Saturday, December 29, 2007
I was up till about 2 a.m. this morning and all I could do was think of that horrible time seven months ago. Of the waiting room and the knowing but not knowing. Of the having to call people and of the feel of the skin and hair and the knowledge of never feeling it again. I know I have said this in the past, but it is a memory that is still with me. Still vivid in my mind.
I miss my husband Jim and wish there was something I could do to make this just be a dream. To give half of my body so that he could be here, even if he only had half. Together we would be whole.
Coming to Raleigh this weekend to get away from the house and watching a very sweet older couple in the seats next to me on the plane. Touching, holding hands, sharing their peanuts. It was so much like what Jim and I would do. I can't do anything about what has happened. I can just remember and feel and hope that he knows that I am still loving him.
Thursday, December 27, 2007
I am counting the hours till 2008 steps in and takes over. I have also created something I have never done before - a new years resolution list. Over the last month I have started thinking about things that I could change because it is just one of me in the house now. Some of the things will make it easier for me and some are things that may improve my health - physical and mental. The list will come later.
Christmas Eve was a fairly traumatic time because of a curve that was tossed to me. I was able to speak to my sister and cry on her shoulder and get it worked out in my head. I spent Christmas baking cookies, watching movies and just sort of relaxing.
I woke up Christmas and lay in bed talking to Jim for awhile. It helps sometimes to actually vocalize the thoughts that I have. He doesn't answer, and I don't know if the answers I make up for him are what he would really say, but it works. I talked to him about the christmas's we had together and tried to run thru my head of each one. I am sad to say I can't remember each one, but could remember a lot of them. Jim and I tried to have some bought gifts and some home made personal gifts each year. I like the home made ones - it means there is some thought put towards the person and what they would enjoy.
My sister called me and wanted me to open her presents to me while we were on the phone. So I got up, put my slippers on and when down to see what Santa had left me. Sis got me a pair of beautiful Multi picture in one frames. There was one for photos of my mom and one for photos of Jim. I will post a pic here if I can. Also was the most awesome pair of fleece 'knock about' slacks. Fleece so they are nice and warm and comfortable for wearing around the house and walking the dogs or just slothing and watching tv. My Dad and Betty gave me a beautiful pair of Calphalon pans. Wheeee! and my brother sent a gift certicate which I promptly put to use yesterday.
I baked some cookies and that was a nice warm feeling in the kitchen. However somewhere in the afternoon I started to get down and feeling the ache of no Jim around. I decided to take a nap, but then found I couldn't. A head ache crept up on me and I didn't know what to do. Sitting on the couch watching Serenity with the dogs helped a little. My friend Thomas called and said he wanted to stop over and he came about an hour later. This cheered me up and then my Dad and Betty came to see me. We headed to my Aunt's house where she has a huge christmas night party and that was fun, to be around friends and sing carols.
It was also a Jim memory free zone. Meaning, Jim and I had never been there for a christmas night party so there were no triggers to set things off. Don't get me wrong, there were still definately moments when I really wanted him by my side and wanted to be smiling at him as we laughed at some antic. When these moments hit, I have found more and more that I sort of close my eyes, grit my teeth and let it pass. These momenets can hit while I remember something that Jim did, that Jim and I did, something that he wrote, something that he watched or just about anything. So I must handle it. Accept the pain, acknowledge the pain, absorb the pain. And it moves onward.
And sometimes it doesn't and I get up and go to the bathroom to cry a little.
Tuesday, December 25, 2007
Saturday, December 22, 2007
I took some pictures of the area known as the miracle on 34th street. One street that goes full out to decorate each and every house to the all time maximum it can be decorated. Pictures to follow. I took some pics with my cellphone, so I will download them tomorrow.
For the most part things inside me are okay, but then reality hits - no Jim. And it hurts and that is about all I can say. I have gone from just a week ago of having nothing planned to do and now having something planned for each day till after Christmas. Just knowing that helps and gives me something to look forward to. I find myself getting depressed and vapid and with no motivation to do anything without something planned and to get ready for. I hope that if there are others in my situation reading this, please take a moment and try to organize something to do each day and be around some friends.
Thursday, December 20, 2007
I came home to find my cat had knocked several things off the kitchen table and hacked up a hairball in the middle of the kitchen. Oh boy. After dinner the dogs and I went for a walk, albeit short, it was still a walk. We then watched three episodes of Dinner Impossible. That is a fun show and the time watching it was spent rubbing a few dog ears and listening to the cat purr. But there were a couple moments when the feeling of being overwhelmed hit. Just the thoughts of a christmas without Jim.
It was a quiet evening and the depression and solitude of the holiday is pressing in. I will work thru it and writing the blog will definately be a help to get the feelings out and not locked up. It makes a difference. I say this ahead of time so that anyone reading will realize that I am basically okay, but feeling very very sad this week.
I found in a box, our stocking from last year. Or maybe the year before. One is a stocking that I decorated and it has all of our names on it, Jim, mine and the kids (merc, tig and fig). The other stocking is one a friend gave me that has Superman on it. It is a nice collectible. I think I put comics in it last year. And an orange.
There was one very positive thing that I accomplished tonight. I hung some paintings that I found. These were done by my father, in watercolor, back in the late 50's. They are not the originals, he has those. However my mom had them scanned and printed for us kids. There are four in the set and I hung the three maritime themed ones. I had been out and got new frames and they look really nice on the wall.
I am going to crawl into bed and read a bit.
Tuesday, December 18, 2007
Starting out, I was at work and actually a bit eager to do the duties I had lined up for the day. I was cranking things out and all was well. (happy) Went to lunch, it was okay but then I came back to work and found that it was just one week till christmas. I hadn't quite thought about that. Somewhere in the back of my head I realized that the present from my secret santa, one from a friend and one from my sister were all I would have to open - that would be surprises. The others are things that I have gifted to myself, from Jim thru me. (sad) This thought made me cringe and want to make everything stop. I was upset enough to start crying and have to go to the ladies room for a bit.
I posted on my favorite message board this feeling and got a lot of support and warm feelings. It helps a lot to know you are not alone. (smile)
I came back and settled into the mundane chore of putting stamps on the 'please donate to us' postcards that we are sending out. (bored) I was chugging away at this and listening to some mellow classical music. My boss steps in and says that there was a decision by the board, (fear) (here I got scared thinking that's it, I'm fired...but no) he says because of the wonderful work we have done, to give each employee a year end bonus. (shock) I told him thank you and wow. I think he enjoyed the telling of us.
So I am happy now (happy) and I go to print some copies up. The paper jams. I pull one jammed up sheet out and it still is saying that it is jammed somewhere. I can't figure it out. (frustration) I call the help number and the csr walks me thru a couple things to check. As I am pushing on the green lever she told me to push on....CRACK a piece of plastic goes flying and the thing falls off into my hands. (oh my god). I tell the csr to send someone out tomorrow morning. We have 2000 copies to make and only about half are done.
I go and tell my boss I think I just blew my bonus. He looks at it and was remarkably calm. Asked if I had called them and I explained I was on the phone with them when it happened. He said okay. That is it. (relief)
I go back to sticking stamps on the postcards and trying to calm down. In a bit I go grab a bus and come home. I have a letter from a good friend of Jim's who wrote to give me support during the holidays. I cried reading that and I read it out loud to Jim. (sorrow) Stirring the crockpot that has my speghetti sauce for dinner makes me happy again. It tastes good! The dogs want to play so I give them a new dog toy and they go at it. Taking some pictures gets me laughing and singing 'My Favorite Things' from the Singing Nun. I started singing loud and improvising lines. (nutso)
I am not sure what the evening will hold, but it can only be more of a roller coaster ride!!!
I had a good evening with my friend Robin. She helped me by fixing a washing machine and she made it look simple. Had dinner and a drive to home depot and some laughs.
I settle down with the dogs and watch a western. Thought there would be no problem. I was fine till the end when the guy proposed to the girl he loved.
Then all hell broke loose. All I could think about was Jim proposing to me. It flashed into my brain and burned a hole into my chest. I could hear his voice and feel his hand on me. So, I basically lost it. A good long cry and some wailing were involved. My eyes hurt and my nose is runny. I can taste both snot and tears and my dogs are looking at me funny. Hey that rhymes. I didn't mean it to rhyme.
I miss Jim. I miss him. I want him to be walking up the street coming home from work. Looking tired but looking up at me and happy to be home. I want to comfort him and talk to him and make him feel happy because he is home and safe and with us. I want to feed him and let him sit next to us on the couch and the dogs to fight for the little space where only one could fit. Oh god. It's late. It's too late.
Sunday, December 16, 2007
A couple months ago I went thru all my boxes of pics and sorted them out into some 'catagories' and scanned a few. I have found more pictures since then and just been piling them up. Well I decided to make frame some of them and give them to family members as a christmas present. In looking for those, I found others. Now there is a large pile of pics to be scanned. Some are of Jim and I, some of just Jim and then there are some of our family. I didn't know I took so many pictures of our pets!!!
Here is one picture I unearthed. I was happy to find it. I hadn't seen it in a few years. This is a portrait that Jim had taken in a studio before he met me. There are actually a few of these, with different expressions and lighting, but this is my favorite. They are great black and white professionally done photos. My neighbor saw one and thought Jim looked like a movie star. An actor from the 40's. Doesn't he look sexy. This one is going up on the mantel.
I had a discussion with a friend about the photographs and should I put them up or take them down. I am still keeping them up but they are wondering/asking me if that is 'healthy'. I just said that for now I want them, I need them, so they stay. They were good and didn't push - just respected my opinion. I am not going to live in the past, as much as I wouldn't mind going back in time, but neither am I going to just put Jim away and out of my sight. There are things of his that I can stand to see, like his photos, and things that hurt too much to see like some of his clothing. I am just taking it a step at a time and rearranging my life as I see fit. For now.
I was working on the photos and I found a few I had totally forgotten about, and that is always fun. Just to say it, I did cry last night looking at some. But also I did laugh and I did wonder why he had to be gone and just a photo/memory. I found one photo that I sat and spent five minutes talking and touching, it is a large 8x10 that I hadn't seen in years. I took the picture and I even think it is a crop and blow up of another pictures. But it is a head shot of Jim and his smile and eyes and his face is just the one I fell in love with. Just as I remember. To sit and stroke the eyebrow on a photo and remember the feeling of the hair that used to be under your fingers. To look at his smile and remember the little chip in that tooth. To talk to the picture and say 'why why why'. Maybe this is odd, but talking to the photos gets the questions and feelings out of my head. It is so difficult even after almost seven months. (next week) that he really is not ever coming back and that I won't see be able to touch or laugh or be with him again. How can this be?
The one to the right here is one taken of Jim and I at my younger brother's first wedding. I love Jim in the tux. He is so James Bond. And that dress was a favorite of mine for years. I even had the shoes dyed to match the dress color. It looks very 90's now. But then, well, it was the 90's back then so it didn't matter. There is another photo of us from there that is portrait photo taken by a professonial that was hired. It is one of my favorite shots of us as a couple because we both look so glamorous.
Pyscho Jim and Pyscho cat is what I call this one. Shadow is the cat, our first cat. I think I was taking some pics of Jim just sitting and petting Shadow when the goofy side of Jim stepped in and grabbed the poor cat and made that face. He loved to make faces and act, so I think me having the camera and taking photos was fine. I hate to have my pic taken so it worked well. And thankfully now I have hundreds of moments of our life.
So the photos got organized and this morning I am feeling like I had a good productive day yesterday. The afternoon was a long walk with the dog, and then digging and planting some daffodil bulbs for the spring. The planting is my first venture into real gardening. I have bought plants in containers for sitting on the porch, but never really digging in the ground and planting. I have a black thumb so we will see come next spring how the garden does grow.
Friday, December 14, 2007
"That which was lost may not be found, but you'll realize just what possible value it really has to you. Attitudes regarding possessions may change."
That which was lost? Jim was lost and may not be found. But, I find him in my heart and in my memories and in my soul. Maybe that is the value.
Attitudes regarding possessions? well, that's easier, I am trimming the 'things' in my house out. Which I wouldn't have/didn't do when Jim was alive. We had plans for the things that I am now dispersing. Plans that will not come to fruitation because it was plans for us as a couple, as a family.
I don't look at the horoscopes normally, but am glad I checked them out today.
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
Nope, it's my Dad!! I have been told by many of my friends that I was lucky to be a Sean look a likes daughter. (say that three times fast)
This is a pic of him in 1980.
My Dad is so sweet. He called me tonight to see what time I wanted to come out to his place. We always had christmas breakfast/brunch there. With the whole family of multigenerations gathering for holiday cheer.
I couldn't. I told him that I wanted to meet with him on the sunday before christmas and swap presents then. He seemed a little upset and said 'oh no, we need you out here, we are counting on it'. I think he may mean that he needs me out there, as I am the one of his children close enough in the area to visit. And I always wanted to be out there to see him. I remember thinking for years that this christmas may be the last one. I never imagined that last christmas would be the last one for Jim and I.
So I told him that I didn't think I could do it and that I would probably stay home and watch old movies with the dogs. And I was starting to tear up and trying not to. He was like 'oh no come on out' and then said 'wait, betty wants to tell you what she did today' and he handed the phone to her. She and I talked and I told her I was sorry if I upset him. I don't want to upset my Dad. He is 83 and has been a big support these last few months.
We talked and then I remembered that they come in to the city on christmas day night to her sisters for a small party. Jim and I have never done that with them. I asked her if I could tag along and it would be a 'new' thing and new memories. So we are going to do that. They can swing by and pick me up and we will go to my Aunt's. I will still get to see Dad on Christmas day.
I know that he didn't want me to be alone, and I love him dearly for caring, but with all that has gone on in just the last couple days, I realize that this is going to be a tougher time than I thought. I think I was able to make Betty understand and thus my Dad. We have become a lot closer in the last couple years than ever before and it has been a great gift.
I am going to post a picture of my Dad and Jim. There was a Fathers day party at my Dads last year and one of the stepbrothers got all of the 'dads' a tee shirt. "Grateful Dad". Yes, they are both making faces. Jim is a fake and my Dad is the usual 'take the darn picture and get it over with'.
You know, writing about Dad has helped me feel better. I know how much my Dad loved Jim and Dad knew how much Jim loved me.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
I had tivo'd and episode of 'Bones' and was on the couch with the dogs and cat. As I watch I realize this is a christmas episode from a different season. Okay, that's fine I can handle that. Then They are quarantined, can't go home to see family and family must come to see them. Boom. Bam. Family scenes of them almost but not touching thru the glass. Music in the backround. A bittersweet desire to reach up to my own wall of glass and put my palm out and have his palm be on the other side and he with a smile on his face. The crying made the dogs sit up and look at me funny and caused the cat to run away.
I am going to have to monitor my tv watching more carefully I think.
Just a Mrs., and not a Mr. & Mrs. on the envelopes. It made the fact that Jim won't be here for christmas hurt a little more. I can't expect it to be different, but it still seems not right to just have one name. Not right.
Also, there are no lights hung because, well that was Jim's duty. Along with the tree. He loved to put the tree up and the lights and the ornaments. I don't think I will be putting a tree up this year. I will just go look at other peoples. I am not sure what to do for Christmas day and keep getting asked this. I am just not sure.
Jim always loved Christmas. We would usually stay up till 12 midnight and open one gift then. Neither of us had the willpower to wait and see what was under the tree. Then in the morning, we would sleep in, snuggle against each other and talk for a couple hours. It was a day after weeks of retail madness that we could just be. We would have a little snack and then take the dogs out for a walk. My dad usually has a christmas breakfast and we would go there and then over to his sisters for dinner. This is much the same as what we did on thanksgiving. At his sisters after dinner there was always poker. Poker with Jim was always fun.
Some years we would skip the dinners and such and go to the movies. Jim and I were movie buffs and would rather watch a movie than visit with relatives. I remember going to see Godfather 3 one year but can't remember if it was a thanksgiving or christmas showing.
I can't believe it is true that I will never sit in the theatre with him. Never hold his hand or have our fingers touch in the popcorn box. Oh Jim. I look around me and see the things that are so much a part of you, and now they are the shells that I have left. I can touch and sense and remember you as a part of the memories in the tree pulled out of it's box, but without your strong hands to shape it, it will never be the same. Oh.
I am missing the giggling and laughter that was had by both of us on the night that Jim would hang lights or the decisions on what to get certain people each year. I am missing the anticipation of just what Jim had gotten me and worry if what I got him was alright. That is all replaced by a sadness that I must get myself my own gifts. Maybe it sounds odd too, but I am getting myself something that I would have wanted Jim to get me.
The face in this blog is the inside of me. The outside is still smiling and trying to get by and show that things are alright. I seem to make some people uneasy when I say Jim's name or talk about him and also if I show that I am not happy or doing well. I wish they would talk about him or remember him more. Some of our friends do this. And it makes me not so lonely to know our friends think about him. I don't mean to make people uncomfortable by saying his name, I just can't not do it. The love and support is strong for me. It just is hard to move away from the thoughts someone I love and who was so integrated into my life and everyday living.
I am ready for a break. I am ready for Jan 2nd.
Monday, December 10, 2007
I wish I could sing it, I can hear it in my head. I dedicate it to the man that did keep me warm, did his best to shelter me from harm and gave me the finest years we had. I would give everything up to have him back again, to hold him in my arms.
Everything I Own - Bread
You sheltered me from harm
Kept me warm, kept me warm
You gave my life to me
Set me free, set me free
The finest years I ever knew
Were all the years I had with you
And...I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give ev'rything I own
Just to have you back again
You taught me how to love
What it's of, what it's of
You never said too much
But still you showed the way
And I knew from watching you
Nobody else could ever know
The part of me that can't let go
And...I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give ev'rything I own
Just to have you back again
Is there someone you know
You're loving them so
But taking them all for granted?
You may lose them one day
Someone takes them away
And they don't hear
The words you long to say
I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give ev'rything I own
Just to have you back again
Just to touch you once again
I love you Jim.
Sunday, December 9, 2007
Wednesday, December 5, 2007
Here is a shot from my cellphone camera of the corner where I get the bus. The snow was about 2 or so inches and just wet enough to be almost annoying on the sidewalks and not a big deal on the street. I wait for the bus outside the comic shop that Jim went to all the time. I haven't been able to go back in there.
So I came home, took the dogs for a great run through the park and the snow. They really love the snow! After getting back home I found a Marx brothers movie on the tv and decided on tomato soup and a grilled cheese sandwich for dinner. I have a wonderful recipe for tomato soup and it tastes soooo good. Well, the sandwich came off the pan so perfectly toasted that I couldn't let it go without a pic. Here it is.
This is another 'memory' of Jim. They are really all around me in everything I do. But he loved his grilled cheese to be brown but not too brown and he would whine if it was darker on one side than the other. So I learned to cook them so they were just right.
Spending some time watching tv and snuggling with the dogs was the way to end the evening. My next door neighbor even shovelled my steps off for me. He said it was pay back for all the times that Jim had done it for them.
I can't wait to wake up in the morning and see the winter wonderland.
Monday, December 3, 2007
I got a holiday card from the foundation that handled the donation of Jim's cornea's. And a letter and check from the USPS. Money that was a final for year end compensation. I started crying as I read the card and screaming when I read the letter from USPS.
God. God it hurt. I don't want their stinking money. I want my husband. I would even take him with no corneas. Screaming wild obscenities at the wall didn't make me feel any better. I went up stairs washed my face and lay on the bed and cried and screamed Jim's name. I must have sounded like a fool, but there was no one to hear me so what did it matter.
I washed my face again and went downstairs shaking my head. Just when you think it is starting to get...well...not better per se...but manageable...they kick you in the head. Thanks.
I could feel the weight. Not of the blanket around me, but rather a heavy solid thing. It was positioned just like he did in the mornings and we would wake and I would reposition it so it wasn't right on my chest. This morning I could feel it clearly...or as clearly as you can in that half awake state. I woke thinking it was his arm. I woke some more thinking it couldn't be and then woke enough to say "it feels good, I will leave it be" and went back to sleep. All I can say is that the weight I felt was definately not just a blanket and it was in the exact position that Jim would leave his arm when we snuggled.
Maybe it was, maybe it wasn't. But I am going with the thought that he was around and giving me some comfort for the holidays. It works for me.
Sunday, December 2, 2007
I was wrapping up presents and putting things in boxes and getting them ready. One item is something that Jim got for his sister a couple months before he died. He saw it and thought it would be perfect in her house. Wrapping that to send to Bev really was painful. I could remember his face and his smile. His asking me if I thought it would be okay.
Our first Christmas was here in this very house, with his Mom pulling out a tree and Jim decorating and hanging lights on it. The next Christmas we had was in our first apartment. Jim had given me a kitten - Shadow, for a birthday present and Shadow was determined to tear down anything that resembled decoration. We ended up hanging garland from the walls and putting the ornaments and lights on that. It worked. And like us, it was a unique way of handling things.
When we moved into our townhouse in White Marsh, it was going to be the perfect Christmas. We were in a beautiful home and there was even snow on the ground. Shadow was a few years old and we had another cat, Figaro (who is still here) and the puppy named Gryphon. Our first Dalmatian and more than the cats, our baby. We got our first live tree and spent the evening hanging lights to the sound of Christmas music. I had my first holiday sweatshirt on and he his red flannel shirt. I have a very clear memory of standing on our deck, while it was snowing, with Jim's arm around me and the kiss that he gave me. That was a perfect moment. Like from a movie.
The tree was a worry for us that year. With the puppy wandering around and the cats using the tree to hide out around, we decided to try and block it off a little. Again, Jim thought outside the box and he put up a small white garden fence. Gryphon was respectful of this and the cats would leap over it as they wished. It was a clever solution. But that was Jim. Often times, I would think of a what to do and he would think of how to do it. Presented with a problem, he would solve it. Somehow.
We always hung stockings and there was one for Jim, me and the pets. A couple times we couldn't find the box that had them in it so I made them again. I loved going to Michael's craft store and getting glitter paint and other decorating tools and creating a stocking for Jim. With no children of our own, we tried to keep the spirit of Santa alive within ourselves.
I wrapped up some photos for Jim's daughter and for his sister. It was very hard to sort thru the photos and see the Christmas's that have past. I sent his daughter the photo that Jim loved the most. It was of his son and daughter and they are on the beach and grinning up at him. He had that on a shelf in every home we lived in. I think it took him back to an idyllic day for him and his children. It was very special. Many of the photos I sent to his sister have been shown on the blog. Him as a child and a teen and in his early years of his first marriage. I was feeling that she should have these as they were more of her heritage with him.
The photos brought tears and wishes and a wash of emotions that hadn't been touched on all day. I wasn't quite expecting it. Jim and I really were a good team and it was his love for me that kept me going. His belief in me. I tried to give that back to him and to make sure he knew what a good man he was. Yes, this will be a hard Christmas.
If I could hold you close
Like you were never gone
If I could hear your voice
You'd tell me to be strong
I just can't
I just don't understand
Why you had to go
I guess I'll never know
Ain't it funny how you think
You're gonna be OK
Till you remember things ain't never
Gonna be the same again
Ain't it crazy how you think
You've got your whole life planned
Just to find that it was never ever
In your hand
If I could get to you
I'd be there in a minute
My world don't make no sense
Not without you in it
I just cry
Can't say I don't know why
Why'd you have to go?
And leave me here alone
You don't see it coming
When the future comes knocking
It can make you or break you too
You just have to make it through