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Filtering by Tag: Anniversaries

THANKFUL FRIDAY

Cindy Maddera

In the very early morning hours on Thursday, well before my alarm went off, I had a dream. Chris was in this dream. He just showed up and he was alive and well. The two of us were in Portland at one of their food truck halls. Someone placed a crepe with ice cream and fruit down on the table in front of us. I looked at Chris and asked “Did you order this?” He shook his head and replied “Nope.” So we looked around and noticed the people at the crepe place were waiving at us. They had sent it over to us for free. We smiled and waived back then dug into the crepe and we were talking and laughing as usual. Then I said “Wait. How is it that you are here?” Chris shrugged and said “I don’t know. I’m just here.” I nodded my head and said “That’s cool.” We took a few more bites from our crepe and then I said “Oh my gosh! We totally forgot to tell Todd that we were in Portland. I’ll text him and tell him to come meet us.” Chris said “Okay.” and then left to find the bathroom. Todd showed up while Chris was in the bathroom, so I said to Todd “Okay, listen. This is going to sound really weird, but Chris is here. He’s alive and everything and we sat here and ate on this crepe. He’s in the bathroom now, but I’m serious. Chris is really hear.” Except Chris never came back from the bathroom. So I was left trying to convince Todd that I had not completely lost my mind.

By the time I woke up, Todd still was not convinced that I hadn’t gone totally mental. Usually when I have dreams that involve Chris, I wake up crying or angry or both. This time I just woke up. I did want to text Todd and tell him “no I’m not crazy; Chris was here.” I refrained because I know that you should never send a text or email that obviously proves you are crazy. That way it can not be used against you later. Like in a court of law or something. This dream did not leave me feeling sad. Actually it was probably the best dream involving Chris that I have had since he died. I don’t remember what he said or if he actually really did say something, but it felt like he was talking and we were chatting about just regular stuff. Chris has never just chatted with me about regular stuff when I dream of him. He pretty much says nothing at all and the dreams are not pleasant. I also did not walk away from this dream and spend the rest of the day clouded in sadness. Though I did harbor a craving for crepes with some ice cream and fruit for the rest of the day.

On March 14, 1998 Chris and I said “I do” in front of my parents, Stephanie and a couple we knew from college. The ceremony took place at the Chapel of Love in Las Vegas. That was twenty one years ago. I like to think we had a good run while it lasted. Sure, his hoarding tendencies drove my insane and I could get really frustrated with his lack of action. I tried to be more understanding with the later because I know that most of his inaction was due to self esteem issues. We are our own worst critics. But for the most part, we listened to each other and were equally matched intellectually. We spoke the same language and felt comfortable saying what we meant to each other. Our marriage was such a stark contrast to the marriage I was exposed to growing up. It almost didn’t seem like we were married so much as we were best friends who happened to have sex with each other and lived together. So, I guess I’m glad I let Chris talk me into getting married.

I do miss him.

I’m not crazy. Chris was here.

GRUMBLE GRUMBLE

Cindy Maddera

Remember that skirt I told you about with the elephants all over it and how I had to send it back and get a bigger size? That skirt showed up yesterday and it was even smaller than the first skirt. It was also a different material than the first skirt. I was just starting to feel pretty good about this body. My pants fit me, pants I've had for three or four years. In yoga class on Saturday, I felt positively svelte and popped up into headstand like I had made that pose my bitch. Sure, I've had a thing for melty cheese the last couple of days, but who doesn't when it is cold and snowing. When I tried that skirt on last night, I felt like a fatty fat fat. I tugged the zipper up as far as I could and then cried "what is wrong with me?!?!?" because of course my first thought was that the company had not made a mistake. My first thought was that I had gained even more weight since ordering that skirt. Then I thought "how is that even possible if my clothes still fit?" I laid awake last night thinking about foods I will stop eating and vowing to ride my bicycle to work as soon as the weather allows. 

I sent that skirt back this morning, slapping the free shipping label onto the box with disgust. Then I looked outside and it was snowing and I hated all things. Except cheese. I am a prickly pear and it took me half the morning to figure out the real reason besides hormones for the my prickly pear syndrome. It is March 14th, the day before the Ides of March, the day Chris and I got married because it was Spring Break. We would have been married nineteen years today. The prickly pear syndrome comes from not wanting to remember or acknowledge that I would have been married for nineteen years. It is symptom of trying hard not to acknowledge a past life because I have moved on to a different one. 

Last week, I caught the tail end of an interview on NPR with Patton Oswalt. At the end of the interview he said "You know, you can say you're through with grief all you want, but grief will let you know when it's done." I wanted to tell him that it will never be done. You're going to think it is done. You haven't felt any twinges or leaky eyes in a while. You actually feel happy about your present life and then out of nowhere grief steps up and taps you on the shoulder. "Hey let's dance some more. I'm not done yet!" That's when grief turns into that crazy drunk guy you can't shake at the club. He may be kind of cute, but you're not interested and you're tired and ready to go home for the night. Yet, you are too polite to say no. You follow him back out onto the dance floor and think about ways to ditch him when he's not paying attention. You are not having any fun. 

Dates, numbers. They are too significant at times. Maybe if I focus on the irritating fact that I am sending a skirt back for the second time because it is too small, I won't notice what day it is. If I complain and gripe about how it is snowing in March (it is still winter, I don't know why I am complaining) I won't think about how our original plan was to get married on the fifteenth of March until we remembered Shakespeare and moved it up a day. If I spend enough time focused on criticizing my weight, I won't feel grief tapping on my shoulder trying to drag me back to that dance floor.

It has been five years. My feet hurt and I'm tired of dancing.  

 

BEWARE THE IDES OF MARCH

Cindy Maddera

We had a really nice weekend with most of it spent outside. Yard work turned into attending a St. Patrick's Day parade in Brookside. We ate green cotton candy and pizza. The Cabbage played with the neighbor kids and then that evening we built a campfire and cooked hot dogs. Then those same neighbor kids and their mom came over and made s'mores. The kids and Josephine ran around the yard while the adults chatted around the fire which was nice because we got to get to know our neighbors. And I like her. And get this. Her husband is a ghost hunter. That's his hobby. He was actually in Tahlequah, OK that evening on a paranormal investigation. Nicole, the woman next door, had sort of grown up in that house. It was her grandparents and she said that she had spent every summer vacation there. Her grandmother spent as much time outside as she could tending to her garden. There's this large stone structure in the back corner that I have been curious about forever. Did it used to be a chimney or a well? Neither. Nicole's grandmother had a large Virgin Mary shrine set up there. I'm really sad that it's gone. We talked about schools and homes and teaching teenagers math and we talked about Chris. 

The next morning I was sitting on the couch with my coffee watching CBS Sunday Morning when they mentioned something about the Ides of March. A little bell went off in the back of my head somewhere and I said "Oh...yesterday was mine and Chris's wedding anniversary." Michael said "Wait. You were married on Pi Day?!" "Yeah...I guess I did get married on Pi Day." I had never really thought of that before or put the two together. At the time Chris and I got married, Pi Day wasn't a thing. No one cared about 3.14159265359 and how that corresponded with March fourteenth.  We had originally picked March fifteenth, but then remembered the Ides of March thing and moved it to the fourteenth. It was Spring Break. These where the things we were thinking about when we picked that day. Saturday, I gave zero thought to it. When I remembered on Sunday, Michael asked "Do you think that's why Chris's name came up so much yesterday? Like 'hey, hello, I'm here'?" It makes sense. 

I feel a little guilty that I forgot our wedding anniversary. This would have been sixteen years. Traditional sixteen year wedding anniversary gifts include a silver tea set, a flask or a fountain pen. I would have gotten Chris a fountain pen, feeding his pen fetish. Chris has been around in dreams lately in his usual way of just being present. Last night, I dreamed that he had started selling baked goods out of the garage. I remember that walking up to him in the garage was like seeing an old friend you hadn't seen in a while. We even talked to each other in the same way. I asked him how he was doing and said that I thought the bakery was a good idea. It was obvious that we'd both moved on to other things. It was sort of like the end of The Way We Were when Katie and Hubbell bump into each other on the street. We were happy to see each other but awkward because we'd both moved on. I woke up wanting a cranberry orange muffin and a little sad to not be the girl who ironed her hair straight any more.  

But I'm not that girl any more and it wasn't our politics and convictions that drove us apart. I had only one choice and that was to move on. Though I don't like the sound of "moving on". It sounds like I'm leaving things behind. I'm moving forward while respecting the past. At least I hope that's what I'm doing.