April 21, 2014 Update

thank you for showing respect by reading Rebecca's pages

"To live in the hearts we leave behind is not to die." .... Harold Robbins

the real grieving begins later - when everyone has gone back to their own lives and you're all alone 


I've been thinking about this page for over a year.  Several times, I've started it and then erased it.  The truth can be embarrassing and humiliating.

I guess I feel the need to talk - but I have no one to really talk to.  So, sometimes, I put my thoughts in a file, and maybe they end up on a webpage.

Probably, the most difficult thing about this page is that it's selfish - it's mostly about me.  But if you could see inside my mind, I'm really thinking of Rebecca.  The last 14 months of her life, the fear that Rebecca must have felt - knowing she was going to die in a very short time.  I can't even imagine it, and words can't describe it.

I have a very difficult time coping with stress.  I've learned there are different "stages" of stress.  (1) Nervousness.  (2) Anxiety.  (3) Panic.

You'd get bored reading all that I have to say about the "stress triggers", so I won't bother.  Maybe you won't get bored.

Rebecca literally ran our life, since 1969.  I'll expand on that with some examples.

What follows doesn't really concern finances.  It concerns what we did with them.  For decades, I turned my income over to Rebecca.  She always understood banking and finances, since the first day we met.  Coincidentally, the first day we met was at her job - at Union Planters Bank, in Memphis.

During our 34 years together, we owned three (3) houses.  I didn't buy those houses - Rebecca did.  I just signed my name on many papers, but it was Rebecca that understood what I've never understood.

We owned several vehicles through the years.  I didn't buy those vehicles - Rebecca did.  I just signed my name on pieces of paper. 

We refinanced our home once - I didn't do that - Rebecca did.  I just signed my name on pieces of paper.

What I'm trying to explain (probably not too clearly), is that Rebecca knew and understood what needed to be done.  I didn't have a clue.  I still don't.

From Day One - in October, 1969 - the kitchen, food, shopping, banking, and everything related was Rebecca's domain.  "Get Out Of My Kitchen" was a constant, 34 year demand from Rebecca.  "OK - I'll just put napkins and silver on the table?"  "I'll get it - you go turn on some music or something."  OK - I got out of "her domain". 

To give you an idea of how deep this went, Rebecca died on August 21, 2003.  I literally did not even know the name of the mortgage company to make monthly house payments to.  It's the truth.

This is how I was trained for 34 years.  I did my work, Rebecca did hers.  Sure - at one time, I could earn approximately $50,000.00 a year playing keyboards, or a similar amount with our dog training business.  BUT I DIDN'T KNOW how to do regular, simple things - like go buy a car.  Or cook dinner for our family.  Or hundreds of other things.  I just didn't know.  Nobody ever taught or explained it to me.  I was real good at taking Rebecca out to restaurants, though!  Rebecca KNEW what to do (almost all of the time) - so she could just tell me, "Honey, I need $3,800.00 for a new roof", or something similar.  I didn't even understand that.  I had no idea she'd gotten 3 or 4 estimates to replace the roof - I was too busy working and trying to earn money to pay attention to those kinds of things.  So I did my job - I handed her the money, and Rebecca did whatever was needed after that.       

Years ago, we had ~18 German Shepherd dogs most of the time.  I KNEW how to give them basic veterinary care, how to give injections, and Rebecca left that responsibility to me.  She'd usually help me - but I did the work that I knew.

Now - almost 11 years after Rebecca died in my arms, here I am.  I'm a wreck.  I don't write this for a reader to feel sorry for me - I write because this HAS to come out, somewhere, sometime.  Rebecca isn't here .... who can I try to talk to?  How long do I hold it inside?

In a very important way, I was never like Rebecca.  She was a Home Economics major, college graduate, educated, and worked at a "straight", 9 to 5 type job throughout our life together.  I finished 9th grade, and always worked as a musician until we opened up the dog training school.  The training school was not a 9 to 5 type job.  Initially, we planned it that way, but reality appeared pretty quickly.  I usually worked on weekends and/or all night long - in many ways, it was similar to my life in music.  We never knew if or when I'd have to go out of state for a week or maybe a month or more.  So the consistency of a "regular" job was always part of Rebecca's life, but never part of mine.  By typical definition, I've never had a "real job" in my life.  Similarly, I never had a "regular paycheck" with a few very rare occasions.  Way back, I was on staff salary at STAX Records, but that was a minimal income source - the rest came from recording sessions.  The more sessions I could do, the more income I could bring into our household.  So I tried to find a lot of extra sessions.

I hope I'm making sense.  Rebecca's life was more "grounded", and my life kind of "floated".  Often, due to her exemplary work ethic, Rebecca was promoted and given raises.  These promotions were important.  The pay raises were - in a sense - financially unimportant.  Consider a raise in pay of $120.00 per year.  I'm not minimizing Rebecca's job improvements - her superb job performance - but what the hell can you DO with an extra $120.00 per year?  Factually, that amount wouldn't even feed our dogs.  I could spend $120.00 in 2 days - just calling Germany to import one dog!  When I bought leather leashes, for our training clients, I spent 3x that amount at once.  Eventually, I recovered the $360.00, but it sure took awhile.  Maybe you, the reader, can understand the basic differences between a guaranteed paycheck every 2 weeks, and the type of working life that I lived.     

There are positive and negative aspects to my kind of life.  Maybe - if I was lucky - I could earn $10,000.00 in one week.  And - if I was unlucky - I might not earn another dollar for the next 5 months.  At first glance, that $10,000.00 sounds pretty good - but not when you divide it into a 5 month period.  I earned plenty through the years, but I also had to spend plenty to earn plenty.  Rebecca, with a "straight" 9 to 5 job, didn't have the kind of expenses that I had.  As an example: our Canine Training Yellow Pages advertisement.  For a few years, until I cut way back, the ad cost ~$4,000.00 per month.  I had to do a lot of work just to offset that one expense - and there were many more. 

This isn't the end of this page - it's the beginning.  I have more to add here - I just need the strength to do that.

August 21, 2015 - Things aren't getting any better.  They're getting worse.  Today is exactly 12 years.

Today is February 2, 2016.  I was sitting here thinking that - if Rebecca had lived - March 18, 2016 would be our 44th wedding anniversary.

These are very difficult thoughts.

August 21, 2016 - Today is the 13th anniversary of Rebecca's death.  I'm still grieving.  I don't know if the sadness will ever stop.  Probably not.

October 3, 2016 - Today is the 47th anniversary of our first date.

March 17, 2017 - Tomorrow would be our wedding anniversary.  FORTY-FIVE YEARS.   

August 21, 2017 - Today is the 14th anniversary of Rebecca's death.  It's been a long time. 

June 28, 2018 - 16 years since Rebecca was diagnosed with small cell lung cancer.   

August 21, 2018 - 15th anniversary of Rebecca's death. 

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