Day 3

Tuesday 12/4/18

It seems incredible it has only been 2½ days since Marian stopped breathing. I’ve accomplished just a ton of stuff in that time, busy busy busy. But first, a few words about

Grief

It just comes on at unpredictable times, then passes off. Something reminds me of our life together — as when, yesterday morning, I passed the local ice-cream store and suddenly remembered she always ordered mocha almond fudge flavor — or it will be nothing at all, just a sudden uprush of pity and regret. And the eyes prickle, the throat constricts, the voice, if I’m talking, becomes thick and broken. A deep breath, a shake of the shoulders, and it passes off.

So these little fugues, every couple of hours or so, are the metronome to my days. But in between them, today I was

Making Arrangements

Walked to the Y on Ross Road, did my little round of exercises, walked back in plenty of time to strip the bed and put the linens in the washer. Then drove to San Jose, to the office of the Neptune Society, where Maria led me through reading and signing all the papers that have to be read and signed in order to get somebody cremated and scattered at sea, all proper and legal.

There’s a decision to be made: do I want to see the ashes scattered off the Marin coast near Angel Island? If so, I have to reserved a spot on a sailing of their “family” boat for $495. Or I can just let it happen anonymously on their standard scattering cruise where nobody witnesses the operation. That service is included in the fees we paid back in 1997 (Marian’s signature on the contract, from back before her handwriting deteriorated…)

I’m on the fence about this. Do I want the finality of this little ceremony? Marian is gone; the ashes won’t be her in any sense. I’ll consult with her sister, see if she wants in.

Housekeeping

On return, Suli, our cleaning lady for many years, had arrived, and had already guessed from the rearranged furniture what had happened since her last visit two weeks ago. But we shared a bit of a cry. “Oh, I hoped I would see her one more time,” she said.

After Suli had finished and left, I sorted the rest of the laundry and got that going. And put the sheets back on the bed. And called a two of Marian’s insurance companies. Oddly, the drug benefit company said they would be informed by Medicare, and would process the termination then. The other, AARP medicare supplement, didn’t say that, and processed the change at once. Whatever.

Finally I reverted Marian’s phone, an iPhone 6s, to factory default and then installed Uber and Lyft apps on it with new accounts. The plan is for Marian’s sister Jean to use that. She’s not had a smart-phone; and I’ve offered to let her use this one, while keeping it on my T-Mobile family plan. It would probably cost me money to go back to a single line plan anyway.

Still plenty of time then, for

Entertainment

About 4 weeks ago, while I was sitting in the audience at the Pear Theater waiting for the play to start, I checked my email (as one does) and saw one from the Fox Theater in Redwood city announcing a concert by Jake Shimabukuro. Knowing he sells out quick, I managed to get two good seats before the lights went down in the theater. A week or so later it was clear that Marian’s strength had declined such that she wouldn’t be able to attend using her walker, but the theater assured me she could come in the wheelchair.

Well, that didn’t come to pass, and yesterday I contacted our friend Wally and asked if he’d like to come. I left early in order to get a quick supper at the Five Guys burgers next door to the Fox, which was fortunate since traffic was a mess. I know how traffic is, on a rainy evening at 6pm; yet it always comes as a surprise. Anyway I did manage a quick bite, met Wally, and attended the concert.

Jake is truly a master and for this tour he has teamed with two other virtuosi, Dave Preston on guitar and Nolan Verner on bass. Still, I thought the concert was a little bit long and repetitive. The absolute best moments where when Jake stood alone and played a standard, acoustic ukulele. His ability to pull sophisticated, complex counterpoint out of that tiny instrument is amazing.

So home to fold the last load of laundry — including Marian’s three favorite tops; another grief spasm — and write a blog post.

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