25 years and 6 months

Today…….May 14th  was once celebrated like a national holiday in our home. 25 years ago today, John Dee moved to the UP. I loved to hear him tell the story about his first evening and morning in the Lake Linden house. Having Dad make the journey north with him, ordering and eating pizza from the Loading Zone and waking up the next morning to the smell of the pine trees. John would recount those memories with such joy and excitment in his voice, as if it just happened yesterday. He loved the UP so much! Those early days were spent exploring with the Hounds in the Honda….journals several times a week….always looking for an adventure. I miss those days! 

I don’t know if it’s bad timing, perfect timing or some sort of cosmic irony that John went to heaven exactly 6 months before his UP anniversary date. 25 years ago today….. In one sense I think, “how can it be 6 months”? On the other hand …..surely a million years have passed since I last heard his laugh, received a hug or one of the many daily text messages from him. 6 months…..seems surreal

While putting on my socks the other day, for some strange reason I realized I have a routine. First the left then the right sock. This particular day I started with the placement of the sock on the right foot. It felt strange. The job was complete and no better or no worse had I started with the usual pattern of the left foot. It’s trivial, but at that moment I thought this is like how life feels without John here…on a smaller scale of course…..we are working, going to school, meeting with friends and all the things but it just doesn’t feel “right”. Nothing will ever be the same or feel the same. Is that ok?  I guess there’s no real choice in the matter.This is one of those things we can not choose.  It must be ok. I need to make it ok. I made a promise to John many years ago and I need to keep my promise. 

Grief changes you…..to this person you have never been before. A person, with a title….that you don’t want. Or want to be reminded of. It changes the way you see others. Do you grumble over little things that your spouse or partner does? Try not to…..meet them with kindness and love. John and I thought we appreciated every single day….every single moment….but you know what? We didn’t. The healthy days you bet we did. But the years of stress and sickness took it’s toll. So imagine being a person who doesn’t appreciate the small things….I guarantee there will be regrets. We mostly thought we did enough…..you know what? We didn’t….so if you think you do enough….do more. Listen longer, talk sweeter….those things you will not regret. 

Of course there will be disagreements….but, if you can say sorry first, make someone’s load lighter, hug instead of disagree….these things you won’t regret. John and I kissed each other 7 times every night. Except Monday, November 13th. Because of a cold sore I had and I worried I’d give it to him. When we were at the store that night he picked out a chapstick and said, “tomorrow we are smooching”…We could have just as easily had a disagreement on Monday night that would have stopped us from kissing. I’m sorry we didn’t get those final 7 kisses but I’m thankful that it wasn’t due to a disagreement or anger. I would have regretted that for the remainder of my days. 

So we go on…..just trying to accept and embrace this new, not asked for, life. I’m not going to lie….it’s not been easy.  Even Bleau is not the same. I found him the other day sleeping on the floor on John’s side of the bed. He’s never laid there. 

I have the start of about 6 journals. When I think of something I write it down. This was not how I expect this journal to start but it’s really been weighing on me….I didn’t want to sound “preachy” or that John and I didn’t have our share of arguments. But, this is one thing that sits with me and I felt I really wanted to share it. Just do more. If you aren’t happy and can make changes do it. If you are happy and your life is complete – make sure to tell your person. Because you just don’t know when life can change. We have this one life….that is it. These are things I’ve always known but I’m telling you, it’s different once you live it. Just…do…more…..

stepping off my little soap box now 😉

It took me a few months to realize that my brothers had devised a plan without telling me. And that was that one of them would come north every month. To check on us, make sure we were ok, and to just be with us. Seriously, I am the luckiest girl to have these guys as my big brothers. These are the same guys who threw me a wedding shower! Now there might be a reason why they are so kind to me now and that’s because they were big jerks to me when we were little! Lol

It’s been really nice to see them and it really has given me something to look forward too. If I could look at the calendar and see that someone is coming, it really got me through the winter.

So the boys arrived last Wednesday and left yesterday. While they were here Joel cut my grass and they got the mower up and running for me. John had a little mishap with Gracie’s climbing rope that was attached to the tree the last time he mowed. I had a perfectly fine day. Was really excited it was the weekend and the guys were here. I was in the kitchen and I heard the mower coming down the road and then saw Joel starting to cut the grass. Something as simple as that just hit me. It seems so silly really but John loved to cut the grass. He’d turn up the tunes and away he’d go. Thankfully, I did learn to use the zero turn last summer. John taught me via a video call while he was in the hospital with the broken neck and brain bleed incident. I’m not the best at it, but I’m sure by the summer’s end I’ll be a pro! I have a fair share of grass to cut. I enjoy being outside so I won’t mind adding this to my list of outside chores. 

I have a rather large list of “things to do”. Many I can do just fine myself and I plan to really get going on them once school is out. There are a few that I just don’t have the strength or knowledge to do. Lucky for me I have the BEST neighbors and friends who are willing to help.

The guys took advantage of the nice weather on Saturday and took the snow thrower off the tractor. I warned my brother that in 10 years there was never, ever a time where changing out the implements was easy. I think he doubted me but quickly found out I was not kidding. John even had typed out notes that he kept just to remember the tricks he learned along the way

About 90 minutes and 5 guys later the job was done. The biggest problem was the bucket was not put on level ground when it was taken off last year. Some of you might remember John had a pad poured in the Keweenaw house just for this reason. Anyhow, they got the forks on for me as a few of my jobs on my list will be done easier with the forks vs. the bucket. 

That chore was done and we decided we’d celebrate at Dreamland, instead of cooking. 

The birds are around and enjoying their feeders. I’ve been enjoying sitting on the porch listening and watching them. The hummers are back too. They aren’t the only creatures back. I heard the bear was spotted at the boat launch but so far I haven’t noticed him up this way. Last year I didn’t feed the birds in the summer. Mainly because we were in the apartment and they had plenty of food and I didn’t want the bear issue. My plan is to do what my grandma June did, and that is bring in the feeders at night. I do love the birds so I hope the bear can stay away during the day. 

It wouldn’t be a visit with my brothers if there wasn’t a little fishing going on. Unfortunately, we only went once and no fish were caught.  It was pretty windy all weekend but none the less we had a good time and there was a sufficient amount of smack talk. I did catch Grace just taking it all in. 

Grace and the boys also celebrated me on Mothers Day with brunch. My heart was full! 

So my next round of visitors are the girls! And everyone is pretty excited. This will be my great niece’s first trip to the UP. We can’t wait. I’ve sort of been out numbered with the guys around here the past week. Really looking forward to spending time with the girls. My niece, sister n law Tami, and her best friend will arrive in just over a week. Should be a great time! 

Until next time……The Dee G’s (Heckler I’ve got to feel this one out…lol)





John Dee