Monday, September 29, 2008

Just another day....almost

September 29th. Another 29. Another month.

Cleaning yesterday I found the last birthday card that I gave Jim. I had forgotten all about it. It was his 53rd birthday. 2006. He had started his job with the USPS and was very happy and looking forward to the changes that job would bring.

I looked at the card. It was a Gary Larson card with a postman on it and a dog waiting in the bushes for him. You know the cartoons with the animals looking like people. This dog was a samurai dog. Appropriate because of the USPS connection and also Jim and I used to work for a company that sold cutlery and knives. Some of them were swords. Anyway inside I wrote out Happy Birthday - and then I had written "53 and still going strong! I am so Proud and happy for you!"
Reading that really hurt. It really made me MAD. It made all the thoughts I have had about how the job may have stressed him just so much that it caused his death. All the what ifs came rushing back. Was it the worry of succeeding so we could get to that point where things changed and all his effort to make it happen that pushed the envelope. He was so excited and yet so stressed.

I put my head back and moaned because my insides were opening up again. I cried, I sat and looked at the card. I thought of how happy he was to get the job, to be in a job with a future and how proud he was of himself. And how proud I was of him. The card said it all.

I put set the card down and walked away, wiped my eyes, sat outside with the dogs and got myself together. The pain of loss can hit and immobilize me for a little while. However I suppose I have now learned how to get up and keep on going. It is still there, the grief and wonderment of why, but it is controlled.

To use an analogy, I feel sometimes like the Hulk. Big green guy in purple pants. I feel the emotion, rage, pain, grief come boiling to the top and burst, explode and rush out of me. It takes over my thinking and makes me yell, cry and beat up things in my frustration of wondering why and how. Why isn't Jim here and how can I keep going without him.

Then it settles down and I pull on the mild mannered bruce banner mask and go on about my work. That is how I can cope. By pulling on the mask and making each day go on by. You know, that analogy fits pretty well actually and Jim would have loved it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Better in Time

This was written after she broke up with her love, but it seems to fit very well with losing a loved one. With losing Jim.

Better In Time
Leona Lewis

It's been the longest winter without you
I didn't know where to turn to
See somehow I can't forget you
After all that we've been through

Going coming thought I heard a knock
Who's there no one
Thinking that I deserve it
Now I realize that I really didn't know
If you didn't notice you mean everything
I'm learning to breathe again
All I know is I'm gonna be OK

Thought I couldn't live without you
It's gonna hurt when it heals too
It'll all get better in time
And even though I really love you
I'm gonna smile cause I deserve to
It'll all get better in time

I couldn't turn on the TV
Without something there to remind me
How can it be that easy
To just put aside the feelings

If I'm dreaming don't wanna laugh
Hurt my feelings but that's the path
I believe in
And I know that time will heal it
If you didn't notice boy, you meant everything
I'm learning to breathe again
All I know is I'm gonna be OK

Thought I couldn't live without you
It's gonna hurt when it heals too
It'll all get better in time
And even though I really love you
I'm gonna smile cause I deserve to
It'll all get better in time

Since there's no more you and me
It's time I let you go
So I can be free
And live my life how it should be
No matter how hard it is I'll be fine without you
Yes I will

[Chorus: X2]
Thought I couldn't live without you
It's gonna hurt when it heals too
It'll all get better in time
And even though I really love you
I'm gonna smile cause I deserve to
It'll all get better in time

Friday, September 26, 2008


The painter is coming to look at my house tomorrow. I have a rowhouse with 'formstone' on it. A plaster that is shaped to look like large blocks of stone and placed over the original brick. That is not my house in the picture, but that is an example of what the formstone looks like.

I would like to have it painted a nice mellow yellow and the window frames done in a white. The house only needs the front painted. The back was painted a couple years ago by Jim, a much easier task becuase it is brick.

Several houses in the neighborhood have done this and it looks great. Several have also taken the formstone off and gone to the bare brick. That looks really good, but it is about $2000.00 more than I can afford. I will be happy with paint and a fresh look.

I am trying little by little to get things accomplished and it feels good as I can check things off the list. It is not a speedy process, but progress is still evident.

The decision was made today to get rid of the Dalmatian stuffed animal collection. I have been building it for years (since I was 20)and I have lots and lots of them. Some I bought, some were gifts. I am not sure whether they can go to a homeless shelter or just to the thrift store. Okay, I am not getting rid of all of them. I have 3 in mind to keep (out of about 25).

I think this will be a good move. A start to get more out of the house and declutter. Rethink priorities of what to keep and what should go. I am looking around more and more thinking about it. I have a china hutch and that stores some tablecloths and napkins and such. I have never used more that one type of tablecloth or entertained more than 2 people at a time since Jim died. Maybe I can give all ubt one up and clear some more space. You know, keep one and some napkins and rings and be done with the rest.

At the grief group that I attended last year, it was suggested that we not make any major changes for a year. Often things get thrown out or sold and the widow is not really in a good frame of mind to make the decision. This goes not just for personal items but also whether to move or not or change routines. I have tried to adhere to this as much as possible, but have also known that because of the change that Jim's death brought to my life, well, changes will have to happen. Some couldn't be avoided and some were a choice. As I move into year two of somehow living without him, I find the changes coming and my routine more flexible. That is the moving forward - I don't want to admit to it, but it is happening.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Countdown to 48

Just 364 more days till it's my birthday again. Woohoo!

Okay, just kidding.

I did wake up feeling better. Even though my wake up call was the dog barking. I made this the first day of a new change. I am starting the weight watchers point system for eating. Trying to lose some extra baggage here. I had lost weight via the diet called 'not motivated to eat' and it was good, but now for some reason I am eating again. Quite a few friends online suggested this way as successful for them. It involves many of the normal steps - change of diet and habits but also a system where each item is so many points and you only get a certain amount of points each day. I will give it a whirl for a few months and see what happens. My epilepsy does cause me to watch that I eat enough of certain foods to get me the right amount of potassium and other nutrients.

My best friend is coming over this weekend to help me clean the bedroom and go thru Jim's things. Items I haven't touched in the 16 months. Things that I can sort out and decide what to keep and what is just not necessary anymore. The really big help lucky Cindy will be is when we look under the bed. I have no idea what is under there except for a lot of dust and other scary beasts. I figure her with a blow torch and me with a rake, we may make out okay. Clean Sweep has nothing on me!

Just for a smile, here is the 2006 birthday brunch pictures. Me, Dad and my stepmom and then Dad and Jim. My dad's birthday is October 7th so we always had a meal somewhere on the weekend between his and my birthdates. In 2006 it was brunch at a local Inn.

Monday, September 22, 2008


Here it comes again. My chest feels split open and my tears are hot on my cheeks.

Happy Birthday to me.

I got thru (Yes, I knew who sent me one of them from the snake on the stamp.)

As I was letting the dogs out and then reading the cards and smiling, I started looking around. Then I remembered what I thought yesterday. I am a year older and it's a year older without Jim. Time didn't stop. I stood in the living room and cried because I don't want to get older without Jim laughing with me about it. What is a birthday without a birthday kiss from Jim. It's nothing. That realization hurt. I don't even really care how that sounds - pyscho or cracked or whatever, it just isn't right. And I don't remember it hurting so much last year.

One shining here is the clouds is the card I found. From 2006. Jim's last birthday card to me. He took Snoopy and gave him Dalmatian spots. He made one of the spots a heart. Oh my. oh my.

I am going to wash my face and go to dinner with some good friends. I know the distraction will be good. They are friends of Jim's also and really have been wonderful and supportative and understanding.

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Quick thoughts

Sitting with a neighbor on our stoops tonight and he was telling me about his views on the political race. As a middle age black man he was very pro Obama. I agreed with him on a lot of points. What made me interested and him proud was when he told me about his son. His just turned 18 son who registered to vote. Apparently when he registered to vote so did 6 of his friends. My neighbor said he was happy to hear that from his son and that they are getting involved in the scene they had ignored for years. I thought that was very nice to hear.


I can't quite figure my house out. I keep getting rid of things - donating clothes, tossing stuff in the dump, going thru books...and yet it seems like it is all still here. Or at least reproducing in some obscure corner of the house and spreading like moss throughout. I will not be beat - I will beat this stuff! I will have a clean house - some day.


Watched the latest episode of House tonight and it was pretty tough. One of the main characters girlfriends died. House and he are best friends and House was somehow linked to the death but they had to work that out. Well the friend, Wilson, comes in and says he is leaving, moving on. House can't understand it and calls him all kinds of names, talks about grief 101 and other things. The whole episode is about the change and how it is being handled by the various characters. It was a very interesting episode and one that I think I will be happy to not watch again. For all it's trying, I didn't feel the pain that Wilson was saying he was in. Maybe I missed something. I certainly didn't like House's tatics (idiot was used a lot) and I would have been pretty upset if someone were to talk to me that way. Dead girlfriend of not.


I learned that we will have a ceremony for my Dad at Arlington Cemetary - he was a military veteran. I am trying to figure out what I wear. I am not a dress up kind of gal, so it may take some trying on of many things, to get it right.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Me and the siblings.

A pictorial family history - my siblings and me. The oldest is my sister, second in line was my brother and then me and then my brother. We are all four years apart.

Nope, I am not in this one.

Yep, that is me, the cute one with the curl.

Halloween was always fun at our house!

Skaneateles Lake

Oh yes, it is the 70's for sure!!!

At my Grandmothers funeral. My brother mentioned on seeing this that we all looked like we were photoshopped in from other pictures.

The four of us in 2004. Interestingly enough, I couldn't find any pics of the four of us kids together from 1979 to 2004. There must be some. I mean, that's 25 years.I am going to go look some more.

At a banquet to honor my Dad for his help in the 94th infantry association.

The most recent shot of all of us. Taken May 2008.

Someone else's thoughts that fit mine

Read this in a Grief workshop booklet. I wish I had read it a year ago, but even now, some of it really hits my gut.


Please talk about him, even though he is gone. It is more comforting to cry than to pretend that he never existed. I need to talk about him, and I need to do it over and over.

Be patient with my agitation. Nothing feels secure in my world. Get comfortable with my crying. Sadness hits me in waves, and I never know when my tears may flow. Just sit with me in silence and hold my hand.

When you tell me what I should be doing, then I feel even more lost and alone. I feel badly enough that he is dead, so please don't make it worse by telling me I'm not doing this right.

I am not strong. I'm just numb. When you tell me I am strong, I feel that you don't see me.

Just because I look good does not mean that I feel good. Ask me how I feel only if you really have time to find out.

I don't even understand what you mean when you say, "You've got to get on with your life." My life is going on. I've been forced to take on many new responsibilities and roles. It may not look the way you think it should. This will take time and I will never be my old self again. So please, just love me as I am today, and know that with your love and support, the joy will slowly return to my life. But I will never forget and there will always be times that I cry.

I will not recover. This is not a cold or the flu. I'm not sick. I'm grieving, and that's different. My grieving may only begin 2 months after his death. Don't think that I will be over it in a year. For I am not only grieving his death, but also the person I was when I was with him, the life that we shared, the plans we had , the places we will never get to go together, and the hopes and dreams that will never come true. My whole world has crumbled and I will never be the same.

I will not always be grieving as intensely, but I will never forget him and rather than recover, I want to incorporate his life and love into the rest of my life. He is a part of me and always will be, and sometimes I will remember him with joy and other times with a tear. Both are okay.

I don't have to accept the death. Yes, I have to understand that it has happened and it is real, but there are some things in life that are just not acceptable. I can still be angry that it happened. Frustrated at what was lost. Sad that he is not at my side.

Please don't say, "Call me if you need anything." I'll never call you because I have no idea what I need. Trying to figure out what you could do for me takes more energy than I have.

Understand how difficult it is for me to be surrounded by couples, to walk into events alone, to go home alone, to feel out of place in the same situations where I used to feel so comfortable.

Please don't judge me now - or think that I'm behaving strangely. Remember I'm grieving. I am in shock. I am afraid. I feel deep rage. I feel guilty. But above all, I hurt. I'm experiencing a pain unlike any I've ever felt before and one that can't be imagined by anyone who has not walked in my shoes.

Don't worry if you think I'm getting better and then suddenly I seem to slip backward. Grief makes me behave this way at times. And please don't tell me you know how I feel, or that it's time for me to get on with my life. What I need now is time to grieve.

Most of all thank you for being my friend. Thank you for your patience. Thank you for caring. Thank you for helping, for understanding. Thank you for praying for me.

And remember in the days or years ahead, after your loss - when you need me as I have needed you - I will understand. And then I will come and be there for you.

Author unknown

Friday, September 12, 2008

Wet September weekends

Last weekend was a rainy saturday and a really pretty sunday. I think my mood was funky because of this issue and a week later I am feeling much better mentally. On the up curve as it were.

Of course, this weekend, thanks to Ike, will be a wet one also. Not quite so bad as friends of mine in the gulf area, but still too wet to clean the backyard or make trips to the dump.

I have several 'tasks' lined up and even getting a couple of them done will help morale in the house.

Have you ever wished you knew how to do something, something that others do so easily? I want to learn how to sew. I mean, sew well. I can running a sewing machine and know the basics and theories. I took Home Ec. I am going to practice using my machine this weekend as I work on maybe some curtains. You know, something easy. I will look into classes, but I have also said that before (at least to myself).

I hope this wave of 'up' doesn't come crashing down as I look at all the tasks. That is one problem. I have so many things I want to do in each room of the house that I turn around and around and can't get anything done. Going room by room and making a list of the needs of each room has helped. I put the list up on the wall in my kitchen and will be checking things off.

Monday, September 8, 2008

It marchs forward

You know what, time doesn't heal, but it does march on. We can't stop it. We can't reverse it. And although Jim is not with us physically, one of my 'tools' has been to try to live for him, to experience things for him, and to tell him about them, by writing, by talking to him when I'm at home, even just in my head.

It doesn't always work; at times I feel so alone and sad I still think I might break, but sometimes I can see something, or hear something, or experience something, and know that he'd love it. With a friend the other day and to hear her say "Jim would have loved that" just made me so happy. To know that others think of him. I want to enjoy this life for me and for him, as much as I can, and until we can enjoy together whatever lies beyond, what awaits me and what he is already experiencing.

A friend sent me this -

As long as I can
I will look at this world
For both of us.
As long as I can
I will laugh with the birds,
I will sing with the flowers,
I will pray to the stars,
For both of us.

As long as I can
I will remember
How many things
On this earth
Were your joy,
and I will live
As well as you
Would want me to live
As long as I can.

Sascha Wintersun

I'm not sure about the 'as long as I can'. Somedays I have no desire to reach a ripe old age. Then that feeling passes, it becomes a feeling of not wanting to live but also not wanting to die. Maybe just not caring. I will try to do what it takes to get through the days, the months, the years, in as joyful a manner as I can; the good times can sometimes feel very good, perhaps because I have the troughs to compare them with, and they are almost always tinged with regret that he's not here to share them with me. But if that is my lot in life, then so be it. That is the bittersweet that has become life.

I would rather feel this pain now for the privilege of having him in my life for 18 years than never having known him. I will never be content with having lost him, but there is nothing I can do to change it, so I must learn to bend with the storms that his death has created in my life. I will also welcome the sunlight that is warms the days.

The white butterfly is my sign. I was told early on that the small white butterfly is your loved ones spirit and in times of need you will see it. Of course those butterfly's are all over the place, but I seem to see one just as I need it.

I know that Jim is still with me. No, I don't feel his presence like earlier, when I really needed it, I felt it then. But I do know that he and I are me. And this me wants to love life and has recognized that only I can do that. When I am smiling, I think of how he loved to see me smile, how he loved to make me laugh, and then he is a part of the moment. 15 months. Isn't it incredible? I can't believe that I have lived that long without him.

I write up a TO DO list - and say, what for? On the other hand, I have gotten to a place now where I find joy in marking off chores on the to do list.

When I feel the grief monster creeping in I try to count my current blessings and I think of all the wonderful times we had together. And then there are times when it passes thru that safety net and feel the lump in the chest. I go with it. I cry. And then, sometimes just a few minutes later, I breathe again and recount again. I find too that as sad as I get, I can look at a photo, think of him, look into his eyes and drew energy from that... and I let the grief pass thru my body and out my toes.

And that helps.

Thursday, September 4, 2008

I Still Miss You

My friend Lynelle shared these lyrics and I had to go find the song. Oh my heart broke as I listened to them and yet, it helped. This is a touching song and a bittersweet video. It was right on the mark not just in lyrics but in simple shots like when they show him touching the pillow and thinking of her.

This song can reach to more than just people who have lost spouses/partners but also parents or children, siblings or friends.

Thank you Lynelle for sharing.