Surprise Me

Started drinking alcohol, specifically wine, again. Sounds bad, I know…I told people my New Year’s resolution for 2014 was to take up drinking again, and I meant it. But not in a bad way, people!!!! In a socially responsible way…with friends, over a nice meal…that sort of thing.

Was at a birthday party last week at a local restaurant. The waitress asked me if I wanted to have some wine with dinner.

Sure, I said. Make it red.
What kind, she said.
Surprise me, I said.

The wine came in one of those trendy stemless glasses that looks like a small vase. It was excellent. Murphy-something (Goode, I think?).

Then I got the bill. My vase of wine cost $12.

Oh yeah, I was surprised all right.

I know it’s been quite a few years since I drank alcohol, but last time I was in a liquor store you could buy a half-decent bottle of wine for $12. Has it really been that long?

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rats ass

Sorry for the vulgarity and profanity. It’s just been one of those days weeks.

In the Village, there is a very popular high school teacher who was recently been diagnosed with cancer. He was a favourite of the Badass Daughter when she attended – a gym teacher and football coach – in his mid 40s with a wife and 2 small children. So sad and so unfair. He was diagnosed with the exact same cancer as my husband. Stage 4 adenocarcinoma of the lungs with malignant pericardial effusion. Also a non-smoker and example of healthy living.

Seeing the Facebook posts and reading in print media about this man and the campaign that has been started to provide support for him and his family trigger me almost every day. And I stand, teetering on the edge of the abyss, as I have to deal with the unwanted thoughts and memories of all the confusion, fear and despair of our brief but intense cancer journey all over again.

Yesterday I saw in a Facebook post that he possesses the ALK mutation (again, like my husband) and the family is thanking their supporters for all the thoughts and prayers, and writing how this is such a great outcome and means a better prognosis. I wish I could believe that.

I know now how the story ends for 99% of those with this disease, even with this mutation. Only 1% will still be alive 5 years after diagnosis. I really wish it will mean a better prognosis for this man and his family, but I can’t believe that, not any more. However, he has a very good chance of being spared at lot of the more harmful side effects of chemo, and as a result there will be a better quality to what remains of his life.

He may even be lucky enough to go into remission. I hope this happens and that it lasts for a long long time. Long enough for the next great cancer-fighting drug to come along and keep this man alive for many more years yet. That’s what JD and I were hoping for, for JD.

Yesterday I was triggered again, by another incident. I had hired a handyman to do some work for me, to ready part of my building for a commercial tenant. Came home Friday to find him falling-down drunk – he actually did fall down in my presence – and little to no work done. My agent came over a few minutes after I got there (thankfully!) and we got him out of the building and into a cab.

Got an email from him the next day apologizing and serving up learning of the death of an uncle as his excuse for drinking himself into a stupor instead of doing the work he was charged to do. Boy, that was the wrong thing to tell the recently widowed.

Hell, if I can face the world sober after what happened to JD and I since May 2013, anybody can.

I can’t begin to describe to you the amount of fury reading that sentence unleashed in me. Any compassion I had previously felt for this man (not much, but there was definitely some there) immediately vapourized. I gathered up his tools and stacked them neatly by the backdoor. I emailed him back that I no longer required his services and called bullshit on his excuse (after expressing condolences, of course).

I know, I read all about how we all grieve differently and that there is no right and no wrong way to do it. But I challenge that statement. Drinking yourself stupid on the job site and then asserting that you are going to drive home qualifies as a wrong way to grieve in my books.

I hope I won’t always be so easy to trigger, and that my fury abates and my usual levels of compassion for others return. But in the meantime, this widow is kicking asses (to the curb) and taking names.

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Tonight I started back into my online MBA program again. For the first time since my husband died.

To say I am wrenched into knots with emotion and memories as I sit down at my laptop to partake in course discussions is a complete understatement of what I am actually feeling.

Everything just feels so wrong. I should be sitting in my old kitchen, hammering out posts at the table, while bantering and kibitzing with my husband, who is working away at the old desktop computer in the next room. I should be getting up every hour or so to massage his sore neck and shoulder muscles, and to laugh with him, and make each of us a hot tea or a cold drink.

Instead I am alone at my new place, in my new, still mostly disorganized home office. I am angry, I am blue, I am missing him so much I want to scream and tear my hair out…anything to distract me from the overwhelming sadness of continuing on without him.

Instead of doing any of the above, I put on my Widow Badass persona and craft a kick-butt first post to one of this week’s discussion questions. Omigod, it is so good it should be framed…no, bronzed!

At least, this is what the Widow Badass thinks. Mizz D is too distraught to care, for now. Thank goddess for the Widow B. She will get me through school, if no one else can.

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