I wanted to ride down to the jiffy and get a 40 so I could pour some out on the ground in Steve’s honor today, but I’ll just splash some coffee on the floor instead. We get older. We make do.
Sorry Steve. I hope they don’t have grudges in heaven. When my husband was going to visit him the last time, I wasn’t OK so he didn’t leave. Then Steve died. What the fuck, man. You know how I know there’s no god? Because shit like that happens. And genocide.
I worked pretty hard to earn that guy’s respect, too. He tried to like me, he did- but he just didn’t, not at first. (I know, right?) I pretended not to care when he confessed to me long after we met that he’d at first found me grating and bitchy but I was inwardly devastated because that was as hard as I’d ever worked to impress anyone. We went to Universal Studios the first time we all hung out and I thought I was being accommodating and witty but he thought I was a snarky aloof bitch. I know right? Weird!
You wanted him to like you, is the point. You REALLY wanted him to, and if he did it wasn’t a secret. When I won Steve’s trust and affection I felt like I could high-five God. He was the best man at our wedding. I cried behind my veil first when he winked at me at the altar, and later when he made a speech that dispensed with jokes after the openers because his formal stamp of approval meant that much to me.
Lately it seems like I miss him every single day- maybe because it’s taken me a week to write this post because I can’t let my family see me cry, or maybe it’s because I don’t feel as if I have a right to this level of grief. Whatever. Steve, you’re still in my phone book three versions later. You narrate my movies, you get me out of bed when I can’t do it on my own and I swear can actually hear your voice sometimes, telling me that I look like shit and need a shower. Your voice is my internal compass now; you didn’t go far when you left the earth. You migrated right into my brain, which is totally OK because we’ve been trying to get you to move in with us ever since you got sick.
Two years ago, we woke up on Mother’s Day to read on Facebook (Hi, worst way EVER to find out your friend is dead: his facebook wall. kthxbai) that he was dead. That day we wandered around in a daze, and I was grateful to be outside where I could cry behind my sunglasses. Mother’s Day will never be the same again, I thought. For any of us.
Today, I languished on the deck, stuffed full of chocolate milk, coffee and eggs Benedict that my husband painstakingly cooked from scratch for me so that I didn’t have to go out for brunch. It was a lovely, beautiful day that could only be improved by Steve Pietarila and Mary Jane Cushman not being dead.
I’m not generally angry or all that put out by people dying. It’s the circle of life and all that-but I have questions, and this year my questions are tearful and I’m positively overflowing with angst. For Steve’s wife, mother and his young daughter, what will Mother’s Day be like from now until eternity?
They believe that Steve is in Heaven so I hope that today is happy and lovely for them and that they are remembering Steve without pain and angsty questions. Leave it to Steve to do his last thing perfectly: he built an incredible family for himself and left them happy and filled with love and secure in the knowledge that he was totally devoted to them.
I just watched a hawk fly from low branch to low branch just outside the fence on my property-something I don’t often see hawks do. I don’t have a religious foundation so I search for meaning in every little thing: the mockingbird that sings in the middle of the night, the owl that returns Avery’s call, the raccoon who isn’t afraid of me and curls up to sleep on the on the front porch while I sit across the threshold and talk softly to it. The hawk now inching closer to me in the tree branches. What is my mother earth trying to tell me? I’m listening. I promise, I’m listening.