January 31 2012 would have been my doody headed (thank you Ms Moon, perfect saying)husband's and my 26th wedding anniversary. February 2nd (yes, ground hog day) he would have been 61. When I woke each of those days I knew what day it was, but seemed fine. It is not that we were happily ever after, but this is the first time those anniversaries of marriage and of life were missed. Even with as big of a mess we were in we still always spoke to each other on those days. Until this year. He is gone now. And there is a peace and serenity in that knowledge. For so many reasons, especially because his struggles are over. He was a struggler. And he reveled in all the struggles he surrounded himself. And this year, no struggles. Just peace. Just memories. Memories of my life. Our life for many years. And separate already for many years.
Maybe that is why I am still so touched by a sadness I witnessed Monday. Other Bob and I were driving back from washing the toy when we both saw, or maybe we felt it or maybe smelled it. I am not sure. On the side of the road in front of the new pecan stand was the man who lives there. The one that used to work at Winn Dixie. Now he has the pecan stand and sells all kinds of local produce, honey and pecans. He has two black dogs. Good, well behaved, sweet dogs. But on Monday he was on his knees, one of the dogs head laid in his lap. still. very still. The sorrow, the anguish, the sadness, the utter despair this man felt for this loss lifted unseen through the air swirling with the energy of the sheer emotion. Other Bob and I both felt the loss and the overwhelming emotion coming from the man. Behind him maybe 10 feet was an older gentleman. Still. Frozen. witness to this loss. over whelmed and yet there. Standing back, holding the other dog. The dog staring at the man and the still dog. He too was strangely still and frozen as if not a part of the scene in front of him. Maybe they were too close. I still fell an over whelming sadness close on my heart and think of the man and the man watching and the dog watching and the other dog. lying very still.
I am also very tired and so a little more emotional. I have had a hard time getting to sleep. Getting my mind to relax. To unwind and slow down. The preview show is tomorrow and the rehearsals have been charged with anxiety, joy, playfulness, forgetfulness and phones going off at the wrong time or not going off at the right time. Monday's rehearsal pulled together and was magical. We had a show. Tuesday was even better when it came to the characters personalities coming out. But as often happens following a great rehearsal, this one was not as good on the lines. And I was certainly no better on the lights and phones. Sometimes it would ring when they were dialing. Or they would dial and put the phone up to their ear and it would continue to ring. I was trying out everything. Looking for the best way to start the music on time. developing the precision needed for the show. By the end of the show I was able to watch the actors more and the computer less. The lights are going pretty well. They are fine actually, but I can still improve there, and plan to.
But by the time I get home and then talk to Dad. Oh, and maybe fix something to eat, it is late and I can not sleep. This play is on my mind. My Dad is on my mind. My health is on my mind. How happy I am in so many ways right now. The same place I have been for a while, but right now, well, I guess I am just stopping to enjoy what I have. And I have The Fantasticks on my mine and I am getting anxious to join the play, the rehearsals, the work, the experience of that production. An opportunity that I never dreamed possible.
I also have the Murder Mystery on my mind. Auditions are the end of this month. Then spring will be turning into summer. I will have time with Christopher, and Dad and I are planning a vacation. Something special. Something that I know will make it him happy.
I am in a good place with friends. I still miss work Bob and Spat in Weeki Wachi, and need to call them. Yes, and I need to send a happy birthday to Wayne and Billy. There birthdays were the first of February also.
Yesterday I drove into Tallahassee and took my friend Phyllis to lunch. She just had a giant tumor removed from her tiny little precious elf like person. She is barely 5 foot tall, but a wonderful and precious friend. She has been having little things happen for a while physically. Maybe going back 10 years. And she is recovering beautifully from the surgery and hopefully this next week the doctor will give her lots of good news. She looks wonderful, only, well, only smaller. I mean she has always be "fun size" as a shirt she has worn states. But now she has lost significant weight and how much of that was the tumor and how much will come back with her strength and stamina we will see. But it was so nice to get to spend a little time with her.
Then I drove over to the Sprint store to get my cell phone fixed. I could not answer it. I could reject calls 7 different ways, but I could not figure out how to answer it. A very nice man, then a lovely young woman came up and between the two of them I can answer calls and receive email again on my cell phone. Wow! After getting used to always being in touch it was hard those first few days I was out of contact. I had almost recovered. But I noticed today I was already getting back to checking it several times through the day.
Now with my phone working. I drove over to the Social Security office. I had all of my paperwork gathered up. My medical records, my W-2 form, signed this form, signed and had another witnessed. A folder stuffed full of papers I was not sure what I was supposed to be doing with it. So I thought I will go and make an appointment and then I will have to finish this thing once and for all. I was surprised how quiet and orderly the office was. I waited less then 20 minutes as was stated on my number. I handed my folder over to a man and he asked me questions, then looked at me confused. I returned the look and then he got up and walked away. He came back and instructed me to go through the door and take my paperwork to window 6. He was window 2 in the outside room. I walked through the door and down the long hallway, windows on one side, cubicles on the other with Plexiglas between the social security agent and the person with their number.
I sat down at the cubicle identified as 6. It was around the corner and there was no protection between my agent and myself. She looked at me confused. Then tried to open my file in her computer. She could not get it. She looked even more confused and then she left and when she came back she asked me why I had not come in sooner. I said I was not aware I was expected. She showed me on one correspondence where it instructed me to bring the things on the cover sheet into the office. I had looked at the cover sheet and saw all the things I was supposed to get and had been working on that. I did not realize that I was suppose to come in within so many days regardless of what I had or not. Oops. I am not so clear on instructions these days. Then she got in my file and started apologizing. I have no idea for what. I have no idea what I was supposed to have done or what she was supposed to have done. I just had a folder full of papers. About 100 pages of medical records, financial records and well, I have no idea what else. She started explaining that I qualified for widows benefits from Larry. Okay. She explained how she was sending things in, where one would kick in and then mine would start after a certain time period and she talked and I think thought I was going to tell her what I wanted to do. I told her, that she knew more then I did, and what did she recommend. She talked a long time again. Everything seemed quite sensible, and I had no idea what she was saying. But finally I got the look I had been waiting for. The one where she would look at me expectantly and I would smile and thank her for everything and yes, I appreciated everything she did. Which is all true. Because all I know is that I would like to get a tiny portion back for a statistically short time frame for all that I put in all those years working very hard and trying to make a difference for the better. Now, please could I get a little, just a little back so I can pay for my insurances, and my prescriptions? I can take care of the rest. But those two areas, are my biggest outlay. She explained that because the system had failed me, she would put a rush on my case, and went on to explain time frames, etc. I thanked her again and said what would be the most helpful would be if they could finally state that I was disabled (I really hate that idea) so that I would not have to pay the giant penalties for using my retirement income because I had retired early because of cancer. She looked at me directly in my face and said she would do her best for me. I know she meant it and even if I am not completely sure what all we are doing, I still appreciate her care and concern and how professional and kind she was.
I left there and went to Zumba class. From Zumba I went to rehearsal. Then home around 10, a call to Dad and I could not sleep until after midnight.
Today I drove up to Thomasville to meet with Dr. C to talk about my hepatitis C and what we can and should do about it. I do not want to get sick. Dr. C assured me this treatment would make me sick. But first they had to take 10 tubes of blood to help figure out what possibilities I have. From there I headed to the Opera House and actually made some accomplishments. I got half of the membership letters ready. Lisa asked me if I could come in tomorrow to finish them and get them to the post office before it closes at noon. I said I could and then I would head back up to Thomasville to give more blood. This lab work for Dr. M.
I worked until 4:30 on the letters and then I raced home in the toy, changed into my Zumba clothes grabbed a dozen fresh chicken eggs from the girls and hopped back in the toy. I drove up to the Boy Scout hall and got there early enough to sit in the hall freezing with some of the other students and get to know some of my class mates a little better. They are a close group of friends. Very supportive of each other. There are some woman who come as a group of two or three, but the classes really feel like we are all in this together. For the most part these woman are in good shape. And I don't know what happened tonight but it all clicked. I think the songs were easier, but for almost the entire hour we worked as a unit. Even Carolyn and I were moving in sync with the others. Each with their own style. Some look like they are dancing, others look more like they are exercising. All levels of ability are in there, and each person seems to have a step that they excel at. Tonight one of the older Black woman got down. I mean she GOT DOWN. Our attention was grabbed by her friend whooping it up. As we continued to dance and wiggle, shake, gyrate, ungulate, skip, hop, step, stamp, run, stretch, and in my case stammer along we watched this woman, older then myself, but not by much, gyrate like a 20 year old. We were do squats, and she got so low and could gyrate up and down and smiled big. Everyone in that room looked at her with joy and amazement. Everyone looked at what she could do. Something no one else in the room could do. And we whooped and cheered and clapped and she rewarded us with an even more outrageous show, and then the moment was over and the steps moved on, and we all turned back to the leader and off we went to the next dance. Tonight the sounds of the steps was like listening to Gregory Hines times 20 tapping. The shuffling noise made as our hands slap across our thighs, clean like a brush on a fine snare drum. The claps, the chants, and cheers and arms moved in unison. Some hop, some step, others jump, and some barely move. But move we each do and by the end of the hour we are smiling. We feel good for that hour of movement. For taking the time to drive there, or run there, and to move for that hour. Not alone with a computer or a TV screen. An hour of movement, of dance, of a prayer between 20 women or more as we celebrated our bodies and what they can do. I see how this zumba thing is so popular. Even someone as uncoordinated and catch footed as I am, can do this. That some time each session each of us will feel good, feel successful for what we just did. Maybe it is just making an hour with these woman sweating and supporting each other. That seems like such a blessing. Like seeing a new year's resolution come alive. to accomplish something, while doing something that is fun and enjoyable, with woman who are 100% totally supportive. Wow! I had no idea that this possibility even existed. I am sure glad that Carolyn shared this with me. She is good about sharing fun things with her friends. I really appreciate that. I also appreciate that we are there together. Supporting each other to be there. Supporting each other to keep moving. My goal is to attend at least one class a week. So far we have been able to attend 2 classes each week. And at home I am adding more dancing in with my yoga and walking and getting out of that red chair.
Yes, I am wearing myself out emotionally with all of my commitments. Yes, I am wearing myself out physically with long hours and doing lots of things. But I also spend a lot of time in this red chair. Laying down a witness to my life. Participating in a life and then sitting down in my red chair and remembering some of the moments, some of the emotions, some of the joys and challenges of a life, as if witnessing it. After witnessing so much death this past year, it seems only right that this year I should witness life. My life. To say once again that cancer has given me so much. Not just nodules like tumors (get it gave me so much, okay, not really funny) but the opportunity to be a part of Jeff Pearlman's Quaz. The opportunity to have been the featured artist on the cover of the TLT Art Section of the Tallahassee Democrat. Things that I think cancer opened the possibilities for. Joing HOPE which showed me what exercise could do for me. Time spent with my nephew. The people in my life right now. The possibility to get to share my story of my family with my father's cousin's great grand daughter and her 8 year old daughter, Ellie. A story that goes back to my father's mother and Jamie's Great great grand mother. And I have known all of these woman. Now I will know Ellie. To give to these young woman who are part of me, of my family, of my story, just because they are think I am special. And they think that because Jamie's mother, Lori, who is my very precious cousin how many times and removed, whatever, showed Jamie the article by Jeff. And Jeff wrote an article about me because of this blog. And this blog helps me to store my memories. To make witness to my own life. To release the anxiety of commitments, to release the sorrow witnessed, to celebrate the joy, to write of the inane, the everyday. To make a record for myself and those precious people who come and pull up a rocker on my porch. To be rewarded with comments. Comments I cherish, but rarely answer. Shy to speak back. Humbled that each life is as amazing and special as mine, but I am honored to be able to write mine down. There are so many blogs out there. Journals or novels or thoughts, or addictions or just ether. I don't know. So many of us. And all of these moments shared and written down. Like a giant battery of experience. I wonder when someone will realize that all of these thoughts and words and ideas and letters placed next to each other is energy that can be harnessed. Wouldn't that be amazing. Just another possibility. With all the words I use, I might be able to provide enough energy to run my refrigerator. I like that idea. Refrigerators are a good thing.
There is so much still to say. About people in my life. People that make me smile, and then take that smile from my lips to my eyes. And sometimes my eyes leak with the joy of it. Sometimes my eyes leak with the sadness, and sometimes just leak with the sheer overwhelmingness of life.