The Dark Side of the Moon – Smoking Cigarettes and Watching Captain Kangaroo


I haven’t been able to see the moon for the last three days.  I checked the moon chart and I know it’s out there, but it’s hidden from me.  Maybe it’s shining on you.  I hope it’s shining on you, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t panicked as all fuck that it will stay hidden from me forever. I say “fuck” a lot now.  Somehow other words just don’t work. Irrational thinking, of course, but what the fuck is rational anymore?

I gathered up the trash and set it on the curb Thursday night.  For our entire relationship, Brian did the trash and the recycling.  Every single time.  I think I might have done it twice in the over 13 years that we were together.  It’s my job now.  As I was walking back in from the curb in the dark, I came in through the “garage,” also known as Brian’s Man Cave.  I sat down in his chair and got lost in the world of too many thoughts and too many (not enough?) words.   We have two folding camp-style chairs in the garage and they are old.  I mean OLD and they were cheap when we got them.  The seats are coming apart and the back of one has been pulling loose.  We sat in them all the time and took them camping every time and we joked and made bets on which one would give out first and who would be sitting in it.  As I sat down after returning from the curb, I realized that he didn’t take either chair camping with him the night he died.  I mean, I knew that.  I knew that when he left, but it didn’t quite hit me until that moment, even though several people (including my rather large friend, Jason,) had sat in those chairs with me in the week after the cops came.  Two weeks ago tonight.

I hate cops now and I get absolutely panic stricken when I see one of our local police SUVs.  I don’t know why, it’s not like they can tell me any worse news.  I’ve had about as bad as it gets.  Still, I see one and I nearly can’t breathe and in my head I scream, “NO NO NO NONONONONONONONONONOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!”


I sat there in the garage and started to look around.  In front of me was a bottle of Antifreeze.  FUCK – when did he last check the antifreeze?  Am I due?  Is the truck due?  He always did that without question, without telling me, just did it.  He didn’t leave me a schedule.

That led to the gutters.  Most people would just get a ladder and go bit by bit and clean out the gutters.  Not Brian.  Nope, he’d catapult himself to the roof by using leverage from the deck railing (I called him Monkey for many a reason,) and he’d squat up there cleaning out the gutters.  I remember him telling me very recently that the gutter guard on the hardest to reach corner of the house was gone.  Do I need to get up there and do it right now?  When?  Did he fix it before he died?  Can I Monkey myself up there?


One of the garage chairs has, in fact, blown out. The back is gone.  It was “my” chair, his is still holding strong.  Am I supposed to sit out there alone now?  What do I do with the chair?  Who won the bet?

Is there a “mine” and a “his?”

Pronouns are terrible.  We, My, Our, His, Us… Fuck. Fuck. Fuck. We’ve been plural for so long.  I can’t use the world “single.”  Typing it alone makes me shake and want to vomit.  What is the word for together but invisible?  There is no language for this.

Off and on throughout my life, I smoked.  I started in high school and smoked through college, sometimes quite heavily.  I quit when I was 23 without trouble.  Just stopped.  Smoked again for a bit when my children were tiny and I was going through serious depression. Again, just picked it up one day and then,when I was done, set them down and never had an issue.  I would socially smoke a cigarette at concerts or parties and never felt the urge other than that.  Brian was a smoker.  I begged him to quit for years and years and years and years so that he could live a long life with us.  He couldn’t quit and, as a result, always smelled a bit and tasted a bit like Winstons.  The day after the cops came, I asked someone to buy me a pack.  I just wanted to smell him.  I have started smoking them because they make mouth taste like his kisses.  Sounds gross, huh?  Two weeks ago I would have agreed with you.  Now it’s almost all I have of that deeply intimate part of our relationship.  I miss those kissses so fucking much and when I get caught up being unable to do anything but drink coffee and “watching flowers on the wall,” it’s the closest I can get to drawing him inside.  I know I know I know, yogis, don’t start with the lecture.  I KNOW.  And right now, I have other things to care more about.  If he chewed gum or mints, I’d be the freshest person in town, but he didn’t, and frankly, I have to do whatever it is that I have to do to get through those moments.


My kids usually get the mail, but yesterday they were with their grandmom,so I got it.  Sympathy cards, mostly, but also the papers that I fill out every December for my children’s insurance coverage. I  realize I have to change everything on that form.  Single Mom?  Widow?  What are those words?  Who are they talking about? There was also a calendar from the city in which I live.  I realized that I will never ever ever have a single day on that entire calendar with Brian.  Not one.  A Bass Pro mailer.  A Harbor Freight mailer.  And a letter addressed to me in my full name from a state senator.  I opened it up and out fell a card that said, “Here’s another copy of your husband’s obituary” and it was signed with not even a scribble, more like a jagged line.  Out fell a cut out copy of Brian’s obituary from a newspaper.  You know, I always wondered if I was capable of truly screaming.  In movies and books and on TV, you read about or see and hear people screaming, just that blood curdling scream and I always wondered if I had it in me to do that.  I know now.  I most certainly am.  Motherfucking senator caused me to scream myself hoarse.  I had never seen it in print, but I wrote that obituary, I know intimately what it says, and to have it sent in the mail without warning like that and without compassion was just like receiving a severed hand in the mail.  FUCK YOU REPUBLICAN SENATOR WHO NEVER HAS AND NEVER WILL GET MY VOTE!

Yeah, I can scream.

There have been wonderful moments, too.  Someday soon I’ll write about the overwhelming wave of generosity that has carried me over the trenches.  I’ll write about the many thousands of messages (not exaggerating) I have gotten of love and support.  I’ll write about the belly laughs that do come.  And, I’ll write about the practical jokes Brian is still pulling and the many places he is showing himself and letting us know he is still here. Some day.  But today is yet another day where I didn’t see the moon and things feel dark and like it’ll never come back.


I’m going to see if I can find Captain Kangaroo.


8 responses »

  1. Your words are so heartfelt and move me. I wish I had words to make it all better. I don’t other than to let you know you are on my mind and heart daily, hourly.

  2. Nothing about this is irrational. Just feel what you feel, smoke as much as you want, and say fuck whenever you need. Big hugs from Memphis.

  3. I’m late discovering your blog (Twitter just recommended that I follow you), and you’re amazing. I’m so, so sorry. Death sucks. I hope writing about your memories of Brian makes you smile as much as I have, reading them. Anyway, all of that to say, smoke on (if you still are). It makes sense – as much as anything makes sense – to have Brian near you that way. Much love to you and your boys from this stranger. xo

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