**** The passing of my husband due to Pulmonary Fibrosis has left me walking around this Earth with what feels like a heavy weight, to the very core of my being. Since he has been gone, I still smile, I still dream, I still appreciate the small wonders that unfold within each day, but all while always aware of the weight in the center of my chest. It is hard to describe, even for myself. After much thought, I believe it consists of many memories of 'us' that pile on top of one another like a heavy quilt, rich in colors and fabric. The quilt is so heavy because I carry it alone and I am not used to this, as this beautiful quilt of memories was something that he and I carried together. ****
-Ray of Light Through Worn Wood-
From the day I handed Rick a slice of cake at my neighbor's birthday party, I hadn't thought about him at all. I never correlated that this person would be someone who impacted my life. I had plenty to worry about on my own. Two small children, 7 and nearly 2, that I loved dearly. The children's father and I split, over a year ago. The statistics on marriages that survive a child born with a serious illness are never very good, and ours ended in divorce. My youngest child was born with a heart problem that was serious enough that I was given the option to terminate the pregnancy when it was discovered by medical professionals. But, I couldn't do it. So, two open heart surgeries later, here we all were, the children and I.
I lived in a house that looked similar to all the other houses on my street. I picked this house, not for the house itself, but for the grand, mature trees that lined our street. I loved driving up that street and feeling as though I was under a canopy. My ex felt as though he needed to find himself and lived in a modern apartment across town. At the time, he was just trying to save himself from whatever weighed down his spirit and as a result not much thought had gone into what type of support would be given to the children or myself. I was struggling to get by. None of the day cares would take my youngest, who at the time was on oxygen to help open his pulmonary arteries. The children's prior Christmas, consisted of used books and stuffed animals from the local thrift store and of course an orange. Strangely, they remember that Christmas to this day.
Time had passed and every day a new problem arose with the house. My neighbor used to make fun of me for hammering in wayward nails with a rock that I found in the garden. What was I supposed to do? The children's father never had a tool box and now it was up to me to get this nail into the wood. Every night, I cooked the most amazing meals, things I remember my grandmother cooking when I was a child. Of basics that could be found in even the most sparse cupboards. I also planted my first garden. I had always wanted one and thought that I needed help to do it. But, I found that it was something I could do on my own. We always had plenty of carrots, tomatoes, cabbage, and mint. In the evenings, I sat on my porch, which stared into another neighbors back yard- divided by a chain link fence. I sipped mint tea and gazed at the sunset with the sound of my, and the neighborhood children, playing in the yard and thought, this was about as perfect as life could get...