Tuesday, March 06, 2007

Just before the Second Happiest day...
There were some pretty significant events that occurred prior to my second happiest day. They are important, in that they lead me in a very different direction than what I thought, on the day when I moved out of the home I shared with my first husband. When we got divorced I had no job and had just finished getting my Masters in Clinical Social Work. I purchased a small home not too far from him and my son's elementary school so that Jon would feel some sense of stability and safety. This happened in the summer of 2000. The year that followed would knock me off my feet and nothing was ever the same. A little background is required.

It is 1980, I was still living in the Bronx, was in my first year of college, and I was 17. I had gone with friends to the beach in the late afternoon after all the crowds were gone. I had a good book (so I thought), I can still remember the title (A distant Shore - not a classic) because it was in the inside cover of that book that he wrote his phone number. It was an overcast day and smelled overly of low-tide. I was laying on a blanket reading my book, when laughter from across made me look up. There were about 6 guys talking and laughing across the way, my eyes connected with one and I just knew that there was a connection of some sort (could it be that he was gorgeous, uhmmm). He later came over and introduced himself and we talked for a bit. He gave me his number. His name was Dennis. Someone I would have a relationship with for over 20 years, first as lovers later as friends who loved each other. Dennis and I dated for a long time. I was madly in love. Five years into our relationship I still got butterflies. He was 10 years older and not so committed. He dated others but we'd still be together. We had an understanding that he was not the "committing type' but I felt loved and he was my best friend. Even years later, I knew I could call him anytime, any day, at any hour and I knew I could count on him. When we broke up for good, I met my first husband and married very quickly. He called, I went and he begged me not to do it. He thought I was too young and my husband to be, too old. My husband represented stability, he wanted only me, he was settled and wanted a wife. Dennis and I remained friends over the years; meeting for lunch once a year but speaking on the phone more often. We heard about each other lives, successes, children etc. He had a daughter from a relationship and later I had my son. We often joked that we'd meet at 70 and get together once and for all. We spoke freely of our love for each other, understanding that we'd made different choices. We laughed about the possibilities of any future union, with some sadness in the air. After my divorce and my move, Dennis and I spoke frequently about getting together for dinner and catching up. At this time he was living with someone. We laughed about our poor timing, I was divorced and he had finally settled into a serious relationship. In late August of 2001, he called to wish me a happy birthday. It was late at night, around midnight, and we spoke for a long time looking back on the years and how quickly they went by. We talked about our lives, expressing pride in each others accomplishments. I told him how very much I loved him, and how very proud I was of the man he was. He was a firemen for over 25 years and was immensely respected by all who knew him. I put myself through school while getting divorced. We had lived many moments together and all who knew us understood our great love. I remember one of my mother's friends telling me before I got married that she knew that Dennis was the love of my life and though I could love another, nothing and no one would ever change those dynamics. She was right.

On September 11th, 2001, Dennis died in the World Trade Center. A week before our dinner date. I cannot speak of this time because, the truth is, that it brings on raw pain. Five months later my niece died and three months after that my sister Lily died. I was in shock and had little time to recover from any of it. I was grateful for the last phone call and even the thought of a missed date. I felt blessed for the moments with my niece and many days spent with my sister during her illness. It was my year for growing up and realizing how very precious life is.


Lisa said...

Remembering this time with you brings tears to my eyes, and I can almost feel your pain. I remember sitting in church that night with my cousin, because we couldn't think of anywhere else to go to feel safe, and you came in and saw us, and you cried and told us what happened to Dennis. I had never met him, and I'm so sad that I didn't. I do know how very, very much he meant to you.

You were loved...and you still are, by many.

Love you

Matty said...

Their physical bodies left, but Dennis, Lily and your neice live on in your mind and in your heart. They are with you always...I'm sure you know that.
Yes life is too short...live,love,and laugh.
You haven't missed your date,,,,it's just been put off for awhile!

simply me said...

Matty what a lovely thought. thank you

Rock dweller said...

You are a woman of my own heart...May I tell you I just love your blog. It is simply wonderful. ROXY
I am a clincal psychology major.