Saturday, December 29, 2007

Seven

Today is seven months.

I was up till about 2 a.m. this morning and all I could do was think of that horrible time seven months ago. Of the waiting room and the knowing but not knowing. Of the having to call people and of the feel of the skin and hair and the knowledge of never feeling it again. I know I have said this in the past, but it is a memory that is still with me. Still vivid in my mind.

I miss my husband Jim and wish there was something I could do to make this just be a dream. To give half of my body so that he could be here, even if he only had half. Together we would be whole.

Coming to Raleigh this weekend to get away from the house and watching a very sweet older couple in the seats next to me on the plane. Touching, holding hands, sharing their peanuts. It was so much like what Jim and I would do. I can't do anything about what has happened. I can just remember and feel and hope that he knows that I am still loving him.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Dec 27th

Just a few more days and 2007 will be over. Thank god. The worst year of my 46 years. I can't think of any that was any worse. Or any in 17 years that was worse.

I am counting the hours till 2008 steps in and takes over. I have also created something I have never done before - a new years resolution list. Over the last month I have started thinking about things that I could change because it is just one of me in the house now. Some of the things will make it easier for me and some are things that may improve my health - physical and mental. The list will come later.

Christmas Eve was a fairly traumatic time because of a curve that was tossed to me. I was able to speak to my sister and cry on her shoulder and get it worked out in my head. I spent Christmas baking cookies, watching movies and just sort of relaxing.

I woke up Christmas and lay in bed talking to Jim for awhile. It helps sometimes to actually vocalize the thoughts that I have. He doesn't answer, and I don't know if the answers I make up for him are what he would really say, but it works. I talked to him about the christmas's we had together and tried to run thru my head of each one. I am sad to say I can't remember each one, but could remember a lot of them. Jim and I tried to have some bought gifts and some home made personal gifts each year. I like the home made ones - it means there is some thought put towards the person and what they would enjoy.

My sister called me and wanted me to open her presents to me while we were on the phone. So I got up, put my slippers on and when down to see what Santa had left me. Sis got me a pair of beautiful Multi picture in one frames. There was one for photos of my mom and one for photos of Jim. I will post a pic here if I can. Also was the most awesome pair of fleece 'knock about' slacks. Fleece so they are nice and warm and comfortable for wearing around the house and walking the dogs or just slothing and watching tv. My Dad and Betty gave me a beautiful pair of Calphalon pans. Wheeee! and my brother sent a gift certicate which I promptly put to use yesterday.

I baked some cookies and that was a nice warm feeling in the kitchen. However somewhere in the afternoon I started to get down and feeling the ache of no Jim around. I decided to take a nap, but then found I couldn't. A head ache crept up on me and I didn't know what to do. Sitting on the couch watching Serenity with the dogs helped a little. My friend Thomas called and said he wanted to stop over and he came about an hour later. This cheered me up and then my Dad and Betty came to see me. We headed to my Aunt's house where she has a huge christmas night party and that was fun, to be around friends and sing carols.

It was also a Jim memory free zone. Meaning, Jim and I had never been there for a christmas night party so there were no triggers to set things off. Don't get me wrong, there were still definately moments when I really wanted him by my side and wanted to be smiling at him as we laughed at some antic. When these moments hit, I have found more and more that I sort of close my eyes, grit my teeth and let it pass. These momenets can hit while I remember something that Jim did, that Jim and I did, something that he wrote, something that he watched or just about anything. So I must handle it. Accept the pain, acknowledge the pain, absorb the pain. And it moves onward.

And sometimes it doesn't and I get up and go to the bathroom to cry a little.

Tuesday, December 25, 2007

Merry Christmas

Merry Christmas!


(More on this holiday season later)

Saturday, December 22, 2007

lights

Grinches and Santas and Virgins and Snowmen. Went out to see christmas lights with some friends. It was interesting to see the pretty lights, bright decorations and some very tacky explosions of a media driven holiday.

I took some pictures of the area known as the miracle on 34th street. One street that goes full out to decorate each and every house to the all time maximum it can be decorated. Pictures to follow. I took some pics with my cellphone, so I will download them tomorrow.

For the most part things inside me are okay, but then reality hits - no Jim. And it hurts and that is about all I can say. I have gone from just a week ago of having nothing planned to do and now having something planned for each day till after Christmas. Just knowing that helps and gives me something to look forward to. I find myself getting depressed and vapid and with no motivation to do anything without something planned and to get ready for. I hope that if there are others in my situation reading this, please take a moment and try to organize something to do each day and be around some friends.

Thursday, December 20, 2007

thursday night

The day was very crisp and very clear, however it was not too chilly. I worked thru the day and left work late. I want to finish everything up so tomorrow can be more a relax then a rush around kind of day.

I came home to find my cat had knocked several things off the kitchen table and hacked up a hairball in the middle of the kitchen. Oh boy. After dinner the dogs and I went for a walk, albeit short, it was still a walk. We then watched three episodes of Dinner Impossible. That is a fun show and the time watching it was spent rubbing a few dog ears and listening to the cat purr. But there were a couple moments when the feeling of being overwhelmed hit. Just the thoughts of a christmas without Jim.

It was a quiet evening and the depression and solitude of the holiday is pressing in. I will work thru it and writing the blog will definately be a help to get the feelings out and not locked up. It makes a difference. I say this ahead of time so that anyone reading will realize that I am basically okay, but feeling very very sad this week.

I found in a box, our stocking from last year. Or maybe the year before. One is a stocking that I decorated and it has all of our names on it, Jim, mine and the kids (merc, tig and fig). The other stocking is one a friend gave me that has Superman on it. It is a nice collectible. I think I put comics in it last year. And an orange.

There was one very positive thing that I accomplished tonight. I hung some paintings that I found. These were done by my father, in watercolor, back in the late 50's. They are not the originals, he has those. However my mom had them scanned and printed for us kids. There are four in the set and I hung the three maritime themed ones. I had been out and got new frames and they look really nice on the wall.

I am going to crawl into bed and read a bit.

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Definately one of those days

It was definately one of those days. If there was any emotion on the board that I didn't hit, I don't know what it was. Emotions in ( ) see below.

Starting out, I was at work and actually a bit eager to do the duties I had lined up for the day. I was cranking things out and all was well. (happy) Went to lunch, it was okay but then I came back to work and found that it was just one week till christmas. I hadn't quite thought about that. Somewhere in the back of my head I realized that the present from my secret santa, one from a friend and one from my sister were all I would have to open - that would be surprises. The others are things that I have gifted to myself, from Jim thru me. (sad) This thought made me cringe and want to make everything stop. I was upset enough to start crying and have to go to the ladies room for a bit.

I posted on my favorite message board this feeling and got a lot of support and warm feelings. It helps a lot to know you are not alone. (smile)

I came back and settled into the mundane chore of putting stamps on the 'please donate to us' postcards that we are sending out. (bored) I was chugging away at this and listening to some mellow classical music. My boss steps in and says that there was a decision by the board, (fear) (here I got scared thinking that's it, I'm fired...but no) he says because of the wonderful work we have done, to give each employee a year end bonus. (shock) I told him thank you and wow. I think he enjoyed the telling of us.

So I am happy now (happy) and I go to print some copies up. The paper jams. I pull one jammed up sheet out and it still is saying that it is jammed somewhere. I can't figure it out. (frustration) I call the help number and the csr walks me thru a couple things to check. As I am pushing on the green lever she told me to push on....CRACK a piece of plastic goes flying and the thing falls off into my hands. (oh my god). I tell the csr to send someone out tomorrow morning. We have 2000 copies to make and only about half are done.

I go and tell my boss I think I just blew my bonus. He looks at it and was remarkably calm. Asked if I had called them and I explained I was on the phone with them when it happened. He said okay. That is it. (relief)

I go back to sticking stamps on the postcards and trying to calm down. In a bit I go grab a bus and come home. I have a letter from a good friend of Jim's who wrote to give me support during the holidays. I cried reading that and I read it out loud to Jim. (sorrow) Stirring the crockpot that has my speghetti sauce for dinner makes me happy again. It tastes good! The dogs want to play so I give them a new dog toy and they go at it. Taking some pictures gets me laughing and singing 'My Favorite Things' from the Singing Nun. I started singing loud and improvising lines. (nutso)

I am not sure what the evening will hold, but it can only be more of a roller coaster ride!!!

Flip flop

How can things flip flop so fast.

I had a good evening with my friend Robin. She helped me by fixing a washing machine and she made it look simple. Had dinner and a drive to home depot and some laughs.

I settle down with the dogs and watch a western. Thought there would be no problem. I was fine till the end when the guy proposed to the girl he loved.

Then all hell broke loose. All I could think about was Jim proposing to me. It flashed into my brain and burned a hole into my chest. I could hear his voice and feel his hand on me. So, I basically lost it. A good long cry and some wailing were involved. My eyes hurt and my nose is runny. I can taste both snot and tears and my dogs are looking at me funny. Hey that rhymes. I didn't mean it to rhyme.

I miss Jim. I miss him. I want him to be walking up the street coming home from work. Looking tired but looking up at me and happy to be home. I want to comfort him and talk to him and make him feel happy because he is home and safe and with us. I want to feed him and let him sit next to us on the couch and the dogs to fight for the little space where only one could fit. Oh god. It's late. It's too late.

Sunday, December 16, 2007

All the years

I had nothing planned for the evening and spent last night watching Dr. Who dvd's and going thru photographs.

A couple months ago I went thru all my boxes of pics and sorted them out into some 'catagories' and scanned a few. I have found more pictures since then and just been piling them up. Well I decided to make frame some of them and give them to family members as a christmas present. In looking for those, I found others. Now there is a large pile of pics to be scanned. Some are of Jim and I, some of just Jim and then there are some of our family. I didn't know I took so many pictures of our pets!!!

Here is one picture I unearthed. I was happy to find it. I hadn't seen it in a few years. This is a portrait that Jim had taken in a studio before he met me. There are actually a few of these, with different expressions and lighting, but this is my favorite. They are great black and white professionally done photos. My neighbor saw one and thought Jim looked like a movie star. An actor from the 40's. Doesn't he look sexy. This one is going up on the mantel.

I had a discussion with a friend about the photographs and should I put them up or take them down. I am still keeping them up but they are wondering/asking me if that is 'healthy'. I just said that for now I want them, I need them, so they stay. They were good and didn't push - just respected my opinion. I am not going to live in the past, as much as I wouldn't mind going back in time, but neither am I going to just put Jim away and out of my sight. There are things of his that I can stand to see, like his photos, and things that hurt too much to see like some of his clothing. I am just taking it a step at a time and rearranging my life as I see fit. For now.

I was working on the photos and I found a few I had totally forgotten about, and that is always fun. Just to say it, I did cry last night looking at some. But also I did laugh and I did wonder why he had to be gone and just a photo/memory. I found one photo that I sat and spent five minutes talking and touching, it is a large 8x10 that I hadn't seen in years. I took the picture and I even think it is a crop and blow up of another pictures. But it is a head shot of Jim and his smile and eyes and his face is just the one I fell in love with. Just as I remember. To sit and stroke the eyebrow on a photo and remember the feeling of the hair that used to be under your fingers. To look at his smile and remember the little chip in that tooth. To talk to the picture and say 'why why why'. Maybe this is odd, but talking to the photos gets the questions and feelings out of my head. It is so difficult even after almost seven months. (next week) that he really is not ever coming back and that I won't see be able to touch or laugh or be with him again. How can this be?

The one to the right here is one taken of Jim and I at my younger brother's first wedding. I love Jim in the tux. He is so James Bond. And that dress was a favorite of mine for years. I even had the shoes dyed to match the dress color. It looks very 90's now. But then, well, it was the 90's back then so it didn't matter. There is another photo of us from there that is portrait photo taken by a professonial that was hired. It is one of my favorite shots of us as a couple because we both look so glamorous.

Pyscho Jim and Pyscho cat is what I call this one. Shadow is the cat, our first cat. I think I was taking some pics of Jim just sitting and petting Shadow when the goofy side of Jim stepped in and grabbed the poor cat and made that face. He loved to make faces and act, so I think me having the camera and taking photos was fine. I hate to have my pic taken so it worked well. And thankfully now I have hundreds of moments of our life.

So the photos got organized and this morning I am feeling like I had a good productive day yesterday. The afternoon was a long walk with the dog, and then digging and planting some daffodil bulbs for the spring. The planting is my first venture into real gardening. I have bought plants in containers for sitting on the porch, but never really digging in the ground and planting. I have a black thumb so we will see come next spring how the garden does grow.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Horoscope 12/13/07

I was on the train and picked up a newspaper. While looking at the comics I read the horoscopes for the day. Mine today was -

"That which was lost may not be found, but you'll realize just what possible value it really has to you. Attitudes regarding possessions may change."

That which was lost? Jim was lost and may not be found. But, I find him in my heart and in my memories and in my soul. Maybe that is the value.
Attitudes regarding possessions? well, that's easier, I am trimming the 'things' in my house out. Which I wouldn't have/didn't do when Jim was alive. We had plans for the things that I am now dispersing. Plans that will not come to fruitation because it was plans for us as a couple, as a family.

I don't look at the horoscopes normally, but am glad I checked them out today.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Dad

Sean Connery?


Nope, it's my Dad!! I have been told by many of my friends that I was lucky to be a Sean look a likes daughter. (say that three times fast)

This is a pic of him in 1980.

My Dad is so sweet. He called me tonight to see what time I wanted to come out to his place. We always had christmas breakfast/brunch there. With the whole family of multigenerations gathering for holiday cheer.

I couldn't. I told him that I wanted to meet with him on the sunday before christmas and swap presents then. He seemed a little upset and said 'oh no, we need you out here, we are counting on it'. I think he may mean that he needs me out there, as I am the one of his children close enough in the area to visit. And I always wanted to be out there to see him. I remember thinking for years that this christmas may be the last one. I never imagined that last christmas would be the last one for Jim and I.


So I told him that I didn't think I could do it and that I would probably stay home and watch old movies with the dogs. And I was starting to tear up and trying not to. He was like 'oh no come on out' and then said 'wait, betty wants to tell you what she did today' and he handed the phone to her. She and I talked and I told her I was sorry if I upset him. I don't want to upset my Dad. He is 83 and has been a big support these last few months.


We talked and then I remembered that they come in to the city on christmas day night to her sisters for a small party. Jim and I have never done that with them. I asked her if I could tag along and it would be a 'new' thing and new memories. So we are going to do that. They can swing by and pick me up and we will go to my Aunt's. I will still get to see Dad on Christmas day.


I know that he didn't want me to be alone, and I love him dearly for caring, but with all that has gone on in just the last couple days, I realize that this is going to be a tougher time than I thought. I think I was able to make Betty understand and thus my Dad. We have become a lot closer in the last couple years than ever before and it has been a great gift.


I am going to post a picture of my Dad and Jim. There was a Fathers day party at my Dads last year and one of the stepbrothers got all of the 'dads' a tee shirt. "Grateful Dad". Yes, they are both making faces. Jim is a fake and my Dad is the usual 'take the darn picture and get it over with'.

You know, writing about Dad has helped me feel better. I know how much my Dad loved Jim and Dad knew how much Jim loved me.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Bam

Got hit while watching a favorite tv show tonight. Hit right between the eyes. Well, right in the heart.

I had tivo'd and episode of 'Bones' and was on the couch with the dogs and cat. As I watch I realize this is a christmas episode from a different season. Okay, that's fine I can handle that. Then They are quarantined, can't go home to see family and family must come to see them. Boom. Bam. Family scenes of them almost but not touching thru the glass. Music in the backround. A bittersweet desire to reach up to my own wall of glass and put my palm out and have his palm be on the other side and he with a smile on his face. The crying made the dogs sit up and look at me funny and caused the cat to run away.

I am going to have to monitor my tv watching more carefully I think.

Cheer? Not.

It is starting to hit.

Just a Mrs., and not a Mr. & Mrs. on the envelopes. It made the fact that Jim won't be here for christmas hurt a little more. I can't expect it to be different, but it still seems not right to just have one name. Not right.

Also, there are no lights hung because, well that was Jim's duty. Along with the tree. He loved to put the tree up and the lights and the ornaments. I don't think I will be putting a tree up this year. I will just go look at other peoples. I am not sure what to do for Christmas day and keep getting asked this. I am just not sure.

Jim always loved Christmas. We would usually stay up till 12 midnight and open one gift then. Neither of us had the willpower to wait and see what was under the tree. Then in the morning, we would sleep in, snuggle against each other and talk for a couple hours. It was a day after weeks of retail madness that we could just be. We would have a little snack and then take the dogs out for a walk. My dad usually has a christmas breakfast and we would go there and then over to his sisters for dinner. This is much the same as what we did on thanksgiving. At his sisters after dinner there was always poker. Poker with Jim was always fun.

Some years we would skip the dinners and such and go to the movies. Jim and I were movie buffs and would rather watch a movie than visit with relatives. I remember going to see Godfather 3 one year but can't remember if it was a thanksgiving or christmas showing.

I can't believe it is true that I will never sit in the theatre with him. Never hold his hand or have our fingers touch in the popcorn box. Oh Jim. I look around me and see the things that are so much a part of you, and now they are the shells that I have left. I can touch and sense and remember you as a part of the memories in the tree pulled out of it's box, but without your strong hands to shape it, it will never be the same. Oh.

I am missing the giggling and laughter that was had by both of us on the night that Jim would hang lights or the decisions on what to get certain people each year. I am missing the anticipation of just what Jim had gotten me and worry if what I got him was alright. That is all replaced by a sadness that I must get myself my own gifts. Maybe it sounds odd too, but I am getting myself something that I would have wanted Jim to get me.

The face in this blog is the inside of me. The outside is still smiling and trying to get by and show that things are alright. I seem to make some people uneasy when I say Jim's name or talk about him and also if I show that I am not happy or doing well. I wish they would talk about him or remember him more. Some of our friends do this. And it makes me not so lonely to know our friends think about him. I don't mean to make people uncomfortable by saying his name, I just can't not do it. The love and support is strong for me. It just is hard to move away from the thoughts someone I love and who was so integrated into my life and everyday living.

I am ready for a break. I am ready for Jan 2nd.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Back again

This was posted on a website and it just hit me solid and brought the pain and lonliness and love.

I wish I could sing it, I can hear it in my head. I dedicate it to the man that did keep me warm, did his best to shelter me from harm and gave me the finest years we had. I would give everything up to have him back again, to hold him in my arms.

Everything I Own - Bread

You sheltered me from harm
Kept me warm, kept me warm
You gave my life to me
Set me free, set me free
The finest years I ever knew
Were all the years I had with you

And...I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give ev'rything I own
Just to have you back again

You taught me how to love
What it's of, what it's of
You never said too much
But still you showed the way
And I knew from watching you
Nobody else could ever know
The part of me that can't let go

And...I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give ev'rything I own
Just to have you back again

Is there someone you know
You're loving them so
But taking them all for granted?
You may lose them one day
Someone takes them away
And they don't hear
The words you long to say

I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give ev'rything I own
Just to have you back again
Just to touch you once again

I love you Jim.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Stronger

I believe that imagination is stronger than knowledge -- myth is more potent than history -- dreams are more powerful than facts -- hope always triumphs over experience -- laughter is the cure for grief -- love is stronger than death.

---- Robert Fulghum

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Snow!!!

Baltimore had it's first snow of the year today. You could feel it in the air this morning. It started out light, got heavier and just stayed at it, snowing all day. I was able to catch snowflakes on my tongue and see the world turning white. I love the snow.

Here is a shot from my cellphone camera of the corner where I get the bus. The snow was about 2 or so inches and just wet enough to be almost annoying on the sidewalks and not a big deal on the street. I wait for the bus outside the comic shop that Jim went to all the time. I haven't been able to go back in there.

So I came home, took the dogs for a great run through the park and the snow. They really love the snow! After getting back home I found a Marx brothers movie on the tv and decided on tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. I have a wonderful recipe for tomato soup and it tastes soooo good. Well, the sandwich came off the pan so perfectly toasted that I couldn't let it go without a pic. Here it is.


This is another 'memory' of Jim. They are really all around me in everything I do. But he loved his grilled cheese to be brown but not too brown and he would whine if it was darker on one side than the other. So I learned to cook them so they were just right.

Spending some time watching tv and snuggling with the dogs was the way to end the evening. My next door neighbor even shovelled my steps off for me. He said it was pay back for all the times that Jim had done it for them.

I can't wait to wake up in the morning and see the winter wonderland.

Monday, December 3, 2007

Mail

I got home today to find a mailbox full of mail.' That's nice' I thought envisioning holiday cards and expecting bills.

I got a holiday card from the foundation that handled the donation of Jim's cornea's. And a letter and check from the USPS. Money that was a final for year end compensation. I started crying as I read the card and screaming when I read the letter from USPS.

God. God it hurt. I don't want their stinking money. I want my husband. I would even take him with no corneas. Screaming wild obscenities at the wall didn't make me feel any better. I went up stairs washed my face and lay on the bed and cried and screamed Jim's name. I must have sounded like a fool, but there was no one to hear me so what did it matter.

I washed my face again and went downstairs shaking my head. Just when you think it is starting to get...well...not better per se...but manageable...they kick you in the head. Thanks.

Waking up

I woke up this morning with Jim's arm around me.

I could feel the weight. Not of the blanket around me, but rather a heavy solid thing. It was positioned just like he did in the mornings and we would wake and I would reposition it so it wasn't right on my chest. This morning I could feel it clearly...or as clearly as you can in that half awake state. I woke thinking it was his arm. I woke some more thinking it couldn't be and then woke enough to say "it feels good, I will leave it be" and went back to sleep. All I can say is that the weight I felt was definately not just a blanket and it was in the exact position that Jim would leave his arm when we snuggled.

Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But I am going with the thought that he was around and giving me some comfort for the holidays. It works for me.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

It's Starting

The thing I was most afraid of hit me tonight. Christmas.

I was wrapping up presents and putting things in boxes and getting them ready. One item is something that Jim got for his sister a couple months before he died. He saw it and thought it would be perfect in her house. Wrapping that to send to Bev really was painful. I could remember his face and his smile. His asking me if I thought it would be okay.

Our first Christmas was here in this very house, with his Mom pulling out a tree and Jim decorating and hanging lights on it. The next Christmas we had was in our first apartment. Jim had given me a kitten - Shadow, for a birthday present and Shadow was determined to tear down anything that resembled decoration. We ended up hanging garland from the walls and putting the ornaments and lights on that. It worked. And like us, it was a unique way of handling things.

When we moved into our townhouse in White Marsh, it was going to be the perfect Christmas. We were in a beautiful home and there was even snow on the ground. Shadow was a few years old and we had another cat, Figaro (who is still here) and the puppy named Gryphon. Our first Dalmatian and more than the cats, our baby. We got our first live tree and spent the evening hanging lights to the sound of Christmas music. I had my first holiday sweatshirt on and he his red flannel shirt. I have a very clear memory of standing on our deck, while it was snowing, with Jim's arm around me and the kiss that he gave me. That was a perfect moment. Like from a movie.

The tree was a worry for us that year. With the puppy wandering around and the cats using the tree to hide out around, we decided to try and block it off a little. Again, Jim thought outside the box and he put up a small white garden fence. Gryphon was respectful of this and the cats would leap over it as they wished. It was a clever solution. But that was Jim. Often times, I would think of a what to do and he would think of how to do it. Presented with a problem, he would solve it. Somehow.

We always hung stockings and there was one for Jim, me and the pets. A couple times we couldn't find the box that had them in it so I made them again. I loved going to Michael's craft store and getting glitter paint and other decorating tools and creating a stocking for Jim. With no children of our own, we tried to keep the spirit of Santa alive within ourselves.

I wrapped up some photos for Jim's daughter and for his sister. It was very hard to sort thru the photos and see the Christmas's that have past. I sent his daughter the photo that Jim loved the most. It was of his son and daughter and they are on the beach and grinning up at him. He had that on a shelf in every home we lived in. I think it took him back to an idyllic day for him and his children. It was very special. Many of the photos I sent to his sister have been shown on the blog. Him as a child and a teen and in his early years of his first marriage. I was feeling that she should have these as they were more of her heritage with him.

The photos brought tears and wishes and a wash of emotions that hadn't been touched on all day. I wasn't quite expecting it. Jim and I really were a good team and it was his love for me that kept me going. His belief in me. I tried to give that back to him and to make sure he knew what a good man he was. Yes, this will be a hard Christmas.

change


by the Sugababies- the lyrics say it all

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pBT-V-hj4Y0

If I could hold you close
Like you were never gone
If I could hear your voice
You'd tell me to be strong

But sometimes
I just can't
I just don't understand
Why you had to go
I guess I'll never know

Ain't it funny how you think
You're gonna be OK
Till you remember things ain't never
Gonna be the same again

Ain't it crazy how you think
You've got your whole life planned
Just to find that it was never ever
In your hand

If I could get to you
I'd be there in a minute
My world don't make no sense
Not without you in it

And sometimes
I just cry
Can't say I don't know why
Why'd you have to go?
And leave me here alone

You don't see it coming
Change
When the future comes knocking
It changed
It can make you or break you too
You just have to make it through

Thursday, November 29, 2007

Six Months

Ironic? I don't know. Today is six months since Jim's death. I found today a box of photos and several of the pictures were of Jim at his grandfather and uncles cemetary that is up the road from us. We used to stop and 'visit' the gravesite. It was set on a beautiful hill and in the fall the colors were magnificant.

Somewhere along the way we took this photo. I found it tonight, stared at it and promptly lost all self control and cried for awhile. Those Sunday drives with him were precious times we had together. I only knew Jim for 18 years. It was not long enough and I miss him. I miss him.


Another treasure chest found

So here I was, down in the basement sorting thru boxes. I brought one upstairs and opened it to find...photos! A treasure chest of pictures. Photos I hadn't seen in about 10 years or so. It was fun and heartwrenching at the same time.


I sorted thru them and tonight I scanned a few. This first one was taken in a small town called Skaneateles - it's where I grew up. We went up there in 1992 to visit some friends and I got to show Jim all the houses and streets and buildings that held memories for me.


Not sure when this one was taken, but it sure looks like we were having some laughs! It is nice to see the laughter but I find I have an ache though when I look at the picture and want to feel Jim's arms around me again.

I know that this photo was taken at Jim's sons High School Graduation. I don't have that suit anymore but that tie of Jim's is still around. It was one of his favorites.

Ah, my Mom's swimming pool. This picture was taken when Jim's family came down for a saturday at the pool. Jim's Mom, sister and brother were there along with my nieces and sister. It made for a great day in the sun and the water.

Here is another pool shot. The date on the photo tells me it was taken 2 months before our wedding. We were probably down for wedding plans. I can't believe it's me in the bikini. We loved to visit Mom and take a swim in the pool.
I think this one is the favorite of the pics that I found. It was taken in his backyard right around 1990 or so. What a studman Jim was! That look in his eyes was all about 'come and get me'. Who could resist? Not me.

Many more photos were found and even a special find - watercolors that my father had painted back in 1958. I had been looking/thinking of them for a couple years wondering where they had gotten to. Well I know I will keep going thru boxes, getting rid of stuff and finding treasures.
Edit to this blog. I realized that it was a month ago that I posted that I found pictures in the basement then. I didn't realize that a) I had that many photos, though I guess I am not surprised, knowing me, the camera and Jim's willingness to pose and b) that so many were put away in boxes. Anyway, it gives me hope that I will find some more someday. Each photo is a memory.

Monday, November 26, 2007

Thoughts from a bus

Coming up on six months and also a holiday. I realized a couple things this weekend. I mean, I had realized them before, but Thanksgiving brought them to heart. It was that long bus ride to my sisters I guess.

One is that we are not a true family unit anymore. With no kids, but Jim and I were our own little family. So, now what? It’s me. I guess that should be “I’m” not a family unit. Do I become the widowed daughter/sister at family gatherings? This realization sort of takes away the accomplishment of being the family. It's like, I may not have some fabulous career, or a lot of money, or a big house, but we had a family. Jim and I. Now that's been taken away.

My sister invited me to Thanksgiving dinner and several days ‘vacation’. I had a really good time and didn’t feel any ‘hanger-onism there’ but there was something inside that said I shouldn’t be there alone. I will admit I did feel a lot less as an extra there than anytime in the last few months at family social events.

How can I word it, it’s almost like my home is not "home". It's a place to go to at the end of the day. It's shelter and privacy and for that I'm grateful...but no family lives there. I am trying to build it back up to that feeling. With the dogs and cat depending on me. And with them helping me by crowding around me in the evenings. A dog on both sides and a cat behind me on the couch. I am trying to make a house that was Jim’s family home – where he grew up, a place for me. It’s tough because my history is not there and I look around and hear his voice telling me the family stories. I know with time, I'm supposed to start enjoying my "independence". Learn to grow into my own companionship. There are times when it's okay not having anyone to answer to...just bumming around on weekends, deciding when to do certain chores or what to eat. But in the end, not having anyone around who cares...and to care for...is just sad.

See, after seventeen years of having someone who cared about me, and losing them, well it makes a difference now. The relationship we had was filled with little compromises and bigger ways to make the other one happy and thus make ourselves happy in their happiness. It will take some time to readjust. Seventeen years will take some time.

I can take after myself fine; it is just that I'm not used to being alone. I miss some things that I had come to expect or understand. I used to come home and furniture in the house would be moved without me knowing – but because Jim wanted to do it or a light replaced or a rug switched, now everything stays the same unless I move it, and the old way used to be a nice surprise. Oh, I do find myself moving things. Yet other hand (maybe this is my healing process) there are things I do now, just because I can do them without worrying about what Jim would want. The color of the bed sheets, the style of food, what is watched on TV. It’s my choices and anything is okay.
I have wonderful friends and family and I am so lucky to have them as they have been a lot of support. They know I hurt and they know I am lonely so they try to help in the best way they can. I miss his companionship and his silly jokes. There are so many things that are just not the same. I have only been to one movie since Jim died. My friends have been great at helping me to get to the stores and some social parties. This outside connection has helped my healing. My family has been good to come and help me get to family gatherings.

I guess, I just always thought no matter what happened, it was me and Jim against the world. And it was. We had each other... and considered us, Merc, Tigger and Fig our family. I mean, Jim and I would call each other several times a day at work just to say I love you and hey and man work sucks and I will be home soon. So it’s just that not only did I lose the love of my life but my best friend. Jim and I were such a great team together and I don't even know where to begin on my own. But even after all this babbling, I hope that there is evidence that I am trying.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Old Jim Pics

These next two pictures are of a Jim before I met him, but a side of him that stayed with his personality. This first one is of him and his son. It is the humorous and loving side of Jim, having some fun with Johnny and enjoying it. I love this pic and always felt it could be used in an ad or something. The look on Johnny's face is perfect. And Jim just has such a look of love and laughter it makes it complete.


The way Jim's hair is styled always made me feel he was older than he really was when the pic was taken. I want to say he was in his mid 20's.

This is a photo of the father and son sacked out on the couch. It is again at time before I had met Jim, but it is a scene that has been repeated thru the years. The version of it that I saw was not Jim and his son, but rather Jim and the dog. Or Jim and the cat. Or Jim and the remote. He loved to sleep on the couch with the tv going. I love this shot because it seems Johnny is trying to imitate his dad with the arm up.


It has been a few moments since I wrote all that. I gazed at the pictures and am filled with sadness and lonliness and all I can think is that I really, really, really miss Jim and all that he brought to this world. That I don't want him to be gone and I don't want him to be a memory. I want to hear him laughing downstairs or snoring in the other room. I wish, I wish.

Friday, November 23, 2007

Black Friday Virgin

So I did it.

My sister told me she and Kim and Heather were all going out shopping at 5am to get the doorbuster deals. I told her sure, I would go along. I had never done this American tradition before.

So, we woke up at 4 in the morning and got ourselves together. Nothing fancy for sure. Sweats and sneaks and no showers. We trooped off to Walmart, were part of a mob and melee and actually wild fun. We had poured over ads the night before while munching on some turkey sandwiches and had scoped out the items we wanted to pick up. Vacuums, microwaves, crockpots and towels. Toys, movies, joggings suits and sweaters. It was going to be fun!

We exchanged cell phone numbers and all sort of veered off into different directions. I was able to grab the things on my list in about 20 minutes and lucked out at the checkout. I put this stuff in the car and came back in to help my sister to find the rest of her items.

After Walmart we went to the mall near by and hit JC Penney's, Sears and a place called Bon Ton's which I think is a local store and is similiar to Penney's. The crowds were civil and the only back up was at the check out counters. We even found parking spaces that were fairly close. Oh, there was one shortage. Shopping carts. Not enough at any of the stores I was at. Oh well.

I felt good most of the day but there was a 'trigger' moment when I walked out into the mall and they had a dodge dakota quad cab bright red truck sitting there. That was Jim's truck. I couldn't look at it and wanted to walk on by with my eyes closed. My sister and the others were all meeting there. I called them on my cell phone to tell them I would meet them in the other store. I told my sister and Kim tonight why that moment had been upsetting. It just brought to the surface that Jim wasn't there and that none of the gifts I was buying was for him. It hurt. They understood that it was a painful moment for me.

We came home around noon, had some lunch (turkey sandwiches!) and took a nap. I woke at about 3, had another sandwich and went back bed to read for a bit. When I heard people stirring I got up again. I think all in all the day was a success!

I had another turkey sandwich at 7 pm. I could eat them for a month and not be tired of it. With some lettuce, mayo and salt and pepper, and the chips and cranberry jelly on the side. Wicked good. The added bonus was the pumpkin roll with whipped cream. Yummy!!!

Thanksgiving

A day late, but I wanted to talk about a new family tradition.

I bought six candles that could burn all day and had a little 'ceremony' in the morning. It is a new tradition and a way to remember and keep Jim with me throughout the day.

Holiday Candle Ceremony

As we light these five candles in memory of and in honor of you, we light one for our grief, one for our courage, one for our memories, one for our love, and one for our hope.


  • This candle represents our grief. The pain of losing you is intense. It reminds us of the depth of our love for you.
  • This candle represents our courage - to confront our sorrow, to comfort each other, and to change our lives.
  • This candle is in your memory - the times we laughed, the times we cried, the times we were angry with each other, the silly things you did, and the caring and joy you gave to us.
  • This candle is the light of love. As we enter this holiday season, day by day we cherish the special place in our hearts that will always be reserved for you. We thank you for the gift your living brought to each of us.
  • And this candle is the light of hope. It reminds us of the love and the memories of you that are ours forever.
  • This candle is for you, my special love that can not be here today, but is with us everyday.

May the glow of the flame be our source of hopefulness now and forever. We love you.

I read about this on a grief website and thought it would be a nice tradition to start. As I lit each candle I read the words and when I got to the last candle, I said a little more after that about missing him and what the last six months has been like and what his love has done to make me a better person in the last 17 years and how he touched so many other people.

I lit the candles in the morning leaving them to burn till after the thanksgiving dinner. I chose some scented candles with Jim's favorite holiday scents. Pine needles and warm apple pie. It was suggested to have the loved ones candle a different color from the others. The 'Jim' candle was the warm apple pie scent. He would like that. Also, on future holidays, I can say the same words and invite others to join me in the ceremony. It will make it a special experience. If someone else has been lost that year, we can add another candle if desired.

Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Blue Ridge Mountains

West Virginia is a beautiful state. To drive into it from Maryland and to see the flowing mountains, the carpet of fall colors and the warm feeling.

Riding the bus into town I could not get the John Denver song out of my head. The tribute to WVA.

Almost heaven, west virginia
Blue ridge mountains, shenandoah river
Life is old there, older than the trees
Younger than the mountains, blowing like a breeze

Country roads, take me home
To the place, I be-long
West virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

All my memories, gather round her
Miners lady, stranger to blue water
Dark and dusty, painted on the sky
Misty taste of moonshine, teardrop in my eye

Country roads, take me home
To the place, I be-long
West virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

I hear her voice, in the morning hours she calls to me
The radio reminds me of my home far a-way
And drivin down the road I get a feeling
That I should have been home yesterday, yesterday

Country roads, take me home
To the place, I be-long
West virginia, mountain momma
Take me home, country roads

The bus was stuck in a traffic jam on a highway that should be moving about 65mph and was crawling at 25mph. The trip that should have been 90 minutes was 3 hours. It was pretty bad.

But I am here with my sister and having a good time. We are discussing the plan on turkey cooking and how our mom used to cook it. She would get up at 5am and cook it slow all day. Made a wonderful smell throughout the house. My sister is thinking cook it real slow all night. I get to make the mashed potatos tomorrow and I always boil them with the skins on and mash them that way. It is another of our 'mom' things.

We spent a couple hours looking at family photos from the 1900's up to just three weeks ago. I loved seeing some of my Mom I hadn't seen in years and showing my sister the ones of her daughters/my nieces from when the now married gals were toddlers. I got to share some of Jim and I with her also. Some from our trip to NH skiing and from about 12 years ago when I had hair below my shoulders (and don't remember it that long) but all in all it was a nice family evening.

Yes, before I go much further I can say that there was a presence missing. Jim. But I do think that since Jim and I never came here as a couple, that my coming as a single was a good idea for a healing. Creating some new memories and not be haunted by the ones of Jim and I - missing him absolutely, but just not as painfully as when I am the places that we have been to together.

The mountains surround me as I gaze out the window with a teardrop on my eye.

Greyhound bound

I'm leaving on a Greyhound, I can guess when I'll be back again, leeeaaaving on a greyhound.....

Going to spend Thanksgiving at my big sister's home. I have cleaned, packed and snuggled with the dogs tonight. While sitting on the couch with the dogs, Figaro even decided to come up and sit on my knees. He has NEVER done that before. I think at almost six months, he is finally coming to bond with me. I had to hold Tigger back and she was ready to pounce on Fig, but I kept them seperate and Figaro relaxed enough to even purr. That was something. Really something.

I found myself tearing up as I talked to him. There was just a sense of trust and love that he showed me after months and years of having nothing to do with me (he was Jim's cat) I realized how much he must have been missing Jim. I told him that I was glad he came to sit on my lap and that I missed Jim so much. I wanted to purr in Jim's arms as much as he wanted to purr on his lap. How can you tell a cat that you miss his 'daddy' too. Figaro only stayed a few moments, but it was a special couple moments. It may not seem like much, but it was.

I realized as I wiped tears that I hadn't cried all day today. That I got thru a whole day with no tears. My crying has become a late night dark bedroom time. I am more and more getting thru the days with the pain. Used to it and able to function each day. The void is there. The emptiness in my heart and the lonliness in the house. But I am moving and doing. Still not really motivated to clean or eat. But I did some more laundry. It's something.

Getting ready for the trip has been interesting. Figuring out what to wear, what to pack, setting up the dogs for the petsitter, setting up the tivo so that survivor, dirty jobs and project runway will record and finding old family photos for my sister.

I am not sure if I will be able to blog from my sisters or not. If not, Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

This photo has nothing to do with Thanksgiving, but it was a polaroid I found. Jim brought me this balloon home with roses for Valentines Day 1991. He really was a sweet man.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Okay days

What an okay day Saturday was. And what an okay day Sunday was. Two in a row.

Saturday was a nice trip going out with a friend thrift store hopping and finding some fun buys. Not enough to fill up the space cleared out from friday nights purge, but a couple things that will really be helpful. One is a rack for the shoes and another is an alarm clock. Saturday evening was spent at my cinema club meeting and seeing friends there is always a lift. Mood was up. So when I came into Sunday it was not difficult to still be feeling good. Sloth definately won out today though. I did put some dishes in storage boxes and took dogs for walks and watched a marathon of Quantum Leap dvd's as I worked. All of it at a slow pace and a relaxed mode. I didn't get near enough of what I wanted to do done, but I don't mind.

It is nice to feel good and not be down. To get things done. Even things that were expected as somewhat difficult were accomplished. It makes me feel like my head is a little more together than it was last week. Which means it may be more together next week. The voice on my shoulder says to remember the two steps forward, three back rule and not get too excited. Feeling good does not mean I have to then feel bad. That is my mantra this week. It is interesting to just take a breath, not feel the overwhelming pain right off and realize that you don't. It's like waking up to find a toothache gone. I know if I think about Jim and our loss, it will return. I know it is not gone forever. I know that I am making a big step by realizing that I am actually feeling okay.

This is not the same level of 'okay' or 'good' that I would have recognized six months ago. These would have been fair to eh days then. My standards have changed and I will take an okay day and be happy that I had one.

I decided to go to my sister's for Thanksgiving. It will be a never done before trip for me and that will make it special. She asked me to bring some photos that I have of our grandparents and great grandparents. She also said something about Karoake on friday night. That could make it scary, but fun. I drilled her on the fixing for Thanksgiving and she said 24lb turkey and jellied cranberry and I was set. My love of white turkey meat showed it's pretty face.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Black cargo pants.

A pair of black cargo pants. An envelope with "Betts" on it in Jim's handwriting. A poster that hung on a wall in our first apartment. The Ugg boots won from top Christmas sales. A jewelry box given to me 7 Christmas's ago. Directions to the cemetary my Grandparents are buried. A suitcase full of comics from about 4 years ago.

These are all things of Jim's that I found while cleaning up and sorting out the upstairs office/spare room. All of them elicited a memory. A pain in the chest. A decision to not toss it. The cargo pants were when I lost it. Stopped and had to cry and feel the loss, the grief. They reached past my hard working exterior and hit me.

But I went on, I sorted out 6 plastic totes containing all sorts of items. And anyone that has seen my spare room (heck my house) (think clean sweep) knows that tonight was an accomplishment. There was a very easy part. My tote of handbags. I whizzed thru them. I didn't realize I had that many and I got rid of about 3/4's of them. Clothing will be next. I set up the bed so I can't go to sleep until I clean the clothes off of it. I am not doing that till I sort thru them.

I held Jim's black cargo pants. I was not going to let them go and decided that I could do that sometime later. For now they are in a special 'Jim' tote. I am really coming to hate Friday's. I was feeling good all day. But this is something that must be done. Will I ever be ready for it. Don't know. I know at a certain point in the sorting that I just wanted to lay down and die too. I can't figure out the why of my being alive. At least not tonight. I think that is when Jim smacked me in the back of the head. And reminded me that I don't think like that so stop it. Maybe it was my Mom. Maybe it was just me. I don't know. But I am past it.

Next week is a first Thanksgiving without my husband and it is looking pretty tough. I guess I can do it, I got thru our birthdays and our anniversary, but Thanksgiving was always a special holiday for us. More than Christmas. I don't really have much to be thankful for and wish it was last year. I try every day to get thru one more day and I am doing it. The lonliness is there.

There are some options for Thanksgiving. A trip to hagerstown via bus and then my sisters gets me and it is on to Wva. for a couple days and then back to hagerstown and the greyhound to baltimore on saturday. Or stay at home and watch movies, hang out in my jammies and relax. To my Dads in westminister with a ton of people (stepfamily) that is really my last choice. Not for any reason other than memories that are there.

I guess I am opting for the first one just because it will be something different. Something I never did with Jim. That will help. Most years when were in this area we would go to my Dad's first and then his sisters and play some poker. She isn't speaking to me anymore so I won't expect an invitation there. I know my Dad would love me there and may even expect it. It was just hard at Labor day to face all the family and try to be 'up'.

I don't know if anyone can understand it. After almost six months, it still feels like yesterday. It still feels like forever.

Impersonations and accents

Today at work I was talking to my boss and we discussed a project called Martha's Recovery. When I said the title he broke into a grin and said 'ah, there is the new england accent". I guess I said mahtha with that Boston twang.

It made me think about Jim and his chameleon like voice. He was great at picking up speech styles and echoing them. Usually without even realizing it. I noticed it time and again over the years.

I first noticed it shortly after we were married and he had an employee with a bit of an indian accent. A couple weeks later it started to creep in after he worked with him. It made me smile and I would point it out to him. He would get the Baltimore shade to his words when he hung out with his best friend John down in Hampden. The tradition "warsh the dishes in the zinc" and all that. When we moved up to Boston he picked the up the accent there quickly.

He was great with impersonations and could tone his voice to match actors and friends. I enjoyed listening to him go thru this when he was reading for a part in a play. His Hannibal Lector's "Clarice..." gives me chills even now and his Pee Wee Herman was right on the money, down to the silly laughter.

Just something I didn't want to forget about Jim and in remembering, it is a memory saved.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Mid week rambles

It has been a long week, and it is just Wednesday.
I took off work today because I was not feeling really good. The edge of a head cold or something. I have also not been feeling very good emotionally. Feeling sort of like every nerve has been woken up and pinged. Maybe that is from the occurances of the weekend. Maybe it is a normal 5-6 month grieving thing. I am crying at the drop of a hat. Everything seems to remind me of things that never will be again.

Speaking to my boss this afternoon, yes, my boss that called to see how I was doing. Gosh I hope I don't do something to blow this job. He said he was concerned because he had noticed me not on my A game and was hoping I was okay. I told him about the head cold and then went on to talk about emotions that are hitting and and I discussed my seeing a counselor on a one on one basis to help straighten things out maybe. I mentioned it to him first and he said then that if there was anything he could do as far as time to leave early or a ride or insurance to just ask. He was very understanding about what I may need and said we can figure it out. Good bosses are nice to find.

I am ending this with a photo. I found this picture in a pile and it is Jim from our honeymoon in OC. We had a huge suite and were having some fun. He was doing a typical Jim thing - silliness for a photo. I never understood the sticking the napkin in his mouth, but he was prone to do things like that in other pics. Hold things on his head, in his ear or mouth, always when I was about to take the pic. Here he has a napkin in his mouth and is posing ballerina style (I think). The funny part came after the pic when he fell into the counter. The MTV jacket in the foreground was the first gift that Jim bought me after we got engaged. I still have it.










Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Wandering thoughts

As I wander thru the weeks and am doing things, handling things and living onward, I sometimes feel like a shell. Doing what I need to do. Even laughing and being with friends. Enjoying tastes and colors and moments.

I am confused inside and I don't really want to move forward yet, but I feel like it is reaching the point where it is expected. Where I am expecting it. An inch forward. But for every inch forward is an inch of what was that is lost. What I really want is to go back and if not have what was lost again, at least have a reprieve from the facade of being 'okay'. A week to just not do anything and be okay about it. Yet, as others have children, I have my pets and as many of us widows have, we have bills.

Sitting home last night - with a dog on each side of me, I took a moment to look around at what was accomplished this weekend and it was good. Talking to the guy at Comcast and learning that they have to send a guy out to look at my cable was not good.

I hate repair guys. Especially from Comcast. About three years ago we had a problem and it took them 4 guys to visit and figure out what was really wrong. One guy was looking up on the pole, one was following out lines out the window, one just stood in my kitchen and looked confused and the last one was an older guy that strode in, checked this, clipped that, attached those and it was fixed.

Jim was the wire guy. He has our house wired for cable like nobody could imagine. We have a cable coming in and then it splits for the internet and tv. That was put on by the cable guy. Then a little further down the line it splits into maybe four? different ways to handle a tv in four rooms. Our main living room, the bedroom, the kitchen and the office. The wiring at that point looks very convoluted and makes me shake my head. It's a Jim thing.

I am not sure what I am going to do in the future. I can't believe I am even thinking of the future. But I meant the future when there are no longer any 'Jim things' to look at and smile about. And I don't mean actually 'things' like physical items. But more like stuff that I know was a Jim-ism to do. Let's see if I can call a few up. Well, the splitting the cables is one. In every house we lived in, he was the electrician/cable guy. Along with that is the tv in every room theory. I haven't turned the one in our bedroom on in over five months. A towel hanging over the shower rod instead of on the towel rack. An unmade bed vs a made bed. These are things we do differently enough that I knew he had been in the room when I saw them. And have missed them.

Oh yeah, how about the flooding in the basement. Major Jim-ism and I forgot it completely. We have a basement that seeps water at one end and sort of slopes. If the rain lasts more than a couple days we have to worry. Jim solved this years ago by inventing the kitty litter dam. It sounds just like it is. He would put a line of kitty litter across the path of the water and it would soak it up. Then when the rain is past, just shovel the litter into a bag. It worked well because we have a very small very cramped very unfinished basement. I forgot this trick. It rained and rained a couple weeks ago and my basement did get flooded a bit. I went down to check and saw the old 'dam' lines and remembered. And started crying - mad at Jim for being gone and leaving me this mess.

I have been sleeping without an alarm clock. That was Jim's duty - to set the alarm to play a certain cd of music. We had a sound machine all night and then the classic music to wake up to. I tried it once when I came back after he died. I couldn't get the alarm to work right or the sound machine to make the right noise. I sleep to the sound of nothing and wake up when my body's moorning alarm goes off. It was a Jim-ism. He could coax things to do many things you would never thought possible. I dread the day when I have to try and hook up or change the wiring on the tv or cable or tivo. Oh my.

Monday, November 12, 2007

Saturday Monday

It's Monday afternoon and depression is really hitting. I guess it may be an aftermath of the activity this weekend or maybe the weather, but all I want to do is go crawl up in a dark room for awhile. I guess last month I was thinking he may still be alive somewhere just where I can't see him or he can't call. Now there is more realization that he is gone. Even more than there was before. Every day is becoming harder.

My internet connection has been off at home so I was not able to access my blog till I got to work today. Thank you all for the comments and support. Every word I read in the comment section helps.

My two brothers, one older and one younger came on Saturday to do some work around the house and finish some things that have been hanging for a few months. My older brother Sam was very steady and went project by project to get things done. I was chuckling on Friday night when he was saying some words that were exactly what I said before. "damn you Jim for dying. damn it." This was as he looked at the work that was started by Jim. He looked at an unfinished dream. I am glad he was able to complete the stairwell and follow the design of what Jim had envisioned. That meant a lot to me.

Before any construction though, we hauled things from the basement and backyard out to the truck and then down to the dump. Things that had been in our basement waiting. Waiting for the bigger house Jim and I were going to move into. Things that were moved here from our other large house, and promised five years and then a larger place. Things that had been in the basement since before our time there and since Jim had been a kid living there. We just kept hauling stuff out. After the two trips to the dump there is now one side of the basement that is almost empty. It is amazing to go down there and see the space that is now found in a still very small cramped area. There is more sorting and tossing to do, and now there is better room to do it.

The trip to the dump was very very difficult. Throwing away things that were Jim's. Things that meant enough to him for him to keep all these years. And I will say not everything got randomly tossed. There was sorting and picking and even arguing with brothers on the reason I wanted to keep this item. No the sled doesn't go. Why? it was to be a Captain America shield for Jim and I found it on eBay last Christmas. A lot of work to find it. No, I don't care what you think. I am keeping it. And I did.

I had a moment when all the defenses fell and I saw Sam tossing some of Jim's dad's items. Things that Jim had wanted to refinish and keep as a tribute to his dad. I made the offer, but none of the other siblings were interested in anything still at the house, so I kept one thing as a memento but the rest got tossed. Feeling the wood on the fishing rods and bow, well that was when I lost my control and went to sit in the front seat of the truck and cried and waited till it was over. It seemed so sad at that moment that Jim was not able to honor his father the way he wanted to, but instead now is going to be a memory also. My brother was very good and just let me get it out, didn't ask any questions and offered me a couple tissues.

The construction that took place wasn't difficult and while they worked on that my Dad and I put the storm windows in the outside doors. That was amusing as the windows don't really have latches anymore so to hold them in we use the good old American Duct tape. I think it was Jim's tool of choice for most jobs. I won't forget the maleness that was in the living room when the two brothers and my dad all showed up with their tool stuff. And had to look at them all and compare and figure whose was better. I enjoyed being able to pull out the miter saw that none of them had and a few other of Jim's tools.

They left Saturday night and I spent Sunday doing laundry and cleaning and putting furniture back in place. And taking naps.

I am having a pretty yucky day today - down in the dumps and prone to tears at anything. I am glad I am in the office alone today. Heck, I read a passage in a book that triggered a flash, an
image of Jim - and I started crying over lunch. The image is of Jim in his brown leather bomber jacket and red baseball hat. He looks like Jeff Bridges in Starman. And in the book the character is wearing a bomber jacket. It hit me in the head. Is this a normal thing for five and a half months? I know there is not much that is normal, but I have been noticing a fluxation in emotions some on a daily up and down basis and some on a weekly curve.

I don't know if I mentioned this but it is hurting to look at photos of Jim and yet I can't not look at them. I am closing my eyes and imagining him as he strides up the sidewalk after a long day at work. He is grinning because he can see me out on the stoop waiting, in my slippers and sweats like a good bawltmaw hon. Giving him hugs on the steps and helping him inside with the dogs bouncing around him vying for attention and the cat winding itself around his legs. This image comes back to me over and over.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

And the evening

So the evening started out nice. It was my non profit jobs annual dinner and they even introduced me and such. My dad and his wife were there and it was nice to have them see me get some kudos. I have been with the company for 11 months now and my boss has been very supportative of my needs after Jim died. To the point of offering me a full time position when I needed health insurance.

Anyway, that was fine but I come home and I am tired and I have so much to do to get ready for my brothers who are coming on friday night and saturday to do some work in the house. I am excited about this but also hyper because I know they will look around at the house and maybe not say anything to me but talk about it to themselves. My house is a mess. I mean it.

I was cleaning the fridge and got the old food out and then looked at the glass shelves....which I don't clean so they are filthy, but all I could think of is what would they think. I said yuck and cleaned them and then cleaned dishes (which i was going to do anyway) and thought about the upstairs rooms where all the clothes I haven't washed in a couple weeks are and gosh, just that everything is a mess.

Oh. I am tired. I feel about as low as I can and I really am going to miss Jim's arms around me tonight. and I know how crazy this is, but I just want it to be over. Not there visit but the deluge of emotions. I don't know if I can explain right to my brother sam whom I admire just how bad i have felt and that it is hard just to get up each morning. how I come home at night and look around and say 'eh. who cares'. I hope he can understand and not be shocked at how I have come to be living.

I have laundry that needs to be done, but the last time i did it, the wet clothes sat in the dryer for a week. I forgot to hit start. So i washed them again and dried t hem and it was okay, but i felt stupid. And others have said that it would be good to do stuff and make the place better. i know. i try. i get bursts of 'lets clean/fix/sort out stuff' and then it goes away. I can make lists. that is what I can do. and sometimes do one or two or three things on the list, but for every list I make there are 19 other things i could add to the list.

oh. I am just tired of the up and down and up and down feelings. this is just a rant, it will subside in a couple hours. I think these feelings also hit at certain times of the day. Like just before I am going to bed. Hmmm. I have to remember that.

It's Wednesday again

Just Wednesday.

Tuesday is 'work on cleaning out and organizing two totes/boxes of stuff' night. I had some fun doing that last night because I found a cache of slides. I love 35mm slides because they are so crisp and the colors so brilliant. Many of these were taken when I was in High School and are still very clear.

I think what I need to do is take them someplace and have them put on a disc for storing on the computer. I need a better way to store them/organize them. I am loving this taking pictures again thing. I really want to get a Canon EOS rebel digital SLR...maybe for christmas. Santa are you listening?

Just walking or riding around the city has been fun. I have ideas for photo books and one would be the 'Red Buildings of Baltimore' coffee table book. Simple things like gardening tools have a symmetry and color that I found interesting. I am taking a picture of the view from my backyard of the house across the alley. I am repeatedly amazed at how the lights play on this second story and how the colors change as the hours change in the day. I am just enjoying the taking a pic and having it be what I saw in my head it should be.

On another note, tonight is my company's Annual Dinner and Presentation. I have been taking pictures all week of projects and trying to get the shots my boss wants for the powerpoint project. I have now learned that getting info from him on what he sees in his head as the perfect shot is like pulling teeth from a rhino. Sigh.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Just a couple hours later

Just a couple hours later and here I am again.

Dishes are done, clothing somewhat picked up and went downstairs to sit with dogs and watch some tv. Come down to find a huge pee stain fresh and wet on the new el cheapo rug. I yell and scream and chase both dogs out of the living room and try to sop up the mess. I am mad, I am frustrated and I am tired of this crap. It has been going on for a few weeks. I got rid of one rug and just got this one. It was 20.00 bucks at Walmart but I just got it. Argggh. It is always in the same spot, and I have treated the wood, the rugs with I thought would get the smell out and break the cycle. Nope.

So I toss some newspaper under the spot and try to soak it up. I put some frebreeze on it as a stopgap till I can get some more of the pet stain/smell remover. I put my 3 legged dog who I think is the one doing it in the basement in her crate. I will do that for a few days. The thing is, I was not upstairs for long. I had let them out before I went up. I think she was just mad that I was upstairs and she wasn't. Well honey, peeing on the rug is not the way to get invited upstairs.

Just a couple hours later.

Annie's Song playing

So here I am.

Another winter has crept in and so have the mice. I can hear them in my bookcase.

Here I am. Listening to John Denver and why? Why am I torturing myself. I am lonely. I was trying to clean upstairs. I was cruising the iTunes and I saw the Country roads song and hit play. Now, now my heart is beating so fast it hurts. Annies Song is playing. The song Jim chose for our first dance at the wedding. The song my nieces sang at his memorial. The song I tried to sing Sunday morning and found I couldn't. It would only come so far out of my head. I never knew why he picked this song, but it really was perfect for our love.

So, I sit and listen, to mice, to songs and I try to once again wrap my brain around the fact that Jim is gone. I see his smile and his eyes all around me. It helps sort of and yet oh it hurts so to look at the pictures, but I can't help myself. A double edge sword. I probably should be folding the damn clothes or cleaning the mess that my room is. But oh it hurts even to type. Someone told me that months 5-7 were hard. Funny, someone a couple months ago told me that months 3-6 were the toughest. Hunh. I guess every fucking month is hard. And yet, must go on.

I can't remember if I have posted this song here or not. But it is our song.

ANNIE'S SONG (John Denver)

You fill up me senses like a night in the forest
Like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean
You fill up my senses come fill me again.

Come let me love you, let me give my life to you
Let me drown in your laughter, let me die in your arms (no no no no)
Let me lay down beside you, let me always be with you
Come let me love you, come love me again.

...Let me give my life to you
Come let me love you, come love me again.
You fill up my senses like a night in the forest
Like the mountains in springtime, like a walk in the rain
Like a storm in the desert, like a sleepy blue ocean

You fill up my senses, come fill me again.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

November 4th part two





So in an earlier blog I mentioned finding a hidden cache of photos. I love that. In honor of our 18th wedding anniversary, I am posting some wedding day pics. The ones that made me smile and lifted my heart.

November 4th

Waking this morning to a grip of pain. And then the realization came that it was November 4th. Our 18th wedding anniversary. And we were apart. And I was alone.

I sat up and immediately was overwhelmed by the rush of emotions that ran thru me. Pain, lonliness, confusion, terror, abandonment and a big major feeling of 'why'. The tears streamed down my face and I started creening in my grief. There was just a hole in my chest that had opened again, just overnight.

My hand went to Jim's shirt that I keep in my pillow, I pulled it out and held it to my face. I could feel the cloth and when I closed my eyes, I seemed to feel Jim inside. I took my time and cried myself out. I knew why I got hit with this, and wanted to let it out. There was no logic to my thoughts, just a swirling hurricane that bounced around. I tried singing our wedding song, but couldn't. I could hear it in my head so that helped. I moved over to a chair in the room.

I pulled out the 14th wedding anniversary card I had found and brought with me. Inside were precious words written by a man that loved me. Loved me as no other has. I read this over and over. "You still have my heart in your hands, my soul is forever yours, you are still so beautiful after all this time. Inside and out, I love you always my wife. Love, Jim"

Sitting in the chair and remembering. The first time we met. His proposal to me. Our first anniversary and Shadow the little grey puff of a kitten he gave me as an anniversary present. Of our anniversary weekend at the Halloween party. The weekend getaways for our anniversaries and the years that we were at home and relaxing - just being together. I cried. I cried at what had been lost and never to be again. The memories are still with me but the man to make them is not.

I wiped my eyes and thought of why I was in this strange hotel room in a strange city, all alone. My cousins 50th birthday is why. The party for Craig was great. It was a surprise and his wife executed it with superb deviousness. Craig thought it was a surprise party for his mother in law. His wife went even to make up lists and seating arrangements for the 'Mother in law dinner' and left them where Craig could see them. I thought that was a hoot. There was only one 'bad' moment throughout the whole evening. The first dance was for the birthday boy and wife and they played a romantic Kenny Rogers song. At the first bars I knew I had to leave.

I mean it was almost incredible how just a few words could set off such a reaction. I got out of the room fast and stepped outside to sit in the cold air, cry and wonder where my husband was. I did a smart thing and after not being able to get a grip, I called a friend and had them talk to me for a few minutes. They understood because they had lost a partner and knew exactly what I meant when I said 'that song did it.' I don't know if anyone else would have understood. I do know that when I came back in, I had several family/friends asking where I had gone. And if I was okay. I just told them a short "It was that song, I had to get some air." and they gave me hugs and nods and acceptance of my pain. Which is a good thing. Recognizing that the widow is still grieving and just being supportative of that is a nice sort of surprise.

I debated going to the party at all. Knowing it was going to be emotional because it was our wedding anniversary. I decided to go after looking at the Halloween costumes. For many years, my cousin would throw an 'after halloween party' on the following weekend. Often, Jim and I would drive down and join the fun. We loved to get in costume and partying with this gang. We talked about our going on our anniversary weekend and Jim said one time "why not be around the people we love and that were there for our wedding to celebrate the years of our love.' When I thought about it a couple weeks ago, I said yes, I should be around friends and family that love us. It seemed like the Jim thing to do.

My pain this morning eased as I thought about that. The need and want and ache to have Jim is still here, but the pain is not so sharp.

Friday, November 2, 2007

Just one


Just one photo tonight. It is a favorite that I hadn't seen in about 10 years or so. Jim is in a costume for a movie that some friends of ours put together. Well, actually not a movie but rather several episodes of a tv show they wanted to make.

He is a guard. He has a black beret and my Jedi cape on. He is quite dashing. More pictures to follow - but no more like this, when I get them scanned and such.
It has been fun to see the young Jim from years ago, when we first were married.

A surprise find

Inundated with photos.

New old photos that I haven't seen in years and years.

I had a friend over and we worked on the basement. In doing so we opened a box and there was a quadzillion photos. A lot from our wedding day. Some from our first puppy Gryphon. Some from my Dad's 70th? surprise birthday party. A bunch from various moments in our lives. All were from before 1997. They must have been in that tote box for years and years.

It was both a treasure chest and a pandora's box of emotions.

I looked at them smiled at the memories and cried that it was all lost. It's not fair that Jim is gone from my life. It's not fair that he won't be able to take a picture giving me bunny ears again. It's not fair and I don't like it.

The photos are hurting but they are so wonderful that I can't turn away. I cry and I can't put them down.

Sometime soon I will post a few.

Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Happy Halloween!

Feeling a little better today, though my eyes still hurt and I wanted to sleep awhile longer. The room was warm and dark and body was tired.

I wore my Wicked Witch of the West striped socks to work today, that was the closest to a costume that I was allowed to wear. I also pulled out on of Jim's favorite dress shirt, it is striped and goes with the socks.

I got some halloween candy for the trick or treaters but I don't expect many. Last year we had about 15 or so. I think a lot of families take their kids in costume to the local malls for a 'safe' trick or treat time.

On another note, I debated (with myself) about taking some time off. I would have to talk to my boss and see if I could maybe just skip a paycheck and take 2 weeks off to get things in the house more in order. I come home from work and have no inclination to do anything that needs to be done. I don't mind the little things like straighten and such. But I mean the bigger things like sort out the tools in the back/summer kitchen/laundry room, getting stuff out of the basement, finding my winter clothes and packing the summer ones. It just isn't happening.

My older brother is coming next weekend to help me haul stuff to the dump or to a Goodwill and fix a few things around the house. That will help. I wanted to have a yard sale or such so I may make a pile for that. I am thinking I don't need all the things we had in the basement like lamps, non working computers and such anymore. My younger brother said 'minimalize' and I think to a certain degree that is a good idea. Now of course, don't nobody touch my Star Wars collection or the comics....but old lamps can go.

We had a lot of things we were sort of hanging onto for when we moved to the new place. Twice in the last 3 years we were about to move and something happened. Katrina was one of them and Jim's death another. We had put in transfer paperwork for a move to PA and were very happy about this. It saddens me to think about the dreams we had that are no more. They were OUR dreams and they are gone. Jim would probably say 'make new dreams and never never quit dreaming'. That was how he lived.

Well, I sort of veered off of Halloween there.

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Have I told you lately.....

This will be a rambling babbling blog, but I don't really care at this point.

It was an okay day. Till I got to the supermarket to get a couple things. Standing in the checkout line I hear "have I told you lately that I love you" by Rod Stewart but in a sort of muzak version.
I am getting a pain in my chest and remembering when that was sung to me.

Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no one else above you
Fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do

I started crying in the line. I had my hands filled with banannas, bread, some pringles and a bag of halloween candy. I had no way to wipe the tears and the song went on.

For the morning sun and all its glory
Meets the day with hope and comfort too
You fill my life with laughter, somehow you make it better
Ease my troubles, that's what you do
There's a love that's defined
And it's yours and it's mine like the sun
And at the end of the day
We should give thanks and pray to the one, to the one


Hearing the voice, then hearing Jim's voice in my head. I heard the words coming, was even sort of singing along and just missing that I used to have this sung to me.

Have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no one else above you
Fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do
There's a love that's defined
And it's yours and it's mine like the sun
And at the end of the day
We should give thanks and pray to the one, to the one


I was staring at the ceiling and saying 'that's what you do, ease my troubles, take away my sadness, and there is no one else like you.' It was like a moment in freeze frame. I had no idea what was happening around me, I could just see his face, his eyes and hear his voice.

And have I told you lately that I love you
Have I told you there's no one else above you
You fill my heart with gladness, take away all my sadness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do
Take away all my sadness, fill my life with gladness
Ease my troubles, that's what you do

Then, suddenly it was over, the line was moving and I was wiping my eyes. I checked out, grabbed my bags and went out to wait for the bus. I wanted to call someone, but there was no one to call. I thought about what I wanted to say, and just said it out loud. No one was there to hear but me. I stared at the sky and talked.

I told Jim that I missed him and that there was nothing in my heart or in my life that would fill the void. I felt totally broken sitting at the bus stop and not knowing if the sadness would ever be healed. I thought about the days that I got thru and the days coming up. It was a life that I wanted to share, that we were supposed to share, a life that should have had more days, months, years of us together.

I ached to have Jim's arms around me and his voice telling me it was all going to be okay. I got on the bus and came home. I got home and put the food down and the dogs out and looked around at the empty house and realized again, I was alone. I couldn't stand this feeling and just wanted a hole to swallow me up. I gathered all of Jim's shirts up and lay on the bed and tried to bury myself in him. The shirts were muffling the screams and soaking up the tears.

And then. It was over. I got up and moved around a bit and found that I had left the dogs outside. My face is swollen and my body is tired. I am not focusing well tonight. I had spent the last week telling myself that Jim was just away on a trip. I had after five months been denying his death. I don't know why I had done that for the last few days. I kept thinking that he was just somewhere that he couldn't call and couldn't write. That burst yesterday. And released today.

There is a lot to do in our house and I don't have any inclination to do it. I can only hope that changes and maybe tomorrow night I can get some things done.

Sunday is our 18th wedding anniversary. We met in March and married in November.

I don't want to be without him. But I am.