Tuesday, July 31, 2007
I got mad, I got frustrated and had to walk the tears off. I walked for about 20 minutes, stopped at a bus stop and waited for the next bus to get me.
I have been thinking about my journey, it is a tough road and yet I don't have any choice but to walk it, get some blisters, be in pain, get some callasus and keep on walking.
I thought about my choices tonight when I came home and had a pretty crappy dinner. I am tired of it all and just want to lay down for a long while. To lay down and forget it all. But it is not really an option for me. At least not yet. I am going to have to wear myself out much more than I am worn out now.
Just the day to day living is tiresome. Maybe when things settle out a bit it will be better. I can hope. I think about all kinds of things that are happening in my life and wondering if choices I am making now are the right ones for my future. I don't know. Does anyone?
I keep getting asked when will I get my license back. Well, I don't know. I don't drive because my seizures have been the cause of three auto accidents, all my fault. Each of them I was very lucky and noone was hurt - either me or the other people, but in all cases, there was major damage to the trucks. I hate not driving, but I hate the thought that my driving could hurt someone or me. So I walk. I walk a tough road and will keep on walking.
Monday, July 30, 2007
I feel a lot safer. And proud.
I had people telling me how easy it was, and how hard it was, gee I should call a locksmith, gosh just use some graphite on it.
I went thru the tool room and found 10 of the tubes of window sealent and such. New and unused. I took 7 tubes to Home Depot for a refund and got a store credit. That paid for the new lock.
Well, putting it in wasn't easy, but it wasn't too difficult either. A bit of cursing as I had to figure out how the screws went in and met up with the other side. But it worked!
Now it feels very secure, actually better then the old one. And I feel better.
Sunday, July 29, 2007
We both worked at Blockbuster Video. It was late 80's and we both knew we were Star Trek fans.
So, for the first date, he asked if I would mind a trip to Washington DC, about a 45 minute drive from Baltimore. I said no, that would be fun. I am thinking Lincoln memorial, The Wall, the washington monument and then a nice dinner.
Well, we park at a hotel and we go in. It is a Star Trek convention. I was laughing and so touched. I have been going to them for years, knew about this one, had never been to one in DC, but didn't know that he knew about it here.
So we went in, listened to Shatner speak and it was great. I mean, sitting next to Jim was great, Shatner was a bit of a pompous ass. He talked about his dogs, his horses and then some more about his horses. Jim asked him a question not about Trek, but about writing and Shatner started talking about his horses again.
We had dinner but I can't remember where. We were talking for hours. The ride home was just perfect. I knew he was my soulmate when we kissed at the end of the night. I didn't want to stop kissing him. (i did eventually)
Well, I can't. I can't stand these days without him. How am I doing this?
I was thinking about the two month mark today. I think I fell asleep. I was on the ceiling looking down at our bed. There was a beautiful quilt there. Each piece of the quilt was a piece of our life together, a memory of what we had. The quilt wrapped around me - I was not on the ceiling anymore, but in the bed. The memories enfolded me and I could reach out and touch a small part of the quilt and the memory would play thru my mind.
Two months and both the dogs and I look for you to come in thru the door.
Saturday, July 28, 2007
Thursday, July 26, 2007
I’m done for the day and my brain has just stopped.
The missing you part has now hit again.
Doors slamming and shouts from the street
The sound machine blurring all that so now I can sleep
My brows come together and my eyes squeeze shut tight
For others the days have moved onward and forward
I find my days run together in a fluid stream of pain
The pulses flow thru me as if they are waves
From the tears I let go I must learn to be sane
Then again there is more, it won't, it can't stop
My unwanted feelings inside break apart
Anger, guilt, shame and I'm shaking my head
The tumble of thoughts as I lay deep in the dark
The questions to answer are ones from my heart
Why is the big one and what comes to me next
Why did this happen to you? is the one at the top
Second in the line up is What am I to do now?
The dog sighs below and I feel it too
Wondering where you are he still waits by the door
Its a sadness that spreads like a mist or a fog
Night time musings and rambling thoughts
Waves of the pain and loneliness wash over me
All the wonders and worries are just thoughts in the air
Tuesday, July 24, 2007
I came across a roll of film and just got it developed. I have 5 more rolls and who knows what is on them, so this will come up again. This roll had our trip to Orlando florida, to spend a week with friends in their time share. We were not big into the theme parks but wanted to see the ocean. We went over to Cocoa Beach and had a blast. You know, Cocoa Beach where you could find I Dream of Jeannie.
The pictures are from that beach visit and are not good, but brought back some warm memories. Seeing the shots of me building a sand castle and then the shots of my vividly red back with the large X where the swimsuit was. Also a fun one was the 'Ape Laundry. You can tell it used to be "CAPE laundry" but the C had been gone awhile. Why we took that one, I'll never know. Unless it was because of Jim's King Kong fetish. Well, maybe not fetish.
Anyway, we went to Cocoa Beach, spent ten minutes on the beach and then the afternoon rain set in. It lasted about an hour and then we went to the beach again. It was kind of a nice little break. We found a thrift store, a guitar and pawn shop and had some good burritos somewhere. Watching Jim run into the ocean and then run out again as he is chased by waves was pretty darn funny.
I go back in my brain and remember the OC beach on our honeymoon, the beach in florida, the beach of the St. Thomas and just smile. The was not our number one vacation spot, but we enjoyed the time when we were at them.
Jim however loved them. He was always looking for the highest place to be and the wildest ride to get on. This is one area where we could never find a happy medium. Well, the happy medium was he find someone to go on the ride with him and I cheer them from the ground.
I remember going to some park where they had a skilift sort of ride. You get in the ski lift chair thing and are hanging of a wire and it circles the park. I sat on it, feeling no ground beneath me, with my fingers clenched in Jim's and my teeth clenched together and my eyes screwed shut. Jim was a good egg though, he talked to me so I wouldn't feel alone, he enjoyed himself, and we never went on the ride again.
He wanted me to go on the ferris wheel with my friend Melissa and her two young sons. The group of them couldn't get over how scared I was and so I just kept my eyes closed, tried to ignore the swaying and leaned against Jim.
Maybe what I should define here is, its not the height that bothers me, so much as the feeling of nothing beneath me. Nothing solid. All this was brought back into my memory circuits when my friends 4 year old daughter told me how she went on the ferris wheel and could see all over the place.
It just reminded me of the years gone by.
Monday, July 23, 2007
10 hours later and I take that sentence back. I went to work today, looked at a photo and immediately felt my stomach lurge. Sigh. I am shaking my head that it really did happen. And that the intimacy we had found as friends, lovers, soulmates and partners, to touch, to laugh, to argue, to love is gone. I don't feel like crying, just shaking my head, still, in disbelief.
I read an article today about the groups that are reaching out to each other at the military cemetary - in the section for the newly dead, killed in Iraq or Afghanistan. I found it interesting because no one in my grief group has lost a loved one in that manner. It seems most of the cemetary (I am guessing Arlington, but don't remember) is a reserved, not many visitors and no flowers or decorations allowed on the headstones. In this part of the area, people have left flowers, clean the stones, leave mementos and even just visit for the afternoon.
From the article it seems there is a sense of mutual understanding. They talk to each other, share with each other and help each other. One gentleman sits and reads aloud, moving from grave to grave. The article said that though this is different then the norm for the cemetary, the graves here are fresh. The grief here is new and being dealt with in a way differently then back in the 60's and before. I got the feeling from the article that the grief is similiar amongst the grievers, so they are touching each others lives to find some small solace and unity in their loss.
Sunday, July 22, 2007
I woke up suddenly this morning. Woke up and immediately started crying. Not soft sniffles but kick ass wails and sobs. I couldn't stop. I tried to lay down, found myself choking and seeing stars and sat up. I went to the bathroom and tried water, and spit it out. I was sobbing so hard I just couldn't stop.
And it was strange because one side of my brain was saying 'stop, you can stop this, slow down, breathe'... and the other side of my brain was not getting ANY of that message and just got worse and worse. I finally was able to get my body to move to the tissues and blew my nose. That helped. For about 12 seconds, then it started again. Tears and more.
I moved downstairs, and just sat at the table crying. I tried petting the dogs and cried while I did it and they looked at me a little frightened. I don't know what happened this morning, but just as I thought 'okay, its stopping' I would realize Jim wasn't there and I would suddenly break out into more tears and I could feel my face crunching up and my jaws clenching. I couldn't believe I was still crying.
I realized after sitting with the dogs what I needed. I needed to hear another voice. I needed someone to talk to me. Not for me to talk...but to hear them.
I called my sister and woke her up and in between incoherent sobs, told her to talk to me. So she, bless her heart, did. She told me about my newly married niece and the new job she has, then told me about them cutting the brush down in their riverfront property and oh this that and the other. Then she made me talk a little. I drank water and that helped too. Eventually I settled down but it was a good hour or more of just no control over what I was doing. Just sobbing.
I don't know what started it. A dream I don't remember? I don't know. I know I haven't cried like that since the end of the memorial service, when I had to leave him. I don't know if even then it was this bad. It didn't last this long. But I had people around me then. Holding me, talking to me. I remember this morning thinking 'how can I keep going, why am I still crying? I would take two breathes and then there would be still more tears. They didn't hurt like other times when I have cried for the loss of Jim. It was a different kind of crying. But I don't know how to describe the difference.
I talked to my friend Lynelle about this and she said it was a needed release. She asked, did I feel better afterwards? At that point, I said no, but in retrospect, I think I do feel better, in an odd way.
I think I got thru the whole day without asking 'why why why did this happen to him', and during the day, to not be so angry about what happened. Maybe the anger will come back, maybe not. But I felt peaceful tonight. As I think about him being gone the cannonball hole isn't there. And yet, I still do miss him, won't ever forget him and my eyes hurt when I think about crying.
Saturday, July 21, 2007
Lets see, tonight I was just watching some Dr Who and suddenly hear screeching, gunning of engine and police lights flying past my house. I get up to look out and hear a crash. The car they were chasing went right into the corner of a brick building at the end of our block.
Now there are three police cars at one end (where the crash is) the police helicopter circling up above, three or four police cars at the end near the playground (near to where I live) and lots of noise. Come to find out that there was a big drug bust in the park/playground that has been getting worse and worse for drug traffic. They got three guys. Yeah!
We residents have been complaining for months and using our crimewatch numbers and calling in things we see, but not seeing much results. Talking to a kid walking up the street from that bust, I asked him what happened. He told me they got three dealers and the guys were dumb as bricks for not catching on that it was a setup. Guess drugs can do that to you.
I must explain, for any that may not know, that yes, I live in Baltimore city, but not in a 'bad' part of town....just south of JHU and just up the street from the legendary Hampden. Its a one way small side street. It just so happens to have a very dark park and playground at the end of it. Our end. In the last six months things here have gone from okay to bad to worse. We have to get some lights up over there. BIG lights, bright lights and maybe some cameras.
On this past tuesday they raided two houses up the street for drugs and took away two people, shot a dog that attacked the police and found lots of drug stuff in one basement. A month ago we had a dealer that was shot as he was conducting some business. Irony is, it was the same corner alley that the car crashed into tonight.
I really need to move.
His big 100 page or so movie script is one that I have read before, but maybe 16 years ago. I still find it interesting and could see it on the big screen. I also found his rejection letters, one from Danny Devito and one from the office of Christopher Reeves. Those are who he had sent them to for review way back when.
A.X.E. is the movie script that is finished and then there are some short stories that he did as horror/comedy and three of them were a sort of series with characters playing on his children's personalities. Then there are a couple packets of index cards. He was told to write the scenes on index cards and then rewrite into a larger format with more detail.
His script in the first draft form for the tv show he created was there. This was a sort of friends meet the 70's show meets, well...something else, but I am not sure what. He wrote this while we were living in Boston and I loved his use of the various landmarks.
The best of his writing was a Vampire/dark batman like/crime fighter and his life story as he reveals it to his psychologist. This is the one that I would love to take and maybe finish. Or give to someone to finish. He has 10 chapters in various stages of completion. His character reveals his back history with some stories from the Victorian age and also the 1930's and then also into the 90's. Okay, as I reread that, I realized it sounds a lot like Angel from the tv show, but it's not. The real twist is that he needs to see his psychologist/psychiatrist to get some help controlling himself. And the writing is pretty darn good. In my opinion. Anyway, we will see.
My neighbor said to me today that he always found the array of things that Jim was involved with very interesting. He told me how Jim helped them with some electrical work, helped clean their backyard when it was ruined by kids, took great care with the dogs, could quote movie lines or whole plots, give a lift to someone in need, did all those costumes and yet never was egotistical about it all. He thought the writing was intriguing as it was a side that Jim never mentioned. The creative side to Jim was brought out in his writing, acting and costuming.
As I turn the pages of the stories, I remember and smile at the enthusiasm he had for getting his ideas down on paper. I will have to take some time to reread them and enjoy them some more.
Friday, July 20, 2007
Early morning and I wake
with some birds and soft light,
feeling your warmth next to me.
As we lay, you reach over
and pull me close to your side,
our bodies melding into a one.
We spoon against one another
feeling every nuance of the other,
every breathe, every twitch,
each caress and a kiss,
nothing could pull me from your side.
You pull me still closer,
and with a whisper so low
saying you'll never let me go.
As I wake I must sigh,
of the time passed on by.
Only memories are left at my side.
I wrote that all in my head before putting it on paper. I woke this morning feeling Jim next to me, touching as we always did. As I woke more I realized no warmth but in my head. I lay and remembered that time and the words came to my mind line by line, easily, fluidly as if already written, as I worked thru the memory of that early morning moment.
For us, the early morning just before the alarm went off was a favorite time. To lay in the quiet of dawn and be able to touch and whisper and just hold each other before the crush of the day came down in its whirlwind of having to be here, be there, get this, feed them - to have just each other and the light creeping up. It was like another world. A world where it was just Jim and I.
Often after a bit, I would try to get up and Jim would pull me up against him and say "No, just a few minutes more..." and I would stop and we would have those few minutes.
I woke this morning feeling his arms wrapped around me, and I moved closer to his warmth.
Thursday, July 19, 2007
I open the envelope, look at it and nearly crap my pants in the car.
They were divorced on May 29, 1985. 22 years later, he is dead on that date.
Karma? Coincidence? Random Chance?
I had always thought the divorce was in September. Maybe thats when they seperated. Jim went on starting in mid August about how September 9th was his 'bad day'. Accidents, bankruptcy, inducted in the military, discharged from the military, the LDS's showing up at our door, they all happened on or around the 9th. He had me so hooked on this date that on 9/9/99 we both just stayed inside and watched movies.
A single friend of mine asked me how long it had been since I had lived alone. I would have to say at least 22 years, maybe more. My friend has lived alone more than she has lived with someone, so she is used to handling things differently.
I have spoken to some other widows, and they agree, it is difficult at times to get back into the 'single' saddle. One woman who lost her husband after just a few years of marriage and one who had 37 years with her husband both said the same thing - "the decisions that you shared are gone."
Now I think what that means to me is that feeling that there was someone that I had to discuss things, to talk them out, to think the logistics of something, to defend and support a decision if necessary, well, I stand alone now. It is a new feeling to grow back into. I have talked about this before - having someone at your back. But the feeling that they aren't there anymore is unnerving.
One of my friends said she could understand how hard that is, but she knows that I made choices and decisions at work and felt that I would be able to do this at home. Being a manager with 4 to 6 employees, handling their schedules and customers and stock. I have to say, it is a little different than being at home and sharing a choice of what color to paint the room or even what movie to go to or if the dog needs to go to the vet. At least for me.
The qualifier for me is that at work, I CHOSE to be in a position of management and worked hard for it. At home, I didn't choose to lose Jim. In fact, I chose to join with him and work with him and share my life with him.
I also know married couples that work very well with each other but not by sharing thoughts and decisions. I can't say I feel they are very married, but it's their choice. And what works for them wouldn't work for me. I know some single women that would rather be single then give up their freedom of choice and have to maybe compromise with someone else.
I found that marriage was a compromise of choices. We compromised on shows we watched, food we ate, what to do on our days off or even who feeds the dogs. I don't mean 'give in to Jim' when I say compromise, because there were things that I know he 'gave in to me' on. It was a give and take.
Our marriage was a union of two people that even though we had lots in common, we still had differences and accepted those differences and learned to live with them in a way that was good for both of us. Mutual pleasure and satisfaction. Not always 100% perfect all the time, it was a work in progress. We learned thru the years that what was important to me, he would help me enjoy and the same for him. Jim collected comics, and I let him -without the nag of 'aren't you too old for them?' because it was something he got a pleasure from and life...god, can I say this....life is too short to not enjoy it. So we learned to find a happy medium.
In talking to a friend who lost her husband quickly/suddenly also, she said she would say "what would Max do?". I have found myself doing that "what would Jim do?". It works. I might be making the same decision we would have made together, or a completely different one, but I am learning how to think about how it will effect me. As a single person in the household.
I have also said before that marriage is like a roller coaster. Ups that are thrilling and downs that make you want to bail on the person you are riding with, but love helps you hang on and ride it out. Jim got thrown out when we were at a high, and now I am at that down part, but if I hang on, it will go up again. It will wobble because the balance is off.
I have already started to be a single person, making choices that reflect me and my needs, but it isn't what I wanted. I have lived alone before. I know I can now, I just have to get the mind wrapped around that idea. It's just that it wasn't a choice for me.
Can I just fast forward thru this part and not have to watch in the slooooow motion frame by frame version? That's what it feels like to me.
We - I mean, I (gosh it takes some time to get used to that) I am still having problems with truck and geico and insurance, state farm and life insurance and general everyday getting thru till the next day. Thats the big stuff. Fast forward me please.
Now the little stuff. Anyone know how many Betsy's it takes to change a light bulb? Come and find out. The one in my hallway blew out and I need someone to watch me as I get on the stool to change it, so I don't fall down the stairs and break a leg.
All in all though, it was a good day up until bill paying. When I got to writing the check for the ER visit when Jim passed, I had an almost impossible time of putting the check in the envelope. This is another spot where fast forward would help. I stroked the check, I looked at his name on the check and the bill. I started crying, my hands were shaking and I couldn't do it. It would mean that he was really dead. I actually scanned the bill and the check and put it in a pdf file, but I don't know why. I looked at the bill one more time and then wrote in sharpie on the back "my husband is dead. your hospital SUCKS!!!!!".
Sharp tongued Betsy strikes again!
Monday, July 16, 2007
I did discover that something has been going on with me in the last few weeks. It was brought to a proper light on Sunday morning. I am apparently in very cranky mode. Grumpy. Bitchy. No patience level and saying things I shouldn't. Not biting my tongue as I may have before.
I am not sure why, but I swing between worrying about it and not worrying about it. starting of Menopause? a level of grief? stress? I don't know.
It came up yesterday when a friend told me to just let it go over something I was harping on. (bad waitress service - which I hate and have always hated) I did, but stewed in my head. I am running into issues where I have to be careful. I have to think ahead and sometimes others don't realize what I can and can't do. Jim used to help me on this and would watch out for me. I can't get overheated, body temperture I mean, because heat brings on my seizures. And I am the only one now that can worry about this. I have to watch my own back now. Because of this, I think I am a little shorter fused. Maybe this is my 'warning' post. Watch out.
I was talking to my friend at work and she said she noticed it, but off and on, not all the time. She told me she knew it was just me NOW. Not the way I have always been and she thought not the way I will be in the future. I hugged her for this.
I hope my other friends can understand this a bit. I am hanging onto the thought that I will get less grumpy as time goes on. I know my patience level has always been lower than other peoples, but I guess now its really low. I want to cry - I am actually mad at myself for the low patience level.
Maybe it is my situation that causes frustration and a basic human trait is to take out my grumpiness on something or someone. I believe it is worsened because I don't have Jim around to serve as our check and balance, he did notice my frustration and irritation and thusly, step up to the plate to help remove or reduce the source of frustration and irritation. I hope that now being aware of it will help me curb it.
I want to cry because there the person I have relied on to watch my back - to talk me down - to logic me out - to gently tell me that it will be better soon, as he holds my hand - he is not here anymore. So I have to remember to do these things.
Sounds weird, but with Jim I could always look at him before I said something and take a breathe....and not say it. Even as I write that I know it's not all true. I know I have a sharp tongue and laid it on the line while Jim was around - and reined myself in when he was around (all by myself). But right now, I am feeling like he helped me.
I guess some of that help also came after the fact when we would talk about events and interactions and get out to each other some of the thoughts. Being able to use each other as a release/sounding board -with complete privacy protection -about work, about the bad waitress or the crappy mechanic...that helped. And being able as we did this to give a different perspective to the other person.
I hope the crankiness passes. I don't really like it as a part of myself. Or as a part that others see, because I want to be liked. I hope Steph is right and it is just a NOW thing.
Friday, July 13, 2007
In 1983 my friend and I went as Luke and Leia from Star Wars Return of the Jedi. That was when the fun really began. It became an annual adventure and a time to really cut loose. Let go my conscious self and act on instinct.
Going to the con this weekend may be good and may be bad. Good because I will be around a familiar environment. I have gone to this con before I met Jim, also with Jim and sometimes without him when he couldn't get off of work. I am not sure if there will be any major 'triggers' for tears, but I will probably run into some. I will be around friends who even if we only meet once a year are like family.
Thursday, July 12, 2007
She said that she found it that way also. No time to do anything and no desire to do anything. No motivation. No feeling like anything is accomplished. But she heard from another friend this saying and said it helped her a lot.
"how do you eat an elephant?" (well its too big to eat all at once, its too massive to handle by yourself and sometimes its too tough even for you to eat)
So you start with small bites.
Now I when I start to get frustrated, freaked out, angry and sweaty (my hair sweats when I am stressed...yep it does) I stop and saying "breathe. small bites. breathe" and it will usually help to calm me down and look at the problem/elephant in a different way.
Small bites of a big elephant. If I can't handle the small bites myself, I can call someone. If its too tough then I can set it aside and think on it when it marinates a bit.
Yep, how do you eat an elephant? small bites. It helps.
I can't forget the drives on Mothers day to visit the 'moms'. Basically, this was a trip to the cemetaries. Two of them, one just off of rte 32 and one in Oberlin. About an hour and a half from each other. It wasn't just on mothers day, but usually 3 or 4 times a year. It gave us some great driving time together, we had each other, some fresh air and good music. The cemetaries had a lush green grace and a relaxing calm to them.
One time last year we got some information and found where my grandmother and grandfather were buried. We went to see those graves and got wonderfully lost in the cemetary trying to read the map they gave us and relying on my memories of, oh say, 35 years ago when I last remember being there. What fun. When we wandered into the Jewish section of the cemetary I knew we were pretty far off. We did find the headstones eventually and the adventure makes it all the more worth it.
Jim was very good about the ritual of going to the cemetary, putting the flowers in, sweeping and cleaning things up, saying a prayer and also not forgetting to put some flowers at his uncle and cousins graves that were up around the corner.
I miss those trips.
And I must of course remember the trip to Easton for our 17th wedding anniversary. We were headed for OC but never quite made it that far. We stopped in to see the church we were married in and were amazed at the changes. We were stopped by the organist there and he spoke to us for a few minutes. When he learned who we were, he suddenly smiled and said "oh yeah, you are the ones that had the liberty bell march for your recessional music". I was amazed that he remembered that, but also pleased. The music was a big deal for us because it was a show that we watched together when we were dating. I guess it made an impression on him considering all the weddings he must have played the organ for.
Unless there was a big picnic going on, for some reason Jim always thought going out to my Dads was a long trip. Its only about 45 minutes, but whenever I suggested it on a sunday afternoon he would be 'oh no that will take all day to go out and then drive back and how long will we be there....whine whine whine...."
However when I pushed him (on those days when it was just too beautiful to not go) he would always tell me later how glad he was that we went. He was glad for that push. Dad's is nice because it is like a big park. And when we were there by ourselves it was fantastic. Quiet, green, peaceful and fresh. The hammock was his favorite spot. Dad loves us to bring the dogs so they always had a blast too.
Tuesday, July 10, 2007
I found a disposable 35mm camera and sent it off to be developed. These were taken in about 1998 or early 1999. So it only took 8 or 9 years. And they came out in pretty good shape.
And to see both Jim and Gryphon again, and both happy, both grinning, was worth it.
I am going to take a peek around the house to see if there are any more 'treasures' in the form of disposable cameras that never got developed. Who knows what more will be found.
I keep hearing this quote from a Simpsons episode. In the episode it is repeated in Homers head over and over as he struggles with choices for the workers union. It's one of Jim and my favorite episodes (remember Burns posed as the Grinch?) So I hear this in my head then get the tightness of the chest, drop in the stomach that reminds me Jim is gone and I must close my eyes.
All it took was an innocent thing such as signing up for Health Insurance to set this pain off. Why? How? well, I have learned that there is often a 'trigger' and it can be anything. Sight, sound (remember manilow?) hearing something or just a situation that reminds me of my past life. The life with Jim. (LWJ?)
Using the 'dental plan' as an example there is a chain of thoughts/snapasis in the brain/whatever that start with -
Health insurance = choosing a dental plan = remembering the Simpsons episode= the part with the voice in Homers head saying dental plan over and over = eharing Jim's laughter = rememberin Jim's gone = no more laughter = then pop the pain. Such an innocent thing that can trigger it all, and it is all in a split second.
I am shaking my head at the wonder of the connection between human emotions and human brain.
Monday, July 9, 2007
Sunday, July 8, 2007
Gryphon (Monkeyboy) Dal was our first Dalmatian. He was a puppy when he came to us and was our baby. Sweet and smart and unconditional love. This pic is Jim with both the rescues that came into our lives after we lost Gryphon. Mercury and Tigger. They came to us at about the same time but from opposite ends of the state and both in need of a stable home.
Jim being a tv watching kind of guy would settle on the couch and watch Futurama, Simpsons, Smallville or maybe pop a movie in to watch. The dogs would decide that he was part of the couch and thus sit on his lap. It was a given that at some point during the settling in, a paw would hit a spot on that is not a good spot to hit on a man. Yelps from both dog and man could be heard. For a guy not used to having a dog, Jim got used to them pretty quick and was a wonderful 'dad' for them. Again with the dog and Jim sleeping together on the couch thing. I think Merc was trying to stretch out like Jim was.
This is Tigger or Tripod as my Dad likes to call her. She was supposed to just be a 'foster' dog but after some weeks at our house recuperating from her amputated leg, Jim decided she had to stay with us. Jim was the one that would go into her recovery room, sit with her and read comics or just listen to the stereo while she snuggled around him.
I have been in a blue funk all evening. Warm and the AC can't cool the place down enough. Outside temp is somewhere around 90 and it feels like 100 degrees.
I am not sure why but everything I watch on tv makes me sad. And lonely. And more realization of my widowhood. Comprehension that Jim is not coming back.
I have this memory in my head today. The memory of Jim in the hospital after they let us in to see his body. His eyes closed, his hair pushed back and no breathe in him. I remember stroking his hair because I wanted to feel it one last time. I didn't want to let it go. I kept talking to him but knew there was no one there to hear me. I could stroke his hair and it would feel a little bit still real. Still like him.
I don't understand why it had to be him that died that night. Why couldn't it have been 30 years from now. I can only hope for sleep and that work will keep me busy this week.
Saturday, July 7, 2007
There were two necklaces, both from our trip to the V.I. that were MIA. I thought that I had put them in a box that I took with me to my Dad just after Jim died. (jim died? no, no, he is just out for the day. He will be back in awhile) When I got back home, got unpacked and such, they were not in any of the luggage. I have scoured the house for a them. I did find the box I was thinking they were in, but not the necklaces.
I woke up this morning and said 'Okay, help me find them. Someone help me find my necklaces. Someone UP THERE help me find them." I went down and had some breakfast and turned on the only good tv there is on a Saturday morning - Leave it to Beaver - and got laundry started.
Thinking about how I found the other item a couple weeks ago (which I can't remember what it was now, but may fill in the gap later) I started very methodically looking at every purse and bag that I may have taken to my Dad's. I had thought I had done this already....but I missed a small zippered pocket that was part of another pocket, and low and behold...there they were!!!
I started crying with relief, said "Thank you" and "Thank you for helping me have the brain power to think it out" and "Thank you, thank you, thank you", oh about a million times. I rubbed the box that Jim's ashes are in and cried over them and it was just a sadly joyous time. The necklaces mean a lot because besides the two from V.I. there was also the sterling silver heart that Jim gave me for our 8th anniversary.
What a morning. This sounds so trivial as I write it out, but the MIA's have been in the back of my mind for weeks now. Thinking about them everyday and where they may be. I know I had looked in that purse before, but missed the small pocket. Ironically, I probably put them there to be safe. Well, they were.
Just to have something that was a gift from Jim. The man I love. It's a special thing. To know that he looked at it, was thinking of me, picked it out for me, that makes it very special. They are a comfort item. Like when I wear his watch or I have his wedding band on my right hand. These let me hold him to my heart for a little bit.
Friday, July 6, 2007
I am sitting here listening to some wonderful classical music. Couldn't tell you who it was....it is a mixture of composers and 6 cd's of various styles...but all of the classical genre.
Happily I am able to do this because my friend Cindy figured out why Jim's stereo system wasn't working. Um. One of the three components was....um. Unplugged. D'oh!!!!!
This is Jim's system that I am listening to. One of the three parts he has had since before me. I love it and am glad to have it playing again. Thank you Cindy!
So what about that title to this blog? Well, I was laying on the bed, eyes closed and feeling Jim beside me and I was talking to him. Telling him about what I did today and how work went with my new promotion from part time to full time and how I have rearranged things a little and that's okay. I was wanting his 'approval'. Or maybe feedback. For him to say "great job, good idea, that works!". To know that all was right in our house. And I realized that the interaction with another human, and not just any human, but my human - the one I was in tune with and understood and...well...loved, that was something I was missing.
It may sound odd to those that are single, but even as a strong bull headed and independent woman (me) wanting your spouse to approve of the decisions that you made for both is not that strange. I can make those decisions. I can carry them out. I can even smile when it is finished. But I would like someone to say "wow".
A memory moment. This winter we went to Target. I wanted to get a newer microwave/bakers rack type dealie for the kitchen. We found one, brought it home and I proceeded to open the box. Jim looked at me and said "how about I do that after a nap". I said "no problem, go lay down and I will be up in a bit". He went on up, and was promptly asleep. I continued to pull stuff out of the box, look at the instructions that were minimal at best and figure the chinese puzzle out. Got it built.
Then transferred everything from the old bakers rack onto the table. Then moved everything in the back room to the picnic table. Then moved old bakers rack to empty area in backroom. (tired yet?) Then moved stuff from picnic table to old bakers rack. Then moved moved new bakers rack to the empty spot in kitchen. Then put stuff from table onto it, doing a bit of minimalizing as I went.
Wow, did it look good. Jim was surprised when he came down from his nap and I think pleased. He took me out for dinner to celebrate.
There is a pleasure in pleasing your partner. And letting them please you. His approval is needed but not in the sense that I can't go on without it. It is just a missing part of the puzzle of my life.
So there are times during the day when I am wanting to be able to just call him and say "I love you, I am proud of you, drive safe" and that is something I am missing. Also missing the grabbing him by the belt loops, rub my head into his chest and then gaze into his eyes, and say "guess what I did today" or "geesh, that lady on the bus pissed me off" or "so, how do you like it?" or "honey how was your day and what do you want for dinner?" Missing that.
Jim always was a positive guy about things and I think that has helped me be strong. I hope I don't crumble six months from now, but I will worry about that then.
Thursday, July 5, 2007
I take a 10 minute bus ride from home to work. Easy enough. This morning I got on, noticed someone I knew from our neighborhood alliance group (one of the officers) and asked her what was happening and how the last meeting went.
She said 'come to the meetings'.
I was a bit taken aback and told her I hadn't been able to make it (didn't tell her why) and told her I was interested in what any neighborhood news there was. She said "read the newsletter that's what it's there for." I then felt my sharp tongue coming out and my head heating up. I snapped back "I was just curious, sorry I bothered you". She countered with "the meetings are every second tuesday" I should have taken the cue from that and just let it go. Not me. I could feel my eyebrows going up. I answered her with "oh just don't worry about it, thank you". It was in probably my most sarcastic tone of voice. Well, no probably about it. Sarcasm dripped from me.
Bus rage? Is that like road rage only you get mad at the people on the bus? Well, I don't know, but I pulled out a book (I always carry one) and started reading. Of course I couldn't read a single word but I stared intently at the page. She looked at me, moved to the other side of the bus and got off two stops up.
So, for a change this morning I am NOT mad at God. Not mad at Jim. Not mad at myself. Not mad at anyone but this lady. I was genuinely interested in what had happened. I had not gotten a newsletter recently. I haven't been back, but more because of Jim's passing than of lack of interest.
I guess I was mad because I reacted so quickly and just very stand- off. She was short but to be honest, not really rude. Thinking it out, maybe she didn't want to discuss neighborhood stuff on the bus. (the very empty bus). Oh well.
I walked two blocks from the bus stop to work and took deep breaths, cursed about living in that crappy neighborhood in the crappy house in the crappy city and trying to figure out in the 7 minute walk what to do to get the hell out of there. I then told myself not to sweat the small stuff. And this neighborhood group is small stuff trying to act big.
I sweated anyway, but that was because of the heat.
At work, the air conditioning in the office is cooling me down. And as always, just writing it out helps.
And being mad at someone else....besides the ones I have been mad at for the last 35 days actually felt good. In a weird sort of Betsy way.
Wednesday, July 4, 2007
You look at that smile and you KNOW it's Jim.
I sure jump all ove the place in this post. Singing, crying and laughing. Yep, that was about how my Fourth went. Oh and also comforting the dogs as they tried to hide from the thunder, hail, rain and fireworks that hit us tonight.
The following picture is at Jim's 40th birthday party. She is finally getting him back for that prank. I had to photoshop the pic to be a black and white do to the bad color in the original.
The night crept in and as it got darker so did my mood. I realized after dinner that this would be the first holiday without Jim. I started to think about things we had done on the Fourth of July. And it got me down. I found my self wandering thru the house saying over and over 'I miss you Jim, Jim I miss you". I said it to the couch, the walls, the kitchen and the screen door as I looked out at the yard.
I tried to hold the tears in but they came anyway. Buckets of them. I couldn't seem to stop them. There was a feeling of helplessness in the situation and an uncontrollable feeling of just plain old sadness. Sadness that he was gone.
I called a friend of mine and talked to her for a bit and things got better. We talked about me coming up to visit her, the state of her hot tub, her dog running away from the fireworks (as mine do) and her boys in summer camp. The semi trivial things helped to stabilize my brain a bit. I also talked to her about how I was feeling and getting the thoughts verbalized was a help.
After talking to her I looked at a photo I took when Jim and I went to see fireworks in the city. We were on the side of a grassy hill, with his brother, sister and friends. It may have been our first or second Fourth of July. There was a clear sky, perfect weather and lots of laughter. I took pictures and had him amazed that I could capture the fireworks. (it was in the days of 35mm film and no such thing as digital cameras) It was a fun night for us all.
Another Fourth of July memory is from when we lived in Boston. We were so excited to be in Boston for the 4th - okay, well, I was excited - we didn't know what we were going to do. I got off of work and he said "come this way". He walked me out to the street and there was a horse and carriage. The fireworks were just starting and we rode around the Boston historical area witih our heads up in the air and laughing. The carriage driver took us down right near the water where we had a clear view of the spectacular display. It is a lot different in real life than it is on the television.
A couple years ago we had crabs in the backyard for the Fourth. Our neighbors came over and Alan made fresh gazpacho soup. That was a first for me and I love it. We had crabs and margaritas and the soup. We can sit on our stoop and see almost to the harbor and catch just little glimpses of the fireworks in the city. There are usually neighbors out there and we all socialize a bit. There are better places to see them, but the stoop is the easiest.
I started this post in a down mind set, but the memories of Fireworks gone by has helped.
Jim I miss you.
Fireworks from 1990ish - this was pre-photoshop, or us even having a computer. Just a clear night with the moon, a tripod and a Pentax 35 mm with an open shutter to catch the fireworks.
Monday, July 2, 2007
So I ask you - Jim's friends and family - when you read this, write a few remembrances in the comment section. Maybe some from long ago and maybe some from a couple months ago. I would appreciate it and it will make me smile a little. Maybe a little selfish of me, but for a good cause - Jim.
Jim touched many people and that was evident at his service. I don't think he even realized that he had reached so many. I can recall some stories, but have heard others I had never known about and some I had forgotten. Those are great. And if you can't think of anything when you read this....you can always come back and add to it.
The sadness is what is slowing me down. I don't really want to go see people, but feel like I need to for a hold on sanity. To get out and see my friends. So, I go out and am interacting, I mean, the picnics have been fun, but it is a bit of a facade. I am trying, but wouldn't mind not trying either. This seems to just have hit in the last 24 or so hours. I realize more today why people that have lost their spouses/partners/soulmates, will hole up like a hermit. I didn't feel like that the first month. I do now.
I want to curl up on the bed. I want to hold his shirts to my face and feel him there. With my eyes shut and my mind seeing him again. I want to play some of his CD's, but I can't figure out how to make the darn thing play. There are some wires not connected right.
And again, one side of my nice brain says that this will pass. But the heart says no and my body feels like it is in the trash compactor from Star Wars. A slow push of pressue and emotions. Just another day in Betsy's world.
Sunday, July 1, 2007
Sometimes I feel like I am just 'waiting' for him to call or come home. Hoping, even while knowing. He won't be calling, but I still have this off center feeling that he will. This thought that he is just outside the door. Sometimes as I think this and then I just feel such pain I can't even think straight.
This morning. It was Sunday morning and in the last year or so, that had become 'our time'. A time when we would snuggle then make breakfast and walk dogs and enjoy each other. This morning as I made myself breakfast I turned to yell up to him. I stopped and said 'he's not there.' And then I stood in the middle of the kitchen and listened. Listened to the quiet in the house. The quiet upstairs where there should be a tv on or a hairdryer or shower going or just the noise of someone there. And there wasn't.
I turned back to breakfast, couldn't eat and ended up giving it to the dogs.
It seems a strange mixture of emotions to go through. I think about the women that wore/wear black for a year and mourn for years. I try to wear a little something of Jim's somewhere - his watch, his Live Strong bracelet, his baseball hat or a Hawaiin shirt. Something to bring him closer to me.
I am also not mourning in a traditional manner. I am not staying at home. I am socializing with friends to gather support from them. To be out and about at picnics and dinners may not be the 'proper' thing to do, and it doesn't always seem to help, but it something that I need to do rather than sit at home and cry. I will cry when I am home, alone and at night. I do mourn the loss of Jim. I just also know that I need to be among others that knew him, loved him and also miss him. However, it seems more and more the dark feeling is creeping up on me.
I don't think I will ever not be grieving him, but I can't stop living. Day by day is all I can do right now.
Anger at Jim for leaving me this mess to cleanup. These things to do by myself. These things that we used to do as a team that now I must do myself. Anger that the system we worked out has fallen into dissarray because he is gone.
Oh, I know in my heart this is stupid, and selfish, but it is still there. As is the pain that he is gone. I get mad and yell at him. Usually as I am getting done these things that need doing. I am thinking out what I have to do, and even as I yell, I am doing them. I am carrying the dog food bag and the 32 water bottles in the house. I am cleaning the kitty litter and ironing. Yet I yell at him (and God) for leaving me this way. And then of course I start to cry and wish I wasn't angry and that he wasn't gone.
Sometimes I just roll my eyes, cock in eyebrow and say 'thanks'. Knowing Jim, he would understand and hear the humor in my voice as I said it. We always bantered back and forth with each other and we both were always ready with sarcasm and in a joking manner. And then we would laugh together. Laughing makes any situation less tense. And we both love to laugh.
The anger comes from some frustrations, some feeling of overwhelment and some just of a grief process (so they say). It is not all the time, not every day (no I am not cussing Jim out every day) but just once in awhile when there is an important decision to make, or a heavy thing to move, or more papers to go thru. There is a feeling maybe not of anger, but of self pity and then of how stinking selfish I am to feel this.
I am getting by, day by day, step by step, but never like we had as a team together. I guess it never will be again. We were a great team, we had our moments, but we also complemented each other in our abilities. What he could do, I couldn't and vice a versa. I will sometimes think 'what would Jim do' and then either do that, or I have to think outside the box to figure a way for me to handle it. Of course, knowing what the box is first helps to be able to think outside of it.
And damn, I know he would rather be here, at my side. I KNOW that. In the depths of my heart and the bottom of my soul I know that. And that helps the anger recede, disappear and the heart to crumble. But after that, I really feel a little better and maybe even purged. I can even imagine his arms wrapped around me. And that really helps.