Tuesday, November 30, 2010

My England Adventure: Part One

So, I’m feeling much better.  I think a change of scenery is just what I needed.  If only Arthur was here, it would be almost perfect.

Here’s a run-down of what I’ve been doing so far.

I arrived on Friday and spent the day trying to stay awake.  This is what the first day of European travel always looks like for me.  I won’t let myself go to bed ‘till 8pm, so the last three hours can feel a little like Chinease water torture, but usually it helps set the tone for the rest of the trip and is totally worth it.

We went on a long “Wellie Walk” in the English Countryside, and I love this because I don’t particularly like to get dirty, so mud-puddles were never really my thing.  But with Wellies on, nothing gets dirty or wet, so the “squinch-squnch” of the mud beneath my feet is a new sensation and extremely enjoyable.  It’s actually very chilly here these days, and the English call it “fresh.”  Such a cheerful way to describe it, rather than the more crass American way, I would say it’s “Butt-Ass cold.”

I also got a great chance to visit with the boys on Friday.  We talked about their girlfriends, and I got very little information, not because they weren’t forthcoming, but because they didn’t have the answers.

Noey to Bridger:  “So I hear you have a girlfriend.”  
Bridger:  “Yes.”
N: “What’s her name?”
B: “Nethe.”
N: “That’s an interesting name.  Spell it.”
B:  N-I-E-V-E

Caid:  “I have a girlfriend, too.  Her name’s Charlotte.  C-H-R-L-O-T-E.”
N:  I bet it’s spelled “C-H-A-R-L-O-T-T-E.”
C:  Nope.  There’s no “A” in it.
N:  I bet there is.  You should ask her on Monday.

Later, to Cori, Caid asks, “Mom, is there an “A” in Charlotte?
Cori: “Yes.”
Caid: “No, there’s not.”
Noey: “If you knew the answer, then why did you ask the question?”

Also, they couldn’t tell me what color of eyes they had, or hair.  So, these are interesting girls.  Difficult to spell names, and weird colored eyes and hair.  Or at least un-memorable.  That’s about as far as we got.

I went to bed that night and slept like a champ.  The rest of the week I haven’t fared quite so well, but I woke up feeling refreshed.  I’ll keep you posted about the rest of the week's adventures…

Fresh Holly from our "Wellie Walk"

Saturday, November 27, 2010


I’m on a crowded flight to London.  I left from Dallas.  It’s amazing how misbehaved children can be, and how this humiliates parents but gets no result.  It’s amazing how cranky I am when I haven’t had a cigarette in 10 hours.

I took the same flight last year, and it was delightful.  I had the two seats next to me open, so I had room to spread out, and I was actually able to sleep.  Still though, in spite of all that, I’m feeling thankful, on this day of Thanksgiving, that I can get there to see my sweet family in just a few short hours.  I can hear Sawan’s voice asking me, “And then did you fly?  Through the AIR?” There was no more complaining after the youtube video that we saw with Rick that day, and it’s made me a better flyer and honestly, a better person ever since.

Somehow, like an idiot. I managed to get on this flight with no Kleenex, and I’ve been a wreck the whole time.  It’s actually one of those really bumpy ones that jiggles and jiggles and makes your tummy hurt weather you have anxiety about flying or not.

I just chose to hop myself up on anti-anxiety meds and red wine.  Maybe I’ll actually be able to sleep after all that, who knows?

I’ve had to stay off of facebook all day. I can’t take the sweet cute things that people say about their family and their husbands.  That was my life, too, once.  I loved Thanksgiving.  It was my favorite.  I loved that it was a holiday just about being together.  It was a holiday about yummy things to eat.  It was a holiday somewhat untouched by the grossness of the consumerism that has permeated other holidays, and just focused on families and togetherness.  Sawan and I were only together about a month when we spent our first Thanksgiving together.  He came to my friend Ingrid’s house (we were doing kid Thanksgivings that year because my folks were in Jamaica celebrating their 30th wedding anniversary).  It became an important day to us.  He told me he loved me for the first time that day.  The next year he made plans to take me to look for wedding rings the following day. 

So this plan of mine to “skip it” is in play yet again.  It just didn’t work as well this year.  I fly all day on Thursday, then with the miracle of the time change don’t arrive till Friday morning, effectively “skipping” Thanksgiving.  But last year this helped me to not have to think about it much, where as this year I can’t seem to help it.  I’m just so sad.

I’m not quite sure why this year is so much harder, I think it’s maybe that last year I was still so in shock and this year I’m really feeling things.  I’m a total mess.  I’ve never felt this hopeless throughout this whole ordeal, like I’m just not quite sure how to survive it.  In a lot of ways I feel like I must have gone back to the beginning, because my unplanned mantra has become once again, “how did I get here?”

I just miss him.  I missed getting up with him this morning and drinking too much coffee while we watched the parade, then him starting the stuff that he was responsible for dinner and having me taste everything while I continued to be the princess on the couch, drinking coffee and watching the parade.  Then me coming in to the kitchen to do my one responsibility:  Green Been Casserole, and us making jokes about it. 

I miss us getting everything done and then going over to my folks to be with everybody, I didn’t know that the last one we were all together was the last one.

So, there it is.  I hate it when people tell me that they read my blogs and just cry, but I’ve also promised myself that I would let everyone in at some point to the darkness that I really feel.  This is a pretty dark place.

I will say this.  I have a lot to be thankful for.  I have an amazing family, and being able to come to England to visit some of them is such a privlege.  I was doing so bad before I left that I almost didn’t come, but I have to admit that part of my motivation for coming to Enlgand was to have something more interesting to say on my blog, so I’m super thankful, also, to you, my “readership of tens of you.”  Thank you for caring about what I have to say and helping me to be motivated toward moving on.  Love!

Monday, November 22, 2010


You’re not supposed to have favorites, but Ellie was Sawan’s favorite.  I always thought we had kept this a secret, but it came up when we were all around for the funeral.  Clearly it was obvious to everyone.

Ellie was my roommate when Sawan and I started dating, so she got to be around him the most and probably knew him the best of all of my family members.

In the first couple of weeks that we were together, Sawan and I were just hanging out at my house, and Ellie came in, having a meltdown.  She had had a really bad day, and to top it off, she had just dropped her keys down the elevator shaft.  We made a game of it.  Sawan had duct tape in his truck, and we made some sort of tool out of a broomstick and wire hanger and, ever the fisherman, he was able to “fish” out the keys from the bottom of the elevator shaft.  Later he told her, “I know we don’t know each other very well, but I give really good hugs,” and he held her while she cried and comforted her.   I think it was settled at that point.  He was the hero and she was his favorite.

Ellie moved to Baltimore when she finished nursing school.  She ended up having to ship boxes and move what little she could in her teensy Honda Civic.  Sawan and I were at my parent’s house the night before they left and he loaded the car for them, and got EVERYTHING in.  It was like tetris.  He was amazing at loading a car.

She moved back to Denver last winter, and she and I are roomies again.  I think she’s probably a big reason why I’m still sane.  I really feel sorry for all of my fam, for having to put up with me, but Ellie sees the worst of it.  You just never know what kind of day I’m having, never know what to expect, and Ellie rolls with the punches.  She’s ready to comfort if I need it, or make me laugh (This is what she’s best at.  We laugh A LOT.), and she has risen to the occasion when stuff happens like, oh I don’t know, the dog pukes on the bed in the middle of the night and I’m sobbing.  By the time I’m back upstairs from putting the sheets in the washer there were already clean sheets on my bed.  She’s amazing.

Ellie, thanks so much for being the roommate extraordinaire.  Thanks for putting up with me.  Thanks for making me laugh.  I love you.  Oh, and you’re my new best friend.  Call me every five minutes.
At Ellie's graduation, Spring, 2008.
 (Not quite sure what Sawan's doing in this photo...but it was the best one I could find...he must be saying "ta DA!")

Sunday, November 21, 2010


Gabe is my “little” brother.  He’s 3 ½ years younger than me.  He outgrew me when I was in high school, though, and he picks on me like he’s the big brother.  I tell him all the time that if I knew that he was going to be this mean to me now that he’s bigger, life would have been miserable for him when he was smaller than me.

Gabe and Sawan never lived in the same town together, so they didn’t get as much of a chance to get to know each other as Sawan and I would have liked.  The summer that Sawan died, we went on a 3-5 mile walk nearly every night.  We got so much talking done during those walks.  On one of the last ones, the week before he died, we were talking about Gabe and Mary, and how much he wished we just lived closer, and how much he just missed them.  The “Mini Hoggatts” as we call them, were coming for a visit a week after Sawan died.  So we were talking about how excited we were to get to be with them.

I love being around Gabe and Mary as a couple.  They are so in love with each other.  Gabe is so affectionate.  When Sawan and I would be around them, Sawan would initiate affection with me so much more readily.  He took his cues from Gabe.  I loved that.  We would be in the car, and the boys would be in the front and the girls in the back, and Sawan would reach from the front seat to hold my hand.  Sigh.

Couldn't resist putting in this photo.  Doesn't he look like a movie star?
Gabe is in the army.  He’s a tough guy.  We don’t talk about it, but I’m sure he’s seen a lot of really, really bad stuff.  This is why, when they started throwing around the term “PTSD” with me, I really balked.  I have a brother who is a soldier.  You don’t just say that.  But Gabe and I had a really great conversation about it, where he gently and sweetly made me feel that what I’ve been through is significant, and reminded me that we don’t have to keep score.

Thank you, Bubba, for your perfectly timed phone calls, and for making me feel cared for from afar.  Oh, and thanks for defending my freedom.  I love you.

Me and two of my favorite men in San Francisco, January, 2007

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Memory Quilt Update:

Denise, the friend who is making my memory quilt, sent me this photo of one of the squares and I had to pass it along.  In the center:  the beige is from a fishing shirt (they make special shirts for fly-fishing), the weirdo blue is from this short sleeved shirt that he must have loved but I hated so he quit wearing it but still had it.  The green and white plaid is from one of his very favorites that had pearl snaps on it.  The Blue and white striped is the one he wore for our engagement photos.  The aloha flowers were from one of his date-night staples.  The purple plaid was his favorite work shirt at Ocean, he wore it with a purple tie and called it his Rockies suit.  It looks much more beautiful than I was even imagining.  I’m so excited.

Things I'm thankful for about: Cori

She was there for me.
It’s amazing that all of my siblings were there to support me within 24 hours of everything happening.  Cori had to come the farthest.  She and her family live in London, England.

She’s really good at math.
For lots of reasons, it’s difficult to get as much time talking to Cori as I want.  The biggest thing in our way is the time difference.  Not only is it seven hours later there, so there are only a few hours of the day that we’re both up, but doing the math for that can be difficult.  Plus there’s boys yelling in the background and babies to change and dinner to be made.  She has a lot going on.  But she makes time for me and it’s great.

She’ll talk about sex.
This is something that I struggle with as a widow.  It seems that sex is an off-limits subject.  Like we’re supposed to skip that part of our grieving, or not tell people about it or something.  It’s weird, though, because one day I was having sex all the time, and now I’m not getting any.  Cori will let me talk about sex all I want.

She made me buy matching panties for my new bra.
This is probably way too much information.  I needed new bras.  I was buying some and she was with me.  Matching panties came up and I said, “No, no one sees me in them anyway.”  (This is another part of the grieving thing.)  And she said, “YOU see you in them.”

She called Sawan “her brother.”
When she tells stories about him, he is not referred to as “the brother in law,” but the “brother.”  This communicates to me how much she loved him, and the degree that she feels his loss, and it means a lot to me.

She is very sensitive about my feelings.
Babies are the hardest thing for me.  I wanted one so badly.  She was pregnant when Sawan died.  Asher is now almost seven months, and I think it must be difficult to have a newborn.  She rarely complains about it, at least not to me, because I have mentioned lots of times that it drives me crazy when people complain about nursing/being up in the middle of the night/date night changes when you have a newborn/I’m sick of changing diapers.  I wanna say, “Oh yeah, boohoo, you have the life I was dreaming of.”  So she mostly says stuff about how thankful she is for her little guy, and I think people must think that she’s Pollyanna, but I can hear in her words that she’s thinking about me. 

Sawan loved Cori, too.
She reminded him of his mom.  She was a midwife, Cori is a doula, and they’re similar.  Plus they both sortof had that hippy thing going on.  Cori and Sawan immediately bonded over cooking.  They both loved to cook and it was the two of them that shared meal planning when it came to holidays and family get-togethers.

I love you Cori.  Thank you for being the best big sister in the world.  Thank you for being there for me.  You’re pretty amazing.

Couldn't find a photo of Cori and Sawan, so I chose one of Cori, myself and Ellie in our matching Rockies hats, taken by Sawan, June 2009.

Sunday, November 14, 2010


Sawan and my mom had a special bond, as well.  He started calling her mom (and sheepishly asked if that was ok) long before we were married.  My mom is the “keeper” of the Hoggatt family lexicon.  We have special words for things (commode=remote control).  We have special names for each other (Poor Honey=anyone who has had a bad day or is sick).  We have special phrases that we say (Lazy ham.  Or hamster.  Cori thought that’s what “Lazy hound” was when she was little, and it stuck and then was expounded on).  I spend a lot of time with the family.  This could have intimidated Sawan, but on the contrary, he loved my family immediately, and also immediately picked up on the lexicon and joined in.  It was just so cute, and I think it totally endeared him to my mom right off the bat.

My mom is the one (well, the non-professional) that I process my grief with the most.  She’s never lost a husband, but six months before Sawan died she lost a brother and the day we lost Sawan she also lost her dad, so she understands loss in a way that a lot of people don’t, and she’s really engaged with her emotions in a very healthy way.  This makes her my favorite one to talk to about my pain.  I swear that sometimes she has to be thinking, at the end of our conversations, “Ok, that’ll be $125, please.”

There’s just something about that mom relationship.  When I’m sick, I still want my mom.  I want to call her to tell her my tummy hurts.  I’m almost 32 years old.  She’s still the best comforter.  It looks a little different now than it did when I was little, but, if I need it, she’s still there to take care of me.

She’s beautiful.  She’s soft.  She’s generous.  She doesn’t wear mom jeans, and she drives a mini cooper (how many grammies can say that?).  She lets my dog tear up her back yard, even though it’s her pride and joy.  She’s learned how to order my drink at Starbucks, and she doesn’t even like coffee.

It’s so hard to put in to words how thankful I am for my family.  I’m feeling a little overwhelmed by this project that I set up for myself, because once I start writing, I realize how large the thing I want to communicate, and how small and insufficient words can be.  I am, however, loving the spirit of thankfulness that this is causing me to live in, as I try to communicate to them.

Mom, thank you so much for being my sounding board, and my comforter.  

Friday, November 12, 2010

Arthur gets a Haircut

Arthur got a haircut on Wednesday.  We went to see Bronwyn at Oona’s.  She’s awesome.  For some reason, I’m not exactly sure why, dog grooming usually takes about 3 hours.  I think that maybe they stagger the dogs or something.  Wash one, then wash the other, then trim one, then trim the other, but every other place I’ve ever taken him takes 3 hours.  My dog hates the groomer.  He hates the bath.  I’ve tried everything I can think of, but he just doesn’t like to be wet.

So Bronwyn gets his haircuts done in 45 minutes.  I’m not sure if this is out of thoughtfulness for my dog, or out of self-preservation.  When I go back in to pick him up all the girls are wearing earmuff looking headphones, the kind you see the airport guys wearing on the tarmac.  It’s because my dog is yelping his high-pitched, annoying bark.  He’s yelling, “Mom, come get me!  I know you can hear me!  Do you know what they’re DOING to me in here?  MOM!”

The funny thing is, I’ve heard that most dogs act all embarrassed when they get back from the groomers, and hide behind furniture for a few days.  Not my dog.  Once he realizes that he doesn’t have to stay at the groomers and be tortured, everything is right in the world.  He struts around like he’s God’s gift to female westies.  All you have to do is tell him that he looks “handsome.”  He’s like, “Um, yeah, I know.”

After: Sir Arthur
Before: Hairy McShaggerson

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

My Dad

I have recently reconnected with a childhood friend.  She said something that has me thinking.  She said how lucky I am to have my amazing family around me.  I couldn’t agree more.  I’ve decided to tell a few things about each one, why I’m thankful for them, especially in regards to this last few months.  I’m going to do this in order of age, not importance.


My dad and Sawan had a very special relationship.  He called my mom and dad “Mom and Dad.”

When Sawan and I had our first conversation on the phone, it turned, as it inevitably would, to fishing.  He was SO into fly-fishing.  I could somewhat talk about it because my dad likes to fly-fish.  So he and I chatted about that a little bit.  I told him that my dad loved to go, but hardly ever caught fish.  Sawan told me that he’d have to fix that.  And he did.  I think Sawan would have loved it if I would have liked fishing with him, but he settled for the fact that I at least knew something about it.  One time, he was preparing for a trip to the San Juan river, and was telling me about a special fly he needed to tie for it, and I said, “Oh yeah, the Yong Special.”  His jaw dropped about a foot and then he was just like, “Wow, I love you.”  I knew what it was because my dad had talked about it so much, and the funny name had stuck in my head.

The first Christmas that Sawan and I were together, he bought my dad a little fly box and put in a few flies that he had tied.  My dad showed it to me the other day, and told me that it was one of his most prized possessions.  That same day, they went out to cast my dad’s fly rod in the back yard.  I watched them from the window.  I have always loved to watch men cast fly rods.  My dad is a big man.  He was a line backer in college (yeah, I didn’t date much in high school.  Boys were afraid of him.).  There are few things that he does that can be described as graceful, but watching him cast is a thing of beauty.  It looks like a dance.  I have no idea what they talked about out there, but I remember watching them, thinking that it was just so beautiful, watching two of the men that I loved the most in the whole world, together, talking and casting a fly-rod.

So that was the beginning.  They went on lots of fishing trips together.  My dad caught lots of fish.  Sawan ruined him for fishing, I think.  Sawan told me after what ended up being their last fishing trip together that he was always sneaking a look at my dad’s fly boxes and filling them up for him.  Sawan tied his own flies so he always had more than he could ever use.

My dad took care of me so well that first night of my widowhood.  He handled so much.  He came in early the next morning (after my first night alone) to check on me, and for us to try to figure out our plan for the day.  I remember my first words being, “I made it.”  And he said “Atta Girl.”  And that being so important to me.  Just so encouraging.

He has been my hero so many times in this last year that I can’t even count, from stuff with the car, to offering to come over and plunge the toilet, to talking me off a ledge when the dogs had killed a squirrel in the back yard, and it was just so gross (“It’s ok, just put a bucket over it and I’ll take care of it when I get there.”).  When there’s things that I feel I just can’t do, I can count on him to either give me a pep talk so that I can manage it, or he’ll handle it for me.  I’m sure I’m going to think of a million more things that I’m thankful for about my dad after I post this, so I’ll just say that these are some.

Thanks, Dad, for taking such good care of me.  Thank you for loving my husband like a son, and being like a father to him.  I love you so much.

Fishing together, March, 2009

Monday, November 8, 2010

The Good Citizen

Arthur passed another big test today.  It was his, and I’m not making this up, Canine Good Citizen.  That’s what they call it.  It’s an AKC sanctioned program that is often the first step for service and therapy dogs.  They actually say that when a dog gets his certification it’s recognizing a dog for his “good manners.”  Bwahahahaha!  I’m not sure why this cracks me up so much.  I guess it’s because I think that he does things that are so human, but it’s weird to me when something like the AKC humanizes animals.  He almost didn’t pass because one of the requirements is “supervised separation.”  I put him in a “down, stay” and leave his sight for 3 minutes.  He’s supposed to stay down and not move, but he’s also not allowed to make any noise, and my dog wants to cry the whole time.  He’s afraid I’m not coming back.  The irony?  We’re just around the corner, so I’m all nervous the whole time, and I can hear him crying for me, and the song playing on the radio was Kansas' “Carry on my wayward son, Don’t cha cry no more.”  They had to check the rules for him, and apparently it’s OK if he makes noise as long as he’ll be quiet when commanded to by the test giver, which he did.  So, phew.

After a rough day of sleeping and going to class, he’s now passed out on my bed and barking in his sleep.  Must be a good dream, where Arthur the Squirrel Slayer rides again.

Since Sawan did most of the training with the Fella before he died, whenever these milestones are hit for us, I always want to tell Arthur, “Your dad would be so proud.”  But it makes me feel silly.

I’m hoping that this means that we can quit going to the group class on Saturday afternoons, because the working at 7:30 on Saturdays to get clients in in time to leave early for the class is kicking my butt for sure.

That’s the Arthur update.  He’s such a good citizen.

All tuckered out.  His fav place to sleep.  On top of furniture.

Friday, November 5, 2010

The Corn Maze

A couple of weeks ago, Ellie and I were supposed to have a date to go see a movie.  But instead of the movie, it was such a beautiful day; I decided that I would try to talk her into going to the Corn Maze at Chatfield.

I had friends that had been doing this for years, but they always got their group together on a Saturday and I’ve worked nearly every Saturday of my adult life, so I never got to go.  It became a mental block for me.

I had always wanted to go to one, but finally came to the conclusion that that was something that you did on Saturdays with your family and another family, maybe.  I had literally had the thought, when Sawan and I were under contract to sell the shop, “Maybe this fall we can finally go to the corn maze.  We won’t have our own baby yet, but maybe I’ll be pregnant and that will count and I won’t be working on a Saturday.”  Well, it didn’t quite work out that way.

These are the things that I’m learning.  I can still do fun stuff like corn mazes even if it doesn’t fit into the category that I originally thought that it would.  I went with my sister.  No kids.  Not pregnant.  Just me and Ellie, and Arthur.

Luckily, he got to go, because he’s a service dog.  There was a sign that read “NO PETS” at the gate, but he’s not a pet, he’s a service dog.  So I wasn’t worried about it.  He had his vest on, and his license was in his pocket.  The man at the gate said “Um, no pets.”   (The “You, idiot, didn’t you see the sign?”  was implied.)  I said, “He’s not a pet.  He’s a service dog.”  He laughed.  Then, realizing I was serious and unwilling to back down, said, chuckling, “He’s awfully small to be a service dog.  What’s he servicing?”  I told him it was none of his business and walked right past.  This was my first experience with someone being downright rude about the service dog thing, so I was just authoritative back and it all worked out.
Me and the bloodhound

I’m actually not quite sure what all the fuss is about with corn mazes.  You intentionally have to get lost, and then find your way back to the same spot.  (It would make more sense to me if you ended up at a different place then where you started…)  There has to be a metaphor for life in there somewhere.

Arthur was quite well behaved, and I think having the blood hound with us made it so that we were only in there about an hour rather than the 4 hours we could have been given that it was my first time and Ellie has no sense of direction (Hi, Ellie!  It’s OK; you’re really good at other stuff!).  Ok, he was no help at all; he mostly wanted to eat the pieces of Kettle Corn that people had dropped. 

Overall, it was a grand adventure, and we had fun.
Ellie and I in the corn maze

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Texas Widow

I’m obsessed by this story of the widow of the man who got shot on the Texas Mexico border.  I can’t figure out what to think about it.

I’ve read some of the articles and seen some of the stories on the news, and I just don’t know what to make of it.

I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be her. 

On the one hand, it seems everyone is skeptical.  I found myself slightly skeptical, too.

The story is, a husband and wife were going on jet skis on a lake that is on the border between Texas and Mexico to take photos of a partially submerged old church.  They were attacked by pirates and he was shot.   She couldn’t get his body onto her jet ski, and she felt she had to leave him there to escape, and now they can’t get the body returned to them.  In the process of investigation, a Mexican official’s body with a severed head was left outside a government building, presumably as a warning to back off the investigation.

When I originally thought about all of this, I thought, even if he outweighed her by double, with her adrenaline going, she could have gotten him on her jetski.  But then I remembered that they wanted me to move Sawan from the bed to the floor to do CPR and I was too afraid to.  So, there’s that.

And it seems sketchy that they can’t find the body if he was wearing a life vest.  But, I think that means that the pirates came and took him, not foul play by the wife.

I think that it’s so sad that the wife is always the first person that they look at.  She’s going through enough. 

I just have so much compassion for her in this situation.

To have to lose your husband, and have been there in the middle of your worst nightmare, and be so frightened, and then to have to put your grieving on hold while you try to get everything sorted out.  To have no body to be able to use for a funeral or a memorial service,  to feel like you had to do all this press before it was too late, while you’re in the state that you’re in, when nothing makes any sense, and on top of that to have people not believing that you’re telling the whole truth, would just be so devastating on whole new levels. 

I remember at the beginning feeling like I was, on a small scale, a “People Magazine” article.  Like my story was one of those sensational ones that you just never hear so every acquaintance I had ever met wanted to know what was going on.  I literally had a client call the salon and use the words “I just want to get the scoop.”  (She’s no longer a client.)

But to actually BE in People Magazine, in the middle of the worst thing that’s ever happened to you, with no training for how to be in the spotlight, has to be bewilderment on a whole new level.

Not only has she lost her love, but she’s lost her anonymity, and is having to grieve in such a public way.  My heart just breaks for her.

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Truck

Sawan had a 1999 Chevy S10 pickup.  It was white.  He bought it new.  Somewhere I have a Polaroid of him shaking hands with the salesman.  He loved that little truck. 

This was the only photo I could find of the truck.  Sawan, with my cousin, Becky, and her husband, Tushar, fishing on the SanJuan in 2007.
It was a fishing truck.  The back window was full of TFO and other fly-fishing company stickers.  It took him to the mountains to go fishing so many times that no one could count.  If those seats could talk, I’d love to hear about all of the conversations that took place in that cab. 

The bed had held so much stuff.  It moved all of his stuff into my condo when we got married, it carried Christmas trees back from the mountains when we’d go up there to cut them down.  The day before he died it carried all of my files and important stuff from the shop getting it ready for the sale.

He kissed me for the first time in that truck.  I remember thinking that night, that that was my “last first kiss.”

In spite of all that, I never really liked the truck.  It was old.  It stunk.  It had that stale coffee and cigarette smell constantly, even after we quit smoking.  The weather sealing on the driver’s side door had quit working so it was always really loud, like you were driving on the highway with the window rolled down.  The heater actually worked really great, but there were four settings, and number two didn’t work.  Also, the gas gauge was broken.  He ran it out of gas several times.  He learned to be disciplined (about the only thing in his life he was very disciplined about) about filling it up all the way, and setting the trip counter, and knowing that he had 320 miles before he had to fill it up. 

Plus, who has a truck in Colorado that’s rear wheel drive?  It didn’t do great in the snow.  I made fun of this all the time, saying it was kind of a “pussy truck.”  That didn’t earn me big points.  Clearly I was wrong about this, though, because trucks are trucks.  When we were dating and my nephew got to ride in it for the first time, his eyes lit up, full of little boy wonder, and said “You and Sawan have a TRUCK?!”

I drove it exactly once.  I told Sawan that I should drive it just in case I ever HAD to.  He agreed.  It had a bench seat, so bringing it to where I could *almost* reach the pedals put his knees by his ears.  (I’m 5’2”).  Also, he was pretty much the only one that had ever driven it, so it had a permanent indention of his butt.  This gave it a sort of “sunken in” shape that made it very difficult for me to see over the steering wheel.  I drove it from the Safeway at Hampden and Logan to the nursery at SantaFe and Belleview.  A distance of 3.43 miles. 

This is why it was impossible for me to decide what to do with it.  I didn’t want to drive it anywhere.  I didn’t want to even get in it again.  I had opened it to get something out in the week or so after he died, but that was it.  Thinking about what to do with it was just paralyzing.  I knew I would have to clean it, and getting out the Fresca cans and coffee cups was just more than I knew how to deal with.  Plus, I had no idea what I would find behind the seat, and that was daunting, too (once I had been totally out of hangers for laundry and he moved the back seat for something, and there were probably about 40 plastic hangers back there.  He would carry his work shirt down to the truck on a hanger, and not wanting to wrinkle it, put it on in the parking lot at work, then stash the hanger behind the seat.).

So it sat in the parking lot across from the condo. 

On Friday, my friend who still lives in the condo building called and asked what I had finally decided to do with the truck.  Ummmm….Nothing, yet.  It was at this point that we both said bad words because we realized that it had been stolen. 

In some ways this feels like a good thing.  Now I don’t have to clean it.  I don’t have to decide what to do with it, someone else decided for me.  I’m also really sad, though.  It had a little bag hanging from the rearview mirror with a little rock fox in it.  And his emergency fly-rod and fishing kit were in there.  I would have liked to have had those.

So, goodbye, little truck.  You safely carried my man to the mountains for me so many times.  You carried our lives around in your bed.  We fell in love in your cab.  Thank you for being so good to us.