I’ve been seeing the sign for weeks.
The darkness covering the skies and distant rumble of thunder.
I’ve been ignoring them, hoping to outrun them and keep the sun shining on my face.
I had been getting jittery and more uneasy until I realized it was that I was nervous about his birthday trip. That I didn’t know how upset it was going to make me.
Trina and I drove up to Tennessee early and got in some hiking at a local state park. I wore one of frank’s favorite shirts in his honor. It help me feel closer to him as I let the silence of the forest absorb me.
I always forget how much hiking helps me. How I can just let go and let the peace flow into me. Trina was a great hiking partner, giving me space and silence and waiting till I was ready to talk again.
The next morning we went to the distillery first thing and I was surprised to see it so busy for a Monday morning.
They have started doing a tour that ends with the tasting inside a barrel room and it was the coolest experience.
You get to taste the top level whiskeys surrounded by the barrels. The slight chill i got from the air was quickly warmed by heat from the whiskeys.
He would have loved it.
I got a bottle of single barrel, the one we always liked the best and had it engraved.
“Franco” forever loved 2018
It was hard for me to write the words on the paper and had to choke down tears when it was complete.
It was still a beautiful experience and it helped to be there with the ones who love me and let me lean on them.
As it got closer and closer to Christmas, I was trying to decide what to get his mom.
I looked at ornaments with sayings, keepsakes and nothing felt right until I found a frame that I could have a message typed out in and it had a spot to clip a picture to.
I put his name and debated long and hard about putting his birth and death dates. I decided that the day he died wasn’t as important as the fact I loved him.
Instead in place of dates, I put “Always remembered, forever loved”
Then a beautiful poem:
Your Life Was a Blessing. Your memory a Treasure. You are loved beyond words. And missed beyond measure.
Having that printed was the straw that broke me.
I just broke down and lost it.
It was beautiful but hurt so damn much.
I printed out a picture of his mother and him and put it in a gift bag.
I went over to her house on Christmas and she wasn’t expecting a gift at all.
It hit her hard too and we both sat in tears for awhile.
She told me how she hadn’t felt like decorating for Christmas and implied how hard it had been with everything this month.
I realized that I haven’t been checking in on her often and I need to do that. She is still important to me and I have been so absorbed in trying to fight my own demons….I forgot that she has her own.
I still think about him daily, mourn him daily.
The loneliness hasn’t been as bad with Trina and Dick here but I miss the touch of someone who loves me.
Arms to hug me after a shit day.
The simple intimacy.
I feel so guilty about thinking about finding someone new. I don’t want a replacement for him. I want someone who can stand on their own but am so afraid to let someone get close to me.
The walls I’ve built around my heart are so high. Impossible to get through.
I don’t know how to trust someone.
To allow myself to get close enough to be broken again.
I’m still picking up the pieces of my life now.