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Thursday, October 11, 2007

Getting Better All the Time


Things happened fast again after Rick died. I should mention that, about the time my fiance Rick got sick, my best friend from high school tracked me down. Ted was the only really good thing about high school. We worked at Wendy's together and he sat behind me in one class. After school we were always together. After school he helped me with my paper route, and then we went to work or went out to see my horse or just went for a drive. Ted had a 1966 Mustang Convertible. We always took a "boom box" and plenty of cassette tapes with us--especially the Beatles and Led Zepplin. It was 1986. We had so much fun together.

Ted was also the only stable thing in my life at the time. After horrible fights with my mother or various boyfriends, Ted was the only person who could calm me. I would occasionally call him, crying, and beg him to talk me down. Nobody else could.

Ted stood up in my wedding to my first husband. We remained friends until I went into the Army, and then lost touch. When Ted finally called me, he had gotten married and was now about to get divorced. I had gotten engaged, and my fiance was dying of cancer. Our lives were falling apart, and we leaned on each other.

Ted's divorce became final in July 1999. Rick passed on August 19, 1999. Ted shares my interests in food, alcohol, music, and sex, so we spent the next 11 months dealing with our respective losses. We worked out a terrific formula: work hard, play hard. This involved as much over time as we could each arrange, up to 60 hour weeks, and weekends spent in restaurants, in a karaoke bar, and in bed.

The drunken weekends were fun while they lasted, and they gave me enough of a break from my crushing grief to go out and last another week. On the surface tings were looking better. Ted and I were rarely apart. Truth be known, I hated being separated from him like a shipwreck victim would hate being separated from a life raft. One drunken night he revealed he had been ring shopping and put down a deposit on an emerald for me. We dropped hints that there might be a wedding in the future.

On New Years Eve 1999/2000, we toasted the end of troubles and the beginning of a new life together.

But my grief was still catching up with me. I was still afraid to sleep. Many times, while I was sleeping I would forget that Rick was gone, and when I woke up, I would remember again with shock and surprise. On mornings when I woke up alone, I was still disappointed and disgusted to open my eyes and find I was still breathing. I wanted to be free of the pain. I worked in an Emergency room at the time, and knew some lethal combinations of over-the-counter drugs. As the summer progressed, I started passing the depressing "last time" anniversaries. Third week in June--the last time we had gone on vacation together. July fourth--last picnic at my Mom's. July 11- the day he went into the hospital for the last time. And so on. I began daydreaming about an elaborate suicide gesture: I would put on the wedding gown I had bought, take a lethal combination of drugs, wash it down with a bottle of Jack Daniels, and lie down on his grave to die.

Fortunately I didn't get too far with this line of thinking. Three hundred and thirty-three days after I lost my fiance, I missed my period and found I had gained Ted's baby. July 17, 2000 marked the beginning of the rest of our lives.

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