It is with some disbelief that I write commemorating the anniversary of the death of my husband – a wonderful father, a loving husband, and an incredibly talented writer, Jeffrey Felshman. The list would go on and on because he meant many things to so many people, but I digress from the point of this blog.
Getting back to the notion that Jeff was an incredible father, our son, Gabriel, lost his primary care-giver at a stage where he was just emerging into so many skills not previously acquired. It is with much relief that I can relate that Gabriel has continued with amazing progress. His use of language improves daily, he is toilet trained, he attends school with enormous enthusiasm and he is enjoyed by his peers, all of whom have autism. Although Gabriel will not break through to socializing with typically developing children his age in the near future, he has just been invited to his first birthday party with a classmate, David.
Gabriel has learned to type on Jeffrey’s old Mac iBook and keeps a journal as part of his speech therapy. In the journal, Gabriel has written about David and another boy in his class, Colin. Additionally, he has also related a love for French fries borne out of his other favorite school activity – lunch. Previous teachers have been mentioned, his excitement for his 7th birthday and his anxiety over a business trip I made are all included. I have a view into my son’s world not previously known. And it’s a fairly happy world I’m relieved to say.
It’s true that I’ve gone back to work after almost 9 months of strictly consulting and working local jobs. You may or may not realize, but I write some of the television you watch. And it’s an amazing distraction to write and produce programming. It seemed like a huge accomplishment to get back to work. Very thankfully, I have the love of two women who babysit Gabe in the style to which he had become accustomed with his parents.
My other two sons are both in college. You see, Jeffrey was a widower when I met him – his wife and the mother of Samson and Marty died of breast cancer just over a year before. We met on a blind date and engaged for marriage four months later. So as naïve as I was at the time, I fell in love with all three, becoming an instant mother of two. It’s been a crazy life of constant transitions for my older sons, but I can see they’re taking it in their stride. Thank heavens we’re all bonded together, in good times and bad.
So we four have all made it a year without Jeffrey. It’s been an incredible time for mental gymnastics. There are only hours where I don’t miss him. It’s still a day at a time getting through. My mind remains focused on kids and work until I can no longer help it…and then I end up in the room Jeffrey died in, our bedroom. And I feel the ghosts of our past and pray for strength to create a legacy that will be suitable.
Everyday, in my mind, we speak. Everyday, I try to see Jeffrey in the thicket of our magnolia tree, in the cookie aisle of the grocery store, in a sun that unexpectedly glimmers. I can only hope he’s off in a better place, cavorting with misbehaving angles and influencing the world in some mystical way – to a certain degree, his desires in life.
Thankfully, over the past few months, I’ve managed to start sleeping through the night. Every morning I awaken with something to do, something to look after, another drama to solve. And I relish that. And I relish living. So onward a path that leads over a horizon I can’t see beyond – hopeful there are no potholes that fall into oblivion. Life can change that quickly, for better or worse.