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...