Friday, August 21, 2009

Stag Funerals & Pine Needles

I wanted to share that I've posted a blog at my other blog site about my father-in-law's funeral. While it's related to this blog, too, I didn't want to blatantly cross-post. But please visit Almost a Stripper, Never a Bride to read this story. I hope you like it.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

This Suicide Will Be Tweeted

Those of you who follow me on twitter (@librarykristin and, now, @genxwidow, and, if I ever decide to use it @goth_teen), know that I tweeted a lot at the time of Eric's death. I think it'll be interesting to post some of the early tweets here. I didn't have blogging in me when the feelings were really raw...but I did have micro-blogging. I have very little memory of actually writing any of these tweets, so re-reading them has been v. interesting.

So, for posterity: here's my last "normal" tweet:

librarykristin: unplugging for the day to enjoy last days of staycation. Couch, heating pad, season 2 of Tudors, and Croggon’s The Singing.

...and then:

librarykristin: E not home from IN and he should be by now…left saying things would be better soon…starting to worry…hoping I’m w[orrying for no reason]

librarykristin: is v. v. worried

...and then, when I found out:

librarykristin: Those of you who know what I've been going through 2night. The worst case sceanario happened. thank you for the support.

There was a string of tweets about what I was doing to remember Eric that first day and a few days after:

librarykristin: Wearing Eric’s “screw the man” hat…it is oddly comforting

librarykristin: Any Columbus tweeps who wish to help me remember my husband are welcome to stop by my hours, I’m not alone, but welcome [company]

librarykristin: It turns out that crying makes my eyes look mega-super green. Not inclined towards vanity, but glad I’ve finally found [an upside, however small]

librarykristin: Unconventional mourning methods: playing rock band on the PS3 with friends of one’s step daughters whose best memory of [E is gaming]

librarykristin: Unconventional mourning methods #2: being totally bitchy with theater folks about some of E’s cattier theater relationships.

librarykristin: Unconventional mourning methods #3: watching British Coupling with brother, laughing, knowing E would really want to be [here]

subsequent tweets range from the stunningly prescient (see Supersize Me, below):

librarykristin: Can still taste the cayenne from my sundae on the back of my tongue…how am I going to live 2 blocks from Jeni’s witho[ut gaining a ton]

to the silliness of family:

librarykristin: My dad is completely delusional about the point at which bacon becomes too burned to eat. He has been disallowed from a[m bacon chefery]

to the craziness of shopping for the memorial:

librarykristin: When people ask if there’s an occasion for which you are purchasing a dress, “my husband’s funeral” is low on the list [of expected responses]

to my first tweet that ever aluded to the coming DBoD:

librarykristin: Attorneys and phone calls and insurance, oh my.

to my first documented widow-brain-y moment:

librarykristin: Erm, can one of my fab brothers please remind me what we set my wireless password to? Somehow I have already forgotten…

librarykristin: 2 minutes after last tweet, 2 phone calls from 2 brothers in rapid succession. Now I remember my password…thx guys!

to the new power structure at home:

librarykristin: Thinks the dogs have finally cottoned on to the fact that I am now the alphadog. Bwa ha ha ha. Drunk with power…

However, I think I was premature in thinking the dogs acknowledged me as their new leader...

There are so many goofy, strange, funny tweets from those first weeks, and there's really no good way to catalog them. However, this was the only way I could think of to go back and remember what the immediate aftermath felt like. Maybe it's good that I don't have solid memories of those days...but now that I'm putting it all down in writing I wanted at least a snapshot, for the record.

Please note: my early tweets on 3/27/09 and the following day were intentionally vague about what exactly had occured. Almost everyone who needed to hear about Eric's death via channels other than social networking ones was called early in the game, except for three very important individuals: Eric's three daughters. They were on a vacation with their mother (we'll doubtless talk more about her later, but it'll have to wait until HLILB is over). She was nonresponsive to her phone for nearly 24 hours. Unfortunately, during this time my step-daughters' cousins were very active on facebook. The girls confusion over some pretty specific facebook chatter finally instigated their mother's call in to get the news. Her reaction to Eric's death was less than appropriate, just saying...(OK, new acronym here, we're going to call the ex SECB...but I'm not telling what it stands for until after HLILB, understood?) I will always feel bad that I didn't think to warn Eric's siblings to coach their children about being cautious about their facebook use until the girls had been told. It was unfortunate, but everything happened so fast, and I was pretty much a wreck. Hindsight=20/20.

Much thanks to my sister-in-law for helping me to reconstruct my tweets, if you've never tried to find archival tweets, the good folk at twitter do not make this an easy thing to do!

Friday, August 7, 2009


Next Tuesday, I will be flying to Raleigh, North Carolina so I can attend Stan’s father’s funeral in Lexington, North Carolina. The Raleigh-Durham airport is about 100 miles away from Lexington. So, I’m renting a car and driving that distance, then I’ll check into a hotel, meet up with family, drink a lot of wine and try to sleep before the funeral the next morning.

I know this is what I will do because I’ve done it before. In June of 2005, I flew to Tampa, Florida, rented a car, drove about 60 miles to Beverly Hills, Florida, checked into a hotel, met up with the family, drank wine until I passed out and then attended Stan’s memorial service the next morning.

The trip feels similar to the point that Stan and his father shared the same name. So, once again, I’ll be attending a service for a man named Stan Lapinski. The major difference is that this time when I arrive, Stan Sr. won’t be waiting for me with that first glass of wine.

When I knocked on the hotel room door where the family was drinking that day in 2005. Stan Sr. opened it widely and forcibly gave me a long hug and a big glass of wine. “We’ve been drinking for days already. You’re going to have to catch up,” he said. Even in the wake of his son’s untimely death, he still was watching out for me. He was kind and warm and funny and generous and he had welcomed me into his family as if I’d always meant to be there. No questions asked. Just affection given. And I will always be grateful for that.

The next day, after Stan’s memorial, Stan Sr. took me aside and said, “Gaye and I want you to know that we’ve decided that you’re our daughter-in-law. We’ll always refer to you that way and think of you that way. And if you ever get married to somebody else, well, his parents are just going to have to understand that you already have in-laws.”

So, my father-in-law passed away last Monday. August 3rd. My birthday. And if I ever do get married, well, this future husband’s father is just going to have to understand that I already had a father-in-law. And he was wonderful. And I will miss him dearly.