This has been a sad week so far…which has been confusing me. It has been a great summer. I got to do all the things I wanted to do this summer. I went on a multi-day raft trip, I rode a borrowed road bike the entire length of the Trail of the Couer d’ Alenes. There was time to catch a Shakespeare play with the IRT. I swam outside with the Moscow Chinook Masters Swim Team, ran and biked on the local trails. Did a day of trail work. My garden produced massive quantities of raspberries, and the Farmer’s Market provides that which I cannot grow. I had hangout time with friends, cocktails on decks, and time with both of my children.
I knew that last week would be hard….and I braced for it. I listened to Josh Ritter play Kathleen twice, both in Moscow and at the Sandpoint Music Festival. I spent the 8 month anniversary of Jim’s death swimming in Dover Bay, hanging out with Donny’s kids whose biggest concern for the future, is “what’s for dinner?” I went to a Michael Franti concert that evening. Having never seen him before, and being way back on the dance floor, I was convinced he was just a box of trix cereal (all the colors the stage turned) with a good voice. A friend’s brother was kind enough to let me sit on his shoulders for one song…ahh, the advantages and disadvantages of being a pee wee. We drove home after the concert, and I remained awake long enough to usher in Aug 13th. My first wedding anniversary without Jim. Yes….it was a hard week. But, I braced for it, got through it, and now I am sad. Why?
It’s mid-August in a college town. The students are arriving, and those high school kids that graduated last year are leaving. Many locals are gone for one last hurrah before the universities and their kid’s school schedules dictate their time. Jim always hated back to school time. He was always pushing for one more epic bike ride, one more raft trip. In 2009, he and I climbed Nick Peak, our engagement mountain, for the first time since before children. Jim usually crammed so much fun into those final days of August that he started the school year run down, exhausted….so in 2009 when he got “sick”, I wasn’t surprised. I always secretly liked back to school time. Jim slowed down. My kids got back on a schedule. I counted on seeing everyone at the same time around our dinner table again. Of all the family in-gatherings, back to school was the biggest. Family in-gathering times are the hardest for me, still. The end of the work day. Sunday evenings. Back to school.
Time marches on. Jasper has started cross-country practices. I start back to work in Pullman next week. Emerald has called for tuition money, school starts on the 31st. I still have a few summer things to attend to. We celebrate our last outdoor swim on Friday with playtime on the slides and brunch. Tomorrow I will be making the annual batch of pesto. There will be no Jim coming in from a bike ride to say, “Wow, it sure smells good in this house!” I will do it. I will wake up. I will run or swim. I will make pesto, transfer money to my daughter, and make dinner for my running teenaged boy. But….it feels kinda empty.