Village Nostalgia

Christmas 2014

Nostalgia, I expect, is a funny thing, different depending on what’s going on in your life.

For me today, nostalgia was just numb.

I needed to move. I grabbed my iPhone and headphones, and headed up Alpine Way for a simulated Huff n Puff Express. The ‘express’ term was originally coined by our neighbors, the Winnies, and it was the journey up the steep hill in the Village and down the other way.

Immediately, I realized my mistake. I have about five songs on my iPhone. There is no fucking cell service still here. In fucking 2016. So I walked around the neighborhood, passed the (most former) homes of the Steins, the Englishes, the Andersons, the Flemings, the Mays. I went up the “other” Dellmont, passed the Ealys (now an ugly shade of green), and over past the Robinsons. I thought, “the Robinson house now has a wrought-iron gate.” Then I was confused because there are two houses with long driveways. I couldn’t remember which one was theirs. This made me sad.

I tried walking up one of the ditches by the Robinsons. This was much harder than I remembered. I hoped the path would lead back down to my house. Alas, I met a fence with a homeless encampment on the other side. Thus, the bars on windows and wrought-iron gates.

I thought about being kids in the village … no fear of going anywhere, playing hide n seek in the cul-de-sac until the parents forced us in. There doesn’t seem to be as many good hiding places anymore. Maybe it’s just because I’m not small anymore. I look at kids now and think “yeah, have fun assholes, because life is going to suck. It just does. You will get an A-minus in a college class and throw up nine times outside of Lisa Johnson’s apartment at Stafford Gardens. You will lose that big game on a three-base error, but know it’s your fault because you let that bitch hit that pitch in the first place. You will get dumped. You will watch the Dodgers lose another playoff game. Your pets will die. Your dad will die. Then, to top it off, your husband will not win his addiction battle. He will die as well. So, go ahead and play tag now, because that game will be outlawed soon you special snowflake.”


I did all this while listening to Journey’s “Only the Young,” Grandmaster Flash’s “White Lines,” Jimmy Eats World’s “The Middle” and Kippi Brannon’s “Daddy’s Little Girl.” These are the only songs I had, and I just listened to them over an over. I still do not know how the Jimmy Eats World song got on there. Oh, the damn U2 album that was put in everyone’s iTunes account was available, but fuck that shit.

I paused to look down at Little League fields. On April Lane, I thought about heading up to the very top. A few Christmases ago, Adam and I discovered the Rim of the Valley Trail. Yes, I have never been on it. We walked a mile on it to stunning Valley views.

Back at home, I wandered the house. Upstairs, I remembered the way Adam and I would have our laundry and clothes strewn everywhere; how we would start the night in the queen bed, but Adam would move to the couch half the time because a) too fucking close! or b) I’m snoring. We loved the shower, which had great pressure and would get extra hot.

On the walk

I’d get out of the shower and Adam would have Star Trek:TNG on the TV while I got ready. Sometimes, he’d go down and talk to mom, make coffee. He learned to appreciate reading a good newspaper here … the L.A. Times.

We would think about what we wanted to do.Was it time to take the requisite beach trip and find a new brewery? Go to Hollywood for the Museum of Death? Sushi at Tori-Yen? Maybe this year we would have gone to the Harry Potter world at Universal Studios. We’d find a bar that looked cool, have a drink and just talk. Together all these years, and we never ran out of things to talk about. If a silence went too long, I’d say “want to get married?” Because our joke was that was the only reason people got married because a couple couldn’t stand the silence in a conversation.

I loved showing Adam L.A., just as much as he loved showing me Central City. We thought about moving back, but only if we could live by the beach. And we couldn’t afford that. Also, where would the dog be able to go?

I think if we had made it to retirement, we would have found a small shack somewhere near the beach. We didn’t need much. Just the Internet, cable, our pets, a big TV and a place to cook.

Nostalgia’s a bitch.




Dogs can also help.

The newscaster just finished his report on the death of Debbie Reynolds, calling it “mind-boggling” that she died just one day after her daughter, Carrie Fisher.

Hey, doofus, don’t go off your teleprompter. Only someone who has never experienced massive grief would ever think this was mind-boggling.

For me, it was not surprising. I have spoken about this before. Ms. Reynolds’ son said that his mother was under a lot of stress since her daughter’s death, and she “just wanted to be with her.”

Been there, done that. Sometimes still am there. I am so sorry for Ms. Reynolds’ loss, so sorry for her son and her granddaughter who are still living and now must grieve doubly. Are she and her daughter together in the afterlife? That’s nothing we can know. Trust me, if I thought death would mean Adam and I would be reunited, you would not be reading this blog.

There is a real phenomenon called the Widowhood Effect. Others have written about it more eloquently. Here’s the gist: one definitive study says that a widow or widower has a 66 percent greater chance of dying than a person with a living spouse in the first three months after a spouse’s death. This study only looked at people over 50, but the researchers (in this article at least) suggested that percentage may be greater with younger widows (jury is still out because there is less of a sample size).

Of course, the researchers also couldn’t account for what causes this increase.

Obviously, those researchers have never lost a spouse. Based on my own experience, this death can happen from any of the following:

  1. Suicide
  2. Car accidents because we simply aren’t paying attention like we used to
  3. Tripping on cords, stairs and pebbles
  4. Bleeding to death from chewing on your cuticles too much
  5. Dehydration due to tears; malnourishment due to not eating; obesity due to too many chips and pop-tarts
  6. Leaving appliances on and dying in a house fire
  7. Serious illnesses because we haven’t taken care of ourselves; been to the doctor; or given a flying fuck about ourselves
  8. Broken-heart syndrome (I suspect this might more likely happen to older spouses, but it’s real. Read the link).

Although Ms. Reynolds had a stroke, I do not doubt it was related to broken-heart syndrome.

You know what lessens the chance of bereaved people dying?

You do.

“You” meaning friends, family and any support system available. This is why you can’t stop thinking about me and helping me … I NEED IT. I am thinking about Adam and my sadness just about every minute of every day. But you guys can help me move forward. You guys can keep me from being a statistic.

The Catching of Breath

Uncle Adam and Coco … 2009? … at the Mango Tree restaurant in Cocoa Beach, Florida. Adam really knew how to eat corn… not leaving a kernel by the time he was done. He was efficient at it, and mocked my poor non-Nebraska corn-eating haphazard style.

Bixby knows.

He knows it’s different this time. When Adam was gone in April and May, Bix slept on the other side of the bed. Now, he’s jammed up next to me at all times. It’s like he knows it’s not temporary anymore, and he stays close for reassurance that all will be well.

Or maybe he’s just cold.

I’m in this stage now where I can go a couple of hours feeling OK. OK does not mean good. It means I can go for a few hours with Adam as a backdrop to my life, always peeking around the corner. But then, my breath catches, my stomach aches and it’s that debilitating fear. That fear you might get if you think to hard about the fact that you ARE going to die.

That fear is closer now that Adam has gone. That I’ve held two people now and watched them leave me. Dad and Adam. Two of the loves of my life. I see death now, but I have to change the word. It’s not fear anymore. It’s just there. It’s closer than ever. But then it’s so far. So far when you factor in grief.

I’m getting a better grip on what I can and can’t handle. I know there are times I can join my friends for something, and times when I know it’s better to just stay home. These hours alone are precious now. They are the times when I can fully envelop myself in Adam’s memory. Sometimes, this leads to tears, but not always anymore. The need to grieve alone can be overwhelming at times. I feel like I sometimes can’t get out of a crowd quickly enough. Then there are times that I am out of the crowd too soon.

I’m confusing. I know. It’s grief.

I’m focusing hard on Al-Anon right now. I’m doing it backward without a foundation as I no longer have an active alcoholic in my life. I’ve had confusion being stuck on step one: that I am powerless over alcohol, and thus in an Al-Anon way, I was powerless to do anything about Adam’s choices. The confusion came because there is also an Al-Anon list of Do’s and Don’ts that was discussed. If there are “do’s” and there are “don’ts,” doesn’t that mean that I had some sort of power? If I “did” the “don’t,” did I screw up and contribute to Adam’s drinking?

Someone finally tried harder to explain what Al-Anon is. It’s not about Adam, or whoever is drinking in your life. It’s about “you.” Doing the “do’s” and not doing the “don’ts” is precisely because you don’t have power over the drinker. You are a hamster on a wheel, causing anxiety only to yourself, spending your life focusing on someone else as if your life was less important. Maybe there is someone out there who can help me focus and understand even more … do I have this correct? I really just am stuck on the fact that I was powerless. I feel like I want to have all the guilt for life because it makes more sense. It’s easier to understand a concrete concept like “I did this because I nagged him” than “addiction is a mystery we are all still working on.”

And that’s where I’m also stuck. My life was not any more or less important than Adam’s. I would have taken the risk for my own life, to give part of my liver for him. I would have continued to live in a state of anxiety for him. I wanted to run away from the anxiety; I told him this. But I didn’t. There are still times I wish it was the other way around. That I was nonexistent and he was here for his family. I feel useless to my family. I feel like a burden of sadness.

I’m sorry I’m so messed up, that I put my grief out there. Know that I won’t feel bad if you stop reading. Grief is definitely uncomfortable for people.

You know what’s not uncomfortable? These black jeans. I’m still wearing them … every fucking day. I change my shirt and sometimes the sweatshirt. Sometimes it’s the same soft Dane hockey sweatshirt and black jeans three times in a row.

At least I have washed them…… once.




img_2115There are few close friends who don’t know about Sindie. Santa brought Sindie to me way back when I was 2, and he has traveled across the country with me. When I left other possessions packed up in boxes at my parents’ home, Sindie went to San Luis Obispo, Atlanta, New York and Colorado.

He’s been my comfort when I can’t have my mom … because that’s the first thing you say when you don’t know what else to do—”I want my mommy.” I have said it many times in the last three months, and I’m not ashamed. Sindie was there when Mom couldn’t be (hey Mom, you need to know, you are my No. 1 choice!).

Sindie usually holds a place in the top of my closet with various other stuffed animals from my childhood (including Brownie, Mrs. Elephant and more). When my dad died, Adam brought Sindie down to sleep with us; he knew it would help. When Adam went to rehab, and I was alone and uncertain, Sindie came back down out of the closet. When Adam died, my sister saw him and brought him down for me as well.

He hasn’t left the bed since. Now, Bixby, Sindie and I sleep in a tiny portion of a king-sized bed; huddled together for comfort.

img_2112Sindie is a boy dog … don’t be confused by his name, dammit. He’s the comfort I’ve always had with me. Once, at Cal Poly, the guys in the dorm strung him up as a joke … I’m pretty sure it was Annie and Suzanne who told them it would be a bad idea … that I wouldn’t find it funny. I didn’t. Now I sort of do because it’s a fun memory … a memory before life became too difficult.

Perhaps we all fall back to childhood when life is annihilated. When you are toasting a Pop-Tart, and you fall apart, when the reminder that Adam is not coming back crashes over you, you sort of need your stuffed dog and your real dog close beside you.

Though I would still rather have my mom.


That Fuckin’ Tooth


Back when I was in the seventh grade, right before I was due for braces, the dreaded “bad hop” in softball nearly derailed my career.

I was playing first in a Saturday game at Sunland Park, and during warmups a ground ball skipped straight into my front teeth. I spit out the crumbs of my right front incisor, and by my memory I just walked off the field without crying. Dad was there … the game was over for me before it started.

Back at home, as we looked for a dentist who would lay out his shingle on a Saturday (yay Dr. Ellis!), I sat on a chair in the living room with some ice. Mom was beside herself; she stood between Dad and me saying how ugly it looked and that she would never let me play again. Dad stood behind her rolling his eyes in exaggeration. The two of us knew we’d be playing again. Does anyone else remember I had to spend a month walking around junior high school with half a front tooth? My sister was mortified to know me. Whatever, I didn’t care.

I’m still paying for that bad hop 35 years later. The ball broke one front tooth, which later died, received a root canal and cap … I’m sure a handful of people remember the figure skating event in Binghamton, N.Y., in about 2000 when the cap fell off! A local dentist helped me out for $50 and a set of four tickets to the International Figure Skating Challenge (incidentally, this is also where I recognized the off-ice brilliance of Katarina Witt, but that’s another story).

Anyway, the OTHER front tooth also took a hit. I don’t know what the exact issue it has, but it’s yellow from the inside (as in Crest Whitestrips won’t help). I have hated that tooth with a passion. I used to ask Adam to please use his mad Photoshop skillz to whiten it on any picture. He would say “I don’t even notice it; nobody does.” I did. I have always hated my slightly yellow tooth.

There is a point to this.

Today, I made a dentist appointment. My old dentist retired and I haven’t had a check up in a year and a half or so. This time, besides a cleaning, I asked for a cosmetic consultation. I want to fix that fucking tooth.

I am feeling enormous guilt for this. I have realized for a couple of years I put off taking care of myself a lot. I saved money, scrimped on hair and the like, because I was saving money for us. Adam was unclear what he wanted to do with his career. I wanted to support him, so I left myself out of the equation. I had holes in my underwear, stringy hair, and just put aside what I needed.

I hope you understand that I do not mean this against Adam. We make sacrifices for the good of the partnership. I have no regrets. (SEE I CREATE GUILT FOR MYSELF EVERYWHERE!)

But now, five weeks after his death, I’m fixing my tooth. I am feeling guilt for moving on and spending money on a cosmetic procedure). But as I learned at a grief and yoga workshop tonight, the symptoms of grief are many; they are not linear, they are not rational, they just ARE.

I have lost the man who thought I was beautiful despite the tooth, despite the weight I put on, despite (and maybe because of) the fact I hate shaving my legs, despite the fact that I rarely wear makeup, have no fashion sense, walk like I’m always wearing cleats, and am covered with moles and freckles. Despite the fact I do not a graceful bone or muscle in my body.

This is a panic of “who will ever love me now?”

So I’m getting my tooth fixed. At least, I will love the smile staring back at me.

Farewell, Central City

The Hord House, as it is known, was the house the Currys lived in while we were together. I loved this place.

Central City, Nebraska.

Who would have thought that a town with a population of 3,000 would become a second home to this girl from Los Angeles?

Well, it did.

Back in 1999, Adam and I had been dating for two weeks when he mentioned to his dad that he had met someone. His dad said “bring her home for Thanksgiving.” Adam jokingly asked if I wanted to come. I had no other plans, so I said “sure.” Now, Adam was really stuck! He didn’t think I’d say yes.

But I did, and on that eight-hour drive, Adam and I discussed our histories, our past loves, our beliefs, our dreams. When we arrived at the Hord House,  (yes, it has its own Wikipedia page) where Adam’s dad and stepmom, Bev, lived, I was amazed. It was right in the center of this tiny town, a gorgeous house listed as an historic place. It wasn’t the house Adam spent his childhood years in; I don’t think they moved there until late high school/college. We laughed that two weeks into the relationship we were immediately put into the same bedroom. 🙂

Over the next 15 years, we went back for various Thanksgivings, Christmases and fourth of Julys. I was entranced by small town America (as a place to visit, that is). There were ice cream socials, county keg parties (the Fireman’s Ball), and an awesome Christmas parade where they threw candy at the crowd! I was all over this. In fact, one Thanksgiving I was invited to be a float judge for the parade. Adam said he thinks they were a little overwhelmed with how seriously I took it … I mean, I took copious notes and explained my reasoning.

I met amazing people… the Ryans and the Websters come to mind. The house was right next to the Lincoln Manor steak house, where we always ate at least once per trip! At Woody’s Bar, a local once pointed at Adam’s eyebrow ring and said, I quote, “Jesus Christ, did that hurt?” in a country twang.

I remember seeing the very terrible “The World is Not Enough” at the State theater in Central City.

I went to fireworks at the football stadium, walked in the dry Platte River bed, took Bailey out to the Ryan’s farm, where we learned she was a herding dog as she went after some cattle. Meka used to make himself at home on the nice furniture at the Hord (Curry) House. I slept through the sounds of trains booming through the town nightly. We chowed down on breakfast at Waffles ‘n’ More. Adam and I would sit outside in the twilight so I could watch the fireflies; he would tell me amazing stories of his wild youth growing up in the country. We would crowd in the kitchen as Bev created magnificent meals; Adam and I would stay up late in the TV room hanging out on the recliners and be the last ones up the next day–only aroused by the smell of bacon filtering up through the back staircase. We’d walk the dogs down to the enclosed ballfields to let them run joyously free.

He showed me the schools he went to, the places he hung out. We ran across the highway to the Central City Mall … aka the grocery story, in the freezing cold to get more beer or chips or candy. We bought fireworks, and I had a blast learning how to set them off, always saying “you’ll shoot your eye out!” or “don’t stand so close!”

The long road trips gave us time to talk, to sleep, to listen to audiobooks and music. To stop and have Crisp Pinto Burritos at Amigos, and have my personal discovery of the Runza.

And so it was that the first celebration for Adam was at the United Methodist Church in Central City. It was crowded with people who watched Adam grow up, with friends and family. Ed, the man who married us, led the service. Adam’s high school music director, Clay Blackmore, led a reunion choir of Adam’s classmates to sing “For Good” from Wicked. Ed used three Yoda quotes from our wedding to talk about Adam’s life … that Adam lived without fear and made the most of his life. That he lived “do or do not” as best he could. His pastor from youth, Denny, shared memories of Adam. Adam’s mom read a moving poem she wrote about her darling son.

Ed sang  “Will the Circle Be Unbroken” — a song he said was the only song he could sing when his son died at the young age of 21.

Mary put together a video of Adam’s life … it was beautiful and I hope to share it soon. We let balloons go for him. I got up to speak. I don’t remember what I said exactly because I didn’t prepare it. But it’s the message I have for all of you:

“Don’t let Adam’s life be defined by his addiction. He was such a wonderful man. I don’t know what the answer to addiction is, but I know it starts within each of us … that we have the courage to ask for help, and that we all have the compassion to give that help. I don’t want others to go through this, and I just want to give someone a chance to live, to reach one person.”

I know I also said what I really know now: I would live my life with Adam all over again, even if I knew what the ending would be; even if I knew the pain it would cause; even if I knew my life would be shattered.

Thank you, Central City. I will always remember you with love.

Grief Revelations

This photo has nothing to do with the blog. This is us with Daniel Logan, who played young Boba Fett in the prequels. We got his signature on our autograph poster and he was so awesome!

Over the last few days, I have a some certain revelations and steps in my grief.

I’ve read about four books on grief since Adam died. All of them by women, a couple more story-like and based on personal experience, a couple that have been a combination of stories and tenets/steps. What I realized is that I was actually becoming confused by the consortium of stories. Was I doing this right? Was I following a good path to steer myself from “complicated grief” (yes, this is a thing…)? Am I spending too much time in one stage?

I know the only right way to grieve is my way, but these books can be confusing as you judge yourself against others with different experiences. I spoke to my therapist about this, and she told me that she was advised not to recommend grief books to grievers for about six months. The reasoning? Exactly what I was experiencing…confusion about wondering what is right and wrong. Six months or so out, she said, it’s easier for a griever to get a handle on where you are.

Thus, I decided not to read the next book on the Kindle, and at the airport, I picked up an LCD book … a Lowest Common Denominator book … which is my acronym for any mass market paperback (yes, I’m being judgmental here). I picked up “Inferno” by Dan Brown. Aside: I read the Da Vinci Code during the week up to my wedding. I was exiled to the bedroom often to rest because I was so sick I couldn’t speak.

Anyway, about 100 pages in, the writer describes Florence, Italy, in great detail, and specifically Boboli Gardens. I immediately thought “I would like to go there.” The next immediate thought is the resounding sadness that I had actually been thinking of going there with Adam. I had to rearrange those thoughts in my head. My next thought was “Well, I guess I’ll never go there, then.” I couldn’t even entertain the thought of going alone or with someone else. And … cue the tears on an airplane again.

Grief is surprising at every turn. You are hit hard with reminders of what is not to be, even though every other minute you already know your life has changed irrevocably. It’s like you know, but you still keep forgetting.

That’s two things. The third is more personal. I’m in Central City, Neb., watching football (of course) after the celebration of life today (I’ll talk about that in the next post). But last night, around the table, we talked about Adam, addiction and his illness. His dad told me that while Adam was in the Texas hospital last April, he was flat out told “If you drink one drop again, you might as well call hospice right now.”

I did not know this. This was one of my own personal bits of anguished guilt and regret, thinking that I didn’t push doctors hard enough to tell him he could never drink. But someone did, and he drank anyway.

This gave me some sense of peace. It’s hard to explain why. Maybe it’s because it seems to be greater confirmation of the fact that he had an illness that affected his ability to make rational decisions. It wasn’t about loving alcohol more than he loved me… or loving alcohol more than he loved life … but whatever was going on, he struggled with making a completely rational decision not to drink… and there is science behind it. It’s not just willpower.

From the recent Surgeon General’s report on addiction:

… substance use disorders are said to involve compromised self-control. It is not a complete loss of autonomy—addicted individuals are still accountable for their actions—but they are much less able to override the powerful drive to seek relief from withdrawal provided by alcohol or drugs. At every turn, people with addictions who try to quit find their resolve challenged. Even if they can resist drug or alcohol use for a while, at some point the constant craving triggered by the many cues in their life may erode their resolve, resulting in a return to substance use, or relapse…

I guess my thought is, I’m still trying to work my way around the guilt I feel. Even in the above paragraph, there are phrases that trigger my guilt … Adam had triggers … they were our house, our city, our friends, our routines. We probably would have needed to uproot our entire lives to help conquer this, and we were talking about it. As I’ve said, we just ran out of time.

My therapist asked why I was continuing my sobriety. I first said “it would dishonor him.” She asked me “how would it dishonor him?”

My answer finally was…”Having a drink means I no longer have to be/need to be/want to be sober. I no longer have to adjust my life willingly for the person I love. Drinking means admitting Adam is gone. That I have no one to support anymore.”


Drinking means going on with my life. Going on without Adam.

I guess I’m not there yet.

Songs in My Head

I looked for songs that had lyrics like “All the lights are on in the house because dark corners are sad” and “I have so much cheese in my refrigerator” but there aren’t any that I know of. Also, here’s a pic of Bix.15170860_1363179543706301_5978077271499093714_n

Random songs that hit me in my grief. And you know, I am not a music nerd. But shit, these tunes are in my head all the time. It’s been one month exactly since Adam died.

The Smile Has Left Your Eyes by Asia (yeah, 80s friends, bet you haven’t heard this one in awhile!)

Wait by Alexi Murdoch (I just discovered this song and artist in a random playlist last week)

Horses are Faster by Ian Munsick

Overkill by Colin Hay (because I can’t sleep) “Ghosts appear and fade away…”

Texas Morning by Mike Nesmith (was one of my songs with Dad, so it’s hitting me now)

Of You by the Monkees (written by Nez) … because this song was a private love song I had for Adam in my head all the time. I never told him that.

Carlisle Wheeling (Conversations) by Mike Nesmith (this song is about real relationships … the middle, which I think is way better than the beginning)

Can you tell I go to Nez in sadness? Because he’s a genius.

“Forgive me my dear, if I seem preoccupied, if the razor edge of youth-filled love is gone. But we’re a both a little older, our relationship has grown, not just in how it’s shaped but how it’s shown.” 



Nerd Shirts

Adam’s all-time favorite T-shirt

Had to ask for help tonight. I needed someone to get me started on laundry and cleaning out the refrigerator, so I texted Kathy. Of course, she was here with dinner and Tom, her very handy husband!

But the most important task was moral support. My friend Laurie plans to make a quilt out of Adam’s favorite T-shirts, and I needed someone there as I picked them out. His favorite “Nerd Shirts.” I probably picked out too many, but here they are (NERDS!) in no particular order.

  1. Blue Sun
  2. Mal and Cobb as Calvin and Hobbes (They aim to misbehave)
  3. Black Marc Ecko Stormtrooper motorcycle design
  4. Stay-Puft Marshallow Man
  5. “Blink”
  6. Jesus as a barcode
  7. Starfest Star Trek shirt (from our last Starfest!)
  8. Mama Don’t Let Your Babies Grow Up To Be Klingons
  9. Romulan Ale: Legalize It!
  10. Spanked (I honestly don’t know what this was, a band?)
  11. His most worn Team USA shirt (because he was so proud of his work with the USOC)
  12. The aberrant “ou are the result of 3.8 billion years of evolutionary success. Act like it.” He had two of these because this one, ironically, came without the opening “Y.”
  13. The design of the “Trojan Rabbit” from Monty Python and the Holy Grail
  14. Wocka Wocka Wookie

Oddly, these are hard to part with, even though I would never wear any due to our, um, chest size difference. Lauri is planning to get flannel backing that matches the color of his Clan Currie tartan used for the wedding kilt.

Going through his closet was difficult, and I’m glad I had a friend. Every shirt, pair of shorts, pair of pants, has a memory associated with it. Also, for fuck’s sake, Adam, you absolutely refused to throw clothes away. So many. I just had to shut the closet when I was done. I’m not ready to go through this stuff yet.

Is anybody?

A Well-Loved Man

Texas sunset

In many ways, this day could be counted as a microcosm of grief.

It started when I went to bed with a slight headache and woke up at 1 a.m. (yes, I had fallen asleep, on purpose, at 10 p.m.) with one of the most astounding headaches of my life. I really did wonder if it was a tumor, or the precursor to a stroke, and I couldn’t decide if I cared or not. Was this it? If it was, I was at peace. 

I found some aspirin, I used a cold compress. Alas, I didn’t die.

Managed to eat half my breakfast at Denny’s; managed to not cry when leaving Steve and Bev; managed to successfully avoid all three FVS students on my flight until I got to baggage claim when I inadvertently stood right next to one. Quick small talk escalated into me saying “my husband died three weeks ago” with tears starting. I don’t know what I was thinking; it just came out. I feel like an asshole … like this kid deserved my grief.

My evening got worse. I keep telling myself that when I am driving, I have to “be driving.” I didn’t make 100 yards before I wasn’t driving but thinking and I crashed into a curb, destroying a front tire. My first thought was to call Adam, who would have then told me to “call AAA.” I skipped the first step, but you know what, I told both the dispatcher and the tow truck driver that my husband died. I just wanted to give them an excuse for why I crashed into a curb in the daylight on my own. I am assured this is normal behavior and that eventually I won’t tell every Tom, Dick or Harry that my husband just died. It’s not going to work as an excuse for stupid behavior in six months anyway. Though, it should.

So, on my donut wheel, I went off to continue my new tradition of Chipotle for dinner, but I couldn’t find a parking place. Settled for Wooglin’s. I’m wondering how long I will be going out for dinner. I hear there are “Cooking for One” books out there.

The mail was a mixture of good and bad—a book from my college friend and softball buddy Christy, who has been down this road as well; a letter of condolence from a nurse at UC Health; and Adam’s autopsy results.

I had thought when I received the autopsy results I would throw them in a pile and never look. But I opened them. It was clear to me that Adam was probably out of luck the minute he took his first drink (his first relapse), after rehab. Scarring was present … and the results said it was probably scarring from five years or more (we knew this). His pancreas showed damage, his spleen was enlarged, and of course, he had enlarged veins in his stomach and esophagus. He was living on borrowed time. We didn’t know it.

But what annoyed me the most was that whoever wrote the letter spelled it “scaring” and not “scarring.” Grammar counts, folks.

Stephanie was our last nurse who mattered at Anschutz. She wasn’t the nurse who was there when he died, but I think she was with us for two days, and is the one who let Bixby in. She sent a card. I wanted to share what she wrote because I think Adam would be proud.

“To the family and friends of Adam Curry… I wanted to personally express my sorrow for your loss. It was a privilege to care for Adam as well as all of you during this difficult time. He was a very lucky and well-loved man as shown by the love, care and support I saw from you. He left an impression here, too (and not just the dog prints on the bed).”

Yes, he was very well-loved. Forever.

P.S. It’s the little things that are sad, like realizing you don’t get to watch the new Top Chef with Adam. He loved the show. He loved crazy food.

%d bloggers like this: