Saturday, November 26, 2011

The Two Year Mark

Today...November 26...the official two year mark.

I had another dream about him last night.  Well, it was actually a dream about getting audited by the IRS and he showed up to offer support after the stress landed me in the hospital. 

So, for now, it's too early to know how I feel.  I'm kind of afraid to get out of bed this morning for fear of feeling sad, and afraid to stay in bed for fear of dreaming about how the audit turned out.  Good grief.  

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving in Year 2

Here we go again.  Another year almost complete.  This year, I'm a little sad.  Mostly grateful.  When I look back from here, I can't believe how completely and totally my life has changed.  From here, it looks like the big explosion that sent me reeling.  But, from the very beginning, I was surrounded by my family and friends.  I can never thank them enough.  Some were there within minutes, some were there within hours.  And then, there are the friends who came along much later.  They are the ones who made me realize that it's ok to laugh and to keep living.

This week, 2 families I know will be having funerals on the day before Thanksgiving.  Their lives forever changed.   I want them to know that someday...maybe 2 years from now...they will be ok.

Monday, November 14, 2011


I sometimes wonder if they are the window to the other world.  Every once in awhile, I dream of him.  When I do, he's a little he knows I'm sad.  Then he shows the "goofy" my last dream, he wanted to go say hi to people he knew...knowing he would scare the hell out of them.  I wonder why he doesn't visit me more often.  Is he busy over there?  Is there some kind of a 2-year life review going on?   If there is, then what?  Does he graduate? 

I hope, in some future dream, he lets me know that he's truly happy.  Without me.  I'd be ok with that. 

Saturday, October 29, 2011


One of my online widow friends told me she has found a new love.  She's making plans to spend more time with him and I'm happy for her.

Snow was forecasted for today.  Crazy for October...and with the leaves still on the trees, the men in town all seem to be outside with lawnmowers and rakes.  A good idea to pick up the leaves from the ground before they become soaked and covered...making for a nice mess in the spring.

The house across the street from me was sold this week.  The elderly woman who lived there moved out and for the last few days, the new owner has been diligently working there with his friends.  Trucks are lined up in the driveway and in the street.  Large, heavy materials are being removed from the house...and other large, heavy materials are being brought in.

Today, I'm emotional because...well...I don't have any of that.  Anymore.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

In the Rearview Mirror or Life at 23 Months

Two years ago, on this date, I had no idea that the train would be put in motion in only 4 days.  I had no idea that, in exactly one month, my life would explode and send me into a surreal existence.

When I look back on the first year, I wonder how I survived.  My kids and my friends were my "saving grace."  Without them, I am sure I would have died.  At the time, it would have been easy to crawl into bed and never get up again.  Everything was a, cooking, laundry.  Then there were house issues, car problems, and freakin snow up the wazoo.  There was Mary's health after the accident, mom's deteriorating mind, and a job I no longer fit into.  Looking back now, I know I was just putting one foot in front of the other.  I didn't feel like I had a future, only that somehow, in some way, I was moving forward. 

When I look back now, I think of that time (from October 30 to November 26) as a huge explosion, after which my world turned into a thick, black cloud.  With every little step I took in that forward motion, I began walking out of the blackness.  First into a heavy gray fog.  Then into a fog where I could begin to see little flashes of light, kind of like headlights coming at you on a foggy morning.  It helped to have things or days to look forward to.  Wine Nights with the Ladies, Mini vacations with the kids, and Saturday night dinners with friends made me feel like I still had something to live for.

In the second year, I found myself wondering what I was going to do for the rest of my life.  At around 17 or 18 months, I felt the pull backwards and started to wonder if I was ever going to feel better.  The fog was still there, only it felt like I was half in and half out.  I imagine, in a portrait, it would be of a woman coming out of a dark cloud, arms outstretched, with the fog hanging off of her arms.

So, today is 23 months.  The sun shines a lot in my life these days.  I'm mostly happy and grateful for the people in my life.  It rains every now and then, and the fog rolls in once in awhile.  But, today, I'm good.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

A Walk would be Nice

That's what I miss right now.  Mike and I used to walk almost every night.  Me and him.  We walked in the rain the night before he died.  I miss having that connection to someone that I can walk with and share stuff that we wouldn't share with anyone else.  We walked through trouble with the kids, job losses, health issues with our parents, sadness, anger, and happiness.  In many ways, it kept us strong as a couple.

Now, I'd like to walk for my health.  But, I don't like to walk alone.  So, I'm going to drag out the old treadmill and see if I can figure out a place where I can set it up and actually put it to good use...and not as a clothes hanger.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Me & God

I said earlier this year that one of my goals was to find God.  Just to let you know...I'm still looking.

Monday, October 10, 2011

So, This is It?

This summer, I met a guy at camp.  He's also widowed and we spent a couple of evenings doing stuff together.  I think we both enjoyed the company.  He travels around the country working in home, no worries, no roots.  Last month, he took off (alone) for the promise of warmer weather with a stop on the way to visit family.   He posts pictures of the places he visits (and he's a fantastic photographer).  And I I missing something?

Here I am, living in an old house (needing work), putting in my time at work, and living in the same town I was born in...close by kids (hell, one of them still lives in this old house), mom (yup, she's here too), grandkids, dogs, and friends.  Nope.  I'm not missing anything (except maybe a smile from the other side of the table).  

Monday, October 3, 2011

The Dark Time of the Year

I always loved Fall. The month of October was my favorite...until 2009. Not because it was the month Mike died, but because it felt like the beginning of the end.

Well, I've decided that it's ok to still love October. Brilliant colors, pumpkin pie, honey crisp apples, little ones in costume, and the feeling of magic in the air...I love it. Again.

Monday, September 26, 2011

From the Other Side of the Lens

Mom moved back in with me. It's a long story and one I really don't want to post on the internet. So...

Today we watched a video from Mom & Dads 50th Wedding Anniversary...16 years ago. Mike was still alive, my dad was alive, aunts/uncles/cousins still alive. The party was held one week after my uncle Tony passed away. His wife (my Aunt Rose - the spectacular aunt from another post) was there. One week after he passed. My God. She looked so sad in the video. Regal. But sad.

I remember very little of the day itself. But there I was on video. Proof that I had, in some way, participated. I wish I had paid more attention. To the man across the table from me (Mike). To cousins Gina & Lou. To Uncle Carl & Charlie. To Aunt Sue & Kay & Rose. To my dad.

Some day my kids will watch videos of our family. I hope they see the same things in me that I saw today in my family. They embraced life and each other. Even in grief.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


I'm at a loss for them. The ex-husband of a friend passed away this week. It had been a long marriage, but one of much trouble. Even his relationship with his own son was somewhat strained. I find myself sad for a man that I didn't really know.

The only thing we are leaving here with is love...the love we felt for others and the love they felt for us. That's it. I know Mike has it in abundance wherever he is. His time here mattered. For all of that, I am grateful.

The friend has been remarried for quite a few years now to a man who truly is her match (made in heaven kind of stuff). I'm happy that she finally has the kind of eternal love that she deserves. I hope there is a loving God who will wrap her sons father in the same kind of love. Eternity is a very long time.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Maybe if I nap enough...

I have to make some changes, and apparently I've decided avoidance is best. So I nap. A lot. Maybe it's actually depression. The thing is...I know that these changes are necessary for my long term emotional and financial health, but it's change. Another change. I don't want any more change dammit.

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Money Money Money

I'm finding that many widows are in some pretty difficult financial situations. I don't have a lot of advice, but what I do have, I'm willing to share.

  • If you (or he) worked for a long period of time in a stable company, find out if they have a pension plan that you (or he) was eligible for. I was delighted to find out that I am currently eligible for 2 pensions with another one available to me when I turn 63. Now that there is some sexy money!

  • Contact the Social Security office. At the very least, you may be eligible for a one-time $255 distribution.

  • Sell, garage sales, flea markets. If you have enough stuff and don't have the time or energy to do it yourself, find someone to do it for you. To start selling online, check out Ebay. The first 50 auction style listings per month are free.

  • Rent out space. Whether it's a room in your home or a garage for auto storage, the extra monthly income is pretty nice to get. Make sure you check references if you're renting out space in your own home. Also check to make sure you can legally do it. In my city, a special permit is required.

  • Upgrade your resume. Then, get it out there! Check out websites like and Believe me...even if you haven't worked for awhile, you have skills. There are ways to build a knock-out resume whatever your work history looks like. If you struggle in this area, get help from someone in the business world (or you may be able to get help from a local college).

  • Of course, there are other ways to get the income rolling in...daycare, dog walking, cleaning services. The point is, start the ball rolling. The small steps lead to bigger ones and the small income...well, you get the picture.

      Friday, July 1, 2011

      You'd think I'd be used to this by now

      I stayed at camp alone last night...the first time since the weekend after he died when I wrapped myself in his (still smelling of him) clothing and fell asleep. I didn't intend to stay there alone, but that's what happened anyways. When I realized that it would be the place where he died, I was a little apprehensive. I don't know what I thought would happen...maybe he'd come visit me in the place he loved best? Nope...just me and the mice.

      I can't believe that, after 19 plus months, I'm still having these "firsts." "I should be used to this stuff by now" I say to myself. Isn't it time to sleep through the night? Isn't it time for the grief to go away? Shouldn't I be "finding myself" by now?

      It kinda hit me at 3 a.m. I started dating him when I was 15. We were married for 35 years. "Finding myself" is not going to happen in 19 months. The kid who met and married the "bad boy" is not the same woman who raised him, and neither of them are the same woman who grieved his death. The woman who "gets used to this" will not be me.

      Wednesday, June 29, 2011

      Finances, Insurance Money, Stuff, and Family

      I find myself in amazement when I read some of the stuff that widows (and some widowers) go through with friends and family after a spouse dies. People come swooping in making the widowed feel guilty...for them! They want stuff that belonged to the dead or they think the insurance money is some kind of windfall that should be shared. Most of the widowed are not ready to part with anything...shock and denial make it almost impossible to even think straight.

      Here's the thing. It's no longer "his"'s default. No one has the right to take anything unless it was on loan to the person who died. And about that insurance money...he/she is dead and gone...and so is the financial support for your household. That means whatever insurance money you receive is not up for grabs. You will need it to cover current and future expenses. I don't care how much you care about them or trust them. If they can't get a loan from a bank for the trouble they're in, they are a credit risk to you too. If they don't pay it back, you will become resentful...and if you need the money are screwed.

      Believe me....been there, done that. It ain't pretty.

      Friday, June 17, 2011

      Father's Day...Here we go again.

      Father's Day used to stress me out. I never knew what to get my dad...never knew what to get Mike either. They were guys who would just prefer to get whatever they wanted when they wanted it. So, for Mike, I always stuck with the staples...meaning he had more socks and underwear than I cared to wash.

      So, now what? This will be my second Father's Day without Mike. It's bothering me...a lot. Maybe these "special" days will always be like this.

      I'm thinking Sunday will be a good day for sun, pool, and beer. Not in that order.

      Sunday, June 12, 2011


      I wonder...if not for my kids and friends...well, I guess I won't even think about it.

      I am fortunate. Now 55 years old...and I have the best support group possible. My daughter saw me smiling the other day and asked me why I had that smirk on my face. I told her it's because of how old I am and who my friends are. She, by the way, is one of them. We are quite a diverse group and age has no meaning. Me...the oldest and Kim...the baby at 26.

      Here's what I know for sure...we will be there for each other. Always.

      Monday, June 6, 2011

      The Shape of Evil

      I can remember a Spongebob show where the shape of evil was discussed as square. It's not. In my opinion, the shape of evil is formed as a dark funnel.

      Last Wednesday, tornadoes touched down in Massachusetts, ravaging community after community...the poor, the middle class, the well-to-do. Within days, pictures started to appear on the internet showing some of the devastation. They do not show the real picture. Granted, we are nowhere near as bad off as those who lived in Joplin MO. The damage there was more like annihilation.

      On Saturday afternoon, a few of us went to volunteer in one of the communities of Springfield. At first, I was wondering what we were doing there...a few windows knocked out, shingles missing...until we got further into the community. I can't even begin to describe what we saw...except the remnant of evil.

      Thursday, May 26, 2011

      18 Months

      A year and a half...a lifetime. It's like my life is divided now. There's the life I had with him...and the life I have now.

      It's not a bad life, but it sure is different...and certainly not what I imagined it would be. I spend more time with my girls and my friends. I'm learning about health and studying at the Institute for Integrative Nutrition and I will be going back to college in the fall. Maybe I'm just trying to keep myself busy...or maybe I realize that I could possibly have another 30 years alone. That's a long time unless you're enjoying life. So, I'm giving it a whirl.

      I still have "those days" and today could very well be one of them. The emotional side of me wants to stay in bed, cry, and be all "woe is me." The practical side of me says "get your ass outa bed and get moving." I'm still wondering who will win.

      Saturday, May 14, 2011

      Like a double the gut

      Mother's Day...Mike's Birthday. sigh.

      I thought I was fine.'s been almost 18 months now. I got through Mother's Day without too much trouble. It was still a little painful, but I managed. So, I start thinking his birthday will be ok. I didn't plan for special little friends over (like last year). So, the day rolls around...and WHAM! I woke up crying!! I got dressed crying! I ate breakfast crying! I got in the car to go to work crying! I hit traffic on the way in and cried like it was the biggest disaster I'd ever had to deal with. I turned the car around and came back home.

      I then spent the better part of his birthday in bed or on the back porch wrapped in a blanket, sipping tea, and trying to read a book or listen to my ipod. In the end, it was the perfect way to spend his birthday.

      Still miss ya Mikey.

      Tuesday, May 3, 2011

      My thoughts over the last couple of days...

      I will mourn the loss of thousands of precious lives, but I will not rejoice in the death of one, not even an enemy. "Returning hate for hate multiplies hate, adding deeper darkness to a night already devoid of stars. Darkness cannot drive out darkness: only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate, only love can do that." Martin Luther King Jr.

      This was posted on my friend's Facebook status this morning. Now I know why she's my friend.

      I wondered why I didn't really feel the same sense of pleasure or happiness about the death of an evil man that the rest of our countrymen seemed to be feeling. Instead, I was thinking about the families who lost their loved ones in service to our country and on that fateful day in September 2001. The end of this man's life did not bring anyone back.

      Do I think it was necessary? Probably. But instead of rejoicing, I am remembering...not only the loss of those thousands of people...but of my own loss as well.

      If we could put the energy of the last few days into love for others, we truly could change the world. Now don't go getting your panties in a bunch. I'm not saying you have to love those who do evil...just focus on love for humanity in general.

      Ok, let the bitch slaps commence.

      Saturday, April 23, 2011

      Another Opening Day

      Once more, it's opening day at camp. I refuse.

      I went up last weekend and found that the mice had been partying. I was going to leave the bedding, but decided it would be better off left in my car all week. Today, Jason is going up there to clean up. At least I hope he is.

      Camp still overwhelms me...the place where he died. Am I keeping it because he loved it? Or because I love it? Or because my kids love it?

      It is amazing to me, that even after all these months, I still tend to question this.

      Tuesday, April 5, 2011

      Now We Know What We Should Do

      I am just coming off a fabulous Florida vacation and feel like I just got run over by a moving train. We got back home on Saturday morning. On Sunday morning, my son told me that his friend's dad had died...48 years old...heart camp. ugh. Like a fist to the stomache. Jason and this friend had grown up together and their dads were a big part of their lives. I watched and listened as his mom told the family there were to be no flowers or crosses at camp. That was his "happy place." I watched and listened as she made lists with her friends on who needed to be called...then watched and listened as she made those calls. Family and friends kept showing up...and still...she kept coming back to talk and to listen. Perhaps she just needed to know that she would be ok. Perhaps she just needed to know that she would be able to smile someday. Was she relieved to see what grief looks like in the 2nd year? Did she see someone who has chosen to move forward in spite of the grief? I told her she'd be ok. I promised.

      Saturday, March 19, 2011

      Don't think!!!

      When I listen to this song, I think "now why would I want to keep his ghost away?" But, that's exactly what I do! When I think about him, I miss him so much more. I should be able to touch him...hug in the kitchen with him. So, I stop myself from thinking. Switch to happy thoughts. Keeping the ghost away.

      Tuesday, March 15, 2011


      For a long time, I didn't dream about Mike. I didn't dream at all. Hell...I didn't sleep at all.

      Now they are coming at me and, for the most part, I'm not sure if they make me happy or sad. Last night, he was very much alive and I had 4 days to talk him out of taking the meds that I believe had a hand in his death. If I did that, he would stay alive. I couldn't. Damnit! I can't even keep him alive in my dreams.

      Friday, March 11, 2011

      Sleeping Arrangements

      I understand from other widows, that spending money after your husband dies is very easy to do. I sure did it. Boy oh boy...did I ever.

      After Mike died, I had my mom move in with me and gave her my old bedroom. I totally destroyed and remodeled a spare bedroom initially intending it to be for her. When she moved to Linda's, I decided to keep the new remodeled bedroom for myself. It was too hard to sleep in the room I shared with Mike anyways. Then I went nuts buying new furniture, bedding, and curtains.

      One year later...I'm back in my old bedroom. It just feels right. Which brings me to...

      the house is still on the market. Since December, 3 people have looked at it. It's looking like I'm going to be sleeping somewhere in this house for a long time.

      Wednesday, March 9, 2011 PDA

      I was never one for public displays of affection. I never cared for those mushy anniversary cards or big displays of affection at Valentine's Day. I sure didn't want anyone feeding me chocolate covered strawberries at dinner. Mike, on the other hand, wanted everyone to see how much he loved me. It drove me crazy. If we were dancing, he wanted to be lip-locked. He would chase me around the kitchen table in front of friends saying "just give me 3 minutes."

      So, today I was driving along...listening to my iPod...lost in thought...when I saw them. Standing at the bus stop, arms wrapped around each other, sucking on each others' faces, oblivious to anything else happening around them. And I thought to myself...."oh gag me." Some things haven't changed.

      Tuesday, March 8, 2011

      Ridin Solo

      Can't help it. I have that song stuck in my head.

      I took off for an overnight trip with my girls and some friends on Saturday. We had such a good time...laughed so hard that my jaw hurt. How can you be happy and guilty at the same time?

      I didn't do stuff like that when Mike was alive. Oh there was the time I took a couple of the kids camping, but for the most part...I stayed closer to home. We weren't the couple who always had to be together, but we were usually never very far.

      So, this is new to me. I like the freedom. And I feel guilty about that. I like feeling happy. And I feel guilty about that. I like spending money without worrying about what he would say about it. And I feel guilty about that. Ridin solo. And I feel guilty about that.

      Sunday, March 6, 2011

      How far would you go to save your child?

      Mary is in her mid-30's now, but when she was around 15, our family took a camping vacation to Cape Cod. The weather was beautiful for the entire week, so on one of those days, we decided to bring the kids swimming in the ocean.

      Mike, Mary, and the boys took off for a swim and the 2 little girls stayed behind playing in the sand with me. After a while, I took out the video camera and started taping. It was one of those big old clunkers...very "in" at that time. As I was taping, I heard one of the little ones say "hey someone's drowning". I tried to focus the camera on what was happening...2 people were being rescued by lifeguards. Then it hit was my husband and my daughter. They had been caught in an undertow.

      Afterward, when the kids went to bed, Mike told me that he was sure they were going to die. He said that he kept thinking over and over that he couldn't let it happen to her. He kept trying to get under her to lift her out of the water. He said he would have died trying to keep her alive.

      Fast forward to October 30, 2009. On that day, I went to dinner with my daughter Megan and my grand daughter. During dinner, I noticed that my phone kept going off. Afterward, I re-dialed the number to find an answering service from a hospital almost 3000 miles away in the state where Mary lived. When I was finally able to reach someone, I was told that Mary had been in a horrific accident. She was comatose, needed open heart surgery, had suffered 2 strokes since the accident, had a crushed carotid artery, kidney and liver damage.

      The next couple of days were a blur as we tried to decide who would go to be with her and who would stay behind to take care of things at home. I went with a son and daughter. Mike stayed home. I didn't know then that we only had 26 days left with each other. I stayed with Mary for a week and came home when my work leave ended.

      On November 25, 2009, the day before Thanksgiving, Mike and I took a walk in the rain. The hospital was saying there had been some improvement and that we should start thinking about what to do for long-term care. She couldn't talk, needed 24 hour physical and emotional care. The accident was caused by an uninsured drunk driver. There wouldn't be any financial assistance. We didn't know how we could get her home or pay for the services that she would require. Mike was sad because Thanksgiving was also her birthday and she would be alone in a hospital 3000 miles away from us.

      Mike said he wanted to spend the night at our camp. He asked if I wanted to go with him, but I told him no way was I going up there in the rain and cold. I would stay home in my nice warm house. He called me as he was getting to camp and asked if apple juice could cause heartburn. I told him I would look it up and let him know tomorrow. sigh.

      Thanksgiving morning...I was awake at 3 a.m. Something wasn't right. Was it me? Mary? The hospital staff said she was sleeping. The morning dragged on. I got dressed and went to my daughters for dinner. Mike had told me that he would pick up my mom at 12:45 and be at my daughters for dinner by 1:00. At 12:50, my cell phone rang. Mom said he wasn't there yet. My heart dropped. He would never be late for her. Never.

      My daughter asked me if we should go up to camp. It was a 30 minute drive, but I said yes. Nothing made sense. If he had been called in to work, he would've called. As we got closer to camp, I told my daughter "if his truck is there, he's dead."

      We drove into the campground and rounded the corner to our camper, but his truck wasn't there. Just as I breathed a sigh of relief, Megan said, "'s the front." My hand shook as I put the key in the lock. Then I opened the door. You can feel death. It slams you in the stomache. I screamed. He was lying on the bed, one arm crooked under his pillow. No, it's ok...he's just sleeping. No!No!No! This can't be happening.

      I remember running outside and falling to the ground...screaming. Within minutes, our friends were there, picking me up from that cold hard ground. I was holding onto the bumper of his truck. I couldn't let go. My heart was exploding. I would die with him. Then the police showed up. Because he died alone, they needed to do an investigation. The rest of my kids showed up. Then Megan's phone rang.

      It was Jaime calling from the hospital. Mary was doing so well. She was talking. She was understanding. Did we want to talk to her...perhaps say Happy Birthday?

      Megan explained what was happening and that we would call back later. I made the call the next day. She understood. She cried. She said "I love you." Two weeks later, my sons flew across the country to bring her home.

      I believe that Mike gave his life energy to her. The same energy he summoned trying to keep her above the water that day so many years before that. She's gone back home now. I wish he was still here with me.

      Friday, March 4, 2011

      Is the 2nd Year Really Worse?

      I've heard other widows say it...the 2nd year is worse. I don't know if that's entirely true, but I sure have noticed that I'm missing more of the stuff I never thought I noticed before. Weird things...the dimple on his back, the tatoo on his arm, the way he smelled after a shower, the softness of his hair after a haircut. Then there's the hair in his nose and ears and the sound of snoring (all night).

      So, the first year was the year of shock, anger and extreme pain. It's the year of trying to find your footing, of trying to grasp the enormity of what has just happened. In some cases, there is also financial issues to deal with. Mostly, we are completely crazy.

      The second year, I think, is the year that you really have to come to grips with the fact that the physical person is gone. The shock has worn off, but you still kind of expect to see him walk through the door any minute now. It amazes me that 15 months later, the sound of a car door shutting outside my house can bring me to my knees. It's the year of understanding just how much life has changed.

      Saturday, February 26, 2011

      The Next Step

      Anyone reading this blog knows that I have a problem with the standard medical organization, and especially doctors who are too lazy or overworked to do anything other than push pills. There are some good doctors out there (I found one) and I would certainly not want to go to a naturopath if I were seriously injured. I was extremely grateful for the trauma unit when my daughter Mary was so critically injured.

      This was the car Mary was pulled from.

      I also have a huge interest in natural health and how food can help or hurt. So, I started to think that I would like to study holistic nutrition. The problem with that kind of study is that every organization I thought about applying to showed up on QuackWatch. That really bothered me...a lot.

      But a few days ago, the lightbulb went on. I'm not interested in the standard medical organization. I am not interested in nutrition that is backed by major food companies. The ADA (American Dietetic Assn) is sponsored by those companies. We're talking Pepsico, Coca Cola, and Kelloggs here ( So...then I start thinking in my little brain: "Who sponsors QuackWatch?" The answer is a bona fide Medical Quack!!!

      Ok...that did it. I finally did what I've been wanting to do and signed up for a course at the Institute of Integrative Nutrition. Today is the 15th month anniversary of Mike's death...and I am finally really excited about something in my life. Yay me!

      Saturday, February 19, 2011

      The Valentine Ghost

      My daughter Kim is a scaredy cat. She has a live-in boyfriend and 2 dogs for protection, but she can be mighty jumpy about things that go bump in the night.

      Valentines Day is extremely hard for me and my kids know it. Mike is on our minds every minute of the day. During the last 15 years of our marriage, Mike liked to spend most of his time at camp. During the spring, summer, and fall, we lived there. Then the weather would get cold, and I'd go home leaving him behind until he couldn't take the cold anymore. Kim lived closer to camp and to his work than we did, so he would go to her house and raid her refrigerator while he did laundry. It was a pretty funny setup. We would tease him about eating her food while doing laundry. Kim and Mike adored each other.
      Here's a picture of Kim, Mike and Meg being themselves.

      Mike was a jokester. He loved to make people jump. There was the time he put a smoke bomb under my brother-in-law's jeep making it look like the truck was on fire. Or the time he shut the breakers off in the basement of his house, then jumped out at him in the dark.

      So, on my second Valentines Day without him, Kim went into her basement to switch the laundry from the washer to the dryer. The washing machine lid was open and the machine was full of water (which meant she closed it). Then Shawn asked her if anyone had gone to the house while they were at work who may have taken the leftovers he was saving for supper. No one had.

      Kim sent me a message saying "I think dad is visiting from the other side and I'm not scared." I told her it sure sounded like something he would do. We all laughed...still thinking there would be some reasonable answer to all of this...until it happened again later the same night.

      This time, Shawn went down to switch his laundry....and this time the machine had gone through the full cycle...and the lid was up.

      I like to think that it was him...letting us know that he still enjoys playing with peoples' heads...and that he's ok.

      Wednesday, February 2, 2011

      Things Every Widow Should Have

      . a regular screwdriver
      . a philipshead screwdriver
      . a hammer
      . some nails and screws

      and if you live in the northeast, a freakin snowblower!

      Saturday, January 29, 2011

      Widow is not spelled S.T.U.P.I.D

      Here comes another Facebook rant. Hahaha. I'm outa control.

      I get these dumb messages from weird men who are "prowling" widows. When the message starts with "Hello Angel", or references hugs and kisses,I immediately roll my eyes. Do you really think that kind of crap is going to work?

      I will say, they can be most amusing. Here's a recent one that was sent as a private message:

      How are you doing today.My name is Robert Williams, 50years old..I am new to facebook and i saw your profile which really caught my attention and i developed a special interest in you.I am a widowed/single man,loyal, responsible,active,loving, caring, kindhearted, accommodating and sexy.I want a woman with a good heart,one with good knowledge about love and who knows how a man is been treated,age or color difference do not matter to me at all,as long as she loves me,I want a relationship that will last forever and won't fade.Dear,you are such a lucky woman cos you are the only and first woman that has attracted me so far.I feel more comfortable talking to you now on yahoo messenger and my yahoo IM is (robertwantlove)

      Give me your yahoo I.D and mine is

      I will be awaiting your swift response.

      Hugs and Kisses,
      Robert Williams .

      I am such a lucky woman because I attracted him? Oh, gag me.

      I wonder, do the widowers out there deal with this kind of stuff?

      Oh, and robertwantlove, if you ever get around to reading this post, I just have one thing to say to you. Bite me.

      Friday, January 28, 2011

      Are things really harder?

      I'm trying to get a grip here. It's been a really bad week. And I wonder....did I have these weeks before Mike died? Or are they just magnified now that he's gone.

      It seems like I blame everything that goes wrong on the fact that Mike died. Like it was the beginning of some big hill that I started sliding down toward hell. But, it's not really true. The things that are going wrong now are things that were going wrong before. I just chose not to deal with them before. I didn't have to. Mike took care of stuff, and if he didn't...I just trusted that it didn't need to be dealt with. Wrong.

      Yesterday, when I was walking around in the house crying, I found myself bitching at him for not stepping in and taking care of this. My husband. The guy who died.

      Thursday, January 27, 2011


      I really need to wean myself off Facebook. It takes up entirely too much space in my life.

      The posts that end with "repost if you agree" drive me nuts. Most of them contain incorrect or misleading information, but lots of people just assume it's all good. Then, there are the whiners or complainers. I usually want to say something like, " my life honey."

      It's not all bad though. After Mike died, some of those Facebook Widow groups saved me from myself. I get to see pictures of my grandkids, and funny videos posted by family members.

      But, alas...I still spend way too much time there. Proving that I need a life.

      Monday, January 24, 2011

      Cold & Hungry

      As a widow, sometimes I find it difficult to be grateful. Yes, I'm still grateful for what I have...but what if I'm grateful today, and tomorrow it's gone? Will I still be grateful? I think that's the problem with this kind of loss...I am so very aware how things can go from good to bad in an instant.

      Kim and I took a "pointless cruise" yesterday afternoon. We used to do that a lot after Mike died. On our cruise to nowhere, we passed a "bum" at a stop light...holding a sign that read "Hungry and very cold."

      We were driving in a 11-year old Ford that, admittedly, needs a little work. But the heater works just fine. And the gas tank is full. We can afford to drive to nowhere. We own our own homes. Well heated homes I might add (well, mine is partially heated with hot flashes).

      So, we pass by this guy and notice that there aren't too many people rolling down their windows to throw cash in his direction. Guess they were all afraid that he would just waste the money on booze or drugs. In my opinion, he was working harder than lots of people I know. It can't be easy standing on a corner in the freezing cold carrying a hat, no gloves (-5 here).

      We turned around. This time, when I drove up to the light, it was green. I stopped, rolled down the window, and gave him all the money I had for the week. And so did Kim.

      Then, I went home to my nice warm house and made myself a sandwich for lunch the next day. I hope he didn't spend the money on booze or drugs, but if he did...I hope he had a warm, safe place to sleep last night. And I'm grateful for all that I have right this second.

      Sunday, January 23, 2011

      Making Memories and Buying Stuff

      After all these years, I finally get it.

      Mike and I weren't big on vacations or "seeing the sights." Oh, we did a few things, but for the most part, we liked to save our money for the big know...the stuff.

      I guess, the stuff helped us to make memories, but let's face was still stuff.

      Now, when I think about our family (and especially Mike), I think about the things we did together. The memories I carry with me now are the times we were just enjoying each other. It was all about the love we had for each other, the love we had four our family, and the love they had for us.

      There was the camping trip to Cape Cod. Mike and Mary almost drowned that trip...saved by the lifeguards (just in the nick of time I might add). There was the family trip to Maine for Dan's wedding. Mary (the hippie) and Megan (the cop) had to drive up together. We laughed about that one for a long time. There was the vacation to Laconia Maine...Dan blowing kisses to the older girls.

      These are the things that I remember...the things that were truly important. The stuff....well, most of it is long gone...and I don't remember much of it.

      Tuesday, January 18, 2011


      I sometimes wonder why, when my grandparents got off the boat in New York City, they decided to go north. I guess it was best that they did...lest I not be here, but I seriously wonder why.

      Mike and I were thinking that we would do the snowbird thing...6 months here and 6 months South. As much as I really dislike winter, I won't be doing that alone. So, I need to suck it up and deal...snow plows, snow blowers, snow shovels...will be a part of my life. Like it or not.

      Well, at least the dogs are happy.

      Or not.

      Friday, January 7, 2011

      Health Insurance

      Well, here I go again...talking about something I probably shouldn't talk about. I just can't help myself sometimes.

      If you want to know what the new Federal healthcare law is going to be like, just take a look at Massachusetts. I'm screwed.

      I never worried about health insurance when Mike was alive. He worked at a good job, made decent money and had good health insurance. All that changed the day after he died. I then went through a living hell trying to get my own company to cover me...and to this day, they still haven't paid one of my providers. I ended up shelling the money over out of pocket. Maybe someday I'll see the check. Anyways....

      Massachusetts law says everyone must have health insurance, and if you fall below certain guidelines, you can get it free. If you don't get insurance, you will pay penalties at tax time. Well, in spite of the fact that I work part-time, I still have enough income to put me over the "free" now I'm eligible for a "reduced" plan. Uh huh.

      At my age, the cheapest plan is $425 a month. Massachusetts says, based on my income, I should only be able to afford $275 monthly. Hahahaha. So, I may be able to get a waiver based on the fact that I don't meet the guideline. So, now I have a decision to I get the health insurance or use the waiver?

      Honestly, I don't even LIKE the idea of going to a doctor. I see a nurse practioner skilled in natural medicine and lifestyle changes. What I really want is a catastrophic policy. Unfortunately, in Massachusetts, $425 a month IS the catastrophic policy. Regulators have made sure to add all kinds of nonsense that I don't need and don't want to pay for.

      If I lived 8.6 miles down the road, I would be in Connecticut, where the catastrophic health insurance is $112 a month. The extra could go into a Health Savings Account where it could be invested. Under the new Federal law, you won't even be able to use the HSA for over the counter meds. Everything will require a prescription.

      Let's see. If I rent out my entire house, I could rent a room in Connecticut and get the catastrophic policy. The room would be around $100 a week....oh forget it.

      Wednesday, January 5, 2011

      Wedding Rings

      In the widow world, there is quite a lot of discussion about wedding rings. When, if ever, should they be taken off. Ha! I can't relate to any of it, because I don't have a choice.

      Seriously...I was married at the age of 18. At the age of 54, who can fit into anything they wore at the age of 18? And, if you're that good, my hat is off to you. My wedding ring has never been off my hand, and after 36 years, it probably isn't coming off at all. I've tried.

      I think taking your wedding ring off would have to be a very emotional thing to do. I will need to lose 30 lbs first. Another excuse to keep the weight.

      Tuesday, January 4, 2011

      The Widow Card

      I like playing the Widow Card as much as anyone else does, I get sad and cranky, I cry...but I don't like living in "Widow Drama."

      Many widows don't, but I kind of understand it when someone says to me "you really need to move on." I know. It's just hard to figure out what I'm moving on to.

      Obviously, things have changed...once widowed, you can't go back. And, honestly...I don't want to spend my entire life living in the past...because I am not there and neither is he. It's a memory. You can't stay there forever. You have to move on. Said by a widow.

      I miss Mike every day. I loved that man more in the last few years than I did when we were first married. And he loved me. But, he's gone. There are people that I absolutely love and adore still here with me today, and if they were gone tomorrow, I would be regretting having lived in the past.

      On the other hand, I'm a widow...can I get a discount?

      Monday, January 3, 2011

      Celebrating the New Year

      I don't get it...never have.

      What has changed on January 1? The numbers of the year...that's it. Oh sure, we may make resolutions and tally up those numbers on December 31...but nothing really changes unless you make the effort.

      On December 31, 2009, someone made the comment about wanting the year to be over with because it had been so bad. No it wasn't. Mike died that year, Mary was in the car accident that year...but to be honest, most of the year was pretty damned good. I spent the most amazing summer with my husband, and we were pretty happy.

      On January 1, 2010, I had no resolutions...except to get through the year in one piece. In that year, I made more positive changes than ever before. Admittedly, my life had been shattered...hard to not move forward from that.

      The point's Life. I have watched people in my own family get stuck for years. Then a crisis hits, and BOOM! Forward they go. The thing is...they decided in that moment to make the move. Didn't have to wait until a certain date said it was time.

      Things are going to happen. Life and Death will happen. Even in grief, we can do some pretty amazing things. In my opinion, doing the best you can today is all that's required.

      Sunday, January 2, 2011


      I am annoyed...once again. Be warned...I am going to bitch.

      Mike's best friend, Tim, started to show signs a few months ago of high sugar levels. It started when he got dizzy at work. He immediately made an appointment with his physician and the test results showed a high blood sugar level. A couple of weeks later, he gets re-checked and says everything is fine...his doctor said the numbers were coming down. "No problem...I can eat whatever I want."

      Then, he complains that he's waking up thirsty at night...and his eyes hurt...and he can't see!

      So, back he goes to the doctor...this time to be put on a prescription drug. Numbers so high, he could end up hospitalized or dead.

      I am more than annoyed. I don't know if he was given any real concrete plans to change his lifestyle, but come on! Months!!!

      I am frustrated with a medical community that doesn't listen, pushes drugs, and has no idea what the patient's lifestyle is really like. Drugs are not the answer when changes to the diet could have made a huge difference when he first went to the doctor. Most people need to be educated. We were raised on McDonald's and processed foods. Potatoes do not come in a box!!  And we are not deficient in Metformin.

      Saturday, January 1, 2011


      uh oh.

      My dogs are the greatest Escape Artists ever! I have a pretty large fenced-in yard. Those two have managed to break out multiple times over the last couple of months. They've managed to lift the gate off the hinge, bust through the gate, jump the fence, and now I'm pretty sure they somehow managed to tunnel under. Twice yesterday. After the first breakout yesterday morning, my son and I walked the yard...checking the fence...making sure it was secure. Somehow, they did it again late yesterday afternoon.

      We scoured the neighborhood. When we weren't able to find them, we called the animal control officer. Yup...he had them...and they were now going to be locked up for the weekend. Jail...until I can prove they're mine and post bail.

      I feel like the mother of a couple of "bad" teenaged boys who like to party way too much. I think I've been this route before.

      My 2011 Goals: Look for God and dog-proof the fence.