Monday, January 31, 2011

feeling sorry for myself

I don't know if its because Rachel went back to school today or not, but this evening has been one long cry....I could barely keep things together to drive home. The songs on the radio were all "his" songs, songs he sang, songs he danced to.......

Just when I think things are getting better, I think I'm beginning to cope something like tonight happens. What triggered it I have no idea. All I know is I want him here with me, to feel his hand in mine, hear him laugh, to smell his cologne. All lost to me now, only the memories remain.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Changes and Disruption

Just when I find a teacher that I work very comfortable with the "office" decides to move things around and dissolves the program....there is no longer  Project Support  at GMS. We all still have jobs but things are getting "relined."

 The new teacher, T, and I clicked right off, seemed like we had worked together for years. She's worked with "behavior" kids forever. Being a true smart ass, the kids like her, she understands them, doesn't judge to harshly and makes them responsible for their actions.

On Monday it was announced she was moving to the 7th grade floor, teaching her 2 math classes, and doing 2 inclusion classes on the 7th grade other words she is now the inclusion teacher on the floor. Great way to start the week, happy Monday!!!

My schedule is up in the air right now. The only thing that will stay the same is one of the math classes I was covering. With 10 kids, all on IEP's there needs to be two of us in the room, other than that who knows.

We all know this is coming about because the schools are being evaluated on how the system itself, district wide, is servicing the special ed kids.Are the schools in compliance with the kids IEP's, are they receiving the services they are entitled to.

 I am sure there are changes that need to take place system wide I just don't handle change and disruption very well....I am having some anxiety issues because of the upheaval going on. Gee would say there is nothing I can do about it so don't worry about it....whats going to happen is going to happen, no changing it....he was right then and he'd be right now. Like everything else I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

another step forward

Friday was another snow day, worked only twice last week. My friend Lynda called, a group was getting together for a few drinks at McNally's was I up for it? No I hadn't showered, wasn't dressed just didn't feel it. Bullshit, she says, pick me up in a half hour and hung up. I got dressed and picked her up. It was fun, I got out of the house and I didn't feel sorry for myself for a few hours. The first time I've been out socially for months.

I sit with the TV on at night just waiting for it to get late enough so I can go to bed. I escape in sleep, not lonely, not sad, no tears, just nothingness. I can cry over nothing...a song, a thought, or not. I was thinking about what I should get at the store for next weeks lunches and the tears start falling. I was folding clothes and I start. Poor Fred he gets so disturbed when I's almost like he knows why and he puts his head on my lap and looks at me with sad eyes. Like now, he is looking at me watching my every move. He is never more than a few feet away, what would I do without him? His ever presence is a comfort to me.

I have booked the trip to Disney we have been putting off for the past year. Rachel, Ann, Laureen and I will be heading to the sunshine state in March...Rachel's spring break. Clayton will care for the cat, Fred is going to the vet for boarding. I worry about him, he spent two years in the shelter before we adopted him, it was his age I'm sure, he is such a nice dog. We have reservations in the "better" runs, indoor, outdoor, daily walks and interactions with the other dogs. I have been thinking on scheduling grooming but just being there may be stressful enough for him.

Freddie is having a hard time now that I'm working again. The vet said his anxiety has returned because he's "afraid" I wont come back. I really don't want to have to medicate my dog because of separation anxiety, but if he's going to go crazy when I'm gone I may have to. He wants to spend his day upstairs I guess he feels comfortable there but he is peeing when he's left alone from anxiety. So I will keep him in the kitchen and hope he gets over being alone....

Maybe both of us will get used to it, though somehow I think Freddie will master his issues before I do mine.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

sleep over buddy

Jack is spending the night. He is so full of energy, never stops. I am exhausted, he is sleeping, recharging those batteries for tomorrow.

I wish he would have memories of Gee, but he will only have stories of how much he was loved by this man in pictures they say is his grandfather.

What will we tell him. His grandfather was a man of honor, who always lived life to the fullest. A man who loved his family, pinochle, and laughing. He could always find something funny in everyday things, never took anything to seriously. A man who always looked to the bright side of things. Even during his battle with cancer. When the doctor would ask how he was doing he always said not bad...because someone somewhere was worse off than he was.

His grandfather was a man who survived 2 wars, growing up poor and black, and never compromised on what he believed was the difference between what was right and what wasn't. There was no grey area there. A man who was bigger than life and who will be remembered by all who met him.

I guess what we will tell him is your grandfather was a good man.........

Friday, January 21, 2011

in sickness and in health

I saw the lawyer yesterday, a very nice man, who said he admired me for taking care of  Gee at home. I saw a teacher from another school who said basically the same thing. A friend told me she could never do what I was doing. I've heard this kind of thing from so many people. I took care of my children, my parents why would Gee be any different. Gee was my husband, my friend why wouldn't I do anything I could to make his last few weeks on this earth the way he wanted them. He loved his home and his family and he wanted to spend his last days surrounded by both. So we brought him home.

 In sickness and in health means something to me, it did when I married him and it still does. It didn't mean only when your healthy, or only when your a little sick. He was sick and I would care for him. He would have done the same for me and he did, for 34 years he took care of me. Never asking for anything in return except to love him, and I do with all of my heart.

 I tell people that I'm lucky, I had 34 years with a man who loved me and cared for me with all of his heart and many can say that.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

a month or yesterday

Gee's been gone a month it feels like yesterday....I look at the couch and see the hospital bed, I close my eyes and hear his laugh, big boisterous and loud. I hear him singing, and when I flick channels I hesitate when there is wrestling on to let him know what channel.........

The day he came home from the Highlands I was helping him move up in the bed and I started to cry...he was always so strong... he hugged me and said I was going to have to be the strong one this time, because he couldn't and he started to cry,in 34 years I had never seen him cry...he was afraid, not to die, afraid for Rachel and I, because he was not going to be able to care for us any more. I have said to myself so many times over the past month I don't want to be strong anymore.....and then I look at Rachel and I know she worries about me. Will I take my meds when she's at school, will I eat the way I should,  will I.....any one of a thousand will I's, and I keep going.

I wonder if he knew he would die on the 18th...... he was born on the 18th, we were married on many other 18's are there that I don't know about. He was a creature of habit, like us all. Work, home, TV, sleep....everything had its rhythm ....even his children...8 years between them, Sonny 52, Yvette 44, Gweno 36, Clayton 28 this year and Rachel will be 20.....more irony.

We have a snow day today. Might get 6'' of snow before it changes over to rain. Is this more of Gee's doing? I didn't want to go today, to many thoughts running through my head. Very distracted, not very focused at all.....more irony, or just New England weather.....

Monday, January 17, 2011

back to Westfield

Rachel goes back to school today. She is more than ready, misses her friends and ready to start her new classes. Can't say I'm ready for her to go. It's going to be awfully quiet around here. Not that she's loud, there's just so much activity, Steve, Alan, Mirah, Katie and the rest in and out all  the time. The quiet is what I'm afraid of.

I have the cat and the dog for company. Freddie is as dumb as a post but he loves me, follows me wherever I go.He has stopped looking for Gee for the most part. We do need to leave him corralled in the kitchen when we leave. He has started peeing again when we leave him alone, separation anxiety. The vet said it should be temporary. As for the cat, when he wants you he can be very lovable, he just doesn't want you very often.

I have begun looking for a part time job. My friend from work, JoAnn, lost her husband two years ago, same cancer, same doctor, as Gee, has said it has been her savior. She works a few nights a week and helps to keep her occupied. I'm not sure what I'd like to do, the movie theater is looking for help, I may go there this week.

The other thing I have been contemplating is going back to school. I know I don't want to be a regular classroom teacher, don't have the temperament for that. I'm good at my job, I like the kids I work with so I'm leaning towards a tutor. I would need a teaching certificate,but I wouldn't be the lead teacher. I have 63 credits that transferred from the community college...I will need to make an appointment at Fitchburg State to see what kind of money is out there for someone in my situation.

Like every other decision I've had to make lately I bounce between the choices and seems I end up doing nothing. Some of the problem is my proficient procrastination, but some I know is this depression I am going through. Yes, I know it's understandable, but most days if it wasn't that Fred wakes me up to go out or Rachel is home I think I'd never get out of bed. Nothing gets done. The dinning room is full of crap that needs to get put some place, given away or tossed. I look at it knowing something needs to be done and I start and the tears come and I stop...Clayton did take a few of Gee's coats, but most are so out of "style" I doubt anyone would want them, But I can't put them in a bag to go to Salvation Army. If I do that am I saying his life had no meaning, his things are not important therefore he was not my head I know this isn't true but my heart breaks each time I think of doing it. Lynda, a good friend, tells me so what, when I'm ready I'll go through all of it, but for now , so what if it sits and waits....maybe she's right...maybe I need to just say so what and leave it at that.....

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

that bb out on the field

I met Gee when I was 18, he was 41. If that wasn't enough to raise eyebrows he was also a black career soldier with children my own age.

 Looking back my parents must have thought I was crazy. Unlike now, where at the local high school interracial couples are nothing unusual, gay students are open and receive little or no comments from the rest of the student body.  My uncle wouldn't visit my parents because he may run into us, I doubt my father cared very much, Walt was a miserable man. My sisters husband wouldn't talk to us for years. There were places we didn't go, but mostly we were left alone.

I never really noticed the differences between us. This one night we were in Clinton. He was calling softball for a men's league. Sitting in the stands I heard all kinds of things. I find it very funny how many games Gee lost, it was always his fault never the guys swinging the bat. An older woman was sitting in the stands. She was there watching her son play. She tried to come to the games if the weather was nice and they were in town. I responded with a that's nice. Settling in she looks out on the field and says, " oh shit it's that black bastard again tonight, I don't like that umpire...." I didn't say anything, what could I say. She continues to talk and talk. Commenting on every call. After about 8 innings of play she turns to me and asks, "who are you watching honey, is your boyfriend a player on the other team?" and I said" no, I'm waiting for that black bastard out on the field."She turned green, I walked away and Gee laughed and laughed.

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Christmas' Past

I just sit and look at the small Christmas tree Clayton and Katie put up one Sunday when I was bringing Rachel back to school. I wasn't going to put one up this year. I was far from feeling festive, but Clayton said Rachel needed a tree, so he brought a small one over and put the lights on it. We put the decorations on it the next weekend when Rachel came home.

I know it needs to be taken down, but every time I try I start looking at the ornaments, thinking of where and when we got them. The birds I collect, the crystal, the ones that came from my mother and grandmother. A story behind each one. The one that holds my attention the most is a Daffy Duck dressed in a striped shirt with a whistle and a sign that says fowl. Rachel gave Gee that ornament so long ago....he loved it.

Christmas to him wasn't presents, it was dinner....with all the family and friends that we could get into the house. Rib roast and chicken, cabbage and collard greens, sweet potatoes, mashed potatoes, biscuits and rolls, my mothers fruit cup and grandpas shrimp cocktail, and pies and more pies. So much food seems almost sinful. Good food and good company what more could anyone ask for, he would say. Even last year when he was beginning to fail, we had Christmas.

I wonder what next year will bring. Will it bring with it a sense of comfort and stability that I truly don't feel now. Will it bring the laughter that followed Gee where ever he went. Will we ever see Christmas the same way again? No we wont, it will evolve into something different, something strangely familiar but so very different.
My daughter-in-law works in a different school system than I do. She is new to public schools having worked since graduating college in a private school. She was in the office the other day when she over heard two teachers talking. One was asking the other if this Gullatt, the name on a mailbox, could possibly be related to Gee. She answered he was my father-in-law. Both gave her their kind sympathies, telling her they had known him for years. They had both called various sports with him and how wonderful they thought he was. She thanked them both for their kind words and assured them she would pass them on to me.

Gee was known everywhere there was a sports dollar to be made. He knew so many people by their faces, all the men were bubba and all the women were sweetheart, he didn't remember any ones name. The first game he called at Gardner Middle School after Ish became the Dean of Students, Ish tells me, as a three sport athlete he remembers Gee from his own games growing up in Fitchburg . They all remember him, as real class act, great guy.

He called men's softball for years. I would go with him before the kids were born. This one particular night he was behind the plate and this one guy was giving him a hard time. Complaining about his calls. After the first couple of innings Gee had had it. He tells this guy another word from you and you're gone. Do you understand me....the guy says yes sir....that's the word you're gone!! Throws the guy out of the game. The next night he is calling with a guy they call Mother Yates, because when he has had enough he would but his hand on his hip and shake his finger. The same group of guys from Hudson. The same guy that Gee had thrown out of the game the night before was playing. He made comments about the calls Phil was making. When Phil stood up and put his hand on his hip I heard Gee say oh Lord.....I then hear Phil saying "do you understand me!" the guy shakes his head....."you better answer me" Phil says, again the guy shakes his head. Phil is about to toss this guy when Gee finally starts laughing and tells Phil about the night before. As always Gee finds humor everywhere he went. He always said life was to short not to enjoy it all.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Mrs. G's back in School


The last day of the first week back. Not much has changed, the place didn't fall to pieces without me! The "girl drama" is in full swing and the boys all bathe in cheep cologne. Less is more is the mantra of the 8th grade floor!

Work has kept my mind busy. I have a new schedule, my student is going to a private school, so I am back in the classroom, two math classes and two ELA. The math I enjoy, but the ELA...what is a conjunction?? and don't even ask me to spell anything. I now know why my mother would say"look it up"...she couldn't spell either!

I enjoy my job most of the time, and I am good at it. I connect with my kids, sometime understand them more than they understand themselves. I think it's because I could have very easily been one of my kids. I work with a boy who has become one of my favorites....who knows why. He's unkempt, a bit skanky, but there is just something about this kid.  He wants to go to Monty Tech next year but they wont take anyone with his behavior issues, so he wonders why he should bother to stay on track.

Today he came into our room mad as hell. One of the teachers gave him a zero for an essay she said he didn't pass in. I know he did it, he did it in academic support with me. Did he pass it in, he says he did, I believe him. He redid the essay and passed it in, she accepted it but told him she is taking 10 points off the top for being late. Very unfair when come to find out  his is one of 10 essays in this class alone she can't find. Another reason for this kid not to stay on track.

The teacher in our room will be the mediator between them. What bothers me is when this kid or any of our kids know they are treated differently because they come from our room, no matter how "good" they have been behaving.  One detention since September, no suspensions, attendance better than it has ever been and some teachers still wont cut him a break.

It bothers me that a kid so smart who is really trying to "do the right thing" gets the short end again. If he keeps it together he sees no benefit, Monty Tech has written him off as trouble, teachers wont believe he isn't lying. If he gives up and "throws in the towel" and reverts to the mouthy kid who hardly comes to school, never does anything they can say see we all knew he was just a punk. I guess all I can do is keep doing what I do, encourage them to improve, praise them for their successes and help them learn from their failures.

Friday, January 7, 2011

Take It To The Hoop

One of the teachers I work with graduated with Clayton. His mom and I travailed to every football game and basketball game the boys were playing in. We all work together now.

Gee didn't call varsity basketball, you only got one game. Hardly worth the gas. He did however call freshman and JV. If Gardner was playing he would come sit with Lynda and I when his games were done. The crowd would be yelling and nothing could be heard on the floor, just muffled noise. Mike would break for the basket, running to the noise of a yelling crowd and through all that noise he would hear Gee yell, "take it to the hoop"and if he scored, "boonyoew, there it is." Mike would point into the stands at Gee as he headed back down the court.

While I was out and Gee was so ill the teacher's were playing some 3 on3 during the talent show. When one of the guys was carrying the ball down the court, Lynda hears Mike yell.."Take it to the hoop.....she turned and looked at Mike, he says that one's for Gee.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Family Man

I was flicking channels and stopped on a video station....a country station and the song playing was called Family Man...a video of a man who works when and where he can to make a dollar for his could have been written for Gee. He would leave at 4am and be gone untill 9pm, leaving one job to go to another. His job as a Man was to earn the money, mine was the kids, thats a another story, for another time.

Family means different things to different people, to Gee family was everything. Food, clothing and shelter that was his job, and he did it so well.

When he was 13 he asked his father for a quarter for lunch money for school, knowing he had just gotten paid,"get away for me boy, I got no money". That was the last time he spoke to his father for many years. What he did was find a job after school in a grocery store. The "Old Jew" let him live in the back room as long as he stayed in school. Which he did until he was 16 when he lied about his age and joined the Army.

For 32 years the Army was home. It took care of him and later let him take care of his family. When asked why he stayed in he would always say, "I like to eat and all I had to do is keep my mouth shut and my opinions to myself."

After leaving the Army, nothing much changed all he knew was work. At 72 he was still a sports official, not high school anymore but the little guys who always were his favorites. He was a man who took care of his own. His kids had everything the needed, most of what they wanted and a true example of what a Family Man was.

He was so proud of his children. All 5 went to college, all 5 responsible adults,a corporate business man, flight attendant, a data processor, a computer programer and a someday social worker. What a great gift the world got from just a common Family Man.......

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

I work with very good people.....

I work with very good people....

My first day was hard to be back, just being in school, wondering how much the kids knew about why I was out.....and what would be said. They said nothing more than we're glad your back Mrs. Gee, we are sorry about your husband.

The staff in the building did the same, except Dern....he gave me a hug, kiss on the cheek and whispered in my ear, life sucks, but we are here for you and walked out...... everyone has let me know they are there for me...makes things a bit easier

Another step forward.....

Monday, January 3, 2011

pushing on...

I am going back to work tomorrow. I am very apprehensive, not knowing how I will react to all the people asking me how I am doing.

How am I doing? I tell everyone that we are fine, we are okay, that's what they want to hear. They don't want to hear that I wake up at night thinking I hear Gee calling me. That the dog sits looking at the door waiting for Gee to come home, that I can be watching TV at night and it is all I can do to not scream.

I can't bring myself to go through Gee's clothes. His jeans, shirts, sweatshirts....the sports stuff, striped shirts, whistles,flags and so much more. All those things that made him Gee. I sleep in his sweatshirts hoping that it will bring him closer to me.

We went to Clayton's today, to have the Christmas none of us really wanted. Being true to form....Gee had Clayton buy Rachel and my Christmas present....a heart bead for my bracelet, one that says daughter for her. So like him, to think of us.....

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Funerals are for the living, for those left behind to share their grief and comfort each other. Someone told me that once.

Gee wanted Military Honors and that's all. Honor guard, gun salute, taps....short and to the point, just like him. Only family to attend.

His older children wanted the funeral they remember of their grandparents. They wanted the wake, the minister, the service in the church, written programs with his life's history, family flying in from all over the country. Way over the top, not Gee at all.

Determined to stand my ground refusing any options other than what Gee wanted I see Gweno, full of anguish and pain. Of all his children she knows him the least. She was only 3 or 4 when Gee left for Korea never to really to come back. He was a voice on the phone, a Christmas present, a birthday card and a week in the summer. She needed more, she needed something that would make these days seem normal to her. So compromises needed to b made.

I agreed to open his service to the public, to gather together after to have lunch and tell stories and to gather strength from each other. A small gesture that made such a difference to her and to many others. So many came, neighbors, friends,track people, basketball people, softball people, football people, standing room only.  All feeling the need to gather together to say good-bye to a man who was larger than life and who touched the lives of everyone he ever met.

Funerals are for the living.......