Monday, October 18, 2010

Why I hate the last week of October

The Fall

I love the Fall season. I do, the leaves change color, the temperature is perfect for wearing sweatshirts the air just feels fresh and crisp, the Fall is an awesome season. All except for the last week of October…I do not like the last week of October…

October 29, 2007

After waiting for hours in a small room at UPMC-Presby the doctors finally made their way in to speak to us. It was the day we first heard with certainty that Jen indeed had a brain tumor. It was the beginning of the day when I actually realized that life would never be the same ever again.

I can remember feeling disbelief…like their had a to be a mistake. Their was no way this is happening to us…it can’t be happening to us…it can’t. The doctor said that we needed to get a biopsy of the tumor to determine the exact type. I can remember trying to be strong but my face said it all. My thoughts went to the girls…what would happen, how would we, who would they, how could we…it was just so surreal. Jen asked the hard question that I could not “how long do I have”. The reply was cold and direct – “you’re looking at two to five years depending on how aggressive it grows”.

One thing I will never forget is the coldness in the doctor’s voice and how it all seemed so matter of fact to him…I will carry that with me forever. I needed to get Jen out of there…we drove to a park near our house and walked. We couldn’t believe what we just heard…our lives and the lives of our family were never the same after that day.

October 31, 2008

We spent a couple of grueling days at the hospital…Jen was subjected to a series of long tests for a very new experimental treatment. In a nutshell the treatment involved using your own bodies DNA to help combat the tumor…very different and very radical from the conventional treatments. We both let ourselves get somewhat optimistic…after all from a logical view this made sense, use your own bodies DNA to fight the foreign body (the tumor) inside your body.

We didn’t get home until 4:00pm after a long couple of days. The phone rang at 4:45pm…it was the doctor in charge of the new study. He was informing us that he did not think we were a good candidate for the study since the MRI done earlier that morning showed growth of the tumor. We were crushed! I can remember putting on a good tough show for Jen but inside I was just crushed.

Trick or Treating was starting at 5:30. The girls were so excited to go around the neighborhood and collect candy…and here are Jen and I sobbing together and trying desperately to hold it together. It was one of the worst moments of my life at that point. Again a moment I will never forget.

October 2009

I don’t’ have anything in particular for October 2009…honestly I was just sort of numb at that point. The first few months after Jen’s passing I was going through the motions…I honestly don’t recall that much from last year. The one thing I do remember is that I didn’t take the girls to the pumpkin patch where we use to go as a family…I just couldn’t.

October 2010

I still love the Fall…but I can’t wait for Halloween to be done and over with…I will make new memories…I will, but for now until then it’s going to be a hard few weeks. The girls wanted to go to the pumpkin patch last Sunday and I still can’t do it…I’m just not ready…

Sunday, October 17, 2010

A Classic -- Darkness on the Edge of Town

Darkness on the Edge of Town

Okay so my hockey team lost today (the Flyers) then the Phillies also were defeated...but I take solace in this. I just watched the HBO documentary "The Promise: the making of Darkness on the Edge of Town". What an awesome and inspiring hour of television. So if you are NOT a Springsteen fan...please stop reading now...

I made a list of my top 25 albums a couple of years ago and Darkness on the Edge of Town was number 1. Here is what I wrote back then...

My Personal Number One

No 1. Bruce Springsteen - Darkness on the Edge of Town (vinyl – cassette – CD)
– This album is dark and I spent countless hours of my youth, adolescence and adulthood life listening over and over. Songs about letting go, busting out and yearning for more just hit to close to home at various points in my life – “Something in Night”, “Streets of Fire”, “Racing in the Street”, “Candy’s Room”, “The Promised Land” all classic Springsteen.

It's an album that I owned as a true vinyl a cassette tape and as a CD. I wasted countless hours of my youth, adolescence and even my adulthood years listening to it. It's a very dark album. Many of the songs are about coming of age, the struggles we go through and wanting to break out for "something more"'s an awesome collection of songs.

I can't tell you how many nights me and my buddies wasted listening to that album...over and over...and how many beers we drank but it was many...and it's funny there was always one rule - NO SINGING during the playing of Darkness. It was like we just wanted to listen to the words...what was being said...if you got caught singing you were punched and were told to "shut up". Not many albums had that effect on me, but to me Darkness was like a piece of art for me and for my friends. Listening to it, as silly and ridiculous as it sounds gave me inspiration. I just knew deep down inside that I was going to break away from where I grew up and get out...and I did.

I can still recall some of the deep and meaningful conversations that were discussed and the locations while listening to that album. Hearing those songs always brings me back to a time and place from long ago. A time when things were simpler and less complex yet more confusing if that makes any sense. Even now those songs ring true for's sort of like an old friend who you haven't spoke to in years and when you see each other time hasn't missed a beat. What sucks is I have some old friends that I do miss...they don't read this blog...they won't ever know...and I won't call them, but I have to believe that when they hear those songs...they have the same feelings...
Of all the songs on the album..."Something in the Night" was always my personal favorite...

Something in the Night

I'm riding down Kingsley,
figuring I'll get a drink
Turn the radio up loud,
so I don't have to think,
I take her to the floor,
looking for a moment when the world seems right,
And I tear into the guts,
of something in the night.

You're born with nothing,
and better off that way,
Soon as you've got something they send
someone to try and take it away,
You can ride this road 'till dawn,
without another human being in sight,
Just kids wasted on
something in the night.

Nothing is forgotten or forgiven,
when it's your last time around,
I got stuff running 'round my head
That I just can't live down.

When we found the things we loved,
They were crushed and dying in the dirt.
We tried to pick up the pieces,
And get away without getting hurt,
But they caught us at the state line,
And burned our cars in one last fight,
And left us running burned and blind,
Chasing something in the night.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Unsettling Dream

So I had an interesting dream the other night and I have been thinking as to whether or not to write about it…so here it goes.

I was in a dimly lit room and Jen was there. She didn’t seem her usual self. I could tell that something was bothering her. We talked for a few minutes about nothing in particular, I don’t even remember really, then out of the blue said to me “that it should have been me that died and not her”.

Her comment threw me for a loop…just hearing her say that. Then I remember seeing a door in the room and it had a bright light coming from underneath it. She told me to follow her into the other room, through the door. We walked into the room and it was even darker then the room that we were just in.

The room had a small wooden square table and two wooden chairs in it. I sat down in one of the chairs and Jen handed me a cup and a pill and told me to take it. By taking the pill we would switch places and she would come back and I would be dead.

I remember being confused and surprised and said “no, that I would not take the pill”. She became agitated and started getting very upset. I could hear voices in the room but couldn’t see anyone else. She demanded that I take the pill and again I said “no”. I could see the fury and anger in her face…the blackness of the room…the voice were coming from all directions, I got up from the chair but the door to the room was gone.

I turned around and Jen was standing right next to me and she was very upset and said “TAKE IT”…then I woke up.

It was a vivid, unsettling dream. I woke up at 2:37am. I had beads of sweat on my forehead, my heart was pounding. I got up and went and checked on the girls, they were both fast asleep. I don’t know what in the hell that was all about…maybe watching the movie “the Fourth Kind” on HBO before bed didn’t help.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Recent Conversations

I haven’t done this in a long time…don’t anyone be offended, it’s all good harmless humor

The Setup -- Madonna’s “Like a Virgin” is playing on the radio.

Abbie – What’s a virgin?
Me – Uh, someone who is very pure
Abbie – Oh, then I’m a virgin because I’m pure.
Me – Right…uh yes you are
Allie – Well I’m pure so I guess I’m a virgin
Abbie – Well, you’re a virgin too Dad because you are pure
Me – Well…sure…uh….

And with that I turned the radio station to a different song. I went upstairs for a minute and don’t you know what songs comes on next – “I want your sex” by George Michael.

Abbie – Hey dad what does
Me – DON”T WORRY about it.
Allie was just looking confused…

AND WITH THAT…I turned the radio to Radio Disney…

The Setup – Watching the Steelers / Ravens game last Sunday

The show a picture of Ray Lewis yelling and screaming on the field

Abbie – Dad that man looks crazy
Allie – Yeah, he looks like a bad guy alright
Me – Yep, he is a bad guy
Abbie – I like the purple uniforms though
Allie – Yeah, purple is cool

Just funny how kids see and what they find so innocent and fun

The Setup – Eating dinner and discussing the day

Me – So Kiddos how was your day?
Allie – Good
Abbie – Good
Me – Well what did you learn in school today?
Allie – Nothing
Abbie – Well {name of boy} can’t fit his knees or legs under his desk because he’s too fat
Me – Hey, don’t say he’s fat, some folks are big and besides would you like someone calling you fat.
Abbie – Sorry Dad he {name of boy} is just really um, really…well he’s really
Abbie – Yeah, good one Allie, he’s overfed
Me – (me trying not to crack up) okay, he’s overfed just don’t say fat okay
Allie – Okay Dad
Abbie – Got it

And with that every time the girls see a “big” person on TV they say “hey, look how overfed that person is”.

Breakfast for Dinner

I have instituted a new thing in the house – once every two or three weeks we have pancakes for dinner.

Abbie – Alright, pancakes for dinner
Allie – You’re the best Dad ever
Abbie – Yeah, You’re the best Dad
Allie – Hey, since we are having breakfast for dinner tonight, can we have chicken nuggets for breakfast tomorrow morning.
Abbie – Yeah Dad can we?
Me – Uh, no…but nice try
Allie – Oh man, you’re so unfair
Me – WHAT, I thought I was the best Dad ever?
Abbie – Oh that’s old news now

WHERE do these kids get this quick wit from?

By far the best…at least for me but a little sappy…

After we attended Open House at the school – I was tucking them in for bed

Me – that was cool girls, I love your classrooms
Abbie – Thanks Dad
Allie – Thanks, oh and Dad
Me – Yeah, what’s up Kiddo
Allie – I’m glad you’re my Dad
Abbie – Me too Dad…you’re a cool Dad

Just melts my heart…

Random Comments

Abbie, on her hair
– “Does my hair look fierce? I just don’t think my hair looks fierce enough”.

Allie, on responding to me, Abbie or basically anyone else
– “Oh, you don’t know what I got”.

Me after they get done taking a shower and/or bath
– “Girls, for the tenth time will you please put some clothes on”

Never a dull moment raising two little crazy girls...but they are awesome kids...

Inside Bill's Head -- Previously Known as (Inside the Head of a Grieving Single Dad)

In August of 2009 my wife Jennifer passed away from an Anaplastic Astrocytoma Brain Tumor. She was only 38 years old. She left me and our two little girls Abbie and Allie to continue life’s journey.

I promised her that I would NOT become angry and bitter about what order to do that I am attempting to write to express my thoughts and feelings.

This site is a place where I can express my thoughts, feelings and rants...