It has been 3 months since Anne passed away. The kids and I continue to have good and bad days. It feels as if the bad days are getting a little further apart, and the good days are less muted. I have thought about writing something on Sixintheworld, but I didn’t want to do it on a bad day and the good days all feel overly busy. Today is a good day and I am currently sitting on a cross-country flight, which makes this a good time to share.
I don’t claim any extra insight into how to handle the death of a spouse and mother now that we are going through it. In fact, I am continually surprised that we do handle it. I told a friend, I thought we were much better at deciding how to handle the cancer than we are at handling Anne’s passing. Cancer brought us all together in a number of ways; it was humbling and a fight. We grew together, put our gloves on, and fought like our lives were on the line. Anne’s literally was. What would you call what we are doing now? Living? Surviving? It feels less like a choice and more like something innate. I know it will take time and, fortunately, we have each other. The most shocking realization to me is how much life goes on. Anne was our world: before she was sick, she took care of us and after she was sick everything we did turned to focus on her. I knew life wouldn’t end if she passed away, but I have been surprised how busy our lives have become, the almost normality of days and the funny things I do to remember Anne.
I can’t speak for the kids as they have their own ways to remember Anne, but I have found myself doing a handful of things to remember or reach out to her. I have purchased everything in her Amazon cart, I am working my way through her bookshelf, reading books she talked to me about. Note to others, “Don’t start with Crossing to Safety. Angle of Repose is my favorite novel, and Anne is who had me read it. With our shared love of that book, Stegnar felt like a great place to start. The person sitting next to me on the plane, as I sobbed my way through the final chapters of the book didn’t think it was a good choice. I listen to her playlist(she only had 1 playlist, why would she listen to something other than her favorites.) I read her notes in her scriptures, I have put aside a specific time of the day to think about her, and I have continued to take a picture around sunset everyday, a practice I started at the beginning of the year.
We remember Anne all the time, but the reality is most days and time is busy spent living our lives. In July, McKane and I were able to attend a tiny but amazing conference in Jackson Hole. It is a new kind of conference where the attendees all put together the agenda on the fly and share their expertise with the other participants. I have been before and knew what to expect but it was a shock for McKane. Before he knew it he was on a panel discussing being a teenager in our age of technology. Mac did great on the panel and throughout the conference, meeting amazing people and representing our family very well, I am sure Anne was watching and was very proud of him.
I am doing what my doctor ordered and getting my self back into shape and fully engaging with work. I am still on the board of Rhapsody and help out a few small companies but the big change this year is I have a great and exciting day job. I work for, what I would call, the worlds most audacious company, AEG. They state bold visions and then make them happen. (Next big step Football in LA) I am building a small tech team inside AEG called axs.com. We have our own vision and will use new technologies to change the live event business. We have a lot to do and a big hill to climb, but the journey is rich with unique experiences. Last week I had the opportunity to hang out with the Stanley Cup, tour a room signed by every artist who has played at a major venue in SF over the last 30 years, and, in case you think it’s all fun and games, I also had to work on preparing to take over the ticketing for 2 of the 3 busiest venues in the world.
In August, the 3 younger kids all went back to school. Each goes to a different school with different schedules. Dax is helping out in the short term. Oxford didn’t allow him to just take a semester off, but, rather, are having him return exactly a year after he withdrew to be with Anne. He has only 1 1/3 years worth of school left before he can sit for his degree. This state of limbo is hard for him. He is still busy; he has studies and papers to write for school, he is tutoring Kieran, he is running the Oxford Starcraft Society from afar and is writing and potentially doing some consulting about competitive video gaming. Kieran is back in swimming and is way better at League of Legends than a 12 year old should be. Asher is on Malibu’s travelling soccer team and has taken up dance. McKane is embracing his senior year, prepping for college. He was recently named a National Merit semifinalist and is taking a full load of APs. His goal is to pass 1 more test than Dax did. Had Dax known Mac would shoot that high, I am sure he would have taken more, but at the time 11 felt like plenty.
Short of not having a mom in the house, our lives are as normal as they have been for a few years. I bring all that up to say that, even though we each have days where I am sure we would like to stay in bed and days where we each lash out in anger, sadness, or frustration, we are moving forward. We are living, we are surviving, we aren’t thriving yet and we aren’t travelling. Someday we will. One of the books in Anne’s Amazon cart was a travel book entitled, “100 Journeys for Your Spirit”. I smiled when I received it, Anne and I had had hit about 20 of them, and I’m optimistic that there are still another 80 for the kids and I to do at some point in our lives.