For those of you who haven't been obsessively following my blog (and why not, might I ask?) let me fill you in on the events that have occurred over the past year, or so.
1. 11/02/09 - I discover that my husband of 17 years has been seriously abusing prescription medications. Among other things. This follows a 14-year pattern of substance abuse on his part.
2. 11/02/09 - I tell him that I can't allow our children to wake up one morning, only to discover that their father had died in the basement.
3. 3/10 - I file for divorce. (fyi, for those that might think otherwise: this is really. freaking. hard. We were together for 17 years.)
4. Yada yada yada.
5. 6/?/10 - 7/?/10 - He relapses, missing our daughter's 10th birthday because he's detoxing.
6. 9/9/10 - He calls one morning, drunk. He is feeling desperate. Desperate.
6. 9/10/10 - I drive him to treatment. He blows a .38 that morning. The kids and I visit him every weekend, and he is the proudest I've ever seen him. And rightly so, he went through hell to complete treatment.
7. 9/10-1/11 - We decide that we need to be adults about this, and he steps up to the plate as a parent.
8. 12/11 - He relapses.
9. 1/4/11- Our divorce becomes final.
10. 4/?/11 - He relapses.
11. 4/6/11 - What would have been our 18th wedding anniversary.
12. 4/10/11 - He drops the kids off after a weekend-long visit. I am scared and angry because he hasn't paid any child support as of yet, and the plasma bank won't accept my donation since I have epilepsy.
13. 4/17/11 - We haven't heard from him for two days. This is unusual. I have a bad feeling in the pit of my stomach. I tell the kids I'm going to the store for bread, but I drive to his apartment instead. He is dead. The police arrive, as does the coroner. What follows is a nightmare.
14. 4/17/11 - Try to imagine coming home from the "store" and telling your young children that their father is dead. There isn't enough love in the world to absorb their grief. It's the worst day of your life, hands down.
15. 4/17/11-4/25/11 - A huge blur.
16. 7/4/11- Your daughter's first birthday since her father died. Now she hasn't had her father there for her birthday for 2 years running.
17. 11/2/11 - You lose your job. The irony is not lost on you.
18. 11/11/11 - Your son is tentatively diagnosed with Autism by a developmental pediatrician. He will be formally evaluated in February, but you already know.
19. 11/21/11 - What would have been your husband's 44th birthday.
20. 11/25/11 - The first Thanksgiving without him.
21. 12/25/11 - The first Christmas without him.
22. 1/1/12 - The first New Year's without him.
Now, you might think that the holidays were what rubbed his death in your face, right? Not so. The kids and I did pretty ok during the holidays, thanks to my parents, extended family, and my wonderful sister/friend DAF, who turned a great evening into a super-duper fantastic evening.
I found myself thinking about Christmases past, when Ira made sure to have the tree lit up and Mannheim Steamroller (and later, the soundtrack to The Nightmare Before Christmas) playing before he'd let the kids come downstairs.
I recalled Christmas Day last year, when he came over to see the kids open their gifts and we all watched "Scrooge" together on the couch. He wiped away tears at the end, when Scrooge was accepted and redeemed by his family. He didn't think I noticed, but I did.
I remembered New Year's Day last year, when he came over for dinner and ended up driving me to the emergency room because I'd sliced my finger open on a can. I was so glad he was there.
So, as I was telling my therapist this week that I thought we all did pretty well this year, out of nowhere, came the tears.
I found myself sobbing in her office, Ira's death hitting me all over again.
Not because of birthdays, holidays or anniversaries.
Because of a cell phone.
You see, Ira had always been in love with technology, electronics, video games, music and everything in between. It was his passion.
Last week, I upgraded to a new phone. A pretty amazing phone, to be exact. Here's a picture of it.
Pretty sweet, right? That's what I thought. Then I realized that Ira wasn't around to see this new technology. He would never know that there was a phone that had a 4.5" screen. A phone that had an app that would tell him jokes, as well as let him know where the nearest Starbucks was. He would never know that a phone could have 4G, because the last time he checked, 3G was the shit.
That's when it hit me.
Life would go on.