Sunday, June 29, 2008

13 months

First, a big round of applause and many thanks to my friend Kaszeta. He was able to save these pics from the flooring day. My camera's memory disk went bad and they wouldn't download to my computer. He worked some IT magic and retrieved the pics!

My brother Sam is at the saw.

My niece Jess is in the middle of the finished floor nailing in trim.

The dogs are enjoying the fruits of all this human labor.

This has been a busy week. My Dad went in the hospital because of an infection in his toe. He had this last year and they had to remove half a big toe. Friday they took the rest of the big toe off. Dealing with my Dad in the hospital has been tough because he doesn't like to be visited there. He wants to be left alone and my siblings and I want to see him and make sure he is at least okay. We will see how it goes over the next few days.

It seems like the last two weeks have been a spiral of depression for me. I am lethargic and forcing myself to get up and walk the dogs or do the chores. Taking a nap in the evening and going to bed early. I am wondering what the point of it all is. It being this existence. I am back to being a seesaw of emotional reactions vs numb to all around me. Watching a movie or tv show and I get tears. Listening to someone talk about a tragedy and I am numb. Maybe I am doing better because I can recognize the depression and am doing some things to work thru it, but it still can be very gripping sometimes. Usually late in the evening after all the chores and duties are done and I am left on the couch by myself with the animals and no one to cuddle with or talk to about the day. I am online more because of this feeling. Lonliness. Or rather All Alone.

I am not sure if this is even more of the grieving process or the new single life process or a combination of both.

Doing some laundry today I realized what I really wanted was to take everything in the house, dump it and start fresh. Okay, maybe keep a few things, but I am feeling overwhelmed with trying to not just keep up on chores but also to sort thru and get rid of things that are unused and taking up space.

Now that is all out of my system - positive things I did - the bookcase from the living room is now in the front room and it is great to finally have space for stuff there. Jim's Total Gym 1500 went to a friend and that leaves more space. I have done laundry for days and now everything I own is clean. Only about half of what was washed is put away. I need more drawers. Or maybe to get rid of some clothes. The wood pieces that were left from the flooring installation are bagged and can be in the trash on monday. Previously they were in bags and stuck thru the bags causing riips and holes. The trash men wouldn't take them like that. I spend some time this afternoon making little and littler pieces of wood.

This blog is ending at 12:05 am on June 29th. 13 months after we lost Jim.

I find the days are passing, but the memories are still with me. The hole in my chest has mostly healed, but sometimes the pain reaches out and touches all the nerves in my body.

I miss you Jim, each night as I touch your space in bed, in morning when I wake without you, each afternoon when I am walking the dogs, at 10 pm when Merc still lays down at the door waiting to hear your car keys rattling. I miss you my love.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

50 First dates

I just watched 50 First Dates. It completely blew me away. I went to see it when it was out in the theatres. With Jim. Seeing it again without him was so strange. I kept wanting to grab his hand and squeeze. I started crying with how wonderful Adam Sandler was being to this woman that could never remember him for more than a day. I hugged myself because I wanted someone to hug.

I could see Jim doing something like Adam Sandler did in the movie. Every day having me fall in love with him again. He would have done it because of the love that was held in his heart.

I can't go on right now. The crying was not just a 'miss you Jim' cry but more a total loss of what could have been and a sadness for losing what was.


I went grocery shopping and saw a couple things that reminded me of Jim and had to share.


This quote from hannah and lily.

This grieving, it really is a process. In the beginning I could barely make myself get out of bed in the morning. I chose to honor Hannah and to LIVE, but it was so so hard. I initially measured the passing of each day. Then, I would say, "It's been one week. It's been two weeks." Pretty soon, I was marking the passage of months. I was proud of myself for being able to make plans for the next day, then, to look ahead a week. Pretty soon, I was looking out a month, two months. There was such unbearable pain I was having more down yos than up. Gradually, so gradually I didn't even realize it was happening, the pain was lessening. I didn't consciously realize I was having more up yos than down, that I was no longer marking month anniversaries. Time, and life, whether we wish them to or not, move onward quite steadily.

Am I suggesting I'm out of the woods? Am I suggesting I'll never have another down yo? Nope, not by a long shot. Am I saying I'm in a pretty good place, right now, at this moment? Yes. Yes I am. Do I still catch my breath with slight twinge to my chest even this second as I sit here thinking of all I'm missing with the Monkey? Absolutely. This process, this journey is long and arduous, but right now, my path is pretty level.

Sunday, June 22, 2008


Just stumbled on these two pics. One of my nieces and nephews dated 1993 or so. Fun in the Mud!

And this one of me.

Friday, June 20, 2008

Morning sounds

The birds woke me this morning.

I slept with the windows open and the darn birds outside woke me up. Chirp, chirp, chirp. Then the cat came to see what I was all about and of course once the dogs heard that I was up, I knew it was all over. But I was missing something.

I lay in bed and remembered what I was missing. Jim. Yep, I am missing his grumbling about the noise of the dogs or the noise of the birds or the nudge I was giving him to get up and let the dogs out. Neither of us ever wanted to leave the warm cocoon that was the bed to do this. The system we (I) came up with many many years ago was 'Scissor, Stone, Paper'.

I could beat Jim at this even with my eyes shut.

I am not sure how, but a good 75% of the time I knew what he was going to choose. He hated that I won so much, but he was a good egg and he only yell for a moment and then cry "2 out of 3, come on, 2 out of 3". Then when he lost one or we tied one he would try the "5 out of 7" gambit.

We solved a lot of decisions this way. Times when there was something to do and we both wanted different things, we would look at each other and cry "scissor, stone, paper?" It was not just a way to make a choice, but also a way to diffuse a tense moment. It brought laughter back to us and made whatever the decision seem not so critical. It worked for us.

But back to the dogs.

So we would lay in bed, do the scissor, stone, paper and he would lose. He would get up, shuffle downstairs, grumble to the dogs in a voice loud enough for me to hear and he would let them out. I would hear both him and the dogs out in the yard. Him telling them to "get busy" and them making their doggie noises. He may even growl at the cat saying "and what do you want? no food, not till later, just ignore that I am here".

As I was listened to the birds this morning, I recognized the pocket of emptiness. I realized what I was missing. It was not the sounds of everyday life. It was the sounds of Jim.

Two songs running thru my head this morning - Jim songs of course.

And I am very happy/proud that I figured out how to post them instead of just the link to them.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Comforts, Addictions and Me

Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens
Bright copper kettles and warm woolen mittens
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favorite things.....
Maybe addictions is too strong a word, but comforts is a good one. The following is a whole slew of things that I have found that - will make me smile, make me think, have influenced me in someway, must have daily, must have once a year, enjoy and have some positive meaning. To me. So here are a few of my favorite things -
I started thinking about the things around me and what I reach for - either in my head - mentally or with a hand, for comfort or for reassurance or just things I go back for when given a chance. Some of these are just an image of something that has influenced me in some manner.
I am sure we all have these and it was an interesting journey to try and think about some of them, find pics to represent them and wonder if I got the right one. I know I have only scratched the surface, but it is more a game then a pysch experiment.
I will put in some info on each picture, about why it is a Betsy thing, but it may not make sense to anyone but me. The Frap in the corner is my morning drink. I got addicted to these after having one at a mall. I have never liked hot coffee and therefore never had needed the caffeine fix. I do now.
The original Disney movie 101 Dalmatians got me on the addiction of all things spotted. I love Dalmatians and think they are the most beautiful dogs out there. I would love to have a Dalmatian Plantation. Before being able to have the real ones, I collect plush Dalmatians. I have a zillion of them and it made things easy for people to get me gifts. I haved owned 3, but now just have 2, and have been able to rescue over 40, foster 6 and thus let others know the joy of spots. Gryphon our first dal was a pup when we got him and he was our 'baby'. We lost him early in his years, and Mercury and Tigger came to us after that.
The photos of Greece homes have alway been interesting to me because of the architecture and the color and photograph image. It is a style of photography I have mimicked and I love taking pics of buildings around me and seeing something in their patterns and colors. My grandfather came to America from Greece and my Dad is an architect and taught me to see outside the box so with this combination, the attraction of the Greek homes, colors, stairwells and the beautiful mediterran views has always been special.
Speaking of photography. I first saw this photo on the right of the depression woman in maybe sixth grade or so when we studied American history. I was struck by the story that just one photo could tell. Without any words. It was all there, and the way the photographer shows it is just right. I decided to make photography my artistic expression. I love using black and white film and for several years I had my own darkroom set up in the basement.
The pic on the left is from Ansel Adams, a famous black and white photographer. Taking things that are in color and seeing them in black and white is a wonderful way to expand perception. Maybe someday I will post my own pics. Besides black and white there is also a beauty found in color slides. They have wonderful saturation of color for landscapes and close ups. More than just a "what we did on vacation" medium, slide film can offer a great range. I used slide film for several years in high school and college.
In this post am not including food or people or about a zillion other things that I could or should. This is a pretty random selection of things I can think of just at this time and there are probably connections as they jump from one to the other. Oh well. The brain is like that. I was interested in the fact that when I first started I had the greece buildings and Fraps and dogs on the left side and the b&w photography, the animated Dal shot, the beach and sunset on the right side. I wonder if that is my brain doing the logic vs art bit.
So now we move to the beach. I love the beach but don't get there enough. A favorite of mine since I was a kid was to build sandcastles. Maybe again, becuase my Dad is an architect. I would make some really elaborate sandcastles with all kinds of turrets, moats, walkways, outer buildings and even little villages inside the castle. I love to use the dripping sand method of decorating and would work hard to keep the tide from washing it all away.
The beach of course means sunsets and sunrises. To see the reds and yellows and pinks and clouds makes the glory come to life. To see this is to see beauty. I will stop and watch the colors and sky shift as the evening draws to a close and night falls.
A good memory pops into my head of Jim and I in St. Thomas sitting on chairs watching the sunset. We couldn't actually see the sun, but we could see the colors in the sky and also the colors in the water. It was a special evening.
And the final image. A yellow Polo shirt. I really like polo shirts because they are easy to wear, somewhat okay in most situations and have a collar. That is me at work. I have found that I look best with some sort of collar on the shirt I am wearing. I love to wander thrift stores and find stuff like these at the store. That comes from my Mom. She told me if I buy it at a thrift store, make sure there is a good brand name lable on it. I thank her often for teaching me this.
Okay I think that is it.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008


I have to keep with the song theme. I am finding songs that I have forgotten how much they touch me, trigger something, make me feel Jim's presence.

Peter Gabriel was an artist that Jim liked, had CD's of and sang to. I also love this song because Jim had beautiful eyes. He had an organ donor wish so his corneas went to help two others see.

"In Your Eyes"
love I get so lost, sometimes
days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
when I want to run away
I drive off in my car
but whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

in your eyes
the light the heat
in your eyes
I am complete
in your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand church
sin your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
in your eyes
I see the light and the heat
in your eyes
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
the heat I see in your eyes
love, I don't like to see so much pain
so much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

and all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside
in your eyes
the light the heat
in your eyes
I am complete
in your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
in your eyes
I see the light and the heat
in your eyes
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light,
the heat I see in your eyes
in your eyes in your eyes
in your eyes in your eyes
in your eyes in your eyes

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

Celtic Thunder

I was wondering what to write today. It was decided for me when I heard this song. It is done by a group called the Celtic Thunder and the song title is "Remember Me". The Youtube performance -

The moonlight dances among the trees
The campfire glows in the autumn breeze
and I am lost in my thoughts of you
Remember me, recuerda me

A comrade strums on a sad guitar
My mind is drifting to where you are
I’m holding you as I used to do
Remember me, recuerda me, mi amor!

So long ago, so far away, each night I pray
"volvero los dias passoados"
I promise you that come what may
those days will stay ever in my memory

In all this world I could never find, the love that I had to leave behind
But duty calls, so whate'er befalls
Remember me, recuerda me, mi amor

God only knows what tomorrow brings
You’re in my heart so my spirit sings
I’ll be strong just as long as you remember me,
recuerda me, mi amor!

Sunday, June 8, 2008


Tonight I got to sit in the living room, take my shoes off and not worry about getting splinters from the floor!

My two brothers, younger and older, came up today and lay down some Pergo flooring. It is a laminate, tongue in groove and it took about 5 hours for the whole room.

It is gorgeous and wonderful compared to what was there and it gives the room a whole new fresh look. This was a project that Jim was going to undertake last summer. When I told my older brother about it, he said 'well, I have put down floor in my two sister in laws houses so why not in MY sisters'. Wheee!! He is a good guy. Thank you Sam!

My niece came to help and she is 19. It was nice to get to know her a little. We have always been too far away to interact as families except for the once a year at christmas or thanksgiving deal. Of course then it is with other family members and not one on one like it was today.

I took my wedding ring off this weekend. I wear Jim's and my rings on the same finger and I put them both beside his Urn. I took them off with two reasons in mind. One, I knew I was going to be doing a lot of moving, hammering, washing and didn't want to worry. I worry about it sliding off and losing it. Jim's ring is a little bit larger and slides off easier but it is stopped by my ring that fits snug. The second reason is to see what it would feel like. I have been thinking of the 'year and a day' of mourning from the older times. I am not going to stop grieving my loss of Jim but I am going to move forward. More moving forward than I have done in the last year. I have to. I have come to realize that I have to, whether I like it or not. The whole in the heart is there, I don't deny that. But the step forward must be taken.

I went without the rings for two days and found myself always touching my finger. And being off center because I didn't feel the rings. Then remembering they were safe. So tonight I put them back on and will wear them again. It felt good to have them on again.

Friday, June 6, 2008


A week into the year after the year we lost Jim.

I was told by some in my grief group that this year is harder than the first year. The first year is struggling to accept, to deal, to rearrange life plans and goals, to get thru the day and the night still wanting to go to the next day.

Without knowing exactly why, I have been pretty emotionally numb this past week. Not super sad, not super happy. Not crying, not losing control. Maybe waiting for the next up or down of the ride.

Maybe I can describe it as a feeling like I am treading water waiting for that second wave to hit.

The first wave hitting me was his death and that wave went on for a couple months. Then there was that space between waves. It was the time for treading water, with my head bobbing and some sputtering as water going up the nose. This would be the times when things were crazy and I didn't know if I would get thru even the next day. Trying to float, keep my head up and having little waves hitting me. The little waves of grief or despair or depression or frustration or pain. The little ripples swooshing my body and brain all around, but still I was coping.

Treading in the water. Once in a while my feet has touched the sand down below. A feeling of security. Holding on to the thought that I made it thru the bad first wave. I could make it thru these ripples. All the while knowing that the second wave is coming. How big or small it will be I can't tell, my back is to it. It will hit and I will just feel the slam.

If you have gone to the beach you know what I mean. Standing out in the water, feeling the waves hit you. The waves can knock you right off your feet and leave you struggling to grab onto something. Getting up can be hard, but it is an instinct.

Grief has been described by myself and others as a roller coaster. Ups and downs. It is like the waves of that keep on hitting, then the lull, then the next wave. Does the ride end? Do the waves stop? Can one tread water or swim to reach firm sand. I am trying.

After rereading what I wrote. I think of a little girl. Hannah. This post is dedicated to the memory of Hannah and her Mom who is riding the roller coaster.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Glorious storm

When thinking about companions gone,
we feel ourself doubly alone.

--- Sir Walter Scott

These shots were taken last week at dusk, at the end of my street, after a stormy day. The glow in the sky was incredible, the clouds were stupendous.