Wednesday, August 29, 2007
Three months past. Three months passed.
I know I have been quiet here the last month, but things have been working themselves out in my head. I am going to just ramble for a bit now.
I find instead of crying at night, I am crying in the middle of the day. I am not eating as much, and eating more take out. The cat looks a wreck and I am sad, but don't know what to do. He is old, he was Jims cat and he is sad. I am lonely. The house is a wreck - silverware in the sink, dirty clothes everywhere. I come home and put on the same pair of scrubs to lay around the house in. I don't have an desire to do anything but the bare minimum needed live. Spending too much time away from dogs and house out with friends. Looking at old ladies on the streets of Baltimore and wondering if that will be me. I am snarly and grouchy and want it my way. I had to let the Truck go.
I am walking the dogs more. I am trying to stay clean and dressed up - at least at work. Bills are getting paid and things sort of working out financially. Cleaned up the backyard. The cat came up and sat on the couch with me for the first time.Got a new shower curtain. Am not letting plants die - they are actually thriving. (don't ask me where I keep them) I am not crying over photos so much but more over trigger things that I see. Mercury got his teeth cleaned and feels better. He and Tigger are playing more. I have kept my job, even got a promotion. Support has come from friends in all directions and has been great.
The wonderous -
The big thing for my three month mark was my first dream of Jim talking to me, hearing his voice - it happened last night at about 3 or 4ish. Which is around his time of death.
He spoke to me.
I woke up from the dream and remembered that he talked to me. I could see his face and his smile, his eyes. It was something short, just a few sentences. But I can't remember what they were. I do know the words made me feel better, I smiled, could remember hearing his voice, I nodded my head, said to myself "it was Jim, he spoke". And went back to sleep feeling very good.
Three months. Bleh.
Monday, August 27, 2007
Sunday, August 26, 2007
Know that I have to move on, but want to feel his heart beating against me one more time,
Changing things to fit what must be a new household, but wanting to keep his things and not let them go.
If I only knew in February what I would feel today.
No chance to say goodbye. No chance for one last kiss. No chance to touch again.
I visited Jim's parents grave site out in Carroll county and it was a spur of the moment chance to go. I had lunch with some friends and found out that their house was just up the road from the cemetary. So on the way home we stopped.
Emotions ran a little high for me there. It was a place that I came to with Jim. So, upon coming home, I read my friend Don's comment and decided it would be better to wait. I don't want something to happen because of an emotional state that I would be in.
Maybe a small gathering of some of Jim's friends and family. And some music that he liked.
Saturday, August 25, 2007
The Urned word is his creation when he was telling me years ago, what he wanted done. He said 'I want my ashes urned and then mixed with yours and then we can both be tossed into a clear blue ocean together.'
His ashes have been in the box that the funeral home gave them to me in. I have not been able to open the box and look in at them. It also was given to me in a tote bag with the funeral homes name on it. (too tacky) I have been touching it and talking to him when I need to ground myself or calm myself or sometimes when I was crying.
I don't have a proper 'urn' to put his ashes in, yet, but I am going to use the wood box he used for his personal items like watches, change and such. It is a nice mahoghany and should be big enough if I can get the bottom drawers out.
This is a step forward for me because I haven't been able to look at the ashes, I hope I can do this. I will put on some of his favorite music for mood and hope for peace.
Thursday, August 23, 2007
Wednesday, August 22, 2007
This is just a trip down memory lane for me. I am trying to remember - not forget - and my brain is just no fun. So if I write a quick blurb and add in a pic, it will help to trigger the whole story for me. And I can remember and share it with anyone that is interested.
Mostly though, I want to walk the path that we had together.
First there was his Mom's house. This is in the city. She took me in, allowed us to live there till we got our feet on the ground and money together for deposit and rent. There was no A/C so Jim would rub ice cubes on my stomach and neck to cool me down. It was here that we first started establishing our household boundaries with each other. I cooked, he ironed. I did dishes, he did trash. He cleaned toilet bowl, I would vacuum. This was a place of discovery with each other.
Then there was Essex/middlesex. We had a second floor one bedroom. and a balcony. Pretty typical. For some reason I had Kevin Costner on the door. We got Shadow, our first cat while we were there. Jim and I enjoyed this apartment because is was ours. Together. Our first steps.
Jim got his first tattoo while we lived here. It was a valentines day present for me. We steamed crabs here. Once. Then we decided to always get them somewhere else. This was a small place, but it was a start.
Then there was Perry Hall. We had a two bedroom apartment there. We got Figaro as a kitten and he is still with us today. We were on the first floor and had a wonderful walk out patio. This is where we were first able to have friends over and entertain. Jim's birthday party, Melissa and Michael for New Years Eve, Cindy, and Fred and his wife. This is the apartment where Shadow bit me on the butt. Where my Mom came over for Thanksgiving that year. It was 12 years later before she came for Thanksgiving dinner again. Where we lived at the bottom of the hill of the parking lot and when the big snow storm hit that year we were the only ones with a snow shovel. We loaned it to everyone.
We moved on up to the Boston area because of a work transfer. Moved to Randolph and found a fairly cheap two bedroom apartment that didn't mind cats and a dog. This apartment was two stories and had a basement for us to store stuff. The landlord was a fairly drunk irishman that had a thick brogue and a warm heart. There was a wonderful reservoir just across the street that was great for dog walking. We were there for two years. Gryphon got sick and died while we lived there. He was just five years old.
Then, I went exploring. There was a house, a big old farmhouse just next door. The family that did live there had moved out. So after a couple months of seeing it empty, I went to check it out. There was a basement door on the outside that I opened and went in. It was a basement like you would see in Blair Witch. Creepy. I crept upstairs and found an empty house. It was big. So, I called Town hall and asked who owned it. I wanted to rent or buy it. I read the address and they came back after a bit and said there is no house there. I said Yes, yes there is. They went away and then a different lady came back and said oh its owned by the town parks dept. So I went to the head of the parks dept. I pleaded my case to live there. He said okay.
It was a bargain for the area. A huge backyard, a garage, a big old house and a wonderful view. The house was not in great shape by any means, but it was big. I miss that house. We had a wedding for friends there, Jim spent a summer and built the backyard fence, I painted the garage, Josh drove his motorcycle thru the back of the garage, I was able to grow vegatables, we had work picnics, we had Dalmatian picnics, Tigger and Mercury came to us therem, we fostered several rescue Dalmatians there. Phew. We were busy. The bedroom was perfect - dark, cozy and fun. The bathroom was huge and there was a 6 foot claw foot tub. I could go completely under the water.
My Mom came to visit us for Thanksgiving and we ended up recovering the couch. My Mom is like that.It was just 6 months later that we lost her.
It was in this house that we were finally able to unpack everything we owned and put it out. We went on a diet together and like little kids, instead of our height on the wall, Jim would write our weight. That was a good time for us. We were the happiest we had ever been. I think it was in this time that we feel back in love with each other. Really truly realizing that we were soulmates. What we had felt, had really come to be.
Moving back to Baltimore was tough. We needed to do it because, again, of work. So we moved into Jim's Moms house. She had passed away and rented it out while we were up North. Jim worked hard all summer to fix it up. He sanded/buffed/stained floors, he worked on the bathroom, got new plumbing put in and we painted. After a year here Jim redid the kitchen with all new cabinets, sink and stove. He did this in one vacation week and all by himself. This is a small house and I still can't believe his Mom raised five kids here. Phew. I am feeling a little out of place because my history here is a lot shorter than Jim's.
I know this post was incredibly long, but I have wanted to write it for awhile.
Monday, August 20, 2007
There are some beautiful deep orange Tiger Lily's on my counter. They look great in the purple Tiki glass a friend gave me and for me, they represent a reminder of Jim's spirit.
Not his ethereal spirit, but his spirit for life.He was always bringing home flowers for me. See, I love to get flowers and he knew that. When we were first married it was maybe only on special occasions, but then we moved to Boston and he rode the T (subway) and it became a weekly treat. There are flower stalls at almost every stop so it was easy for him to bring them home and make me smile.
He surprised my Mom with flowers when she came to visit us in Boston. He greeted her at the airport with a big bouquet. I didn't know that he was going to do this, but he sure made my Mom grin.
Anytime we went to visit his parents graves or my Moms graves, he had flowers for them. He tried to make sure we had them for birthdays or holidays at his sisters. He told me that the flowers bring a quick grin, but a smile for days afterwards.
Heck, all his darn Hawaiian shirts all had flowers on them!
He knew they would light up my day and he would bring them home for me. He would send them to our doctors receptionist for helping him with an insurance quandry, he would send them every birthday to his daughter Michelle. The flowers were a way for him to let us know he was thinking of us.
Sunday, August 19, 2007
Saturday, August 18, 2007
Little things like not wanting to get up, not wanting to get off the couch, not wanting to change my clothes on the weekend. I could sit inside and watch tv all day and that would be alright.
Well, not alright, and I know in one part of my head that I need to get up and move and breath fresh air, but there is no motivation to do that. So I guess I know it has started.
Not everyday, not all the time, but more and more lately. More the last month.
So I will be smart. I will set up an appointment with the doc and see what he says. Oh wait, I know he will say what he always says - diet, excerise and smile. He really is a nice guy. He was a favorite of Jim's. And I think Jim was a favorite of his. He always got the doc to laugh.
Yep, the dogs and I will lounge around and watch some movies. I am crying more again. More and more I don't want to look at the pictures because I keep asking myself when will the nightmare end and when will I wake and no, it won't end because it is real. Merc and Tigger both come to comfort me when I cry and it is very sweet and it helps. I am glad they are here.
I read online the symptoms for depression and could click them off one by one as they match my last month. That's not good. I have to move. I have to get going. I have to. I must.
Thursday, August 16, 2007
One thing I did was disconnect the landline service. I am a cell phone gal now. I was only getting about 1 to 3 calls a week and they were usually telemarketers. I can live without it for awhile. And my cellphone has caller id, where the landline doesn't.
I have to share this email. A friend sent it to me about HER day.
So I cleaned the upstairs a bit. While I was doing this, I blocked the dogs downstairs. BIG mistake! They got into stuff. There are now 500 crickets running around my house!!! I think I managed to catch about a dozen of them.
So then I decided to feed my king snakes. Stupidly I had handled some of the mice for feeding to the more docile corns. I always tell my snakes "I am not a mouse. I am not a mouse." Then I feed them.
Well my huge male king wasn't paying attention & grabbed hold of my pinky! And started to swallow!
I had a small spray bottle of alcohol on the counter & was able to pump it with my forearm while aiming at his face. The other hand was supporting the weight of the snake. It worked--yay!
Basically the other choice would have been to just hang out till he realized his mistake. That apparently can take 10-15 minutes. It didn't really hurt (& actually made me laugh b/c he was just so serious about getting his meal down that it was just silly & funny to me) BUT I didn't really want to sit there for 10 minutes either.
Apparently while that was going on, a dog or dogs were up here tearing apart their bed that had no linens b/c they were being washed. The bed is still usable but I am not happy with my dogs today.
I must say reading this email made me feel a whole lot better, I was laughing at the vision of this in my head.
Tuesday, August 14, 2007
When talking with some other widows or people that have lost loved ones, I find that this is almost a universal way to think. Is this the way to explain why some people fall apart and can't function and yet others get up and go to work?
I am one of those latter people. I get up, go to work, laugh at times, cry at times, and be with friends and family at times. I am wading thru paperwork and what bills to pay and figuring out what to do with insurance money. I am doing it. But I don't want to. I want to lay down and let someone else take over. There are times when there is something inside of me that just wants to crawl into a deep hole and not come out. But still somewhere inside of me is also saying, get up, function. And it overrides the other.
Learning about myself and my strengths (and weaknesses) has been a tough road. I am walking, maybe even crawling down it. To take those deep breathes and take the next step is not easy. I am always looking back for Jim. I am looking for him to cover my back. To help me decide things. I am learning that I can't do that.
Last night I took some tool hooks (you know the Y shaped things that you hand rakes from) and attached them to our fence. Now, understand how big a step this was. We had the tool hooks since last fall. Nothing was ever done with them because of the time issue. I didn't do anything with them when I could have because they were a 'tool' = Jim thing, not a betsy thing. I decided finally I was tired of the rake and shovel falling on me whenever I went to that corner of the yard and grabbed the package, opened it and started screwing. It was not easy. It took some thought. But like the doorknob lock. I did it. Um, I know I didn't do it right. They are not as secure as they could be, but they are up.
Why didn't I do this more when Jim was at my side? Well, somewhere in our marriage I got lazy and let him do those things. I could blame it on his macho side, but really to be fair, it was just easier for me to let him handle it. My crawling is part of this learning.
Learning not just how to do things around the house, but how to actually live. I didn't want to live and often still don't want to. I don't want to be without Jim. But. That damn But. But I have to. I am feeling zombieish at times and going thru motions and yet even as I am doing that, I am moving. My stupid stubborn strong side is making me function and the voice that says lay down and cry, well it is there, and I am hurting, but I am functioning. Yet, I don't want to be myself in this world.
God and Jim know that I don't want to be by myself. I look in the mirror and wonder who would ever love me the way that he did. No one. No one could love me with the unconditional way he loved me. I cry because of the time I should have been with him and wasn't. I cry when I remembe the times we were together and it was perfect. I am glad that the good outweighs the bad.
Night time is the worst time for me. It is a time when there is not enough other interaction to keep our deep thoughts from coming to the surface. I remember right from the start the joy Jim and I shared. As friends, as co-workers, as lovers and as a couple. I know the steps to be taken are difficult. I know I can take them at my own speed. I know that everyone takes them in different ways.
I had left it at my Dad's when I went to stay with him for the weekend. I have had my pillow for years, it is just the way I like it - not fluffy, able to be bent for reading, just what I need to sleep. And it has Jim's hawaiin shirt tucked in it.
Remember the Senses? well, his shirt is tucked in there for my comfort.
I will sleep better tonight.
I don't always say 'Good night Angel, sweet dreams' to myself. I mean to, but forget. It was something he said, not me. But when I touch his shirt, I hear him saying it. Again, a comfort zone type dealie.
Got my pillow, got my sound machine, so sweet dreams could happen.
Monday, August 13, 2007
I am interested because I don't have a sense of smell (it's a genetic thing and yes I can taste things fine). However I have used other senses to remember and keep Jim's presence around me.
Sight is important sense for me. Photos are all over the place. My blog is filled with just an inkling of what I have of him. I love to look at a photo of him and remember that moment in our lives. The laughter showing in his eyes, the hug he is giving his sister or brother, the calmness as he is on the couch with the dogs, the joy he shows when he is next to me. That makes me smile. Looking at the photos let me remember him in a good way. There have been moments of pain lately. The knowledge that no more photos can be taken of him. This sadness sometimes is overwhelming and makes me want to take all the pictures down. But it helps me grow some and be stronger as it passes.
Touch is another sense that I use. What do I touch, well, the Hawaiin shirts he wore all the time, what others can smell, I can feel. I can rub my finger on them and remember Jim. I sleep with one tucked in my pillowcase. The shirt he wore on Memorial Day, our last day. I rub my fingers on this as I go to sleep at night. It gives me a sense of connection to him. At this stage, it is still important. Others have moved onward, Jim is still near me in many various ways. The hawaiin shirt is a comfort food made of material.
With touch I also do a both an odd yet soothing thing. I run my fingers thru my hair. It is short now and it is just about Jim's length. So I close my eyes and feel my hair and imagine it is Jim's. I can think about doing this as we made love, or when he was on the couch next to me or when he was sick and needed comforting. It was a simple gesture that calms my soul.
Hearing is a sense I am not sure I am ready for. I mean, I hear his voice at times, but other widows have told me they play songs from albums or CD's or play the loved ones favorite radio station. I have a difficult time in listening to a song. It makes me cry when I think that I will never hear this song with Jim again. I have found that I need to listen to music that was not his or his and mine. I need to hear songs or bands that are ones that I would be interested in but that he would never play. I am listening to musicals now. I know I have driven my neighbor crazy with A Chorus Line and my singing all the parts to it. But if I hear BeeGees I will start to cry. That was the music Jim loved. And now he is gone.
There is the same problem with TV shows and movies. I am not sure if this is sight or sound or what. There is a definate pain when I watch certain shows. As such, I am watching shows that Jim and I never watched together. I can do this without the pain of remembering. Remembering when we watched Columbo or Monk or Simpsons or Godfather or Spartacus. A hole comes to my chest when I see these and start thinking of Jim. It's the 'never again' hole.
Taste. Yup. Not as often, but still a rememberance of small things, like when we had steamed crabs and corn. Well, Jim putting Old Bay on his corn, pops into my head. I gave my Dad the jalapeno peppers and my friend Tom the Hot sauce and some other food that was 'Jim' food.
So my sense of smell is not in action, but then, I never have really known what Jim smelled like, so I don't miss it. I do miss the feel of his muscles under his shirt and the touch of his hands on my cheek or the sight of his eyes giving me a look and the taste of his skin or the sound of his laughter. The senses of Jim. There are a lot of them.
Friday, August 10, 2007
My family has been friends with these other two families since the fifties when they all ended up living in an apartment complex in Northern NJ. The Dads went off to work in NYC and the Moms stayed home and did the Mom things. Babies, dishes, sewing, and fun in the park with the other Mommy's and their kids.
So we sort of grew up together. It is almost funny that the babies all came out in a very close time line. Every three or four years there are 3 of us (1 for each family) born within 18 months of each other. Give or take. Eventually moving out of the apartments, but still in touch and getting together.
We were very close as friends in the late 50's and early 60's. Lots of home movies to attest to this fact. Lots of backyard barbecues and trips to NYC and birthdays and thanksgivings. We call each other cousins and refer to the parents as Aunt and Uncle. We also help each other out when needed and still get together for Halloween, Thanksgiving and Birthdays.
Tomorrow is the crabfeast. It is the big reunion that after a couple decades of us growing up, getting married and starting generation three of this trio of friends we got back together. We all love steamed crabs and with some great music, beer and fellowship it makes for a fun day.
"If we are like tapestries,
The rip that happens at death requires time to reweave into a new border where the dangling ends are rewoven at the edge of our own new scenes.
I really wish that didn't happen sometimes, that those threads could simply be reattached where they were before.
But only silence answers that thought."
This touched me because I have come to see life as such a tapestry of interwoven threads touching each other and all the colors coming to be one beautiful pattern of pleasure. Sure there are bumps in the thread and some colors don't match and some are cut. Reweaving after the rip, I can see that, but like him, I would rather be able to reattach and continue the weave.
Saturday, August 4, 2007
The darkness swirls around
Let me feel you tonight in a dream
Not easy but this is a must
Let me know you are near me
That you are as angry as I
With you trapped where I can not reach
Taken from each other
With you behind a barrier you can not breach
I close my eyes and see,
Your face pressed up against it
I close my eyes and see the light
Your face, behind you it gleams bright
With whispers I almost hear
You are are trying, reaching out to calm me
It hurts, but I know you are there
You are as close as the tears on my cheeks
Please, it must be tonight
In the dream that will ease the torment
You are able to break thru and reach me
In the dream, I pray for that moment
My husband my husband
Friday, August 3, 2007
I told him hang on...and ran in to get some BK toys for him. I grabbed just a few of my doubles (triples) and brought out. Man, you would have thought they were gold. Well I guess they were gold for him. Then I handed him the Yoda and his face just lit up and his grin was huge.
I took some pics with my cell phone, and I wanted to share them. It sure made me feel good tonight.
He is playing with them and humming the Star Wars Vader music, he had it down pat. True fan that he was, he knew the characters, told me all about how he loved Yoda the best and was even throwing some lines out to me. After years of just playing with Adult fans, it was fun to hang out with a young fan and feel the joy they get from Star Wars.
Thursday, August 2, 2007
It's how you always ended my day.
After prayers you said, as we lay in bed or from the cellphone on the road or even after I prodded you in the ribs, to remind you, so I could hear it as I drifted off to sleep.
I still hear this every night, my love, to carry me thru till the light comes in the morning.
Memories of you have flooded my day. I saw an ad for Pee Wees Great Adventure movie to be played here in Baltimore. I thought immediately of you and your Pee Wee Herman voice. You did it so well. But I can't quite hear it in my mind, but I can see you as you do it, your eyes full of the fun of it and as you get about two sentences out you would collapse and laugh at yourself.
There is also, the memory of seeing you in the hospital, just a few minutes after they told me you didn't make it. That has been in my head all day. I don't know why. I keep feeling your hair under my hands and not belieiving it. Talking to you then, hoping the nightmare would end. Until I knew there was no way, because if you had seen me crying you would have held me. You always did.
Slogging thru all the paperwork and bills and things to sort out has not been fun. It seems like everyday a new problem pops up. Something to figure out and how to handle and what to do. I would have thought it would be all done by now. But its not. Many more pieces of paper to handle.
Its late and I need to go to bed. I am going to think of a good memory to fall asleep to. Feel free to come from wherever you are and help me with this. I feel you around me and know you are with me.
I know. Of all the trips we have made together, one that stands out is the horseback ride down in Florida. I will think about the horses and the fun and the silly horseshoes that hang outside with the names of the horses we rode. We were stuck in walk mode and we wanted to trot or canter or maybe gallup, but the tour lady said no.
Yes, I will think on this. I will hope tonight that tomorrow will bring a better feel to it. I need it.