Friday, May 30, 2008

Note on the table

Jim loved to leave me notes. Well, we left them to each other actually. I loved to hide them in his lunch bags or brief cases and he would leave them on the kitchen table. Jim left this one for me and it was the last one he gave me.

I found it on the table when I came down for breakfast. He had left at 4:30 am that morning and knew I wouldn't see him again till thursday. It was that thursday that he came home from work sick and we went to the ER. It was his last note to me, but it says it all.

Thursday, May 29, 2008

A few more sides of Jim

To honor Jim's life and not his death, here are some photos that I dug up and want to share. I am not sure if I have posted these before, but I don't think so. Looking at the photos definately helps me to remember the Jim I love.
The Jim that had many sides, as we all do.
Anyway, this is a shot of Jim doing what he did best. Being the life of the party. We were in St. Thomas V.I. for a company awards ceremony. The night's entertainment was several island dancers. One of which had asked for help from someone in the audience to peel some articles off clothing of her.
Guess who volunteered!
This next shot is Jim as both Best man and Giver away of the Bride. The wedding took place in our house in Boston and the Groom was a friend of Jims. The Bride was a woman who had lost both parents and Jim said he would walk her down the 'aisle' (our hallway). You can see our wedding photo to the left there. This is a great example of Jim stepping up to the plate when help was needed.

Oh, The Force is Strong in These Ones....
A few of our friends after seeing Revenge of the Sith. Jim is trying his Jedi mind control but it's not working. Or is it?
This is a family picture. Jim's son is on the far left and his daughter in the middle. He was always very proud of them. This was taken at his daughter's 'a month after the wedding', wedding reception.
So, Jim has many faces.
This is the sort of drunk Jim on New Years Eve 2007.

At last, but not least, here is Jim (well, Jim's head) at the musical 'Spamalot'. We went up with a group of good friends, had a blast - went to see the Empire State building, wandered the streets and saw the show. This is a standee that was outside the theatre and had a hole for you to stick your face in. So of course, Jim did.

Goodnight Honeybunny

What kind of a day was it. A day full of memories and dirt. Yep, dirt.

I worked in our community tool bank sorting tools and telling this 19 yr old what a trowel was, or an awl and what a vise grip did. I was very surprised at how much this gal didn't know about tools. Even to the point of the difference between a phillips head and a flat head screwdriver. The tool bank was very dirty, dusty and spiderwebby. We sorted tools out and inventoried what we had. Then I came home and found that I need to repair the back gate, so I got a bit dirtier there. The physical work at the tool bank helped keep me occupied. Coming home and working in the yard helped keep my mind busy here. Not busy enough.

Jim was on my mind all day. This day of days. I posted some other entries here today. To celebrate the Jim that walked among us.

I received several emails from friends saying they were thinking of me, and him and sent hugs to me during this tough time. Some of those people had never met Jim but just know of from me. Others are long time friends and know how incredibly hard this year has been for me. The support they give me is a support that I can reach out for when needed. That is important to have.

I wandered around the house and touched things of Jim's. To try and feel him again. This is a tough day because I know inside he is gone but deep inside I don't want to really believe it. The layers of pain are an interesting thickness, some layers thicker than others. Some layers painful, some healing. How do you measure this. I know when I close my eyes and reach down inside the burning pain is there, but the healing is folded around it.

The night has fallen and I am inside and thinking about Jim. I found I wanted to hear his voice again, so I played a tape I have. One of three tapes I have with his voice on it. It is interviews at our cinema club and there is about 2 minutes of him and me there. To hear his voice was calming. I could see his face and hear him and it was easy to imagine him next to me. He would have his hand on my leg or around my arm, his face lit up with a smile and he would be making some amusing comment about whatever was going on at that moment on the screen. Even if it was him. I chuckled as I watched the faces he made, rolling eyes and such. Then I watched our wedding video. It is pretty poorly filmed but there are some important parts that are still there. There is the look on his face as he gazes at me just before we join hands and kiss. That will keep me smiling.

I don't know how to not sound like a cliche widow. I guess I have to. The years we had together were not enough. I want more time and that is one thing I can't have. Oh to hear Jim say 'aw honey, stop crying...' and have him hold me or for me to say 'goodnight honeybunny' and kiss him again.

My time with Jim was a wild ride of some good times, some butting of heads, some loving and lots of laughter.

I rub my forehead and breathe around the pain. The night comes slowly.

The Guest Book for a year

Part of the funeral expenses included an online 'guest book' offered for those that wanted to post something. I have eliminated last names due to the fun of internet, but thought what they had to say was worthy of remembering.

Guest Book for James

May 30, 2007
Jim was one of the good guys. Jim always had a smile for you and always tried to make you smile as well. He had the smarts/good fortune of marrying my best friend. If there were ever two people meant to be together, it was Jim and Betsy. The world is going to seem a lot more sepia toned and a lot less Technicolored without him in it.


May 30, 2007
Jim will always be remembered as a "Superman" in my book!


May 30, 2007
Jim was an amiable bear of a man--he could be gruff, but anyone who looked could see great gentleness in his twinkling eyes. He was totally in love with Betsy, yet gave her her space as she gave him his--in short, as close to a perfect a marriage as ever there was. I shall miss seeing him at our gatherings.

May 30, 2007
I can't think of a time I saw Jim when he wasn't smiling. He was a nice guy, and I'll miss him.

May 30, 2007
When I was between jobs at the beginning of 2006, Jim hired me at the store he was managing. This led directly to my current full-time job which I've now held for over a year. So this simple act of kindness to a friend ended up having a much larger impact, for which I continue to be grateful. He will be missed very much.

May 30, 2007
Jim was a kind and generous friend, a great person just to know and be around. He was up to any challenge, always encouraging and supportive. His sense of humor could calm the stormiest waters. Up, up and away, my friend. I'm proud to have known you.

May 30, 2007
My sincere condolences on the loss of my childhood friend, Jimmy. I remember him as a playful, funny, child who loved to aggravate his brothers. I know he will be missed by many.

May 30, 2007
We grieve with thee ...
--Jackie & Carole

May 31, 2007
Jim was a good man who always had a hug, word of encouragement, and big smile to share. I have always enjoyed his sense of humor and good company and he will be greatly missed. And yes, Jim is a Superman in my book.Much Love,
--Cindy S.

June 1, 2007
Growing up I never remember him in a bad mood..He was always smiling... You will be missed by many.

June 3, 2007
I first met Jim when his sister and I started dating. He always made time for his sister. They looked out for one another and helped each other when either needed help. He was good friend to have and I’ll miss him.
--John M.

June 11, 2007
Jim was the best brother in law and was perfectly matched with my sister Betsy , they loved life to the fullest and enjoyed each others interests supporting each other in all they did, they were a match made in heaven . Jim we will miss you for your laugh, smile, jokes , love of life and being part of our family . WE will miss you you were a wonderful person, son, husband ,brother, brother in law and son in law
--chris a.

December 5, 2007
Jim it has been 5 months since you left us here and have become Betsy guardian angel. We miss you each and every day. As the Holiday approaches know that you are in our hearts and will be in our thoughts as we celebrate Christmas this year with Betsy . We love you and miss you - Chris Kim Emily Meredith and Abigail
--chris a.

April 12, 2008
It is almost 11 months and I have to say this is a very lonely world without Jim in it. The loss of his smile, his sparkly eyes as he made a funny comment and the flair he added to a conversation. My heart is broken and I am still missing Jim with each breath.
--love betsy

May 20, 2008
Jim, We have been without you and your wonderful personality for a year. You are loved and missed as a brother in law and uncle by my family, I pray that you are looking over your lovely wonderful wife as she gets through each day without you she misses you, you and her were inseperable and so in love, she misses you daily.
You were a wonderful asset to our family and have left a large space in our hearts. Know that this past year has been hard and you and her are in our hearts. I will be planting a tree for your life this month to honor you as the wonderful life fulfilling person you were. Jim we miss you and love you -your sister in law chris.
--chris a.

May 29, 2008
This will be my last entry to a book I never wanted to open. Jim, as my husband, my friend, my soul mate, brought laughter and gave me love. He helped those in need and didn't think about it. Jim tried hard to reach his dreams and to make best with the simple things we had. Having each other made the rest of the world okay.

Know that I love you always, my husband.

ICS and Jim

Jim and I belong to a wonderful cinema club called ICS - Imaginative Cinema Society. A club created for those that love movies. Especially the horror classics, the science fiction of the 50's and the icons like Godzilla, King Kong and Dracula. Jim loved the ICS. He so enjoyed coming to the meetings, and just being around his friends. To see movies that he loved up on the screen again.

I will never forget the Saturday night when he got out of the hospital the last time and wanted to do nothing more than come to the ICS meeting. He had only been out for about five hours and he wanted to drive up there. He had missed a couple because of work and he missed the fun and the members. I am sorry now that we couldn’t go that last time.

ICS was a niche we had finally found that we fit into. He was happy and well, proud to belong. I mean, how proud could one man be to be the popcorn maker and to be an ICS board member and replacement auctioneer? Well, he was. Anything that the ICS needed, he was willing to step in and help out. And enjoy himself. We are both glad he went to that men’s room at Shore Leave and saw the flyer for ICS. We are glad that we came to that meeting and never looked back.

ICS gave him a place to be among others that had his love for movies and more than that, shared his appreciation in discussing them, in knowing the directors, plots and trivia of them. He was among his family. Thank you ICS for giving him this happiness.

The website posted these thoughts from some members back in 2007.


I will always remember Jim for his easy going personality and positive outlook. He was a great board member who took the job seriously and contributed much to the club, yet would keep things light hearted. You could always count on him to lean over and whisper a quick joke when things got boring.

At club meetings, he always had a smile on his face and loved to talk movies. Watching him and Betsy together during movie discussions was a riot – whether she was chastising him for seeing movies without her, or he was dutifully agreeing with her opinion on a movie with a wink, it was still clear they were as close as any two people can be.

And what ICSer can forget Duff Man! That just personified his sense of fun and love of life. I can’t think of any better way to be remembered. He is dearly missed, but we are better people for having known him.


Jim was, simply, a good affable shmoe. Always pleasant. Always fun to chat with. We shared a mutual interest in comic books and comic book movies. His Superman film was a real hoot for a fan like myself. I had no idea he had done some theatrical performances. It's sad that we find these things out too late. He will be missed.



Cheers, Duffman!

-St. Paulie Ghoul


My most vivid impression of Jim is of a man who never walked around with a frown on his face, and also most definitely of a man who would do ANYTHING to help someone. He was always helping SOMEBODY, no matter where he was or what he was doing. It was only at his viewing that I became aware of his involvement with Willing Hearts, and I must admit that I wasn’t the least bit surprised. Considering the turnout at both viewings, he was very well loved by all who came across his path, be it from work, leisure, or personal life..and that’s as good as an epitaph as any man can hope for, I think.

Of course, the vast majority of the time that Lisa and I saw Jim was at club functions, where he usually would be talking with just about everybody, asking how they were, what was new in their lives. And, as always, there was that smile and helpful nature that put everyone immediately at ease. I clearly remember that last time that he was trying oh-so-hard to direct the ICS auction. He was dropping everything that could be dropped, and bidding wasn’t exactly exuberant, but there he was laughing and smiling away and giving it the old college try while wearing that ultra-cool Spiderman T-shirt. He gave me the shirt off his back, literally, that night, and I proudly still wear that shirt in his honor, even though my gut is making it a bit tight these days.

Lisa and I would also run across Jim and Betsy at local conventions all the time, most notably Shore Leave, and it was always great seeing both of them together truly in their glory. Seeing their happiness together always made us smile too, realizing more and more just how crucial friendships are to getting through life’s challenges. Apparently, many long-time Shore Leave attendees felt this way about them as well. When a fellow STAT member announced Jim’s passing at the most recent general meeting, there were a number of audible gasps in the room, and a long-time member a few tables behind me very nearly fell into a faint at the news.
Jim leaves behind an amazing legacy. An adoring wife, a devoted family, and loyal friends from all walks of life, who may just smile and help each other a little bit more and argue a little bit less when they think of our dear friend who blew into our lives just like our of the superheroes he emulated, and was gone way too soon.

-Mike & Lisa


I had the chance to spend time with Jim and Betsy at what we unofficially dubbed "Fogey-con" in Aberdeen last fall. Betsy, Jim and I were there for the Thursday set-up. It was raining very hard that day and Jim very chivalrously did all of the work hauling in the boxes of donated ICS goods from his truck. He was very patient while we set up the tables and did all of the hard labor so Betsy and I could concentrate on displaying the tapes and putting out the memorabilia. At the end of the evening, the three of us joined ICS members Rick and Suzanne for dinner where Jim kept us well-entertained with his wisecracks. I must admit that I've always admired Jim's comic timing in real life and in his acting roles. Also, during my stint as treasurer, Jim consistently asked me to void his reimbursement check (for ICS files expenses) so he could donate it back to the club.

But, despite those memories, I can't really say that I knew Jim all that well. He was simply one of those people I saw at every meeting and, with whom, I would exchange greeting pleasantries. I took for granted that he would be around for a long time. So, his passing came as a great shock. It was moving to see the turnout at his funeral, to learn about Jim's other accomplishments and to hear everyone's fond memories and kind words. It made me realize that we didn't just lose an upstanding club member, we've lost a caring and decent person as well and I'll miss having him around.


Who can say for certain

To Where You Are
by Josh Groban

Who can say for certain
Maybe you're still here
I feel you all around me
Your memory's so clear

Deep in the stillness
I can hear you speak
You're still an inspiration
Can it be (?)
That you are mine
Forever love
And you are watching over me from up above

Fly me up to where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile to know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

Are you gently sleeping
Here inside my dream
And isn't faith believing
All power can't be seen

As my heart holds you
Just one beat away
I cherish all you gave me every day
'Cause you are my
Forever love
Watching me from up above

And I believe
That angels breathe
And that love will live on and never leave

Fly me up
To where you are
Beyond the distant star
I wish upon tonight
To see you smile
If only for awhile
To know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

I know you're there
A breath away's not far
To where you are

I read this and thought the author got it right on the mark. This was sent to me by a friend and widow, moderator on the grief group forum that has helped me thru this year. Thank you Branch.

Tuesday, May 27, 2008

A Tuesday Morning

At this time a year ago, I was dialing 911.
Just 3 hours later, Jim was gone.

The date doesn't seem to matter as much this weekend as the day. A Tuesday morning when Jim died and the hole in my heart opened.


Monday, May 26, 2008

This Day

Well, it started out as a good idea. Clean up the dirty laundry and maybe pack up some more tee shirts of Jim's. There are an awful lot of them. Stupid stupid stupid me. I got thru about half and then melted down.

I think this was something I needed to do alone. I had friends offer, and I appreciate that, however, as I was letting the emotions take over, I thought I am getting a lot more out then if I had to keep up the 'brave' face with my friends. Even when with a non brave face I cry with them about the pain that has come when I lost Jim, and I know I am not letting it all out. I got it out today. I was waiting for a neighbor to call the police from the caterwauling.

Well, Jim and I both 'collected' tee shirts. All with some memory attached to them. Something he saw in them that made them special. A favorite superhero, something we did, place we went, movie we saw.

I really wish the time machine was in my backyard. Dammit, would someone please let me borrow theirs? I know there must be one out there somewhere!!! If not to be used to change anything, I could accept that, but I would love to go back a year ago just to see see see this day again. Just a short juant. One year. One year and a few hours to gaze at Jim laughing, smiles and touching.

A year ago, today he was still here. At 11 pm that night we talked about how great a day it was. Shopping and Jim getting mistaken for a Trader Joe's employee. Relaxing at home. Going to see Spiderman 3 and Jim wearing his Spidey tee shirt. We watched some Columbo episode and he read comics. I don't want to remember the rest.

There are often couples that have things in common and things that one is interested in that the other isn't. I am not sure I believe opposites attract. Well, maybe they attract, but likes attract also. Jim and I were likes. We had similiar taste in a lot of things and tolerance for when the tastes differed. Gives and takes as in an union. One thing we had in common was the love of tee shirts. The main stay of our wardrobe. I would like to save these somehow. I haven't figured that out yet, but am thinking on it. My niece says a quilt, or maybe frame them?

I have some more folding to do. Thanks for letting me get this out. It may have been Donna Summers on the itunes that really set it off. Jim's tee shirts + Donna Summers (jim's music) = memories leading to the tears of the heart.

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Who Knew

My friend suggested I listen to this song. I hadn't heard it before, but it touched a lot of what is in my head. Especially the second verse.

On youtube -

Who Knew
by Pink

You took my hand
You showed me how
You promised me you'd be around
Uh huh
That's right
I took your words
And I believed
In everything
You said to me
Yeah huh
That's right

If someone said three years from now
You'd be long gone
I'd stand up and punch them out
Cause they're all wrong
I know better
Cause you said forever
And ever
Who knew

Remember when we were such fools
And so convinced and just too cool
Oh no
No no
I wish I could touch you again
I wish I could still call you friend
I'd give anything

When someone said count your blessings now
'fore they're long gone
I guess I just didn't know how
I was all wrong
They knew better
Still you said forever
And ever
Who knew

Yeah yeah
I'll keep you locked in my head
Until we meet again
Until we
Until we meet again
And I won't forget you my friend
What happened

If someone said three years from now
You'd be long gone
I'd stand up and punch them out
Cause they're all wrong and
That last kiss
I'll cherish
Until we meet again
And time makes
It harder
I wish I could remember
But I keep
Your memory
You visit me in my sleep

My darling
Who knew
My darling
My darling
Who knew
My darling
I miss you
My darling
Who knew
Who knew

Naked at the mall

It's saturday morning and I just woke up.

I had an interesting dream and for the first time in awhile I can remember that Jim was in it. Remembering is the important thing. I am sure I had other dreams along the way with Jim, but haven't held on to them.

We were at a mall. I was in a store by myself and Jim found me and told me it was time for the movie. He had the tickets and there weren't a lot of seats left. We left the store and as soon as we left I said "I hope you realize I have no clothes on". And I didn't. He said "No, we'll get some" and we walked on down the mall. It was a busy mall but no one seemed bothered by me and I wasn't bothered it seemed. I darted into what I thought was a german named clothing store and then realized it was actually a german food restaurant. I darted out a little redder in the face. (for some reason that bothered me but not just walking in the mall)

Jim held my hand or had his arm on my shoulder. And then I realized I had some white pants on. White pants that I knew someone else was wearing before, but that were actually a pair of pants I have at home. It was much easier to be half naked.

We got to the theatre and he said it was really crowded. We went up down an escalator, down some stairs and then he scrunched down to look in the basement window. It was one of those half circle window half in and half out of the ground deals. He looked in and said that the seats were lost, it was crowded and we would have to sit apart away from each other. I looked at him and held his hand and said 'I don't want to watch a movie like that.' I remember his face as he looked at me when I said that.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Man and his dogs

A Man and his Dogs. Or maybe it should be, A dog in the lap is worth two in the lap?

When you say

I woke this morning with tears in my eyes. Wishing that I was not the only one that missed Jim. I wanted others to feel the pain of his passing. Someone to tell me they missed his laugh.

I came to the blog and read some comments and felt better. He is being missed and remembered. Thank you friends.

This was posted on a grief message board and it seems to fit.

When You Say You Love Me
Josh Groban

Like the sound of silence calling,
I hear your voice and suddenly
I'm falling, lost in a dream.

Like the echoes of our souls are meeting,
You say those words and my heart stops beating.
I wonder what it means.
What could it be that comes over me?
At times I can't move.
At times I can hardly breath.

When you say you love me
The world goes still, so still inside and
When you say you love me
For a moment, there's no one else alive

You're the one I've always thought of.
I don't know how, but I feel sheltered in your love.
You're where I belong.
And when you're with me if I close my eyes,
There are times I swear I feel like I can fly
For a moment in time.
Somewhere between the Heavens and Earth ,
And frozen in time, Oh when you say those words.

When you say you love me
The world goes still, so still inside and
When you say you love me
For a moment, there's no one else alive

And this journey that we're on.
How far we've come and I celebrate every moment.
And when you say you love me,
That's all you have to say.
I'll always feel this way.

When you say you love me
The world goes still, so still inside and
When you say you love me
In that moment,I know why I'm alive

When you say you love me.
When you say you love me.
Do you know how I love you?

Thursday, May 22, 2008

Long few days

It's going to be a long few days as I suffer the memory of the events of a year ago. I thought I was prepared mentally for this. I had been trying to work it out in my head. But that was logic and now it is emotion.

I had a really bad couple of minutes when the walls of the house were closing in on me. I started to lose control and grabbed the phone. I called my friend Cindy and just hearing her voice helped me so much. Thanks Cindy!

Coming upstairs to read emails and I looked up the post I wrote a year ago on a message board I go to all the time. I just don't know what to do with myself. Stupid me went back are reread the thread from a year ago and I can't stand it.

We went in to the hospital on a thursday night and this was written at 11:57 pm friday night on 5/25/07. Because it was a thursday night of memorial day weekend is why it is hitting me so hard. The actual 'dates' don't match but the days do.

4 Stents- surgery today for heart -------------

I went into the ER last night/ thursday with my husband. Now, almost 24 hours later he is in recovery for a cathater dye(sp) and 4 stents in his heart/veins/arteries. Excuse my slight confusion, I am tired.

My husband is diabetic and a bad one at that. However the ER really messed up his insulin and sugar levels. I got to see him at 3 pm at a level of 399 and then at 7:30pm at a level of 32, crashing bad and barely coherent. Luckily we were in a hospital so they could fix him up quick, but it was scary for a couple of minutes.

We went in because of a 'jump' or 'hiccup' in his chest. That was how he described it. So they kept him all night and then did a stress test this morning and then decided to do the catheter to see what might be happening.

I was amazed throughout the day at how awfully long it took to get anything accomplished and how we had to threaten to do an AMA - leave without doctors permission - to get the doctor to come down and talk to us. We had been there 15 hours before we actually SAW a doctor, the rest of the time was nurses that had spoken to a doctor. And the whole clustermuck with his insulin and sugar levels made me want to never go to a hospital again.

I am hoping this will help him feel better. I don't know quite what to expect in his health from this now. I mean, what he can do and not do at home and at work. We will talk to the doc tomorrow before he is discharged.

posted at 8am saturday morning --------
Quote from another message board member:
Stents can be coated or uncoated. Now the coated stents are getting bad press because it seems they clog up and may not be better than the uncoated stents. Anyone know what is being used now?

Me ----
I didn't know this, haven't done any looking into stents, (didn't realize I was spelling it wrong) but I may ask if they know what was used.

Thanks for the good wishes and thoughts. I feel better this morning after a good nights sleep and some breakfast. Jim has already called to tell me he wants to get out of there and that they want to give him some iv that will keep him there till 6pm. (a blood thinning drip that he needs) I told him to do what the docs say, they paid a lot for their knowledge and that I would be there as soon as possible. (they may not always be right, but they know more than I do).

It is odd to read my optimism there, but we had it. We thought he was going to be in good shape from that point on. I receieved many well wishes and virtual hugs and some prayers and good thoughts. The messageboard is a small online psuedo family with a lot support shared.

Here is the last post, it was written tuesday night. Jim died tuesday morning at 3:35am.

Stents didn't help husband is gone------

My husband Jim passed away this morning at 3 am. He had had some stents put in his heart for blockage over the weekend. He woke this morning with chest pains and couldn't breathe. He went into the hospital and went into a full arrest and they could not revive him. He was 53.
I am still numb and don't know where to turn.
My sister and brother in law are here and I am are at there house. My father was with me all day. The meeting wth the funeral director was surreal. But we did settle a few things. Jim will have his superman jacket draped on the casket and his superman tie on. He would have wanted that. There is a funeral home in Hampden that he will be at.
I can always remember that we had a really good day on monday before this happened. spent time together, ran errands(to trader joes) , went to see spidey 3, watched some favorite columbo eps and he read comics as i fell asleep.
I am sorry if i am rambling. I am in a sort of numb state, i am at my sisters for a while. I don't know when i will be online, but wanted to let my tivo friends know of this. Please say prayers for my man of steel. Thank you.

There may be a couple posts like this as I try to work out the events of the weekend last year and how I am feeling this year. It sounds stupid but I still want to wake up and find it was just a nightmare.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008


I have been thinking the last couple weeks of how things have changed in a year. How I have had to change and yet how much I have tried to stay the same. I know I am not the same. Sometimes I feel like I am reverting to the person I was before Jim and sometimes I feel like I have grown into this whole new person and yet stayed the same. I know that is a contradiction, but it works for me. It's more about changing what is necessary and what must be done than changing the essence of me.

'Adapting' was used today by a friend. Adapting, yes - good way to put it. Some change, for sure, but more adapting. I have spent a good amount of time mulling over what I thought were changes but really were not - it's like as a couple, Jim and I had dominant characteristics that evolved into roles in our years together. We played off of each other. There were other characteristics that came out more when we were apart from each other, at work, or with friends we may have been slightly different. I think that it is something that happens in most relationships.

The adapting in the last year has been from the need to do things that there just wasn't anyone else there to do for me. I stated somewhere in this blog way earlier that some of the pain is that where I used to have someone to cover my back, that isn't there anymore. I am doing that. I am learning and adapting to the need.

In six more months there may be a new viewpoint that I have. Six months ago, I know I wouldn't have thought I could be this calm in typing all this out.

Sunday, May 18, 2008


Went to the bathroom last night. Sat down in a sort of zoned out auto mode. Sat right on the rim of the toilet. You know, when the guy goes to the bathroom and leave the seat up and the wife sits on it and yells.

Well, there has been no one around here to lift the seat in too many months. No one was in the house that could have done it and I didn't. I thought about it and couldn't remember any reason to have lifted it all day.

It was a kind of nice memory of an annoying 'male' habit. But, well, how did it happen??

Sunday night again

It has been a long weekend of cleaning. I worked solely on the basement (pit of despair) and actually made progress. Of course, I see the progress, others probably still think there is too much stuff. But two truck loads from my neighbor of stuff has lightened the basement. Some of it was very hard, some was very easy to get rid of. Some I hadn't seen in years and was happy to see again.

I am fast approaching the 'demarc' of Jim's death. I will be what they call a 'year two' widow. It seems this year has been a wave of emotion, and some so powerful I didn't know what else to do but go with the wave, ride it out and then stand up to see if more hit. Now, the waves still hit, but are more muted. I thought that riding the waves would lead somewhere. I even tried to lead myself there. But now I find myself nowhere. Nowhere that I know. I am feeling very empty inside.

Wanting to feel better or at least understand better and then someone says something or I read something or watch it on tv, and it all hits again. I want to scream at people don't fight you may not get to yell at him tomorrow. I do not want to watch the commercial about Uncle Al's sudden death and no health insurance and what will they do. I can't even stand to hear about someones dying when it is in a conversation at a restaurant or such.

The need to be strong, to hide these emotions because no one will understand them. If I voiced them I would just be the crazy widow lady. I understand that I can't, but I do my head.

I think that is part of the numbness that is happening. I have woken up some morning and just not felt anything at all. No joy it is a new day or pain that it is another day gone. Just numb. I can go in, perform my functions at work and even joke around with people. But there is an inner shell that is still pretty numb, it is protecting the part that is still hurting very much.

I am going to share a post from a friend on one of the messageboards I visit. He lost his wife about 18 months ago. There are many things that he says that are exactly what I have been feeling.

This is such a strange place to be... the whole thing is strange... so I will state a really strange thing: I am truly beginning to feel the aftershocks of being widowed. That may sound like a no-brainer... but I guess I always assumed that somehow, someway... I would get back to "normal", whatever that means. Permanent altering is the only way that I can describe my state now. I feel out of place typically... like no one around me can really talk to me nor I to them.

I think differently... I can't observe myself from the outside... but people will say things to me occasionally that make me think I may be acting differently as well. It is not usually better or worse... but just different. I find different things entertaining now than I did before I was widowed. I find greater satisfaction in working in the yard, for instance. I eagerly await news from people... or phone calls. I find video games distasteful unless I am playing with someone. I have very few daydreams now... yet I think more than I ever did. The thinking produces relatively little forward motion in daily life. Let me explain.

Here is an example of this type of thinking. I had an almost vision the other day of "Being Alone"... It was less vision than over all body feeling. It was not frightening or even sad... it was just alone. Just singular. Not plural. Belonging to nothing. It hit me like a ton of bricks... almost a revelation, except that I thought I was perfectly aware of being alone before. Guess not.

I have experiences like this frequently now. It feels like stating the obvious in such a way as to be profound... yet... it remains obvious... and therefore I feel... not very profound. I feel I have been through a series of "The Big Duh" moments. These seem to be year 2 experiences. I can't remember anything like this happening before in my life.

I feel like I have a lot to talk about... but I am so tired of talking about it. I feel so tired of doing this work. It is exciting work, but it is so exhausting. None of my friends really want to hear about Dian anymore. Like Kim said on the "Things We Fear - Forgetting" thread, some of the friends I have now did not even know Dian. They know I am widowed, but it is difficult for them to put this into context with the me now. They didn't see the old me... nor could they see how much she meant to me. It is like I have this weird half context with them... they didn't know me when I was whole.

The loneliness has started to come in waves. Like clockwork, every night as I am wrapping up work I feel a growing sensation of my "hole in the chest" feeling. It is usually not severe... just always noticeable... always with me. I get used to it after about an hour has passed, and I have had a chance to say "Thank You" a dozen times for having known and been with Dian. I can't seem to ever really alleviate or fix this feeling of this hole in the middle of me. I feel sometimes like I am breaking slowly apart, piece-by-piece... it is not particularly frightening, but it can be uncomfortable in the extreme.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

A year ago today

A year ago today we were laughing at the tv.
Six months ago I was sorting thru his clothes.
5 years ago we walked together in Boston.

18 years ago I was sharing our first kiss.

Two years ago we were fighting about bills.
Four months and a week ago I was paying off a debt.
12 years ago we were picking out our first puppy.

18 years and 6 months ago we were sharing our wedding vows.
Twenty years ago and we didn't even know each other.

11 months and 16 days and I was crying in the hospital with my husband gone.

8424 hours have passed.

I woke up this morning thinking about the line 'a year ago today' and with that was the memory of Jim and I, laughing about a TV show last night at this time last year.

The gears fell into place and the clicks thru my head started. Memories meshing of 6 months ago and 5 years ago and 12 years a scene from a movie it was a montage of images cut from our life flashing at me. They move slowly and yet still it is too short for a time that was ours.

It ends with the capture of me in the hospital waiting room and the doctor tell me they did everything they could. The moment is a blur but his words seared my brain.

It starts a new moments later with my hand on his face, touching in disbelief, staring at his death.

A year ago, two years, three years or fifteen. What will they be when I look back fifteen years from now. The gears are still meshing and the memories still growing. The montage of images is ever changing.

Monday, May 12, 2008

house thoughts

The face of change is becoming more and more evident. More changes in my house, our house, then anywhere else. I am moving things, tossing things, fixing things and wondering why I never did these things before. I could have fixed that shelf while Jim was alive. I could have organized the backroom better or hung the potholder rack or put the stones in the ground to make a sort of patio. I wonder why I didn't. I could have been more diligent about cleaning and making a nice house. Instead I spent the time with Jim and neither of us worried about the house or moving things around.

Now, now I can do these things, sometimes because I want to, sometimes because it seems right and sometimes because I have to.

Now I find when I move stuff or think about throwing things away there is the guilt angel on my shoulder, and so of course, then the practical angel gets on the other side and they duke it out in my head. Sometimes one wins, sometimes the other. It make for interesting moments in my brain. The dogs look at me a little funny when this happens.

If you had asked me a year ago what I would be doing now, I would have said "gardening in PA". I was reminded of this goal today when I was deleting emails at work and one of them I read was the transfer paperwork for Jim to go to the York PA position that was open. We had talked his transfering for a long time and when this spot became available he jumped on it. The email was dated 5/14/2007. It was a rush of memories of course. He was finally going to get something he wanted and had worked for. He had spent so many years working his way up the ladder and dealing with crappy hours, and finally, it was within sight. Jim was going to commute for a few months until we got things straight and then rent this house and move north. It was one of the dreams that crashed when he died.

I haven't totally given up the dream. I am trying to think out where I want to live for the next dozen or thirty years. After many years as a gypsy (moving every 7-10 years) I would love to find the right place and stay for awhile. Jim and I wanted to achieve this, so I can keep leaning towards it.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

Happy Mom day

Happy Mother's Day!!

I miss my Mom a lot. She died on May 8th 2001. She loved Jim and always told me he was the best in-law any of her kids got. That always made me happy.

This photo was taken on Thanksgiving in 2000. Mom and my stepdad came up to Boston to visit with Jim and I.

Captain Bills', I mean Als

One of my favorite memories is Jim eating steamed crabs. It is a Baltimore thing. Steamed crabs and beer. A hot summer afternoon, some newspaper on the table and Jim showing me how to crack the crab, use a crab knife to get the meat out and never touch a crab mallet. Sweet Maryland crab meat. Oh yeah!

Tonight I went to Al's Seafod with my Dad and stepmom. I wanted to take her out to dinner for Mother's day. She wanted steamed crabs. Well the only place I knew around here was the spot that Jim and I went to for many years. Al's. Only it has been two years since I was there and my Dad originally said we were going to Captain John's and for some reason when they asked me where to go for crabs I said Captain Bill's. Why? I don't know.

I knew how to get there with no problem. Jim and I had our first apartment just a mile or so up the road so I knew that area. Pulling in there brought such a rush of memories. I felt like I was going back in time but yet, not quite. I am glad it was dark and sort of blurred things, the pain in the chest surrounded by the warm memories made it a bittersweet moment. On the corners were the places we would go. The grocery store was still there, the comic book store is now a xxx movie place and the pawn shop is now a guitar/music shop.

So I got the name wrong for the restaurant, but it was still in the same place. My Dad teased me at dinner about taking them to the right wrong place. They enjoyed the evening - the good food, great waitress and the owners wife who visited each table.

I know I probably talked about Jim and I too much but I was remembering the times when we were there. We sat over at that table, Jim always had the Coors Light, there was a skipjack (a boat) painted on the wall behind us and the place has a very homey atmostphere. One time we went there was a man at the table next to us with his parents. He was telling them about his magic show in Las Vegas and somehow he and Jim got into a long discussion about Houdini. That was a Jim thing to do. Talk to strangers. Make them smile. Touch a life.

The most vivid memory of the night was when we drove past the shopping mall where Jim and I had our first kiss. We had gone to see the movie Naked Gun/police story. Our hands had touched in the popcorn and it was magic. But later, I remember very vividly sitting in the van, (I was in the drivers seat). We sat talking in the parking lot for a couple hours and were just really enjoying each others company. Then I leaned over and he leaned towards me and we kissed. When we broke, I looked at him and said 'once more' and we kissed again. It was those kisses that sealed the deal for me. I had never before experienced what I felt when our lips met. Oh god. How do you describe the moment when all that had come before just melted away and you knew. I know that I knew without knowing that I knew. (ha, say that three times fast)

I am glad that my parents had a good time and enjoyed the restaurant as much as Jim and I did. It was also good that we didn't sit at the same table as Jim and I did that last time in 2006 because it gave me a chance to build some new memories.

Friday, May 9, 2008

Walk within you

If I be the first of us to die,
Let grief not blacken long your sky.

Be bold yet modest in your grieving.
There is a change but not a leaving.

For just as death is part of life,
The dead live on forever in the living.
And all the gathered riches of our journey,
The moments shared, the mysteries explored,
The steady layering of intimacy stored,

The things that made us laugh or weep or sing,
The joy of sunlit snow or first unfurling of the spring,

The wordless language of look and touch,
The knowing,
Each giving and each taking,
These are not flowers that fade,
Nor trees that fall and crumble,
Nor are they stone,

For even stone cannot the wind and rain withstand
And mighty mountain peaks in time reduce to sand.

What we were, we are.
What we had, we have.
A conjoined past imperishably present.

So when you walk the woods where once we walked together
And scan in vain the dappled bank beside you for my shadow,

Or pause where we always did upon the hill to gaze across the land,
And spotting something, reach by habit for my hand,

And finding none, feel sorrow start to steal upon you,

Be still.
Close your eyes.

Listen for my footfall in your heart.
I am not gone but merely walk within you.

Taken from The Smoke Jumper by Nicholas Evans 2001

Thursday, May 8, 2008


A memory came to me tonight as I was looking at a little keychain that had a photo in it. It was a pic of Jim and I, heads tipped together and smiling. It was taken at a relatives wedding in the early years of our marriage.

It brought to me the memory of our dancing. We didn't go out on many dates that involved dancing, but we did jump on the dance floor when at a wedding or reunion or party. Jim was great to dance with because when we slow danced our bodies fit together like we were carved from the same stone. And when we danced to the rock'n'roll, it was hard to keep up with him.

At the science fiction conventions we attended there was usually a late night DJ hosted party with dance floor and cash bar. This made it fun. We would sit with friends and Jim would then proceed to dance with each of the women at the table. Or sometimes 3 or 4 of them at once. It was a good time and great to see him smiling, laughing and flirting. Fun! There was a simple joy in sharing the evening with friends. These friends we may only see once or twice a year, but the comarderie is there. This was a time when Jim did his best to just let loose and enjoy himself. There was always stress in our lives as far as bills, jobs and broken dreams, but when Jim got dancing, he went footloose.

How can I describe the look on Jim's face when he hit the dance floor? I was sitting here trying to and I can see it in my mind, but not the words. Dancing at our wedding is on video and that just makes me smile so to think of those moments. Music was a part of him. He was in a band in his high school years. The Ascots. What a band name! Well it was the late 60's. He was a bass player, asst. drummer and backround chorus. He said they did some hopping around town playing at bars and a couple school dances and such. Hearing him talk about his younger years always made me feel more like a part of his life. What was also fun was when we were at his friends and they talked about his band days. Stories like how his mother would howl about the noise in the basement and toss them all out of the house.

One of the neatest pieces of techno stuff that Jim had was tower that had a cassette/dvd player, then the equalizer section and then the volume and such. Three seperate pieces that all work together to play the music. Jim's favorite toy was a wireless headset that he hooked up to that, played the dvd's and then could go anywhere in the house or yard and hear his sounds. He worked out and exercised to the music. It was an important part of his life that you could hear not only when he sang but also when he danced.

Sing on Jim, Dance on Jim!

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Wet Vacs rule!

The days are getting prettier outside. Warm air, blue skies and not a hint of the humidity yet to come. These are the days of perfect weather, that I wish would stay with me. Not too warm, not too cool, just right.

I have had a hard time getting thoughts together to write. I have been trying to pull some memories out and I feel like everything I think of I have already written. I wish there was a way to print the blog out a page at a time and not have the stuff on the side there. I would like to make it a booklet to reread.

Can't say I am sure why, but I am finding myself much more sensitive to the tv shows recently. More so than in the last few months. I cry when sad things happen, I cry when happy things happen, I cry at the stupid commercials that talk about life insurance. Many of things I can't even watch, I change the channel when a guy gets intubated (the tube in his mouth) or when they mention that someone had a heart attack or even just the dog had died. There seem to be less and less shows that I can watch without pain involved. I don't understand it. I also am not fighting it and I am thinking the tears are just a step up to the next plateau. They really only occur in the evenings when I am home alone and missing Jim the most.

To change the subject - thank god for wet-vac's. My basement flooded last night and it was a nasty mess. It had something to do with the hot water heater but I am not sure what. Anyway while talking to my brother he mentioned if I had a wetvac to use that to clean the water up. Eureka! I had completely forgotten we had one. See, this was the kind of mess where I was just the 'hand me this' 'get me that' person and Jim did the actually figuring out of what to do. I am happy to say that I knew some of what to do before I called my brother, but thank god he reminded me of the wetvac. I knew just where it was and how to use it, but had just forgotten something that Jim would have gone straight for.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

disney dal

I searched high and low at Disney world for 101 Dalmatian related items. There was next to nothing. I couple of plush Dals and one very nice small collectible statue that nicely enough matches another one I have. No tee shirts, no posters, nothing. I was very sad.
Then, I walked into "Pooh's Corner" - the Winnie the Pooh store, and found this guy.

I then wandered into the 'Christmas store' and found these guys playing on the chimney mantle.

Tried to pry one off of the mantle and buy it, but it was a no go. So for all my hopes of finding Dalmatian related items, I came home with one collectible statue and some pics.

I did have a great time at Disney. I road the Tower of Terror - once. I will be happy not to ride that ever again. It was not as my friend said 'not so bad'. I went on the Star Tours ride and that was a blast. I would do that many times again. I wandered around Magic Kingdom and the Hollywood studios. Had dinner at Chef Mickey's and had a picture with Goofy. Had another dinner at the 50's mom's kitchen, where you got yelled at if you didn't eat your beans. The monorail was really neat and my friends knew enough to ask to sit in the front with the captain. What a great view!

I also got to meet some friends from Georgia and some from NH that were going to be there around the same time. We had dinner together and that was a blast. All in all a good time.

Friday, May 2, 2008

shrug? cry? why?

Jim - I looked at Figaro today and realized that he is going to die someday. This beautiful annoying particular cat will be gone. I couldn't hold back the tears and I couldn't bear to look at the dogs. Heck, Fig may live a lot longer for sure, but what will I do when they are all gone. And you. Gone. I don't want to be alone.

I shrug and cry at the same time. I shrug because there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. I cry because there isn't a damn thing I can do about it.

Jim, I will pick myself up tomorrow. I know I will. Alone? lots of other people I know are alone and survive. I will too. I just want you to know how much I wish you were in the other room, reading your comics and yelling at me for being on the computer for so long and to come to bed because you have to work in the morning. In the bed with your hanes boxers on, the spiderman tee shirt and your knobby knees. I can see and hear you in there. But when I walk in the bed will be empty.

Oh my love. I just keep asking myself why. why. why.