January Thirty-First, Two-Thousand & Nine

January 31, 2012

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I love my MacBook Pro. When I turn it on, it makes that cute 80s sound that reminds me (and possibly those of you born before Nirvana and Pearl Jam were considered “Classic Rock”) of the good ‘ol days–days spent watching someone else play Quasar and Lode Runner on the only Apple in a 15-mile radius; a more innocent time of dreams written on floppy Floppy disks. Indeed, this “bong” helped to retrieve me from the ledge of Windows despair back through the stable door of the functional Mac. That being said (re: lets don’t quibble over machines), I continue to trust in my Blackberry. Compared with the super-hip iPhone, whose pointer finger friendly keyboard renders me helpless, I can use my thumbs to type on my Crackberry at lightening speed. Why not use a “real” computer? Well, when I wake up in the middle of the night with an idea for a story or the realization that I’m about to run out of peanut butter, I can thumb it into Mr. Blackberry’s calendar, and the next day, my friendly device reminds me to, “GET PB”.

Where am I going with this line of trivial drivel, you ask?  Well, of the many snippets and lists I have recently written, many of them relate to this day, January 31st, 2012–the day when, 3 years ago at 4 in the afternoon, my husband Dan left us all here to figure out what to do next without him.

It was 1-31-09 when Leukemia stole him away. It was 3 years ago. It was yesterday. It was today. It was a thousand years ago.

People sometimes ask me what it’s like or how I cope or if it gets easier. If it gets easier–in some ways, a polite way of asking, Do you ever forget? I have given this much thought. Much thought, indeed. Here is my Blackberried calendar response, dated 1-27-12:

I forget what happened in the same way as, I imagine, a single-amputee forgets about his missing arm. I forget to remember him and our life together like I forget to remember to remind my heart to beat. In other words, never. At best, the reality of the event lives and breathes in the background. It is my life’s screen-saver–ever ready to resume its place when the work is done; while Word is being saved; after I’ve declared today’s Facebook Status Update. But, quoth the raven…

No, I never forget, and that is important to me, because after the initial shock, one of my greatest regrets was and is that so many people never met or came to know Dan. Many people I am close to, for various reasons, only knew him by name or through photos or anecdotes and stories (The Myth, the Legend…). Although objectively I know this has to be enough; although I know his spirit lives on in the lives he affected personally and beyond, it is, somehow, not good enough. I, like most people, have my limits when it comes to objectivity. We, all of us, needed more time–more chances to ask, “What did you think about this, Dan? What are your thoughts on that?”

To Dream the Impossible Dream…

I think it’s acceptable to throw these mini-Pity Parties once in a while…especially on an anniversary such as this. I don’t think Dan would mind it too much, but at the end of the Party, I know he’d also say this:

What a gift it is to be alive! Your gift. What a privilege it is to “remain behind”. Your privilege. Don’t cry, don’t cry. Go grab a coffee, and live! Have a double-shot for me.

What do I do with this Screen-Saver Life of mine?

I employ a strategy likely used for generations–far before the digital clock allowed us to hit a button and “snooze”. I take a deep breath and soldier on like the buffalo girl from the plains of MT I was raised to be. And when the spirit moves, unlike in electronic-less days of old, I bring the memory back to life with my thumbs.

11 Responses to “January Thirty-First, Two-Thousand & Nine”

  1. Tara Says:

    Thank you Susan. Thank you Dan. All I have is the gratitude I can offer up.

  2. Whitney Says:

    Love you, Suz!!

  3. Erica Says:

    I can’t imagine you will ever stop loving Dan. It’s part of who you are and you are an incredible person…one of my favorites, in fact.

  4. Emily N. Says:

    Love to you. Never forget.


  5. You burn all the brighter because of his light shining through you. And you are a Roman candle for us all. You are an inspiration – as was Dan.

  6. glutenvygirl Says:

    This is absolutely beautiful, Suz. Thank you for this.

  7. Al Says:

    There is so much awesome packed into this blog. From your nimble thumbs to my misty eyes, thank you for expressing all of it, dear buffalo girl from MT. We didn’t call him Thunder Dan fer nuthin’…

  8. Tara Says:

    Keep on living life. Dan comes from within you and quadruples your lust for it! Forget the mini-pity parties and go for huge blowout pity parties. Pity parties are necessary to soldier on. Have the party, then shut er’ down, and lust on for life.

  9. lorraine Says:

    a poet , whose name escapes me, said ” to live in someone’s heart is not to die” …. and so it is. lorraine

  10. Jerry Myhr Says:

    beautifully written.

  11. Angela Says:

    Thinking of you Susan. I wish I could have met him.


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