.
Of someone.

Odds and ends.
Ends and odds.

In the end .... it's all odd.
And very .... unsettling.

Four and a half years out.
What are the odds?


  1. Wow Janine! Does your comment ever resonate with me.
    I just arrived back from a holiday and came in the door with my large luggage.
    The house was quiet and even though I come in through this door to a quiet house everyday now. It was different.
    No excitement of being home "together", talking about the trip, unpacking and sharing those memories. Just me.
    I left everything at the door and went out to see our garden - in full bloom and so beautiful. I walked the path and then turned. . . to say "Look at this place? Doesn't it look beautiful?"
    I actually turned on the path, to look for the face of my husband smiling back at me and then thought "oh! He isn't here anymore".
    I made it around the garden with tears coming to my eyes and into the house - once again shocked at "gone and never coming back".
    Sometimes I wonder if I will ever get used to it.
    I also wonder if he was alive. . . would he feel the same way. Would he notice my absence in everything?
    I was grateful to have gone on such a wonderful trip but coming home . . .
    is the most difficult part of the journey.
    Thanks for letting me know at a year and a half . . . it is completely normal.

  2. Janine, you are simply amazing you way you are able to put on paper in such an eloquent way, the things that we all experience. Over two years out and I still have that experience of pulling out the phone to call my husband about something. I still do cry when I immediately realize he isn't here to call. But the tears are not as voluminous as they once were.

    So glad you were able to have a wonderful vacation with your children!

  3. I have trouble with the neighborhood that I live in alone. It is where we raised our two boys and it was a new development when we moved in in 1977. Sometimes when I'm outside, I'll stop and think about the original homeowners who have moved away or have died. The young families, now grown and moved away with their own families. And especially of when my family was intact and the future was ours. My husband died of cancer 3 1/2 years ago 6 mo after diagnosis. Our boys are grown and have their own families in other states. This week a former neighbor stopped by as he was in town on business and decided to drive through the neighborhood. I happened to walk out of the garage just as he drove by, and he stopped and we talked. He and his wife moved to AZ 6 years ago, after living next door to us for 29 years. He did not know that John had died, as I had no contact info. He was shocked and very supportive. It's part of letting go of the past and letting go of the family and security that I once felt when we were a family living in this house together. That is a difficult and haunting process. I know I need to leave this house and neighborhood because of all the memories, but part of me wants to hang onto all of it. One day at a time. But it feels good to voice what I'm dealing with presently in my grief process. Lots of tears re what once was and what will never be because of John's death--being alone in my retirement. I'm still trying to figure that out. I have mostly good days, but still lots of sadness underneath. Again, one day at a time:)
    Janine, thank you for your sharing. It is very healing for me.

  4. It is uncanny that you would write something that has left me depressed for the last week. We sold a home in another state in 1989 but one paper was never filed. the owner contacted me because he is trying to sell it and needs me to sign off something. we talked for a long time and several times I heard myself saying "wow" while he updated me on people and things back there. As soon as he hung up I thought "wait until Dave hears this!" then remembered he will never know this and nobody else in the world cares but it was huge to us. It is nearly 6 years now and I was shocked at how hard this hit me. Thanks for putting it into words.

  5. Funny how that works isn't it? The last time it happened to me was when Carl and I got engaged...I thought to myself "I can't wait to tell Daniel...." and then I thought "What the hell????" Love you Janine!!

  6. My husband knew a little bit about everything and there was hardly a question I could ask him that he couldn't answer off the top of his head. He was my own personal Google before there was such a thing. For me, "I'll have to ask Ken how that works" is the thought that throws me off balance all too often. Odd, indeed. Thanks.