Yesterday there was a reprieve from the rain. It was breezy, bright and sunny. You know there’s been a lot of rain when you start talking about the sun. Yet, for us, it was a somber day. One of our most favorite people left this earth. Marty was one of my husband’s best, childhood friends. They had been neighbors but grew up more like brothers.
Over the years, we’d see Marty and his family on social occasions. I always knew he had a big heart but it wasn’t until I started writing this blog did I get to know what made him tick. As a special needs parent, when someone goes out of their way to learn and understand your path, there is an extra intangible sense of loss. I felt the same way when my husband’s mother passed. She was an advocate for Jess before I understood what that meant. There were too many unknowns for this young mother and it made me anxious.
I fail miserably when it comes to telling people how I feel about them. I’m relieved for Marty to be set free from pain and I pray that he is watching over all of us but I regret that so much was left unspoken. You never quite realize how much someone impacts your life until they are gone.
When I heard the news that Marty passed, I told Jessie. She doesn’t mourn. Her memories take precedence over emotion. Maybe this is because she doesn’t see someone on a daily basis, there is no sense of finality? Jess accepts without showing loss, however, mention a person and she will quickly find a photo. In those moments, we share stories and their spirit lives.
We tried to have a typical day. In the afternoon, Jess asked to go to the dog park. I don’t have to ask Roxy twice. Just like taking a child to the playground, it’s more fun when you know your friends will be there. It’s the same for Roxy. She has a core group she likes to run with.
As the sun was lowering, it began to turn cool. Jess had a pool party and dance that evening. It was the season’s final event. Too cold to even think about swimming and I wasn’t looking forward to going out again. As we left the park, I attempted to cop out. I gave Jess a choice, “Burger King or the dance”. Without hesitation, she said Burger King. I said, “are you sure?” to which she replied, “yes, yes, yes”.
Even though she talks about fast food all the time, I don’t use the BK option often. However, it is sometimes an emergency meal when I don’t feel like cooking and when it’s only the two of us. For Jessie, it isn’t about the food but rather going someplace, anyplace. Jess is a young woman that likes to be on the move and I prefer to be a house frau. Being a homebody is my comfort zone.
After eating, we both took showers and primped like school girls before putting on our jammies and settling in for the night. The next thing I know, Jess hands me her lip gloss, then her shoes, her coat, and my pocketbook. I said “we made a deal, you had a choice, you chose Burger King. Do you really want to go to the dance?”. She replied Yes! Because it’s a girl’s prerogative to change her mind and because I don’t want to be a stuck in the mud, I told her she’d have to change her clothes. Within seven minutes flat, we were out the door.
The car radio played Chaka Khan “I feel for you” and Jess started dancing in her seat.
We were an hour late. I asked Siri “what is the fastest way to the Community Pool?” and she sent us on the back roads. On our way, we passed a deer standing on the edge of the bramble off Blackwell Road. I know they can’t hear me or even care for that matter, I said to the deer: “move away from the road and no one will get hurt”. Jess laughed. She’s easily amused.
15 minutes later, Jess was at the dance. She made a lap around, checking to see who was there before settling in. Since we were late, I decided to hang out and read in the car. Roxy kept me company. A few times, I spied on her. She wasn’t dancing but was watching the boys. A couple of them seem to hover around her. This was enough attention to keep her beaming.
When the evening neared its end, most of the time, Jess plays hard to get. She doesn’t want her night to end. This time, she was ready. It had been a long day.
On the drive home, we passed the doe again. She was standing where I left her 90 minutes earlier in the exact same spot. Kind of odd. Maybe watching the cars drive by was her evening entertainment?
Almost always, the radio is playing when I’m driving. I thought of my husband when I heard Summer of 69 (those were the best times of my life). He was spending his evening with friends reminiscing.
As we pulled in the drive, the song Lean on me played and this had me think of Marty.
Thank you, Marty, for being such a good friend to so very many. Rest in Peace.
Lean on me, when you’re not strong
And I’ll be your friend
I’ll help you carry on
For it won’t be long
‘Til I’m gonna need
Somebody to lean on.