Three weeks in

OK, so here we are.

I’ve been back at work for two weeks, although taking some afternoons off to make phone calls. Work has been fine, everyone has been very supportive. I went to the office for the first time this past Wednesday, so got to have a lot of good water-cooler conversations. Our HR team pointed out to me that I have a benefit of a few sessions of free counseling, so I’m following up with that and have an appointment a couple of Mondays away.

The apartment is at a place where there’s still a ton of stuff to do, but none of it is time-sensitive. I’m doing my damndest to keep it nice throughout, so that’s extra time being fussy and wiping down counters and stuff, but it’s not hard. I’m also getting lovingly leaned on my friends and family to let them come visit and help, so I’m creating two lists: stuff I can hand off to others to do (ex: put all the cookbooks except Joy of Cooking and Better Homes in a box, so I can free up shelf space for some other stuff, and deal with the cookbooks later) and jobs that need extra hands, like straightening carpets and moving furniture.

Speaking of cooking, I am doing a bit. Realizing that the thought of just steaming a bag of frozen vegetables (we have a bunch in the freezer) was unappealing, I grabbed my trusty, easy Better Homes book and found a recipe for a cheesy vegetable bake, which I then carried out. Not bad for a first try, and I will do it again with more/better ingredients next time. I think I’m also going to make chili today, which reminds me, I should take the ground beef out of the freezer to defrost. (*goes away, comes back*)

I still need to do kind of a high-level walk-through of the apartment, noting into Voice Memo what I’d like to do in each room. Mostly inventorying, but also possible plans for change.

At this point, most of the accounts have been notified except for the ones that I’ll need letters of testamentary for. I have an appointment with my lawyer to hand over the will this Thursday and get that process started. I have gotten into C’s two laptops, updated them, virus-scanned and removed unnecessary software, and pulled off data to put on my own media drive for backup. I think I’m going to hang onto his newer one, then reset and donate mine and his older one, but no rush there. I just need to turn them all on once a month or so, so they can update.

And I continue to whittle away at death notifications for people on his Xmas card list, and thank you cards and so on. I’ve offered before, but it’s a real offer, if you would like a mass card, please let me know and I’ll send you one.

People are taking me out to dinner and stuff. My buddy and JH neighbor Barrie took me out for Tibetan food. We hadn’t gotten caught up in a long time, and news she shared was she’d gotten really into herbal medicine and had gotten enough training to be licensed in it. And presented me with a “tea for grief and loss” she’d assembled, plus some lip balm she made and some other stuff. Such a thoughtful and personal gift, and the tea, which I tried yesterday, is delicious.

Other friends I’m trying to schedule with to coordinate with my random, but basically weekly, trips into Manhattan. And my brother’s coming in to hang and to help in a couple of weeks, so that will be great. (Again, I need to be ready with projects to hand him.) I’ve been on the phone with one or the other friend or family member pretty much every night, which has been Not Usual for Me, but also Really Nice and helpful for me and them.

♫ When I think of Charles, I think about a night when the earth smelled of summer and the sky was streaked with white….

… and how he made me laugh every day, and still does. And our dumb in-jokes and lovely routines and how, when we managed to get beyond all the crap and frustration of the day-to-day, how deep and real and soothing and supporting the relationship was.

I took myself out to dinner last night, and and at some point, eyeballed the empty chair across from me… and could see in my mind’s eye, just what Charles would have looked like if he were there. How many hundreds of wonderful restaurant meals did we share over the years, and bitched about our workday over cocktails, and speared stuff off each other’s plates, and negotiated over our orders so we could try more things we were interested in. Some sadness there, but mostly a huge sense of gratitude and joy in the remembrance.

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