That sentence feels uncomfortable. No sooner did I write it, than I felt a pang of some kind of odd regret. Am I allowed to write something so overtly selfish? Am I allowed to say that I want certain things from this year, that I was not able to realize in 2017? I guess some may call that arrogant or selfish; I call it hope.
It’s been 17 days since I lost Diego, my old buddy. His ashes arrived two days later, arranged by my husband. The service was $200, and they came and respectfully picked my dog up at our home. A gruff man entered the front door, and I prayed in my head that he would not put that little body I loved so much, in something that looked like a garbage bag, you know? I felt barely able to keep my shit together two hours after he died, and that would have sent me over some edge I imagined would be beyond the consolation of nachos, vodka, lavender oil and a few other holistic things I was applying desperately, to retain some kind of semblance of adult behavior.
I pulled back, the way I tend to. The anxiety made my head a very loud place. I could neither comfort Kevin, nor be comforted by him; I needed the world to leave me alone for a few days. Unfortunately, January is peak season for what I do in my small business, and I get paid for my creativity and production time. My clients are wonderful people, and I tried to keep details to a professional minimum. I ended up (sort of) taking one day off, which was the afternoon he died. It wasn’t like I could write a coherent sentence anyhow; I was hurting, numb and so deeply sad, the words would just not come. No matter how much Diet Pepsi I drank.
The ashes came back in a lovely white box. Inside was what I would describe as a thoughtful bereavement kit, worth every penny we paid. A small pewter pin with a compass, and a card to explain the symbolism. All hearts that love, travel through time and space and remain together through eternity. On that premise, Diego has always been my dog, and will always be my dog and best friend. Existentially, it is also possible that he comes back as my husband, in my next life. I’d be cool with that too.
They provided a small white circle, with his paw print. My fingers traced over the little paw, as I had held it so many times in my hand. That meant more to me than I thought it would, and I appreciated it. I held it perhaps longer than I should have, before placing it back in the box, with a small handcrafted paper heart, that has a spec of his ashes mixed with wild flower seeds. The white box rests on the top shelf of the mantle, beside a picture of him, in healthier days, sitting with a goofy grin between my two oversized Homer Simpson slippers. I still see him, and cry about twice a day for a minute or so, collect myself, and proceed. Onward Lori… quit dwelling on shit you can’t change.
And losing people you love, no matter what you do. I love and trust so few.
Because his slip into critical health happened so close to the start of the year, I really didn’t have time to actualize my list of resolutions. I have a general theme; take care of myself better than I did last year. I think it works for me, and reminds me that among all the other priorities in life, that I should never come last (or fail to place on the list at all). I’m prone to not giving a shit about taking care of myself, if I am being honest. I work too much, I eat the wrong stuff, I infrequently exercise (although I am currently on a mission to become a yoga ninja). Note to self, shiny side down on the mat when stretching outside this spring… or your ass will slip and fall again. Undoubtedly, in front of a crowd of perfect bodied hot chicks.
What do I want for myself in 2018? I feel certain that if I don’t make a damned list, that bad shit will happen. There were some lovely parts of 2017, but in general, the year really kicked my ass. I had a couple toxic clients nuke my confidence, I heard about the possibility of one or more of my estranged parents having serious health issues (like I could fix that, or address that, given our personna non gratis status, for my own safety and mental health). Still hurts though. I watch the clocks you know, at 44 and think, they are getting older. Do they have any remorse? Are they capable of setting differences aside to make the most of however many years we have left together, and know their grandsons here in Texas? No. And its not about me, it’s about who they are (and what they are not).
I’m pretty sure I have always been a really good kid. With really abusive, and selfish parents.
I’ll start a bulleted list of wishes for 2018. I like lists. They make me happy:
- I want an insane number of raised flower beds to grow vegetables for my family, and to bless our extended family and the food bank, with any surplus.
- I want to catch a fish that is heavier than 6 lbs in Texas.
- I want to give my sons another great summer on the lake. That means scraping up to fix the boat (it sank in September… yay us).
- I want to figure out how to refinish the bathroom on a dime budget.
- I want to rip up the carpets and do a stained concrete floor. Then I want the faux asian rugs, that squish between your toes a little.
- I want a hanging aloe plant.
- I want to paint the angels in my head. Matisse. Even if my paintings suck.
- I want to lose 50 pounds. That will put me back squarely in one-derland, at about 150-160 lbs. I suspect I’d look pretty cute. I also suspect I’d need a boob job. I can’t tolerate the thought of them shriveling up into something I don’t smile at in a push-up bra.
- I want to figure out how to do more flattering things with my hair. It’s getting quite long, and I’m useless with a curling iron (unlike the fine Texas ladies around me).
- I want to be the best Marketing and Advertising Chair of the Denison Arts Council ever. I don’t ever want to be the President, but I’d like to whip up a content structure that accomplishes the Council’s goals. Also, I’d like to use the Council to meet more artsy, Liberal minded folks locally. I can’t be the only damned liberal in Texas, right? RIGHT?
- I want to experiment with smoking the fish I catch in Lake Texoma.
- I want to grow my business.
- I want to sleep more.
- I want to get a pasta attachment for my Kitchenaid mixer thing. I feel like that will make my life better.
- I want to be in the same room as my sister. And hug her.
- I want to let go of things (and people) I have no power to change.
- I want to restore my moxy again. It took a hit last year, through no fault of my own… and I feel like it’s not restored yet. I can sense at least one flat-tire that needs fixing.
- I want to get my glucose back under control.
I’m on day five of not smoking. Yay! Don’t ask me why I started. Homesick, a little lost, trying to fit it… they are all pathetic excuses for adopting a filthy habit I left behind, 18 years ago. Today I started using a very low dose vape (thank you deadline stress!). Eventually no vape, but if it keeps me off the cancer sticks, I’m willing to detour and segue.
I need to self-publish my chap book. No one will buy my poetry, but at least I can scratch it off the bucket list.
I need to write at least one of the three screen plays for scary movies I have in drafts. Come on Lori… think of all the chihuahuas you could adopt, and the house you could build, with an outdoor kitchen and Diet Pepsi fountain… if you just sold ONE. Make shit happen! Minature horses circling the pool, won’t buy themselves!
I am going to believe that 2018 will be better. That I will get to go home. That it will be without serious incident for my marriage and our relationship. And that there is a giant striper fish out there, with my name on it.