I'll have to remember to delete (or at least heavily redact) this post before Alastair is a teenager...
I've felt, over the last few days, that Amanda's cremation wish is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, she saved me thousands of dollars (sounds cheap, but it was very much her way) in funeral costs. All told, with 10 copies of the death certificate, shipping, and "handling", we paid less than a fifth of what some of the more basic funeral services end up costing. No fancy coffin, no concrete sarcophagus, no digging, no overwrought--and overpriced--flower arrangements lining the aisles of some horrible little chapel. And most importantly: no shipping of intact human remains, which I've been told would have cost a small fortune.
But I've lost something, too. There's no grave. No place where I can go every other weekend and just pour my heart out. No way for me to feel like I'm connecting to my wife verbally, even if just for my own sanity. Her parents are keeping the remains, as we had discussed. I couldn't bear to have them in the house (though I do have those of our first cat).
So all that's really left to me is this blog. We read each other's thoughts, sometimes commenting, but more typically generating a phone call or a late night conversation about whatever we'd posted. Some of the more personal elements that I've found myself exploring lately, I've discovered, are my way of telling her what's going on in the house, with Alastair, and with my life.
I haven't really decided yet, but this might slowly transform, at least while the pain is sharpest, into letters to Amanda. Morbid? Perhaps. Public? Absolutely. I won't be wallowing in self-pity or shopping for sympathy, but some of the writing may become a bit more painfully personal. Keep reading and following, if you'd like, and see how we soldier on.
I finally got around to scheduling Alastair's annual check-up. Last year's was within 2 days of his birthday, this year's not quite within 2 months. Oops. But frankly that was always something you took so much joy in: running the day-to-day elements of the house; keeping on top of what Alastair needed. I know it's a stupid excuse, but I could add the fear of germs to that, if you'd like. Heaven knows we couldn't risk him getting sick at the doctor's office and bringing that shit home to you.
But I got it done, because I'm beginning to realize how important regular check-ups are, and because I promised you I'd take care of him. It was my last promise to you, and I intend to damned well keep it. No: I haven't yet scheduled one for myself, but yes: I probably will soon. And no: not with that that ass-hat Hunley, so pray for strength for me while I pretend to try to look for a new doctor.
Alastair is doing very well. His vision tested less than perfect (20/32), but frankly I think he was bored identifying shapes and just started blurting out whatever he felt like. The heart didn't look much like a heart, any way.
He's in the 50 - 75 percentile for height, and the 75 - 90 for weight, which is consistent with prior check-ups, and he's right on track with his vocabulary and cognitive skills. She asked if he dresses himself yet, which surprised me a little. Maybe we should have let him take a more active roll in his own dressing some time ago. He does a good job helping, and is great with his shoes and jackets, but we've got some ground to make up.
The big news of the day, though, was his BM's, or lack thereof. The night he got back from TX was the night of his last significant BM: just shy of two weeks ago. He's been having sharts (shit-farts) regularly, but nothing big and chunky. His belly felt a little hard and distended, too, and Laura remarked that it felt like poo. So she suggested an enema! Oh, joy! And 3 - 4 months of a mild laxative. Apparently it's not too uncommon in kids his age, so we didn't screw him up any more or less than normal, but let me tell you: I was not prepared.
I managed to convince him, without too much trouble, to lay down with his naked booty up in the air, but he was none too thrilled by my insertion of the "pre-lubricated comfortip." He began sobbing while I squeezed the fluid into him, and gave me the most horrified look when I stood him up to sit on the potty. "Daddy! Why did you do that?!?"
But what came next, for the next 90 minutes, was more than I could have imagined. I frankly don't think he could have passed what came out of him any other way. It was a freakin' tree! He sobbed, he shook, and my oh my did he poop. And we read a library worth of children's books (I think he get's an honorary nod in the Cannonball Read for today's effort).
Twice we tried to get off the pot, and both times poop dribbled out of him onto his legs, the floor, the race-track rug in his room, every single changing-pad cover we have, the monkey towel, and his shirt.
At one point I called Leigh, just so he could hear her voice. She listened to his tears and beat a hasty path to our house, but by the time she arrived, it was all over. His poor little butt continued to ooze all evening (and probably will all night, too), but for the most part, he's done.
Apparently if they hold their poop for a while, the muscles that push it out will weaken, and what was coming out was fluid build-up from above that managed to leak its way around his stool. Yum!
Enough about that. Tim came by and cut down that tree. It finally died, and seemed to have kept pace with your decline almost perfectly. I was amaazed when I heard a chainsaw running out there today. It's a little sad to see it gone, even though it had been dying for the last year. Creepy freakin' tree.
I miss you. I love you. And Alastair said today, for the first time, "I miss my mommy." Then he told me to make you get better. Oh, God: if only I could.