Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Random thoughts

For the past eight years, I've shared with Mike every single thought that has popped into my head. Many, he probably wished I had kept to myself. Others made him laugh. Most made him roll his eyes at me.

Everything from the price of paper towels at Publix to speculating whether that anchor on the Weather Channel was pregnant again. Most recently it was me calling him at work to tell him what I was making for dinner or the funny thing that Julia said. Sometimes it was me spouting political opinions that he didn't necessarily agree with but listened to nonetheless. Just random meaningless things. Whatever I was thinking.

Now that he's gone, I'm not sure what to do with all these thoughts. Over the past two months, I have wanted to tell him that I've started eating hummus, that I had bought him the new Stone Temple Pilots CD for Father's Day, that I was happy Nadal won Wimbledon because Mike knows I don't like it that Federer wins everything. I wanted to tell him how it's ironic that I've wanted to not work on Saturday nights for so long and now that I don't, I don't know what to do with myself and that there's not even anything good on TV. I wanted to tell him I was really ticked off about that birthday gift that arrived at the office for him.

And then there's the big things. I wanted to tell him that I was terrified TERRIFIED to speak at his celebration of life, but that I got through it by trying to summon up just an ounce of the enormous amount of courage that he showed every single day for the past two years. I wanted to pick his brain about how I really want to move back to Charleston and what I need to do to make that happen. I wanted to tell him that Julia is obsessed with the moon, particularly when it's out during the daytime. And that she peed her pants on her first day of preschool, but that her teacher said she's the smartest girl in the class. Of course she is!

And here she is on the first day.

And the second.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Ode to a car

The first time I ever got a glimpse of Mike Cherry was two weeks after I started my internship at the Daily Mail back in May of 2000. I was standing out front with Todd Frankel (probably smoking a cigarette, though both of us are now reformed...) when a shiny silver sports car passed by. I will never forget what Todd said to me: That's Mike Cherry. He covers WVU for us. He just bought that car. But he lives in an attic apartment without a stove.

Two years later, after having become good friends with Mike, I got a coveted invite to one of the infamous Hatteras trips. Problem was, he was going down on Saturday with a group of friends, but Deanna and I couldn't go until Tuesday. And Mike really wanted that car at the beach.... So he decided to let us girls drive it from West Virginia to the Outer Banks. Eight hours. Alone. Everyone, and I mean, everyone, thought he had lost his mind.

In the weeks leading up to the big day, Mike gave me lessons. I mean, the S2000 was his baby, after all. He made me go to a baseball game he was covering in Logan. Yes, Logan. So I could practice on windy roads. It was during these little trips that I started thinking I might like Mike Cherry a little more than a friend. And it was on that beach trip, that he figured it out too. He and I drove back together in that car. The picture above I took of him on that drive, drumming on the steering wheel, top down, happy. I remember the song that was playing when we pulled into Charleston: If I Ever Lose My Faith by Sting. And I remember that even after eight hours in the car, I hadn't had enough of him, so I invited him over for pizza.

Later that summer, that car would take us to Newport, Rhode Island, and Cape Cod, and on our first of many trips to Savannah. Later, we went to Charleston, South Carolina, and to Detroit and Baltimore for concerts. I drove to Florida in it one New Year's Eve to meet up with Mike who was covering the Gator Bowl. We drove home together and on the way, he proposed to me in Savannah.

It wasn't much longer before Mike had to lift me out of that thing when I was pregnant with Julia.

I hadn't really been in it much in recent years. It's not exactly equipped with room for a car seat. And I sometimes thought it was too loud. But Mike still drove it every day, logging more than 200,000 miles.

He loved that car. And so did I. It's so much a part of our story.

And now it belongs to Mike's nephew, my nephew, Nick. It will probably be hard for a while for me not seeing it sitting in the driveway. But it makes my heart happy that it's with Nick. Mike adored Nick. He would want Nick to have it, to have as much fun in it as he did...

(A stop on the way to the Outer Banks, 2000. Rick Gano, Jody Jividen, Todd Frankel, Marina Hendricks, Jeff D'Alessio and Mike)

(At our townhouse in Fort Hill, 2004)

(Mike and Nick, Easter 2010)

Friday, July 2, 2010


It's been nearly a month since Mike died and the world seems to have moved on, but I am stuck. Frozen in time.

Last week at work, they po
sted Mike's old job on the office bulletin board. Obviously, they'll need to hire someone. Obviously. Football starts next month. But when I saw that hanging there, I literally felt like I had been punched in the chest. I was unable to breathe. I still gasp when I walk past it. (I'm pretty sure I won't be able to work here anymore once there's someone else sitting in Mike's old desk, but that's another story.)

But there it is. The world is moving on.

At my house, it took me two weeks to pick up the pair of jeans that Mike left laying on the floor next to the bed. I did finally throw away the gazillion bottles of pills, but I still can't bring myself to do his dirty laundry. It was the last clothes he wore. If I wash it, there will be no traces of him, nothing that he touched. His toothbrush is still next to mine. All the coins he had lined up on his dresser are there collecting dust. I could barely bring myself to flip the calendar over to July because when it was June, Mike had been here.

I just don't like the idea of moving forward without him.

Julia and I did have a nice day at the beach a couple weeks ago. My friend Andrew got some great pictures.