It's been a while.
Since I last wrote, Brandon celebrated his 19th Birthday (May 14th). For 8 of the 11 years Mike was sick, he wasn't able to go out and celebrate with us, so we always ordered dinner and brought it home. This was the first birthday that we were actually able to go to dinner and eat out. It was bittersweet. We had a wonderful time, despite eating out with two older people (one with celiac disease who can't have gluten) and a brother with bad teeth who finds many dishes hard the chew - and tells the waiters the same. Always an adventure!
My nephew came in from PA to visit with us. Since he had graduated from Penn State and began working at Accuweather (yes, we have our own personal meteorologist!), he has had very little vacation time. We were honored that he chose to spend a few days with us. He, Courtney and I went into NYC to see The Best Man - a play on Broadway starring: John Loroquette, James Earl Jones, Eric McCormick, Candice Bergen, Michael McKeon and Angela Lansbury. The show was great, but the best part was "stage dooring" it and getting autographs and pictures of all the stars! We also went to dinner and hit up some miniature golf (yeah Courtney and I both got holes in one) before it was time for my nephew to head off to his next destination before his vacation ended.
After all that fun stuff it was time to get serious. Courney, Brandon and I picked out Mike's headstone. What a process it was. There were certain things we each wanted on it, but coming to an agreement between us was proving difficult. Then the patient woman helping us suggested that we go outside the showroom to view some headstones that were recently ordered. We all fell in love with one, then went back to the books and mixed and matched certain items to come up with our own unique and beautiful headstone. It will take approx 6 months for it to be completed. I had not known that the Diocese has to first approve the drawing before it can even go to the stone cutter.
Afterward, the kids and I headed over to the cemetary (right across the street) and visited Mike's grave. We had done some planting a few weeks earlier, but when we got there, we saw what we planted had been mowed down. On Memorial Day weekend we went back and re-did Mike's grave with beautiful flowers and an angel statue. Hopefully all will be there whe we head back on Father's Day.
Father's Day, that will be a day that I do not look forward to. A friend had suggested that we do things Mike liked to do, things that he enjoyed. I thought about that for a moment and realized...Mike didn't have many opportunities to do fun stuff before he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's Disease. Most of his "healthy" life was before we were married and had children, and that included going out with friends and drinking. Once the kids came along, they were our focus. Courtney and Brandon were Mike's livelihood. I decided that all of us would sit and watch one of Mike's favorite movies of all time..."The Quiet Man" and have sauerbraten (his favorite meal) for dinner. It would have been a perfect night for Mike.
The other day it was three months since Mike passed and both Courtney and Brandon brought it up. There are days when we feel as though it happened yesterday and other days when we feel like it happened so long ago. There are also days when we still think he will be coming home from a long hospital stay. I've been getting emotional driving home from work also. I keep going back to THAT day when my brother called me and said, "you may want to come home. Mike's not breathing". I stayed on the phone with my brother the entire ride home, asking him to tell me what was happening, begging him to hold Mike's hand to let him know that he was not alone. There are just some days when that drive home brings everything right back up to the surface. Some days are harder than others.
On a different note, the kids and I are beginning to finalize our plans for our much needed vacation. It's been MANY years since we had a real vacation, and seeing the excitement in their faces while they plan this trip has been worth everything. It's been so long since they were genuinely excited about anything. We will be going to California in August - although there is a negative. MUCH to Courtney's dismay, "ellen" will not be filming then, as she is on hiatus over the summer. Yes, this was a BIG disappointment to her, but one day, maybe we'll get there!! I'm sure, despite not seeing ellen, we will have a wonderful time.