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5 Days

I slept heavily last night and, for the second night in a row, dreamed that Greg and I were fighting. We’ve actually never fought. Only once or twice have we even exchanged harsh words, and that was under extreme duress (re: moving), so these dreams have been unsettling.

It’s just after 8AM on Tuesday morning. There are only sips left in my coffee cup, a length to-do list on my left and other scattered notebooks and papers across the dining room table. Greg and I have been taking on more freelance writing work than ever these days and we have a big deadline for the end of the month that seems almost laughable this week as we try to plan our wedding. Somehow though, it’s all getting done.

Overall, I’m feeling quite calm about the act of getting married. I feel good about my vows and about all the effort I’ve put into the ceremony and the other meaningful aspects of the experience. I wonder what it will be like to be married. What it will be like to see a ring on Greg’s finger, to call him my husband, to be referred to occasionally as Mrs. Boose. Wow.

Only two more days here in Chicago to get everything done. I made a program for the ceremony yesterday and we both found gifts for our attendants and families. I’m picking up my dress from the alteration shop today , getting a pedicure, and tonight some of my girlfriends are throwing me a little bridal get-together which I’m excited about. Every day when I come home there is another Crate & Barrel box on the front stoop and now they’re all piled up in the living room by the fireplace. It feels weird to receive all these gifts and we’re definitely not going to open them until we’re married.

I still have moments in which I wish that everyone I know was going to be there on Saturday. But my gosh, I can’t even imagine how stressful that would be — this small ceremony is more than enough to think about. And the people that will be there are ever so important to us.

My half-brother Mike is coming, and made plans without hesitation, which I think is nice. He is my father’s first child — born in 1946 when my father was in prison camp in Germany during WWII. Mike is more than half my age, older than Greg’s parents, I believe. He looks very much like my father and carries many of the same mannerisms. Mike has always looked out for me and taken special care to check in on me in the last few years. He’s thrilled that I’m getting married and heartily approves of Greg.

When my father died I was the primary beneficiary of his estate and it was up to me to clean out and sell his condominium. I was twenty-five and quite alone in California. A couple of weeks after my father died I moved out of his condo and into an apartment in Venice Beach,where I lived for the last four years. Everyday for the first couple of months after he was gone I drove the 45 minutes to my father’s quiet, darkened condo with the intention of beginning to go through his things. And every time I walked in the door I sank to my knees and began to sob, completely unable to bring myself to fulfill the task of sorting through and getting rid of all of his things.

It went on like this for weeks. Even now just the thought of that condo in the weeks after he was gone, makes me want to crawl under the dining room table on which I’m writing and curl into a ball.

Finally, I called my half-brother Mike and I told him what had been going on. He flew out the next weekend and in just a few days the two of us went through the entire condo together, packaging up and getting rid of everything that we didn’t want. We even sold the condo that weekend. I’ll always be forever grateful to him for that weekend.

I’ve asked him to walk me down the aisle.


  1. Oh, my goodness. Tears well up in my eyes. I imagine your brother, looking like your father, walking you down the aisle and I get choaked up. I am so amazingly happy and giddy and excited for you. I want to yell at the park today, “My friend Claire is getting married.” but maybe that will look odd.

    Comment by Zora on July 15, 2008 at 9:31 am

  2. Oh, Claire! I so remember those agonized posts you wrote during that bleak, sad, paralyzing period of your grief. And I remember your account of the fantastic help Mike gave you. How wonderful that he will now be able to play such a meaningful role in this happy event. I cried to read this, yes, but am smiling too — as you will be in five short days when you become a married lady :-) The lists will all get done. Most important thing on them? The vows you’ll say, and the hands you’ll hold as you say them to your future husband.
    Oh my!

    Comment by Carroll on July 15, 2008 at 12:06 pm

  3. Claire, I have read your blog/s forever it feels like, in fact your blog is the first thing i check every morning just in the hope there has been an update. Im sitting here with tears streaming down my face as i read this post. Your parents would be so proud of you and everything you have acomplished over the past few years. Im so happy Mike is going to walk you down the aisle, im sure your wedding will be amazing. Congratulations to both you and Greg and i wish you both all the happiness in the world as you start a new chapter in your book.

    Comment by Mystee on July 15, 2008 at 4:46 pm

  4. Claire…your words and advice have always meant so much to me in person…I’m a little shocked to see that they mean just as much in print. I can’t tell you how much your last few weeks of posts have meant to me, challenged me to think of what life looks like now and pushed me to believe that everything really will be okay. Thank you.

    Comment by Kristin on July 16, 2008 at 12:21 am

  5. Let’s get this show on the road, Mrs. Boose.

    Comment by Greg on July 16, 2008 at 7:09 am

  6. Wow, thank you all for the beautiful comments. I really appreciate all of them so much. If I had more time I’d properly thank you and hope to do so soon!

    Comment by Claire Bidwell Smith on July 17, 2008 at 6:39 am

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