Okay. To tell the truth, I’ve been in such a major funk these past three months and I haven’t wanted to write about it too much. It’s been a different kind of grief and feeling bad, as terrible as it’s ever been because this one has had the element of hopelessness thrown into it.
And on top of all of it – my birthday was coming up. Nooooo! “I’m skipping my B’day this year,” I texted a friend when she asked. I knew that ignoring these holidays didn’t work, they always come and bite you anyway, but what else could I do? The thought of isolating myself, holing up in a little ball in New Mexico, and never coming out again, had been sounding more and more like a good idea.
I did not want to do another birthday without my Buddy.
I had just gotten back from attending my niece’s graduation from Boston University where I actually had a good time (as tends to happen when I’m traveling, and doing something different). But on the way back to LA, I closed my eyes and cried on the plane, and cried in the car on the way home. And when I woke up the next day, I was surprised…
I felt pretty good.
And I had the thought, “Maybe I’ll celebrate my Birthday after all.” And then, I’m going to throw a barbeque!” Not just any barbeque, but one like Patrick and used to do. In the past, we cut up wood, and fired up our smoker, cooking ribs, salmon, brisket… It took all day to cook, sometimes two days if we were smart, and then our friends would come and enjoy the food, play, and generally have a good time.
For me, the thought I putting on one of our parties fired me up; I guess because, in a way, I was paying homage to something Patrick and I had done together, and had not done in a long time.
I was bringing back the classic “Niemi Swayze Barbeque” menu!
With only a few days to prepare, I launched into cleaning, organizing the house, patio, pulling out all our boxed up party stuff from the garage, and making long “to do” lists. And in really looking at my house, for the first time, I saw how far it had drifted. I found things in strange places: a folding chair behind a curtain, a kitty litter box (used) behind some boxes, stacks of books and papers, empty plant pots… Since Patrick passed, I thought I had been pretty good about slowly, but surely cleaning things up. And now I saw that I must have been in some kind of hazy dream. There were things I just couldn’t see. And now, all around me was classic evidence of “Widow’s” neglect. Remnants of a bruised, and battered life.
It was eye opening…
And in cleaning, I did one thing I hadn’t yet been able to do– I moved my husband’s packed boxes, and duffle bags of clothes and shoes from my entry hall. Stuff messily piled up and choking this space for over two and a half years.
And, unlike I feared, it was not emotionally difficult. It was exciting to see my entry hall clean again!! I think the fact that I was bringing back our barbeque, helped to make this task light…easy. It felt like, if Patrick could have picked up items and moved them himself, he would have. He would have wanted it looking good for the party.
You know, I had been given the advice that I should move Patrick’s stuff only when I was ready to; whether that’s today, or ten, or twenty years from now. And in a strange way, waiting for this to happen has not been easy. I kept wondering when that time was going to come. Would it ever come? And even if it did come? Would I recognize it?
I’m here to tell you – you’ll know. So, rest easy. No need to push it, ever. Instead of moving these clothes being a painful experience – it became an act of love, and honor.
Now granted, I just moved all of this stuff to the other end of the house! But – I – moved – them. And felt good about it.
And the party was wonderful! 35- 40 people came over, and the house was full of happy sounds. Amazing how those happy sounds put sparkle in the air. I made the best brisket I’ve ever made in my life. And the salmon was touted to be the best ever tasted – bar none.
Here’s my menu:
Smoked: Brisket, Pork Ribs, Chicken drumsticks, Salmon
Caesar Salad with homemade dressing & croutons
Roasted potatoes with rosemary & garlic
Grilled corn on the cob
Chocolate cake, large fruit tart
And the next morning, I did something else that I always did, and havn’t done in a long time… I ate cake for breakfast.