Sunday, February 21, 2010

Tom and Julia

Tom was really good with kids. He loved them and they loved him right back. He had great relationships with our niece Alex and nephew Noah, but outside the family he had a very special love for Julia Klein.

Jennifer (Julia's mom) and I met back in graduate school. Seems like (and probably was) two decades ago. Jennifer met her husband Mike shortly before Tom and I met so we did lots of growing up together.

Tom and I were blessed to be invited to the hospital right after Jennifer gave birth. Tom was the first "non-hospital person, non-Klein" to hold Julia and I don't think he ever wanted to give her up. He was so happy with her. We would go to the Klein's and he could barely take his attention back to the adults. Tom also loved Sasha, (Jennifer and Mike's son) but somehow that first-minutes-of life-bond remained so strong.

The weekend after we found out about Tom's tumor we took action to get our paperwork in order. We needed to get various powers of attorney in order and wills witnessed, etc. We went immediately to the Klein's. Mike cracked jokes, Jen gave us cookies, Sasha played with trucks, I tried to act normal, and Tom sat at the kitchen table with his arm around Julia. When we left Mike took our picture with the kids. That picture was on the cover of the medical binder we used for years.

A long time after Tom's service I found a note Tom had written about his two favorite pictures. One was the picture Mike took that day back in June 2007.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Tom's truck

As long as I knew Tom he was an SUV kinda guy. When we met he was driving a black SUV that was already old and he still had to keep it and pay on it. He got screwed on a lease and ended up with too many miles so he had to do a buy out.

It was finally paid for and Tom still drove the heck out of it. One day a young man knocked on our door. He wanted to buy Tom's truck for $500. Tom was very honest about the vehicle's challenges but the man wanted it anyway. Tom researched it on the web, found the price was fair if somewhat generous and sent it to its new home.

Then he went shopping. He came home with a Chevy Trail Blazer. Above is the picture they took when he signed the papers back in May 2004. The Chevy was a fine car and although the gas mileage was low it hauled all his gear and all my projects and our dog and boxes of stuff all the time. I rarely drove it being content in my convertible.

When Tom could no longer safely drive, maybe in October of 2008, I started driving his car because it was much easier for him to climb in and out. When Tom died I alternated driving it every other week. I thought about getting rid of it but my car is just not so good with a dog or a 2x4. I thought about getting rid of my car but Tom's car is not so good with the top coming off. And since they are both paid for and low maintenance I'll just keep them until some financially driven event causes me to change my mind.

However here is the cool thing. After driving Tom's truck for well over a year I noticed some buttons above the windshield. After pressing them all a few times Tom's voice came out! I was really hoping it was like OnStar from Heaven but it turns out it was a memo recording system that Tom used once for testing. He spoke part of the Gettysburg address.

After being in that car alone for so many miles and still apologizing when I spilled my coffee, stressing over the dog hair, and knowing I should wash it more than quarterly it was a blast to have Tom's voice in there with me. Here is how it sounds...

Click here to listen.

(or cut and paste this link into a new browser window )

No idea why hearing Tom's voice from back in 2004 when he had his new car feels so good but I have listened to it 100 times.

Monday, February 8, 2010

2.8.10 Call for posting

For a really long time now I have been posting about Tom. Most every post is me trying to tell even more about this extremely wonderful man. I'd love to expand the view point.

Will you please contribute? One line, or three paragraphs or multiple pages. Photos or no photos. Even a video or audio clip would be great. Clearly, the posts I have written are not monumental or the stuff of literary legend. Don't make it hard. Just type and feel.

Email your words, etc. to me and I will so happily post them. I'd love to hear stories of how you met Tom or what happened in your lives together. Thanks for thinking about it.

Love Theresa

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

One year anniversary 2.2.2010

Tom died today one year ago.

When I post, as is quite obvious I'm afraid, I usually just write. I get an idea. Think about it a while and then type. Spell check, a little editing and I'm done. But today I don't know what to write. I could go down the expected and true paths of what an amazing man Tom was and talk about the difference he made in so many lives. I could write about how much I miss him or how blessed I am to have such a terrific support system that will not let me slip between the cracks no matter how much I try.

But that does not express it. The remembrances and the cards and the calls and the prayers are all more important than I can express but there is something inside I want to say and I don't know what it is.

It is probably because I am still at that stage of completely not understanding why this had to happen to Tom, to me, and to all of us. And why if I am PMI certified and a Christian and know good attorneys this could not have been avoided. And you can laugh but I swear I think these thoughts. I wonder why Santa Margarita can be so good and yet Tom is not alive. And why I know there are cold people on the street tonight and I can't let go of his jackets.

So I ramble on and have no deep insights for this one year anniversary. But Tom if you are reading this (and hopefully editing it for me) know that you are as loved as much as ever and missed even more. Please stop by if you can. Love Theresa