Yes Men Do Cry pages 13 -15
November 7, 2000
Now I’m in New Zealand, Booby. It was good to see Mom, Bruce, and Marg, but as I knew, the petty fighting was there. Marg would not go around to Bruce’s as he had not invited her (Bruce’s wife, Jenny, had), so I had to call her and yell that I didn’t come all this way to see this; what I am going through is way more important and hard. She turned up half an hour later. I told them all that if only they could be civil to each other and acknowledge one another, at least when one of them dies, they won’t feel guilty.
Went to Trish and Ian’s for dinner. Trish looks great as does Ian, though he has slowed a bit and seems to be handling his heart problem with a what-the-hell-can-I-do-about-it attitude. They are really broke, but Trish appears to be like you, a very determined and special lady. Michael and Alana have grown into two nice kids. Saw Pam and Len. They are exactly the same. It’s like seeing you through Pam as you two were so much alike. Len reeled and nearly fell off the chair when I told him Girly was going to try and have a baby through artificial insemination (turkey baster).
I’m down at Mom’s now. It is so peaceful, but I can’t appreciate it properly as you are always on my mind. I just wish you could have experienced the beauty of Whitianga, but it was not to be. I’m trying so hard to make something positive from this trip, but Christ, it’s so hard as I know you would not accept anything less than me going forward. I worry about the kids. I know they keep a lot of their hurting from me to protect me, but I will try to keep close to them and Fran and Marilyn and keep in touch with them. I’m still getting by, one day at a time. At present, there doesn’t seem any real sense of positive direction. I try hard to be strong and look to the future (I have the kids and great friends), but, Booby, I still haven’t got you. I know I have to take you down off this pedestal I have you on, but hang in there with me. I will do it because I have to, otherwise, I will be letting myself down along with the kids and friends. I know I have to take control of myself because you are not here anymore, and that is fact.
Unless someone has been through what I’m going through, it is hard to explain my feelings. I am not angry or mad at you for dying as you had no say in the matter. I feel greater things will happen to me because of what happened to you and the way you handled your death. As you said in one of your moments of wisdom, “There has to be a way for me to make something out of this.” I know there is, and I think that maybe between Bob, Marilyn, and myself, we can do something great. It is going to be something to do with dying and the process of dying and how we, as a society, should handle it. I can see something like palliative care houses all round Vancouver, managed by people like Cheryl and Joy and doctors who care and are not full of themselves and are not afraid to show emotion. If you really think about it, doctors really do not have to be physically involved at all as proper nursing could take care of most of it.
Well, Booby, I’m just sitting here on the porch at Mom’s. I just wish we could have experienced the beauty of this place together. It is so peaceful; the only thing not making it perfect is your physical absence. I’m still trying so hard to make something positive of this whole trip. But as hard as I try, I just come up empty. Oh, how I wish things could go back to being the same. But guess what? That won’t be happening. So keep giving me strength. I think that it’s a harder road than you, and I imagined Booby, but no road is impassable. I just have to take some detours on the way, and sometimes, a couple of steps backward to reevaluate then proceed in a different direction.
Talked to the kids. I need to get back to them. They need me and I need them. Nathan, I think, is having a tough time as he is by himself. Thank God for Ang, at least Girly has someone to hold. That will help her a lot. They ordered donor sperm today, so I cross my fingers. I need a little grandchild to hold and cuddle.
I have to try and get past this obstacle of me liking to be alone all the time. I don’t really understand this. I think it makes me feel closer to you. But who knows? I don’t know what’s real as I’m still not accepting that you are gone. At the same time, I’m scared about walking into the apartment again.
Booby, the night is the most gratifying time. I just love looking up at the stars as I can make myself imagine anything I want about you. The stars look so warm and comforting and seem to be a place you could be. The darkness makes me feel you are safe because it appears continuous, so there are no cracks that you could slip through. I just want to imagine things that make me feel that you are safe, so that’s what I try to do. I would hate to think that you were hurting in any way. So please don’t worry that I’m having a tough time at present. Once I get back home, I will be surrounded by loving and caring people who will be there when I need them.
Grieving is so hard to do. You think you have all the answers, but wrong. It seems as though I just don’t want to face the truth that you are gone. No matter where I go (I just came back from walking around the town for the umpteenth time), I still look for you, thinking that you will be in the next shop, just behind me, or waiting back at the house. It’s not that I feel bad for myself (I do), it’s just that I expected myself to be stronger than I am at present. Maybe I’m being unrealistic to think I could handle it better. You were my everything, and I will learn to move ahead without you being here physically. The memories will always be there, and it is those that will sustain me, especially through the bad times I am having now.
Maybe when I get back home, I will see some benefit (to myself) of this trip, but at present, it just seems as though I’m treading water, not knowing what direction to go forward. I know it will still be hard at home, but I will have the Sylvia Hotel and English Bay. They are the places nobody can take away from me.
Isn’t there a saying that “no man is an island”? Well, I feel like an island, all deserted, and I’m going to have to find my own way off it by making use of the only tools I have, which are me and myself. Basically, it’s starting with nothing except the experiences I’ve had from the previous fifty-one years. You think it’s easy to pull on the reserves. Wrong! But once I get started, things will be okay.
The first step is to stop having self-pity, so I will try and start from there, but just trying to find the start line is difficult. I know it’s there, not too far away. I just can’t see it clearly, but I’m preparing myself in a disjointed way, so I will be in some sort of good shape when I get to it. I think one of the scariest things is realizing that you are going to do this thing alone, even though I have good kids and friends. I will look back on all this and say what strength we have as human beings. Just look at what you went through (and I went through) from August 1 to October 18. We got through that, so anything else will be obtainable. So here goes “no dwelling too much on the past” (well, occasionally, the past). There will not be too much of the what-if rationale as that is what it is—what if—and no matter how many of them, this is now, not then. (That little wisdom should make you proud!) So, Booby, I’m on the rocky road to recovery with you on my shoulder. So thanks for the memories and the positivity. You have left me with so much strength that I know I won’t fail as this is not even an option (sounds as though I’m trying to convince myself). But, Booby, I only have to think of the way you faced your death, and that gives me strength. As I said, I’m on my own now, and as you would say, “get on with it.”