Vernacular

A couple of weeks ago, I was talking with my dear widower friend, and he said something that really stuck with me. “You know what I miss the most?”, he said.
“I miss her vernacular. That way that she spoke, that only she could speak. The way she spoke to me.”

After thinking about this long and hard, about what he said and what he meant by it, I realized that the thing I miss the most about my husband, is this very same thing also.

Vernacular.

What a perfect word for it.

“noun [ C/U ] US ​ /vərˈnæk·jə·lər, vəˈnæk-/:

The form of a language commonly spoken by the people of a particular region or by a particular group, esp. when it is different from the standard language: the word choices or speech patterns spoken by an individual person.”

Yes.
This is it. This is what I miss most.
Beyond his touch.
Beyond his hugs.
Above and beyond his laugh.
All of those things I miss so much.
Every single day.

But …
sometimes,
if I sit completely still,
and let my breath turn to silence,
and if I focus really hard,
but without trying at all,
sometimes,
in that moment of nothing-ness,
I am able to bring back in my heart or my soul,
or somewhere I can’t quite identify,
what it felt like,
what it sounded like,
what it was,
to be hugged by him.
to know his laugh.
to sense his touch.
And in that tiny fragment of time,
in that one small measure of music,
I am allowed to be with him again.

You see …
there are certain things,
very specific things about a person,
that you can hold onto,
or bring into focus,
in different ways,
after they die.

Their eyes.
Their hands.
A memory.
Stories or events or places or songs,
that instantly take you back to them.
Pictures.
Videos.
Hand-written cards or notes.
The cologne they wore,
or the way their shirt smelled.
Their favorite foods.

None of these things are enough to satisfy,
the forever ache that comes,
from your person being gone.
Not even close.
For that ache,
it is a monster that lives inside of you.
It resides there,
like a nail sitting in the depths of your throat.
You can’t swallow.
You can’t ever swallow.
At least,
not the way you used to.
Because that ache acts like a blockage,
like a gate,
stopping any kind of normalcy,
from ever entering again.
And now,
in this version of life,
you have to swallow through that ache.

So having a measure of time with a memory or a song,
something that brings you back to them,
it is never enough to dull that ache.
But,
it is something.
And when it comes to grief,
and missing your person,
and craving to feel anything,
that brings them close to you again…
When it comes to the forever death,
of your person,
something,
is always better
than nothing.

So you hold onto those somethings.
You cling to them,
because they are all that you have now.
A change in the wind,
a feeling in the air,
a shift in the moon or stars,
someone that reminds you of them …

And for a second or two,
sometimes,
they come back.
Sometimes,
you can recreate
in your heart and mind,
pieces of them,
that exist within you,
and around you.

And so,
just as there are things like that,
which you can hold onto,
there are other things,
that you can never get back.

Vernacular.

That way in which he spoke to me,
spoke with me.
The word choices he used,
which were often,
strange.
odd.
Him.
That pitch in his voice,
the tone of his whisper,
the beautifully specific sounds,
the phrasing,
the places where he stressed the syllables,
the sexy without trying,
the calm,
the tranquil,
the peace and safe feeling,
that lived within his rhythms.
The way that he would respond to things,
that would leave me equal parts baffled,
fascinated,
and in awe,
of his intelligence,
his wit,
his sarcasm.
What he would say,
in conversation,
with friends,
with family,
with me.
The life that breathed air,
through his speech.

Vernacular.
It is a thing that only exists in real time.
You can’t recreate it.
You can’t even remember it.
You can try.
I have tried.
Nothing comes.
I sit and try over and over,
to find that thing,
that way,
that language that only we knew,
with each other.

But I can’t.
When it’s just me,
alone,
in a room,
as much as I want to,
I can’t.
I try and I try,
then I try again,
because I want it so badly,
but I can’t.

Because there are some things,
some very specific things,
about a person who died,
your person,
that you just can’t get back.
Some things,
are just gone.
And in that darkness,
in that nothingness,
it is always so much better,
to have something,
some morsel,
rather than nothing.
And this,
this is nothing.
Nothing comes.

Because the truth is,
there are some things,
like vernacular,
that are so uniquely precious,
so incredibly special,
that they turn into dust,
into nothing,
at that very moment,
when that life ends.

A Path Built on Love

BIG. LIFE. CHANGES.

I will be leaving NYC.

I will be leaving my apartment, my teaching job of 16 years (that one hurts), and the greatest city in the world – the only city I have known and called “home” for the past 26 years, since I was 18 years old and moved here from small-town Groton, Massachusetts.

I know this is the right decision for me at this time, and I know it is a decision and a choice that will bring better things to me and to my life – but that doesn’t make it any less sad or hard or heart-wrenching. What is keeping me sane and keeping me from crying my face off every second of the day in sorrow, is the knowledge that I have built a family here in NY – and that family will welcome me back, and NYC will welcome me back with open arms, whenever that might happen.

It has ALWAYS been a struggle living here. This city likes to make life impossible, and that “impossible” became excruciatingly harder when my husband died 5 years ago. It is SO much harder doing this alone, on one crappy income. The dreams that we had for our future, are much more realistically chased, when you have another person who can hold down the fort while you go on that audition – or who can work extra shifts and get you both through the summer, because you lost your summer job unexpectedly. So, I am not giving up on my dreams. NEVER. I am merely shifting them a bit in order to make them more reachable, for the life that I have today. I’m taking a slightly different route to get there. Let’s call it the scenic route. And it will be a terrifying, beautiful, and absolutely poetic adventure.

So where will I be going, you may ask?

I can finally announce and say with absolute confidence, that the book I have been off-and-on writing for the past 3 years, will be published and released, sometime in 2017. How do I know this? Because I have a plan. This will be my last semester teaching at Adelphi (again – still can’t talk about that without crying. Told my boss and friend of 26 years, Nick Petron, yesterday, and it was so emotional for both of us. Going to miss those kids/students like mad …) This year, when I go home to mom and dad’s for Christmas break, I’m not going to be returning to NY. Instead, somewhere around December 20th or so when the semester is over, I will be packing up a U-Haul one more time, with my 2 kitties and everything I own that I don’t choose to throw away – and driving it home to mom and dad’s house in Massachusetts. For the last 2 years, ever since I did the fund-raising campaign for the book, I have been super-stressed out about writing it and finishing it. When Im not working multiple jobs teaching, writing, directing shows, just to get by – Im STRESSING about NOT working, and trying to find work. I can’t write in a constant state of stress.

The portions of the book that still need to be written, is our love story. How we fell in love. Our dating life together. Our engagement. Our wedding. Our marriage. The highlighted beautiful moments that live in my heart. These parts must be written from a place of joy and happiness, and absolute hope. I can’t get to that place, emotionally, when the space around me is filled with stress. So I can’t write. And when I can’t write, I stress out about not being able to write, and I stress out that I OWE YOU PEOPLE A BOOK – all these beautiful people who donated and who believed in this book. All the beautiful people who continue to read and follow this blog page. I kept saying over and over these past couple years, that if only I could have a few months of sanctuary – where I could just write my book in peace and quiet – with NO worries of job or money or bills – then I could FINALLY get it done.

Enter my wonderful parents. My dad called me one night with an idea. Knowing that I have been feeling restless lately about NY, and about just wanting something different, and knowing that I want to finish the book desperately – he said: “Why don’t you come here and live with us – temporarily – for 3 or 4 months or however long it takes – with the specific intention and purpose and goal of FINISHING THE BOOK. You’d have your own room / home office to write in, your kitties can come with you and we will take them in, and no worries about bills or rent. Plus, you could see your niece and nephew more, and be home with family for awhile. You could treat it like your full time job. Get up 5 days a week, and just write, until its done. Once it’s done, then you decide what comes next, where you’ll end up, what you’ll do. Hopefully all of that will become more clear once your book is out there. It might open up new doors.”

As soon as my dad said these words, I could literally FEEL the stress slowly leaving my body, just at the mere thought of having the tranquil space and time and luxury of no job or bills hanging over my head – to write in peace. It made me feel so calm, and that is how I knew, it was the right decision. When something or someone gives you that feeling of peace and tranquility – that feeling of calm – it is my opinion that you should keep that thing or that person close to you, and bring that thing even closer.

So, I will be in NYC until late December, and then going home to complete the book. I’m guessing I will be there until March or April, but I’m not really going to worry about it. My goal is to finish it, and then continue down whatever path appears in front of me. There have been many signs pointing me toward Chicago lately, as a possible city for me to attempt life in for awhile – so that is a very big possibility. There also may be a specific gig / situation happening in Florida (another top secret thing I can’t talk about just yet – but if it happens – it would bring me to that state eventually), so I could end up in a number of places, and right now, I feel open to all of it. The future is in front of me, and the unknown path awaits.

I’m terrified. I’m anxious. I’m incredibly excited. And I’m ready.

I have no idea what’s going to happen next, but I’m following my intuition, my heart, and a path that’s been built on love. Isn’t that what life is all about???