Gradgirl: I’m reading your online dating profile book. You can be my dating coach! Me: (laughing) Sure. Her: Do you think you’ll ever do it yourself? Get back out into the regular dating world? Me: (shaking head) I’m not ready for anything like that. I’m gonna stop wearing black in 2018. So maybe then.
If I ever did write one, it’d probably sound a lot like this:
Works in a non-profit or just likes to help people. Highly educated with at least a masters degree and two foreign language skills. From a good family, preferably military, with close ties to them. Likes to clean and hates to cook. Wants children. Eats chili. Strong resemblance to Jennifer Aniston but with green eyes (preferred). Self sufficient. Likes to sing to me almost every night and never comments on my constantly singing off-key. Ideally, always wants to have dinner with me. Loves children – and adults – that eat predominately peanut butter. Kindness a major plus.
Rose: So, did you clean up at the wedding? Me: No, not even close. I *grossly* underestimated how emotional it would be to (a) go to any wedding, let alone (b) the wedding of the woman that came every Wednesday to give Alison food.
My goal has been to cry less than five times a day. Most days, manage to keep it under three. Some days it’s just once. Those’re rare but welcome.
Cause a body gets tired of crying all the goddamn time.
Lemme tell you: I coulda died the day I saw I Alison on our wedding day and woulda died a happy man.
But I digress. Annabel sees me in the middle of taking pictures at the front of the ceremony and gives me a hug.
So there’s Annabel in her wedding gown – and she’s like the only soul I know there – hugging me in the middle of everything and I lose it.
Like I’m 10 and someone took my security blanket away. Which, I suppose, is kinda what happened.
Anywho, her entire family came over to try and console me.
Her mom: We pray for you. He: I don’t believe he listens.
Turns out that, my max for not crying was about 30 minutes at a time. And I didn’t think to bring tissues so I’m running to the bathroom every half-hour.
Pretty sure some attendees thought I had food poisoning. (Food was great, BTW – I may have cleaned off an entire tray of steak myself)
After all that, I needed a drink. But it was a dry wedding. So I went with two people I met there for a beer around the way.
Later on, another woman, who caught me during cry number six or so, told me she had whiskey in a flask and gave me some of that.
Told the bride and groom that I wished them every good thing, which I did and do.
Me: (to groom) My married life was the happiest time in my life. (choking) I hope it is for you too.
Left early and made it home by 11PM.
The next day, a friend of mine – who just got married herself not that long ago and knows about my single life – asked me how it went so I told her, per the convo above.
Rose: You need to meet some old family-money type girls. Like trust fund babies. Me: Yeah, these looks aren’t gonna last forever – especially in my advanced old age. I’m time limited. Her: (laughing) Botox. Me: I’ll have to botox my entire head.
The truth is that that’s not the entire story of the night.
And Gradgirl stopped by over the weekend but these are other stories for other times, I suppose.
Waitress: Do you want to start with some drinks? Me: Oh, yes.
Just got it last night while (still) trying to clean up.
Alison used to joke with me that I’d never just put things back where I found them when I took them out.
I’d retort that I was always finding her long hair as well as random bobby pins everywhere.
There’s a table we have that still has Christmas decorations on it. Finally found the strength to start cleaning it when I found two bobby pins behind a basket.
And I felt that same hit in my solar plexus I felt as a kid and had to sit down. I haven’t seen her hair anywhere in over a year.
This was probably the last time I’d ever find bobby pins from her ever again.
So much for cleaning any more that day.
I can’t handle all the unexpected hits all the time.
Can’t handle being hit all the time. It’s slow torture.
Her: Is that a jar of peanut butter next to the bed? Me: … No? Her: Why is there a jar of peanut butter in the bedroom?! Me: It’s probably the same creature that sheds bobby pins all over the place. Her: (laughing) Great, we have a peanut-butter eating monster made up of bobby pins somewhere in the house.
Write this as a general response to everyone that asks me how I’m doing.
In my sleepless nights, I’ve come to conclusion that true love is most like gravity. It’s something that we don’t really think about, but it’s there to anchor us to the world. Both true love and gravity gives things weight and heft.
If either goes away, you’re unmoored. Adrift. Everything floats.
Since Alison’s left, found myself … fuzzy. It’s probably also the insomnia. Everything is a copy of a copy of a copy. My head feels like a balloon on my shoulders.
I further help the floating by forcing myself to not think about the loss, and self-medicating.
But it comes back. And – as you’d expect when gravity suddenly comes back after being off – everything comes crashing down.
Went to pick up Alison from the cremation place the other day.
Went alone. Took almost 90 minutes to get to her. 90 gut-wrenching minutes.
I’d been floating for the past 48 hours or so. But it all came crashing down when I walked through the doors of that place.
They told me to sit down and wait. So I took a picture of my sneakers cause I didn’t know what else to do. Another funeral was taking place.
Then someone called out “Mr. McCarthy?” I looked up and he handed me a heavy box. When I realized what, exactly, I was holding, started weeping so hard I could barely see.
Thought pure agony was setting up cremation services for your 38 year-old wife you love more than life itself.
No, man. Pure agony is what happens when you pick her up.
Somehow made it home 90 minutes later. Don’t remember much of it but I stood outside my door with this box, trying to will the ability to open the door and bring her home.
Remember laughing with her when we got married about whether or not I should carry her through the door.
She was supposed to get 28,871 days here; she got less than 13,540. It’s so damn unfair.
Someone wrote a public FB post after his own wife, Sunday Dennis, passed from a GBM. Sunday’s last words were, “It could be worse, don’t worry about it.” Her husband said that at the end, people are simply their truest selves, because there’s no reason to be anything but that.
One of the last things that Alison said to her mom was when her mom sat on the bed and Alison felt the room spin. She asked her mom, “Are you OK?” because she was worried her mom was going to fall.
And in the last real interaction Alison and I had, she heard me sighing and reached out to me to take my hand.
She said, “Don’t worry, Logan. We’ll get through this.”
Even at the very end, she was worried about her mother and me.
Which isn’t to say she wasn’t still witty and charming; when we told her brother’s birthday gift to her was a surprise visit, she grinned and said, “Send it back.”
That’s the essence of Alison and why she is the only woman I ever truly loved. Because she was everything I ever dreamed of: beautiful, smart, witty, neat as a pin – the importance of which you would understand if you ever saw the bachelor version of my pad – and, most of all, kind.
So incredibly kind.
Kindness has always been one of the things I’ve found most attractive in people. Because people value what’s rare and true kindness is so very rare.
After those interactions, Alison simply slept more and more until she could no longer speak. But when we said, “We love you,” she would mouth the same thing: “I love you too.”
In her last days, she’d feel around with her right hand for our hands. When she found them, she’d smile slightly and squeeze our hands, as if to reassure us that we’d get through it.
I hope she’s right. She was the brightest thing my life and I struggle in darkness without her.
I’ll love her until the end of my days.
But you knew that part already.
Me: I promise that I’ll take care of you until the end of my life. Because I love you and, even more, she loved you. I’ll never choose anyone or anything above you. Son: (stares at me, smiles) Me: We’ll get through this life together, you and I, OK? Your mamma said so. Son: (laughs, runs away)
There will be no funeral, wake, nor memorial for Alison.
We didn’t have a ceremony for our engagement, wedding, pregnancy, or Nate’s birth so I’m not gonna start with a funeral for her.
If you want to do something for her, consider re-posting this or sending it to someone in lieu of flowers.
For those of you new to our story, the start of it is here although our life together really started here.
With her education, she coulda gone anywhere. But instead she worked long hours for little pay trying to help others. She was always flying to Africa or Washington to try and make a difference.
She made such a difference in my life as well.
Just one of a million reasons why the world and I are better because she was in it.
Her: Hey, I’m here. Me: (laughing) You were getting a generator? Her: Yes – I was waiting for the donor to confirm. Me: Did you get it? Her: (beaming) Yep! Me: Great, let’s drink to that. Her: You’ll drink to anything. Me: (nodding) This is true.
Me: (waking up in the dark) Are you ok? Her: (weakly opens and closes her right hand) Me: (takes her right hand and sits beside her) I’m here. Her: (squeezes my hand) Me: I’m here. Her: (squeezes my hand again)
Met him on Sunday, loved him by Tuesday afternoon.
Woke up on Friday, changed my whole life to make some room
Which is much like how my relationship with Alison started off – at least the second time when we had more than a few words with each other.
I told every single woman I met during my dating years that, “I’m looking for my person. I suppose you are too. Let’s figure out if I’m yours and your mine.”
With Alison, though, I figured out that she was my person almost immediately – in fact, I broke things off with a few people because just meeting her made things a bit clearer for me.
I’ll say “When I think of you, you’re like my favorite song Or that melody, that melody I love” And it goes, La da da da da da da da
If every thing I love in my life is a series of songs – moments, family, friends – then my time with her is my favorite melody.
And if the rumors are true, I can look forward to Some better days and getaways, so nice ‘Cause when I am with you, you’re the crescendo to that melody That melody I love, yeah, da da da da
For us, the rumors weren’t true. We only had a few better days and getaways, but at least we had them with each other. I am forever grateful that I met her in this world.
And she and the kid have been the crescendo to that melody, that melody I love.
Me: It’s like that song from Esthero: I met you on Sunday, loved you by Tuesday afternoon, and changed my life on Friday to make some room. Her: (amused) How many times have you used that line? Me: Just this once. It’s a one-shot line – and if it works, we’ll get married and have our better days and getaways. Her: (laughing) OK. Me: So, you love me too? Her: (nodding) Like a fat kid loves cake, Logan.
That she loves me as deeply as she does is worth more than anything you might imagine. And I love her so. I would do anything to take this from her.
I would do anything.
For those of you that have read me for years, you know I struggle with depression and dark thoughts. I struggle now.
The people in my life know that too. So I called my mom last night.
Her: …and you? Will you be ok? Me: No. But I’m not going to hurt myself if that’s what you’re asking. Her: I am. Me: I have to raise our son. I won’t let him grow up alone. Her: Promise me. Me: Mom, I already promised her.