Why Give A Crap What I Say? It's JUST me.

Why should you give a crap about me? I have no idea... BUT....I want to thank you for joining me on my journey of a super shitty - averagely happy - drama filled - absolutely hilariously funny life.
I clearly feel the need to spill my guts about what is happening in my life to people I don't know. The funniest most off color TRUE stories you've ever heard - and when you least expect it, you'll cry like a baby.

The photo you are seeing is "my" yard in the summer. A home is not a place it is the inhabitants that make it a home.

With love, Alyce

April 28, 2012

To my dear friend,

Dear, D.O.M,

...I'm sure you will never read this my long time friend, but my heart bleeds tears for yours tonight.  By now it has sunk in that your beloved is gone.  Just like that...no warning...no fanfare...just dead.  I am unsure of the specifics of what happened but the end is the same.  A young, beautiful widow, with three devastated babies in big kids bodies.

I am a little more than three months ahead of her in time.  No wonderful words of wisdom to help ease your pain,  other than it does change.  As a matter of fact it changes daily.  Sometimes you're being swallowed in a tsunami while other times you're just lying on the beach in the sun.  Nothing makes any sense.   Don't try to make sense of anything.  Just worry about you and your beautiful family.  Whatever it is that is right to do or say for you in that moment say it.

I saw this on someone's FB wall today and I immediately thought of, well, myself.  Shortly after I thought of you.  I wish I had this list when Eric died, but I didn't.  I was so busy trying to "act" correctly that sometimes I lost sight of me.  And going further I forgot what it was like to be capable.

I still can't/won't change a lightbulb, but I've done shit I never thought I'd ever have to.  I never imagined being both a husband and wife - a mother and father - a therapist and life coach - a sole provider - and and only decision maker.

The list goes on but it's exhausting.

It's simple, Stupid!
Ask for time by yourself when you want it.  Go out when you want to and stay home and tell everyone to get out when you need to.  Be really pissed off as many times as you want to.   Try not to scream so the kids here but scream til you have no voice left.  Ask why and expect no answer that is either relevant or reasonable.

Since January 21, 2012,  I've never felt more judged about each decision I've made.  How I act or don't - what or say or how I say it or even if I've said it  <whatever it is>.  When is the appropriate time to date or never date.  How old is this date?  Should this date have children, been married, only want a "good time".  Whether or not I should go on any of these dates with any of these "degenerates" anytime soon...and when is that "good time to do so."

I've never heard more opinions than when I've watched a Presidential Candidate give a speech and the commentary after it.  Listen to these million opinions - consider the ones that make sense and throw out the ones you think aren't right for you.

I wanted to write I can't imagine how you're feeling, forgetting that I know just about exactly how you feel.  Whether your life in your home was perfectly perfect or imperfectly imperfect it is your home.  Keep it your home.   Don't let others distract you from being true to what your home was and still could be.

Accept all the love and heartfelt emotions and try to be present during those times.  When you feel yourself hugging someone you genuinely love, just hug a little longer and say I'm so _____________________.  Whatever it is your so is.

I am an ear for you to talk to when most won't understand.  I'm a heart that's broken like yours.  I am also a woman who knows.

With love to you my long life friend,

Alyce Levy

April 22, 2012

Dear Eric,

Most letters are started with hi, how are you?  I don't really want to know exactly, as I'm going to assume you're better than when we last saw each other.

It was three months yesterday that you died.  It could have been three seconds ago as the sight of your last breath lingers in the front of my mind always.  I think about how scared you were to die.  I know it didn't get easier for you, you just submitted to the "fact of the matter".   I'm sorry I didn't have more hope and relied more on science than on faith.  (I feel like I've written this letter to you before, but I guess it's necessary for me to tell you again.)  I remember us crying together about how unfair it would be for our children.  I don't want to burden you with this, but it is so unbearable for them.  

Our son whose heart is in reality his mind was broken.  "My heart was broken" is no longer just a phrase, I've seen it happen.  Over the last months I've seen the million little pieces come back together slowly for him.  The light that dimmed to darkness in your eyes also dimmed in his.  I can see glimpses now of  who he once was.  Some of his heart is starting to mend but it's so broken I just don't know how long it will take.  He needs to be held most of the day.  "Hugs."  That's all he says, with his arms outstretched for me to hold him.  Sometimes, it's annoying as I'm busy doing nothing.  I hate that about myself.  Hugging has become so important to him that I've learned that I don't hug well enough.  It was a short, how do you do, as opposed to a long tight hold and a passing of love to someone else.  

Our big girl, is much more of a thinker and do'er.  She has taken the role of "helper" to compensate for you not being here.  She manages the dogs, the baby, her hair, and makes coffee for my mother everyday.  She doesn't wear her heart on her sleeve like Harrison.  She's more like you in that sense.  She's so so sad, but it's so hard for her to talk about the hurt of you dying.  She talks about you everyday.  Some of the stories she tells I'm not even sure if they really happened.  I listen intently and depending on what reaction she wants me to have, that is reaction I give to her.  I'm spending alone, girlie, time with her and she loves it!!!  Oh, and I play Lego's with Harrison and I HATE it.  He cries that he didn't play Lego's with you enough.  I know he asked you to play, I'm not sure if the two of you did play or not, but I know it wasn't enough.  It never could have been enough I guess.

Our baby girl sees pictures of you everyday and says Daddy, Daddy, Daddy.  As always, when I put her to bed, we sit in our yellow chair and discuss our day.  Yesterday, I told her how much you loved her.  I told her how sorry I was that I put her in this awful situation.  I feel so badly that she's going to grow up without her "real" daddy.   We had her so late in our lives.  Hesitating and not sure if having another child was the right thing to do.  Calculating how old we'd be when she graduated college and got married.  None of that really matters now as you won't even see her second birthday.  I wouldn't change having our sweet girl, but I feel so selfish for not considering the "what if" more, and only thinking of what I wanted.  She is talking up a storm.   She even say "aggilator" for alligator.  She says her "L"s perfectly thank god, as her first name has two of them.  An L speech impedement would have been challenging.

I miss you.  I hate living in our home not because you died here but because you lived here and made it what it is.  Such hard, back breaking work you put into this bunch of brick and mortar to make it a home.  The more the flowers bloom and the trees grow the more I hate it.  They shouldn't be here as you're not here to see it.  I don't see it as some stupid testimonial, I see it as this just sucks.  The lights in the house that go dark stay dark until my father comes and replaces them.  All of the "things" I either passed to you or were just your "job" are now nobody's job really.   The absolute worst are the technical things that go wrong in the house.  It's as if my mind has no capacity to understand what to do.  I do what you taught me to do.  I stop, I think, and then I execute.  It's takes a little more time than taking a mallet to the fucking safe I couldn't open BUT I did figure it out AND didn't have to call the company.  I know you wouldn't believe it happen if you saw it, but it did happen.

You come to me in my dreams and lecture me about stuff.  I'm going to ask you nicely to STOP FUCKING DOING IT!!  It causes me to lose sleep.  Two weeks ago it was four days in a row.  It really drives me crazy to wake up and have nobody to talk back to.  Always being able to have the last word in a conversation just isn't fair.  Payback is a bitch I guess.  I knew that would make you smile.  

You'd be disappointed to know that because of me Harrison has lost his best friends.  I know you told me to "keep my mouth shut about things", and I always did when you were here.  Then you left, and then I couldn't help but just be me.  And so I ruined what was so important to Harrison.  He cries over it about three times a week, tells me he hates me, and I say I am so sorry.  "I lost my dad, and my best friends, and it's all your fault!"  He's right.   Maybe if I did have hope things you wouldn't have died.  Maybe if I just sucked it up and shut my mouth and didn't say things I was thinking I would still have friends and Harrison's heart wouldn't be broken.  There are so many what if's and should have's that I could scream.

The baby is starting to wake up right this second and the first thing she screamed was DADDY!!!!  As if I wasn't hysterical writing you a letter on the day after the third month anniversary of your death.  I'll go to her, I'll pick her up, she'll say, "Mommy, cry."  When she sees me cry she also makes a sad face and asks for a NaKin to wipe my tears.  

This new life really does suck.  I've gotta tell you, it's mostly about the kids.  I'm not sure how I'd feel if we didn't have them, but my sadness is buried in their sadness.  I can't even "process" (your favorite phrase) how I feel yet.  

I've gotta go, but I wanted you to know that the kids just can't come to see you yet.  I ask them sometimes if they'd like to go visit you and they're not ready.  I'm not sure they'll ever be ready as children.  Maybe when they're a little older, but I'll keep asking them.  They're kids, they change their mind all the time.

Oh yea, there's a new song by Train called "You Can Finally Meet My Mom"  I've cut and pasted them below.  It's the song Adelaide and I sing together in the car when we're doing stuff together.  She doesn't wanna hang out with anybody else but you when it's her time she said.  I don't blame her.

I love you,


Just like Daddy!!

"You Can Finally Meet My Mom"

Don't cry when I die
When it's my time I probably won't die
I'll just lie down and close my eyes
And think about stuff
These eyes got too wide seen too much of life's goodbyes
Should have spent less time making loot
And spent more time in my birthday suit with you

And everybody upstairs, everybody down stairs
I'm not gonna have time to hang out with them

'cause I'll be hanging out with you

Not Jimi Hendrix, Jesus or the dude
Who played the sherriff in Blazing Saddles
You not Chris Farley Mr Rodgers oh I've waited so long
You can finally meet my Mom

Life is good, but love it's better
Even Bieber ain't forever
We all got to go you know
So you might as well go in style
Everybody prayin, everybody singing
I'm not gonna have time to hang out with them

'cause I'll be hanging out with you

Not Gilda Radner, Buddha or the dude
Who had pop rocks and soda at the same time
You, not Jesse James, Paul Newman and oh I've waited so long
You can finally meet my Mom.

I'm not making light of things
But who's to say who's right with things like this
There's so much that we miss
Tryin so hard to be rich and famous
Pretty and thin, to win
It's a shame that youth is wasted on the young

So forget everything and just be with me here now
For as long as we can and whoever goes first save a spot

You, not Etta James, Bob Marley or the girls who won my heart along the way
You, not Sitting Bull, Ella or Bach and I almost forgot
You can finally meet my Mom
You can finally meet my Mom
You can finally meet my Mom
You can finally meet my Mom

No Steve Jobs, or Ty Cobbs, Al Capone or any other mobs
No Whitney Houston, Chet Baker, Andre the Giant or the Undertaker
You can finally meet my Mom
You can finally meet my Mom
You can finally meet my Mom
You can finally meet my Mom

April 14, 2012


I made this picture small cause we all look shitty, but this is us now.

In as early as March in some years, my dead husband and I would sit on our front porch (hence the picture), have coffee, chat, and check the news on our respective laptops.

Today, April whatever, is the first time I've sat out here alone.

Our gardens look tidy thanks to old friends who were kind enough to cut everything back last November. That was something we always wanted to do but never seemed to get around to.  Spring would come and we'd have all the old dead stuff still hanging around.   We'd then discuss how we screwed up again, but it would be better next year.  Eric would have liked it this year.

The yard was his pride and joy.  I picked the plants and he planted them.  He would mow the lawn on his riding mower for a 1/4 acre of land.  Please keep in mind that the footprint of our home took up most of that land.  But, the rider would cut his time from 1 hour of mowing to 25 minutes.  "My time is worth money," was his mantra.  

As he was making my dream garden come true he would constantly complain about his back the entire time.  That pain didn't stop him from making our home come alive.  Who would have guessed the pain was caused by a giant tumor that would kill him.

This is the third year after our initial re-org of the front yard.  Sure I over planted, (as he said I did) but excess is my middle name.  Now, our yard looks exactly as I had envisioned it would look when he was sweating in the hot summer sun.  We were never able to execute planting until July.  Don't know why, we just couldn't pull the trigger.

Back to our front porch.  Right about now we'd be discussing the election coming up and he'd say "Anybody but Obama!!"  Then he'd somehow wiggle President Clinton, (who I love as I would a family member), into the conversation with a jab.  "Are you EVER going to let it go?", I'd say with frustration.

We'd probably talk about plans for the summer.  Kids going to sleep away camp and how much they're going to love it.  How his parents are going to come visit before the kids go away.  "That sounds great!"  I actually would say those words out loud and with conviction.  I honestly don't know how I was able to muster should amazing acting ability in regards to his parents for a whole decade.   Well, not a whole decade in a row.  I'd say twice a year I'd explode and tell the truth about how I really felt...Only to apologize later in the day saying I'd lost my mind and they're fabulous.

This isn't actually my backyard but it looks exactly like it for half of the year.

The conversation would move to how much I now love our home but I still hate Illinois.  This is the first day that it is not gray and it is in April!!!  Five months of the torturous skies of doom looming over us and depriving us of our Vitamin D.  A little hyperbole but it's true.  Why would anybody live here on purpose?  It all came down to work.  People are tied to where they live based on where they work.

Eric had created a wonderful life for us.  Working for the same company for over 20 years.  I was with him for 10 of those years.  I must say, without me he wouldn't have gotten where he did. (In front of every great man is a woman pulling him by the neck.)   We would discuss, rather I would discuss how great it would be for the kids to get out of such a "not good" place to grow up.  Eric being from Illinois  may have been insulted.   Me being from NY didn't care if he was insulted if it helped up get out of here.

Money, the economy, jobs would be the next topic.  How can we possibly move out of a "lifetime" job into the unknown.  We live where we work we would decide.  As opposed to working where we live.  It may seem like the same sentence but it isn't.  In today's culture you can't just uproot your family to a place you "want" to live in - somehow that place picks you whether you like it or not.

Not your mama's Illinois.

How did the picture above become vacation for 7 days out of 365 days per year...and not 365 days per year.  I'm sure there are those that wouldn't like to live in this and would prefer let's say Alaska but that is NOT me.   When did quality of life become less important than how much money you make or how much sun falls on your face or how much peace you feel in your heart.

With Eric gone and there being no job to keep us here - the planet has become a For Rent sign.  If it were just me I'm not sure what I would do.  It's not just me.  It's my children and their future.  Where would they feel most at peace?  Where is that place that we will call home and feel right about it?

And so the search begins.......

April 6, 2012


I originally hated this movie and then I watched it.
Watching Bridesmaids with my mother last night and was actually "laughing out loud."  Belly laughing.  Not able to catch my breath laughing.


I'm sobbing.  Not able to catch my breath sobbing.

The scene was funny, (I don't actually remember what it even was, but I was laughing), then in a flash there was a cut away to a totally new scene.  It showed a man and a woman lying closely together in bed. The two were looking at each other in "that" way and he was stroking her hair.

It kind of felt like I was shot in the stomach when I saw this image.

My husband will be dead 11 weeks tomorrow.  That's almost 3 months.  Up until the last couple of days of his life I would sleep with him on the hospital bed that was in our home.  He was a big man and it was hard to move him as he had become paralyzed, so I had to lay pillows on the bar that was a side railing, to be able to be close to him.  He would rub my head just like in the movie.

Right before watching this movie I had a long conversation with my big girl about her daddy.  "The day he died, we made a signal because he couldn't talk," she said.  "I would squeeze his hand 3 times for I LOVE YOU, and he would squeeze my hand 3 times back."

I didn't get those type of hand squeezes.  I asked him to raise him thumb a bit if he needed me to wet his mouth.  He did and I wet his mouth.  We had already had all of the conversations to be had, all of the "I'm sorry's" - "I wish we had" - "I promise I will's" - and "I'll miss you's".

His final words spoken out loud were "I love you."  Not to me, not to his parents, but directly to the faces of his children.  The two most precious beings in this world got his last thought.  I tried to explain to my daughter as we cried that daddy loved you so much and he didn't want to die.

We are not a family buried deeply in faith, but I told her that I believed that daddy was looking over us. "I know", she said.  "BUT IT'S NOT THE SAME!!!  I WANT TO TOUCH HIM AGAIN."  How can I answer that demand to a 10 year old whose heart has been broken?  Then I went into see my son who cried, "Why, why, why did this have to happen to me?"  Another question I cannot answer in a sufficient way to help soothe his soul.

Exhausted from the nightly "why's", I went down to my mother's room to get some air.  "Ugh, Bridesmaids is on.  I hate this movie", I thought.  Then I found myself laughing HYSTERICALLY.  Then I found myself crying HYSTERICALLY.    The operative word being HYSTERICAL.

Death kind of trumps everything else that's going on around you.  It sneaks up on you.  Meeting with a landscaper yesterday I told him, "I need the lawn, garden, and flowers to look exactly like Eric would have made it look!!!"  Knowing it's not possible to duplicate the hard work that Eric put into his own home, I put my head down for a moment to catch myself from crying.

Trying to plot out my family's future, with nobody else who has skin in the game, has become a daunting and overwhelming task.  I look inside of myself and try to think and try to remember....what would Eric do?  In real life, he doesn't answer.  In real life, it's all me.  In real life, I am alone with nobody to lie next to.  In real life, there is nobody to stroke my hair.

In real life, I look put together.  In real life, I cry for my children daily.

In real life, I might just be hysterical, but you'll never see it.

April 1, 2012

11 years

...the place we decided to tie the knot 3/31/2001
Yesterday was our 11 year wedding anniversary.  I tried to remember how we spent the other 10.  In March 2011 we were in Florida - executing on a decision to make planned memories.  We decided to do these "planned memories" after Eric's diagnosis of Kidney Cancer.  This year we went to Florida again - but Eric wasn't there because he died in January 2012.

Deciding to go to Club Med in Florida was a decision made on the spur of the moment.  The children and I had no plans to do anything at all.  How can I keep them home, we need to go somewhere to have fun.  A family vacation it is.  Why not?  After all, we are a family, no?

"I wish Daddy was here."  The theme of the vaction.  Everyone (well not everyone), but everyone was there with a mom and a dad.  Everyone except my three children.   Dads throwing their kids over their heads into the water.  Unfortunately, I am neither tall enough or strong enough to do that.  Dads taking their kids fishing.  Again, not in my skillset.  Dads dancing with their daughters.  We danced - Adelaide cried.

There was a glimmer of light.  My son who is "Gifted in Spirit" <yes it's actually a "thing> opened his heart to a little boy.  The boy was barely 2 y.o., and they formed a beautiful bond.  Again, my son asked people we just met, "Can I get you anything?"  He didn't love circus school as he thought people were in pain doing their tricks and that bothered him.  Sharing his heart is something I haven't seen since January 21, 2012 - the day that cancer killed his father.

Our daughter sleeps with a shirt of her dads.  Thinking the maid service accidentally took it was traumatic to say the least.  It was eventually found and put in a very safe place for the next nights slumber.

We did meet a family without their dad being there.  One mom and 4 kids.  Eventually I found out that her husband had left them without a car the day after Christmas last year.  When this mom told her daughter, who is 11, that Adelaide and Harrison's father died this was her response.  "Well, at least he didn't just choose to leave them."  I reiterated this story to my children.  Explaining that daddy didn't choose to leave.  They answered with, "I know that, but that doesn't help bring daddy back."  I had no answer.

No Couples Massage 3/31/2012
Our 11 year anniversary was spent with me getting a massage and a hair treatment.  A little pampering would help I thought.  The room was dimly lit, the smell of lavendar filled the air <my favorite>, I was completely undressed lying on my back underneath the warm sheet, and the massage began.  Tears started to roll down my eyes.  Perhaps it was the release of tension that had built up, or that I hadn't had a decent nights' sleep in 8 days.  No, I think that's selling my marriage short.  It was the memory - flooding back - that on this day 11 years ago - I said "I do" to a man I thought would be with me for our always.  I didn't realize "til death do us part" wasn't just lip service, it was a possibility.

We walked back into our home at midnight leaving behind 3/31/12 forever.  The first of many wedding anniversaries with Eric that I will spend without him.  Walking in I physically felt a little faint, light headed and disoriented to be back to the real world.

I am hoping next March we will spend the month <including our twins birthday and our anniversary> not with tears of sadness but with smiles of remembrance.

With love,