A Year Without Jeff

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Coming to Terms

September 24, 2001. Unbelievable as it seems -- although I've now told Margaret otherwise -- I keep thinking Jeff is alive, creating scenarios to explain why he hasn't called (perhaps he's unconscious and on a hospital gurney somewhere).

September 30, 2001. I cannot say that I have confronted the reality that Jeff is dead, but today was his memorial service. There was a receiving line, and I felt in some way as if I was at our wedding. I can barely remember the service now, but it went as I planned it. I'm told it was beautiful. I wouldn't know.

October 17, 2001. I'm overwhelmed just trying to get through each day. My cousin asked a friend in the apartment complex to organize a food bank, and she did. Many people -- friends and strangers -- have prepared meals for us. I feel a little awkward about accepting help, but I am deeply touched by all the kindness.

November 20, 2001. It's Charlotte's first birthday. I'm crying for Jeff, who's never celebrated a birthday with his littlest girl, and for Charlotte because she'll never really know her daddy. Margaret and I made her a birthday cake. I rallied and managed to videotape the girls and me eating it. Margaret put her arm around her sister and said, "Mommy is crying because Daddy died, Charlotte." Margaret's birthday, on the 13th, was equally difficult; maybe more so because she talked about how her father might be eating some birthday cake in heaven.

December 12, 2001. I asked our friend to stop the food bank, even though she says people are still willing to cook. It's been such a help not to have to worry about meals. I think I need to take on an assignment [as a freelance writer/researcher]; a distraction would be good for me. Certainly it would give me something to do other than writing letters to insurance companies and lawyers that begin, "Enclosed please find my husband's death certificate...."

Continued on page 3:  The Holidays


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