Looking outside at a nice day...its a bit overcast and muggy. The last 5 days have been like this,we get humid and steamy,storms pop up,it rains and then goes away. It is almost like being in Florida. Guess we might get a bit of a summer yet!!
Past week has seen its highs and lows. Had a real sad patch of 3-5 days of feeling like Lori just left me. It felt like the day of her death and I really started to flounder badly,lot of tears and wanting to pack my bags. I always wonder if I am the only one to feel that way,are feelings solely my own. Am I the weirdo widower in the room? I am both saddened and relieved to know that these feelings are natural and not uncommon. Saddened to know others are feeling this terrible and desperately wanting to go home by any means possible and relieved that I am not alone in feeling this way.
The trigger was trying to clean up our spare bedroom. I really hadn't been in the room for about a year other then put my winter bedding away. Otherwise I have not gone into the room for any reason. So I started looking in the top drawer when I saw a card with two tiny birds and the word "lovebirds".
The card was was from 2005 Lori and I went to Washington D.C. for vacation,she wrote how much fun we were going to have and how we were going to have so many more in the future.
That was all I could handle and I started to cry. I put the card back and walked out of the room about 60 seconds after I walked in.I was pretty saddened at this,that it still absolutely like she passed that day. I tried to de-stress by going down in the basement and cleaning Paladin's box and doing some laundry.
But my week was shot,just beyond sad and missing Lori....struggled hard to finish my last week of overnights at my job. We were doing inventory prep and only had a 6 man team to prep a huge store....
Saturday presented a new challenge for me....a co-worker's brother had died and his viewing/funeral service was being held on Saturday afternoon. My friend Sue and I drove over to pay our respects. As we got closer Sue told me about the funeral home,it was one of the smallest ones she had ever seen and as we pulled up,she wasn't just whistling Dixie,it was incredibly small,it was there first and the city built around it. A apartment complex was directly behind it as well as a pre-school right next to it. You could only drive in one way to park and parking lot was pretty narrow.
Sue and I got there just as the service started...the little chapel was packed,my co-worker's brother was a popular guy,well loved. It felt surreal to be standing there...so many fresh memories and emotions. We stood outside in the hall as the chapel had no seating left. The pastor gave a nice service,listening to little stories and tributes sort of gave you a idea of what he was like. While laughter was there,tears were the order of the day.
Two of our fellow co-workers came as well....as we watched,I could feel myself start to hurt inside,the room was getting smaller and the sound of crying was starting to effect me. Well Sue got a urgent call and we had to go about 5 minutes before the service did.
I was both happy that I had lasted as long as I did and didn't waver. I was only sorry I didn't see Linda,my co-worker,who supported me during Lori's cancer. She too,lost her spouse only a short while ago..and now this...
So while I was wrestling hard with this,I made plans to attend my first concert in forever. I missed seeing Dave Alvin in July but another of my favorite singers was coming to Ann Arbor.
I first saw Candye Kane back in 1992 when she opened for a great roots rock band called The Blazers at the Cactus Club. I was completely blown away and went on to maybe 12-15 shows in San Jose,Santa Cruz and San Francisco. One of my last shows at the Agenda was a Candye Kane show which was really well attended and just a great vibe all the way around. I helped the band load out and thanked her for a great show,she kissed me good-bye and that was the last I saw her,that was in 1998.
Flash forward to 2008...Candye breaks the news she has pancreatic cancer and is facing a life and death struggle. I started to write her via social media and sent encouragement just as thousands have done. She has multiple surgeries, including one where they used 150 plus stitches to sew her up.
She tours,undergoes chemo,records,more chemo,flies to Europe,huge medical bills starting to pile up. Fans rally around her as she undergoes more treatment,she was once weighed around 270 pounds,not anymore she writes.
Lori gets sick,my writing to her becomes less and less as Lori gets more and more ill. Candye is fighting so hard as is my Lori but Lori is fading now,no letters now,just blogging here. Candye writes me,wondering how we are doing,I sent her my blog.
2013....Lori is gone in May...a cancer that was preventable has taken her. Candye,with a cancer that normally kills within two years,is still alive and shining brightly. I write her twice in the past 18 months,once to tell her Lori has died.
But now Candye is coming back to Michigan,playing the Ark. I haven't seen a live show in 5 years,haven't been to the Ark in years when Lori and I saw Kim Richey play. I reach out to my friend (and frequent guest blogger) Susan to see if she would like to see Candye. She is game and we make plans. I also ask my other Sue who is also game for a show.
So here we are last Tuesday meeting at my home to carpool to Ann Arbor. It looks like a thunderstorm type of night as it starts to get ugly. Paladin the cheetah is sitting in the windowsill which is open...when a huge bolt of lightening flashes and thunder cracks across the sky. Does the cheetah run? Hell no!! Paladin sits there and meows good-bye at us....
The rain dies out as we leave our town and head to Ann Arbor,we went via Michigan Ave. so it was mellow as far as going into town,no passing the UM Hospital.
Downtown Ann Arbor was buzzing with life as we headed to Main St. Lot of places to eat,drink and be merry but not so much in terms of pure shopping. Last time Lori and I were downtown Ann Arbor was about two years for the art fair. We had a good time but we couldn't stay very long as Lori got tired pretty fast back then.
But the same kind of buzz was still going on....tons of foot traffic and construction cranes all around.
Parked our car and walked to the Ark,got our tickets and seats. The Ark shows pretty much start dead on time and so at 8 pm,her band,led by the amazing Laura Chavez on guitar,hit the stage.
They played two instrumentals and then Laura introduced Candye. Wow....I knew she lost some weight during her cancer journey but I wasn't ready to see how much she had lost....and she looked GREAT!!
The voice was still quite strong but the Ark's sound system leaves a lot to be desired so her vocals were bit muted. The small mid-week crowd was fully into the show and Candye sang a lot of her favorites "I'm the Reason Why You Drink", "Toughest Girl Alive" and "Superhero".
But something started bothering me as the show went on,in between songs,Candye shared her journey on how she was so happy she was still alive and how blessed she was .While I am happy she is doing so well,a miracle in fact,I found myself feeling more and more upset....bitter and resentful,something I never expect to feel when talking about about a cancer survivor. I mean,I harbor no ill will towards Candye herself,no one thinks that of course. It is the whole process....like another widower said when he mentioned he doesn't go to any of the cancer events (Relay For Life,3 Day Walk,etc).
"It isn't because of the people,it is because of the sheer greed of the medical field in treating this. Billions in research,drugs and fund raising and there isn't even ONE cure for any one cancer. It is always hope for a cure but never any real answers. People and companies get wealthy off our blood,loss and broken souls but won't even allow for one cancer to be cured".
Caught this wonderful and telling blog entry that is very worth checking,just click the link to check out the blog.
Taking a quick run through some search engines,I find this emotion is not publicly talked about,but it IS talked about. I have discussed this with at least six other widowers,widows,parents,children who have lost someone to cancer but have a hard time being around survivors/events. The feeling of "why only some but not all" is a strong feeling to feel but as you are reading this,much,much harder to express without being criticized for it. Personally,I don't care if I am or not...I am just sharing just another part of my journey. I'm saying its a normal feeling to feel anger and resentment but to make sure you know who you really directing that to.
Back at the Ark,the show was a extremely good one and Candye played two encores as she received a standing ovation (which she deserved).
One very sweet part about Candye's show,while she is tries to push her latest CDs and shirts,she also has a CD, "The Power In You" which she sells but knowing a lot of folks may have just enough money to see a show but not afford a CD,she gives those away. It depends solely on the honor system that if you can't afford a album,you can either pay what you can or get a free CD. Very sweet gesture indeed.
We hung around as I wanted to say hello....and playing thousands of shows since 1998,I didn't think she would remember me at all...which she didn't until I mentioned the Agenda Lounge show. Then her eyes opened wide and she smiled. She said Laura was from Mountain View,then she really remembered when I mentioned Lori. She whispered she was sorry in my ear,grabbed the CD and signed it for me. She had a lot of fans to meet and greet so I let her go. Laura and I talked as we talked about the EDGE and she had been in a band that opened during one of Jimmy's Y&T shows.
We said our last goodbyes and headed towards home. Both ladies loved the show and said they were glad I shared Candye with them. I was just glad to be able to see a live show again. I don't know who I will be seeing next,only that it won't take 5 years to see it.
Seems like Dollar Tree Theater is catching on....had a couple of people both mention Dollar Tree Theater in telling me about a couple of new (to me anyways) discount stores in our area,a chain called "Ollie's" and a store called "Five Below". Said they had some very low prices on books and DVDs.
So took a ride to Ollie's last week and took a peek. It wasn't too bad but you have to pick and choose as not everything was that cheap. The DVD section was so-so but I did find a couple of Dollar Tree class deals,20 war movies for 2.99 and the short lived "Lonesome Dove" series for 7.00. Also picked up Terry Francona's book about the Boston Red Sox 2004 championship year for 2.99. Thought it was worth going but you get the feeling the turnover isn't very fast and that in 3-4 months,you would be looking at the same stuff.
Haven't been to Five Below yet but I aiming to venture there this week to take a peek.
Heading to Detroit on Thursday to watch the Yankees-Tigers play. While the Yankees season has been plagued by injuries to the pitching and termites eating the bats,the Tigers zoomed ahead in the AL Central. The Yanks were at one time in 4th place while the Tigers had a commanding lead in the Central....but suddenly the Tigers have started to crumble,stumble and bumble their way out of first while the Yankees have moved to second place in the East. Now as this writing,the Tigers and Yankees are fighting for the last wild-card spot,the Tigers are a half game back while the Yanks are hanging on (barely) at 3.5 games back.
This series not only will help figure out the wild card but marks Derek Jeter's last regular season game against Detroit. This will be my first game in 4 years,Lori and I took her Aunt Jo to see a game against Tampa Bay back in 2010.
This time I will be seeing it with our friend Deb,who got me a ticket for my birthday next week. I am very grateful that so many people have shown me kindness during this time. I never take such acts lightly or for granted...it helps me stay grounded here. And paying it forward is a common theme here in my blog and so I will be looking for a new Pink Hat mission come September,don't know what it will be yet but it will happen.
Well that is all I have in my tank....I am heading out to do a little walking. I am re-joining the gym this week so I want to start walking before winter gets here.
If you are on Twitter, follow me @Jinzo_2400
Candye - May your miracle continue!!
Susan and Sue - Thanks for allowing me to share Candye with you
The Fluffy Twins - just because!
Deb,Cheryl and Marlene (Crash's mom) - thank you for the birthday goodies!!
John,Justin,Darryl - thanks for talk.
San Jose State football - Beat North Dakota
Bene Benwikere - Spartan Strong!
Monte - thanks for the phone call!