Sunday, September 30, 2007

A calm night

I watched the fading sunlight hit the red brick and look up in the sky to see the beautiful pink sunset clouds. Jim told me once when we were first married that his father called the cloud color 'sky blue pink'. I love that description and have used it every since. Sky blue pink is the twilight color that turns the sky a surreal magical fairyland feeling. It makes me feel close to heaven and close to Jim. This pic is the only one I can find that shows the coloring. It is taken from the front porch of our home in the Boston area.

So I sat on the couch this afternoon with a dog on one side and one on the other side. Both with their heads on my thighs and both sound asleep. I turned the tv off and put my head back and contemplated just how my life has changed.

Yes, it has.

I also thought about all the times it has taken a swing one way or the other and changed. I recovered from them and feel, given time, I will accept this tragedy in my life. Recover I am not so sure, but accept, eventually yes. Right now, no. Now I still want the phone to ring or to wake up next to him. But I feel that most days I am much calmer about the pain that is inside. Of course, I write this at a relatively calm moment. Looking back at how the last four months have been, I may be in full hysteria mode in two hours, I just can't tell anymore.

Today was a day of chores. Some were the ones that Jim used to do. Now I have to do them, no matter how long I put them off, they must get done. There have been significant changes to my lifestyle and daily routine and way to think things out. Thinking ahead about the winter and the cold months coming, thinking about bills to pay and how to cut down expenses. There has even been the thinking out of how to do some simple duties since I dont' have the strength or height to take care of them in the regular manner - that is, call Jim to do it.

After sitting for awhile on the couch, I took the dogs out back and relaxed in the dusk sunlight. Sipping some ice tea and again, looking around me at the yard. I realized that there were some things I wanted to do...and I could do them. I want to add some color to the fence and will be painting it. I would like to put some more windchimes up and fix the cracked cement. I don't think I will be doing these things any time soon, but just thinking them out made me feel positive about my day.

Lists have become critical for me. Both the 'what to do' list and the 'what you are doing' list. I need the latter one to remind of appointments, visits from friends, family gatherings and other things in my life outside of the house. The 'what to do' list is usually chores and duties to be accomplished in a day or a weekend. Sometimes I get only one thing done on the list. But I feel good about it. Sometimes I get half the list done and feel good about it. Sometimes I get nothing done and just don't care. I don't think I have been able to cross everything off the list yet. The list changes daily and that makes it more interesting.

Probably every household has these lists, we had them before Jim died, but they were a shared list. I could designate - J -trash out, B-laundry at least 2 loads, J-walk dogs, B-take care of plants in yard. And so on. The routine has been changed and adjustments are being made.

But first, I think I will go and gaze up at the beautiful moon. The sky is calm tonight.

Saturday, September 29, 2007


4 months - Superman tribute

Four months gone.
My Superman has left. The world is a colder, quieter, lonelier place.
I love you Honeybunny.

Friday, September 28, 2007


Grocery shopping was hell today. It seemed everything I looked at was something Jim used to buy or would have liked or that we shared. I was deliberately trying to avoid this and yet there were the hot peppers or a slice of cheesecake or the tortilla chips staring me in the face. It made the trip ten times more touchy. How do you explain to the stockboy why you are crying as you stand next to the tastykakes? How can such a little things trigger such emotions?

Tomorrow will be fourth month of noticing such things.

I read on a widows messageboard that one lady's rationalization during her early months after her loss was that she was the one that had died and she was actually in hell and that her husband is alive and living in an alternate universe. Sounds crazy but I doubt anyone out there can prove her wrong.

This loss of her husband was hell because of the pain, bottomed out, totally wrecked emotions that she was suffering. And if he is alive in an alternative universe, then he was really alive. I thought about this for awhile. I hadn't thought like that before - I always believed in a heaven, but not a hell. But it is such total hell -burning pain that makes it hard to even want to move, a hell in every breath I take, to be without him. And I don't know how else to describe it.

Tomorrow is the fourth month of hell. Hell on Earth.

Hell, hell, hell, hell, HELL. Hello world, life really sucks. Coming back from the grocery store I ate some dinner and couldn't keep my eyes open. I took a nap and woke up 4 hours later. Usually when I do this I feel better. Not tonight. It has been only 4 months and I look back and feel like 2 of those months were such a daze of disbelief, numbness, need to get paperwork things straightened out and going thru the motions that I am not sure how I functioned at all. It was on pure autopilot. I know the last two months have been me trying to deny that it has happened, realizing that it did, trying to come to grips with that and then such a feeling of floating above it all. And most of all of the above mentioned are in the course of one day, just an up and down ride all day. For the most part, outward stable and functioning, inside trying to keep it together and brain working overtime.

I have been lucky in support from my Dad, and family and friends. Friends that have been around to keep me busy and check up on me - in such ways as to not be seeming to. By having me over, by calling and by stopping in and by taking me out of the house. I wouldn't have made it four months. Maybe with help I will make it thru this hell for four more.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

Memory flashes

A flash of Jim, on the beach somewhere in the Atlantic

A joy and glee that was a rush as he ran full throttle into the water…..diving in to a wave and then realized how cold it was…..

He came up sputtering and yet still smiling. It wasn’t till he was toweling off that he realized he lost his hundred dollar sunglasses, forgotten to be removed as he dove in the water.
Jim and his Indian heritage. Jim was proud of his native american backround. He could never tell me exactly from what Indian nation his blood was from, or from what relative it came, but he was certain he had it. Well, he did have the fairly hairless body of an Indian.
He was not really able to grow a beard along his jaw line but on could on his chin and moustache. He loved the goatee beacue it gave him that beard feel. And he did look sexy in it.
Leaving notes for each other was a common practice. Not the 'honey do list' but rather the nice warm fuzzy feelings ones you find by surprise. A note that says "have a good day, I love you" or "I will be thinking of you honeybunny" and mostly written like the one I found on the back of an envelope "Betsy, I will see you soon, Love Jim". He left them for me to find when he was out the door early in the morning. I would leave them for him in his briefcase, for him to find when he had lunch or pulled a pen out.
I am glad we did that for each other. It was kind of like when we would hold hands in while walking down the street, or in the car, or on the couch or in the movies. It was a gesture of our love.
Jim's green guitar. We were in cocoa beach and it was raining. Apparently it rains in the afternoons there pretty regularly. We went looking for something to do and found a Pawn shop/Music store combo. He went in and fell in love with a beautiful guitar. He had to have it. And that was fine.
It was a nice instrument and he loved to pull it out and strum it. I was told to leave the room and let him practice, but in this house, well, I could hear his voice. It was quiet and warm, it had a calming feel. Jim didn't play well, not yet anyway, but he could pick the notes from the strings on the guitar, and it was music.
The guitar is at home now with Jim's sister. A special piece of the soul of him that she can enjoy and will hopefully make her smile again.
Saddest is that we never had children. I think he was made to have kids and pets and people he could dote on. I watched him with my nieces when they were young, my friends sons and with our pets thru the years. Very good with the children and in getting down to their level to hang out.
Jim would tell me stories of his son and daughter when
they were just toddlers. He would try and share with me how special they were. He described how he would cook them speghetti and how much fun it was to watch them eat. There was a story about how they were all spitting out the window and the spit came back and hit him in the face and both the kids that that was hysterical. He of course was laughing as he told it to me.


He took me to the highest places. He loved heights - mountains, planes, skyscrapers, ferris wheels and even ski lifts. He would hold my hand as I clenched in fear and trepidation. Gut wrenching vertigo. He loved the rush that the world gave him and most of the time ran at it full tilt. Ready to jump in.

I can only hope that he knew what a high he gave me. His love, his acceptance, his bantering and his take on life. We fed off of each other for our needs. And together we reached a new level of ourselves.

He wanted to go for a hot air balloon ride or repelling or skydiving.

I would ride the highest ferris wheel or brave the highest mountain just to have him at my side.

Didn't write it, but like it

Grieving individuals do not always follow the standard stages of denial, anger, and acceptance. Yet they often feel forced into these boxes by medical professionals, family, and friends who try to move them along and consider them abnormal if they don't get on with life in a set amount of time.

But each person's pattern of grief is as unique as each person's pattern of love -- and stages and boxes just don't work. There can be a breakthrough moment that can come "Bingo! I don't have to follow anyone's pattern, I didn't have to stop being sad. Not only is sadness okay, it is necessary." Nobody can tell you how to mourn. And it's not self-indulgent; it's not wallowing; it's hanging on to something important. We should not avoid bereavement. We should embrace it, welcoming our moments of sorrow as a time to reconnect with the person we've lost. Try to reconnect with your husband every chance you can. He was your best friend, deepest love, soul mate, and best buddy. There will be a time of peace when the pain is dissolved into just the love.

12 of us

Grief group counseling session

Started last week.

I walk in to the room and see 11 pairs of eyes. 11 faces of various stages of pain. 11 different stories of death. 11 with loved ones gone.

A loss we share, I can see it
The way they look, they stand, they have pain
The partner, the soulmate, the bestfriend, the spouse
Their pain is mine twofold
I have met them
a meeting we share with hope
to help understand, heal, grow, deal
All of this is raw to us
new pain and new ways and new horrors
what hurts us does not hurt others
We share loss and pain and thus can touch each other
our stories we share and our loves that have gone
Tissues brought help dry the tears
As seen by one, is seen by all
I come to this room in search of help
And in that wanting, finding the need to help the others
Fighting my own battle of pain
Not wanting to be here and not wishing it for anyone else
Yet finding solace in the room that is not empty.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007


It's time.

Time for Jim to be coming home from work. I think both Mercury and I know this. He had stopped laying by the door waiting, but now he is at my side and looking at me. On a nice night like this Merc and I would be sitting on the stoop waiting. Having heard from Jim that he was on MLK and almost here.

The truck pulls up, he gets out and looking tired and beat comes in. A hug and a kiss and some food for him. He talks while he eats and tells me about the day. We banter back and forth, me trying to cheer him up, him getting mad at the bigwigs at work. Seeing his pain from a long day, I start getting mad. More hugs and hip thrusts and just plain old bonding moments.

This is missed. It is a hole in my evenings routine. To watch some tv and then have Jim to talk to about this show or that show. It's not there anymore. I tried talking to Merc but he just sighs. And sometimes farts.

I find that I talk to Jim's picture that is on the wall in the living room. That is a comfort. Also just putting my hand on his cremations box calms me and allows me to talk to him. Sort of a solid anchor in an everchanging tide of emotions. I wear his shirts, his belt, his watch. For my birthday dinner with my Dad, I wore the dress watch I gave Jim for his 40th birthday with the inscription on the back "Happy 40th I love you". These things are a small comfort, but a comfort none the less.

I have been reading a lot of grief counseling books and talking online with other widows. This feeling is not unusual. It's just that it comes and goes. I can be disturbed one night about something and okay the next night about the same thing.

This is a roller coaster ride that I didn't sign up for. I hate roller coasters. But I am on this ride and can't get off. Don't even know how long it runs. I read that usually we get thru the first year, think we are okay and then the second year is worse then the first year. Oh great. Well, I know me. I know I think outside the box. I know I try to make it work somehow. I will. I can't say I am a strong woman. I can say I am...well I don't know what. The strong days come and go, the sad days come and go, the just want to curl up days come and go, and the got to do two things and then curl up days are in the majority.

I have also been finding that really old, really odd memories of Jim have been popping in my head.I have been writing them down so I don't forget them and will share them on the next blog. But just having those come to the front of my brain has been a comfort. It allows me to remember a wonderful man who made me smile.


I am getting dressed to go out and I see the brown pants I wore at the funeral service/viewing.

I can’t believe I wore brown that day. I should have been in black.

I haven't worn the pants since then and am not sure why I picked them that day. Today I realized as I stood in my room looking around just how much I missed my Mom that day. Not being in my right mind, I had no idea what I was wearing or doing or saying or anything.

Why didn’t I wear something in black. Why didn’t someone tell me. I know my sister in law was just as whacked out as I was. We were both in shock and grieving. My sister didn't see me till it was too late, and I don’t know what else to say. I wish I had worn the black that I should have had on. I am sad now that I didn’t. I don't know why it hit me just today, but I am told that little things will trigger all kinds of other things. I know what I wore is not really important, but now four months later, I wish I had worn the black pants.

My Mom would have talked to me and tried to get me centered. I know as the day went on I just spiralled further and further out of my mind. I was so whacked out I didn’t know which way I was turning. Trying to act right, but not really retaining anything. My Mom, well she would have helped. Heck, she would have asked me a few questions and then directed. But mostly she would have held my arm just above the elbow and guided me, saying ‘Betsy do you want to wear this? No, you don't want that .... here try this on"

Mom. Mom would have helped me. She is six and a half years gone now.

I stand in the middle of the room and cry a little. Not just for Jim, but because if I can't have him, I want my Mom to help me through this awful time. I miss them both.

Saturday, September 22, 2007


46 and feeling like I am 146.

So, a long time ago, my Mom and Dad went to a party in NYC. They were living in Englewood NJ at the time. My older brother and older sister got to stay home. It was late January or so. They got stuck in a bit of a storm and had to spend the night there. And then September came and so did I.

My Mom told me that I was her only natural childbirth baby and that made me special to her(sorry siblings). She was not supposed to have me 'natural' style as my older brother had been born via C section and usually, once a C always a C. At least back then. Her doc was very very good and told her things to do to help make it possible. And it was - Me!!!

Birthdays I remember - my 10th birthday party was one of the first big ones I remember. A gaggle of girls and a lot of giggling and torturing of little brother and his friend that were torturing us. I remember my Mom made this big cake and served it to us in the backyard on our phone line picnic table. You know, the big round top and a column and then the big round bottom. Perfect tables. Back then I think they were being left on the side of the road. Or maybe we got it at the local dump. I wouldn't be surprised at either, knowing my Mom.

When I turned 11 I got a bicycle and a dog. My first 'very own' dog. My first adult bike that didn't have a bananna seat or huge handlebars. The dog was a german shepard/collie mix and her name was Sugar. She was very sweet and came to us not fixed. It was the 70's, not a big deal then. Well, I got to watch her mate with some other dog and then my Dad tossed water on them. I will never forget the two dogs standing butt to butt attached somehow and howling. She had 8 puppies. She also got fixed.

My 12th birthday was awesome - I got to go see David Cassidy in concert. Got to take 2 friends. Oh the poor guy was stoned and or drunk my mom said. I didn't notice, and neither did the thousands of other teen girls. My Mom loved to tell about how she stepped out for some air at some point and there was a crowd of other Moms all out there talking.

Well, 13 is blurry, but if it is attached to the pictures I have of me blowing out a cake, it is very scary. I hope no one has hair like that ever. Gosh I was geeky at 13. It was 1974. What else could you be.

Now, at age 14 I had a huge mega crush on the uncle of my friend next door. He was so cool. He had a pony tail and talked to us about stuff and was old (maybe 25 or so) He gave me a book on horses, as I was into my horses are life phase. I still have the book. Somewhere.

I have had three surprise parties thrown for me. One in college where I actually knew about it and helped my friend plan it with my boyfriend...but HE didn't know. I got to sit in the car looking sad that no one had called me. Then be surprised. It was fun. I think everyone knew that I knew but him. He said at one point I was looking so sad he almost told me. I never told him I knew. He was so happy to do it. I did get him a great birthday present when it was his turn. Oh boy.

My brother in law John has my same birthday, just a few years younger. (happy birthday John!) Now, he worked with my sister in law and they got along well. He mentioned wanting to get to know her better. When my SIL's birthday came up, there was a party for her, so I told him to take my invitation and go on over to see her. It worked out well and he was her favorite present. They married and I think just hit 10 years of marriage.

I can't explain how strange the day has been without Jim to share the birthday fun with. But, my family has helped. My friends have helped and support has come from interesting corners. Thank you all. Yesterday was really tough. Getting thru this makes me think that the steps taken will help me for the next road bump...Jim's birthday in October, our anniversary in November and the holidays to follow. Not going to be easy, any of them. I hope I can, I think I can, I want to, make it.

Friday, September 21, 2007

Even Tougher - reader beware

I am going to give in to the babbling, rambling, not much sense side of Betsy and get what I have been feeling today out. This is sort of two blogs in one because I don't know if I will be able to say much tomorrow.

I had my first melt down at work today.

I was actually out in the parking lot waiting for a taxi. It hit me that I was going home and the weekend loomed and I realized I didn't want to go home, but then I realized that home is the only place I wanted to be, but I didn't want to be there. I guess the loop started my brain to collapse and I sat down and just started crying. I was wearing dark glasses and you couldn't really tell. Well, I don't know, maybe you could. I just didn't worry too much.

I cried for awhile and then thought damn the cab isn't coming its been a half hour. So how can I get home? I went back in to the office and as I was walking I was crying, I sat in the stairwell and tried to get a hold of myself. I went up to my boss's office and asked for a ride home and then slid half down the doorway. As I write that I think 'wow what was i thinking' but I wasn't really thinking, just feeling at that point. I was so raw. He got me to move to a chair, handed me some tissues and talked to me a bit. I haven't lost it like that at work before. Well, not in front of anyone at work.

So I came home and laid down and then continued to cry. Not as hard, but could feel the tears streaming and all the while yelling a litany. "I just want to wake up. I want to wake up and find it was a dream. Oh, but its not a dream and I know it, I know it, I just want to wake up." Over and over till I realized I was not crying anymore and could sit up. I went to the bathroom found the xanex and looked at the bottle. Nope. Don't want it, I said. I got myself calmed down and breathing and drinking some water. Sitting in the back with the dogs on either side and actually getting a lick/kiss from Mercury the dog that doesn't give kisses.

I finally thought that I needed some snack or food or such. I had some beautiful filet mignons I had gotten. I did them up with crushed peppercorn and a touch of kosher salt and tossed them on the grill. Oh my. Melted in my mouth and just what I needed. An oasis I hadn't expected.

I am feeling better/calmer, but still very sad.

This will be my first birthday in 18 years without Jim and it is odd. He was always ready to give me my present a 12:01 am. He always listened patiently when I told him the story (at least 17 times) of my wonderful birth. He never hesitated when asked to make love in the morning instead of at night on my special day of birth.

One year he sent my Mom flowers as a thank you for having me. She found that sweet. There was always flowers and a sometimes a box of candy. The cards from not just him but the dogs and cat also. How he got them to sign them I don't know. We always allowed that we get one 'big' present on our days. This computer was his to me a few years back. I got him the laptop down in kitchen one year and an iPod last year.

Just as I remembered his Superhero love, he nodded to my Star Wars love and would often find something for me. On my 30th birthday there was a surprise party. On my 40th there was also a surprise party. His smile and touches and hugs and tender nibbles were wonderful presents. I miss them not just on my birthday but everyday.

A tough moment

As I just blogged, I went to see Menopause the musical at the Hippodrome tonight. I was in the lobby and got a touch on my shoulder. "Hey, haven't seen you stopping in at the comic store lately" and I turned and there was one of the part timers from the comic store that Jim patronized. He usually was working on the days that Jim would go in and they would joke around together.

I looked at him and wasn't sure quite how to say it. I told him that Jim had passed away suddenly in May. He looked at me and went pale. I asked him hadn't the owner told him? He said No. I felt the hole in my chest open up. I then told him that it had been sudden, a heart attack.

I looked up at him standing there and I saw the tears in his eyes as he took it in and felt them in mine. He was saying he hadn't known and he was sorry and I just wanted to...well...I hugged him. He looked like he needed it. I mean, I don't really know him other than from the shop, but he was a enough of a friend of Jim's to feel some pain and needed that hug at that moment I think. It touched me. I don't think I have had to tell a friend about Jim's death like that. At least not since the first week or so.

It never gets easier.

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Menopause the Musical!

Went to see Menopause the Musical tonight. My friend took me as a birthday present. It was a great time and some beautiful voices. I wish I could sing half as well as those women. The musical was a fun plot - 4 women meet in Bloomindales in NYC and realize though they are all very different they have one thing in common- Menopause. The change of life, involving hot flashes, saggy boobs, night sweats and a celebration of it all. The songs were great and they did some filking to 60's and 70's songs. Taking the tune and changing the lyrics to fit the theme. This was ironically appropriate since I turn 46 and some of the changes are starting to knock on my door. I am going to have to grab the cd and laugh some more. It will help on those days when I am feeling old and grumpy or saggy and sweaty.

Here are some lyrics I can definately relate to -

Heat Wave

I'm having a hot flash
A tropical hot flash
My personal summer is really a bummer
I'm having a hot flash.
Comes on like a car crash
No warning just hot flash
Outside it is nippy, but I'm hot and drippy
I'm having a hot flash

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

Tired today

A very emotional tuesday night.

Went to the first 'grief counseling group session'. There are 12 of us and we have all lost a spouse. We are all under 50. Some of us have children, some of us don't. Some lost a spouse after a long illness, some it was very sudden.

We have one thing in common, we all miss our spouse.

I came home from the session very very tired. I am still tired. I took a nap this afternoon after work and still am tired.

I have to thank my neighbors for feeding me. Last night it was a nice lady that I have said about 23 words to, but she invited me in for a bite. I was so tired then that I took her up on it. She told me how sorry she was and how she always liked Jim because he didn't mind doing things - things like just moving the car up a bit when she was trying to park or shovelling snow off her steps. That made me feel good. Because he did do those things.
Tonight dinner was next door and we had leg of lamb. A favorite of mine. I don't know if I would have cared if it was peanut butter and jelly, as long as I didn't need to make it, I didn't need to clean up after it and it wasn't a sub or a pizza. I think I am finally tired of them. Dinner was fun because I brought over coconut/pineapple ice cream and it was great after the lamb.

They are going to come over sunday afternoon and help me pack up some china and set up some photos on a shelf with Jim's urn. The help will be appreciated!

Monday, September 17, 2007

A Scab grows in Baltimore

I talked for several hours yesterday with a friend to try and get her to understand some changes that have happened to me since Jim's death and the journey of grief. I think she understands a lot more about some of the processing that occurs on the journey.

The analogy I used was that the death of a spouse is an open gaping wound. Bloody and painful and disgusting. Shocking. As it starts to heal, begins along the edges, but can start oozing at any moment. It will form a new line on the body, it can change colors, and be strong or weak. This takes time. Recovery is often slow. A scab must grow to strengthen the skin. A new skin that is still very tender and needs a gentle touch. But also itchy and lets you know it is there.

My friend Diane said that she was glad to see I was doing well on most levels, but was worried about me because it seems my personality has changed. I am not acting like myself. I told her I didn't quite understand and she said I am not the same person that I was before Jim, or acting as I did during marriage with Jim. She said she still sees the old me most of the time but is worried that the new side may take over. Shortness in speech and not caring. I had to tell her that to be honest, there is a point where I don't care anymore. I can be okay to a point where I get pushed to do something and then I just stop. And I can only hope that people will understand the occasional abruptness. One thing she said that I am still thinking about - she is concerned that the mask I show is not allowing the grief to come out. My feeling is that the mask I show the public is the one that will get me thru the day.

I sat with her and told her that she has to understand...I am not the same Betsy. I am not acting like myself and I don't even know exactly what myself is anymore. I am a Betsy that has been broken in half and is hurt. That as I heal, as I grieve, things may alter again and my old personality may come back stronger, as it is what I know and am familiar with. However, she also has to realize, it may not also. I just don't know right now. Nor can I expect to. My scab is going to heal and how it realigns may be different because of the suffering that has occurred. I have been altered and changed. I am looking at things in a different light and feeling things in a different way than I ever have before and with such intensity that it is painful. Painful.

Sharing with her the hurt and the feelings of the last three months has helped. For both of us. I told her that the numbness has just begun to wear off and the true grieving is beginning. It shows with major twinges of hurt, anger, guilt and depression at times. I am hoping she will know that her support is appreciated. When she left we talked again and she said that she really didn't mean to upset me, that she is trying to understand and even then, realizes that she can't. I told her that I am digesting what she said and thinking on it. That her input is appreciated, as long as she is not forcing me to change my ways. She said that she wants to watch out for me as she knows that since I don't have Jim to do this. That touched me. She even gave me a hug - and she is not a physical person so I was surprised at that.

I have been very lucky in my having friends that have helped and supported me. That have put up with my short remarks or strange questions and odd babbling and just filed it under grieving friend. I am not trying to use the widowhood as an excuse for my actions but as a reason and guide. Imagine living your worst nightmare, dreams squashed and life changed immeasurably. I have come to realize now that there is no way to fathom what your response to the death of a partner. I certainly had no clue I would be feeling this way, but rather imagined myself a lump on the floor not moving or functioning. That I get up every morning and go to work amazes me sometimes. That I break down and cry while looking at the last christmas picture we will ever have doesn't amaze me. That I can remember to feed dogs, feed myself and take trash out- that amazes me.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

More photos

Tonight it was scan photos night again. Some favorites.

And once more

The pain doesn't seem to be diminishing. The broken part of me doesn't seem to have healed. I still want to wake up from this nightmare and be happy that it was a nightmare and not real. The sunday afternoon lonely and missing Jim continues.

On the plus side, I was able to function for most of the day - enough to do laundry, dishes and vacuum. Don't ask about the kitty litter. I hate kitty litter. I sat outside in the beautiful day and enjoyed a short time on the laptop. Then Mercury ate my dinner. A sub. He ate the whole frigging sub.

Yep. It was a day.

Saturday, September 15, 2007

A New Hope

"This is the weapon of a Jedi Knight. Not as clumsy or as random as a blaster, but an elegant weapon for a more civilized age. For over a thousand generations, the Jedi Knights were the guardians of peace and justice in the Old Republic. Before the dark times, before the Empire. " -- Obi Wan Kenobi.

I got a movie replica Jedi Lightsaber today (lifesize and fully functional) for my birthday gift to myself. (I will be 46 on Sept 22nd)

Thursday, September 13, 2007


A late September afternoon finds me laying in bed resting.

I fall into a half sleep half drifting, listening to the noises outside.

My mind is floating and the thoughts are flowing.

I close my eyes and there I see a familiar chest and ribcage above me, a chin tilted back, the arms on either side of me, holding the chest up from me, the curve of the shoulder and the veins in the neck, but a stomach pressing against mine.

For a moment he has come back into my world.

I follow thru the dream, memories making it real, just thankful for this moment again.

To see the fine details that I remember so well, to see them even if in my mind.

Joy overflows me and I don't want to move.

Then the tears of thanks overtake my eyes.

He was with me once more.

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

9/11 on the mind


I was driving to Natick and heard the first news at about 8:55 or so. Couldn't believe it. I can remember the light and intersection I was stopped at as I listened.

I went on into working and pulled the radio from the backroom out to the front. Listened in shock and sorrow and at state of disbelief that it could happen in our country.

It was quiet in the mall and we left early. Not without another disturbing incident. 3 teen age boys coming in and wanting to buy some knives. "to get that foreign asshole in the kiosk downstairs' was their term. I refused to sell, pushed them out of the store and pulled the gate closed. I then called mall security.

Going home was slow and sad. The day wore on. I recorded some of the news from later in the day. I got some newspapers the next day and tried to fathom it all.

The news clips of the plane going into the tower and the smoke coming from it. The image in my mind - not yet on the news or in the papers - of people being hurdled or jumping from the building. The idea that the planes came from a boston airport. Close to my home.

Flight 93 made me sad and proud. To know that we fought back, even if for a few precious moments and to no real good, some of us did.

Time to kick some ass was on the back of this truck. It was a sentiment felt by many.
I painted a flag on my front storm door. We had the flag flying but I wanted more. Something with my touch to it. We have always flown a flag in honor of my father and others that have fought for freedom. In honor of our country.

I noticed over the following days a lot of flags. A lot of people trying to show their American strength. A Vet stands outside my store and gazes at the flag hung across the way. Who would have thought, but this guy dyed his hair red while and blue. Amongst all the piercings and tattoos is a desire to show his support.

Just 11 days later I was flying down to Baltimore. For a surprise party I wasn't supposed to know about, but Jim's telling me was the only way to get me to come. My 40th birthday. I was in a plane with just 6 other people and flew out of Providence. I was not allowed to carry any of the usual pocket knives or such. It was still sort of before the major security lock downs, but they had started. So, I had a pump hairspray bottle (it was emptied and then filled with ammonia for burning the eyes or mouth) and a comb with a rat tail handle to poke eyes out. These were in my purse and I figured looked like normal girl gear. I won't talk about the keyknife that we sold at our stores - was the size and looked like a key but had an edge. It really wasn't a weapon.

The party was wonderful. (thank you sis in law!) and the drive home two days later with Jim memorable. We talked a lot. A lot about life, our life, our goals and the shortness and surprise in which events can happen to end life. We talked about military actions, future reprisals and how much we loved each other and the joy we found together. We counted the flags hung on the overpasses. We noted the signs and banners and American spirit.

Coming in to NYC, we saw a van that had been painted with an amazing mural. A mural of the story and the feeling America had. "We shall overcome" with a mural of the towers burning and a city blackened. Stars and stripes all over the van with a flag painted on the back.

We came home and cuddled together and just lavished in the fact that we were both alive and could be with each other and Jim noted to me that we lived in a pretty nondescript old farm house on the edge of a pretty nondescript town that was probably safe from any hurt.

God bless America.

Monday, September 10, 2007

The Club

I am finding that though I don't want to belong, didn't want to join and have no desire to be in this club, I see other members everywhere now.

The widows club.

I am assuming it is because I am more sensitive to the signs and words. I had a lady stop in to my office, notice my Dalmatian calender and talk about the Dals that she and her husband had. Now she is on her way to assisted living. We talked dogs for a few minutes and she said how one of their three never recovered from her husbands death. I said one of my dogs is doing the same. Though he seems better some days. She had lost her husband in 2000 and she was 76. Couldn't believe that not only were we dal owners, but also widows. We went on to talk about grief groups and what was around. She said she went to a general grief group and didn't find it as satisfying as the one for spousal loss. We talked about Dals and how hardhearted, but loving they were. She sat and talked for almost an hour.

I belong to a messageboard that is for general chit chat on daily news events and saw a signature for one man 'grief growth' and it was about his partner dying and the journey for him. It was a blog of about 2 years length. I just couldn't read it very far. It sounded too familiar. They were together for 22 years and he was struggling with living by himself.

I met a lady at a bookstore that had been a widow for 26 years. Her husband died when she was in her late forties and she never remarried. She said she survived the pain of lonliness with the lord at her side, to get her thru each day.

I turn on the tv and there is an episode of clean house or such, where they come in and clean out stuff and make you sell it. I was captivated and hurting and crying. This woman lost her husband just a couple years earlier and they were getting her to get rid of his stuff.

The house did look beautiful afterwards, but she went thru some severe trauma and I hope they found some counseling for her. I wanted to give her a hug and slap the clean house host.

Well, I guess because I could identify with her. My house in not that dirty, but I do have and do still need Jim in my life. They made a nice wall of mementos for the woman, but I didn't like the idea of just one wall of four or five items. 2 pictures? I don't think so.

If she did need to get on with her life, why not clean up and then help her to deal with it, not just take and say it is time. Argh.

There is no way for someone to fathom the pain, or understand the need for the soulmate to just not be gone, unless they are also a member of this club. The lost someone they love club. I am getting thru the days, trying to hang on to a routine and knowing that more and more life will move on. With or without me. And sadly, without Jim.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Saturday night hits me

My first saturday home - with nothing to do - in a long long time. No phone calls, no visitors, not much to do.

I started this morning feeling sad. Missing the fun of telling Jim about my day. I must have decided then to have a very quiet day. I had breakfast, took a nap. Got up did a load of laundry and went grocery shopping with a friend. I came home and took a 3 hour nap.

I am seeing Jim in every corner and with lots of memories attached. I lay in bed and thought about different points in our life related to different places I looked in the room. I need to do this, to work thru it, and to feel him around me. He was my friend and my soulmate and such a part of my life that it is hard to remember it all. I find that I am scared because I don't want to forget Jim and the events in our life and yet remember that there are things that have happened to me in the past -before Jim- that I don't remember as well as I would like.

Not exactly a happy day, yet not truamatic in any particular way, just memories and thoughts. The memories aren't sad. There is just again, the realization that there will be no more.That is sad.

Saturday morning hits me

Again it hits. No Jim coming home after work tonight.

I sit and make lists of the things I need to do today. The thought comes to me of greeting Jim at the door and telling him of what had happened in our world while he was at work. There is, there was a rush that I got seeing him pull up and park. He would call me and let me know he was almost home and I would sit out on our stoop waiting, to see him pull up, get out of the truck and walk up the street. That little tiny joy in the big wide world is gone. The hello I missed you kiss. The I love you hug. Jim always had one for me and it made life so very special.

I know others have felt this with their loved ones. It's a feeling of sharing. A feeling of 'here's what I have done today' so that we can share the days joys, tears, laughter, frustrations and madness. It brings us together and allows us to be a part of each others life.

Realizing this morning that there will be no Jim at the door tonight just made me sad. I can keep making my lists and getting things done and even laughing and crying and feeling frustrated. But not having Jim to share them with is takiing some getting used to.

Friday, September 7, 2007


I think I have fallen into a feeling of being made of ceramic. Okay on the outside, even sturdy, able to pile stuff up on it, but maybe also cracked and certainly breakable, yet around for ages.

I am doing stuff day to day - work and such -but still have no desire to really clean the house or go beyond the needed basics of laundry and dishes. I want to spend time with the dogs and let them know I am there. I spend some time online and also some time reading. I sit in the backyard, gazing at basically nothing and thinking I should paint the fence.

The depression has passed from bad to not so bad sometimes. Mostly I am okay. I can understand why mourning women don't socialize. Just no desire to do those things, but for for me, doing them to gets me out of the house. And in doing so, going to the cookouts, the parties and getting together with friends, it to make me feel better to a certain degree. To feel not abandoned, not lonely, but still in touch. I have tried to do that all summer. For the last three months I have tried to laugh, to enjoy a moment and find that it always comes around to remembering. I enjoy the time with my friends, but there is always a part of me missing. Even in the before days, if I went to a party alone, at least I knew I could go home and tell Jim about the day. We could laugh about things that happened and it would be alright.

Thursday, September 6, 2007

A blog that touches home

Journal entry by Deni Rust, March 15, 2004:
"Now, let's remember what helps me to feel better: talking about my feelings! This is a release for me. This is why I keep the journal.
I don't have my husband to talk to anymore.
I need to rid myself of anger and pain and this is how I choose to do it. It works for me. It comforts me to receive e-mails from people who tell me they read the journals and care about Rich and our family. I need this to get through every day."

I read this article about a woman and her blog that she kept after losing her husband. The words of both the article and the blog touched me. Take a minute and read it.

I was crying at the end as she wrote about her daughters need to talk to daddy.

Journal entry by Deni Rust, July 12, 2004, on her wedding anniversary:
"Madi always pretends to call her daddy. Usually it is when I pick her up from school and her class is playing outside and we have to walk through the 4-year-old room to leave. She will stop and pick up the toy phones and pretend to call him on each one. I patiently wait for her and try my hardest not to cry. ...

In the car the other day she "called" daddy and said, "Hi daddy. Watch you doin'? I want to come to heaven with you, daddy. No, no no, I want to come to heaven with you, daddy." I almost had to pull the car over. Once again my heart broke. I found it so strange that she said, "... no, no, no... "
It was almost if he told her she had to stay here with me -- that I need her."

I am relieved to say that in some way I have found a therapy here. In the writing. The writing of the thoughts has helped the thoughts to crystalize, to be dealt with and to be put where they need to be kept. I started this blog journey looking at needing to write each day, and not to hold myself to just grief, but also include joy and memories and photos and share the pure emotion of the day - be it pain or happiness.

I am not wearing black as tradition called for, but I have grieved each day and all day. Moments of the sun coming thru are there. Moments of just crawling into bed and curling up in the dark are there also. It is just three months and it feels like both yesterday and a year. I look at pictures and it hurts. I don't look at pictures and it hurts. I don't want to forget the times we had together and I don't want them to be over and I want one more day and yet am happy for our last day.

I know there is more I want to say. I will come back to this.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Dream in New Hampshire

While visiting New Hampshire I was in a familiar enivronment and yet new since I hadn't been there in a few years.

Jim was in a dream I had the last night. Not much of him, but enough to make me feel comforted and not alone.

I was in my friends kitchen, up against the counter looking at the TV, and Jim sort of leaned in around the corner of the hallway where all the coats are hung and shoes are tossed. He looked in, smiled at me and nodded. That was it. That smile was very important. If there was more, I don't remember. But I woke up with is face in my mind and his smile calming me for the day.

Monday, September 3, 2007

Comfort too

Still in New Hampshire. What a weird state. Okay, good weird, but I must explain. Maryland is hot humid days and steamy warm a/c needing nights. I have found NH to be hot clear days and blanket needing, cold toe nights. Maybe in a couple weeks I could get used to it. Of course, in a couple weeks the weather will change.

Beautiful day yesterday. A clear blue sky with a bright sun and high temps - great day for the cook out that was held. I played first round chef and cooked up some chicken, while watching Iain our top chef handle the burgers and dogs. He is enjoying this cooking phase, and did a good job of following instructions.

There came a point though that I was feeling a wee out of place. We had people over from my friends workplace and they started the medical talking. I had a kind of 'where is jim' moment and went upstairs to cry it out. I had forgotten that one of my friends was already up there. She worked all night and stops here to crash for a bit. I lay down with her, cried and talked. It was a good moment for some emotional release.

Her son Buster came in, brought up for the picnic by his dad, who soon followed. A couple of hugs and I was feeling better. Bismo and the Momma are definite comfort zones for me. Friends that knew me Before Jim and During Jim. And interestingly enough, I knew them both before they were with each other. The four of us - them and Jim and I, bring to me strong good warm memories. Laughter, love, and a strength with our partners. So now stretched out on the bed and talking about things with my friends was a enveloping feeling of calm. Having that family unit in the house balanced things out for me a bit.

A simple act of sitting next to Bismo on the couch watching tv as the kids in the house whizzzed around us gave me a comfort not felt in awhile. On this journey thru the grieving of a loved one, the steps have been tenuous and the road often unclear. This was a nice rest area.

Hail the Tiki!

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Saturday in NH

It is a very cold Saturday morning in New Hampshire. I came up to visit some friends that couldn't make it to Jim's service and sent me a ticket for a visit. I had forgotten about what a temperture change there is from MD to NH.

The change in environment is good and seeing the boys now has been a treat. Melissa's pldest son is now 14 and almost 6 ft with size 13 shoes. And worried about girls laughing at his curly hair. And eating everything he can. The youngest son is 11 and will be a heartbreaker soon. I will try to up date this post when I get back with photos.

New Hampshire is wonderful - mainly because it is far from the city, clean air, fresh views and lots of room. When Jim and I lived in Massachussetts, we would come up here every once in awhile as a get away treat. It hasn't changed much.

I am going to relax a bit, soak it all up and think things out. Talking to someone that we haven't actually seen in five years, only had talked to on the phone, has made a difference too.

I guess I am one of those weird friendship people. I don't have a big problem with picking up a friendship that was strong, but had been put on a back burner because of location or events, and then picking it up again when the time is right. Probably not a good thing to say about myself. I just know that I have people in my life that I value, love and enjoy - people that have moved in and out of a close sphere, but also that I know if they were to walk in the door they would be welcome and it would be as if the time hadn't passed. Oh maybe not a good explanation, but as I get older I think of how this has occurred on various levels.

This is also a place where I have come to visit with and without Jim so there are not so many 'triggers' here. There are some and one hit hard last night. I am feeling a bit of a release from it and that makes me calm this morning. I am in the guest room that we would stay in and looking up, thru the skylight I can remember our mornings of pleasure that we enjoyed here together, Jim's squeal when his feet his the cold, very cold tile floor of the bathroom and the away from it all feeling that we had here. This was a weekend stress release that was not far from our home, but away from it all.

Iain, the 11yr old, is about to start making me some eggs. He enjoyed cooking eggs and blueberry pancakes yesterday. And they were quite tasty. I am going to show him how to scramble them today. Ha, last time I spent time with this family, I taught Iain how to swim. Now he is on the swim team. Maybe next time I see them he will be on Top Chef!