Sunday, January 6, 2008

Life going on

It's been a fairly busy few days here in Durham. I'm in that awkward place of getting rid of Debra's personal belongings, rearranging things in the house and bringing my personal belongings in to integrate into our home. I've been keeping a close eye on Sofie to see if this purging/rearranging/adding is affecting her in any way. I talk about how hard this must be giving away Mama Debra's things, but I always add the caveat that this was what Debra wanted and that it's making her happy seeing friends, family and charities benefitting from her stuff. She seems to understand but I do sense a bit of sadness around it.

The clearing began on Thursday morning. Other Jamie(Emma and Jacob's mommy) came over to "shop" in Debra's closet. Thanks to the earlier organization by Nancy(Debra's sister) and Laurie(a friend from California pictured below with the finished organizational project) the clothes closet was miraculously organized! Jamie was thrilled to see that she and Debra had many similar tastes in clothing and that, according to Jamie, Debra was as big a shopaholic as she was!! A caveat here, Debra did love to shop, the unfortunate thing was she never purged her closet so there were years worth of clothing. Jamie left with bags of clothing and that still left a pretty sizable collection for others to peruse. Later that evening, a coworker of Debra's came over to shop, too. She had been over earlier while Debra was still alive, but Debra insisted that she come over again. I know she's thrilled that her clothing is making an impact in other's lives.

Thursday and Friday were emotional days for me on many levels. The loss and aloneness hit hard. Even though Debra and I hadn't been partners for nearly three years, we were still significant to one another and our own created family. So not having her around is affecting me more than I realized it might. I did a lot of introspection during this time. Unfortunately that caused sleepless nights. I did make good use of the sleeplessness by running ideas of rearranging certain areas/rooms in my mind. It's helping plot out where furniture and stuff of mine will be living.

Thursday afternoon, I picked Sofie up from school, but not after having a chat with her teachers. They informed me that she did really well and was her happy go lucky self all day. She did, however, try to pull the sad card before school that day. I quickly recognized she was trying to get out of going to school! I agreed with her that we were both very sad, but we also needed to continue on with life by going to school, work and other activities. I assured her we'd have good moments and sad moments, but we had each other now and that was what mattered most.

Friday I had therapy and ran a few errands. I was mostly quiet and remained introspective. I felt myself getting into a funk later in the afternoon so I did a preemptive strike on that and call Kimberly(Olivia and Avery's mom) to see if they were going out for pizza. (They have a Friday night family dinner tradition.) She said they were making either pizza or nachos and that Sofie and I were welcome to come over. I decided that would be fun because we always laugh a lot at their house. So I picked up Sofie from school and we headed down the block to have Family Dinner with a whole slew of people...ten in all(five adults, five kids)...Sofie and I were the only solo's, but that seems to be the way we live our lives. We had a blast and stayed a little too late, but we laughed, talked politics and the kids had fun. (This was after Sofie had a pretty bad accident at afterschool. Apparently she was crawling around on the gym floor, playing with her animals when WHAM!! she smacked head first into the concrete wall!! They cleaned her up, bandaged it and gave me a courtesy call. She's currently sporting a nice purple Scooby Band-Aid on her forehead!!)

After getting home, I was feeling super cuddly with her, so we snuggled in the bed that was in the family room downstairs, put Ratatouille in the DVD player, snuggled and fell asleep. Unfortunately, I didn't sleep well. Mostly related to monkey mind, but also Sofie's tossing/turning/kicking/poking/grunting kept waking me up. I finally fell asleep about the time my alarm went off. Betty and Delma were coming over that morning to hang with Ms. Sofie while I had an appointment. Sofie was in protest mode about taking a bath because it would hurt her cut on her forehead, so I suggested that Delma(the nurse) wash her hair because she'd know how to avoid hurting her. That was a huge success AND Delma gave her a pedicure so she wouldn't have pokey toenails! While Delma was playing with Sofie during her bathtime, Betty was "shopping" in Debra's boutique. She agreed to take what she wanted and then take the rest to donate to charity. So, as of now, the only clothing of Debra's remaining are, oh, about 40 pairs of shoes!!

After returning from my appointment we all headed to....drum roll, got it, Biscuitville!! It was more brunch than breakfast, but we enjoyed it nonetheless. Betty and Delma are officially godesses in my book. They stayed with us until nearly 9p last night. (There was rest and dinner involved, but much help was provided, too.) We rearranged the kitchen to suit me...with the advice of Delma. We boxed up extra food for the homeless shelter, party food for the memorial, extra food for Betty and Delma's son and his wife and daughter, extra utensils and such that I didn't need, the millions of storage containers Debra required to live with and last but not least, the liquor cabinet. I don't drink and rarely entertain, so by unanimous vote Betty, Delma and I decided that Tracey and Sharon would get the contents of the liqour cabinet since they entertain more than the rest of us. They came over later in the day and procurred their cache. (They joined us for dinner, too.)

During the time Delma and I were working in the kitchen, Sofie kept coming in wanting to help. We'd give her odd, random jobs but mostly she played in her room until some point she walked in and said, "Mommy, I need to cuddle." So I sat in the cuddling chair with her, talked to her and asked if what we were doing was upsetting her. She said no, but I think it may have on some level because she went in to Debra's old room, laid on the bedding I created for her to watch Scooby-Doo and she promptly fell asleep. I'm guessing something was going on for her that she didn't quite know how to articulate.

Last night was another late night, but Sofie and I got plenty of cuddling time. We kept reading The World According to Humphrey for the FIFTH time!!! She loves that book, and of course it's the inspiration for her getting a hamster. After she fell asleep, I came downstairs hoping to do the same. No such luck. I got in bed but promptly got out when it became apparent I wasn't going to sleep. I came in and found an email from a friend who sent a website where I can turn a blog into a book!!! So, I'm in the process of turning Debra's blog into a hardbound book for Sofie. It's fun, but it'll take a lot of time as the program is in Beta and still has a few kinks and some missing features. I don't mind, it's nice to be able to do that for Sofie.

This morning, Sofie slept in while I started to write this entry. Of course she woke up before I finished. So we made pancakes for her breakfast, I scrambled eggs for me. We ate breakfast and had a conversation about yelling. (To her, yelling is any raising of volume or attitude in the voice.) I explained why my voice changed and used the example that was happening just then. I literally had to ask her to finish her pancakes, bacon and milk a million times. (Okay, not literally, but you get the picture.) The more I asked, the louder I got. I used it as a teaching moment. She seemed to listen to the rationale...we'll see if it works. I just finished sewing my first hole in yang-yang(Sofie's blankie) and I have to say, I did quite well. I often feel myself channeling my Dad who was the "jim of all trades" when I was growing up. He could do anything...and if he didn't know how, he'd try until he figured it out! I have bit of daddy in me, so I just felt I was doing that when I sewed my first hole today.

Later, Sofie goes for a play date with Lucie and I head out to a meeting about a newly forming co-housing community. Then it's life as usual. Dinner, bath, reading and bedtime...and LOTS of cuddling!


Maria said...

Hi Jamie,
So glad you're making the book! I had been thinking of a way to pull together Debra's blogs for Sofie too, but this is just perfect! What a wonderful glimpse into Debra's personality, especially as Sofie gets older.

Mohini loves Humphrey too. I recently found out that there are several books about him, most of which she can now read on her own. Just in case you want a break before reading it for the 6th time. ;-)

(still in India, but back in the Bay area on Wed)

eaf said...


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