The Great Bambino

My mind is spinning today and all I can think about is the Babe…

In August 1994 my oldest sister married a wonderful man. She married the Great Bambino, not one of the greatest Yankees of all time, the one that sparked the Red Sox curse but the true Babe of our family. Babe, as he’s been called since childhood, is the kind of man who every woman should want to marry. He’s a man’s man, straight forward, hard-working, loving, can fix anything, loves his family, always has the answer yet lets you make your own mistakes. He’s going to point out that he told you so; followed by a chuckle, a gentle dig letting you know he’s kidding… sorta. He’s a man who laughs from his gut and smiles with his eyes. He’s a man who surprises his wife with a plane ticket so she can hold her newborn granddaughter even though they were planning a trip in 4 weeks. He’s a man who sends his wife off to see her sister when she needs her most. The man who you’d never think would coo over a baby, yet his enormous hands are the most gentle of all. He’s the man who repaired a family and made them whole again.

My oldest son Will and I are very close; we talk about everything from the weather to dating, drinking, sex and drugs. Most of our conversations happen after one of us has come home from a night out or when one of us is having a “bad day” with all that our family has gone through. I remember this particular conversation so clearly and its stuck with me ever since. It’s no secret to anyone; including my children that dating since Zed passed away has not gone well. There were QJ’s lies that destroyed not just me but my children; BDD’s Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde personality that caught us all off guard and I still can’t believe it happened. It was a few days after Mr. Hyde showed his face and I was crying in the kitchen. Not for him but because my children had seen too much. Will, the witness to the madness, sat on the stool and looked at me so very thoughtfully with slight tears in his eyes and said “Mom, I just want you to find your Babe” I cried even harder. He couldn’t have said it any better and his perception of love and life was never so clear to me. He’s a brilliant kid with a tender heart. I knew exactly what he meant by that one sentence. It runs through my head all the time.

I have met a Babe. I know without any doubt that the man I’m seeing now is absolutely a Babe. We spent a lot of time together this weekend, two dates and lots of laughing, kissing, touching, affection and A LOT of disbelief for both of us. I know it seems completely insane and I can’t explain the turn of events in my world over the last few weeks the unexpected seems to be happening right before my eyes.

I wonder if he can hit a home run like the Babe? He is a Boston boy but a Yankees fan… Does it get any better?

Love,

g

Belief

I believe in love.  I believe in marriage.  I believe that no matter how difficult the road is, all marriages can survive even the most difficult of situations.  I have a lot of friends who have faced very real and what can seem, to most, as impossible to forgive events.  However, if you are both diligent, choose humility and forgiveness, the best part of your marriage can be on the other side.  Marriage is not easy, if you think it is you have not had your trial yet.  You will in some way, be prepared and choose to love your way through it without losing yourself.

We are all guilty of making poor decisions, giving into our inner desires instead of what is right.  It can be a relationship outside of marriage, a crime, financial difficulties, anything that betrays your partners trust.  I’ve been guilty myself.  I’ve also been the one that has been scorned.  I try to encourage my friends to work through their difficulties, I tell them how wonderful my marriage was after Zed, and I fought through some trials.  The things I’ve experienced and the choices I’ve made in my past have made me who I am today.  I’m not proud of a lot of it.  Nevertheless, I am different because of it all.  I would never make the same choices today.

It was on a Tuesday Morning around 3:00AM in January of 2011, my phone rang, it was a blocked call but I knew it was him; QJ, I couldn’t help myself, I answered anyway knowing I shouldn’t.  I needed to know why?  I still need to know why?  It was only three weeks after he married her, six weeks since my world was turned upside down, only seven weeks since we spent Thanksgiving with my whole extended family.  He played the game well and I was blindsided.

I answered and said “Hello” there was silence but I knew he was there.  I repeated myself several times asking, “Why are you calling?”  Nothing, just silence.  So, I started talking about everything that was going on in our lives, myself and the kids.  I told him of going on vacation, my upcoming trip to Pittsburgh anything, except speak about my daughter.  I figured if I spoke softly and let him know that I still loved him that he would say something.  He never said a word.  I finally said “If you are not going to brave enough to speak I’m hanging up.” so I did.

The next night the same thing, the phone rang, silence…  This time I was angry, I said “the least you could fucking do is say you’re sorry!” that is when the sound came, a grown man sobbing on the other end of the line, pure sobs; I could feel his heart breaking through the phone.  All I heard was “I’m sorry” through the sobs.  I hated him and loved him in the same moment.  My heart ripped out of my chest.  It was validation of what I already knew, he really did love me.  He still was not speaking anything else so I began asking questions.  “Why did you marry her?”, “You could have made any other choice!”, “Why?”  All I heard was “Reilly?” infuriated I said “You lost the right to know anything about her.”, he claimed he loved my daughter as if she were his own.  He said he loved all my children and he would be there for them for the rest of his life.  At least that is what I thought, what he made me believe.  I now know, if that were the case, he wouldn’t have sacrificed them for his own selfish gain.

He couldn’t answer why, in the thousand times that I’ve asked since that first phone call, he’s never given me a reason.  He’s never said he was happy, he’s never said he made the right choice, he’s never said he is no longer in love with me, quite the opposite.  That day began a year of torture for me when all I wanted was closure.  I wanted him to tell me that he chose marriage, that he believed in love, and that he knew he would be happier on the other side with her, that he was sorry for the thousands of lies he told.  Instead, I just got more lies that lead me down a very dark road.

Even today my heart still breaks for the love I thought I had, for the person I thought he was, I still love that person, the one that doesn’t exist.

Love,

g

What’s Worse?

I’ve contemplated this question a lot over the past couple of years. Which is worse, to have your heart broken in a failed relationship or to lose your spouse to death? In the past 2 years, 6 months and 18 days I’ve experienced both. How does that happen? Well its simple when you lose a spouse especially one that you are madly in love with all you can do is beg for the world to stop spinning. That feeling still haunts me today, lying in my bed not wanting to deal with school, kids, life, making dinners, friends, phone calls and bills; just needing to be in the moment and grieve. It doesn’t work that way, the sun still comes up every day, the kids still need to be fed, and there are a million things that need to be done. My whole purpose became about making life normal again for my kids, to keep their world spinning smoothly. Holding onto a house, I shouldn’t have, seeming happy when I wasn’t, laughing when I really needed to be crying. In addition, through all of it, I just wanted to feel normal again, to talk to the one I was missing; to feel their touch and have their support. It’s an unexplainable feeling that is different for everyone. To have someone just gone one day is torture. I’d never experienced it before and I live in fear of experiencing it again.

There have been a few men in my life since Zed died. HD, who really was just a blip on the radar and not a relationship. There was BDD who saved my life, held my hair, my hand and my heart for a moment, but I broke his because I couldn’t love him the way he needed me to. The King who has been a quiet presence for a little over a year with his occasional “how are you?” texts, long philosophical conversations & debates, a friend. Ooh and I can’t forget GI Joe…damn! Nothing ever happened with him, wrong time, and wrong place but we had a couple of great moments that still make me laugh. Sure would have liked to know what could have happened there, think he’s just as nuts as me, and only guessing but just as damaged. But today it’s about him, the one that almost took my life. I want to scream his name and expose him for the pain he caused me, my family and friends but I won’t; QJ changed me. He broke me just as much as losing Zed. Sometimes I think it was worse.

QJ’s story will take me several posts to tell. It’s a whole chapter of my life that I’m still trying to resolve in my mind. It was a scandal, sexy, sweet, dirty, and full of wild passionate love, the kind that you only experience once and really never want to experience again. Nevertheless, my mind goes back trying to search for that moment, the one moment I can still feel, where everything I thought I once knew about being connected to another human being changed…forever. I don’t know if I will ever feel that again. I want to, it was an explosion of every emotion I ever felt in one single event that left me happy, sad, crying, scared, ashamed, vulnerable and for once fully trusting another person with the truth of the deepest secrets of my true self. I beg some days to bring that all back but have contempt in my heart for all the events that followed and could never forgive him for the destruction of my life and family, that came with his game. It was all a lie; I was so desperate to feel whole again I gave myself to a man who almost took my life.

At Zed’s funeral we had a receiving line. Everyone came through hugging, crying and sometimes laughing giving their best condolences. I distinctly remember QJ being there. I wanted to be sure that I spoke to him. He sent the largest most beautiful arrangement of flowers, and I wanted to acknowledge them to him personally. I saw him walk through the door, look at us standing there; me and my children. What he did was the epitome of him, he didn’t wait in line, he walk directly around everyone else and came straight to me. He hugged me told me he was sorry turned around and walked out the door. He didn’t stay. I later learned it took all he had to come there, funerals are not his thing.

It was several weeks after Zed passed away when I received the first email. It was two sentences, something like, I’m going to stop by and bring you some brownies and wine. I thought it was a little odd. This man who I’d known for about a year and only had a few conversations with, to email me but everyone was checking on me at that point. The very short emails bounced back and forth between us for weeks. We would talk at our bi-weekly card games that continued without pause after Zed was gone. It was a way for us all to feel normal and to hold onto him. At one of the games we talked quite a bit and he asked for my number, I gave it to him knowing that he was probably interested in more than just being a supportive friend. However, I was lonely and he made me feel beautiful and important. He called me about 3 days later while in California on business, we talked on the phone for hours, until three or four in the morning about everything. It was like a warm blanket had been draped over me all in an attempt to ease the pain. He covered me with that blanket for over a year, all while living another life too.

It will unfold like the pages of a fiction novel, but it’s all real. A story that keeps changing as the days go by and life continues to heal. What a wonderful thing it is to be human and continually learn to be happy with who is present in your life, to find peace in the moment.

Love,
g

The Last Was Best

The last date I had with HD was wonderful; we went to dinner earlier this week, sat close, held hands, and enjoyed each other’s company. We made out in the car when he dropped me off and text each other the rest of the night until I fell asleep. Unfortunately that was our last date. I’m not really sure what happened after that? Sometimes things just fizzle out; he has been distant and aloof since and stood me up this weekend with no explanation or communication. Being stood up is a new experience for me and seemed completely out of character for him but that’s why we date so we can really learn who someone is, I learned something that I wasn’t expecting and can’t accept. He was a great experience and I can walk away knowing that our last date was incredible. He was a sweet, kind, generous man that I’m happy I had the chance to get to know a little.

In thinking about our time together it’s left me remembering the best last date I’ve ever had. As I’m sitting here at the place that Zed, my late husband, lost his life, I can’t remember the last words I said to him. I’ve tried a million times. However, I can remember the last date we had, every detail. Right down to what he was wearing.

The week leading up to Zed’s death was hectic he had been working insane hours. Our little company had been suffering just like everyone else. The construction industry had been crippled by the economy and we had let all of our employees go. Zed was working by himself and making it work financially for our family. He would work outside jobs all day, take a little break then go back out and work an inside job into the night. Crazy thing was he loved it; he had such pride in his work and what he had built for himself.

The kids had been gone for the summer as they usually are and were returning on Sunday. It was our last weekend together before homework, activities and kids took our lives back over. In summers past we went out to nice dinners or cooked gourmet meals at home together; that summer was different we were being very careful with our money and hadn’t been out at all.

It was a Friday night; I had worked all day and was lying on the sofa exhausted from the week. Zed came walking through the garage door covered in paint but happy, excited with his huge beautiful smile plastered on his face. He said “let’s go out, I want to take my beautiful wife out to our favorite place and enjoy how hard we’ve been working.” I of course fought him, saying we couldn’t spend the money. He wouldn’t have it, he said the kids are coming home on Sunday; we have poker here tomorrow let’s just have some time to ourselves. I finally agreed and we got ready and headed to our spot, High Thyme on Sullivan’s Island.

On our way to dinner we stopped by the job site he had been working at for a few weeks, to check on the equipment. He got out of the car and the family came out to greet him. Everyone loved Zed, his clients became friends and he never met a stranger. They didn’t recognize him at first; he was dressed up, clean shaven just handsome. He introduced us and they told me how he talked about me and the kids all the time.

When we arrived at High Thyme we were greeted like we usually were by Emily at the bar and Kenny the owner. We had a drink and laughed with Emily while we waited for a table. We were seated at an intimate table in the back of the dining room where we had an amazing meal and perfect conversation.

Zed was always thinking about life, what he wanted to do next, how to be a better man, husband and father. He held my hand across the table and talked about our kids. They weren’t of his body but he loved them like they were his own there was no difference. He talked about the upcoming school year and how he wanted to be closer to them and encourage them more to strive for their dreams. He told me how much he loved me and how grateful he was for our life together. That he wanted to be a better husband to me. It was perfect all the things that every woman wants to hear.. needs to hear. After dinner we walked out to the beach and were just quiet together walking, listening to the water and enjoying the warm ocean breeze. Holding hands, kissing… In love.

When we got home that night we didn’t make it far, walked in the door making out and ripping off our clothes. We had amazing sofa sex that night; the kind where you’re sweaty and out of breath when it’s all over. Zed was my other half, my balance, never to be replaced always in my soul.

The next morning we were up early and heading out the door; me to the gym for back to back classes and him to the job site for a couple of hours to finish up. I don’t know if I said goodbye, if I told him I loved him, we always did a kiss and an, I love you but for some reason I just can’t remember if we did that day. That afternoon he lost his life and I lost part of mine too…
That was the best last date I’ve ever had.

I love and miss you Zed.

Love,
g