I have spent the week steeped in Jim’s stuff. Sorting through the basement, handling every item in every bin, deciding what to keep, what to list on e-bay, what to toss in a big contractor garbage bag…or three. Finding 6 venom extractor kits made me laugh, a note scribbled on the back of a topo map made me cry. Transforming a basement that looked like a bomb went off into organized bins, boxing stuff that now has bids (even the used bike shorts, EEEWWW), I am slowly reclaiming space. It is so frustrating to make these kinds of decisions alone, but, in all honesty, Jim never helped with this type of thing when he was alive, either. He is nowhere, and everywhere.
I rarely dream about Jim, and if I do, he is busy, distracted. He does not hold me. We do not make love. Yet, more often lately, I find myself waking on his side of the bed. I awake to his alarm clock, our wedding picture stares at me from the opposite wall. The large canvas pictures of our river trips watch me as I try not to stumble down the stairs. I sit down to my first cup of coffee and check my email on his computer. He is nowhere in my sleep, and everywhere in my house.
I met with the folks at PCEI yesterday to look at the site and the preliminary drawings for the LaFortune Groover. I am so excited about this project, it just plain makes me happy. I have noticed that when I am feeling sad, lonely, scared….Jim is nowhere to be found. When I am excited, feeling generous, knowing that he will live on in the trails on the mountain, or the pooper at PCEI, he is everywhere and overflowing in my heart.
Jasper had an April Fool’s Track Meet yesterday. It was a lovely day of sunshine and I got a good case of bleacher butt spectating. There were wacky events due to the date of the meet. Jim would have been so proud of Jasper’s 5K win. This is the first time this season where I have been able to watch Jasper run. He is a beautiful runner. He has his daddy’s legs. Jim was not there to whoop and holler, but every time I look at his son, he is there.
Early evening remains a hard time of the day. Jasper is not yet home from track, my work day is done and it is time to make supper. The daily family ingathering, yet he won’t drive up at 6:29:49 from a bike ride where he told me, “I’ll be home at 6:30”. I have started a new tradition of plugging his iPod in while I cook. It is on shuffle. Because this is the time of day where Jim feels the farthest away, I listen to his music. Almost always, if I am feeling raw, a song will come on to make me laugh. The day I tackled the basement it was, “Great Day (to whoop somebody’s ass)”,* followed by, “You Ain’t Going Nowhere”.* He is nowhere, but still somehow checking in with songs that are everywhere.
Earlier this week, I recycled a bunch of Jim’s sheet music. He had put most of his lyrics and chords on the computer, I gave his song book to one of his music partners. I can’t hang onto everything, and the old Xeroxed or handwritten lyrics just seemed less important than some of the other things. As I chucked it into the crate, one handwritten sheet fell out. Jim Post. Lighten Up.* When Jim and I were first getting to know each other, I sent him a copy of this song on a cassette tape. That tape did not make it into our digital conversion a few years ago. This morning, I found Jim Post on-line. I bought 2 of his CD’s. This song will now come up in the random shuffle at cooking time. Sometimes converting the nowhere into everywhere requires a little nudge from me.
*Lyrics on Pages