I am living on Simma’s cheesecake – interesting, since I never liked cheesecake before now. The combination of chocolate, vanilla and raspberry filling seems to be the only things that slide down my throat without coming back up. I don’t even feel guilty, I figure calories in any form are needed to keep my 110 pound body functioning.
Choosing to get out of bed each morning is based on my son’s need, if I were alone; I would choose to pull the covers over my head and pray to die. But our little innocent son Matt gets me out of bed in need of diaper changing, feeding and the demands of childhood – oblivious to my zombie-like state.
My days at home while on leave from my job are structured only my Matt’s schedule; legalities, mundane chores and writing thank you notes to an endless list of people for their expressions of sympathy.
Incredible friends invite us over for dinner and Chris’ friends arrive to help with the multiple tasks associated with home ownership – and the days go by in a blur.
Cheryl has asked a few times if I have called Jeff since giving me his number, and each time I make some excuse, thinking to myself: What is she nuts? I can barely talk to my family and friends!
So six months after Chris’ death, she invites Jeff and his daughter Jessica and me and Matt over to their house for a barbecue and I hear myself say, “Fine.”
Like any first meeting, it is somewhat awkward although the kids warm up quickly and in the way only children can, they have us laughing within minutes as we watch them play. Jeff and I exchange condolences and try to get to know each other’s stories, immediately finding the commonalities in our circumstances.
Both Christopher (Chris) and Christine (Chris) died too young, both in accidents taking them from us suddenly and our children are two months apart in age.
Cheryl is right – Jeff is a “nice guy” and even though our conversation consists of the horrific details of our spouses’ deaths, it flows easily. Finishing each other’s sentences and having a true sense of empathy becomes the foundation of our first meeting.
One week later, Jeff calls and asks to meet at the park halfway between our homes – the beginning of many after work gatherings with our children. No elephants are in the room, nothing is held back from discussion and our friendship begins…