October is Jay's month, partly because of that first-week curse (previous post), partly because he'd died at the end of October, and partly because he loved the autumn. So even though it's eleven years since he left, October is his month.
At his memorial service (which he specifically didn't want but his sisters insisted upon) the pastor spoke of "keeping memories in a crystal jar". I liked that idea. I filled a crystal jar on the living room bookcase with slips of paper, each a special memory of him that I didn't want to lose.
I brought the jar down to the new house in September. This morning I unpacked it from the box, and I read the slips of paper again for the first time in a few years.
I've listed those slips twice already in this blog, on October 27, 2004, and on February 19, 2006. Here it is again - for Jay.
• The way he played video games with his tongue and whole body
• When something (a hammer, a pen) wasn’t where he expected to find it, he said "It escaped!", and seemed truly surprised
• He always tried to think honestly about his feelings, never hid anything from himself or me
• He never tried to talk me into skiing, never indicated in the least that he missed it
• Twinkling eyes
• He supported me against his father’s strong disapproval when I found the McDonald’s outside Versailles
• He couldn’t spell worth a damn
• He gave me the clouds and the moon
• "Carrot cake is a vegetable, right?"
• He loved Pleiades, volcanoes, and meteor showers
• In many ways, he was like my beloved mice - quiet, made nice warm nests, worked hard, personally very clean, and, like a mouse, he left the remnants of his tasks scattered behind him
• How huge he looked behind the windshields of his tiny cars - one wondered how he would ever unfold to get out
• The way he pronounced "oops"
• The mountain of his shoulders in bed, the angle of his hip
• When he stood at the bar of the Marlboro Inn in his three-piece dark suit, among the hunters and farmers - how tall he seemed, how impressively broad his shoulders
• After his diagnosis, he joked that he didn’t understand all the fuss - after all, his illness was just "all in his head"
• The way he could snatch flies right out of the air - and always released them outside
• He explained that there are things that are very clear and understandable, until you try to explain them - there are some things that just shouldn’t be looked at too carefully
• He was unaware of how big and powerful he was - he was timid about walking the streets of Binghamton after dark
• He never complained. Not once. No matter what
• His delicate tapering hands
• The way he gave off heat when he slept
• How playful he was
• The dangerous toiletries
• When he worked on something, he made a terrible mess of his environs, but the work itself was done neatly, delicately, and perfectly
• He acknowledged male hormonal urges and prohibitions - even better, he was able to describe male attitudes and thought patterns so that a female could actually understand and sympathize with them
• The way he couldn’t resist "improving" everything he bought
• How confident he was of his ability to understand/handle/fix anything
• Everybody says you have to work hard and constantly at a good marriage - it wasn’t work for him, he did what came naturally, and it was good
• The way his uni-eyebrow and beard were all one piece, and his nose hairs blended into his mustache
• The way his tongue helped him concentrate
• How sensitive he was to my moods, and always said and did exactly the right thing
• Joy in little things, like Ninja and Baby plowing a figure 8 in deep snow - "Just what I always wanted - a doggy choo-choo!"
• That silky spot behind and below his left ear
• How soft and liquid his eyes could get
• Lying on the ground looking at stars
• Pizza! Pizza, pizza, pizza!
• He was so clean about his body that it took me ten years to discover that he had a severe problem with seborrhea on his scalp, face, and ears.
• He remembered perfectly everything he heard or read
• Music confused him - too much information all at once
• Elfin hairs on the outer curve and lobes of his ears
• His absolute joy in yummies
• LOUD!!! sneezes
• He never got petulant when I consistently beat him at word games like Super Boggle, and he played happily because he knew I enjoyed them
• His delicate artist’s touch
• The wonderful lopsided smile when he saw me coming down the hall at the rehab center
• In the last months, when he was having hallucinations and delusions, he listened to me and believed me, even though everything he "saw" and felt told him differently
• Near the end, he said that one of the things he appreciated most about me was the way I so thoroughly understood him. He didn’t realize that was only because he opened himself so completely to me.
• Incredible force of will - he hung on until I told him it was time to go.
• The cloud formation a few days after he died - his face, with a winking moon eye
• The meteor shower a few days after he died - I got up at 5 am and went out to the deck only because I knew he would want me to, and I counted >50 in the first 2 minutes, then I stopped counting. Later, the newspaper and the astronomy club reported a peak of 30 per hour! I got a private show. I truly believe he arranged it for me.
Is it any wonder I'm still in love with him?