Saturday, December 31, 2011

Happy New Year, Sweetheart!

This has been a very difficult couple of days. The grief books don't mention how hard New Year's can be, especially the first New Year's Eve of the first full year without your soul mate. Today, this New Year's Eve, marks the end of the first full year without John. He and I did not share one second of this year together with him on this earth. Last year at least I could look back at some part of the year and know we had been together. But not this year. And not next year or the year after that or the year after that or....
The enormity of John's gone-ness is only just beginning to sink in and as it does, the grief deepens. It soaks into me, becomes a part of me. It doesn't define me. I am still me. But now I am me, grieving. I will always be me grieving. When I laugh, I will wish John could share it with me. When I cry, I will wish he were there to hold me. When I enjoy something I will wish John could enjoy it with me. I will never be able to do anything with him physically in this world again and the magnitude of that shatters me.
I look back on other New Year's Eves celebrated with John and I realize how foolish I was - maybe how foolish any of us are - to think we have more ahead of us. I know now only too well, that we are not promised even the next second. If there is a lesson there it is to enjoy every second, cherish every laugh, every hug, every smile. Take nothing for granted. Waste not one moment in anger or regret.
I guess, thanks to John, I have written my New Year's resolution.
Happy New Year, Sweetheart - and looking forward to the one we will celebrate together again some day.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Merry Christmas, Sweetheart!

Christmas has got to be the hardest holiday when your loved one has passed on. Everything is about love and family and gatherings and celebrating and happy - and here we who are grieving are, feeling none of that.
If John were here we would have gone to Church last evening. Then we would have had our special Christmas Eve meal in front of the tree while we opened presents and played with the "kids". And I always made a special Christmas ball with our names on it and the number of the Christmas that we were celebrating. This would have been our 34th Christmas together.
This year I purposely avoided doing anything similar to that. It helped ease the pain but it didn't make me miss John any less and I knew it wouldn't. That would be silly. Nothing will make me miss him less.
But on this Christmas morning I celebrate the love he gave me and the love I know he still gives me and I thank God for what we were able to share.
Merry Christmas, John! I love you.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Notebook

My cousin Cynthia visited this past weekend and we watched “The Notebook” - probably my all time favorite movie - and cried. Noah reminds me so much of John and their love reminds me of us. Noah tells Ally that he will never leave her. And they agree that their love can do anything, can perform miracles. That’s how I feel about us.
A running theme through the movie was the song "I'll Be Seeing You". I never really listened intently to the words before this weekend. I always knew it was a love song but now with John no longer here physically, the song took on new meaning. It says it all.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

A poem

Don't grieve - for I am still with you

Don't grieve my loss, I have not gone.
My body is beyond your reach, but my soul is touching yours.
I am the one who enters your dreams,
Caresses your face
Hugs you. Misses you.
I have not left. My spirit is with yours.
I am all around you when you call.
I am the gentle breeze when there is no wind.
I am in the photo on the wall when you stare in disbelief.
I am the song that enters your head
For no reason, yet it reminds you of us.
If you wonder if it's me
Or if you shed a tear thinking it's not real,
Ask me, to tell you, something you don't know
Or something you've forgotten from long ago.
My first whisper is the truth.
Think about it. Find out about it
And I'll prove it's me.
Don't grieve that I am gone.
I am with you, beside you, in you.
I will be, as long as you need me.
                          - (c)2007 Phil G - Soul Matters

A special gift

I read in one of James van Praagh's book that grief is a gift left behind by our loved ones to us allowing us to become what we might not have had their loss never occurred.
I know I have become more spiritual, more tolerant, more patient. And I am trying to improve on that every day. I am trying not to sweat the small stuff because it's all small stuff.
I'm not saying it's easy. And I still would give anything to have been able to learn those lessons with John still here.
But I am determined not to waste this chance. John taught me so much with his life. He continues to teach me with his death.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

John loved music

I found a song of Willie Nelson's playing in my head this morning and when I realized which one it was I wondered if John put it there. It was one of his favorites - "On the Road Again".
John loved music. He loved all kinds of music but probably favored Rock and Country. He always had the radio on while he worked in the garage or the yard. I think his favorites were Willie Nelson and The Eagles.
We saw many performers live together - The Everly Brothers, Kris Kristofferson, Johnny Mathis, Willie Nelson, Anne Murray, Neil Diamond and some locals whose names I no longer remember.
Many people don't know that John sang professionally in his youth and actually won awards for his singing. He was also an accomplished guitar player.
So, Baby, this one's for you -

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

More idiots "studying" grief

A grief-sister is blogging about an article in Time Magazine that tries to explain the current thinking on grief. While some - and I do mean just some - of the points made are valid, for the most part, the article falls far short of the mark.
The article drew much of its information from flawed studies - studies done on elderly couples who lost a mate. Based on this, they felt that they knew all there was to know about the grief associated with losing a life partner.
Really?
Based on one stupid flawed study, you now know what it is to lose your soul mate, your best friend, lover, companion, support, business partner, the one person who understood you, who loved you, who believed in you, no matter what?
Are you kidding me?
I especially disagree with the idea that grief ends and that those who grieve beyond 6 months - and heaven forbid! - into the second year suffer from “Prolonged Grief Disorder”!? How dare they? Just what this world needs – another label to pigeon-hole people into when others can’t relate to what those people are feeling.
John was all of those things I mentioned. He was my true soul mate. And even beyond that, we had a mystical connection. There is something called Twin Flames which takes the concept of soul mates one step further. Whatever there is beyond soul mates, John and I were/are it. He took part of me with him when he died and I yearn for the day when both of us are whole again with each other.
That study is so flawed I can’t even begin to dissect it.
John was only 67 when he passed and I was only 62. I’m 63 now and the years ahead without him seem an insurmountable obstacle. I also feel robbed. We had planned on growing old together, sharing that last step with each other. We would have taken such good care of each other and I miss not being able to do that.
The article also seemed to equate functioning with no longer grieving. What nonsense! I "functioned" from the very beginning. John died while we were on vacation in NY. I had to get myself – and him – back here to Arizona. I had to notify people. I had to plan a service and funeral. I had to take care of our animals and our home. Somehow I did it but that did not mean I grieved any less. Losing a spouse is hard. Losing a spouse who is a soul mate is harder. Losing a spouse who is a soul mate suddenly and unexpectedly is worse still. I had the trifecta. We had no idea this was going to happen. I woke up in the middle of the night away from home and John was gone. Can you imagine?
My grief is forever. Just because I am able to get up every morning and do the things I have to do does not mean I am not still grieving. Just yesterday I had a meltdown. The enormity of John not being here just hit me – again – and the tears and the sobs came. I expect it will always be so. It will never be all right that he is gone and I am still here. I miss him with every cell of my being.
Articles like that do so much damage.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Thank you for loving me, John

Tonight is Sunday night, the worst night of the week. 81 weeks ago tonight my Love left this world.  John always said things were happening the way they were supposed to and I try to believe that but Sunday nights are hard. Sunday nights make me think that this is all so unfair. And I yearn for things to be different, to have John back again, for the world to be right again.
But I will never be sorry for what we had, for what we still have. John's love will always be with me.
And I am so grateful for that love.

Saturday, December 10, 2011

Counting

A woman I have come to know on the Internet through our shared experience of grief wrote an interesting post in her blog this week. It was about the habit that those of us who are grieving have of counting the time since our loved one passed.
I count too and I wondered if I was the only one. Hours, days, weeks, months, a year, a year and a half. Already I see two years on the horizon and can’t believe that amount of time has passed. It seems surreal and I think the counting helps to keep me based in the here and now. Helps me to see reality. Some days I think the grief will send me spinning off into some world from which there is no return and the counting is my tether.
It’s also a way to stay connected to my Love. This Sunday will be 81 weeks. 81 weeks since I last got to hold my John, talk with him, see his smile, hear his voice and his laugh, plan with him, look forward to the next day with him. I need to hold onto that part of us and me. It makes the horrible part of now more bearable.

Sunday, December 4, 2011

A Turning Point?

These last 18 months I have fallen backwards in a sense, being more dependent on others in my grief. Today I feel older, wiser, more independent, more of the old me. Sundays - particularly Sunday nights - are hard for me. It was a Sunday night when we went to bed anticipating the next day and the joy it would bring when the world changed forever.
Tonight marks 80 weeks.
But I think I feel a small change.
I feel some of the fight in me returning. The old spark. The determination to stick up for myself. The Joy that John loved and admired.
I think part of it is a returning sense of independence, a refusal to let others see my vulnerability and my grief to mean that I am to be told what to do,  to be considered less than an adult fully capable of making decisions.
When John was here, he was my buffer. Now I need to stand on my own. And I will. One of the gifts he gives to me.
Thank you, Sweetheart.

Parable of Immortality by Henry Van Dyke

I am standing upon the seashore.
A ship at my side spreads her white sails to the morning breeze and starts for the blue ocean.
She is an object of beauty and strength, and I stand and watch until at last she hangs like a speck of white cloud just where the sea and sky come down to mingle with each other.
Then someone at my side says, "There she goes!"
Gone where?
Gone from my sight . . . that is all.
She is just as large in mast and hull and spar as she was when she left my side and just as able to bear her load of living freight to the place of destination.
Her diminished size is in me, not in her.
And just at the moment when someone at my side says,"There she goes!" there are other eyes watching her coming . . .
and other voices ready to take up the glad shout . . .
"Here she comes!"


I read this earlier this year at the Memorial honoring John on his one-year Anniversary on the day we dedicated his garden. It brings me comfort knowing he is with those who love him.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

My John

I found this on Facebook today and posted it on my wall.
I was one of the lucky ones. John was every one of those things.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving, Sweetheart!

Eighteen months ago today you left this world. I woke up to find you had left this Earth while I slept. It still seems surreal after all this time. But you are here with me in spirit I know and you are always in my heart. Yet, as Kris Kristofferson says in his immortal song "Me and Bobby McGee":

But I'd trade all of my tomorrows for just one yesterday
To be holding Bobby's body next to mine.


I would give up everything to have you back for one day.
So on this day of Thanksgiving I want to say Thank you to you for the life we shared and to God for giving that life to us.

Monday, November 21, 2011

A year and a half

Today is a hard day. None of the grief books mentioned this anniversary. They talk about birthdays, and wedding anniversaries, one year, etc but no one mentioned a year and a half as being anything of significance.
But it is.
Today marks 78 weeks. 52 weeks [a year] plus 26 weeks [half a year] = 78 weeks.
Today.
A year and a half since John passed.
And it's hard.
I'm sad. And crying. And missing him so much.
Why is this day harder? I don't know. Maybe it means that the next anniversary will be two years and that means he's really not coming back. Maybe my heart is beginning to really and finally understand what this means.
All I know is that I ache for John to just walk in the door and smile and say "Well, that was different. Want to go to dinner?" And he would hold me and kiss me and laugh. And I would laugh. And cry but they would be tears of joy.
And all would be right with the world again.
Instead all I have are Joy's tears.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Grief hits

This has been a tough week. I have been working on selling the antique car parts that John was working on before he died as well as some of his tools and going through everything and seeing everything gone over and in some cases taken apart, sent a knife through my heart. It triggered a meltdown. Crying. Sobbing. Sadness. Aching in my heart. Misery. Total misery. It was as if the last almost 18 months hadn't happened and John's passing was right now. All over again.
I understand these grief outbursts are common and normal but it doesn't make it any easier. And knowing what grief is and how it unfolds doesn't really help either.
It is what it is, I guess and will happen no matter what.
My therapist told me once that the intensity of my grief is equal to the intensity of my love. I guess there is solace in that.
Would I have wanted to have less love in order to have less grief? No. Definitely not.
I am so grateful and happy for what John and I had. I would never want to not have that. If this is the price then I will gladly pay it.
But I would be less than honest if I didn't admit to feeling cheated. We wanted old age together. We talked about what that would mean for us. How we would care for each other. What we would do. Where we would go. How we would spend that time.
And it won't happen now.
We loved each other in every stage of our life. We wanted that final stage. It's been cut short and I am angry about that. I saw Clint Eastwood on TV last week. A man who is 80 years old and still vibrant, still sexy, still handsome in his older years because of what is in his head and heart.
I envision John would have aged that way too. I thought John was handsome when he was younger and he became more handsome as he aged. He was beautiful inside and out. I would have loved to have shared that stage of life with him. To care for your love as you both age to me is the epitome of love.
I miss that.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

More pictures, more memories

Going through some more pictures this afternoon and scanning them in so I will have them. Eventually I want to make a DVD of these. I'm so glad I have all these pictures but it is also very sad to go through them. I miss John so much.
John and Willie 1986 
Us in uniform November 1987
Our Church Wedding March 1988

Monday, October 31, 2011

Love

"The best love is the kind that awakens the soul and makes us reach for more, that plants a fire in our hearts and brings peace to our minds. And that's what you've given me. That's what I'd hoped to give to you forever. I love you. I'll be seeing you." - Nicholas Sparks (THE NOTEBOOK)

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Boxes of memories


I am having some electrical work done on the house and I had to take everything out of the attic because the insulation had to be taken out. So boxes came down that had been up there for years. There were some still packed from our house in PA before we moved here to AZ. Going through some of them was very hard. There were things of John's that were painful to see - stuff from his office in PA when he worked as a therapist. A picture of us we had taken at Disney World. His trophies from singing contests he won in the Air Force. His old Air Force jackets. So many things. At one point I just had to excuse myself and go out in the back yard by myself and cry. I miss John so much. This stinks. It's never going to be all right.
But I am reading a very good book called  Healing Grief, Finding Peace  that has been very helpful. One of the things the author talks about is loving in separation. He is the first person who has validated what I have been feeling, that I can still have a relationship with John even though it's different now. Not in a crazy way. He is not talking about denying what has happened. Rather it is  a way to incorporate the change into life now as it is. As I learn more, I'll write more.
He also talks about grief and healing, not "getting over" the death of a loved one. You never get over it. John isn't some item I have lost. He is my soul mate. Our lives are forever intertwined. It's different now but it's never over.
Another good book I am reading is Grieving a SoulMate . It is the first book I have come across that acknowledges the difference between losing a spouse and losing a spouse who is also a soul mate. There is a big difference. While the love and relationship with a soul mate is beyond measure and the sweetest love in the world it is absolutely devastating when one partner dies. I am finding this book to be very helpful if only to let me know that what I am feeling is OK. But it appears to be more than that. I will also write more about this book when I finish it.

Monday, October 24, 2011

Sunday, October 23, 2011

A happy picture

I love this picture of us. So young. So happy. It was taken at a party in 1986 so we would have been 38 [me] and 43 [John]. I must have been standing on something or John was scooching down because John was a  foot taller than me. What I wouldn't give to be able to wrap my arm around him again like that.

Friday, October 21, 2011

I'm angry

It's been a long week. I am having work done on the house and it's been stressful. Workers have been here, money is being spent, the animals are upset because their routine has been disrupted and they are rebelling as only they can. I have had to get up way too early too many mornings in a row, workers haven't shown up when they were supposed to, expectations need to be met, I still have to work and make a living and through it all I am still missing my soul mate, my best friend.
I. am. exhausted. I am tired of grieving. I am tired of justifying that I am still grieving. I have few friends that I feel comfortable enough confiding in and now that circle seems to be getting smaller and smaller. I have reached out to some and bared my soul and have been met with either silence or inane comments.

I am tired of pretending that that is okay. I am just bone tired and soul weary.
This is where I am right now. If people can't accept that they can go to hell. I am through justifying myself. I am through analyzing and scrutinizing my grief. It just is. If I need to cry I will. If I need to stay in the house for days on end, I will. If I don't like the idea of packing John's stuff up, I won't.
If I want to leave everything as it was when he left even though I know he is not returning, so what. Who is it hurting?
I'm not moving on? Big deal. Leave me alone then. I didn't ask anyone to share this with me. I can do it by myself. If I fail, so what? Who is that affecting but me?
This is my loss, my grief. It's MY husband who died. Not anyone else's. I will grieve him as I see fit.

Morning

Mornings are hard. On the days when John wasn't working, we always had coffee together and sat on the deck [when the weather wasn't too hot as it can get here in AZ]. And the "kids", our dogs Jessie and Toby, would sit with us and we'd talk about anything and everything. We'd plan what we wanted to do with the house, remodeling, etc, and the yard. We'd talk about family and trips we were planning. And we would just be.
Now I have my coffee alone but the kids still keep me company and I have my wonderful memories. So I surround myself in John's love because I know it's still there.
And I listen to the birds just waking up. And the sky pinking up with the first rays of sun and a new day starts.
Without John. And some days I cry. Many days I cry. I miss him. Very much.
But I am grateful we had what we had. I know we were very blessed to have the marriage that we did. We both knew that.
I imagine John still with me now. Just differently. I truly believe he is still here. Just because I can't see him doesn't mean he's not.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Perspective

I watched a short video today that I had made of Riley when he was younger. I had planned on posting it to his blog but I couldn't because John was talking and sneezing in the background. I remember I was a little annoyed at the time because of that. Now I like to watch that video just to hear John and I'm glad I have that video. It's one of my favorites. Funny how your perspective changes. What was once annoyance is now so precious.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Today's chore

Today I went to Costco. Something that John and I did together and enjoyed doing. It became a family outing. We had a list but always added to it as we went up and down the aisles. As the cart got heavier and heavier and harder to maneuver, we started guessing what our total cost was going to be. It was a contest between us to see who would come closest to the final cost once we were rung up at the register.
Then we quickly went home before the frozen food started to thaw and the ritual of putting all the food away was another chore we shared.
Through it all, we laughed and just enjoyed each other's company. John had a way of making everything fun.
Today I did all of that alone.
And it wasn't the same.
It will never be the same.

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

500 Days

Today marks 500 days. Five. Hundred. Days. How is that possible?
How is it that my heart still feels like this has just happened? Why do I still feel that John will return? Why do I see something he would like and still get the urge to tell him about it? Why when I am away from home for any length of time do I still feel the need to call home and check in with John?
John and I were together over half of my life and just about all of my adult life. I miss him so much.
500 days. 500 days closer to being with him again.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Dear Grieving Sister

A fellow grieving woman who lost her life mate two months before me posted an open letter on her blog. This was my response.
Dear Grieving Sister,
This note seems to be written to me - or are all grieving women just in a sad sisterhood whereby we all recognize the same feelings in ourselves and others? I wish I could leave this sisterhood. This is one time when knowing that someone is going through the same thing does not make it easier.
To answer your thoughts - no, I don't think our loved ones grieve as we do. After all, they have an advantage. They can still check in with us. They know how we are. They have an access to us that we don't have to them. I think they miss their life with us but I don't believe it's the same. And I don't think our separation is forever. Your love came into your life when he was supposed to and you will be with him again. Knowing I will be with John again is all that keeps me going some days. On some level, we agreed to this. He had to leave ahead of me. He completed his work this time around. I haven't. Now my job is to figure that out, get it done, and go home, too.
But this grief will always be a part of me and shapes who I am now. It's supposed to. That is its purpose. Fun? I don't know what that is? Passion? I miss it. And I feel I have already disappeared. I look in the mirror and don't recognize who I see. I need to learn who I am again and for now I don't know how I will do that or what I will turn into. I liked who I was when I was with John. I don't like who I am now. Maybe that is the key. Learning to like me. Period. No matter what.
Your sister in this sorrow journey,
joy

Sunday, September 25, 2011

I am grateful for our life

I was out on the deck with the dogs this morning and I thought of John, of us [I always do] and of camping. I'm glad we had those times. I enjoyed them so much.
And as much as I whined in later years about camping, looking back I enjoyed it and I am grateful we did it. Those were happy times. And the places we went, for the most part, were very beautiful. The quiet, the woods, the animals, the closeness we shared. It was all good and I cherish the memories. John gave me experiences I never had before, that I would never have had were it not for him. I'm very lucky. We had a good life. Thank you, John. We made a good life. We were a good team.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

16 Months

Today marks 16 months since John - left, passed away - there is no easy way to say it.
On top of that it's a Saturday - a day that always brought me pleasure. When John and I were dating it was often the first day of a weekend together - camping, hanging around the house, enjoying each other's company. No work, no worries. Then when we were married, it was often a day to run errands. But again, it was fun. We did them together and just enjoyed being together.
Now it's an empty day and my heart aches and my gut is in rumbles.
I am going to the airport this afternoon. The son of a dear friend is coming home after a long absence. It's going to be a joyous occasion. It will be good to see him again.
But it is bittersweet for me. I would give anything if I were going to the airport to pick up John. I watched my friend be sad and upset while she waited for her son to return. Yet, her sadness was finite. It ended. Today it will be in the past.
Mine never will be.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Another loss

I just found out a dear friend back east has died. John and I were both friends with her, although I knew her before I even met John. I worked with her while I was married before and then later on, both John and I worked with her. Lois and I knew each other for 35 years. She was with me when I found out my first husband had passed away. I adopted a kitten from a cat of hers. I was her boss the last few years we worked together. She was the night nurse on the psych unit I ran. She would give me report when I came on in the morning. I started my day sharing coffee and laughs with Lois. But she was older than me and recently had been ill and lived in an assisted living center for the last few years. Yet, she and I kept in touch [although sporadically] over the years. I had been avoiding calling her for the last 15 months because I knew I would have to tell her about John and I didn't want to upset her. I often thought about her and she was on my mind these last few weeks. A lot. In fact, last week I looked up the information I had for her and promised myself I would call her soon. The lady sitting next to me in Church on Sunday reminded me so much of her that I vowed I would call her this week.
She died this past Monday. I just found out a few minutes ago.
I am sad for losing Lois. I am sad because at a time like this I would turn to John and we would mourn together and be sad together and help each other.
And he's not here.
damn.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

More pictures, more happy memories

I need to focus on the good times. Some days I feel I will just lose my mind if I don't.
May 1985

John's Graduation from nursing school June 1985
John's Graduation party June 1985

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Why grief is so hard

Remember all the platitudes we were taught as children?
Eat your spinach so you'll grow big and strong.
Get good grades so you'll get into a good college.
Graduate with honors and you'll get a good job.
Do a good job and you'll get a promotion.
Be a nice person and you'll attract a nice mate.
Be holy and you'll go to Heaven.
What happens when you grieve well? What's the payoff then? Do all the right things and then what? John is still gone. He isn't coming back. No matter what I do I can't change that.
Grief is a big cheater. There is no prize at the end. Just more of the same.

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Thank you, John


"You Raise Me Up"

When I am down and, oh my soul, so weary;
When troubles come and my heart burdened be;
Then, I am still and wait here in the silence,
Until you come and sit awhile with me.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

There is no life - no life without its hunger;
Each restless heart beats so imperfectly;
But when you come and I am filled with wonder,
Sometimes, I think I glimpse eternity.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains;
You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas;
I am strong, when I am on your shoulders;
You raise me up... To more than I can be.

You raise me up... To more than I can be.

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I miss John so much - and I miss me, too

I miss the me I used to be, the person who had passion for things, who got excited about things, who looked forward.
I don't like the me I am now. But I am stumped how I can change it. I am praying about it and asking John to help me, too. If I have to be here, it would be so great if I found my purpose since I truly believe that is why I am still here and not with John now.

Monday, September 5, 2011

John is always with me

I spent most of last week in Sedona, a beautiful place that John and I always loved to visit. It helped my soul and I felt very close to John while I was there.
I visited the Chapel of the Holy Cross on Sunday while I was there and shopped in their gift shop. I wanted to buy a remembrance especially on that day because it was our 30th Wedding Anniversary. I was drawn to a special dish and also a card with a little pin called a Memorial Tear on it.
When I brought the dish home, a previous heart I had been drawn to buy fit perfectly on it. Then this morning Chaz tore up some paper in my office and I found him playing with one special little piece. It looked like a heart and so I saved it too. I think it was a gift from John.

I also bought a little Teddy Bear in town after I got back to be  an Anniversary present for John. I wanted to mark the occasion with something and teddy bears were always special to us. The bear sits on my dresser proudly wearing the Memorial Tear I bought.


Monday, August 29, 2011

Our honeymoon

Camping in Rickett's Glen in PA. Such a happy time.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Our Wedding Song

Thank you for needing me, my Love. I will always need you. You made my life complete.

Today is our 30th Wedding Anniversary

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart. Today I became your wife. So proud and so happy. Today was a day that made us both happy. You were the best husband a woman could have had. You were perfect for me. You brought out the best in me. You always encouraged me. You helped me to become the best me I could be. I hope I made you as happy. I ache for what is no longer and I am incredibly sad that our life has changed this way now. I miss you so much. But I am so happy and so grateful for what we had. I love you, John.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Tomorrow

Tomorrow is our 30th Wedding Anniversary. You were always so proud of our marriage. It was so important to both of us. But I know you are here with me. Sending you love, my Sweetheart.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

15 Months

Today is the 24th of the month. Another month since John left. 15 months. It still seems like it just happened. I will never get used to this. And I miss John with every cell of my being. What I wouldn't give to be able to hold him once more. At least time past means less time ahead of me until we are together again.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

More happy pictures

John - starting nursing school - Fall 1983


Williamsburg 1983
Remodeling the kitchen of our first house 1983

Monday, August 22, 2011

More pictures, more happy memories

John with a lap full of cat - Smudge & BG - 1983
John's 40th birthday April 13, 1983

Us vacationing in the Poconos - 1983

Friday, August 19, 2011

Fear

I have never felt so utterly alone. And it's frightening.
Last night we had a monstrous rain storm. It's that time of year here in AZ. Before, John and I would have enjoyed the storm. John loved them. The more violent the better. He even taught the dogs to love them so we don't have the issues many dog owners have with fear of lightning and thunder.
But the rain was pretty intense and while it didn't frighten me it did concern me because of what I saw it doing to the house. At one point the air conditioner unit on the side of the house was making a scary screaming noise and then I noticed the roof was leaking in our bedroom. I went outside on the deck and noticed a small flood.
It was at that point that I felt the panic start to rise.
I prayed to God and asked John for help.
I turned the air conditioner off and that stopped the noise. And I put a towel under the leak. I found some pieces of wood that were blocking a drainage hole that John had built into the deck and cleared the area and the water drained out.
I turned the air conditioner back on after the storm and it didn't seem to be making that noise any more so I left it on.
Today I will call the air conditioner people and see if the unit needs to be checked. I'll call the landscapers and see about getting the gutters cleaned out. I think that will solve the roof issue.
I know I can do this but it's still frightening. John was the clear-headed calm one. He was the problem solver. He knew how to do everything. And it wasn't scary when he was here. I trusted him and I knew between the two of us we could handle things. As long as we were together, life was doable.
Now, it's frightening and scary and I hate that he's not here. Not because I can't take care of myself. I know in my heart I can. It's just one more way I have to realize that he is not here and it stinks and it sucks and it's horrible. Because I still love him and I miss him with all my heart.
I would live on the street if I could be with him again.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Such wonderful memories


I spent a good part of the afternoon scanning in old photos from our life. John and I were so lucky. We traveled a lot and had wonderful times together. And I took lots of pictures. They weren't all great but at least I have them now. And through the wonder of Photoshop I was able to preserve them because a lot of them are fading with age.
Us at our friends' wedding 1982 - John was Best Man
John in the Living Room of our first house 1982
Us camping 1982
Visiting Monticello in VA 1982

Thursday, August 11, 2011

The W

You know those letters that signify your marital status? S M D W?
I hate that I have to check W now. Sometimes I don't. It feels like a betrayal. A finality I'm not ready to face.
Then today I had to fill out another form. The person [a secretary to my broker] had filled out most of the form and just wanted my signature. But I noticed where it asked for status she had checked S.
Man, that upset me. That was even worse than W. To deny that my marriage even existed. That all those years never happened. That was the ultimate betrayal.
I fixed it. I checked W and crossed out the S.
Even a W was better than an S.
My marriage happened. It was the best thing that ever happened to me. I am a better person because of my marriage to John. I always will be.
I yearn to be an M again with him.

Friday, August 5, 2011

Away Down the River


Baby dry your eyes
There's no need to cry
Cause I'll see you again
It might be a while
Before you understand

Chorus:
I'm just away down the river
A hundred miles or more
Crossing over Jordan
To the other shore
I'll be standing waiting
With all who've gone before
I'm just away down the river
A hundred miles or more

Now the pictures on the wall
Will help you to recall
They're not there
To make you sad
But to remember
All the good times we had

(Chorus)

(Instrumental)

When it's time to leave
You're gonna feel the mountain breeze
And the snow will fill the stream
And carry you to me

(Chorus)

Sunday, July 31, 2011

I miss having a home

I have a house I live in. I don't have a home and I miss that. John was my best friend. He still is.
But when he was here physically, I felt totally and completely safe, loved, and at home with him. That's what I miss. This house is no longer a home without him. It's just the place I live in now. Before it was our home, our safe place to land, the place we came to feel loved and cared for, cherished. I miss that.
I've thought about moving from this house because maybe it would be easier to not be in a place where he had touched every inch of it. We remodeled this house quite a bit and John is everywhere here. He even built the desk I write on and spend my day at. But I wouldn't dream of getting rid of it. Sometimes I am reluctant to even move something or throw something out because he used it. I have to recover the kitty windowsill in my office before the shutters are put in next week and I feel bad because John recovered the windowsill last. It's silly I know and if I say something to some people about this they look at me like I'm weird. 
Sometimes I feel like I am erasing him and I know that is irrational and if John were here he would smile at me and say "Joof [one of his nicknames for me], don't be silly. You can never erase me. I know you love me." 
But feelings aren't rational. They just are.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

14 months today

Today is the 24th of the month, 14 months since my Love left this world, 61 weeks.
Today I made the mistake of watching our wedding video. I thought it would be good to see John in action and hear his voice instead of looking at flat pictures. It was good - but also unbearably sad. The pain is there as if his passing just happened.
I thought I would have been stronger. It made me happy to see John but it also made it all the more horrible to have him gone from me now. He was so handsome, so sweet, so kind, so happy, so loving. Watching him holding me, kissing me, loving me - I was so lucky. I could see the love in his eyes.
And that smile. Was there ever a better, happier smile. How I wish I could go back in time for just a minute and feel those arms around me again. Hear that voice in my ear. Feel that kiss.
This has to be the most unfair thing in the world. At least to me. There are so many unhappy marriages out there. Why did the happiest one have to end - at least in this world. I know John is still alive in the spirit world. I know he still loves me. But it's not the way it was. 
And that is what hurts so much. We thought we had more time. I want to be able to love him more.  We had so many plans. We loved each other so much. I can't bear this. It's never going to be any better until I die and join John.
I tell people this life holds nothing for me and the best thing I can think of would be for a doctor to tell me I have months to live. Yet if I dare mention that to anyone I get  "don't say that", "you have so much to live for", "there is more you can do".
Does no one understand how much I DO NOT CARE.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

What I miss


I miss our life so much. I miss sharing little everyday things with John. Everything we did was fun because we laughed and enjoyed our time together. And just doing things together made them fun. I loved going to Costco with him. I loved going to Church with him. I loved taking walks with him, watching the cats sleep, watching TV, reading side by side, John rubbing my feet, cuddling, holding him, smelling him, knowing he was there somewhere in the house, hearing him snore – everything.
This house is too quiet now. There is no life in it any more. The life we had left when John did. It’s only going to come back when I join him.
And it’s not fair. We had a great marriage, better than most people. Why couldn’t it keep on going? Why did it have to end so soon? I wasn’t ready. I don’t think John was either even though he probably understands why better than I do right now.
I miss him so much.