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Leslie Streeter Scott Zervitz
|So what's the thing you miss about Scott the most?
Oh, boy. How long do you have? An hour? All day? Until the world ends?
I am sitting in the Royal Palm Beach studios of WEINetwork, an Internet radio station where every Monday night my husband Scott Zervitz used to sit in this same chair as host of his own sports show. I'm not sure how many people ever listened to "Scotty Z's Sports Locker", an amiable and delightfully random hour-long showcase of Scott's encyclopedic knowledge of anyone that ever threw, kicked or hit any kind of ball, ever. It may have been just me, his best friend and the mama of whoever he was interviewing that week.
But almost every Monday, for the better part of four years, it was my husband's extra-curricular passion, his bowling league, his poker game. The last episode was July 27, 2015, and I don't remember what the topic was, or even if I listened to it. All I know is that it was the end of the second-to-last full day that Scotty was alive, and as I sit here, in this place that meant so much to him, across from his former co-host and station manager Peter Wein, I can almost see him, leaning into the microphone and purring "This is Scotty Z, and welcome back to the Sports Locker, in his beautifully nasal semi-thick Baltimore drawl.
I can feel him, almost touch the purple letters on his white Baltimore Ravens Jersey that is now hanging in the closet of the new house he'll never live in. It's almost like Scott, who died a year ago this week, is here, except he's not. And I could go on forever about the things I have been deprived of, from the mundane to the ethereal, since the morning of July 29, where he slipped away from me in a moment, literally just beyond my fingers, and I couldn't do a thing to stop it.
+ Leslie Gray Streeter and Scott Zervitz were married for five years and five months before Zervitz died July 29, 2015. (Contributed ... read more
Leslie Gray Streeter and Scott Zervitz were married for five years and five months before Zervitz died July 29, 2015. (Contributed by Leslie Gray Streeter) Ã Where do I start? Scotty was my soul mate, my boyfriend, my best friend and co-parent. I know a lot of words - I trade in them for fun and profit, and even I find it hard to quantify his absence in a sound bite. I miss that Baltimore accent, his smile. I miss kissing his strong, handsome nose that had been broken in some youthful foolishness but had healed to ragged imperfection. I miss how he couldn't remember driving directions to places we went all the time but knew not only the name of every player in every Super Bowl and lines from random Steven Seagal movies, but also the name of cabinet members from the Eisenhower administration and intricate details about Israel's Six-Day War.
Grief isn't linear, though, and one thing I have learned with certainty is that we don't just mourn the past, the endings and the Never Agains, but also the Never Will Bes. We are grappling with a timeline that ended without our permission, a set of ellipses that trail into nothingness. Every time the child I am now raising without Scott grows out of one of the Ravens jerseys he selected for him, I mourn the fact that he will not be buying another one. I mourn the fact that he never got to see the new house we're living in, throw a ball with the kid in the back yard he wanted so much for him. I mourn the chance we won't get to see the new Jason Bourne movie and scream "Run, Jason Bourne! like idiots and let our fingers touch like teenagers at the bottom of the greasy bag of popcorn.
I mourn the chance to see him do his little half-rhythmic signature dance, a slapdash combination of the Boxer and the Hitchhiker that I used to call the Boxhiker. He would do it gleefully even though he was perennially a half-step off the beat, because it brought him joy, and joy is sexy. I mourn the conversations we are not having about this current election, about which he'd post a million provocative Facebook sermons that would start a fight between everyone we knew before he went back to watching "Sanford and Son" reruns. I mourn the fact that he can't see the 15 pounds I've lost since he died, although he thought I was beautiful anyway.
I mourn someone thinking I am beautiful.
I mourn the loss of being loved, by someone who knew how to bring the very best and the very worst out in me, who knew every sublime and ridiculous thing in my soul and chose to hang out anyway.
I mourn his kindness to his niece and nephews, to his brother and cousins and friends - God, he was the best friend. I miss his laugh, and his stubbornness, and I wonder what he would think about how I have handled the loss of him. I think I've done OK - I don't want a gold star or a cookie or anything but I look back to the first month when I floated through on a cloud of shock, stubbornness, obligation and bourbon and still expected to see him in the kitchen doorway. I'm grateful to time, to God, to my mommy and everyone who loves me, because I don't know how I got off that cloud.
I hope Scott would be proud of me, the way I was proud of him. The way I was proud to be his wife - the way I am still proud to be his wife, because I still feel that I am. I didn't get a say, you know. But I am making peace with the fact that the part of our marriage where he can talk back, fight back, hug back, is gone, and every day it is easier to look to a future, to not feel guilty about having a future without him. To not feel guilty about being happy without him.
I'm not quite there, yet, but I'm close, I think. A year is but a blink, and I know I am not done mourning. A part of me will always mourn him, always be sucker-punched by a memory or a sound, or a deep leather chair in front of a microphone that made him so happy. That made me happy because he made me happy. To paraphrase Marisa Tomei in "Untamed Hear"t, a shamelessly cheesy romantic movie that we watched all the time, I was good at loving Scott, and he was good at loving me, and this is the thing that feeds me, that makes me both miss what I used to have and so, so grateful that I had it.
So what do I miss about Scott?
Everything, really, I say. "Everything".
by Leslie Gray Streeter, Palm Beach Post Staff Writer