Janie got out of bed because my loud snoring was keeping her awake, and now she's sleeping in her recliner. It seems like she and I have been together forever, but really, it's only been about four and a half years. Paul is sleeping in the other recliner, because he still hangs out here a lot. He came into my life when I dated his mother, and even though that relationship only lasted a few months, he and I have stayed friends for--wow. Eight years and change? That's a long time. (I'm still friends with his mom, for that matter, although minus the whole "hanging out together" part.) And of course, freely traveling between both chairs is Isabella T. Beagle, the greatest dog in the history of dogs, curling up with both of her friends for a few minutes, then coming back to me and placing her head on my lap as I type, nuzzling my beloved cat Staley.
It's a nice, warm life I've made for myself, here in a ramshackle house I can at least call my own. There's only one thing wrong: Mom missed the whole thing.
When my mother passed away nine years ago today, I was in a bad place: Still reeling from the breakup with my wife four years earlier, prone to fits of depression and anger, certain that I was destined to drift through the world alone. Mom had confidence in me, thought that wherever I landed would be wherever I was meant to be--she actually phrased it that way during one of our conversations, to which I responded, "Thanks a lot, Buckaroo Banzai," and of course she laughed, because there weren't too many arcane pop culture references she wouldn't get--but I was certain that my marriage was my one shot at happiness, and I'd blown it.
Well, maybe not certain. In fact, I was starting to think the whole divorce thing was just a distraction in my life, but I hadn't figured out what the next act was supposed to be. When Mom got sick, even though she stayed in good spirits even as the doctors explained just how far the cancer had progressed, spending as much time as possible with her became a kind of top priority.
Then she died, and I felt lost, and briefly wondered if I'd ever feel happiness, or anything, again. But I'd inherited mom's cat Monika, who started interacting with psychokitty Delmar in the most entertaining ways, and I loved just watching them get to know each other, and I found myself laughing at their antics on a daily basis. So I could still feel some measure of joy. And I started this very site, initially as a way to process my grief, but then it kind of turned into a journal of my dating life, because that's a thing that also continued. (Eventually, of course, it became whatever the hell it is now. To Theoretical Reader Who Has Been Here All Along, I'd just like to say how very sorry I am for all those clips from Lynda Carter variety specials.)
Most importantly, I just kept living. I'm pretty sure Mom would be overjoyed to see I've finally attained some measure of happiness in life. Heck, I'm certain of it. But I will never be able to share it with her, and knowing that is an ache that will always linger, a hole in my heart that can never quite be repaired.