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.