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.

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