Thursday, September 29, 2005


It seems that I remember
I dreamed a thousand dreams
We’d face the days together no matter what they’d bring
A strength inside like I’d never known
Opened the door to life and let it go

This sun may shine forever
Upon the back of love
A kingdom raised from ashes and held within your arms
And should the rain break through the trees
We’ll find a shelter there and never leave

I’ll run to you, nothing stands between us now
Nothing I can lose
This light inside can never die
Another world just made for two
I’ll swim the seas inside with you
And like the waves, without a sound
I’ll never let you down

Upon the wave of summer
A hilltop paved with gold
We shut our eyes and made the promises we hold
A will to guide and see us through
I’d do it all again because of you

I’ll run to you, nothing stands between us now
Nothing I can lose
This light inside can never die
Another world just made for two
I’ll swim the seas inside with you
And like the waves, without a sound
I’ll never let you down

I’d tear my very soul to make you mine

- David Sylvian

Letter to Samantha

Hello my Darling,

Sometimes it seems like that magical first kiss was just last week. Other times it seems like forever ago. Even though I was only 16, there was this feeling deep down in the pit of my stomach that said "she's the one". I won't lie - that feeling was scary to me. But then I'd always had a sort of freaky sense of Destiny (with a capital D), so I rolled with it.

Fast forward 6 years. A hundred fifty of our friends and family assembled at a beautiful stone church in Portola Valley to watch us make our lifetime commitment a public statement. I was as stoic and unsmiling as the stones in the church - so solemn! And yet, once the ceremony was done, I was the life of the party. You were so beautiful. The gown with the puffed shoulders, and your hair up under that hat... you looked like a southern belle.

Then the limo ride to the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, standing up and waving out the sunroof all the way down University Avenue, while people honked and cheered. The wonderful food, the champagne, the cheesy DJ who cracked stupid one-liners but nonetheless played what we wanted. We made our entrance to the strains of John Williams' Star Wars fanfare. Randy, my father & stepfather and your dad all made toasts in our honor. We danced to Peter Gabriel's "In Your Eyes", that romantic '80s anthem made even more popular by the ubiquitous John Cusack date movie, Say Anything. And David Sylvian's "Silver Moon" with its somewhat prophetic lyrics:

I will build a shelter if you call
Just take my hand and walk
Over mountains high and wide
Bridging rivers deep inside
With a will to guide you on
Your heart will need no one
Those days are gone

Baby I can tell you there's no easy way out
Lost inside of dreams that guide you on
Baby I can tell you there's no easy way out
Soon the guiding moonlight will be gone

Years later, I would find video of you at the reception, dancing by yourself to Peter Gabirel's "Solsbury Hill", your face a vision of happiness and contentment.

We finally retired up to our suite, exhausted and aglow, only to find our friends had trashed the room. We could have called down to have the hotel staff clean it up, but we were so tired it didn't occur to either of us. We just cleared the bed, managed a celebratory tryst, and crashed hard. Until 5AM, when the alarm clock hidden under the bed went off.

The next day would be spent prepping for our month-long journey through England, Scotland, Wales and Ireland. It was a symbol of the adventure that awaited us in our life together. We would undertake careers, interstate relocation, childrearing, and small business operation. And we would do it all TOGETHER. It's hard not having TOGETHER anymore. I miss TOGETHER. I miss having a partner who knows my most intimate details, my quirks and habits, my soul. But I am grateful for the time we did have.

Baby, fifteen years ago today, I promised you I'd be yours forever in front of "God and everybody". In Celtic fashion, every year I renewed those vows, and so did you. I just want you to know that I would do it all over again, even knowing what happens at the end. I'm really hurting without you. I miss you. Your bright smile, soft touch and just your overall companionship. The kids miss their mom. I miss my best friend, my wife.

I will always love you, Samantha.


Saturday, September 24, 2005

Wake Me Up When September Ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends

Like my fathers come to pass
Seven years has gone so fast
Wake me up when September ends

Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are

As my memory rests
But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends

Ring out the bells again
Like we did when spring began
Wake me up when September ends

Here comes the rain again
Falling from the stars
Drenched in my pain again
Becoming who we are

As my memory rests
But never forgets what I lost
Wake me up when September ends

Summer has come and passed
The innocent can never last
Wake me up when September ends

Like my fathers come to pass
Twenty years has gone so fast
Wake me up when September ends

- Green Day

(emphasis mine)

Thursday, September 22, 2005

Waves Become Wings

The birthday meaning entry was stupid, so I'm replacing it with something that might have a bit more insight and less cheese. Today's title comes from a song by This Mortal Coil. I thought it might be relevant.

I had a pretty deep conversation with my stepmom yesterday, in which I thought of an interesting analogy to the grief process each of us is currently undergoing. The emotional devastation we feel is akin to a forest fire. It sweeps through, killing all aspects of our former life with our spouse, laying the whole zone bare, blackened and charred. Eventually, life will return. Even more lush and vibrant perhaps. But it will take time, and we will always see remnants of the old fire damage here and there, despite how much it may become overgrown with new life.

Had my first bereavement group at Gilda's. It's bigger (more people), more diverse in ages, more diverse in stories. There are a few members who are mourning spouses, so I don't feel out of place. It just doesn't have the immediate comfort level of my past two groups. We'll see how it works.

Been thinking a lot about those old connections... My brother Matt, whom I last saw in the hospital, surrounded by a crash team and rigged with tubes and sensors. I remember how he looked up at me, how we locked eyes and he silently told me goodbye.

My grandfather Ken, with whom I shared many deep and meaningful philosophical conversations. How comforted he looked when I described the human soul as a spark from the Source/God/creator.

My great grandfather Charles, who used to slip me money to go buy comics or candy when I was a wee lad. A man who felt so strongly about passing the torch to the next generation that he voluntarily gave up nourishment.

My uncle Doug, my father's youngest brother, black sheep of the family, with whom I shared a strange kind of advocacy. As he was dying of leukemia from radiation treatments for an earlier cancer, we shared several teary phonecalls, and I remember telling him it was alright if he had to go - that I didn't want him to, but if he had important work to do, he should not feel bound here. That "release" would become standard practice from then on.

My yard-long, 22-lb Maine Coon tabby (Gryphon), who was my constant companion from 1987 to 2003. I held him as he died.

My darling wife of almost 15 years, partner and companion of more than 20, Samantha. Those pivotal moments... our trip up to Victoria and Vancouver in 1986, driving up - just the two of us. The time we broke up for a month. Our first apartment in Mountain View. Long phonecalls when we were at different colleges. Our trip to the Caribbean in 1989, our wedding in 1990, our exodus north in 1991. The birth of our son in 1994, the purchase of our home in 1995. More angst, more love. Our daughter's arrival in 1997. Our near-split in 2000, and coming out of that closer and stronger than ever. Her diagnosis in 2002, followed by my father's. The constant trips to the hospital, and her boundless courage, hope and humor. Holding her as she breathed her last... God, I will never forget that horrible silence.

My father. A man who suffered greatly as a child, yet found the strength within himself to break a generations-old cycle of abuse. A man who showed me how to follow my dreams and never look back. How he asked Samantha where she would most like to go in the world, and when she answered Greece and Italy, said without missing a beat, "Book the trip - it's on me." Remembering how he insisted on coming to dinner for Tyler's birthday, just one day after his first brain surgery. How he never quite came back after that. How frustrated he looked in the ICU bed, being subject to all manner of humiliation after another brain surgery... and another. How he cried on the phone when I told him we'd adopted our dog Wiley. How I knew the moment I heard the phone ring that he was gone, before the doctor even said they were still trying to revive him.

It's all a charred forest now.

I'm trying really hard to find new growth... but it's a hellishly long and painful search. Especially this big redwood grove that was my life with Sam. That will take forever to come back, no matter how many dates I may go on.

And tomorrow I might feel totally different. Welcome to Widda-World.

Tuesday, September 20, 2005

Dating, Guilt Factor and Getting on With it...

Monday, for the first time since I was 16 and took Sam to dinner and a movie, I went on a date.

Yeah, at 5-1/2 months, I went on a date. And you know what? It felt good. Really good. Because although Sam died 5-1/2 months ago, I hadn't related to her from a "romantic" point of view since before chemo. It just wasn't part of the equation. Caring for her was the number one priority - not being mushy and boyfriend/girlfriend (or husband/wife). We had our tender moments. We were still physically intimate when we could manage it. But I was losing her for a long time, and deep down I knew I was losing her. The amount of anticipatory grief I experienced during the last 2-1/2 years of Sam's life probably has a lot to do with my ability to even consider relating to a woman on any level other than platonic at less than 6 months of official widda-hood. "LA" is a single mom, really sweet, really supportive of my process, and extremely patient because of it.

Concern #1: That I'd be too hung up on Sam's personality or body type/physical traits to be open to anything different. LA is like a complete about-face from Sam, so concern #1 was rendered moot - and that felt good to discover.

Concern #2: That the Guilt Factor would be debilitating, and I would not be able to function socially. I kept waiting for it, but the Guilt Factor never registered - and that felt good too.

Concern #3: That skin hunger would drive me too deeply and too quickly into a relationship, which I'm totally not ready for. That's still a concern, so I'm taking things slowly and not jumping into anything serious. Not with LA. Not with anyone.

Bottom line? I felt human and alive for a few hours. I related to a female of the species and didn't do the social equivalent of pulling the pin on a grenade and waving it around. It felt natural and positive and I didn't feel any of the guilt I was anticipating, nor did I care about what "everyone else" might think. Guess I'm cutting myself some slack, which is one of those about-damn-time things.

Friday, September 16, 2005

Admiral Nelson, R.I.P.

My father's parrot, Admiral Nelson, died yesterday of what the vets called a heart attack. Enlarged chambers, shrunken arteries, went instantly. He had no other health problems and was acting completely normal when we saw him on Tuesday. We got him back in the '80s as a Christmas present for dad. They bonded, and Admiral sailed with my dad & stepmom when they transitioned to their cruising lifestyle.

Katherine took excellent care of the Admiral, and he could have lived another 30-40 years. But parrots bond with their primary humans, and veterinary literature is full of stories just like this. Quite literally died of a broken heart. He was the last of the pets we had in the house on Sutter Avenue in Palo Alto. The house that we just sold.

It is truly the end of an era. I can almost hear the page turning.

For some reason Blogspot is having trouble with pics... I'll keep trying.

An Actor's Life For Me

Well, we did the Twelfth Night fundraiser last night. It was generally a good show, with kickass food, an auction, etc. We pirates screwed up the opening number, but other than that things went pretty smoothly. Travis (aka Commodore Wee Pecker) brought a couple replica pistols and some plastic caps - when you crammed the cap over the firing nipple and fired, it made a nice report in the hall. We worked the crowd between numbers and chased each act off the stage with some funny improv shtick.

I'm not sure how much we made for the theater company, but it was plain that folks were really being generous. Twelfth Night gives away all of its profits to local charities and community improvement projects, so this will be an annual event, to help replenish the operating fund.

I'm tired and sore, but it was a lot of fun, and I really feel like I'm continuing Samantha's efforts with this group (and in general).

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Here We Go.

Monday will mark 5 calendar months since the morning Sam died. But the dying process took weeks - how much more cruelly a human body could be punished by itself, I cannot fathom. I was reminded of the last portion of Sam's life by a post my brother made in his blog. Tell you the truth, I'd blocked that day out (for obvious reasons). And when I read that, the breathtaking horror of that specific moment came flooding back, and it knocked me flat.

It had been a rough fight. Sam had chosen to go 100% chemo - to be as aggressive as she possibly could. For more than two years, doctors pumped her full of chemicals meant to kill tissue, not strengthen the patient. She was young and strong when the battle began, and although the cancer certainly destroyed her liver, the chemo took a heavy toll. I don't know why they didn't remove her port when they decided to quit chemo. It eventually became infected, and caused a trip to the hospital for a surgery from which she never recovered. It wasn't the surgery itself, but a cumulative effect. The constant barrage of poking and prodding and sticking and medicines. Healthcare is invasive. And often, the cure is worse than the disease.

I don't fully blame chemo for killing Samantha. Chemo prolonged her life for a year or more - while she was still strong enough to take it. But after a time, you reach a point of diminishing returns. We went to a naturopath who works with Swedish, and he put her on some immunity boosting supplements and a dietary plan to help take the load off her liver, but it was too late. After that last surgery to remove her infected port, she declined again... about 2 weeks after she rallied so hard (and I really believed she might come back - I was pulling for that miracle), she kissed the kids goodnight for the last time.

Kayleigh went to a sleepover at a friend's house, Tyler retired to his bedroom downstairs. I stayed with Sam in the family room where her hospice bed had been situated for the past three weeks. Candles were lit, soft music played. After a stampede of family and friends over the last few weeks, it was eerie to be alone together - just like the night of our first kiss in my dad's driveway 20 years before. I sat with her until 11PM, then collapsed on the sofa next to her.

At 2AM, I sat bolt upright. She was breathing in halted gasps - the last stage of "active" dying. I sat next to her and held her. I kept telling her how much I loved her, how much everyone loved her. I told her I wished she wouldn't go, but I understood if she had something important to accomplish elsewhere. She kept repeating "love... love..." I would have given anything to bring her back from that precipice. I kept fantasizing that any second she'd open her eyes and breathe a full, calm breath of air, and she'd look at me and smile, and be completely healed, like this was another childbirth, not dying of cancer. I'd been warned about the "death rattle", when the airway gets saliva in it and causes a chilling sound. But Sam was classy, and instinctively cleared her throat with each breath. No rattle.

I sat there holding her for 3 hours. Every breath she took was agony for me - never knowing if THAT one was the LAST one. Finally, at 5AM on the nose, she took one last breath, exhaled. Funny thing was, I could tell no more breaths would come. Up to that point, she'd had spaces of thirty seconds or more between breaths. But the moment she let that last lungful of air out, I knew she was gone. Her body remained warm for some time, but her spark was gone. I just kept holding her and crying, because I knew what this meant.

Samantha's passing represented the death of an era. Not just the end of a loving marriage and another point for cancer. Not just another two kids who would have to grow up without their mom. But the end of everything she and I had experienced together for 20 years, from our teens, through our twenties and into our thirties. From getting yelled at for making out in drama class, to road trips with our SCA pirate clan, to an interstate move, careers, children, home... all of that shared history is no longer shared. It becomes my own memory archive, or the memories of my children, friends, family members. And those memories are made painful by virtue of the fact that the one person I chose to make such memories with is now gone.

I hadn't even had a chance to sort through these feelings when my father was told his cancer had metastasized to his brain. He had one brain surgery, then another... for me, it was torture having to see him in the hospital, being carved on, poked and prodded - all the stuff I'd just gone through with Sam. Then he developed a blood clot and infection in his brain from the surgeries. For the week following his third brain surgery, my poor stepmom practically lived at the hospital. And I knew what she was going through. I visited him pretty frequently that week, despite how much I fucking HATE hospitals. But when I got the call from the doctor that he'd gone into respiratory distress and they were trying to revive him, I knew it was over. And I couldn't go see him afterward. Not with the intubation tube in his throat and all the hospital gear all over him. I'd had enough. Enough. No more hospitals, cancer, pain and agony - no more DEATH, please. At least for a long time.

I felt I wanted to re-post this pic, for a lot of personal reasons. I love you Dad... I love you Sam... I miss you both, more than I can ever put to words.

Thursday, September 08, 2005

Sage Advice.

Taurus horoscope for today:

"If your emotions were a bank, you might be feeling just a touch overdrawn right now; remember that while it's always nice to feel a little nostalgia for days of yore, you're really not helping yourself by staying stuck in the past. In fact, you may actually be missing a wonderful opportunity by not being fully present in the here and now. Not only is the present moment pretty great, but your future could be bright indeed -- if you can get out of your memories."

Good to know. Like it's gonna happen any time soon. ;)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Back to School

Well I haven't posted in a few days... Labor Day weekend and all. Had a nice BBQ at Sam's brother's place with my extended family on Saturday afternoon. Came home, made the previous post. The next day was really bad. Had no energy, severely depressed, missing Sam - felt like what I imagine someone feels like coming off heroin. At bedtime, I cried harder and longer than I ever did as a child. Almost passed out. Finally talked myself down and fell asleep.

Dreamed the kids came into my room and said, "we hear mommy upstairs." Our house has a reverse floorplan - bedrooms downstairs, entry upstairs. The door at the bootom of the stairs lines up pretty much with my bedroom door. Both were open and I could see this golden warm light spilling down from the landing at the top of the stairs. Then, plain as day, I heard Sam call out, "Sweetie." She always had a particular inflection and tone when she called me that, and this was her way of telling me to calm down, that everything would work out. She said it twice, and I tried to respond, but... stupid vocal paralysis in dreams. Then she was gone and I started to wake, and could see behind my closed eyes a light in my room that shouldn't have been there normally. I rolled over and tried to go back to sleep. Woke up at 5:30AM. And sonnovabitch, my door was open. I shut it tightly at night because I don't like the cat cleaning herself and shedding next to my head in the middle of the night. So... wackiness.

Monday was great. Went to a little gathering at Darlene's down the street. Much hilarity and soaking of clothes in a water fight. Then Kayleigh hung out with Darlene and I went to meet Steve, JD, Caleb and Jeremiah (actor from Duo) down at the Celtic Swell for some going away pints. Then Steve brought over some Spike & Mike's animation and I showed him this awesome Looney Tunes documentary. Steve's a fanatic for the LT (and so am I). That was a good, full day. There were some dark pockets, but on the whole, I navigated through the shoals pretty well.

Tuesday was less productive than I wanted, being the last day of summer vacation for the kids. Ah well. Best laid plans and all. At 5PM, rounded them up and took them to the back to school carnival, with inflatable bouncy rides and dinner. Hung out there for a couple hours. Cracked the whip and managed to get computers and TVs off, pets fed, teeth brushed and kids in bed by 9:30. Then set about folding the bazillion loads of laundry hiding my bed. All this mundane stuff used to be fun when Sam & I did it together. Finally crashed at 12:30.

So Tyler's in middle school now. When I left him with his homeroom crowd this morning, in his gray camo pants, Vans and blue fleece sweatshirt, freshly showered and combed, it struck me how grown up he is. This is the same little kid I have on video performing songs from Winnie the Pooh at age 3 with a curtain rod for an air guitar. And to watch Kayleigh running around at the fair with her friends yesterday... whew. Where have the last 8 years gone?? Eight years ago, I was working on Allegiance at Microsoft, and Sam was pregnant with Kayleigh. Tyler was in preschool. They used to come out to the Redwest campus and have lunch with me. I got to take my new design work home on Fridays to bring in the following week, so I could maintain a presence at home. It doesn't seem like that long ago, but look what's changed in those eight years: another kid at home, the launching of Deep7, the release of the licensed Red Dwarf game, the loss of Ace & Gryphon, the diagnosis, treatment and deaths of Samantha and my father. Oh, and my descent into hell. Yeah, I know. Enough with the self-pity. But I don't see it as self-pity; more a casual statement of fact.

When people ask me how I'm doing now, I just answer, "surviving." Because that's all I can really do right now.

The left side of the photo was taken in 2002, before Sam's diagnosis. The right side was in the fall of 2004, about 6 months before she died.

Saturday, September 03, 2005

The Last Straw

Hotel hobbies padding dawn's hollow corridors
A typewriter cackles out a stream of memories
Drying out a conscience, evicting a nightmare
Opening the doors for the dreams to come home

We live out lives in private shells
Ignore our senses and fool ourselves
To thinking that out there that someone else cares
Someone to answer all our prayers

Are we too far gone, are we so irresponsible
Have we lost our balls, or do we just not care
We're terminal cases that keep taking medicine
Pretending the end isn't quite that near

We make futile gestures, act to the cameras
With our made up faces and our PR smiles
And when the angel comes down, down to deliver us
We'll find out after all, we're only men of straw

But everything is still the same
Passing the time passing the blame
We carry on in the same old way
We'll find out we left it too late one day to say what we meant to say

Just when you thought it was safe to go back to the water
Those problems seem to arise, the ones you never really thought of
The feeling you get is similar to something like drowning
Out of your mind, you're out of your depth, you should have taken soundings
Clutching at straws, we're clutching at straws

And if you ever come across us don't give us your sympathy
You can buy us a drink and just shake our hands
And you'll recognise by the reflection in our eyes
That deep down inside we're all one and the same

We're clutching at straws
We're still drowning
Clutching at straws

- Marillion, "The Last Straw"
Clutching at Straws, 1987

Yeah, probably not the best music to be listening to in my state, but there's something to be said for getting it out. Sam & I saw Marillion live twice. The first time was in 1985 at the Filmore in San Francisco. In the days before mosh pits and barricades, I could always guarantee Sam a great concert ecperience. We would always be right next to the stage and I created a shield around her with my body, so she would be mostly immune to any shoving and pushing.

The concert in question was the Misplaced Childhood tour. The album remained one of Sam's favorite, most-played albums all her life. The poetry is amazing and the music (although somewhat dated sounding now) is astonishing. They played the whole album as one continuous song (as it was recorded), along with some singles before and after. Our friend Colin had managed to slip a roadie a news clipping about our other friend Dan's suicide. Earlier that school year, Dan had taken a dangerous cocktail of controlled and OTC drugs, and gone to lay down on the railroad tracks. They found pieces of him everywhere. Sam and I weren't close to Dan, but we ran with the same crowd and were tight with Colin, so obviously we were affected.

So the show went well, they played like the virtuosos they were, and the band left the stage. We were satisfied in a show well done. But then... they started their first encore. The vocalist, Fish, was lit in silhouette behind one of the translucent flats on the stage. And he began this speech about how he'd read the news article and it disturbed him to see a young life cut short so tragically. And they proceeded to play the title track to Fugazi, which happened to be Dan's favorite song of theirs (or so Colin told me after the show in a state of disbelief). The basic gist is in these few lines:

Cowering behind curtains and the taped up painted windows
Decriminalised genocide, provided door to door Belsens
Pandora's box of holocausts gracefully cruising satellite infested heavens
Waiting, the season of the button, the penultimate migration
Radioactive perfumes, for the fashionably, for the terminally insane, insane

Do you realise? Do you realise?
Do you realise, this world is totally fugazi

The second time we saw them was the Clutching at Straws tour, at the Warfield in San Francisco. Another great show, and this time we got to meet the band by the tour bus. I got my concert shirt signed by Fish, and shook the keyboardist's hand (I was a big keyboards guy at the time). We had a giant wall-size poster from that tour in our apartment, along with a similar one from Peter Gabriel's So tour (we saw Peter Gabriel twice in the space of a year - once for So, and once for the Amnesty tour with Sting, Lou Reed and U2).

I can listen to virtually no music without being reminded of Samantha. How she looked in stage lights (whether on stage or in the audience), how she felt backed against my chest in the crowd of people, or how we used to go dancing at the Vortex in Palo Alto (or in the dance pit at our friend Wombat's communal pad). How she got so serious when working on one of our own songs, and how she would curl the corner of her mouth into a subtle smile while singing, pursing her beautiful lips. How we would spontaneously slow dance in the living room...

Last week my brother Matt would have been 35. It's hard to imagine. Things might have been very different. We were very competitive as children. My personality may have developed in some other direction. My parents may have stopped with my sister Sara, or even with Matt. I might not have my brother Gavin today. My parents may not have split up, and I wouldn't have been the life preserver for my siblings. I may never have met Sam. And if I'd never met Sam, I wouldn't have my wonderful children.

So I guess things do happen for a reason, painful as they may be at the time... and for years afterward. That's the price we pay for being human. Loss hurts like a son of a bitch. But it's part of the mechanism of existence. There is joy to follow. I can't see it from my current vantage point, but there MUST be. Because if there isn't, what's the point?

Thursday, September 01, 2005

That Time of the Night

At that time of the night
When streetlights throw crosses through window frames
Paranoia roams where the shadows reign
Oh, at that time of the night
At that time of the night
Your senses tangled in some new perfume
Criticism triggers of a loaded room
Oh, at that time of the night

So if you ask me
How do I feel inside
I could honestly tell you
We’ve been taken on a very long ride
And if my owners let me
Have some free time some day
With all good intention
I would probably run away
Clutching the short straw
- Marillion

Got a load of dishes done. Folded 3 loads of laundry. Paid bills. Got the ball rolling on a refi for the house. Assembled the dog kennel for night use (he's getting into stuff while we're asleep - stuff that will make him sick). Talked to the accountant. Got the car washed. Helped my brother replace his car battery. Made a hot dinner for three. Went to rehearsal.

Now I'm sitting in bed trying to type through a goddamn tear parade. WTF??? Is it going to be impossible to have a productive day without breaking down? I know why - it's because I don't have Sam to talk to and confide in and congratulate me when I get everything done on my list.

I am so not looking forward to September 29th this year - would have been our 15th wedding anniversary. Kayleigh's birthday is the day after. Then we go into all the holidays - our first without Sam. The kids' first without mommy. First Halloween (sacred to Sam & I as Celtic New Year), first Thanksgiving (she loved to host), first Christmas (ugh - I can't even think about that one), first New Year (where's my kiss??).

Having friends - close friends like I do - is great. But it often makes the fact that my closest friend is gone that much more unbearable. I would do anything to have her back for one night... to cuddle, to kiss, to hold her hand in mine, to feel her breath on my neck, to make love to. So bloody unfair.

Meanwhile the Jerry Springer Show across the street from us has had two police calls and two ambulance calls in the last month. There's a grandma, a Jethro, his waif-like, chain-smoking girlfriend, and their toddler. Their fights are audible down the street, and they have a motorhome, an old minivan and two primered pickups with plywood walls in the driveway. Most of the time Jethro walks around in one of two NBA uniforms he owns (sporting his impressive gut and redneck tan), or drives around in one of the trucks, chortling like an idiot. Is Jethro aware of the awesome gift he's been given? Does he live every day to its fullest? Does he rejoice in the love of a woman (preferably not when he's smacking her around)?

I'd be lying if I said my relationship with Sam was perfect. There's no such animal. We had our bumpy rides, but they were few and far between, and we always moved through them with love and respect for the other. As far as I'm concerned, we did everything right. We approached life with a positive attitude and a house full of love. We set good examples of respect and intelligent discourse for our children. We ADORED each other.

And Jethro hits his kid and ambulances come, and smoking waif stays with him, and he just prances along, alive as the next guy.

This is one of those nights where I'm convinced there's no fucking justice in the world.