Bill always said, “If you want to run with the big dogs, you gotta learn to pee in the tall grass.” If you’re not an analytical person, let me explain. Do you want to be brave, admired, respected? If so, you need to venture forth, take a chance, tough it out.
Bill was like a German Shepard, big, strong, brave and fiercely loyal. He would defend his pack, (me, the kids, his family or anyone else lucky enough to be loved by him) with his life. He wasn’t afraid to take chances, but he was oh so smart in assessing the risks.
Most people would see him as uneducated. He only went as far as his senior year in school before dropping out to help support his family, and truthfully because he wasn’t particularly fond of being told what to do and how to do it. He had a natural ability to fix or repair literally anything he took apart, including nearly any vehicle, motors, transmissions, washers, dryers, any electrical appliance, the list goes on. Once when I lost the only key to my VW Rabbit he installed an ordinary light switch, yes like the one you use to flip on a light in your house. When I wanted to start the car, I flipped the switch. I’m sure the insurance company would have frowned on this, but the odds of someone actually wanting to steal that car where about nil.
While ‘uneducated’ he was one of the wisest men I know. He didn’t spend hours wondering about the mysteries of the universe. He didn’t plan each move to the tenth degree; he just did it what needed to be done and expected others to do the same.
Bill was full of euphemisms and/or colloquialisms, some handed down from generations of other wise men and some that were uniquely his. Often they could be used in multiple circumstances.
If I was sitting on his lap and nibbling his neck and he said, “Careful, you’re about to activate the launch sequence,” I was like, “yay, race you to the bedroom.” On the other hand he could say these same words in the middle of an argument and I would either back off or take a step into ‘the tall grass’, depending on my mood or how absolutely, positively sure I was right.
I was never particularly fond of ‘the tall grass’ and I’m still not. While he was the leader of the pack, I’m more like the little Terrier, yapping encouragement from the sidelines. There are scary things in the tall grass, things that bite or slither across your paws. There could be holes out there, too big for me to get out of. Sharp sticks could poke me or I could get lost, not able to see my way. No, I’d much rather ‘do my business’ on a neatly manicured lawn, but the choice has been taken from me.
I’m trying very hard to trust that he taught me all I needed to know. People constantly say that I’m brave or strong. They are so full of shit. *sorry, I love you all*. I’m completely terrified. I’m not brave, I think bravery is a choice and I didn’t make it. All this was thrust on me and I’m having a really hard time trying to understand that this is ‘God’s plan’ for me. I also worry about bushels of stupid shit.
I believe in reincarnation. I can’t say why, (well I could but that would be a long post) I just do and I’ve often said that this life wasn’t Bill’s and my first rodeo. How could such love come from one lifetime? In any case it has occurred to me that he could be reincarnated before I get to heaven. Wouldn’t that just suck? Theoretically he could have come back very soon after his death, which could be the reason I don’t feel him around me. If that was the case, I have to die within the next five years or so to put us in the same age range. Or what if I came back as his kid sister or something? Ewww! I know that if I met him in another life, I would want him. See, these are the workings of a sick, grief-stricken mind.
Last week I went to Lowes to get new doors. We had discussed this before his death and it was on our to-do list before winter. Events being what they were, I didn’t think about it until we got about 4 foot of snow dumped on us. I’m having a hard time making decisions, which is so crazy because I made lots of them while Bill was alive. The front door we had was beautiful with a large arch of beveled glass. It never bothered me that someone could ‘sort of’ see in, but it began to bother me after his death. I chose a new front door with a very small, narrow amount of beveled glass in a pretty pattern with brushed nickel metal running through it. For the back door I got stuck with a very basic nine light. I’m not crazy about it, but there weren’t many options for a short woman who needs to see where her dog is. I couldn’t fathom having to climb on a stool to look out one of those little windows at the top of a door. I bought the doors, not cheap by the way, but I did it. As soon as I got outside I began to cry.
Did I do the right thing? Would he approve? Really? If he were alive he would have given me his opinion, but told me to get what I wanted in the end. Why now is it so important to get a door he would have liked? I know he would have liked it. The opening is narrow and he was a crazy man about my safety. Even if someone broke the glass they would have a very hard time getting their arm through the opening to get to the deadbolt, unless they were like 10 or something, and I figure at that age even I could take them down. Still, all that considered, I cried and wondered if I was going the right thing. I’m telling you grief will make you bat-shit crazy.
On the way home I realized that this door was brushed nickel and all my handles and locks were brass to match the other door. Then it occurred to me that if I used the same locks and hardware one of the thousand keys that Caitlin lost over the last ten years could mysteriously show up and let some stranger into the house. So, it’s back to Lowes for new locks and deadbolts. Ugh! Cha-ching!
Okay, all set, crying stopped, convinced myself Bill would approve of my choices and in fact be proud of me for being so smart and replacing the locks. Just for today, I was peeing in the tall grass. I pull into the driveway where Jeremy and Mike have the old door already out and immediately notice that my pretty outside lights are shiny, gold brass. Crap! Crap! Crap! I could have jumped up and down in frustration. More tears.
At times I feel like someone has a Voodoo Doll of me. “Poke her, make her think of Bill and cry. Okay, stop, give her a break. Poke her again.” Grief is a rollercoaster run amuck. Someone can ask how I am, and I can say,-I’m fine. At other times a sympathetic glance will set me off and I’m shot for the rest of the day. I’m terrible about returning phone calls because I never know if I can carry on a sane, rational conversation.
I can’t believe it’s been ninety days since Bill’s death. I figured it out, see bat-shit crazy, and I’ve taken roughly 2,592,000 breaths since he took his last. How is that possible when most of the time I feel like I can’t breathe?
I’ll never be a German Shepard, never like peeing in the tall grass. I suppose with time I could be a Collie or something, maybe a Border collie, they’re pretty feisty. We had eight acres up here and are down to six after selling a couple off a few years ago. I’ve never walked our land. There are ticks, and bugs, broken trees and critters in those woods. I enjoy the wildlife, the turkey and deer, but through the window. We’ve had sightings of bear and big cats the last few years. In the Spring I may step into the tall grass with the big dog next door if he’s well enough to go with me. I'm pretty sure his wife can run with the big dogs and will likely go with us. I’d kind of like to see where I live. For now, I’ll only venture forth if forced.