Tuesday, December 18, 2007


I didn't light any Hanukkah candles this year, for the first time since the kids were itty bitty. J said it was because the "rabbi" wasn't there this year and I guess its true. I continued the tradition of decorating and lighting candles and for many years, but not recently, having eight gifts ready for each night. I even left our little china Hanukkah mice that always stood next to the menorahs, in Florida. I didn't have the heart for it I guess, but next year it might be easier.

We watched the 4th season of The Wire,that I bought F for his birthday. Alex loved the show, especially the corner boys, who reminded him of some of the guys who were at Blythedale with him. He would have reminded me that the rapper Method Man was in the show, I noticed his name on the credits. So many thing I see on TV or movies that remind me of Alex. I almost don't know if I want to watch the new season of the Wire,or Rescue Me,or buy the video of the Simpson movie, which I would have done for him. In Florida we watched American Idol and had such fun with it, don't think I'd even be interested without having Alex to debate with and decide who to vote for.

These are the signs of life going on without him and that's the difficult part. I guess keeping Alex with me means thinking about him when I do things he would love or things we shared.

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Winter in WI

Its -5 today in Wisconsin, an old fashioned Wisconsin winter the weatherman said. Alex and I had been going to Florida for the winter since we've lived in Wi, to our warm house in Venice,close to the Gulf of Mexico.

This is my first winter in Wisconsin. Alex and I weren't going back this year, I wanted him close to his doctors here.

What a blessing Florida was for the past 3 years. Everything worked so much better in the warm, we could get outside everyday,the chair worked better and Alex's driving hand worked better. It was lonely there sometimes, among the retirees and with F working in Wisconsin and coming every 2 weeks, but I'd remind Alex and myself that living in paradise while WI was iced over wasn't something to complain about.

We went there for Thanksgiving and I cried and cried those first few days, going through what Alex and I had left behind. We didn't leave much, his hospital bed, and the wood box that we decorated with pirate pictures and his beard trimmer. His funny room with the string of plastic tiki heads and surf board lamp.

We had fun when the girls got there, and we had Thanksgiving, and rode bikes in Myakka State Park and did the beach and ate in Sarasota.

In rereading my earlier entries I can how I've change as nearly 5 months have passed. I'm not nearly as angry (whew!) and in not such a rush to write it down and get it out. I am deleting an earlier post that I wrote when I was so sad that I couldn't stand to hear anything about anything. I needed to vent at the time but that time has passed.

I started tutoring and was so pleased to meet Karsten, a very cute first grader,who looks like the little boy from Jerry Maguire. When I asked him about what he liked best he said "lions" so I ordered a copy of "Library Lions" from Amazon, since it seems to be a first grade favorite and I had such fun reading it to some D.C. first grade friends. The program called Schools of Hope aims to improve literacy by using volunteers to read with and to kids. C the director promised to find me another student as well, since I 'd like to do a little more than 30 minutes a week.

So far the winter seems gray and bleak and its early December! I guess I'll have much more time to write....

Sunday, October 14, 2007

Alex's uncle

Today I did a Google search using Alex's name and found something that looked like a blog, with Alex's Uncles Rich's art and an entry about Alex. Rich is an architect and an artist, and had done a drawing of Alex when he was in the hospital a few years ago. Alex had seen it and didn't like it. He thought he looked weak and deformed. Alex liked to look good. There is a circle worn into the rug in front of his mirror, from the wheels of his chair, from him making sure his hair and beard and clothes were how he wanted them. Alex wanted to look like who he was, strong and capable. The picture did capture Alex at his sickest and most vulnerable, but it was not the way Alex wanted to be thought of.

Rich wrote a few words about Alex, and a few words about his brother (Alex's dad). A surprise since he hasn't spoken to anyone since Alex died. Most significantly, not his brother. He was at the funeral, but arrived late, with his his wife and son. The wife hugged everyone, but never gave any words of condolence. She questioned me about something said in the eulogy, but never said anything else. I was surprised by that, even though knowing her, I shouldn't be. It makes no sense that someone who knew Alex his whole life would have nothing to say. But the bigger shock and the bigger confusion is why Rich hasn't reached out to his brother. But he wrote the blog entry and put his artwork there as a tribute, I guess. It's not enough,and it was accidental that I found it, but there it was. A little story to illustrate a little drawing and nothing else.

Tuesday, October 9, 2007


I spent 6 days in DC which turned out to be joyful because I was with J and visited her school and stressful because we met the future in laws.

It was so much fun to go to school with J, see her interact with the children and meet some wonderful teachers. I was worried that it would make me sad to be around kids but it was the opposite. I remembered that working with kids was what got me through those difficult times when my parents died.

It was funny to see the young teachers who are about the age I was when I stopped teaching. I always believed I'd go back, always had a teaching certificate where ever we lived,NJ,MD,NY. Life has a way of tumbling you around and leaving you somewhere that you never imagined.

So I left that experience so proud of J and the work she does. I also came home and filled out an application to volunteer here, in a program called RSVP, that puts seniors (eeeeeek!) in local schools.

I hesitate to say much about the in-laws. I wish the Dad was more like the Mom and I wish it was easier for J (and N). I want to say that maybe my experiences with Alex have made me want to embrace happiness and good things for all its worth. Life will be bring its own difficulties and challenges. As a parent of an adult my job is to be supportive and caring and proud of the child J was and the adult she's become AND to not be too much of a p in the a (to quote my own Dad). I try.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Back to my Blog

I have a new computer and it took a while for me to get back on. Since the last entry I have begun talking to pychologist. Its been a while after a ten year plus stint with Dr.E in NY, in which we talked first about breast cancer and then about everything else under the sun. I guess I'm an old hand at therapy, almost answering the new "shrinks" questions before she answered. I'm afraid that I am good at giving the correct answers,but maybe Dr.B can see through it. She did give me a good idea for a journal, stories about Alex written for some future grandkid, so they would know Uncle Alex. I enjoy writing for a child, the stories can be so simple, just a story. I told J that I would write some baby J stories as well, which makes sense. Most of the stories about Uncle Al are about her as well. It's been fun to look back and to concentrate on funny stories and happy times.

J is engaged and she and N are planning a wedding, very exciting,very fun. Next week we meet her future in laws,

Thursday, August 9, 2007

a dream

I haven't had any dreams, this first month since Alex died but I did last night.In the dream I walked into a luncheonette like the ones that were everywhere when I was a child in the 50's. I walked up to a young man sitting on a stool at the counter. It wasn't Alex, but a familiar face all the same, with a head of light brown curls. He looked like he could have been J's brother if she had one that looked just like her. He resembled the boy from the movie Hearts in Atlantis, a movie and book that Alex and I loved and we were both fans of the actor. In the dream the boy said,"Hi,Felice" and I walked over to him and touched his face and said,"Hi my sweet boy" and kissed his cheek, just like I always did to Alex. In the dream it felt like this boy was my child, though I had never seen him before. Just another lost boy, I guess.

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Alex's Room

As we started to take Alex's bed and wheelchair out of his room to give away last night, it started to storm outside. Loud lightnening and thunder and a downpour. It rained all night and continued to rain the next morning, while we loaded the van and an attached trailer with all the things Alex needed for day to day living. Things that the wheelchair recycler will use, without ever knowing Alex.

When we were done I sang Eliahu in the garage, a song sung after Shabbat praising the prophet Elijah, Eliahu was Alex's Hebrew name and he loved to hear it sung. The rain stopped and sun shone. Was it a sign that Alex thought it was ok? (and that he was happy to have some old equipment gone and a cleaner garage) Don't know but its nice to think it was.

When Jen was here she smelled his headrest. It held his scent. All these little goodbyes are sad. I will wait to do his room,just a little longer.