Friday, December 31, 2010

So Long 2010

Another year done...and what a year it was. I didn't make any New Years Resolutions last year. I was just hoping I could make it through without losing my mind. I lived for Wine Nights, Saturday dinner with friends, pointless cruises, and mini vacations. What I found was...after such a huge loss, it's pretty important to find "little flashes of light." Looking back, I can actually "see" how those little flashes of light helped me to move forward. I will admit, sometimes "moving forward" means flipping my middle finger toward the sky and cursing him for leaving.

So this year, I'd like to do something really BIG to ring in the New Year...make some huge change that shocks the hell out of everyone. hahahaha. Who the hell am I kidding? My friends and family have had enough of that. too...for now.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Is it Widow?

One of my friends on Facebook changed her status yesterday from Widow to....Single. She has been widowed for 3 years now and has been in counseling for quite some time. At first, I was like....what the hell?! Then my brain really got to working...and I gotta tell ya, there's a lot of guilt in this kind of thinking.

To me, the word Widow brings up images of darkness...mourning, sad, lonely, lonesome, stoic, careful, sexless (ugh). The word Single brings up much lighter images...carefree, happy, friendly, sexy (yes!). When I think of Widow, I think of Jackie Kennedy at her husband's grave, her veil covered head, her doe-like eyes puffy from crying....sad, sad, sad.

When I think of Single...well, I must say, I have no role models. I've been married too long.

I doubt that I'll ever consider myself Single. I like playing the Widow card way too much for that. After this blizzard that ripped up the coast, I cleaned off my car and drove to work. On the way there, I was afraid the guy behind me thought I was driving too slow. I was thinking, "hey buddy, give me a little credit for even going to work on this miserable day. I'm a widow after all." If I were considering myself Single, my thought pattern might have been, "pfft." I don't know if that's really true, but I think it is.

Maybe I just need to re-define Widow. Let's see. How about...class, fun, compassion, passionate, loving, and (a word that was used to describe my aunt)....Spectacular! God, I love that word. So, I'm signing off now. Love, The Spectacular Widow!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Guilt-free Gratefulness

When I look back over the last year, I realize that I am truly grateful. Of course, my kids have been wonderful. I don't know what I would have done without them. I once told my counselor that I felt like they surrounded in the middle...and them in a circle around me...holding cushions.

But, I'm also grateful for some truly wonderful friends. They helped me paint the rooms when Mary came home, offered financial assistance (and counseling), showed up at wine nights, cleaned out my refrigerator when the power went out (ugh), helped me set up and close up camp, showed up when they knew I was alone and sad, cried with me, and always waited to see what I wanted to do first. They keep me in the loop, and for that, I am most grateful.

Sometimes I feel guilty about being grateful, but not about this. In the end, it's all about who you love and who loves you.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Crisis, Faith and God

When I found Mike, cold in the bed, there was a moment...a split second in time...when I thought I could get a re-do. Like a dress rehearsal. Like, ok God, I screwed up that last line, can we do this over again?

The other day, Gianna (age 7) made a comment about her Papa, and when I gently mentioned that it wouldn't happen, she said "Well, sometimes maybe God could send them back down." I think we've both watched way too many sappy Christmas Miracle Movies.

So...onto the God thing. I'm having a really hard time with this. I've talked online with other widows who say that God sustains them. Hey, whatever works. I'm not getting the warm fuzzies about the whole good, sing God's praises when life throws you crap and reap your rewards in heaven. And that whole "streets paved with gold" thing? I don't think I care much. If that's what heaven is like, I'm indifferent.

What I do know is that none of us is getting out of here alive. We know that energy doesn't die...but it can change. I like to think of a universal one-ness, but then I struggle with the dirtbags of life...the real bottom of the barrel types.

I am lost in spirit...trying to find my way. I think one of my goals for this new year will be to go looking for it. I don't know what I believe anymore, but it could be interesting to find out.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

32 Years

Thirty-two years ago today...Mike and I made the decision to remove our first-born child from life support. We were so young. It was my first brush with invincibility.

At 22, I was shopping for the proper black dress, and trying to make arrangements for her funeral...and at 24, Mike fell apart. My world crashed around me, and remained shattered for months...or was it years? And picked up the pieces and became a stronger couple. I look back now and wonder "how did those 2 kids go through that and live? how did they manage to somehow stick it out with each other?"

So, I knew when Mike died that, somehow, I would want to go on eventually. I'd been in that place before...the place in your mind where you wonder why you should live. I remember thinking that all I had to do was hit the accelerator and head for the tree...but I didn't. It's a good thing, because we had some really good years together.

I'm counting on a few good years now too...without him. It still makes me sad...and I wonder why I'm still here. I wonder why they are not.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas

We had a little Christmas Eve get-together at my youngest daughter Kim's last night. It was wonderful...and wierd.

I don't remember much about last year's celebration...the shock had pretty much enveloped me on Thanksgiving Day and remained for months. This year was...well...interesting.

Linda, who felt fine at the beginning of the evening, developed a headache and left before Santa arrived taking her husband and mom with her. I will refrain from comment.

Santa was hysterical...had a couple of pops before handing out the gifts. The beard was slightly crooked making it look like he was talking out the side of his mouth. The kids didn't care. They were just having too much fun.

It is still odd for me to celebrate holidays without Mike. I remember the year we promised ourselves that we wouldn't go nuts buying stuff for the kids. We ended up buying bikes for every kid and an Atari system (yeah...pretty outdated by today's standards). That year, we spent more money than most years combined. This year, I bought myself a new journal, a fuzzy pair of socks and silk pajamas. I'm thinking today would be a good day to spend in bed.

Thursday, December 23, 2010


It's December...and it's I don't understand why anyone would drive a motorcycle in this weather.

Mike drove one whenever the mood struck him, but usually not in the cold. He said he didn't ride enough and that "next summer" he would ride more. sigh. Anyways, I was pumping gas yesterday and the guy at the next pump was filling the tank of his bike. I mentioned that it must be a pretty cold ride and he said "yeah, but I love it." Then he got on, started up, and drove off. And I cried. Oh the sound.

I remember when Mike bought his bike. It was a brand new Honda 1300, low-ride, with nice quiet pipes. Looked like a Harley...but sounded like a Honda. The first thing he did was buy new baffles. $1000 for noise. I hated those things.

One nice summer day, I was riding behind a couple of Harley's. I really liked the way they sounded, so I called Mike and when he answered, I stuck my phone out the window. I told him..."now that's what a REAL bike sounds like." By the following week, the pipes with no baffles were replaced...and now the bike sounded just like the Harley's that were in front of me that day.

Like everything else, he was so proud of his bike. He had the tank custom painted by a friend. It looked pretty good, but I tended to be indifferent. It's a bike after all.

So, why do I find myself crying at a gas station?

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Bright Nights

I took a ride earlier this evening with Meg, Gianna and Meg's girlfriend Cassie. We drove over to Forest Park to see the Bright Nights Display. It was unbelievable.

This picture is taken from their website...the Barney Mansion.

There was a $15 charge per carload to get in, but it is miles of Christmas lights...and as usual, it made me think of Mike.

Mike was a proud man. His work was like art. Everything was perfect...nothing got by him. There was perfection in everything he did. Mike worked as a maintenance supervisor for 5 housing units. He consistently made high grades for HUD inspections, and he would even sometimes amaze himself with the things that he was able to accomplish. He once told his boss, Andrea, that he could do anything...and I believed him. So did she.

So, on this trip through Forest Park, I started to think about the people who were responsible for this spectacular display. I hope they are as proud as Mike was of his job. I wonder if they bring their families through and point out all the little things that we take for granted on our little car ride through wonderland.

I'll bet they do. Everyone...from the designers to the folks who maintain the displays...and everyone in between and on the fringes (including the police who stand outside the gates on these cold evenings) should be extremely proud. I like to think that they tell their families and friends all about what they did, how they solved the little problems, and how they manage year after year to pull this whole thing together for their community.
My hat is off to all of them.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Tis the Season

December 21 is the solstice. It is also the full moon. Oh...and a lunar eclipse. I hear a lunar eclipse is emotional...hahahaha. Like I haven't been friggin emotional enough all year.

So, I guess with all of these things happening at the same time, it should be an emotional energy cocktail.

The best time to view this eclipse is tonight around 3:15 a.m. I'm pretty sure I will be sleeping...or maybe my emotions will get the best of me...and I'll be up.

ah...who knows.

Friday, December 17, 2010

For Sale

My house is on the market. Funny thing is...I'm still not sure about this.

I love this house. It has provided well for our, foster kids, grandkids, sisters, nieces, nephews, and anyone else who needed a place to stay. It has seen lots of love and happiness as well as deep sadness and grief. It has given us a decent income (at least when not used by family).

So, the real estate agent came yesterday and put the For Sale sign in the front yard. It's kind of unnerving to see it when I pull onto our street.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

O' Christmas Tree

I was thinking about getting a little pre-lit Christmas tree for the holiday. Wasn't exactly feeling all happy and ho-ho-ho about decorating. Then my youngest daughter bought me a live Christmas tree yesterday. It's a little one...maybe 5 feet tall.

So, off I go to get the decorations only to realize that I gave most of them away to the kids. I found 3 working strings of lights, some beaded garland and a few ornaments with a little angel for the top. It's kind of forlorn and barren...a sad little tree trying to sparkle for the holiday. I guess it's a perfect little tree for me after all.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Old Houses

I love old houses...from the little cottages to the big victorians. Mine is an old house. It was built around the 1900's in Victorian style. It's a 2-family house with an additional 4 rooms and bath on the 3rd floor. Lots of natural woodwork, built-ins, and pine floors.

Unfortunately it also has old drafty windows (in New England), an old brick foundation, a slate roof, and very little insulation.

It's too much for me. I give up. With one son living 3 hours away and the other one dealing with some pretty serious personal issues, I just can't maintain this old place. It has served our family well, but it's time to turn it over to people who can care for it. I've already sunk so much money into it, and there's still so much more to do. And I don't even want to think about the maintenance and expense required in the winter.

So, yesterday I called the realtor who sold me the condo. I have a plan for myself, but I am sad. It's a terrible time to have a house on the market...the combination of winter and the economy is going to make it tough. I'm just hoping someone will see this place for what the possibilities are.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Here We Go...


One year ago today, our friends and family attended a lunch in Mike's memory. After the lunch, a few of us remained behind in the lounge. While we were there, I got a phone call from the hospital advising me that Mary was going to be discharged...probably on the 16th. I was floored. There was so much coming at me then. How did I ever hold it together? When I look back, I am amazed at what our family went through.

Not only did I have to plan his service, I also had to plan Mary's trip home...and didn't even know what her brain would be able to handle. Then I had to tiptoe around my granddaughter's father in order to get him to agree that she could come home with her mother.

I remember questioning if Mike died for this....the money needed to get her back home was given to us when he died. Friends and family were so generous. I would give it all back to have him here with me again.

I am pretty impressed with myself. During this past year, I have done some pretty amazing things...buying a condo, getting Mary and her kids here and back home again, quitting my job, getting another one, taking the kids on vacations, maintaining the house, and making sure mom was taken care of. Damn...I'm good.

Monday, November 29, 2010

One Year Anniversary

It's done. I've done the whole year. I get a badge now, right??

I mean...seriously...can't it be like graduation or something? You get to wear a cap and gown and move the tassel from one side of the cap to the other. I'm a big girl now kind of stuff.

I'm too old for this. No...I'm too young for this. Oh hell, I'm just tired and I would like to rest. No, not rest in peace...just rest...and peace. I would like for things to just start working out.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Here We Go

Although officially it's November 26, for me, one year is really Thanksgiving Day...the 4th Thursday of the month.

On the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, one year ago, Mike and I walked in the rain. I didn't want to. He did. I tried to tell him it was raining. He said it was only a light mist. By the time we got back home, I was drenched. He wore rain gear. I'm so glad that I walked in the rain with him.

I can't believe it's been a year since the last time I saw him. It's like a really bad joke..."ok Mike...that's enough...get your ass back here." Sometimes I swear I can hear him. I still miss him so much. I still find myself 4 a.m.

I think today may be the worst Thanksgiving, he was already gone. I remember every minute of the day before...meeting him at Kim's at lunch time, watching him teach Gianna how to spell "green", walking in the rain, and his last phone call asking me if apple juice can give you heartburn. I told him I would look it up and let him know tomorrow. shit.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010


I wish I could say that the caretaking I'm doing is for's not. I get home from work today and mom has had a few "sips" of wine. There was a large red mark on the counter to show as evidence. I'm pretty sure she didn't bother to eat her lunch because that was on the counter too. So apparently lunch consisted of zinfendel.

Then Meg brought Gi over for me to babysit. Meg is a single parent and Gi's dad has removed himself from the picture, so I am the "alternate" parent. I would really like to be "just" Mimi, but I know it's hard on Meg to be working full time nights. The problem today is that Gi is sick.

So, I make mom some dinner, and serve it up with a glass of water. Then, I bring Gi in a little of the same meal, but alas...she doesn't like it. I feel bad. She's sick. So, back to the kitchen to make her a little something that won't bother her throat.

In the meantime, mom decides that she wants to help...and starts doing the dishes. Mom doesn't wash dishes...she swishes her hand around in cold water. The dishes will need to be re-washed.

The good news is that it's 5:15 and mom is going to bed. So is Gi. What are the chances I'm going to have a nice quiet morning tomorrow?

Monday, November 22, 2010


One year ago, on the Monday before Thanksgiving, Mike went to the doctor for a checkup. Just thinking about it pisses me off. I will never understand why his medication wasn't adjusted for the weight loss or why the doctor didn't know that the pain in his foot could be related to that medication. Damn it.

This is a hard week for me. I can't sit still. If I do, I think too much. This weekend, I painted a bench, cleaned out the refrigerator, cleaned out the office, and painted the kitchen. At this rate, I could have the entire house remodeled by Thanksgiving Day.

On another note, mom wants to go back to Linda's. She is so funny. She told me that she wished Linda and I lived together so she could live with both of us. Yeah....No!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

2 in 1 day

A year ago today, I was feeling very overwhelmed, sad and depressed. Mary's doctor hadn't given us much hope for brain recovery, Dan had gone back home, and Jaime was left in Oregon all alone to be with Mary. It was all I could do to keep it together.

Then, around 4 in the afternoon, I went to join Mike and our camping friends for dinner. On the drive there, I realized that I was still grateful. My kids were so supportive, Jaime was handling things out in Oregon, our friends were wonderful, and my husband was my best friend.

How did I not know that the freight train was only 12 days away.

Speaking of Natural

A couple of days ago, mom decided we needed cheese. So, off to the store she goes with Catie and brought home a few snacks (see previous post) and some of that good, wholesome orange cheese. What are the chances that orange cheese is natural? chance in hell.

So, getting on with the story...I was out of my cheese and really really wanted a grilled cheese and tomato sandwich. So, I go ahead and pull out one of the orange cheese pre-wrapped slices from the refrigerator. I hesitantly put it on the (whole buttered) organic bread with the organic tomato and began to grill...and grill...and grill...AND...the cheese didn't melt. It warped, it got a little hard on the edges, but it didn't melt! It's supposed to be cheese! Of course it should melt!

The list of ingredients is scary...and I'm sure there's enough preservative in this stuff to keep it from melting in a raging fire. Compared to the cheese I like to use "milk, salt, organic rennet." That's it. Even that could be improved upon if I could find a good source of raw milk cheese around here.

I ended up with the sandwich in the trash. Mom really needs to stay out of the grocery store.

Saturday, November 13, 2010

Mom and Food

I am a nutcase about "real" food. As a matter of fact, I want "real" in every part of my life. Since Mike died, it's almost a fanatical thing for me. I even make my own bath products. If I can't eat it, I don't want to use it on my body. The same with my household products. There's nothing wrong with baking soda and vinegar for cleaning most things and olive oil works great for dusting.

When I go to the grocery store, I read labels on things. My bread is organic and has a list of about 7 ingredients. I bake organic brownies and make my own hot fudge sauce with organic chocolate.

So...imagine my delight when mom went to the grocery store with Catie and came back with Mrs. Freshley's Swiss Rolls!

Well, it must be's Mrs. Freshley's. The back of the box states "Moist, wholesome and delicious...the finest high quality snack foods available to you and your family." right. There is no "real food" in this stuff. High Quality my ass.

If you're ever wondering about whether or not something is good for the label. This one goes on forever and there isn't very much I can pronounce (which is never a good thing).
My "all natural" home is slowly losing that status.'s not so slow. We now have all kinds of unnatural stuff lurking around here. The grandkids come over and think it's a free-for-all while I'm trying to push apples and pears.

Friday, November 12, 2010

Well Here We Are

It's November already. This past year sure did go by rather quickly....well, except for maybe the first 4 or 5 months. We made it past the October 30 anniversary of Mary's accident...and had a great time. We (me and my kids) took a trip to South Carolina for that weekend. My nephew got married, so what better reason to vacation?

Mom moved out, then moved back in last week. I'm not sure why, but I think it has something to do with making sure she's with me and my family during the anniversary of Mike's death. I hope Thanksgiving won't be too brutal.

Saturday, October 16, 2010


Guess it's been awhile. I think I'm ok.

We'll be closing camp this weekend. I've decided not to make any decisions about the place until I give it one more year. I can't believe I pay that much money to stay there and be that depressed. Being at camp makes his loss so real. So, I will go up there today to say goodbye to friends and my boys will close it up tomorrow. Another first.

It's getting close to the one-year anniversaries...Mary's car accident and Mike's death. I used to love fall. Not so much now.

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

36 Years Ago Today

I think I was up at 4 a.m. on that day too...the day we said "til death do us part." Guess we took those vows pretty seriously. Actually....most people said they wouldn't give us 5 years. He was a bad boy and I spent most of the first 10 years straightening his ass out. Wish we'd had a few more years together. I really liked the man he became.

So, today I'm going to camp with the kids. We'll sit by the pool, order take-out, and drink wine.

Friday, July 30, 2010

Shopping Fever

What is it about widowhood that makes me want to purge...out with the old, in with the new.

This week I bought new bedroom furniture, a new box spring and mattress, a few new clothes...and a car! Seriously. I'm cancelling the car. This is getting ridiculous.

It's like I'm trying to make up for my old life is over, so I may as well have a shiny new one. At this rate, I'll be broke before the end of the month. This month...the one that ends tomorrow.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Best Friends Forever

Sometimes I am absolutely astonished. The day before yesterday was one of those days.

After work, I noticed that I had a voicemail. The message says, "Hey, it's just me. Haven't heard from you in awhile. I thought we were best friends forever. Give me a call when you get a minute."

hmm. Now that's interesting. I got a card from her after Mike died with a pretty generous donation. Her husband showed up at my house about a week later to give his condolences. Then nothing. Amost 8 months. Nada. Best friends forever.

Fortunately for me, I really do have best friends forever. Two of them are my girls. The rest watch over me like hawks. They moved furniture to the 3rd floor when Mary and the kids were coming home. They helped me paint. They took me out to dinner. They paid for the lunch after the service.

I didn't call her back.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

The new job

So far, so good. It's a part-time job and although it's still in the financial industry, I don't think it's going to be as stressful as the last one. In this position, I can actually talk to the clients without worrying about recorded lines, QA, accurate timeframes, average handle time, scheduled breaks, or what my hair looks like after wearing a headset most of the day.

It was a little difficult getting up on Monday knowing I had to go to work, but most of the difficulty was due to recovery from the week-long party we had at camp.

It will be good to have some structure and normalcy.

Friday, July 9, 2010

The Visitor

I'm spending the week at camp. On Wednesday, we had a visitor...just in time for Wine Night at my site. The kids and a few friends were all visiting for the night, but it's a little unnerving being at camp alone with the grandkids now.
On another note, Mike and I owned (own) a couple of golf carts. His was white, mine is red. I like mine, but it doesn't want to stay running. It died twice on me this week. I had to leave it down by the office yesterday and hopefully one of my boys can get it back up to the site and see if they can get it fixed. I still have his, but this is stuff that he would have taken care of.
Camping makes me miss him I don't miss him enough already.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Independence Day

Fitting. It wasn't very emotional, which kind of surprised me. I did seem to be pissed off most of the day...for 2 days actually. Mike used to handle stuff. For our large italian family reunion, he made sure we had the burner and the large pot with the lid. He made sure there was propane in the tank. He knew what time to start the water for the pasta (al dente is very important in a large italian family like this one).

So, this year, Jason was responsible for making sure we had the burner and the propane. He forgot, so I made him go get everything. Kim was responsible for the large pan. She was 1 hour and 45 minutes late...which put off the entire dinner.

Stuff likes this only makes me miss him more.

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

7 months later

June 26 was 7 months. I managed to keep it quiet. For some reason, I didn't want to tell anyone that another month had gone by. It was our little secret. Maybe the kids knew. Maybe not. Maybe none of us wanted to remind the others. I don't know.

So, in this 7th month, I went on a job interview and got the job. It's part-time which suits me fine. Monday thru Friday, 9:00 - 1:00 starting on the 12th of July. The interview was great until my future boss asked what my husband thinks about my traveling 50 miles for training. ugh. So, I told him. I was pretty sure he felt pretty crummy...but the job anyways.

I'm pretty sure the 4th of July will be brutal. We hold our annual family reunion on that day and Mike was always a big part of the "job" we do. Then, the following Saturday is the annual pig roast at camp. Mike and Timmy would wake up at 4 a.m. to put the pig on the spit. One year, Mike hid the pig the night before...then he woke up late. Oh the fiasco he caused. He was such a funny guy.

Seven months. 7. shit.

Thursday, June 10, 2010

On Again, Off Again

Mom was supposed to go to Linda's at the end of the week. She will still be going, but only through the weekend. Linda says she's not ready yet. I wonder if she ever will be. The two of them (mom and Linda) are going to be in for a very big shock. Mom says and does things that make no sense. A few months ago, we couldn't get her to leave her apartment and now she doesn't want to sit still.

Mom makes lists. Lots of them. Then, she tries to convince her worker to take her out to buy the stuff on her list. Yesterday she wanted Polygrip. Catie (her worker) told her to go look in her room because she should still have some. Mom comes out of the room with 3 tubes in her hand and says "yes, I guess I still have some." They were Fixodent, VO5, and Vagisil. with mom.

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Alzheimers, Mom & Puppies

This is a photo of my mom with my daughter Meg. Mom will be going to live with my sister and her husband at the end of this week. I'm a little sad, a little relieved, a little nervous. I have a tendency to project into the future and, when I do, I wonder if she will be ok. I worry that she will regress. I worry that my sister will not be able to deal with her emotional ups and downs. When my sister came to visit mom earlier this week, mom told her that she was too loud. Linda (my sister) took great offense to that and got louder. Oh this will be most interesting.

Mom's physical health is improving. She will probably live to be 100. Unfortunately, her mind will not be joining her. We have her on multi vitamins and vitamin B. We make sure she eats food that will nourish her. We make sure she drinks plenty of water. It's not enough. A lightbulb is a spitboard, things move around the house on their own, yesterday is today, the remote control is used instead of the phone, eye drops are used for dentures, and the list is endless. It can be quite amusing and it can be quite frustrating. Poor mom.

The puppies are starting to learn how to obey commands. Just wish they would learn to do their business outside instead of on the carpets. One puppy is staying downstairs with my son. It's too hard to get them both trained. They're like little kids, egging each other on into trouble.

It's like having kids again...puppies and mom.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Six months

Yesterday was 6 months since Mike died. It feels like yesterday. It feels like a lifetime. I was ok. As a matter of fact, I was feeling pretty grateful.

Something happened yesterday morning that made me realize that not too many people are as fortunate as I have been. A friend's husband was having a very public discussion with her and it wasn't very nice. I will say this...Mike would never ever ever not in a million years have put me out on public display the way her husband did. We would have worked it out together.

I listen to people complain about huge marital problems and I am grateful. Oh, we definitely had our problems...especially early in our marriage. Some of them were pretty darn serious, but we worked them through. In the end, he was my best friend, and I will miss him every day for the rest of my life. Today, I'm ok.

Friday, May 21, 2010

The New Widow 2

Last Sunday, Kim and I went out to lunch with the new widow I mentioned in an earlier blog and her son. We drove 1.25 miles each way. After our lunch, she seemed calmer...and had decided to put her own needs first instead of worrying about her late husband's family. I feel like we scored on that one.

Anyways, I called her again this week to check on her. Her pain is palpable. I can feel it in her voice. Her son is wonderful to her, and yet I can't help thinking about how much better I have it. I can't even believe I said that.

My kids did not leave me for a minute. When I came home from work and thew myself across the bed to cry, my son came in the room and hugged me. When I was having a bad day, my daughters Meg and Kim would take me out on a "pointless cruise." When I felt totally overwhelmed from Mike's death and caretaking for Mary's family, I moved in with Kim and left Meg to tend to the caretaking of her sister. Dan and Jason both went out to Oregon to get Mary and her kids. I didn't have to lift a finger.

I can't imagine going through that without my kids. The "new widow" also has a son, but there's only so much one person can do. She worries about the holidays because now it's just the two of them. I sure don't have to worry about that....and my kids don't know it yet....but I invited them to spend the holidays with us.

Thursday, May 20, 2010


Like I don't have enough craziness in my life already...yesterday I went to look at Golden Retriever puppies. On June 2, I will have two of them...Mikey and Timmy.

Of course, the name Mikey is for Mike. Tim was Mike's best friend....and you can't have a Mikey without a Timmy in my world.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Now that I'm home that I'm no longer working, I've been home with mom. Do you know that these stupid soap operas are like watching a bad musical? I really don't know why anyone would want to get sucked into these tv shows that are all drama anyways...add bad music to the mix and it's just too much to take.

Saturday, May 15, 2010

What Do I Want to do with the Rest of My Life

Interesting question...'cause I now have the opportunity to do a little searching. I read a thought-provoking comment, based on the movie Groundhog Day. If you had to live today over and over again, would you be pissed off or would you be perfectly ok with that? hmmm.

I guess, for me, it isn't going to be about the job. I'm all set with that for a while. At some point I'll be looking, but not yet.

It's about success...what I think success is anyways. It may not be what anyone else thinks it is. For me, success is about loving relationships, having fun, family, friends, being healthy, having energy, laughter, a peaceful home, practicing my spirituality, and doing the things I love to do. If I get paid for any of that, all the better.

The things I am not willing to put with anymore are drama, being controlled (like I was at work), toxic people and things, and mostly "stupid." I'm sure some of the bubbles that have been popping in my life lately are due to these things that I no longer want in my life (although I still can't understand for the life of me why Mike had to die).

So, I'm ready to move forward. What do I want to do with the rest of my life?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

and another bubble goes pop

I need to see this in writing. Wondering if I'm just being a big baby here.

I am a 2. At work. It means that I am a top performer in my department, in my company. Just days before Mike died, I had a "second" interview for a supervisor's position. After he died, I was told that although I was the top pick, they couldn't give me the job because my daughter worked in the same department as a manager.

Ok. Strike that.

After Mike died, I went on a leave of absence so I could deal with his death and take care of my daughter (the one who was brain damaged in the car accident) and her kids. While I was out, I notified my company that Mike's health insurance had been cancelled and I would like to go on their plan. Although the company told me it had been done, apparently no one told the health insurance provider. It took weeks to work that through.

Then, I was notified by letter that I had been terminated and was eligible for cobra.

A day later, I got a letter telling me the letter I got regarding the termination was a mistake. You couldn't have called me? hmm.

After I returned to work, I was asked if I would like to work in a job rotation with Workforce Management. I jumped at that opportunity because I'd done it before and really liked it. The position was open and I applied for the job. They were pretty up front with me and let me know that if a viable candidate applied for the job in the State of ND, they would hire the position there. Ayup...they got a viable candidate for the position in ND.

ok...strike that.

Shortly after I returned to my regular job in the call center, another position opened in Quality Assurance.

The hiring manager, knows me. She knows my work ethic...she knows I'm pretty good at what I do. I had 2 interviews for the open position. Then, three weeks went by without a word. Today I get an email from the HR department:


Thank you for your interest in the Quality Assurance Coordinator position.

____ believes that employees like you are our most valuable assets and that we will only benefit through your ongoing career development efforts. We have, however, selected someone else for the position whose qualifications more closely align with the job requirements."

Are you kidding me???? An email??? It was the last message in a series...that it's time to move on. So, I did. I am done.


Tuesday, May 11, 2010

The new widow

I'm not sure where I'm going with this blog.

A couple of days ago, I found out that one of the guys at work lost his dad suddenly. His mom is 59. I'm devastated for her. I remember the rip your guts out, stabbing heart kind of feeling of those first few days & weeks. He was back at work today. I wouldn't have known what to say or do before. Now I do...damn it. No one should have to join this stupid club.

I'm going to ask him to join me and my daughter for lunch...and to bring his mom. I'll ask him if he'd like to go one day this week and he can pick the day...and we will go there (an hour away)...and I'll treat. Then, I'm going to listen...and offer suggestions when asked...and listen...and listen...and listen.

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Mother's Day

Today is Mother's Day. It is cold and windy, leftover crazy from yesterday....when the Universe seemed like it was in a total state of confusion. It rained, hailed, thunder and lightning, got cold, got very warm, and the sun would come out. Over and over...all day. Totally matched my state of mind.

I spent most of the weekend at camp. Friday was fun. We sat around the, my kids, some of their friends, and some of my friends. Then Saturday came and I went into some type of crazy mind games. I had to come home to make sure mom was all set for the day and returned to camp around 3:00. Then my brain started to behave like the weather we were having. One minute, I was feeling happy and the next I was ready to cry. So, by 10:00 I'd had enough and drove home. Cried the whole way.

So, here we are...Mother's Day. It's not like Mike did all kinds of special stuff for me, but we usually went to the camp Mother's Day breakfast. Then, we'd just hang around. I am just so sad today.

Sunday, May 2, 2010


I feel like I'm surrounded by bubbles. Each one represents my life choices...marriage, family, friends, career, spirituality, finances, leisure, fun, freedom.......

They are they've been pricked by a little needle. Some of the little bursts are things that I have no control over and some are things that I no longer want to have in my life. I find myself giving stuff away. I find myself letting go of people who do not have my best interest at heart. I find myself considering leaving my job, selling my home, and giving up camping.

I'm taking it one step at a time. I won't sell my home or give up camp yet. I'll give camping this year and next...after all, our friends are still there. The job, however, is another story. I feel like I'm supposed to be doing something else. I dislike the negative aspects of the job (and at least 50% is negative).

So, I'm taking another week off...thinking about things. We'll see.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

I'm Here for You

"I'm here for you". Oh, if I had a dollar for every time that was said to emails, on facebook, or over the phone.

That has got to be the most annoying statement anyone can make. Obviously, if the statement is being made any place other than to your face, the person stating it is not "here for you."

The one I get the biggest kick out of is the one that was said by a very close family member. It goes something like this (to another family member): "I feel so bad for her. I won't go there now, but I will be there when she REALLY needs me." Huh? My husband just died...on daughter is brain damaged in a hospital across the country...and you're going to wait until I REALLY need you? Seriously...dumb ass.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

The First Night

I finally did it...stayed overnight at camp. Of course, I wasn't about to do that all by my son Jason and his family stayed with me. It was odd. I spent most of the time choking down the tears and expected to see Mike everytime I turned a corner. This makes it real. He's gone and I can't, for the life of me, figure out why. The people who camp there on a regular basis were so nice. Did that make it better? I don't know. Nothing makes it better I guess.

I brought Mike's ashes up there with me. Not sure why...only that he loved it there. I will need to make a decision on what to do with those ashes at some point. For now, he can stay the place that he loved.

I'm tired...and feel totally disengaged from life.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Opening Weekend

I finally went back to camp today. Oh, it was so hard. The minute I opened the door and saw the eyeglasses still on the table, I totally broke down.

I am overwhelmed. I used to go up there to find everything already done. All I had to do was get the groceries. I never paid any attention to the things Mike did to get the camper open for the season. I'm paying for it now.

In 3 days, it will be 5 months. Sigh.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010


I am on everyone else in the world I guess.

Anyways, I now have my mom living with me. She is in the beginning stages of alzheimers, and I know things are going to get very bad. Right now though...things are kind of funny.
Some of the stuff she says and does are outright hilarious, so I have posted a few of them for my friends to see. Now, I am not one who just friend requests everyone and I'm pretty selective in who I accept as a friend. Unfortunately, I may have erred in a couple of choices.

Apparently, some people feel the need to tell me their opinion of me on facebook for all to see. I have been told that some of the things I post are disrespectful. Well, guess what? I am my mother's daughter and Be Warned: I am not necessarily nice these days.

I have no patience for people who judge. Open your doors so we can all see how you're living.

Saturday, April 10, 2010


Two days after Mike died, I went back to camp. It was very early on that Saturday morning (4 a.m.) and absolutely no one was around. I spent a couple of hours that morning, wrapped in his shirts, his baseball cap on my head, crying, sleeping fitfully in the bed he died in. The following day, I went back with my kids so we could take stuff home for the winter. I haven't been back since.

Camp officially opens in 2 weeks. It was our home away from home. I don't want to give it up, but I'm afraid of the intensity. The grandkids love it there. Our friends are there.

I don't remember what we took home. I don't remember if we cleaned out cabinets. How will I feel if I find his toothbrush? How does the awning work? How does anything work? He took care of that stuff. I used to look forward to this time of year.

I'm thinking I may go back sometime this weekend. Or not.

Sunday, April 4, 2010


Put on the happy face for the kids and grandkids today, then came home and cried for over an hour. It probably didn't help that mom didn't want to go out and was totally confused when I got home.

I miss Mike so much. It's hard to believe that I will not see him again for the rest of my life. Holidays are so hard.

Saturday, April 3, 2010


I've always been a Searcher...looking for meaning, purpose, dreams to answer to. It's harder now. I want to move on...from the feeling of aloneness, from the care of others, from the job that holds me hostage.

It seems I'm never satisfied. After Mary was injured in the car accident, I felt as if I was wrapped in a dark fog. I was totally focused on what ifs...and how to's. If only I'd known that I only had less than a month to spend time with Mike. I would have forced myself to appreciate what I still had..however fleeting.

Next week, I will be going back to "the job", at least for a short while...or maybe a long while. I don't want to. I saw an interview with Po Bronson (author). In the presentation, he mentioned that people ask themselves "Will this make me happy?" What they should be asking is "Will this make me fulfilled?" Will the job make me happy? Well, the money is pretty good. Will this job make me fulfilled? Hell no.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Daylight Savings Time

The clocks went forward this morning for Daylight Savings Time. I'm both happy and sad. For the last 15 years, it signified the longer days of camping season. I loved to camp...with Mike. I'm going to keep the camper and the site for now, but it will be hard.

I'll be returning to work tomorrow. I've been out for months. I was pretty happy to find out that I'll be working in another position (at least temporarily). It's a job I've done before and really liked it. So I'm looking forward to it.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Did I say Easy?

I thought the remodel of mom's room would be easy. Yeah, right.

I own a very old 2-family home. One of my sons lives downstairs with his family, and the room under my mom's belongs to his daughter. Somehow, we (me, and my 2 boys) decided that we should just do it right. So, the walls in both bedrooms have been taken down, we've hired an electrician to run new wiring, new windows will be installed in both rooms, and the outside walls will be insulated.

I can hear Mike "Why do you want to do that? I don't know why you just don't sell and get the hell out." He would then realize that I never listened to him before so why would I start now.

All of this work will push back mom's ability to use the room of course. So, I may have her move in to another room temporarily.

The second condo didn't work out. The asking price was ridiculous and didn't give me much negotiation power. When it's right, it's right...and this one wasn't.

Exactly one week before I return to work.

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

One Down

The condo is done! I must say, it looks amazing. My boys did a great job getting everything done.
(For some reason, the pictures on the finished condo came out looking pink. It's white.)
On to the next project -- the room that mom will occupy. That should be easy, with the exception of a couple of replacement windows. Well, even that will be easy 'cause my boys are pretty good at that kind of stuff.
The guy who owns the condo where the estate sale was called me last night. I was a bit surprised at what he wants for the place considering the amount of work that's needed. I have to keep telling myself that this one is not a foreclosure, so if I want it, I may have to pay a bit more. He said he'd like to get together to talk specifics. So, we'll be getting together tomorrow morning to have that discussion.
Mike would tell me I'm crazy.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Estate Sales

I was driving by the complex that my condo is in yesterday and noticed a sign out front for an Estate Sale. Immediately, my little brain starts sending me messages. So, I pulled in, found the condo where the sale was taking place, walked up to the woman running the show and asked her to give the Executor of the Estate my name and number. Maybe I'll buy another condo.

The one I already own is almost done. Good thing, since tomorrow is the 1st. The carpets will be put down tomorrow morning, and the new tenant will be ready to go.

Yay for me.

A month ago, I couldn't even make a phone call.

Friday, February 26, 2010

Three Months

I can't believe it's been 3 months. Feels like yesterday. Feels like a hundred years. At least the pain isn't constant anymore. It just comes in little waves of extreme sadness.

..and forward I go.

The boys are still working on the condo. The carpeting for the bedrooms has been ordered, and will hopefully be installed before the tenant moves in. Lucky for me, the tenant is relocating from another state and won't be here until the around the 3rd. Then, we start working on my house.

I asked my mom to move in. I sure hope that was the right thing to do. Mike used to visit her every day after work. It was the only thing she looked forward to. She hates living there now...and I hate visiting her there. Mike was the maintenance supervisor of the building and everytime I go there to visit my mom, I feel like my heart is being squeezed. I hope she'll be happier with me. I hate to think of her last years here on earth being sad and lonely ones. I also hate the idea of her smoking in my house...she's like a chimney. I asked her not to and she said she wouldn't, but truly...I know her. This is a woman who would sneak smokes in her bedroom when my dad was diagnosed with congestive heart failure. I should probably not project into the future when daily life is still such a struggle. I love my mom.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Pills and Weight Loss

I debated long and hard about writing this blog. This is a story about my husband's death, doctors, and pills. If you have a problem with any of these things, you'd better get out of here now.

My husband loved to camp. On the night before Thanksgiving, he decided to stay at our camp up in the country. He was supposed to pick up my mom on the way home the next day for dinner. He never made it. When my mom called to say he was late, we (my daughter and me) drove straight to camp where we found him. The stillness slammed me in the face the minute I opened the door. He looked like he was his spirit just floated away.

After the police did their thing, I went back inside and that's when I noticed it. Sometime during the night, he used the toilet. Because the water had been shut off for the winter and he would have needed to use the pump for the holding tank, he didn't flush. The urine was dark brown. I mean really dark brown. Yet, the medical examiner refused to do an evaluation.

At one time, Mike was 250 lbs. On such a short man, that was pretty heavy and he was on a prescription blood pressure medication. His doctor then put him on water pills because of some swelling in his ankles. Mike decided that it was time to lose some weight and liked the water pills because they helped the weight come off quickly. At 180 lbs, Mike got gout. One of the side effects of the water pills...gout. Did his doctor make the connection? No. I told Mike he should get off the pills, but he kept saying his doctor put him on it and his doctor would take him off.

He started to get very thirsty and couldn't get water in fast enough. He saw his doctor one more time 2 days before he died. At that point, Mike was 170 lbs. I asked Mike if his doctor thought he should stop the water pills. Mike didn't ask...the doctor didn't mention it. Because there was never an autopsy done, I can't prove that the medication was a catalyst for Mike's death. What I do know is that Mike dropped from 250 lbs to 170 lbs in 3 months and used the water pills as a diet aide. The prescription was never altered for weight loss or for gout.

My purpose for posting this is this: If you are losing weight and are using medication of any kind, make sure that your doctor is staying on top of it. Research everything. Question everything. And, if you're not happy with how your doctor treats you, find another one. We are all responsible for ourselves. Don't give away your power! It could cost you your life.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Deal or No Deal

After Mike died, we had to clean stuff out of his office at work. He was using a desk that he built, so I decided to take it home and set up an office here.

I finally got around to going through the drawers yesterday. Mike was a huge fan of Deal or No Deal. Inside one of the desk drawers was a small tin shaped like the cases used on the show. I made the mistake of opening the case, and ended up crying all day.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The Condo

So, shortly after Mike died, I saw an ad for a condo that had been foreclosed on and was now up for sale. It was a great deal, so I put an offer on it and it is now all mine.

Initially, I thought I would live in it myself. After thinking about it, I've decided to stay in the home that I owned with Mike and rent out the condo. The house that Mike & I owned together is a 2-family house, so I'm used to being a landlord.

I'm lucky that I have 2 very handy sons. They have been working on the place diligently. Not that it needed major renovation, but the walls were in need of some repair and paint, the cabinets needed updating, and the carpets needed to be replaced.

I've already managed to get it rented out for the 1st of March, so the boys have been really busting their butts to get it all done.

It will be nice to have another source of income. I'm keeping my fingers crossed that it all works out.

Monday, February 22, 2010

Yesterday at the Grocery Store

I stopped in to the grocery store for a quick purchase yesterday afternoon and ended up spending an hour. While I was deciding which milk to purchase, a woman that Mike and I knew from years ago stopped to chat. Ten years ago, her husband passed away...he was only 52. It's hard to believe that so much time has gone by. I remember when it I avoided the whole thing.

Never again.

What I have learned is that you remember the people who were there...and the people who weren't.

I was surprised that, during our conversation, I was able to keep from crying. A week ago, I couldn't have done it. I asked her about how to go about certain things when it comes to maintaining a home and finances. What surprised me is that, even after 10 years, she still hasn't cleaned out his closet or removed his name from some financial stuff. Her reasons are her own, but it made me breathe a little easier. I don't have to rush this process. I don't think I want to wait 10 years, but the little pile of Mike's things in the corner of my room can stay there for awhile.

I'm still having bad days, but the better days are happening too. I still live for little flashes of light...those times when you actually find yourself enjoying something. If you get enough of them during the course of a day, your little world starts to get brighter. Meeting that woman in the middle of the grocery store was a little flash of light.

Friday, February 19, 2010

This I Don't Care Feeling

I've heard it called "passive suicide."

I picked up a hitchhiker. I bought a condo on the spur of the moment. I drive around with no real purpose. I gave $20 to a guy begging for cash on the street. Yeah, I know he probably spent the money on a bottle of booze. I hope he got more than one.

Would I try to stop a burglary? Run into a burning building to save a dog? I don't know, but I've thought about the possibility.

I once lived a safe, secure life. I don't know if what I'm feeling is "I don't care" or "I care too much." I've gone to the other side. Life is too short. Being safe got him dead. Being unsafe can get you dead. Dead is Dead. None of us is getting out of here alive.

I don't want to live "safe" anymore, but I don't want to cause my kids any more heartache. So, I'll need to find a "safe" outlet for "passive suicide." I make no sense.

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


I'm struggling. I went back to work for 2 days in December and couldn't do it. I've been out on a medical leave since then. My leave will end in mid-March and I'll have to return to work or resign.

I'm just not sure that I want to go back. I work in a tightly federal regulated position that is monitored extensively. I used to like it...back when my life was good. Back then, I felt like I had so much freedom, so much to live for. Now the thought of every minute of my day being monitored and controlled makes me feel sick to my stomache.

Am I screwing my financial future if I don't go back? Some family and friends think I "need" to go back to give me something to do, or for my career, or for my future, or it's in my best interest. It seems like everyone else has an opinion or a suggestion. They don't understand this overwhelming sadness that is making me feel crazy. How can I go back to work if I can't take 10 minutes to compose myself when I need to? How do I stop my voice from shaking or tears from falling every time I think of him?

One month. Then, like it or not, I'll need to make a decision...and decisions are not something I'm very good at lately.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Life Energy

It's 2 a.m. Once again, sleep eludes me.

Our daughter and 2 grandchildren are going home today. Across the country...coast to coast.

Twenty seven days before Mike died, our daughter was in a horrific car accident. We didn't think she'd make it. There were so many things wrong with her that the kidney and liver damage were considered minor. Her brain was damaged, her aorta torn, and her carotid artery compressed.

On Thanksgiving Day, the day he died...while the police were still investigating...we got a call on the cell phone telling us that she was doing so much better. She was starting show clear understanding and was beginning to speak. It was her birthday.

It's like he gave up his life energy for her. It makes me so sad. I wouldn't have wanted him to do that. We were supposed to get old together and spend our retirement years annoying each other. Now, it's all on me.

I'm glad she's well enough to go home. I wish he could come home too.

Monday, February 15, 2010


Yesterday was harder than I thought it would be. I'm so glad it's over.

I ended up staying up until way after my usual bedtime hours surfing the internet. I found a pretty good website for widows and widowers: I was reading all of these discussions on their website and crying...for them, and for me.

I don't much like this new life I've been forced into. I miss Mike every day. I wonder if HE's ok. He was afraid of death. He would never have chosen to leave me so soon. One thing I know for sure is that he loved me, and I'm so grateful that I had that for so long.

My emotions are still so raw...there will be so many things to face in the next year. The tears are ready to flow at any given moment. Yet, when I think back to those first days, I wonder how I didn't die with him. How can anyone go through that kind of pain and live?

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Valentine's Day

First, a little about this new life I've been thrown into.

Mike, my husband of 35 years died suddenly on Thanksgiving Day, November 26, 2009. I have spent the last 2 1/2 months in shock, although reality is starting to set in.

We have 5 kids ranging in age from 25 to 34 and 5 grandkids.

I tried to go back to work shortly after his death, but they were the hardest days I could ever have imagined. I have been out of work ever since...on a medical leave. He had life insurance, but I will still need to work, and will have to decide whether or not to return to my current position.

Already, I have managed to get through Christmas and my birthday without him. So here we are at Valentine's Day. Last year, he bought me a new laptop computer. Funny...because we really never did the goofy, gag me kind of stuff that other couples did. He'd give me a goofy card, or a hand-written note and would ask if I wanted to do something. We usually decided not to do anything at all, but it was nice just knowing he was around.

Today, I'm sick. I'm wondering if it's some kind of unconsious illness that I brought on to ignore the day. My youngest daughter brought me flowers and chicken noodle soup. I love that kid. I honestly don't know what I would have done without my kids during this. I wonder how people without kids manage to get through something like this.

Facebook posts about Valentine's Day are annoying me. I know people want to enjoy the day and show others what they have, but damn it...