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Είναι τα γενέθλιά σας. Μου λείπεις. translates to “Its your birthday. I miss you.”

The great and beloved Peter Konstantine Nikolis was a central and pivotal part of my life for the last several years.  When he passed away in April, my heart broke, my life changed, the world shook, and suddenly became a much colder, less comfortable place to be .  September 29th is Peter birthday,  and I always did something personal, thoughtful, that showed him that I loved him, and was grateful to have him in my life… rather than some cookie cutter birthday card or gift.  I had a beautiful special friendship with him, that most people are missing out on. it was deeply personal, and all about caring.  Now, don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t always rainbows and sunshine…  we bickered, and argued, and drove each other nutso sometimes too.  but all in all and at the end of the day, we both knew how much the other cared.   I loved this man…  scratch that, I still do.

I am writing this to ramble off some of my memories of Peter.  why?  because my heart is heavy and this will hopefully unburden me of some of the weight.

I want to start with something so important.  It was a silly promise i made him a few years ago…  It’s going to sound so bizarre to some,  but for those few people who know/understand me and my particular brand of oddity will see this as right on par for me…  lol.

It starts with a tee shirt.

I bought myself a new tee shirt, along sleeved black shirt with pink and red rhinestones in the shape of a heart.  I hadn’t had any new clothes in a very long time, and fell in love with it on the rack at Target while out shopping with my best friend.

As a side note, i should mention that I have this habit of “grooming”  the people i am close with… I am very touchy feely with my closest, and sort of stand-offish with the rest.  Peter and i were at a point where this was comfortable part of our regular communication every day.  Additionally, the affection was greater between us shortly after his first round of cancer, which is when this takes place. When someone comes that close to death, something changes in them and priorities get all rearranged and often affection becomes easier with your loved ones. it becomes very important.

Come Dress-Down-Friday, I wore my new shirt and Peter noticed it right away, and said that he felt that shirt suited me so well that it was now his favorite shirt on me. He the proceeded to reach for the rhinestones and tug on them.  I looked down and asked what he was doing?  his reply, {and I’ll never forget it}  was that he was checking to see how well the stones were fastened to me, because he “worried that I would lose pieces of my heart”  my immediate reply was that if for any reason, i were to lose a piece of my heart, i would give it to him.  {yes, yes,  add your “aww” here}  he smiled and promised that he would take good care of the pieces of my heart.  ❤  So as time went on, I would wear this shirt on dress down days, here and there, and every time, without fail, he would reach out and tug on the rhinestones. One day he was so busy he forgot to do this and i nearly forgot too, but it struck me as we were sitting in silence that there was something wrong, so i mentioned it.  he said that he was busy {which he was, with a bid take-off} but also that he was convinced the pieces would never come off and therefore he was trying to break his habit of tugging on them.  I walked away, a little put-off about the whole thing… I came back a few minutes later and said  “when I am no longer wearing this shirt, either when I reach my goal weight and it no longer fits, or when it’s just too old to wear anymore, I PROMISE that I will cut the little stones out, one at a time, and give you the pieces of my heart, in cute little ways, until you have them all.”

He loved the idea of it.

He got sicker and sicker as the years went by.

he had good times and would get knocked down every time.

Our jobs, our lives, time… it all kept on going… doing it’s thing,  but i never forgot the promise, though I never did begin the process, thinking it was more fun to wear the shirt {particularly on his birthday} to remind him of our cute lil rhinestone promise…

So this birthday, even though he is gone, the tradition begins.  I will be going to see him… well, the place where he rests anyways, and i will leave him the first stone. I will continue to do this, over time, until i have delivered to him, every stone in that heart.  I know how stupid it sounds.  but its important to me to keep my silly promise.

on a lighter note i was thinking about one Greek Easter where I sent him a “Happy Easter”  email  in greek.  It was soooo cute!!!  A baby pig saying “Καλό Πάσχα”  {happy Easter}  and a baby lambie saying something in greek in return, but i had no idea what…  it was cute  as a matter of fact here it is:

I got a phone call that night, and i can hear his family all around him,  there was joyful laughter all in the background, and Peter says to me, “i wanted to thank you for this card, but is there any way you knew what the Lamb was saying?”  Naturally i did not, and implied such.  he made me swear i had no clue before he would tell me what the lamb was saying…

Welp, the piggy says “HAPPY EASTER”

the Lambie says “GO FUCK OFF”

The traditional Greek Orthodox Easter dinner is fresh whole lamb on a spit.

HAHAHAHA!  I could’ve DIED!

I have so many many many memories of Peter.  maybe not ALL of them are gems, but most are. I am grateful for the time, the love, the life lessons, and the memories.

Mou Leipeis File mou.  {i miss you my friend} ❤

So, it’s come time to say farewell to another beloved summer. Oh how I’ll miss the heat, the beach days, the sun, and the long days.

Someone told me this winter is going to be a make up for last winter… I assumed he meant something else at first but then I realized he meant for me, specifically.

My head was flooded at that point with ideas and memories and hopes and dreams, and fears… All i could say was “i certainly hope so” . That’s all i could get out… but still my head was spinning.

On a side track here, I feel it is my duty to make a statement for the record that I have this terrible habit of letting out EXACTLY what I’m feeling at any given time…  it’s horrid. its a curse. and here goes…

What crossed my mind first and foremost was the tremendous tear in the fabric of my life which occurred just after Christmas 2011. When I had to call 911 on the man I was married to, because he had violently attacked me after months and months of abusive treatment and several weeks of intense mental, emotional and even physical torture. So Yeah, it’s safe to say that this winter is guaranteed to be better based on that alone…  and then there are the swirling doubts and the “buts” and the “what-ifs” such as,  “But I’m still struggling to figure things out as a single mom and what if something goes wrong?”  “but I no longer have someone to call my significant other… and what if  I never do?”  I have a lot to deal with ahead of me, and things just seem easier in the summer.

I had good thoughts too. Some of which will embarrass me, but I’ll put them out here anyhow because it’s only fair, and i can’t really help what my mind came up with… I thought about chilly winter nights, and the kind of beautiful snowfall that seems to hush everything, and slow everything and make everything look so beautiful and clean, if even just for a short while. I thought of sitting quietly, watching the snow fall, or silently staring in awe at the winter stars, with a hot cup of cocoa snuggled up close with someone. Someone that *wants to be there* snuggled up with me too…  and then the confused feeling of not knowing if that’s in the cards for me.  I hope so, but also, I’m afraid to hope so.  And then there’s this zap of shame for wanting something so selfish in the first place, when I should just be focused on how to get through this with my kids in good health, and my pride in tact. Its kind of hard to maintain my so-called-pride when i blurt everything out for all to see, and even harder if i give someone the ability to hurt me on a deeper level. not that everyone is out to do that.  but sometimes it happens. through actions, or even inaction that can hurt without intent.

There is an Ingrid Michaelson song that perfectly suits this… called “Snowfall”.   It really is a lovely song. If you are reading this, Please go give a listen. {you might also like “wintersong” which is Sara Barreilles and Ingrid Michaelson… I Just love them}   While I was talking to this friend, whom so innocently and unknowingly sent my mind into a whirlwind of thoughts and emotions, I began to debate with myself about whether “I’m ready” and what people would think… I worry about friends who might be disappointed in me, and others who might just be disappointed that I’m not choosing them… I think about people I’ve trusted, who’ve let me down. and people I’ve let down. I feel guilty, and haven’t even done anything. {What is that about?}

I fear that some of my friends may see me as a possession and feel they have a better idea of what I *should* want or do. And I fear they will be upset when I follow what *I* want, instead.

However, Nobody lives this life but me.

So, back to winter…  I also thought of the wet cold slippery miserable part of winter… my deck will be dangerous, My dog will get stinky. I no longer have a fireplace, but i also no longer have to worry about keeping the kiddos warm. =) there is school, and running around and my commute to work…

but then there’s Christmas.  My first as a Single mom. and i expect that it will be so much better than last year. =)  It’s also my first without Peter… and I will miss him dearly every moment. But I’ll smile and hug my kids tight, I’ll be deeply grateful… and I remember him with love in my heart.  He would be proud of me… this much I am certain of.

I know there is plenty of time between now and then but it seems to come up faster each year. We have plenty planned still for the autumn… Apple picking, A trip to CO to see my dear sister and Nephew. ❤  there’s   Halloween, then Thanksgiving will be upon us and POOF! it’s WINTER!

Okay, so I might be scared… and I might be alone… But I agree, this winter WILL be a make up for last winter. ❤