Where has the time gone?

It has been a year since Kim passed away. I marked the day by attending the memorial mass I had requested at St, John Neumann parish (Grandma Sue was there, too!), and then by visiting her grave – despite the fact that Sheila and I had just been there the day prior to place grave blankets and wreaths on the family graves there and at the graves of her late husband and oldest sister. The day was unremarkable, save two rather odd occurrences. Well: maybe three.

The first was last night, on the couch at Sheila’s house watching TV. I was resting my head on her shoulder when I felt this sudden urge to know the time, ostensibly because I had to leave so that I could get to bed and get enough sleep to drive Vanessa to school in the morning! I was certain that I had to do that! But I didn’t. Vanessa was not at my house; Jeanette was not at work. And the time this urge was upon me? 11:05 pm. This time is significant: Per my sleep tracking app, I fell asleep at 11:05 pm 30 November 2020 and woke up at 2:42 am 1 December 2020 to find that Kim had passed. After that, I fully expected that I would snap awake at 2:42 am, but that did not happen – or, at least, I have no memory of it happening.

The second was when I went to transfer my daughter’s laundry this afternoon. As I was surveying the room, my eyes locked onto an empty Labatt’s Blue can, plain as day, out in the open very near the dryer. I had swept the laundry room clean of these long ago – or so I thought.

And the (maybe) third was at her memorial mass where, through the prayers of the faithful, I learned that the man who owned the boarding farm where Kim had kept her horses for decades had recently passed away. Tom, and his late wife Sue, were wonderful people – more like family than someone we were conducting business with. Kim was very close to them. I was sorry to hear the news.

Otherwise, the day was unremarkable. I set about making a loaf of sourdough Italian bread, chatted with Jillian before she left for class, and helped Kenny out with an issue he asked for my assistance with. I spent a few minutes tying up a couple more loose ends at work (T Minus 30 days now to my official retirement date, though I’m burning up all of my vacation time currently…), and, having some time to spare, I went to visit Sheila’s late husband’s grave site – after all: Kim and Eric are responsible for our new relationship, just as Denny and Mary were responsible for the start of Kim’s and my relationship so many years ago.

Tonight, Sheila and I will go out to dinner – her suggestion as a way to keep my mind off of my loss and to celebrate Kim. Not sure where we will end up for that. Probably Antonio’s, where Sheila and I first met face to face. Or, maybe Texas Roadhouse – one of Kim’s favorites. I’m not sure yet…

Happy birthday, Kim.

A bittersweet day. The day my beautiful Kim entered this world 55 years ago. My brothers and sisters and I (and a few nephews and nieces) all participate in a family text group, and it was with dewy eyes I read their birthday wishes for her. One in particular, from my older brother:

“Happy Birthday Kim! I cannot help but think you came into this world on the first day of the month we attribute to Love and were born to eternal life on the first day of the month we celebrate the ultimate love – the birth of Our Lord and Savior! Give Him a big hug for us! Love you!

And as I type this, Siri is telling me to call Kim as it has found her birthday in my contacts.

At 9:00, there will be a mass in her name at St. Thomas a’Becket, our parish for a little more than the past decade.

It’s starting off to be an emotionally hard day.

Another Pleasant Valley Sunday…

The new Sunday ritual: 8:00 mass, then to the cemetery to visit Kim’s, her mom’s, my dad’s, my grandparents’, and my grand aunts’ and uncles’ graves. It snowed a bit last night, and the roads were still a mess. They were still clearing the roads within the cemetery when we arrived. We stopped at the mausoleum to use the bathrooms (it’s a good drive from home to the cemetery), and were there before they had opened it – thankfully, the individual who was to do so was parked directly in front of us, and promptly unlocked the doors and let us in.

Since August of 2019, Kim had made this trip with her dad each Sunday — sometimes with me, if I had the day off, but many times without. Before COVID, we’d go to 8:00 mass with her Dad at St. Collette’s in Livonia, go out to breakfast at a little diner he and mom used to like, back to his house to combine cars, then off to the cemetery, usually stopping at a florist on the way to get flowers for each of the graves. Honestly, I can’t remember making the trip after COVID. I’m sure we did for a while – I just cannot recall any of them. Dad’s in Florida now, so it’s just Jillian and me for the time being. When he returns, Jillian and I will still go to mass at St. Thomas a’Becket, but we’ll meet dad at his house afterward, where he’ll have a little breakfast before we all get into my truck and go visit the graves.

It’s sad, but it is somehow refreshing to go each week, clean the grave blankets of snow and say a prayer over Kim. It makes me feel better, anyway.

As I mentioned yesterday, tomorrow is Kim’s 55th birthday. Jillian and I added her birthday bouquet to the grave blanket – the wind or the rotten deer dragged off the big purple ribbon which was the blanket’s centerpiece… The bouquet looks pretty good there, I think.

The bouquet in the blanket.

From there, we returned home and went to Grandma Sue’s for a little birthday brunch to celebrate Kim. When asked if I wanted to say a prayer for Kim as the Sander’s Bumpy Cake – our family’s traditional birthday cake – was being cut, all I could manage was “Happy birthday, Kim.” I hope that was prayer enough. I was a little emotionally raw at the time, and that was all I could come up with.

I hope Kim has a beautiful heavenly birthday celebration at God’s throne, with her mom, my dad, Grandpa Rick, and all of our friends and relatives who went before us.