It's currently 7:16 am EST as I sit here with my coffee, Jubie lying beside me on the floor, Gambit and Rogue in the bedroom all have been fed and let out. Yet I still am struggling to figure out how to describe this weekends events as I did about five hours ago when I was sitting here with my Jack and water after all had left the house and the kids and I sat for and hour or two and were deafened by the post celebration silence.
The week itself has been one hell of a roller coaster ride with relatives, old and new friends coming in town, putting the final touches on, starting a new job, and oh yea trying to find time for myself (lol). All said and done there is only one thing that I, as you, would want to be changed...the reason.
I tried to start a post yesterday morning after putting things together to go to the library but didn't get a chance to finish as my helpers started to show up early so I guess the best way to start today is where I was going to start yesterday. (did that make sense, cobwebs will clear shortly lol)
I came home Friday afternoon from a short day at work, I spoke to my mom, and told her that I was going to take a nap and would call when I woke up. Ehhh about an hour and a half later I was awoken by my little protector Jubilee going off with her defense barowl (bark growl). Groggy but at least in my boxers and a t-shirt, eyes half shut I followed her to the den where someone was breaking in........................Dad and James. After we laughed (sort of, I can be very grumpy if I get woke up when not ready) about what part of "I will call you when I get up" nobody understood, we went out to the Florida room and talked about that night and anything left to be done for tomorrow (just us guys so still in boxers and t-shirt). Then another familiar voice was heard, (Willard, Heathers dad) as I saw him start to open the doors to join us. Before I could finish, "I hope you're alone I am just in my underwear", out walks Heathers second mom Sharon and sister Jennifer. Well hell lets just have a party now. I am ever so grateful that this didn't happen while sitting on the toilet, the bathroom is only so big and can only fit so many. I felt like I was Jack Klugman in an old episode of the Odd Couple. Well I did manage to save some dignity and did go and get my robe on after a bit lol. (surprised the woman didn't get sick as I tromped up the stairs in y shorts.)
When I came back down, I tried to be as polite as possible and let them know I just needed a little "self" time to get some of Heather's things together to take and to go to dinner and hang out without me tonight, also James and I decided to see a late showing of Terminator that evening as a mind break. Probably the toughest thing that I did all week was to go back into Heather's suitcase that I had put her items that I was going to keep, to get what I needed for Saturday. Just another one of those damn moments that makes you choke up.
As I was getting ready to go to the hotel, Bob and Yvonne stopped by to drop off a couple of tables for me to use at the house we chatted for a bit, Yvonne was going to be my "second" in the event that I started to break when I spoke about Heather and she would continue for me. Then I left for the hotel.
As I neared the hotel the sky was just amazing, at least to me, there were dark navy/midnight blue storm clouds scalloping the horizon, extremely bright remnants of the sunset crescent above and canopying that a light blue/battleship gray formation. I was awe struck as I looked toward that sky as fingers of lightning from the coming storm streaked through for effect. You think what you may, but I have my own thoughts on what I saw that evening.
I picked James up we went up enjoyed the movie, Heather would have too considering "Bill the vampire" from True Blood played "Marcus the terminator" (she did like the Aussie/Brit type). On the way back to the hotel to drop James off the skies open, crackled, and sparkled with a decent thunderstorm that I was glad to see hoping it would take some of the humidity out of the air for those not used to it (Kim). I dropped James off and went home.
The night before I do a big function I can never sleep, call it my version of pre-game jitters. Heather never understood this, but there is so damn much that runs through your mind the night before, mental checklist, contingency plans etc.. Well tonight was the DIA awards dinner multiplied by 1000. Somehow I did manage to fall asleep around 2:30. Got up at 6:00 and started to get ready. First dad and James helped with icing down and moving the sodas, along with last minute pick ups. Check and done back to the hotel. Next Bob and Yvonne with bar stools and ashtrays, load soda's and Heather's stuff check and done time now 11:58 and counting. Third, Mary brought over another table, she had her daughters with her who brought me drawings to make me smile, and they did. Thank you very very much girls it meant a lot to me. Check and done 12:10 and counting. Mary had left with her girls, and Bob, Yvonne, and I sat in the Florida room and talked until time to leave.
12:25 time to fire up and go, a quick stop at the gas station and then the library. When we arrived the group that had the room before us either cancelled or just didn't show and we were able get started setting the room up as soon as we got there. Leigh Perry, who Heather and met through the Virginia Romance Writers was already there and had done so much work already prior to Saturday to get the room ready. Even though she and I have had minimal contact she has done more that I can thank her for. OK boss time I pointed and directed, they did and asked what needed to be done next (I hope I wasn't too much of a directing ass but that is just how I am when it comes to set up). Room set and ready 1:40, check and done. Changed into fresh clothes, a t-shirt from one of B&Y's parties and shorts. With Leigh's huge help, Bob, Yvonne, Will, Doug, Sharon, and Jennifer the room looked great.
People started to show up a little before 2:00 which was great. People brought books to donate which was even better. And no one was in a tie which was fantastic! (I had James buy a cheap clip on so if I saw anyone in a tie he would put it on and I would call him to the front, cut it, and ask "who's next")
As people rolled in I saw familiar faces, family, and those who I have heard of from Heather, and those of you from the blog that have contacted me and I would get to meet later. And then there were two people very instrumental in mine and Heather's lives that showed. I started to play the Heather's play list that she had on her Ipod until I was comfortable in starting. I must admit though that the little bottle of Jose' at the registration table was full until I changed my clothes, I better admit it now considering Yvonne has blackmail pics............................you wench. Pre-game over done check.
At 2:30 I turned the music off introduced myself, and laid out the format of the celebration. Very, very simple, as I have posted before this was a celebration sure there were going to be tears but my hope was more laughs and smiles and a greater insight into the wonderful person that was my wife. I was going to speak, read a gut wrenching e-mail that I received after Heather had past from someone who then and continues to find strength from Heather and how now she tends to be a smart ass and with her last e-mail to me (also read) addressed me as "knucklehead". I love you Jeannie, your hubby and kids are in my thoughts and yes you were there yesterday while still in California. Next I would start the play list that I made for Heather's celebration, a few songs that she requested (we all know that means demanded lol) and others that I felt were befitting of her. the it would be open forum for any and all to speak of how or what they knew of Heather good or bad. Celebration starting on time check done.
As I mentioned earlier Yvonne was to be my second in the event I started to break. As I spoke about Heather, my voice started to crackle. When it came time to introduce the two special people to us I began to shake. Next I knew, standing next to me, arm around my shoulder rubbing my back was a friend of Heather's mom by the name of Becca, that I had only met once nine years ago at Barbara's @#th birthday party (diplomatic enough Mama Wawa?), thank you Becca more than you know. That helped immensely as I called out Sandra Morton, the councilor that Heather and I went to and probably made the last year and a half that had our best (BTW Sandra looking good with the new do and the slim, and women don't think guys notice those thing HA lol). And the other special person to Heather and I in attendance, Dr. Tom Hainey, that's right Saint Francis in a smock, our vet. Who prior to Heather passing helped both us through what at that time was the toughest thing that I had ever had to deal with. The putting down of our first dog Spike The Crimungen lol. Thinking back on it maybe that is why I took Jubilee to get her nails cut the day after. After I finished speaking of Heather, Becca went back to Barbara's side. As I got ready to read the e-mails, I felt a weakness and called Yvonne to be by my side. With that little extra strength from Yvonne being there, I was able to get through the first e-mail surprising myself. And when it came to reading the second, well let's face it, when it starts off "Hey Knucklehead" how hard could it be to read? I then warned people of the music that was going to play, also that I had inserted Heather's voice mail greeting as part of the play list. Intro finished warning gave check done.
To give a little back story, Heather had a blond wig and cape that she wore for Halloween every year, I had them both with her pink leopard fuzzy slippers on the podium with me. As I warned people that the first two songs were going to be knife twisting in the gut hard to hear I had Yvonne help me put on the blond wig to lighten the room. As I returned to the podium and the first song started (Angel by Sara Mc Claclan? will find how to spell it later oops)I put Heather's pink slippers on my hands and flapped them as wings how appropriate. As expected a lot of tears, I asked those who wanted to to hold hands as the next song started (Don't forget me when I'm gone by Glass Tiger) then the final twist of the knife, Heather's voice mail greeting. I expected strong emotion when it would play but one thing that I did not expect were the chuckles that came when Heather said she would return your call sometime today. Then the music lightened ending with Joey Ramone's version of What a Wonderful World. Meditative music played, done check.
Next was open forum, Barbara started things off with a chronology of Heather's life amazing what all Heather had done in her life starting at such an early age. More tears and chuckles, Yvonne spoke of Heather and their friendship and shopping (sure that there is more lady fess up! lol). Next was Willard, if Frank Sinatra is known as Ol Blue Eyes, Willard is now know as Ol Squeeky Voice. Fighting back the tears he spoke off the cuff as he talked about Heather. When he finished the room went silent, I called out Heather's old friend Tammy from LA to come up and speak. So much I knew bits of to hear the missing pieces lol. (I'm sure that there is more).
There is nothing like the tone of someone speaking of someone close that they have lost, but when it comes to a parent speaking on the loss of their child it is almost unbearable. The courage it must have taken for both Willard and Barbara to stand in front of 49 people to do so is beyond me.
As Tammy finished the food arrived. It didn't seem as if anyone else were able to come up so it was a good time to dispense with the open forum and let people get to know each other. Open forum finished done check.
Thank you Frank and Giuseppe, your food was absolutely fantastic. Your eggplant parm was out of this world as usual. And that is the reason why Heather wanted her celebration catered. Like at a good party people began to eat and then the began talking to each other. As I walked around I saw nothing but smiles and laughs. More than what I could have hoped for. I also noticed for the first time how many books had been donated, and it appeared to be closed to 5 full bankers boxes that would be donated to the library in Heather's name, also a few came up to me and told me that they had donated to the Richmond SPCA. Again, even though requested, more than I could expect. the time flew by and next it was time to get the heck out of Dodge. the clean up began and everyone pitched in and we were out by 5:30. Thanks again hugely to Leigh Perry.
Success at the library, a good meeting of friends new and old, we spoke of Heather, Donation were made, and most importantly we celebrated and did not mourn! Check one.
For those who could, came to the house. Some of you got to meet and play with the kids and looked like you enjoyed it too for the most part lol. Wine was opened, beers were cracked, and drinks were made as we continued the gathering just as I had hope. We ate talked laughed and teared but we were together, there was an emotional strength in the number that had gathered this night in celebration. Then we got decadent.................... I had ordered Tiramisu from Frank's that was waiting for pick up. Yvonne and Sharon volunteered to pick it and bring it back when they returned I pour Kahlua as the Tiramisu was cut and we enjoyed Heather's favorite dessert as a group. I did steal away a couple times as I went outside and talked to Heather I told her how much I missed her and wished that she was here to enjoy her party. I told her how much I loved her and how no one could forget her, yes I did have my private moments. Bob came out once and joined me and we talked about Heather and had a smoke and Yvonne joined us.
One thing that I was not aware of is that in California they do not have Lightning bugs, and how for a few it was there first experience in seeing them. It was amazing to seen grown people with the glee and excitement of little children as they went into the back yard and caught the little glowing fairies to bring them into the Florida room and release them making the atmosphere almost magical. Again I needed to go outside and share with Heather.
As I finished I looked to the Florida room, and lying open the floor at the door, was little Jubilee watching over her dad and I honestly believe knew what I was doing and was just there for me.
The night grew late and the party started to slow. People had traveling to do tomorrow, it was a very strained day for us all, but it was a good day. People were in good spirits as they left even though the thought of what brought us together this night was still on there mind. I hope to keep in touch with all of those who came and host any who wish to come back and visit.
As the last person left, the pooches and I were left with that deafening silence that I mentioned in the beginning of this post. We sat before I realized that someone (I think I know who and thank you) had started to clean up. I gathered a little trashed and then brought my drink upstairs and attempted to post but couldn't. the day had worn me out.
Again the it was a good, no damn it, it was a great day. 98% perfect, the only thing that would have made it 100% a change in the reason that brought us together.
A successful celebration, and not a mourning. Check done!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
For those of you who I have annoyed with the "check done", don't blame me, blame Heather. My damn wife has me making lists now. CHECK DONE!
thank you who came, and the support of those who couldn't
I love you all and stay in touch.
Scott, pooches, bunny, toad, and lightning bugs