The box was heavy and I dragged it awkwardly as my mother offered to help. Determined and stubborn I answered, “No, I can do it all by myself!”
Do you think this childish scene happened when I was a whiney 5 year-old? Or maybe when I was a petulant teenager? No, this incident happened just two weeks ago! A grown woman with an immature need to be independent and self-reliant, this is not a new story for me.
For example, a year or two before Neil died we had an argument and refused to speak to each other for several days. During that time I bought a new treadmill, and after the three delivery men plopped the monstrous box in the middle of the living room, I set out to unpack it and put it together. Continue reading →
Many years of being an emergency physician taught me how to quickly assess a patient and determine what needed to be done. Looking at the patient and the monitors, I could call out orders – meds, IVs, breathing treatments- and my great staff jumped in and did them.
Many years of being a restaurant manager taught Neil how to quickly assess the dining room and determine what needed to be done. He could read his customers instantly and know who was getting impatient, who didn’t like their meal, who needed something at their table; and he too, could direct his staff to do what was required.
We were two adults used to “bossing” people around and were both very good at what we did. That was great for our jobs, but it was terrible for our marriage. Continue reading →
When Neil and I first met, he ran a restaurant called The Bone. Not only did it have great food, it was one of the few places in our town where you could hear live music. There was a huge party there the night of our first New Year’s Eve. The tables were full, the bar was three people deep, live music blared and people danced as the countdown to midnight closed in.
Shortly before twelve, Neil found me in the crowd. He was working, but he wanted me to stay put so he would know right where I was to come kiss me at midnight. So sweet, I thought, as I watched him move back into the crowd. Every square foot of the restaurant was filled with people celebrating, and for a few minutes I was distracted taking it all in.
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Neil had a way of teaching me things. Sometimes I learned from him, other times I learned because of him, but in retrospect he was pretty wise. Here are seven of his life lessons we should all remember. Continue reading →
I was feeling back in control. I had cleaned out closets, washed cabinets, taken a summer’s worth of trash to the dump, and collected three carloads of stuff for my sister-in-law’s yard sale. I hadn’t touched any of Neil’s things yet – his shoes were still right where he left them and his winter coat still hung on the rack – but in-control-me was comforted by those things, not disturbed by them.
I had a schedule all mapped out. This week I would concentrate on getting rid of things I didn’t need. Next week, I would be sure everything in the house was working as it should be and fix or throw away whatever wasn’t. Finally, in the third week I would deep clean everything that was left. I was determined nothing would interfere with the plan. Yes indeed, I was back in control of my world. Continue reading →