Getting Around to It

In the spring, before Megan died, she and I decided to have a deck built on the back of our home.  Nothing too fancy.  It was to be a 12 foot by 12 foot square, with a new sliding glass door leading to it.  We had wanted to have one on our house for years, and we were finally going to get it done.


We shopped out for a few different construction companies to give us a quote, and by about this time in 2014, we have chosen one and signed a contract.


Megan would decline in health and be admitted to the hospital a few weeks later.  She came home one time that summer, after the deck was started, and sat on a half-completed platform, with no railings.  She was bundled in a blanket in the 85 degree heat, being so emaciated that she could barely generate body heat.

That was the first, last, and only time she ever sat on that deck.

For nearly two years, the deck has been fully completed, but all it had were a few old patio chairs on it, and a small end-table.  I had subconsciously chosen to see the deck as another false start...something that was taken from Megan, Shelby and I before we got to fully enjoy it as a family.  It made no sense to furnish it or spend any sizeable time on it.


Time wore on, and a month or so ago, I finally bought a table and patio umbrella.  Soon after, I brought the grill out from storage, and placed it in the corner of the deck.  It started to feel less like “Megan and I’s” deck, and a little more like “my” deck (or perhaps better said “our” deck, as Sarah and Shelby had a huge part in it).  With the weather starting to turn from the cold of winter to more spring like temperatures, we spent a few hours outside on it.  I purchased a few cheap little solar lights a week later and mounted them under the railing, followed by a storage box, tiki torches, and a few more chairs..


It was a glorious two days here in Ohio last weekend.  Clear skies and more summer than spring.  My parents visited on Saturday, and dropped my nephew off to spend the night with Sarah, Shelby and I.  We cooked out, and spent most of the day on my “new” two-year-old deck.  


On Sunday, Megan’s brother came to visit, along with my own brother.  Again, we cooked out. We spent the better part of four hours just talking, watching the kids play, listening to music, having some drinks, and generally enjoying the weather.  We were finally enjoying the deck as it was built to be enjoyed, with friends and family on a warm Ohio day.  Megan was conspicuously missing from this, though she was certainly enjoying it from somewhere.  


It’s another “first” in a long line of “firsts” that Megan had to miss out on.  It was one that I was avoiding out of apathy...not anything grief related.  The deck wasn’t an inviting place to have a group of people, and I didn’t really care, because it was something that Megan and I wanted to do together.   Somehow, I got a bug in me this spring to change all of that.  I completed something that Megan and I started, without her.  It’s empowering, disappointing, and gives me a sense of accomplishment all at the same time.    


I’m not really sure there is a “moral” to this story.  I don’t know if it’s interesting or helpful to anyone else that may be reading it.  It might just be another anecdote about what’s going on in my life, and you can take from it what you will.  All I know, is that sitting there on the deck, I felt happy.  I was happy to have these people in my life.  I am happy that Shelby has uncles, and cousins, and grandparents, and a woman like Sarah to look up to.  I am happy that the weather was beautiful. I’m happy that the food turned out great and that the kids had fun.  Most of all, I’m happy that Megan decided we needed a deck.  


Chalk it up as one more thing she left us, albeit without clear instructions.  I hope I’m figuring out her unspoken wishes.


Showing 4 reactions

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  • commented 2016-04-20 17:42:19 -0700
    I am so glad you are able to enjoy your deck. And that you have family around you tag love and support you . I am newly widowed and I haven’t had if hit me yet . I have my daughter and granddaughter staying with me they have been wonderful. But she lives out of state and wil leave on Sunday and I think it’s going to be hard to see them go. What do I do next?
  • commented 2016-04-19 20:26:34 -0700
    Your writing is always interesting, Mike, and I always get something out of it. I’ve been thinking I should have a patio, can’t do a deck in the condo I’m in, but I can add slabs or brick patio. The motivation to do it just hasn’t been there for the last 2 summers, but maybe this year I can tackle it. I contemplate many projects, but rarely follow through, it’s like I’m living in slow motion, watching the rest of the world move on. Enjoy your deck!
  • commented 2016-04-19 07:13:29 -0700
    Mike, this is so like my experience. I was out of work for 4 1/2 years starting in 2009 and things couldn’t get done in our house. long story short, Arlene always wanted new floors and our hallway, which had to be renovated be re done and we needed new furniture to replace what had to go out following Hurricane Sandy. The new floor in our house was put in in March of 2014 and she was able to climb the stairs to come and see them, our new bed and our bedroom set which a friend had given us. It was the last time she ever entered our house, she never saw the new living room set, the new sectional for our enclosed porch in the front of the house and the new ceiling fan she picked out for that room. All of this new stuff, which made the house nicer, she never saw. And now I sit in the living room, staring at the spot she’d be sitting in had she made it home and wonder why she isn’t there and think how so unfair it is that she never came home. She didn’t sleep in our house for her last 23 months.
  • commented 2016-04-19 00:10:18 -0700
    Mike I so relate to your posts, especially this one. Our son was 11 when we lost Tony, and like you I struggle with the missing parent issues. This past summer I took him on a trip his dad and I had always looked forward to taking him on. It’s now one of my favorite memories. Not every part of this journey is meaningful or enlightening, but every day of it brings on such different emotions. Nice to hear from others who “get it.”