What’s past is prologue

It’s funny how decisions Patti made, sometimes long ago, impact my daily life.  Like the back-ordered blouse that was just delivered by UPS and sits on her desk unopened. Or the brand-new wheelchair she ordered to replace her 12 year-old clunker  — a beautiful titanium work of art with flowers laser-etched on the tubing. It was on the truck to be sent to her on the day she died and, amidst the funeral arrangements, I remembered it and we managed to cancel the shipment.

I like the interruption of these messages from her, her mind working in the past and appearing in the present, like the bulbs she planted last Fall that popped up in late March after she was gone, and announced the first days of Spring, her favorite season.

There remains other unfinished business to attend to. Last week, I managed to throw out ten years of old Martha Stewart magazines but I can’t yet bring myself to go through her closets and share her clothes with strangers. One day I shall, maybe soon. I know I can part with old t-shirts and stockings, tubes of moisturizer and bottles of pills, but I must hold on to the most Patti of her posessions  – I imagine giving Patti’s Chanel necklace to Jack’s wife one day or bequeathing his daughters my grandmother’s hand-painted powder box, the one that Patti kept by her sink. Things don’t really matter but the memories they contain always will.

14 Comments

  1. Rachel

    Definitely keep those special things- we have special items from my husband’s family, and every piece has a lovely memory associated with it- like a piece of the missing loved one being kept alive for future generations.

  2. sue

    I’m really serious–I think you could help a lot of people by publishing your meandering thoughts about Patti’s death, and your observations on the grieving process. In reading your artful spread up at the top here, I thought of Auden’s poem “Musee des Beaux Arts” when I read the last lines. I always loved that poem, and what it says about our lives and how “things go on.”

    I can see why you want to hold onto and cherish Patti’s things–so much sentiment in them and a life well lived…

    Beautiful post.

  3. Julie Broom

    I totally agree with Sue. As a person who struggles to cope with loss, I’m finding your insights truly comforting.

  4. Melinda Bilecki

    My heart aches for you and for Jack. I thank you for sharing these posts with us though. They are beautiful. And inspiring.

  5. Sandy

    Yes keep special items, they will mean even more as the years pass – and can be passed onward. No need to rush to remove anything unless you deem it Time.
    The more you share here, the more I feel I “know” P and wish I really had met her. And Ice Cream sounds like a great idea.

  6. Warren Ludwig

    Danny, it’s so strange to read about your experiences…they mirror the ones I’m also having, almost exactly at the same time. Just this last week, I too, closed one of my wife’s accounts. I have yet to tackle the closet full of her clothes…that can wait.

    I had written in an earlier post, that I recently lost my wife in mid-April. Her serious health issues had cornered her mind and heart to the point of choosing to take her own life. I do not know exactly what led to Patti’s passing…I haven’t read any comments about that on your blog. But my heart goes out to you so very much…the raw feelings are shared, no matter the manner of her death.

    I hope that you are getting some counseling through all of this. I know that “speaking” your thoughts on this blog has been healing for you in the past. But there’s something helpful in being able to “listen” to the wisdom of someone who has counseled others in similar dark times. I’m finding that I can breathe a bit better when she tells me things like, “Those feelings are normal.” It also helps me to be able to share some of those insights with my two daughters, who also are working through our terrible loss.

    My prayers continue for you and Jack. Thank you for being so “real”.

    • Lauren

      I wish I could send you both every ounce of peace and strength I contain.

  7. Vicky

    I agree with Sue and Julie. Each of these memory pieces bring me to tears; those tears of healing could be so valuable to millions out there. These should be published as a gift to Patti. Prayers for you both continue . . .

  8. kathryn

    As someone who came back to your website after many months away, I was truly shocked and saddened by news of Patti’s death.
    Although I’ve never met you, I feel as though I know you just a little bit from your books and blogs. I wondered how you were faring and then saw your recent journal entries. Thank you for sharing a little bit more of yourself with us. My heart goes out to you.

  9. Peter Cusack

    I’m just learning of your loss right now. I’m beside myself. I’m so sorry Danny. We don’t know each other well but please know I’m thinking about you and if you need anything, I’m here. Peter Cusack.

  10. AutumnLeaves

    A most fabulous and poignant journal page here, Danny. Somehow, some way, it seems to help knowing that we don’t go through these times alone.

  11. Dan Kent

    You shared such deep feeling in your last post, I did not know what to say. I love the idea of the messages from Patti, all of her that remains in the present. She will be continue to be there from the past, I know, even when there are less possessions. We lost an infant, 15 years ago, so I am familiar with a great loss, though very different. There were few possessions to deal with but to this day there still seem to be messages..I take them as such, anyway. These days they are wistful, soothing.

  12. Sherrie Roberts

    It is June. It never fails. I had a friend once. She at least said We were friends. We were young women. The same age. Working in the same place. She was kinda a Dark Dolly Parton. All the men eyed the bulging Staircase. She showed it to fullest Glory. Then one day out the Blue she asked me for some money! I gave it to Her. Then she asked if I would go to dinner with Her and Her child. I said of course. Where do you want to meet up? We had to eat at the new Oriental Place. My oldest was younger than Her girl. It was really Vietnamese. They always welcomed Our Children with Glee and Happiness! A couple of the Men would always escort my son to pick out a special h’orderves for the meal. ( I guess that is really mens work- over seeing the meal.) The women in this Restaurant stayed at the Cash register. It bothered my friend. I told Her there are No Ladies in the back. We would go back there for several years. We never ate anywhere else. Not even a MCDs. Then out of no where just like the money, she says – I am going to die from Cancer. I was floored. Then she was mad at me. Then she called me in the bathroom. She had the surgery a couple of months before. She had something to show me. It was Her Prosthetic Boob. It was specifically ordered for Her and Her color. She was beautiful Brown Sugar Caramel Black Lady that had to have Her hair permed to an Afro. Her Father being like me a White Cracker as she reminded me. She goaded me try the Boob on for size. I am not and never will be a 38DD Dolly Parton +++. So, There we were- in the Company Ladies room and Our Opened shirts and no Bras. Me standing next to Her Caramel skin and my tanned arms and white double colored chest and me with Her P BoobDD. When I put it in the middle of my chest – I had chopped my two Boobs into a perfect half. My boobs did not cooperate and it popped off. We burst out laughing. We heard something and quickly wrapped up. Two of the most Stuck Up bosses in World walked in. We were so Lucky! We would Have both been fired! We share our Grief, But I celebrate their Lives. Grief is always personal. It is raw and deep and held by one’s soul. It comes in the night every June. There she is with me at the Oriental Restaurant.
    Here I am for the fifth time waiting for that little boy to tell me at Some point this Summer that He has arrived back at the War Front. She will never know the Man He has become or when really became His own Man. But in the dreams— — Well, now, I am going to go back to my Suzi Blu Angels and Poetry artwork — a sandwich — and Red Wine, and the Boston Red Sox and some tears. May our (((( Circle of Angels Hugs keep Us all safe)))).
    Goodnight.

  13. Jane LaFazio

    if sometime, when you’re ready, and if you’d like it, I could make something for you and Jack with some of Patti’s clothes. A small quilt to keep you warm, a pillow top, a little cloth bag for groceries. Just send them to me, whenever you’d like.
    xoxo

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