I had to answer the phone but I couldn’t keep my sobs in check.
“Hey,” came my husband’s voice over the line.
“Hi,” I said, through muffled sobs.
“What’s going on?” After almost two decades of togetherness there wasn’t much I could hide from him. He’d learned almost every nuance in my voice.
“I found the pee shirt.” What little I was trying to hold back came flooding out.
“Oh,” his voice was sympathetic and sad all at once, knowing exactly what I meant by the statement.
There are some items of Ukiah’s we hold as treasures, and some things we’ve just held. As I’ve mentioned before, the more time that has passed from his passing, the harder it is for me to get rid of anything related to him. But there are some things, like the invisible scars that are hiding and make themselves visible when I least expect it.
We’ve been staging the house recently because we are putting it on the market. This is in and of itself a bittersweet thing. The place is so full of memories we’ve made, memories we’ve made with him, memories that for better and for worse aren’t going to be in the new place, wherever that is.
I was doing a massive spring cleaning to stage the house and ran into things that I knew we still had but that I did not know we were hiding. Maybe my husband had been hiding them from me, or maybe I was hiding them from myself. I’m not sure. But I found them and they broke my heart all over again.
The Pee shirt was chief amongst those items. It was dubbed that because every time the hubbie wore it, Ukiah would inevitably soil it in some manner. The bodily fluids housed on the shirt are varied and numerous. Sorry to get gross on you, but it is the truth. The shirt itself is four-leaf clover green with a horse and rider screen-printed on it and some sparse wording that I don't remember. This shirt had seen war, not just of the bodily fluid variety. Swiss cheese ain’t got nothin’ on this shirt. It’s old and ratty and can’t be used for anything other than a rag and I will not get rid of it. You’ll have to pry it out of my cold dead hands. (Actually, I hope I get to go out that way, clutching something that reminds me of him, though probably not the pee shirt. I still have his stuffed animals. I’ll use one of those and one of the little munchkin’s while I’m at it. It would be nice to have the things I most treasure around me when I go out. And chocolate. Even if I’m not allowed to eat it, I want it close. But i'll save that for my will. Okay, digressing here, I’ll stop.).
I was clutching the pee shirt when he called. We both let the significance of it wash over us and were quiet for a while, neither of us knowing what to do with our feels. We switched tacks but we didn’t have to say much else. We knew he was there with us in that moment. We let him be. Sometimes the best things that are said are things that aren’t said at all.
Today is the anniversary of his passing, and there have already been several of those moments. Saying things and not saying things because not saying them is just as significant.
But right now I do have quite a few things to say. Mainly the big thing to say is that George Mark Children’s House, an organization near and dear to my heart and a charity that is well worth giving money to is having a fundraiser right now. Their current #fundabed fundraiser is gaining traction right now on social media and on Indiegogo but it can still use all the help it can get.
The great thing about this fundraiser is you can select the exact amount, type of donation you want to give. $5 buys a home-cooked meal. $25 buys a week’s worth of diapers and wipes. You can actually choose the type of impact you want your donation to make!
This is huge! It is so important you guys. And so worthy too.
Usually around this time of year, I make a plea regarding my Piggy Banks for Ukiah fundraiser, choosing to make this bittersweet time in our lives worth something by donating to George Mark House but this year I’ll be donating all my son’s piggy bank money (and if my daughter wants, some or all of her piggy bank money too) to the #fundabed campaign.
I would love to have enough in the piggie bank to buy an end of life suite. To be able to give a family the chance to use the same facilities my family and I were able to use when my son was there… to give that gift…. There are no words. None. I’m crying while writing this right now. I can’t even explain.
But with your help? Well, the sky’s the limit isn’t it?
I’m not sure if the Indiegogo fundraiser has the capabilities to let us pool our money for an item, but how great would it be to be able to give them enough to fund a day of care for a patient, or two. And real talk, as someone who as used their bereavement support services, if we could somehow band together to fund the bereavement support gift? I would be beyond the moon indebted to you to make this happen.
Right now, I don’t’ have much in the way of gifts or freebies to hand out to make your donation worth it, except what I’ve done in the past which is to lend my ever so humble blog to you for donating or spreading the word.If you have any suggestions or ideas for pooling our funds/resources I’d love to hear it.