One year ago today…

It was a Tuesday. Unusually cool for June. In the low 70s I believe.

Death is not something I have ever been comfortable with. Ashes/Remains not at the top of my list. But, 3/18/20 changed everything.

The only thing I can say about that day right now is I remember sitting at the table for lunch and thinking why the heck are we eating chicken strips from bojangles? I was so lost, and that’s all I could think. Who got these chicken strips, and why? It seemed like everyone was eating so I don’t know if I was crazy or what? I took one bite, and I was done. I was done.

I remember that entire day. I don’t want to. But I remember all of it. Tommy talking, telling stories…Johnny Stuhr talking, and I would just drift off. Thinking none of this is real, none of this is real.

My nightmares were really bad back then, and that day was I felt like I was in a nightmare. I didn’t care about anything. I was lost. I remember it was time to select an urn. I literally walked in circles not even knowing why o was looking at. I didn’t like any of them at all. Maybe we should go somewhere else. I remember seeing Brenda and realizing this wasn’t a dream. She showed me one she saw, and I was like fine. Let’s go. I did not want to be there.

I had to leave Trey there that day. And that is still the hardest memory.

Tuesday March 24th we picked him up. The abbey was closed due to coronavirus…however they did take an urn down to Stuhr funeral home - because they have a very specific urn that has to be used, and thank goodness because the company of the urn we selected was shut down totally for corona.

The abbey uses square brushed bronze urns. It was perfect. Simple, bronze, and perfect. We brought Trey home, and I could not just stick him somewhere. Of all places he ended up on the mantle. I would wake up at night move to the couch as usual snd I would just talk to Trey, look at the mantle and do a lot of crying.

I got so used to Trey being here. I got so used to talking to him, and feeling like he was right here. It’s probably not healthy, but it’s what happened. If the dogs left the house, which they always did Trey would come along. We carted him all over. Across the country and back.

And then in late May I got word the abbey would open up for us starting on June 16. No services…just the Strocks, the Gordons, and the office. That day worked for everyone. And all of a sudden it was there.

I remember on June 14 we had a miniature birthday cake delivered for Benton. And we just sat in the living room and had cake. Trey, Beauregard, Bess, benton, and I. I remember thinking that would be the second to last night Trey was here.

Trey passed 2 days after my birthday

Trey was inurned 2 days after Benton’s birthday

I don’t remember a lot of anything that day. I just wanted to be alone with Trey. I needed some alone time.

We went to the abbey very early. We had the flowers and Trey. I know I didn’t have my walker because I left it in New Mexico. Somehow I walked all the way back down the path to the columbarium alone, and I carried Trey. I remember we sat on a bench they had placed about halfway and stared out at the sea oats planted there.

I remember thinking I didn’t want to do this. I couldn’t leave him out here. I wanted to go. Right then. But I had sent benton away to go meet everyone so I could be alone.

And that’s when this one single butterfly flew it’s way across the grass. I just remember watching it and thinking about how Trey would always think of his grandma Johnny when butterfly’s were around. I sat and watched that butterfly for awhile. And then she flew down. The path further. I walked down to the columbarium and went to my bench right near wear Trey was going they had opened his space and blessed it, his flowers were there. I just sat on the bench in silence for awhile.

Not paying attention to anything. But then I saw that butterfly again - flitting around Treys flowers. I think I said outloud or at least thought ‘well at least I know Johnny is here’

And just like that I was ‘okay’ with him being there.

I didn’t really speak to anyone that day much. I have no idea what anyone said. Or anything.

I just remember standing there and I had never felt so alone.

We had lunch that day, and I had never felt so awkward. I didn’t know what to do, I did not want to be alone - but I wanted no one around. It was so confusing. I just wanted to go back to the abbey. I didn’t want Trey to be alone - I think I had benton take me every day they were open at 9am for a month, and then to three days a week, then Tuesdays and Saturdays. Now that bentons working we go up first thing Saturday mornings for lunch, or sundays.…its less busy then.

Coming home that day everything felt so different. So empty. It was living it all over again…

it still feel that way coming home every day. I automatically want to walk into the den, and tell Trey everything going on.

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