Well, the tree I bought was horrible so it's back in the box and waiting to be returned. I shopped at Target for another one and they were all out. I'll try at Walmart today but my hopes are not high. Maybe it's just not meant to be.
And that's OK. My heart really wasn't into it anyway.
Last week I was counseling a woman who is only [now] 7 weeks into her sadness from losing her soul mate. I couldn't help but notice myself at that stage in her. I remember those days. The hopelessness. The all-consuming sadness. The constant crying.
It's a wonder we survive at all.
So I can see that I am better than I was.
But I still miss John so much. It is still an ache inside. A constant longing.
I cherish the memories and photos. I love when I dream about John, even the silly ones that I know aren't visits. For a few seconds he is still there beside me.
But the longing never goes away.
I know we still have a relationship. It's just different now.
But, oh, how I wish for the old days.
And this time of constant exhortations to be merry and happy and celebrate with family makes it all the harder.
For the first time since John's passing I feel like decorating a bit more for Christmas.
Last year I decorated the front entryway and this year I did as well.
But I actually bought a [I hope] kitty-proof tree this year. We'll see.
Well, it's that time of year again - the Season of Nausea Giving. Otherwise, known as Hallmark Christmas movies.
I will admit, I watch a lot of them. Some of them are fun.
But there seems to be a theme this year of poor widows who are sad until they find true love again and then all is well.
Last night was no exception - Magic Stocking . This movie supposedly told the story of a young widow whose daughter finds a Christmas stocking that somehow grants all their wishes including true love for the young widow. And I realize life is different when you are widowed at a young age and have young children. That is not my beef. My beef was the woman's mother. Our heroine had only been widowed 3 years. It was Christmas time. She was sad. She was missing her husband. And her mother had the nerve to criticize her and tell her it was time to "move on".
Really? Who was she to judge? Three years is nothing in widow time. Three years is barely when you feel your feet under you again and realize you have the strength to get things done and life might still be worth living.
Mind you, this widow was not languishing at home living on cottage cheese and surrounded by wet tissues. She was working, running a home, and taking care of her daughter.
What was there that needed "moving on"?
Ah, she wasn't dating and getting remarried. The panacea to all troubles.
I know - I sound angry.
Our societal mindset - especially in Hallmark land - is you are not complete unless coupled.
So, I guess I am incomplete.
So be it.
In my incompleteness I will continue to take care of myself and those I love.
I will continue to take care of this house.
I will care for our four-legged babies.
I will run my business.
I will write.
I will practice Reiki.
I will continue to work toward my dream of continuing my education [at 67!] of metaphysics and spirituality and even contemplate the idea of some sort of ministry.
I will continue my relationship with John because, despite what others think, we still have one. It's just different now.
And if that's incomplete - oh well.
I keep finding pictures
of houses that remind me of the house we had in Lehman PA. I wonder if John is trying to tell
me something? I have felt for a while now that he has built a house like this
for us over there. Maybe this is his way of telling me I am right?
I hope so. I would love
to have a house like this with him. We were so happy in that house in Lehman.
Was that John telling me
Hello and Happy Thanksgiving this morning?
At around 6:30 AM today his alarm clock went off. It wasn’t a steady beep. It just kept going off and on. And
the alarm light was blinking and the alarm button was in the On position. I
don’t think it could have been the cats because the alarm button is small and has to be turned a certain way in order to set the alarm. And it couldn't have been the cleaning ladies. It’s been over
a week since they have been here.
I think it was John. He loved Thanksgiving. And turkey.
Two friends and I have started a Facebook community and blog page about grief and mourning as it relates to losing a soul mate.
I have learned so much and have been blessed to come so far since John has passed that I want to help others who are hurting.
I feel by doing that I can heal myself as well.
I cherish all the pictures I have of John, and of us and the life we
shared. Of course, I wish we had taken more now that they are all I have
left. More photos, more video. Sometimes, I wish I could crawl inside
the photos and videos and be there with him again.
I remember a friend telling me [after John had been gone only 8
months] that I had too many pictures of him around. Her husband in the meantime
was alive and well and puttering in the garage at the time so I think
she should have kept her mouth shut and I politely told her so.
This past week someone I know only casually said after death we should
not "make a shrine" to our loved ones. Again, spoken by someone who
truly has no idea what she is talking about.
I refuse to allow others to dictate how I choose to honor and cherish John's place in my life, then and now.
John and I were together on this earth 32 years, 34 years if you count the two years we were friends before we became a couple. The first thing I remember thinking after he passed was that it wasn't long enough. We were just getting the hang of this married thing and we were getting really good at it. Life was so good and then poof! It was over.
Now it's been 37 years since our first date, 39 years [this month! as a matter of fact] since we saw each other for the very first time, since our souls smiled and knew we had finally made it back to each other again.
It is no coincidence that I found this video today, that I am writing this post about our first date, our first meeting. I know John is thinking the same things and he wants me to know this.
Thank you, my Love. I love you, too and I love our life together, in all its forms.
Until I hold you again...
This has been a tough week. I am still struggling with the aftermath of the car accident this past August. I am fine, thank God. But the insurance company of the moron who hit me is refusing to pay the proper amount for the diminished value to my car. So, I am now dealing with appraisals and attorneys and trying to decide the best way to go that won't end up costing me money. Somehow, it doesn't seem fair that I am the one suffering the damage yet I am also the one who must spend money in order to be made whole.
Then I am having roof issues. I had the roof retiled last year. In order to save on supply costs we salvaged the good tiles which amounted to 60% of what was there. Then we replaced the rest. Of course, finding tiles to match wasn't going to happen so we painted the entire roof a nice color when it was done. It looked beautiful - until this year when I noticed paint chipping off. After a complaint to the company they decided the paint was defective and repainted at no cost to me. All well and good but that meant scraping off all the old paint. What a mess! Paint chips everywhere - in the pool, in the landscaping, staining the pool deck and some parts of the house. I am beyond upset. They claim they will clean it up but also already stated not all of it will be able to be picked up.So, again, I will have to go to the mat to get compensated.
So I had a good cry for myself yesterday. Wished with all my heart that John was here. I could so use one of his hugs and hearing him tell me it will be all right.
I worry I am not taking care of the house properly. I find myself worrying about everything lately and realizing that I am not getting better in that area.
I have never been alone like this. I went from my home as a child and teen to nursing school to serious boyfriend to marriage number one and then to John.
Now, I am utterly alone. Not even family to fall back on.
My therapist thinks I should be "open" to another relationship. Is that everyone's answer to everything?
Yes, I hate being alone but being with someone doesn't necessarily make you any less alone if it's not who you want to be with.
And I know in the scheme of things, I still have it pretty good. I have no right to complain.
So, now I pile guilt on top.
I don't know what's more of a mess - me or the house.
I have never heard this song before today. But as I was driving in my car today and feeling sad, this song played on Pandora. It was a message, I know. I will see John again and he was telling me so.
Thank you, Sweetheart.
It is the signs that John sends me that helps me go on. He shows me almost daily that he is still alive, and with me. Our loved ones are always with us. Love and life don't end. Death is only a transition. It is birth to the Other Side.
I've been ruminating about a situation with my car lately [short version: I was rear-ended back in August and am now battling with the offender's insurance company to recover diminished value on my car].
As I drove to my chiropractor's office this week, I was again worrying about the outcome. As I got out of my car, a beautiful dragonfly buzzed around me. In fact, he slammed right into my driver's side door after I got out of the car. I thought that was odd but he flew away, only to return a second later and buzz me again. So, I paid attention.
Often, dragonflies are considered signs from loved ones. Maybe John was trying to tell me to not worry?
Then, I took a step forward and there, sticking out of the front lawn was a large black feather, considered again to be another sign.
Every movie about love that I see reminds me of what John and I had and what I miss so much.
This song is from a movie called Chances Are. It's a movie about reincarnation and love.
I don't think it was an accident that I turned on the TV tonight and the end of that movie was playing and then this song came on. I take it as a sign, a message.
Of hope and love.
I have saved every single card that John and I ever gave each other.
Every. Single. One.
At the time I was doing it I thought maybe I was being a little weird. In the beginning I saved the envelopes too but when the amount of paper got to be ginormous, I compromised by tossing the envelopes.
Maybe my soul and heart knew that some day these cards would be so precious to me.
Because they are.
I'm so glad I have them. They are tangible reminders of how much we loved and love each other.
How much John cherished our life together.
How lucky I was.
And still am.
When I need to feel him near me, I grab a few and read them. It's sad but it's also good.
Recently, I gathered them all together because I had saved them in various places around the house.
They filled two large bins.
Two large bins filled with love.
I just learned this morning that the stepson of a Facebook group friend was killed in a motorcycle accident. Everyone in the group is obviously upset and hurting for this woman and posting notes of sympathy.
One particular note got to me. Not because it was heartfelt or especially poetic.
No, it got to me because it actually made me annoyed, at the very least. And angry, if I am being honest.
This woman wrote "there is no greater loss" referencing the fact that the person lost was a son. To be honest, this woman was personalizing the tragedy because just a few years ago she too lost her son suddenly and unexpectedly to an unknown underlying medical condition.
So on some level, I know and understand where she is coming from.
But my concern goes deeper than that.
I am upset because in that one sentence, meant to commiserate, I felt she demeaned everyone else who is grieving the loss of someone who is not a child [no matter the age].
I have heard it said often that there is no loss greater or worse than losing a child.
I don't know what that means. I have never had a child so I will never know that kind of bond. I imagine that loss to be terrible and tragic and horrible and any other word you can use to describe that kind of immense pain.
But this is not a contest.
And to say that one loss is greater than another is false.
I have known people who have never recovered after losing a parent.
I have known people who have been devastated by the loss of their pet.
Is the loss of a sibling to be considered no big deal?
What about a dear friend?
A cherished uncle?
Loss to death is tragic and sad and horrible in all its permutations.
Losing my husband, my soul mate, my best friend John is something I will never recover from. I will go on but I will also be defined from here on out by what that loss means to me.
To me, there is no greater loss.
As I am sure anyone else feels they are forever changed by the loss they experienced, no matter what "kind" of loss it was.
I am sad for anyone who has lost a loved one to death. I know how much that can hurt.
But I don't pretend to know what that particular loss feels like to that person because I am not them and I did not experience that particular relationship.
Every loss is different and every loss is important and every loss is sad.
My job - our job - is to be there for the person who is grieving.
Not to judge.
Not to compare.
Not to quantify.
And to offer love and support.
I may have posted this before but if I did, it bears repeating.
People often try to pigeon-hole those who are grieving into the so-called stages put out by Elizabeth Kubler-Ross in her book On Death and Dying. What they don't understand is that the
Kubler-Ross stages of grief really apply to the person who
is dying rather than the person who is grieving. I resented it when
people tried to categorize me into a "stage" after John passed.
One "friend" even said "Oh, good, you're angry, that means you're
getting better." Better? Was she kidding? The only person I was angry
with was her for saying such a stupid thing. Sadness and gut-wrenching
sadness seemed to be my most common feelings those first couple of
years. Everyone grieves in their own way, in their own time. There is no right or wrong way and the biggest disservice we can do to anyone who is grieving is to hurry them along under the guise that we are helping. Usually when people do that it is because they themselves are uncomfortable with grief and don't know what to do for someone who is grieving. Making the other person back to how they were before their loss is usually their goal. What they don't understand is that you don't go back to that person. Ever. A part of you dies, too, when the love of your life has died. You will never be the same again. That does not mean you will not have a meaningful life. It does mean that life will be different, though. You are different. You see life differently. You now have new goals and new thoughts. It is not necessarily a bad thing but you have to accept that life as you knew it is over. Now it's a different life. You go forward after the death, you don't don't "get over" the death. And you take your Love with you. John and I are still mated. But it is different now. He shows me in many ways that he is still with me. He still loves me. His passing has made me re-evaluate many things. I have also learned a lot and taken on projects I would not have done were he still here. His passing has made me stronger - and more vulnerable. His passing has helped me put many things into a new perspective. I have grown in ways I never imagined. I can do this. I will do this. And I look forward to being with him again.
I can't believe I have not blogged in so long. A lot has happened in the past few weeks and perhaps that is why I have been reluctant to post. It wasn't all bad although some was upsetting.
I was involved in a car accident on August 6 [rear-ended at a red light] and my car was badly damaged.
But all is on the way to mending now, including me.
Then I had company for a week but that was a fun distraction.
But now it is time to get back down to business.
Today I want to talk about the soul portrait I had done of John.
Last year you might remember I had one done of me.
So, I contacted the artist, sent her a couple of pictures of John and soon I had a portrait of what she saw as John as an eternal soul.
Aside from the fact that John looks a little like Captain Picard from Star Trek, I find the portrait very interesting. John appears to me to be very wise and peaceful. The reading confirmed John as a loving healer and that he is still very much with me and that we are continuing our relationship together.
Everything in the picture has symbolic meaning and I find it very comforting.
"Only once in your life, I truly believe, you find someone who can
completely turn your world around.
You tell them things that you’ve
never shared with another soul and they absorb everything you say and
actually want to hear more. You share hopes for the future, dreams that
will never come true, goals that were never achieved and the many
disappointments life has thrown at you. When something wonderful
happens, you can’t wait to tell them about it, knowing they will share
in your excitement.
They are not embarrassed to cry with you when you
are hurting or laugh with you when you make a fool of yourself. Never do
they hurt your feelings or make you feel like you are not good enough,
but rather they build you up and show you the things about yourself that
make you special and even beautiful.
There is never any pressure,
jealousy or competition but only a quiet calmness when they are around.
You can be yourself and not worry about what they will think of you
because they love you for who you are.
The things that seem
insignificant to most people such as a note, song or walk become
invaluable treasures kept safe in your heart to cherish forever.
Memories of your childhood come back and are so clear and vivid it’s
like being young again. Colors seem brighter and more brilliant.
Laughter seems part of daily life where before it was infrequent or
didn’t exist at all. A phone call or two during the day helps to get you
through a long day’s work and always brings a smile to your face.
their presence, there’s no need for continuous conversation, but you
find you’re quite content in just having them nearby. Things that never
interested you before become fascinating because you know they are
important to this person who is so special to you.
You think of this
person on every occasion and in everything you do. Simple things bring
them to mind like a pale blue sky, gentle wind or even a storm cloud on
the horizon. You open your heart knowing that there’s a chance it may be
broken one day and in opening your heart, you experience a love and joy
that you never dreamed possible.
You find that being vulnerable is the
only way to allow your heart to feel true pleasure that’s so real it
scares you. You find strength in knowing you have a true friend and
possibly a soul mate who will remain loyal to the end.
completely different, exciting and worthwhile. Your only hope and
security is in knowing that they are a part of your life.”
― Bob Marley
This past week I had Afternoon Tea with a couple of friends at the Ritz-Carlton in Phoenix. It was a bittersweet experience because it was the last time we will be able to do that. The Ritz has been sold and will be closed for the next year while it undergoes a remodel. When it opens again, they will no longer be doing the tea.
I can't remember the first time John and I had tea there but I know it was many many years ago. Possibly as long as 10 years ago, or more. It was something we enjoyed doing. Truth be told, John might have gone along with it because it was something I wanted to do but he seemed to enjoy it.
Birthdays and other special occasions were celebrated there.
One of my favorite times was when my first book was published.
Another time was when my aunt and uncle visited.
I will miss it but I am grateful for the many good times.
Anam Cara refers to the Celtic spiritual belief of souls connecting and bonding.
In Celtic Spiritual tradition, it is believed that the soul radiates
all about the physical body, what some refer to as an aura. When you
connect with another person and become completely open and trusting with
that individual, your two souls begin to flow together. Should such a
deep bond be formed, it is said you have found your Anam Cara or soul
Your Anam Cara always accepts you as you truly are,
holding you in beauty and light. In order to appreciate this
relationship, you must first recognize your own inner light and beauty.
This is not always easy to do. The Celts believed that forming an Anam
Cara friendship would help you to awaken your awareness of your own
nature and experience the joys of others.
According to John
O'Donahue, an accomplished Irish poet, philosopher and Catholic priest,
"...You are joined in an ancient and eternal union with humanity that
cuts across all barriers of time, convention, philosophy and definition.
When you are blessed with an anam cara, the Irish believe, you have arrived at that most sacred place: home."
John was and is my Anam Cara.
I love dreams about John. Even if they aren't visits, they are always welcome. For a few brief moments, I get to be back with him and experience his happy smile and his love all over again.
Last night was just such a time. We were driving somewhere and for some reason John decided instead of turning around he was going to drive back down the street backwards. A policeman didn't agree and started to follow us and I could hear the siren in the background but John just kept smiling and driving backwards.
I know the dream was just a silly dream but it was good anyway. I got to hear John laugh. I got to see him smile. And I got to sit with him for a few precious minutes.
It was wonderful.
I still can't shake the constant sadness. I think it will always be there. And I don't expect anyone to understand.
There is just a flatness to life now. The "John-ness" is missing and life is now empty.
It's not that life was a big circus and party with John. It wasn't. It was just life. But it was a good life. No, it was a great life. A happy life.
Life is just a day to day thing now. It's hard to explain. I still get things done. And there are things that I enjoy - our furkids, my friends, writing, music, nature. But there is always something missing. My heart is always heavy.
When John was here, the simplest things were wonderful because we enjoyed them, experienced them together.
Now the most wondrous things are mundane because he's not here physically to experience them with me.
I hardly talk about it with anyone anymore. I expect that after 5 years people will expect that I should be better, that I should move on.
Maybe that would be true for most. But John was my true soul mate, my other half, my Twin Flame. How do you go on as before when a piece of you is missing?
I believe in reincarnation and so did John. And we knew we had been together as husband and wife before too. It just felt right.
So this past week, I underwent a past life regression with a woman who has been trained to do this.
It was a very interesting experience. Of course there is no way to verify any of the information but it was still a very eye-opening experience.
And yes, John was there.
I recently made a donation to the Arizona Humane Society in John's name in honor of his five year anniversary. Lauren [at AZHS] helped me by putting it toward their new Puppy Parvo ICU.
She sent me this notification last week:
I wanted to share the story of one
Puppy Parvo ICU patient who has an amazing new life thanks in part to your
donation in John’s memory. Duncan is pictured below...he was just skin and
bones when he came in, and had quite a rough go of it during his Parvo
treatment. He actually had further intestinal complications, but our Second
Chance Animal Hospital veterinarians were able to perform a surgery, and he
pulled through. He is now in his new adoptive home and loving life! I’ve
personally met this little dude and he is the sweetest, most gentle little pup.
Thank you so much, Joy, for always supporting AHS and the
animals in honor of John.
This makes my heart happy and I know John is happy too.
John's 5 year anniversary overshadowed another milestone. On May 19, 1985 John graduated from nursing school. I was so proud of him. He worked very hard for that degree, working full-time while going to school full-time. Graduation Day was wonderful and we had a fabulous party afterwards complete with a tent in the yard.
Vice-President Joe Biden's son passed away yesterday.
It's so sad to think about.
And people on Facebook and other places are all posting about it.
So it naturally has started a conversation about death and how it affects those left behind.
And that's good.
I hope it helps others who are mourning to know they are not alone.
But I also hope it helps others who are not mourning to learn how to help those who are.
Please, please learn the right things to say.
What I think I hated most [and still do] about my time immediately after John passed were those stupid things that people say to those who have lost a loved one to death. I know people mean well but in truth they are trying to make themselves feel better, not the one who is grieving.
Especially any statement that starts with "I know how you feel......"
No, you don't. You don't and can't know how I feel. You will never know how I feel.
Especially please don't have the audacity to compare it to something like "...because I lost my dog." Yes, some stupid woman had the nerve to say that to me just weeks after John passed.
Or even to compare it to someone else you lost.
Even if you too lost your husband.
I lost John. And his John-ness. No one can understand what that means.
Just like I can't understand what it means to you to have lost someone close to you, even if it is your husband. I didn't know your husband as you did. Only you know that and what his loss means to you.
What a person who is grieving needs is your caring.
You being there.
You can't make it better. Nothing you say or do will make it better. Right at that moment all a person wants is their loved one back, and you can't do that.
So don't say "It's God's will" or "He's in a better place."
Frankly, I wanted to hit anyone who said that.
Just say "I'm here." "I know you are hurting. This is awful. Let me sit here with you."
Cry with them. Don't say "Don't cry." There is going to be a lot of crying and if that makes you uncomfortable, stay away.
Hold their hand. Offer to do some of the mundane things that need to be done.
Or simply just be.
But please, please lose the platitudes.
They don't help at all.
Or some day someone may get the strength to hit you.
The above saying has been floating around Facebook for quite some time now but its meaning is so true.
I wish I had met John sooner. Thirty-two years together wasn't long enough.
I wonder what it would have been like to know him as a younger man.
I was driving to meet some friends. The event was a play in Phoenix and while I knew the person who invited me to join the group, I didn’t know any of the
other women. There were going to be six of them that were strangers to me, a
situation I found unnerving.So, as I
drove to meet these new people, I spoke to John, asking him to be with me to alleviate my nervousness.
was driving I was also playing my new Josh Groban album on my iPhone, pumping
it via the Bluetooth through my car speakers. Right after I said my little
prayer to John one of my all-time favorite songs came on “You’ll Never walk
Alone.” Josh did a great job with it and I was carried away by the emotion of
the song. Just then a white SUV pulled up next to me on my left and then sped
up a little ways. I could see his license plate. I love reading other license
plates. It’s fun to see
what people like to put on the back of their car. So, as this car’s plate moved
into my line of vision I automatically started to read it. Imagine my surprise
to see “JONNY” in large letters. Mind you, “You’ll Never Walk Alone” was still
playing loudly in my car.
John was with me. I smiled and said Thank you.
doesn’t end there.
Yesterday I was again driving. This time I was on my way to pick up Bella from day care. Again I was playing Josh’s
album and once again had come to this song. I was just enjoying it and
remembering what had happened last time I heard it. I was feeling thankful for
the message from John.
it hit me. Not only had John been telling me he would be with me that
particular day but he was telling me that he would always be with me. That was the real message. I am not alone and I
won’t be as long as I am alive on this planet. John loves me with all his
heart. That won’t change just because we are separated by different dimensions.
the message for all of us. Our loved ones are with us.
when I knew. That is the title for the book I am working on. I had been struggling
with that, trying out different titles but none seemed to work.
know in my heart what it is and it feels right.