It was last Summer (2015). It was dusk, and the kids were asleep. The heat of the day had broken, yet there was still a big, fiery sun lying low in the sky.
Scott was outside straightening up the yard, while I was doing the dishes or checking Facebook or something completely ordinary. He popped his head in and with a very loud whisper said, “Meg, come on out here.”
And I did.
When I got out, we discussed plans for our yard, while picking up children’s toys from the grass. He used a baseball bat to point at a tree that needed to be trimmed. Then with his other hand, he tossed a ball in the air and gave a good swing at it with the bat. I watched the ball as it flew to the other side of our yard, landing and rolling toward the back corner of the fence. I took a deep breath through my nose and sighed with contentment.
“Wanna play?” He looked at me and asked. After spending all day with our three little ones, I truly just wanted three little things: wine, sweatpants, and junky TV; the last thing I wanted to partake in was physical activity. I looked at him. His eyes were playful and filled with hope.
My reply surprised me,
Once I decided I was going to play, I was all in. We proceeded to set up the bases. We went over the rules, and I could feel his excitement. I hope he felt mine too. It was like we were twelve again, riding our bikes to the neighbor’s house and playing baseball until the sun set. We ran and laughed until our lungs hurt, and we very well could have played all night if it weren’t for the interruption.
“I see you over there,” Said a small, squeaky voice from our back door. We were busted. Our 6 year old daughter got out of bed for water and saw us playing baseball outside. She laughed, and I made a note to myself at the gratitude that I felt. My daughter got to see her parents having fun together. My daughter would know her mommy and her daddy loved each other.
And what was my gratitude is now my hope…that somehow this remains the same. Please, sweet girl, know: Mommy and Daddy loved each other: then, now, always.
The last meme I that I texted to Scott:
It was my signature move. The scene would go like this: I hug him whether he wants it or not. He grumbles a bit before letting out a nervous laugh; ultimately, succumbing to my adorable display of affection and hugging me back. I annoyed him in the best way possible… and the plan was to do it forever.
I was supposed to grow old with this man. We looked forward to being old people, reading our papers and getting our senior coffees at restaurants. He was naturally an old man already — one of those guys who was growing into his personality, and he particularly couldn’t wait to be a grandpa (which I always thought was odd but very sweet); he looked forward to being fun and playful and spoiling the heck out of our grand babies. My heart is broken, knowing that this dream is gone. Poof. Taken. Just like that.
It’s moments like these that I fight. I’m trying my best to not be an emotional mess, but when I look into the future too far, I feel great despair. Surviving grief has taught me to stay in the moment as much as I possibly can. Do not think about the silly, stupid, naive past. Do not think about the lost, never-to-be-seen, taken future. Sometimes that’s easier said than done though…
And suppose that’s ok too… I have no clue.
I wish I could take up a drinking habit. I fantasize about it often these days.
Not the kind of habit where I go out with friends, get hammered, and hit the drive thru on the way home; All of us laughing, listening to Rihanna songs.
I want the nastiest most painful vodka. I want to be alone with my misery. I want to be alone and lose my mind. My eyes smeared of mascara, my hair greasy and unwashed… This is the fantasy I have for myself. A drinking habit.
It can’t happen though.
I have little people looking to me for guidance through this confusing time. I have dear loved ones watching me, ready to catch me… and I really don’t want anyone to have to catch me.
I also have a belated husband who took great pride in my happiness. So I have to be happy. I have to wash my hair and drink coffee. I have to cry into a glass of good wine before going to bed early because the kids wake up for school in the morning. For him, I have to find happy.
But I really want vodka.
I believe in food.
I believe food heals.
I believe the power of food is greatly underestimated.
For, food is what every living being wakes up for. It’s what they work for. Often, it’s what they go to bed at night, wondering where its source will come from (for many humans, this is still the case.)
Tonight, my husband and I cooked a meal. Shrimp stir fry.
He cut the tails off of the shrimp, while I prepped the veggies and other ingredients. During this time, we discussed our day. We decided what should happen with our youngest daughter. We even lightly touched base about opening our own business someday.
I had waited all day to see him, and he, I.
And this meal was our couple’s therapy. It was the mediator of our conversation.
“Can you hand me that cup?” One would ask, as if it were the punctuation of our sentences…
For us tonight, it brought two people, who each had separate days, living near separate lives, together.
I love food.
Oh, the shame for a 20 year old girl to say she loves food. Especially, the chocolate I would eat in secrecy. The fast food. The foods whose big, shiny advertisements brought me to the local grocer like a zombie looking for a brain.
*Must. have. Oreos.*
But that’s not food.
I understand that now.
Oreos and other substances that deem themselves “food” are addictive and deadly. They are not what I love.
Things with shiny, advertisements often do not heal.
Our skin should glow! Our hearts should fill with vigor! Our veins should coarse with energy not diabetes.
You can’t have the conversation we had, when you’re eating a bag of cookies in the dark. To eat this meal that was made with love and feel its nutrients making you stronger, you must know that another, flashier meal won’t do the same for you – when even the ants will not consume it.
When did food become devalued in our world? What kind of organism purposely poisons itself? What other mammal on God’s green earth does not spend their time looking for sustenance.
Because in our world, sustenance of food is also sustenance of soul.
* This was written before Lydia and Jax entered our lives, and before Scott left this earth. *
Last Wednesday was like any other Wednesday afternoon for a while there, then my life changed a little bit, and I was given a window of insight into the true meaning of motherhood.
It was a gift.
A woman, of about 60 years, came through the vestibule, wheeling her son into the restaurant. They had visited The Country Inn before, and it was always my assumption that he was born with a disability of some sorts.
It’s the kind of disability that makes one uncomfortable no matter how kind of heart you are. For this poor soul, this grown boy had no voice. No speech. He wailed out once in a while, his tiny arms coiled under, tucked into his frail white body. He had a head brace and flailed about every so often. For me it was difficult to see. I wondered if he suffered.
So Wednesday they came in, and Wednesday this boy (We would later learn his name: Chris) was in a particular disarray. He grunted loudly, wailed, and flailed his wrists. We even had another couple stop us to ask if we’d box their meals up, “We can’t eat with all this noise.” (As servers, we granted their request. As human beings, we wanted to tell them to grow a heart.)
Approaching the table of Chris and his mother, I saw a woman caring for her child. I saw myself in her, “Why are you so unhappy today, baby? What can Mommy do to calm you down?” She looked at me, “Maybe some ice cream?” She was directing her thoughts aloud to me.
“That sounds good,” I said, “We have vanilla, chocolate, or strawberry.”
“Mommy’s going to get you some ice cream. Ok?” She said, cupping his head in her hand, “We’ll take a little bit of vanilla please.” She was sure to smile warmly at me, but her eyes looked tired.
I brought the ice cream out to her, while holding my own tears back. My heart swelled to see such love between a mother and a child. I left them to their dessert, watching from afar in pure admiration and awe as she spooned the ice cream into his mouth to the tune of a lullaby.
You are my sunshine, my only sunshine.
You make me happy, when skies are grey.
Coming by to take her order, she spoke before I could ask if she was ready, “He wasn’t always like this. You know.” I didn’t say a word. What would I say? I was just called upon to listen, “When Christopher was six, we lived on the canal. He was outside tagging along with his uncles when he fell through the ice.” My eyes flooded, “but they rescued him. They sure did. He would have died. It took them 20 minutes to get him out from under there, but they got him.”
“Oh my goodness.” They were the only words I could manage to get out.
“Yes, when they rescued him, his lips were blue. He aspirated. That’s actually what cut the oxygen supply to his brain. He hasn’t grown since then,” She spooned another bite of vanilla into his mouth, and I looked into his brown eyes, wondering what his thoughts were. Was he that six year old little boy trapped in a completely disabled body, unable to talk, walk, or smile? “He’s actually 31. Believe it or not. It happened 25 years ago, and he’s been my little boy all this time.”
“Bless you.” I said and quickly walked away so I could cry and pray.
And she sang on…
You’ll never know dear.
How much I love you.
Please don’t take
my sunshine away.
I kissed my daughters about a hundred times that evening. Since then, I’ve snuggled with her to the very second she’s fallen asleep at night. If she wants to read a second, third, fourth book, I’ve done it.
Because it’s more time with her. Precious time.
I don’t want to generalize everyone, so I will only speak for myself. I know I tend to take life for granted. I make plans around growing old and complain about happenings that are outside of my control; Petty things that won’t matter five years from now, next year, or tomorrow.
What I’ve never known though…
What Chris’ mom taught me is…
I am not guaranteed to grow old.
Everything I’ve been blessed with in this life…
it isn’t mine forever.
So I kiss my daughter a few extra times before I leave her, and I tell the ones I love that I am happy to see them because I am. I don’t take for granted that everyone knows how I feel any more. I tell them.
Sophie and I have a thing we like to do at night. We take turns telling God what we are thankful for that day. My wish for her is that she grows up, knowing how precious life is and how lucky we all are to experience it.
Chris’ mom has a remarkable love for her son and her inspiration will have a warm place in my heart forever.
“As much as you’ve wanted to, you can’t control the future, Megan,”
A notion I heard countless times before, yet never was able to wrap my heart and soul around its concept. Even still. Now. I remind myself that it is not a concept. It is a truth.
The future is out of my control.
Me: comfortably mediocre since I was an adolescent. In my own way, I thought by never doing much, I could never lose much either. I’ve been in limbo for years. Quietly panicking about the future, I’ve slept in a constant state of ordinary, not knowing what else to do. Throughout my life, if I couldn’t control it, I put no effort into it…
He awoke someone who had lived within me, dormant for so long. The woman who does what’s good for herself, who believes in herself… a woman who is happy… I couldn’t understand her before. Someone, once frightening, is now here and alive.
She is me.
He awakened the woman who puts the effort in…
And this is the point where I cry.
For years, I’ve been trying to put into words what Scott does for me. It’s like everyone else talks to the mediocre me. Scott speaks to that sleeping woman within me.
And she listens.
December 1, 2007. I will become Mrs. Megan Bajorek, but it’s more than that. It’s the day that I embrace that sleeping woman who he sees. It’s the day that I deny the girl who is fine with ordinary.
“…you can’t control the future, and neither can I! But I have you here, and I want you to be there in my future, by my side. That’s what I do have control over.” ~Scott, 2006
*EDIT– I wrote this by hand, before blogging and social media were gigantic. It was later posted to my MySpace, but I thought I would share it here.
Scott passed away in a car accident last month and reading this brings me both pain and gratitude. I wish I could have one without the other, but apparently, all good things come with a price.
The pain needs no explanation. He was the love of my life.
The gratitude is to him…
Leaving the school parking lot today, two moms power walked past my van. Sweet ladies, laughing and carrying on… I smiled, while wondering what they were gabbing about.
They’re probably talking about their diets, or the shape of their butts, or recipes they’ll be trying this week. They’re probably complaining about their picky eaters at home. These thoughts streamed through my mind and then one floated to the top. They’re probably complaining about their husbands.
I used to complain about my husband.
“He didn’t…” “He forgot…” “He’s so…” “He’s too…”
I look back now on these statements and see how oblivious and spoiled I was.
Me. Me. Me.
I was given such a gift. My person. Someone who not only understood me in a world that couldn’t, but he also asked me to be brave. He encouraged, almost demanded, that I be myself. He loved the ‘me’ I worked so hard to hide. All of that, and he gave me three babies.
I miss being the sweet, spoiled, oblivious wife, but I know that’s just a distant fantasy now. My prayer is different. I pray to God for one statement: thank you.
I want to give all those mindless complaints back to speak those two words to him.
I plead for it daily.
my Henry was a drug addict.
He ate his little pills
i’d ask, “What is wrong with you?”
he’d say he was only ill
my Henry was a comic
funniest ever met
his silly laugh,
something I won’t forget
my Henry was a poet,
writing verses blue
although he did not graduate,
his soul ran deep and true
i loved my Henry,
i loved him…so i thought
he loved opioids
And, for that,
i too was caught
A newly discovered dead man
exumed before my eyes,
thinking i found true love,
our hearts, woven
with his lies.
the mighty truth
swung its bat,
bashing through my skull,
leaving me the pieces
my eyelids were sewn shut
stitches ripped off fast.
acid burns my stomach now.
through my throat
no air can pass.
Tear banks, two heavyweights,
fighting for lifeless eyes,
draining all emotion
For, i’ve wept the thousand cries.
Here i sit, immobile.
limp. yellow. shell.
shackled by tears sobbed,
i’m drowning in his Hell!
Henry was lost to heroin.
On a sponge, set out to sea
And because i loved this addict,
disabled i will be.