DAY 67b-SIP- Give Me A Sign

During my bereavement support group meetings where I met Peg, one of the grieving widows suggested that we should ask our dead partners to send a sign. The sign can be anything a soft wind across your cheek, a butterfly landing near you. It was this lady’s way of dealing with her grief. I liked the idea and often asked Barb for a sign. Anything I’d say, just to let me know you are doing well. Days would pass, or even weeks and months without a single thing I could interpret as a sign. One day, I was walking on the bike path. It was the middle of the day, and sunny. I felt a presence next to me. It was the strangest thing to feel something so close to you yet not hear it. I turned my head ever so slowly to see a full grown deer walking alongside me just behind my head. I walk this path almost daily, I ride my bike on the path almost daily yet I have never seen a deer near the path. That day, not only did was there a deer on the path it was walking side by side with me. I couldn’t take it any longer even though we had only been together for a few seconds, I had to talk to it. As soon as I did, the deer startled and ran on ahead of me for about twenty yards then skittered off into the woods.

What I haven’t said yet is that my wife Barbara loved deer. She collected statues of deer. Her collection consisted of three hundred porcelain, paper mâché, made in Japan, made in China, made in USA collectible deer statues, most about the size of a salt shaker, and some were salt shakers. There is no question in my mind that this was a sign from Barb, I made a connection.

Last month I started asking Peggy to send me a sign. What the heck maybe it’ll work again. Since then there hasn’t been a single event that I would place in the class of being a sign.

Last evening I had just settled down to watch a movie, and found one titled “Brad’s Status” starring Ben Stiller. The story has him thinking that out of all his college clique he is the only one that is not famous, rich, or successful. The story is more than that, however and I liked it.

I clicked on the start button when a sudden every loud noise happened within a few feet from me. Startled I nearly jumped out of my skin with freight when a second loud bang happened within a microsecond of the first. I jumped up to learn the source of this mini explosion. There in front of me just behind the loveseat lay a framed picture with broken glass all over the floor. Th picture is one of Peg’s and my favorites by Ted DiGrazia of running wild horses. I hung it above the bar separating our dining room from the sun room. It was set high and had fallen seven feet, first bouncing off the marble counter immediately below and then to the floor. It took out my orchid plant on the way down. The first thing that popped into my mind was what happened, then the SIGN came to mind. Was this a sign from Peg?

A Sign From Peg, The Horses Galloped Off the Wall
Mustangs Free To Run At Last

I started to think of all the horse possibilities within our family. She has a son, whose wife and daughter are horse owners and horse lovers. I have a daughter-in-law who also has horses. Did something happen to one of these families? I wanted to call them on the spot to learn if all was well with them, but fought off the urge. If they had something happen they will let me know, in the meantime I’ll just categorize this as a sign from Peg, I connected once more.

Day 67-SIP-Best Day Yet

Clearly this is by far the best day of 2020 from a weather standpoint. The sun is shining, the temperature is approaching 80 degrees F, and there is a slight breeze. Because of all the rain last week the high humidity is the only downside. Because of the RH indoors I had to actuate the AC.

My day has been quite normal, only broken by a phone call I made to my step-daughter. She and I have not spoken for several weeks and it was my turn to spend the dime. We had a nice chat, and since then I have not had any human contact other than that which I encountered along the bike path. There was a time, back in the nineteen nineties when I owned the bike path. I couldn’t be out there for more than a few minutes when I met someone I knew or someone who became an acquaintance from our daily passings. Very often they were people from Folks On Spokes bike club. If so, the chat would turn into an ice cream or a pop followed by a side-by-side ride.

After Barb died, I spent hours along the path riding to forget my grief. There was one one lady, a member of FOS whom I have known for many years who became a regular rider by my side. Even though she worked a full time job, she managed to meet and ride with me several times a week. She and I took longer rides along Lake Michigan and she also showed me haunts in her part of town. We began dating off the bikes. She introduced me to Second City an impromptu comedy club known for spawning many famous comedians,  including Bill MurrayGilda RadnerJohn CandyJohn BelushiDan AykroydDel CloseEugene LevyCatherine O’HaraNia VardalosRyan StilesMike MyersSteve CarellTina FeyAmy PoehlerStephen Colbert, and many others. The performance we saw that night included a skit about the Chicago Cubs and their failed attempt to win the World Series because of a questionable foul ball, and a fan interference The cast blamed it on the infamous goat from the Billy Goat tavern.

Second City Comedy Theater

Bike Riding Friends

It wasn’t long before we became more than friends. An evening in front of the TV watching movies turned into what most would euphemistically refer to as an affair. For me, an older man, it was a great time to be hooked up with a woman fifteen years my junior. It all ended when I left town to spend the winter in Arizona. We have not seen nor spoken to each other since that time seventeen years ago. It wasn’t long after I returned from the three month hiatus in Arizona that I met and began courting Peggy.

Peggy and I hit it off because we had a common denominator, we were both widows, she for four years, and me for two. We were both Catholic. She lost her husband just a few weeks short of their fiftieth wedding anniversary, and I lost Barb just shy of our forty-second anniversary. Our politics were the same, she loved to talk, and I loved to listen. I loved going to parties and shows, and she loved being with me even when she didn’t like the program. We both had kids who we learned to love as our own. We spent two years courting before we married and began a new life together. Our marriage ended just three months away from our fourteenth anniversary on June 29, 2019 when she died from Alzheimer’s disease. I call it dying ugly.

Maybe these recollections are part of my grief process and writing about them is cathartic. Hopefully it is. I need the world to reopen to be able to live the life I want to lead. Although I enjoy being an SIP hermit, I can only take it for a short time before I need to associate with people. Actually, the only thing different about my life during SIP and before SIP is the complete isolation without the knowledge that I can go out if I want when I want. Under SIP, I have felt it my responsibility to avoid being a carrier.

I anxiously await next week when Illinois officially goes into Phase Three of reopening. Another side of me keeps whispering into my ear not to rush into society so quickly. The virus is still out there waiting for people my age to pounce on and take out. My experience with polio tells me that I should be very wary of contact. Yes, I will social distance, and I will wear a mask and I will not go near sick people. I did the same thing in 1957, the year I got the polio virus. I stayed away from crowds, I didn’t swim at the beach, I didn’t do swimming pools, but I got the virus anyway. Looking back on it not a single friend or relative that I associated with got the virus, but I did. I am special, and COVID-19 might see me that way too.

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