| |

In Between, Without You

“In between without you
Without you

Yesterday I got so old
I felt like I could die
Yesterday I got so old
It made me want to cry”

In between without you, Without you, Yesterday I got so old, I felt like I could die, Yesterday I got so old, It made me want to cry

I’m starting to realize that when you die, you don’t leave a perfect world.

There is no perfect world, of course. Never has been and never will be. Not only is it unlikely to leave behind a perfect world, but your imperfect world isn’t necessarily complete. Whether you pass away at 20 or 100, surely there’s another show you could have binge watched, a book you’ve only half read (or is still on hold at the library) and there’s surely a voting day in which you have yet to cast your ballot. I thought of this a lot when my grandmother passed away, because even at age 100, when she must have known it could happen to her at any point, she had ordered the evening’s meal at her assisted living facility. I believe she had even selected an ice cream flavor.

Surely she was excited about that ice cream.

I get haunted by unfinished ice cream dreams, and unfinished books; unfulfilled life dreams, and unfinished travel plans. I think that as you get older, dreams do tend to shrink. It doesn’t necessarily happen to everyone, and many of us experience more than we ever imagined, due to circumstances in childhood and adulthood, but many children have big dreams that loosen and sag along the way. Sometimes that’s ok, because you crave simpler and gentler things. We don’t all need to be movie stars and baseball stars with seven cars, and a house in the Hollywood Hills. Heck, I’ve never even been to Hollywood. I guess I was in a suspended state of denial, thinking I’d never age, or that I’d get to a set point in which I’d no longer have to worry about pimples or dieting or the Supreme Court and even the ozone layer. I thought I’d get to a set point in which I’d never have to worry about heartbreak again. There are no set points, for the most part, but I suppose you could get to a point in which a pimple happens, but it doesn’t have to bother you.

In between without you, Without you, Yesterday I got so old, I felt like I could die, Yesterday I got so old, It made me want to cry

Maybe you don’t have to diet ever again, but you change your lifestyle and your mindset instead. Heartbreak will happen in a million different ways, tiny and large, and yet you are still standing, better for it, perhaps. I don’t believe that dreams need to shrink or sag; maybe they just settle into something more comfortable and sustainable. And I don’t believe life is less magical, but that the magic is subtle. Not in your face. It’s the quiet moments and the joys through hardship. It’s the everlasting aching of love. It’s the knowledge to have loved and been loved, even with the knowledge that you can die with a broken heart, while in the middle of a divorce, or even on your way to a date with what would have been your perfect match. It’s so mind-boggling, really.

I get haunted by empty chairs, like the bouncer seat that Sawyer occupies every day, which he will soon outgrow. The cushy armchair we had for my Uncle, that my dad has now occupied for years, after Jamie got too sick to come for Christmas. There were little caregiving items that showed up in my parent’s farmhouse, little by little, over the years. Now it gathers dust or gets donated, or finds its place in the push and pull and cruel joy of the cycles of life. Sometimes your mind, and your tears, are all you have, like in a baby’s case. Gathering dust in a bouncer chair, before it gathers dust in your absence. Maybe it’s your mind or a book. A daily crossword puzzle, clearing out the dust and the cobwebs from your brain. Your heart beats and you ingest stories and naps, putting puzzle pieces together of what everything is and what it all could mean.

In between without you, Without you, Yesterday I got so old, I felt like I could die, Yesterday I got so old, It made me want to cry

It’s a hard thing to discover and accept; the chaos and just how much you can’t control. So you control the little things. My Nana, maybe even before her super old age, would peek at the endings of books she was reading. I don’t believe it diminished her experience with reading, because that wasn’t why she was reading the books. Maybe it was ok for my Nana to know the endings and still fully enjoy and embrace the journeys to get there. Maybe it was even better that way, to know that things were going to be ok in a way she could control. Through the pages of a book. Real life isn’t like that, but maybe, somehow you just know that everything will be ok.

It has no other way to be.

My Uncle loved to read more than anything, and it’s sad to think it was yet another thing taken from him due to illness, exhaustion, and medication side effects. He probably did that more than anything, for as long as he could, though. I don’t know if he ever peeked ahead to the endings of his books, and it’s just another thing I would have loved to have asked him, along with his unfinished dreams and unfulfilled experiences, and maybe what ice cream he would choose to eat, if he knew it was his last day on earth. The ending was long and painful, and I think the middle was too, and that’s never fair. I like to think about the early days and the in between days, like an ice cream cone on a hot day, and cold toes stretched towards the ocean.

In between without you, Without you, Yesterday I got so old, I felt like I could die, Yesterday I got so old, It made me want to cry

I like to think about the sparks in the eyes and minds of the young children he taught, because even if he taught the same books over and over, it’s always a new light in a new mind. A new niece or nephew; grubby, sticky hands outstretched for one more page. Well-loved and well-read books, with turned corners and fingerprint smudges. It’s reading a book from beginning to middle to end, and no need to peek ahead at the end to the story because everything will be ok.

It has no other way to be.

In between without you, Without you, Yesterday I got so old, I felt like I could die, Yesterday I got so old, It made me want to cry

Here’s to a life well worn and well read and well loved. To the sweet and juicy beginnings and middles, and to gentle endings that complete the journey, and satisfy the need for us to peek ahead at the endings to any of our tender, little, devastatingly beautiful, heart-filling stories.

“In between without you
Without you

Yesterday I got so scared
I shivered like a child
Yesterday away from you
It froze me deep inside”

Similar Posts

9 Comments

  1. So Many of the stories in your blogs just like the story in this one along with all the family pictures are devastatingly beautiful. Here you’ve collected some very special memories, brought them all together and so fittingly saluted them. Here’s To You Tamara! ❤ The 80’s were the the perfect time for this playful British Band with some very catchy tunes to come along as music videos were peaking in popularity. Ben Folds and Kim Wilde were among a number of artists who covered this song.

  2. So many profound thoughts in here, Tamara. I wish you could have asked your uncle the question. There seems to be one last conversation we wish we could have had with a loved one.
    Love this balance between feeling the end of things and yet, still enjoying the moment for what it is. The journey. It’s the way to live. I’m all about chocolate ice cream. I didn’t have to think twice about that. My goodness, Sawyer is so sweet and Rider is growing like mad. Beautiful photos to accompany this thoughtful post!

  3. Empty chairs are hard. I don’t think we realize how close these loved ones no longer living really physically really are, because I can promise you that they are closer than you think and might even be occupying those chairs every once in a while.

    Hugs to you my friend 🙂

  4. I am so sorry for your loss. I find it so unfair when some are miserable as they exit this world. It truly should not be that way.

    Sawyer is so cute in is outfit!

  5. Tamara, I am sorry I am late to the party here. Probably one of the worst weeks I ever had in my life last week. While no one technically died in my life this past week. But someone in my family did “die” as far as the person I thought that they were for many years of my life. And all I can say the stages of grief I am going through is unimaginable right now. And this grief also seems to come in waves, as well. So, all I can say is I am truly sorry for your loss, as well and send you my love always. ❤️

  6. That was very beautiful, Tamara! I can relate to dreams sagging a bit. I think I identify with the smaller dreams, more satisfied with comfort and lack of stress than anything else. I think contentment is a beautiful dream, and so much easier to fulfill than so many others.

    I work with people and their things, so I can relate to the dusty objects full of memories and sentiments. Many objects, like people, are in our lives for a reason, a season, or a lifetime. Few for a lifetime! If we experience a blessing upon receiving a card or for a period of time sitting in a chair, then that is the “win!” It’s okay to let go after that, and be open to new things coming in, thankful for the happy memory that object brought us.

  7. This is so beautiful, Tamara. I love that your grandmother selected an ice cream flavor on her last day. Your uncle sounds like such an interesting and wonderful person. You have written such lovely tributes to him. I’m so sorry for your loss and hope the sweet memories of him will overpower the grief soon.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.