Sunday, February 8, 2009

Oatmeal Cookies

As I have said many times in the blog and explicitly during the Hope celebration ceremony, it's the little things I miss the most. I know my neighbors read this so please don't think I don't appreciate the thoughtfulness of making oatmeal cookies because I do and I really enjoy them, but they always remind me of Hope. Most people that know me that I know know that I know that you know I don't like sweets at all except homemade oatmeal cookies. You guys have made them 2 or 3 times now, and I enjoy them so much (I am chomping on my 4th one right now by the way). They just remind me of Hope because she did not make them much, but always on my birthday and normally once or twice more each year. She loved to see my face when I smelled them or first opened up the container she put them in. I was almost as happy as when I open a new bag of potato chips and suck the first breath of air out of the bag. I do it like I'm on Mars in Total Recall trying to suck in my first breath after being on a planet with no oxygen. Maybe I should not tell everyone such things as it always embarrassed Hope. Who doesn't love chippers more than any other food???

I shed a tear today when I got cash out at Publix, our bank code is something that reminds me of Hope. How pitiful is that? I still can't go through her clothes, night stand, closet, remove her shampoo, soap, toothbrush, brush, or anything else from the bathroom or shower. I have no idea when or if I'll remove my wedding ring. That seems like the ultimate step and I can't imagine when I'll be ready to take that on. I will only sleep on my side of the bed. I still think she's in bed sometimes when I go to bed late at night after she normally would have been sleeping. I dream of her like she's still alive. Valentine's day is coming and if I see one more sweetheart advertisement I think I'm going to explode. I was going to hit my brother's place in TN with the boys over his birthday weekend at the end of the month, but now it turns out it's Nathan's last basketball game and first soccer game that Saturday. So then I thought I'd do it this coming weekend just to get away from the house and not be here for Valentine's Day but the flights are not working out. I have to pay an extra $120 to leave when I want and the only flight back that is not $300 extra leaves at 10:45 PM getting us home around 1 AM. I still have trouble making sound decisions so this is driving me nuts about what to do. Somebody just decide for me so I don't have to think anymore!

Friday night we had between 30 and 40 people at the house as a thank you to so many that have helped us with meals and everything else. I never anticipated so many people and the pizza place took over 1 hr 45 min to show up with about half of our order. Needless to say the kids and everyone was starving. Thanks to Tom Wood running to the pizza place himself and a whole lot of alcohol most people survived the evening without too much permanent damage. The only real victims were Whitney's liver and mental health, and my hands and neck as I had orange and blue (Gator colors for our northern readers) written in Sharpies all over them. Do you know how hard it is to either wash them off or cover them up when it's 75 degrees in Florida???

On Saturday it was off to an amazing party at Roo's house for Nolan's 4th birthday party (although he always tells Reese he's 5 just to annoy him) with a bouncey house. Any of you that have ever seen me at a kid's birthday party know I can't pass up a bouncey house. After most of the kids left I went in with my two and Whitney's two (Kylie and Logan) for what seemed like long enough for a whole other birthday party. At one point my last ever present from Hope, the Father's Day necklace, broke from its chain. For some reason it just devastated me so I rolled out of the bouncey house right away and told the kids they looked tired. I felt like I betrayed Hope by breaking the necklace but I was doing something I loved and that gave me time I wasn't thinking about her. The whole thing just made me feel guilty for having so much fun but at the same time I know that's exactly what she wants me to do. I still haven't talked to anyone about all of this so it's just bleeding out on the keyboard. Sorry, I have no control.

I want to get out of here but don't where to go. St. Augustine with the boys, Sea World or Disney for a day, TN next weekend with the odd flights to see my brother, ditch the kids and hit the Bahamas with my brother, go to the Keys with Jon/Tina and all the kids, and Roo/Man-Marie and I have been talking about renting a cottage some place to get away. I caught up finally after months of struggling with past due bills and doctor notices and now they are piling up again. I have to cancel our bank account because it's under Hope's social security number but it's the one we pay all the bills and I just lost my credit card. The bank calls me daily and I just say I'm too busy to come by. How long do I think that excuse will last??? Actually it's really not an excuse, I feel most of the time I can't even breathe between basketball, work, kiddos, home, bills, and trying to keep up with all types of correspondence.

Now I feel like I'm bitching about how many people care and help us, when all I really want to do is thank everyone for the amazing love and support we have received. Almost every blog response has said to screw the thank you cards, and right now they collect dust next to the answering machine (yes I'm still living in the 80's with an answering machine). Actually it has Hope's voice recording so as long as it works I'm keeping it. You can still call her cellular too and get her voicemail, I'm not sure if I'll ever get rid of that. I wish someone would just give me directions like I was making a casserole in how to feel, what to do, or just give me simple rules like this is right or wrong to feel, you should react this way, or best of all on this date you will feel like your old self. So far, nobody has the right recipe I've seen.

The only exception is the oatmeal cookies, they remind me of Hope, I feel more like she's here when I see, smell and savor their taste, and I think I'll go have my fifth of the night right now. What's better than Shirah and oatmeal cookies? The Spurs beat the Celtics today making my neighbors happy while we grilled out here, and they left the oatmeal cookies which made me happy and I still feel guilty for feeling happy most of the time. The good news is that every bite and every smile I feel less guilty since January 7th. I love you Hope and I think I will always feel a little guilty you are not here to enjoy everything with me, and that will never change no matter how many oatmeal cookies I eat.


Daddy-O said...

I'd tell you to jump on a plane up to here but I don't think the price would be any cheaper then to TN. But if you ever decide to, just give us a call when you take off from FL and we'll meet you at the airport when you land (even if it arrives at 1:00 am).

As for directions on what to feel, all I can say is don't rush anything. You've said that for now all you are focused on is making it through tomorrow and that's exactly what you should be doing. Don't feel like you should be "over" anything by now, or even by March 7th. I know I won't.

Each day is different, sometimes things are easier and sometimes it's tough. There are many times I get a small feeling of guilt for feeling "normal" again for 5 minutes but I know Hope wants us all to be happy and normal so I continue to try. The one thing I can say is you will know when the day has come that you are ok with going through her things or even getting rid of her shampoo bottle, and if that day is weeks or months away so be it (well, so long as it's not like 24 months from now, that might be a little much). Hell I haven't even been able to watch her photo slide show DVD yet myself so don't feel like you're alone.

As for your wedding ring, if you never take it off that's fine by me. But should the day ever come when you feel ok with that then just know you won't hurt my feelings. Just so you know, if you ever do dig out Hope's cell phone there's gonna be a few txt messages from me, I haven't called it but at times I do txt her. So thanks for not getting rid of it yet.

Sorry this didn't turn out to be an insightful recipe with a handful of easy steps but what can I say, I'm just trying not to burn my own meal right now.


Daddy-O said...

Oh, and since you titled this blog "Oatmeal Cookies" I have to tell you not to try to make a batch yourself. I still remember your attempt at baking using applesauce!


Anonymous said...

You realized you just lobbyed for a whole lot of oatmeal cookies coming your way.

Anonymous said...

What you are feeling is so normal and if you were feeling differetly then I would say you got over what happened to Hope a long time ago. However you have not and probably won't for a while longer maybe a long while. Hope is your true love and well lets just face it people don't get over that over night.

Reading some of Hope's past blogs she writes that all she wanted was to stop having everyone worry about her and get on with being normal. Well you should follow her lead. I know you are trying to get on with things but don't feel guilty for getting on with you life. You have two beautiful boys that Hope wants them to have a "normal" life. So please for Hope's sake don't feel guilty she would not want you to. I'm sure she is watching you probably yelling Jake come on I'm okay now I AM here with you lets just keep moving forward. She was a fighter and you are too my friend. Have fun enjoy life as you know it's to short not to make some wonderful new memories with your boys. Hope would want it that way!

As for getting rid of her things well who cares if they stay for awhile it's all about healing and when it's time you will know. Hope will let you know or she will probably haunt you so bad you will have to get rid of things. She does like a clean house right?

Keep doing what your doing and don't feel bad for doing it. It will get easier maybe not today or tomorrow but one day. Stay strong.