Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas in Heaven

Now they are all together.
Wish I was there too.
Hug each other for me.
I love you.



Sunday, December 16, 2012

Don't Give Up

My new mantra.
This past week I have had the sad duty of saying good-bye to my mother-in-law. She fell ill right after John passed away and I have cared for her ever since. We were close before but became even closer these past two plus years. I watched her slowly deteriorate and this past month she went Home.
Last week I brought her back to Texas to be buried next to her sweet husband as she wanted.
While I waited for my friend to come to my hotel to accompany me to the funeral I turned on Pandora on my iPad and this was the first song that played.


That was a definite message.
I felt John with me during the service.
I miss Mom. I miss John more than ever now. Mom was my last earthly link to him. It was heaven to listen to her talk about her early years and how she and Dad sang professionally and what the kids were like when they were little. I miss her smile. I miss how her face brightened when she saw me come into the room when I visited.
I am jealous that she gets to visit with John now. I told her to give him a big hug and a kiss from me. She promised she would.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Trying to grow

I know Yoda said "Do or do not. There is no try." But for now, I think trying is all I can muster.
I spent the weekend in Sedona and I think I felt a shift. I'm not sure where this is going but there might be some rays of peace coming.
I hope so.
Still missing John. And I know I always will.
And I know being sad is OK.
Someone asked me last week if there was some way I can get out of depression. I think that person misinterprets sadness for depression. I am not depressed. I am doing things. I am accomplishing things. I am making plans for things in the future. Those are not the signs of someone who is depressed.
But I do experience sadness. I miss John. I miss our life. I miss that we will not grow old together.
And that isn't going to change.
And I don't feel that I should have to defend those feelings either.
I feel stronger than before and probably not as strong as I will eventually become.
Baby steps.
Trying.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Christmas in Heaven

Wishing I was there with John .........

1979

There's no getting around it. The Christmas season is just plain painful. It was so great when John was here - decorating, celebrating, buying for each other. Now it's a day I wish away.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Today's radio present from John

Wondering if John is still with me, still loves me, missing him so much and then this showed up in my car.


Monday, November 26, 2012

I miss the little things

John with baby Riley - May 2008 - Riley was 6 weeks old
I miss the every day things, the things that made up our every day life. And when I look at photos like this and see John just being John I still feel that if I turn my head really quickly I will see him standing there as if he never left.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

2 1/2 Years

Today marks 30 months - 2 1/2 years since John left this plane. I still miss him and I can't believe that this much time has passed. I know he is with me in the best way he can be right now but it's still so hard. I still find myself doing things with John's opinion in mind and half expecting him to walk through the door and tell me what he thinks about one thing or the other. He is, and always will be, my other half, the person who makes me whole. If that makes me less of a person, I don't care. It's how I feel.
Us - May 2010
Missing you, Sweetheart. Loving you.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving, John


Happy Thanksgiving, Sweetheart. I am so thankful for our life together.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Strong - trying

Today I flipped my CD player on in the car and Glen Campbell's song "Strong" started to play. The lyrics touched my heart. The words  speak to me as if from John but they are also words I want to say to him as well.

As I look into these eyes I've known for all these years
I see for the first time in my life, fear
This is not the road I wanted for us, but now that's it's here
I want to make one thing perfectly clear

All I want to be for you is strong
I am going to be the one you can count on
I'll always be for you strong

I am a broken prize all neatly wrapped but cracked inside
All the king's horses and all his men, they lie
As I look at you and at my life, what do I see?
The person that I wish that I could be

All I want to be for you is strong

I am going to be the one you can count on
I'll always be for you strong

So strong
It's strong, so strong
Don't you know it can't go wrong?
Strong


Today marks 130 weeks - it will be 2 1/2 years this week.

Friday, November 16, 2012

How deep is our love

Saturday Night Fever had just come out when John and I first started dating and we loved that album. Those songs spoke to us in a special way.
Every time I hear that music I feel John close to me.



I think John even resembled one of the Gibb brothers from that time.

Us celebrating John's 35th birthday

Sunday, November 11, 2012

129 weeks

Tonight marks 129 weeks. 129 weeks is not a milestone of any special measure but I have been feeling very weepy of late. Maybe because I am coming up on the 2 1/2 year mark. My mind still wonders how can this be? How can life be changed forever in an instant? How could our wonderful life as we knew it be no more?
What I wouldn't give to wake up from this.


Wednesday, November 7, 2012

John will always be there

I often turn the radio on while I am driving and thinking about John. Many times a song comes on that we loved or that especially speaks to me and I wonder/imagine John has prompted me to listen at just that right time so that he could get a message to me.
Today was no exception. I was driving to meet some friends for lunch and had the radio urge so I turned it on. And then punched the second button on the dial. This is what came on.


I think John was reassuring me he is still with me, something that I worry about.
Just like when I felt compelled to look at a table in a store and found this waiting for me.


Thank you, John.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Feelings/beliefs

Today is a Holy Day in the Catholic Church [All Saints Day] and I attended Mass this morning in our local parish. I was not "feeling" any real devotion. Sometimes [who am I kidding? always] when I attend Church I really miss John a lot and today was no exception. And often that makes it hard for me to get into the spirit of Mass. Seeing all the couples at Church just brings home to me how John is not here with me. Plus we always attended Church together. We got to hug each other during the Sign of Peace and John would tell me that he loved me. Then when it was time for Communion John always stepped aside and let me walk ahead of him in line. Sometimes, he would touch my shoulder as we walked up.
So I was remembering all of that today and then, ahead a few pews, I saw a man dressed very much like John - khaki pants and a navy blue Hawaiin shirt. In fact, it reminded me a lot of the shirt that I dressed John in in his casket. So those thoughts were running through my mind during Mass.
And then it was time to go up for Communion.
Again, missing John.
And then it was time for me to receive.
Who do you think was the man who gave me Communion?
Yes, the man dressed like John!
I smiled inside and gave thanks and said Hello to John.
Was this a Hello from him?
Maybe. Why not?
How else can he communicate to me now? I truly believe that if we are open to these little Hello's they will continue to happen until we are reunited.
But I also realize that not everyone sees things the way I do.
And that's OK.
But it doesn't mean I have to expose myself to it.
Case in point:
I have been following the blog of a woman who, unfortunately, is going through the same thing I am. She lost her Love just a few weeks before John passed.
She writes - sometimes very well - about her grief and how others react to it. Some of her blogs have inspired me to write similarly here.
But this past week we disagreed - big time. And I feel she belittled my beliefs so I decided to let her go. She's certainly entitled to what she believes and feels. But I see no point in following someone who so clearly believes something so opposite of what I do. In fact, I had no idea how divergent our thoughts were until her response to me on my comment.
She had been bemoaning the fact that she has never heard from her soul-mate since he passed and that she truly believed that there is no where for us to go after we die. She thinks. She's not sure, obviously, or why would she complain about not hearing from him? If he went into oblivion, from where would he reach her? She was also poo-poo-ing "near death experiences" claiming they were nothing more than biological occurrences.
So I offered my thoughts [here is most of what I wrote]:
Dead is not dead – that is the point. In fact, there is no such thing as death. Death is what we perceive from this side of the veil. The point of near-death experiences and this doctor’s particular experience is to show that we are consciousness, we are eternal spirit and that never “dies”. We go on forever. The fact that people with flat-line EEG’s can come back to tell of these experiences [and they are all so similar there must be some truth there] shows, at least to me and many who are more learned than I am, that we are not our brain, we are not our body. We are spirit. We just inhabit this body. I believe that what we believe determines how much of the afterlife we experience, from this side and the next. As we evolve and realize that there is more to us than muscle and bone and brain, then we open up ourselves to all sorts of experiences, the likes of which we can only glimpse from this side.
No, that doctor wasn’t truly dead but his body had started to shut down. In fact, they were going to take him off life support when he woke up. And knowing what I know of his illness, his brain was too ill and his body was too far gone for what he experienced to have been imaginings. His experience might be one to chalk off to an aberration if he were the only one to experience these things, but he’s not. Just like past life experiences that can be verified, near death experiences teach us [at least they do me] that there is more to life than what we perceive with our five senses in the short span of years that we are here [this time].
A near death experience can never be a full death experience. But does that make his story any less real, any less useful? It’s the closest thing we have right now to understanding what happens when we die and isn’t that a comforting thing?

She responded that she was glad I found comfort in these "stories" but she continued to believe that "It’s entirely possible near death experiences are a different form of human consciousness that have nothing to do with being dead. They could be a sort of dream, some deep stimulation of the limbic system, or a dip in the collective unconscious."
What can you say to someone like that?
Nothing.
So I will no longer try.
But I'm glad John said Hello to me this morning. I know he's with me. I know he still loves me.
I know it. I feel it.
And I don't need to justify or explain that to anyone.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

29 Months

I miss the ordinary, every day stuff with John the most.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Missing you, John. Wait for me.

SHOULD YOU GO FIRST

Should you go first and I remain to walk the road alone,
I'll live in memories' garden, dear, with happy days we've known,
In spring, I'll watch for roses red when fades the lilac blue,
In early fall when brown leaves call,
I'll catch a glimpse of you.

Should you go first and I remain for battles to be fought,
Each thing you've touched along the way will be a hallowed spot.
I'll hear your voice, I'll see your smile, though blindly I may grope,
The memory of your helping hand will buoy me on with hope.

Should you go first and I remain to finish with the scroll,
No lengthening shadows shall creep in to make this life seem droll.
We've known so much of happiness, we've had our cup of joy,
But memory is one gift of God that death cannot destroy.

Should you go first and I remain, one thing I'd have you do,
Walk slowly down that long, long path, for soon I'll follow you.
I want to know each step you take, that I may walk the same;
For some day down that lonely road, you'll hear me call your name.

Author Unknown

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Another loss

A dear friend to me and John passed away this morning.
John and I have known Brenda since 1984. She adored John and was very sad when she learned of his passing. I wonder if she is able to visit with him now.
I'm jealous.
Rest in peace, Brenda.
Tell my Love I said Hi.


Thursday, October 11, 2012

Another Hello from John

I visited a dear friend in North Carolina this past week. The visit was great but as all visits do, it came to an end.
So Tuesday morning, my friend pulled out of her driveway to take me to the airport for my trip home.
I was nervous about flying. I always am. And I was sad to be going home.
As we pulled away from her house, I glanced over to the house next door. On the side of the house were the numbers 1978. Obviously the address. But it also just happens to be the year John and I first became a couple.
I smiled. John was definitely letting me know he was there with me.
Then, it seemed that there was some confusion regarding my gate number at the airport. The baggage people told me one gate and the departure monitor said another. 
So I went in search of a help desk but couldn't find one. But there was a man nearby dressed in what appeared to be an airport uniform talking to a woman dressed the same way. He sensed my confusion and asked me if I needed help. He was very friendly and had a great smile. I explained my dilemma and he nodded understanding. He immediately pulled out his cell phone and called Customer Service. We got our answer and he smiled at me once again and kind of turned and pointed me in the right direction. "There you go," he said.
His smile was so kind, so infectious and I felt such kindness from him.
But while he was making the call, I knew everything was going to be OK. His badge said "John C." 
What were the odds?
Thank you, John.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

I feel empty

Last week for reasons too complicated and unneccesary to go into now, I had to take John's name off the electric bill and put the bill in my name. A simple thing. Maybe something no one would think twice about. But it set me off on a two day meltdown.
And I think I am still feeling the effects of it.
Then today I was in Starbuck's and for a fraction of a second someone outside the window looked a teeny tiny bit like John and I could feel my heart jump. For that one split second, my heart thought it was him.
And then it came crashing down to the floor when my mind kicked in.
This hurts and stinks and sucks and every other unhappy word I can think of.

Monday, September 24, 2012

28 Months

28 months today. That number doesn’t even mean anything to me anymore. All I know is that John is just not here. And I miss him terribly.
What I wouldn’t give to have him walk through the door and to have all this be just a horrible dream.
I love you, Sweetheart.


Friday, September 21, 2012

Hello's from John

I asked John for a sign that he is still with me and the number 4:13 started showing up.
I woke up suddenly the other night and looked at the clock on my nightstand and it read 4:13.
Then today I was in the kitchen feeding the animals and when I finished I looked around the kitchen to make sure all was well before I left the room and everywhere I looked was the number 4:13.
On the microwave.
On the stove.
On the coffeemaker.
4:13.
4:13.
4:13.
4:13 can be translated to mean April 13.
And April 13 is John's birthday.
Hello, John.
Thank you.
I love you, too.


Monday, September 10, 2012

John stories

I am making a file of what I call "John stories", stories about John that I remember from our life together that make me smile, remind me of what a good man he was; stories that touch my heart and help me remember how special he was.
Today has been a weird day. I am not feeling well physically and also feeling anxious. I don't know why and it probably doesn't matter. But I napped this afternoon and in that brief time between sleep and wakefulness I thought for a second John was here. In that millisecond, I felt happy again. I felt "normal" again. It stood as stark contrast to how I feel all the time - empty, always not whole.
The stories I write down help but they also remind me how much I miss my John. How good our life was and how, no matter how I try to tell myself, as he would, that things are happening the way they are supposed to, how I really don't like how things are right now. I wish with all my heart that John were here and nothing is ever going to change that.
I am so ready to be with him. Now.
John working on our house in Lehman PA 1985

Saturday, September 1, 2012

How long does grief last?

That's a trick question.
Grief never ends.
It evolves and transforms you as it does, but it is never over.
Maybe if you are grieving a spouse and you remarry, maybe that is the ultimate transformation of grief. Although I am sure even then you don't stop grieving the spouse you lost. Maybe it becomes more compartmentalized.
But I don't know. I can't speak from experience regarding that because I have not remarried.
And I don't ever intend to.
John and I are soul mates, twin flames, one half of an awesome whole. Any married relationship I could have at this point in my life would be a poor aftermath. It could not ever live up to what John and I had and still have, although it's now changed.
Marriage to John was my home, my refuge, my strength, my comfort, my love. It is only now that John is no longer physically here that I am just beginning to realize how overwhelmingly much we meant to each other and how much we permeated each other's lives. We were JohnandJoy, never apart - not spiritually, not emotionally, and hardly ever physically. We worked together, we played together, we loved together. We were constantly in each other's thoughts - and sometimes even knew each other's thoughts.
We knew our life was good and we appreciated it.
We knew what we had was special.
But as with everything else that is there before you every day, you just assume it will always be there.
Losing John to death leaves me absolutely bereft.
The sadness and loneliness is overwhelming at times, even after two years.
And this sadness of grief is not something that really goes away. Yes, it changes. I don't cry every day. I hardly ever scream any more or pound the furniture in the frustration of grief.
But I ache in my heart. Constantly. Every day.
I yearn for what was.
I see couples going about their day and I feel cheated.
Nothing brings true lasting joy any more. 
Every day I am reminded that John's not here.
John's not here.
John's. Not. Here.
How long does grief last?
Forever.



Tuesday, August 28, 2012

You Needed Me

This was "our" song, our Wedding song.
We always loved it. And I always imagined it was me saying this to John.
I had it played at his funeral and it was the first time I heard it from his side. It was John telling me he needed me too.
I cried a tear
You wiped it dry
I was confused
You cleared my mind
I sold my soul
You bought it back for me
And held me up and gave me dignity
Somehow you needed me

Chorus
You gave me strength
To stand alone again
To face the world
Out on my own again
You put me high upon a pedestal
So high that I could almost see eternity
You needed me
You needed me

And I can't believe it's you
I can't believe it's true
I needed you and you were there
And I'll never leave, why should I leave
I'd be a fool
'Cause I've finally found someone
who really cares

You held my hand
When it was cold
When I was lost
You took me home
You gave me hope
When I was at the end
And turned my lies
Back into truth again
You even called me friend

Chorus

You needed me
You needed me

31 years today




Friday, August 24, 2012

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Silly me

I went to Starbuck's this afternoon. I try to treat myself several afternoons a week. I have my usual - ice venti vanilla latte - and some sweet treat - a scone or muffin perhaps. I have done this so often lately that one of the barristas knows me by name now and what I drink. It's nice. Kind of like a coffee version of the old TV show Cheers.
So today I was there and I was carrying my newest book on grief Transcending Loss. My barrista [I am ashamed to say I do not know her name] chatted with me while she made my drink and then she noticed by book.
"What are you reading?" She smiled. I knew this was going to be a conversation ender.
I showed her the book, letting her read the title for herself. "It's not a happy title," I said.
Immediately her face fell. "I'm sorry. Did you lose someone?"
"Yes, my husband. It's been two years but it's still hard."
"I'm sorry," she said again. "At least you are continuing to work it through.That's good."
I thanked her for my drink and her kind words. That is probably one of the nicest things anyone has said to me.
As I walked to my seat I mentally congratulated myself. I had gotten through telling someone about John's passing without choking up. Maybe I was getting better at this.
Then I sat and read my book. Two pages into it, I was sitting in Starbuck's bawling and blowing my nose.
So much for having it together.
One of the passages especially got to me. It was about a gentleman who had lost his wife. His therapist had reframed his pain in a way that made him feel better - he was sad and his wife was spared that pain. That is how I feel about John. If one of us had to be sad, I'm glad it's me and not him.
And if anyone could reach out it would be him. I know we are still connected and we are still together in this. We are still married. It's just different now. We are doing this together until we are together again on the other side.
This poem has been popping up with some regularity in the last week, even in my book today in Starbuck's. There must be a reason. I  think it is a message from John.

Death is nothing at all
I have only slipped away into the next room
I am I and you are you
Whatever we were to each other
That we are still
Call me by my old familiar name
Speak to me in the easy way you always used
Put no difference into your tone
Wear no forced air of solemnity or sorrow
Laugh as we always laughed
At the little jokes we always enjoyed together
Play, smile, think of me, pray for me
Let my name be ever the household word that it always was
Let it be spoken without effort
Without the ghost of a shadow in it
Life means all that it ever meant
It is the same as it ever was
There is absolute unbroken continuity
What is death but a negligible accident?
Why should I be out of mind
Because I am out of sight?
I am waiting for you for an interval
Somewhere very near
Just around the corner
All is well.
Nothing is past; nothing is lost
One brief moment and all will be as it was before
How we shall laugh at the trouble of parting when we meet again!

Canon Henry Scott-Holland, 1847-1918, Canon of St Paul's Cathedral



Monday, August 6, 2012

Validation at last!

I just found a powerful and very helpful book on loss and grieving.
It's called Transcending Loss: Understanding the Lifelong Impact of Grief by Ashley Davis Bush. It's the first book I have read on grief [other than the metaphysical books that I have read] that addresses grief as an ongoing lifelong process that has stages, and changes you forever. It does not talk about "closure". I have been saying for two years now that there is no closure, there is evolving. That this grief thing makes you a different person, for better or worse, and grief is a part of you from here on out.
That is not to say that you can't evolve and be productive but you never go back to who you were before your loss.
I recommend this book to anyone who is grieving or knows someone who is. There is more information on her web site.

Sunday, July 29, 2012

A sweet moment in time

I had a beautiful short dream this morning as I was waking up. I dreamt John and I were making dinner together in our kitchen. He was actually talking to me and I could hear his voice.
Then, as I was waking up, I was thinking [still half-asleep] that instead of making dinner why didn't we go out to one of the restaurants here in town that we like so much.
I even remember wondering why we hadn't been there in so long.
And I remember the good feeling, thinking that we were going to go again. It lasted about 2-3 seconds. Maybe a couple of seconds longer. I remember actually looking forward to going to dinner together.
And then, as my mind cleared and I became more fully awake, I remembered why we hadn't been there.
And my heart sank.
The good feeling was so good.
And the sad feeling was so sad.
But at least I had that good feeling again. It still lingers with me a little. It was so sweet.

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

26 Months and John's quilt

Yesterday marked 26 months since John passed. I didn't post anything because I honestly don't know what to say at this point.
Part of me can't believe that much time has passed already. Part of me still can't believe this has happened.
And all of me is still very sad. And lost.
John's quilt is progressing and is almost complete.



The only thing left to do is the appliques, deciding how wide to make the brown border and put the edge binding on.
I love it. It will be so nice to have John's shirts to wrap myself in.

Friday, July 20, 2012

Thank you, John

John's love made me what I am today. He saw the best in me. My job now is to live up to what he saw in me. Thank you, John.


Wednesday, July 11, 2012

Still trying to make sense of the coupled world

A friend who also blogs about her grief journey wrote today about being uncoupled by death in a coupled world.
It's nice to know I am not the only one who feels this way. Our entire society - movies, songs, books, commercials, etc - is geared toward the trials and tribulations of being in or out of love. Those of us who are suddenly without our partners because of death are invisible. No one knows how to deal with us. Consequently, we are encouraged to "get over it" and "move on". I guess we're inconvenient.
And that attitude bothers me.
I know it's partly because grief scares people but that doesn't help.
For instance, I HATE the Cialis commercials. Yes, they are goofy anyway but it bothers me to see the depiction of people in love.
Another example - I can’t walk past the men’s counters in department stores without getting upset.
It’s very hard to be a bereft in a coupled world. I don’t like to refer to myself as single because I don’t see myself that way. I am not looking for another mate and identifying myself as single, in my mind, implies that.
I HAVE a soul mate. He is just on another plane. But it hurts to see people together for so many years in their marriage when ours was cut short.
It would really help those who mourn if we could be cared for instead of swept under the rug. As if our grief was just a small thing. Like losing a coat or misplacing your keys.
They’ve even now coined a new phrase for us who mourn “too long”. Complicated grief.
Is there a simple grief? What does that look like? And what constitutes “too long”? Is there a secret mathematical formula? Years together divided by length of separation?
Give me a break. Walk in my shoes for a while and get back to me. Tell me how complicated my grief is then.

Friday, July 6, 2012

Uncoupled

I attended a get-together at  a restaurant with some friends last evening. It was nice. I enjoyed the company of these people. I had gotten to know them over many years through John and they had become my friends as well. And they have been very supportive and caring towards me since John has passed. I want to make that clear.
Because I felt uncomfortable last night and it was not because of any lack on their part.
Everyone there was coupled except me. Everyone there was a husband or wife and I was...what? The token widow? No, that's cruel. I was their friend. But I was alone. At one point I sat there and looked around me at all the animated faces and the happy conversations and I felt so alone. I was in a crowded restaurant in the company of 12 people and I was alone. Number 13. The odd one. The one who was missing her partner so much. Who was remembering other times and other gatherings and being there with John.
Who wanted to run screaming from the room.
When I was first invited, I objected. I voiced an uneasiness at going for that very reason - I knew everyone there would be coupled and I would feel awkward.
Maybe awkward is the wrong word. Maybe there isn't a word to describe what I felt - or I don't know what it is.
And maybe what I felt was more than one thing.
I didn't feel unwanted. On the contrary, I felt very accepted and very loved. I know if there was anything I ever needed I could call on any one of those people and they would be there in a heartbeat.
It was the situation. Not them.
I was acutely aware that I was going home alone. Being there with all those partnered people made me feel all the more adrift. It reminded me that John was not there with me. It caused me to miss him even more, if that's possible. It saddened me.
And it's not something that someone can understand who arrived there and went home with their spouse.
So I think I may avoid those situations as much as I can in the future. It will be hard to get others to understand and not get their feelings hurt. I don't want to hurt anyone but the sadness I felt took away from the joy I was seeking by being in the company of these people. Maybe that will change over time. Maybe I will learn to deal with this better. But for now all I feel is the hurt and sadness.

Monday, July 2, 2012

Not long enough

We had 32 wonderful love-filled years together but I wanted 32 more. Missing you so much, John.

 

Sunday, June 24, 2012

25 Months today


25 months today. 25 months after we started dating we were already living together and planning our life together – forever. Now, I am miserable. There is just no other way to put this. I hate this. I miss John so much. I know I keep saying that but it’s true. This life is meaningless to me without John in it. I know he is still here with me in the best way he can be but it’s not the same thing. At least not for me.
I dreamt about him yesterday. I know it was just a dream because I can’t even remember it now. But I do remember waking up and thinking John was here and everything was all right again. And then I remembered that he wasn't here. It took a few seconds to happen this time, longer than usual and those few seconds were heavenly. Everything just felt like it was the way it was supposed to be. I was at peace. And then I remembered how things really are and I was so so sad. Again.

Saturday, June 23, 2012

To be with you

Had lunch with a dear friend today and we talked of John. And shared tears.
Missing you so much, Sweetheart.


Monday, June 18, 2012

Armload of cats

I just love this picture of John. He loved our babies so much.

Sunday, June 17, 2012

Happy Father's Day, John!

The kids and I miss you so much. You took such good care of us and there wasn't anything you couldn't make or fix.
I love you, Baby.

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Two years, three weeks

I am struggling. Now that I am past the two year mark, I think it is finally sinking into my brain and heart that John is really gone. The sadness seems worse. It seems to have seeped into my very being and is a part of me all the time. I just feel this profound sense of loss that is like nothing I have ever felt before. This man who knew me for half of my life, who was my best friend, who loved me as no one else did or will, who understood me as no one ever did or will, is gone. G.O.N.E. And there isn’t a damn thing I can do about it.
I feel so lost.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Just some thoughts

Yesterday I went shopping with the woman who is making the memory quilt for me. We went to buy fabric for another border, for the back, and for the binding of the quilt. She has done such a fantastic job. I can't wait until it's completed. It's going to be beautiful. She is making such wonderful little touches to it. It is truly going to be a quilt that speaks of John.
Not only was it special to be shopping for the material but it was good to talk with this woman too. She too is  widow. Her husband died several years ago and she truly gets it. I don't mean to sound snobbish but only another woman who has lost her husband knows what it really feels like. Maybe because it's the kind of pain that there just are no words for.
Yes, I can try to convey here what I am going through, what other women in my position are going through. But I think it might even sound melodramatic to read these words unless you have been there. And then sadly, it all makes sense.
Nothing prepares you for the enormity of this loss. Even now, two years later, I still can't believe that this has happened to us. We had such plans, we were looking forward to growing old together and now it is all gone. All gone. With no hope for going back. Nothing I do, nothing I say can change what is. That is the heartbreak. In other situations you can work to try to change or fix a situation. But the lack of hope is what is so overwhelming. The fact is that no matter how well I do this grief thing John is never going to walk through our door again. As I go through my day I think I try to not let that really permeate my consciousness. Yet, every so often, especially at night, I allow myself to really understand what that means and then I am shaken to my core and I sob as if it happened just a few minutes ago.
When I was a young child, I couldn't wait to grow up. Now I am grown up and I can't wait to die.

Friday, June 1, 2012

John still talks to me

Is it too weird to say that John still talks to me? Well, maybe "talks" is the wrong word. He still communicates to me. He gets his point across and sometimes he even answers questions for me.
When I'm really missing him or needing him I see a sparkle. It says to me "I'm still here and I still love you." Maybe that's just a little thing but it happens often and I find it very comforting.
Then the other day I was driving along and wondering who of two possible handymen that I knew should I hire to do some work on our house. John always did most of the work on our home and I always trusted him in that area. So, I talked to John as I was driving along and I asked him what I should do.
Then, the light turned red and I stopped. There was a car in front of me and I looked at its license plate. You know how some license plates have a metal surround? Some have the name of the driver's alma mater, or maybe a cause they are passionate about. I don't know what the connection was in this particular license plate jacket. All I know is that the first name of one of the two handyman was sitting there on the top of the license plate on the car ahead of me right after I had asked John for advice.
Then there was a recent airplane ride. I have never travelled well. I'm not good on planes. John had always kept me calm. Especially during turbulence. This particular ride had lots of turbulence. I was trying to read on my iPad to distract myself and not having much success. So I closed the iPad for a minute. The turbulence increased and I decided to try my book again. I opened my iPad but instead of my book being opened for me to read, somehow my contacts list had been activated. And whose contact was staring back at me complete with picture? John's! Out of all of the possible entries in that list, why his? It could not have been just chance. No, to me it meant "It's OK. I'm here. I'm with you." Exactly what John would have done.
I love these messages from him.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Grief doesn't go away just because time passes

A friend of mine who is also blogging about her grief wrote that it was a revelation to her that she still feels grief - at times intensely - after over two years' time. She knows she appears to be all right on the outside but she really is not on the inside.
Her post really resonates with me. I too seem “okay” on the outside but I am still a bowl of tears and grief on the inside. And it doesn’t take much for the tears to bubble up to the surface. It’s two years and 4 days for me. Yesterday I bawled and cried to the heavens. I clung to John’s bathrobe and just sobbed. It just came over me. I was just straightening up our bedroom and the feelings that he was no longer physically here, that I couldn’t hug him, couldn’t talk to him and hear his voice [except in my head], couldn’t see his smile, could just “be” with him just overcame me. And it was May 24, 2010 all over again.
I keep a journal that I write to John. I share things in there with him about my day, my thoughts, etc. And it helps a little but of course it’s not the same. I am planning things to do over the next few months and I look forward to those things. But underneath it all, with every step, with every activity – with every breath – is the overriding thought “John’s not here, John’s not here.” And like my friend, it’s the little everyday things that make the sorrow more intense – making a meal, playing with the furbabies, shopping at Costco. I can’t pass a men’s clothing counter in a department store without getting upset.
I feel like I am walking around with a huge hole in my chest that you can actually see through. John was “home” to me and now my home is gone. I am a homeless person. All I have are things. I would give them all up and live under a bridge in a refrigerator box if it would bring John back.
I don’t know if I will ever feel any differently from how I feel now. I’m not sure I want to. I don’t want to feel OK with John’s absence. And the thought of happiness is totally foreign now. There are occasions of okay-ness and if that’s all I get now, I can live with that. I don’t expect more and I really don’t want more. All I want is John and I know I won’t have that again until I leave this world.

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Two Years

Two years since John left. But two years closer to when we will be together again.
I am going to focus on that part.
And I know John is still with me.
I can feel him here. And his love.
The love and comfort of friends and family has helped and makes me realize how blessed I am.
I am grateful.


Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Our last day

Tonight marks the anniversary of the last day we spent together.
It was a good day filled with happiness, laughter, family.
I am so glad we had that weekend together.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

104 Weeks

Yesterday marked 104 weeks. Two years worth of weeks. And I didn't mark it. How can that be? I think it is because I am so focused on the actual day which is this Thursday, the 24th. And yesterday was our Golden's birthday and I was having good memories thinking about how she came to be with us and how John actually picked her out for us.

But I had lunch with a dear friend yesterday and we did talk about "that day". So I did not forget. I never could. I never will.
John is in my heart always. And I am trying to dwell on the good times, the good memories. Our life was good. John's passing was only a small part of our life. For 32 years we had each other and our life was good.
We still have each other. It's just different now. 

Sunday, May 20, 2012

The worst Sunday

Sunday nights are always hard but tonight is the hardest. Tonight, two years ago, on a Sunday night, John and I hugged for the last time. Later that night I awoke up to find him gone - transitioned - passed away - whatever term you want to use. Life was changed forever.
Two years.
104 weeks.
And counting.
On this date, two years ago we were starting out on that weekend visiting family. Our last weekend together.
And that's the thing. I am still counting. Still marking the dates. I have to wonder what I am counting.
Counting from?
Counting toward?
Is it some way to understand?
I don't know. I don't have any answers. Only questions.
And sadness. There are no words.


Thursday, May 17, 2012

7 more days

The memory Quilt is taking shape already.
Yesterday the quilter emailed me some photos of the work done so far.
The center so far
Detail of one of the squares
In the next few weeks we will go shopping for material for the border, the back, and the binding.
As it turned out, most of the shirts that she chose from the ones I brought her are from the last weekend that John and I spent together. A poignant coincidence. I think John had a hand in that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

8 more days

A shadow of joy flickered; it is me.
I told you I wouldn't leave.
My memories, my thoughts are imbedded deep in your heart.
I still love you.
Do not for one moment think that you have been abandoned.
I am in the Light.
In the corner, in the hall, the car, the yard ~
these are the places I stay with you.
My spirit rises every time you pray for me,
but my energy comes closer to you.
Love does not diminish; it grows stronger.
I am the feather that finds you in the yard,
the dimmed light that grows brighter in your mind,
I place our memories for you to see.
We lived in our special way,
a way that now has its focus changed.
I still crave your understanding
and long for the many words of prayer
and good fortune for my soul.
I am in the Light.
As you struggle to adjust without me,
I watch silently.
Sometimes I summon up all the strength of my new world
to make you notice me.
Impressed by your grief,
I try to impress my love deeper into your consciousness.
As you should, I call out to the Heavens for help.
You should know that the fountain of youth does exist.
My soul is now healthy.
Your love sends me new found energy.
I am adjusting to this new world.
I am with you and I am in the Light.
Please don't feel bad that you can't see me.
I am with you wherever you go.
I protect you,
just as you protected me so many times.
Talk to me and somehow I will find a way to answer you.
Mother, Father, son or daughter, it makes no difference.
Brother, sister, lover, husband or wife, it makes no difference.
Whatever our connection ~ friend or even foe ~ I see you with my new eyes.
I am learning to help wherever you are, wherever I am needed.
This can be done because I am in the Light.
When you feel despair, reach out to me. I will come.
My love for you truly does transcend from Heaven to Earth.
Finish your life with the enthusiasm and zest that you had
when we were together in the physical sense.
You owe this to me, but more importantly,
you owe it to yourself.
Life continues for both of us.
I am with you because I love you
and I am in the Light.
-- Author Unknown

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Mother's Day

This is my second Mother's Day without John. The first when I will be doing nothing at all to mark it. Last year I went out to dinner with some friends. Today I have no plans except to go see John's Mom at her assisted living home after Church. I'll bring her a card and flowers and love from me and John.
John always made a fuss over me on Mother's Day. There were cards and flowers and a present from him [and the furkids] and he always took me out to dinner. He said he loved how I cared for him and our family. It was a joy for me to do so. I loved how he cared for me.
This Mother's Day was almost a disaster. I had an episode with one of the cats yesterday that luckily turned out all right but almost didn't.
I know I am over the top when it comes to our furbabies and I understand the panic I felt when I couldn't find Riley. I don't understand the extent of the panic and upset that I felt for hours after it was all over.
All I can think of is that it brought back flashbacks of losing John. The absolute terror and loss that I felt the night I found John was overwhelming. Losing Riley and feeling guilty that I had had let him down was akin to that. My immediate reaction when I found John was that I should have been there for him. I should have been able to do something to help him and prevent his death. In reality I know that is not true, that there was nothing I could have done. But feelings are not necessarily rational. And the feeling of loss at a time like that is so tremendous words can't do it justice.
Thank God, we found Riley and yesterday ended happily.
I wish that were the case with John. Nothing can fix what happened that day almost two years ago. Life is forever changed for us.
I miss him so much, today and every day.

Friday, May 11, 2012

In two weeks

In two weeks it will be two years since John passed. Now I find myself giving the standard "I'm OK" whenever anyone asks. In reality I want to scream "Life sucks! I hate this. I want my old life back. I want my John back." But I don't. No one wants to hear that any more. I know everyone thinks I should be OK now. I should be fine with this. At least I should be able to "move on". I hate that phrase.
How do you move on? You don't. You move forward. One day moves into the next, and the next, and the next. And before you know you are facing the two year anniversary and you wonder how you got here. What happened to those two years?  And why does it still feel like it just happened? And why does the hole still feel raw? And why do these surges of grief just overtake you and make you scream like an animal?
I don't have any answers. I just know I never thought I would be here doing this and I wish with all my heart this wasn't so.
I look at these pictures I post of John and I remember his laugh, his smile, his love. I ache for that.  What I wouldn't give for one of his hugs. No matter what was wrong with life, a hug and kiss from John made it all better. Life with him was happy beyond words. I don't mean every day was a picnic. It wasn't. We had our troubles and ups and downs the same as any married couple. But we were together and so often we told each other how lucky we were. We truly liked each other. We knew we were lucky and blessed. Thank God we knew that.
But it makes it so much harder now.
I miss you so much, Sweetheart.

More pictures, more memories


San Diego 1994

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

John's memory quilt

Today I dropped off some of John's clothes at the home of a new friend. She is going to make a memory quilt for me, something I can snuggle up with that will help me feel John close to me.
I chose a log cabin pattern. It will be similar to this.

She showed me many samples and as soon as I saw this one I knew it was what I wanted. The red symbolizes the heart, the center of the home and I think that is perfect. We are going to use John's cranberry work scrub pants for that part. My quilt will be predominantly blue because that was primarily the color of the shirts that I chose and that is also perfect because blue was John's favorite color and I loved him in that color. It brought out his eyes and was great with his coloring and red hair.
Last year I marked the anniversary of John's passing with his Memory Garden and this year it is his quilt. I like being able to honor him this way.
Incidentally, I think I have mentioned how sparkles keep showing up all over the house, etc. just when I seemed to need them and I think they are "Hello's" from John. There was a sparkle on the driver's seat of my car today. As I placed the car in gear and looked down before pulling out into the street on my way to meeting the quilter, there was one lone sparkle on the seat next to my leg. I know it was John telling me this was a good thing to do and he was happy about it.
Thank you, Sweetheart. I love you, too.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

I've started wearing some of John's clothes

Not all of them, of course. I would look kind of silly in one of his suits. But his T-shirts and scrub tops are good to sleep in and I can even get away with wearing some of them in the daytime. And the best part is I get to put them in the wash again and some days I can pretend he's still here.
Maybe that's delusional but I don't care. I am counting down the days to two years since he left and it's almost unbearable.
I spent part of the morning scanning more pictures. What will I do when I run out of pictures? That will put a finiteness to our life together that I don't want to face.
These were from the summer of 1993.
John and Willie in John's MG - August 1993

September 1993

On a cruise to the Bahamas - August 1993