Tuesday, April 12, 2011
My Life With Comic Books: Part # 175
A brief introduction:
My name is Paul Howley. Some people have called me the "luckiest man in the comic book business" but that all changed as of January 9th 2001.
The current cast of characters:
Paul Howley: age 46
Mal Howley: age 46
Adam Howley: my son, age 21
Cassy Howley: my daughter, age 16
MY LIFE WITH COMIC BOOKS: THE HISTORY OF A COMIC SHOP-Part 175
After the memorial service, my sister Sharon and her husband Greg invited family and a small group of our friends back to their home. I don’t remember much of what went on there, but I know we were glad to share this time with this group of people. After everyone had left, we eventually had to go home and begin our life without Adam.
We still had an abundance of food that was prepared for us by friends and members of our church and that’s what we ate for several days. We invited some of our closest friends over to help us eat up the remaining food but we eventually needed additional items from our local grocery store. I went by myself to do a quick shopping but as I went down each row I was overwhelmed with memories of Adam. His favorite breakfast cereals. Fruits and yogurts. Cheeses. Lots of cheeses. When I got to the juice aisle I saw the individual small cans of V-8 vegetable juice and remembered when we used to buy the large container and fill Adam’s thermos each day for his school lunch because it was cheaper than the small cans. I know this probably seems silly, but this memory was too much for me. I needed to get out of the grocery store right away before I totally broke down. I left the cart, full of food, right there in the aisle and rushed home.
When I was a kid, my father taught me that happiness in this life is mostly about our attitude. We can choose to be miserable or make the best out of our situation. I didn’t want to be miserable but losing Adam seemed overwhelming. It seemed like no amount of positive, wishful thinking could make me truly happy again. But I needed to try. I needed to be strong for my wife. I needed to be strong for my daughter.
I was fortunate that I was allowed to be a school board member at Cassy’s school. It gave me something to do that seemed worthwhile and it filled up lots of my time. The students, staff, and teachers were very caring people who were instrumental to my healing process. Spending time at the school with Debbie Monnell, Roger Allen, Brenda Carney, Belinda Simpson, and Jim Morel and others, gave me another purpose and reason to try to function normally. But my “normal” was now going to be very different for me. It’s hard to explain.
Mal spent many of her days with Liz Verhoeks at Liz’s “Laconia Pottery” store. Mal had been teaching rubberstamp card making classes at the store for a while but she wasn’t up to socializing with strangers so she decided to take some time off.
We were invited out for lunch one day with a couple we knew. Both are very nice people who wanted to comfort us. But at one point during our lunch, the wife (trying to empathize with our pain) explained how much she misses her oldest daughter. She said that there are times that she missed her so much that she’d wear one of her daughter’s sweaters just to feel close to her. We understood what our friend was trying to communicate but it just didn’t work. Her daughter was attending college about two hours away. Our friend could see or talk to her daughter anytime she wanted. Our son was gone.
Cassy’s life was very busy. She had lots going on at school with sports, studies and the upcoming school play. She felt the need to dive right back into school as soon as possible. I still remember the sick feeling I had as I watched her drive off to school on her first day back.
Right after Adam’s accident, Cassy’s old boyfriend, John, begged her to break-up with her current boyfriend. John assured Cassy that he regretted previously breaking up with her and that he wanted to “be there” for her in her time of pain and sorrow. We encouraged Cassy to seriously consider this before she did anything. It’s not a good idea to make important decisions while you are very emotional. She said she understood but she was determined to get back together with John. It didn’t take very long for the “real” John to come back and he broke her heart again. This is not what Cassy needed right now.
Mal had a growing urge to do something to help Adam’s friends from the park in Newport, Rhode Island. She wanted the “Park Rats” to know more about Adam and explain why he loved them. She discussed this desire with church members Ron and Christine St. Cyr.
Next chapter: Our church makes a plan.