Friday, December 26, 2014

There is no wrong way to grieve

Today I read something about grief on a spiritual/new age Facebook page that I belong to. The husband of the woman writing birthed into spirit about a month ago. She talks about a new way of grieving as well, based on her spiritual/almost mediumistic beliefs. For the most part, I like what she says. So far so good. But today she wrote something that rubbed me the wrong way. She actually criticized those who grieve, saying they were stuck in a low vibration, that they weren't honoring their loved one, that the saying "the depth of grief equals the depth of love" is wrong and that life goes on and we who grieve need to do that too. She lost me big time at that point. I believe we are doing grief the new way but that doesn't mean we don't grieve at all. It's been 4 1/2 years since John passed over and I still grieve. Not in the same way. Not with the raw intensity of those first few months, that first year. But I still miss him. I always will. I still yearn to hear his voice, feel his touch, smell his hair. But I also still live. I know that and every day I am learning to live more. I honor what John's passing has given me. Yet, I would give all that up and I would still love to have him back here in a heartbeat. Yes, there is a new way to do grief and I think I am doing a fantastic job of both learning and teaching. I also think it is wrong to criticize the way this woman has criticized. There is enough guilt out there. It is wrong to heap more on those of us who have lost a loved one and tell us that we are still not doing it right if we don't dust ourselves off and move on more quickly. I think in her attempt to do grief the new way, she has actually gone back to doing grief the old way. 
The bottom line is we all grieve whatever way we can and no one has the right to tell us we are doing it wrong. That itself is wrong.

Friday, December 19, 2014

And another loss

My father passed away this afternoon.
Pat Palastro 

August 2, 1921 - December 19, 2014
Going to miss you, Dad. Thanks for my life. 
Until we meet again.....

Wednesday, December 17, 2014

It's almost Christmas

In 8 more days it will be Christmas. And in 9 more days it won't. I can do this.
But in the meantime, I love our pictures of Christmases together.


Wednesday, December 10, 2014

Becoming real

Losing someone you love makes you very real. But loving them makes you real too and I would not change one second of my life with John.
As the Garth Brooks song "The Dance" says:
And now I'm glad I didn't know
The way it all would end, the way it all would go
Our lives are better left to chance
 I could have missed the pain
But I'd have had to miss the dance

Monday, December 1, 2014

John sent me a smile

The holidays are here again and this past weekend was hard. And this morning driving back from dropping Bella off at daycare, I experienced some serious flashbacks. Some days I just can't get the image of finding John gone out of my head and the horror and overwhelming devastation hits me all over again.
So I came home and got on Facebook [some days I know I waste too much time on there] and was scrolling through my newsfeed. I saw a note from someone I know who has recently lost her husband and her words were uplifting.
And then I saw it.
Two notes further down and there was a smile from John - a little cartoon that he loved.

Somewhere along the line, John found this cartoon online and bookmarked it. Every so often he would just click on it and play it. He loved it. It never failed to make him laugh, no matter how many times he played it.
And sometimes, if he knew I was within earshot, he would play it to get my attention because he knew it would make me laugh too. It was one of his favorite things.
And here it was on my Facebook newsfeed. I know it was John making me laugh and letting me now he was all aright and we were all right.
Thank you, Sweetheart.

Sunday, November 30, 2014

Miss you, Mom

John's Mom birthed into spirit two years ago today. I miss her. I miss our talks. I miss that connection to John.
I miss the opportunity she gave me to be her daughter , too.
But I know she is happy to be back with her family.
Until we are together again, Mom. Love you.

Thursday, November 27, 2014


These pictures are from happy Thanksgivings.
John loved Thanksgiving and he always enjoyed every aspect of the meal from cooking to serving to eating.
Missing you, John, but so grateful for the life we had.
John preparing the first Thanksgiving meal we had together - 1979
1979 - I have no idea what we were doing here

Monday, November 24, 2014

Four and a half years

In the beginning I counted John's passing in hours. Then it was days, then weeks, then months and then, unbelievably, years.
Now it's years and half years.
Today is the 24th of the month and it's ironically a Monday, the same day of the week as when the world changed forever for me on May 24, 2010. It marks four and a half years.
I have to be honest and say my grief has changed. It's not the overwhelming raging raw grief that it was those first few hours, days, weeks, and months. But it is still there.
It will always be there. It will cease to exist when my physical life ceases and I am with John again and we continue our journey together.
I know I am still here for a reason and I will do my best to make the most of my time.
But I would be less than honest if I didn't say that nothing I do here will give me the same joy I felt when John and I were together and I know nothing will be right again until we are together again.
Until then, I accept the sadness.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

More pictures

I am still digitizing pictures of John from all the rolls I have, wishing I had taken more pictures of John and less of scenery and pets. But I am happy I have what I have. I dread the day when I reach the end of the pictures that I have.
These are pictures of John selling stuff at a local fair. He called his wares "Johnny Mart".

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Happy Veteran's Day, Sweetheart

Through the power of Facebook, John had found an old girlfriend about a year before he passed.  They had been High School sweethearts and had dated for a while after she went away to college and John had gone on to join the Air Force. They had been happy to reconnect and catch up. And I thought it was great.
Anyway, after John passed, Annette friended me and we have kept in touch ever since. It has been comforting to have someone who cared for John still remember him fondly. She also sent me some pictures she had of John from back then which made me so happy.
In honor of Veteran's Day, I post them here. Thank you for your service, Baby, and thank you Annette for being such a good friend.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

38 years ago

38 years ago today I met John for the first time - November 9, 1976. I had just started a new job. I was to be one of the two nurses who worked at a day treatment center for emotionally disturbed children. John was one of the therapists. This particular day I was shadowing the woman I was replacing. It was a Tuesday and we were attending the general staff meeting in the Administration Building. I even remember the dress I wore. I was nervous meeting everyone. I remember some of the people there. I remember where I sat.
And I remember John. Years later he told me he remembered that day too.
I was 28 years old. I had long wavy thick brown hair back then, past my shoulder blades. I wore a red and gray herringbone striped dress that buttoned down the front. John sat behind me against the wall with a window behind him. He was next to a friend of his and he told me that he turned to his friend when I walked in and asked "Who's the girl with the hair?"
We became friends soon after and I knew there was a mutual attraction from the very beginning. Our souls knew we had finally found each other again.
38 years - what an adventure we have had, John. And we still continue to have.
I had fun on the astral plane last night and spent time with my Love. I remember the last scene especially. I was turning the corner, walking home and I came to our house, the house we have now. At first I thought there was snow on the trees and then I looked closer and everything was coming into bloom. There were pink flowers everywhere. There was a dogwood tree out front and rhododendron bushes - all turning pink with flowers. There were even flower petals all over the ground. I felt so happy. It was beautiful. The front door was open and I could see into the kitchen but I couldn't see John and I wondered where he was.
Then I looked toward the yard and I could see the top of his head just over the block wall. He looked up when he heard me approach and he smiled that smile that I know so well. I waved. I was so happy to see him. He laughed as if he had something good to tell me and motioned for me to come into the house and then he started to go in. I moved toward the front door and that's when I woke up and realized John is still not here with me. And I felt so sad.
It is never easy but I know there are gifts that John's passing has given me. I am a different person now and but for John's passing I wouldn't be who I am now and I know in my heart I am a better person because he was here and because he is no longer here.
And I am grateful for that.
But oh how I wish things were different. To see that smile again on this earth - that would be heaven right here.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

A simple love

John and I had a wonderful, simple love. I will be able to look back and never regret. I have wonderful memories of sitting on the front porch swing with John, talking and laughing. Walking, holding hands. Planning. Remembering.
Thank you, my Sweetheart.

"Simple Love"

Little yellow house sittin' on a hill
That is where he lived
That is where he died
Every Sunday morning
Hear the weeping willows cry

Two children born
A beautiful wife
Four walls and livin's all he needed in life
Always giving, never asking back
I wish I had a simple love like that

I want a simple love like that
Always giving, never askin' back
For when I'm in my final hour lookin' back
I hope I had a simple love like that

My momma was his only little girl
If he'd had the money he'd have given her the world
Sittin' on the front porch together they would sing
Oh how I long to hear that harmony

I want a simple love like that
Always giving never asking back
When I'm in my final hour looking back
I hope I had a simple love like that

I want a simple love like that
Always giving never asking back
When I'm in my final hour looking back
I hope I had a simple love like that 

Thursday, October 30, 2014

Grief surge

I was searching in the glove compartment of my car this morning and came across John's hairbrush. It was the one he used to keep in the console between the front seats in his car and after I donated his car I kept that momento in my car so that I would always have something of him with me. I had forgotten it was there and seeing it just grabbed me.
I took it out and held it. I looked it over very carefully. I could see hairs still imbedded in the bristles. Red hair. His hair. Reminders that he existed. That he held this brush that I now held. That it was close to him. That it touched him as I now touched it.
Words can't describe how I felt, what it meant to hold such an intimate possession of his.
And yes, I cried. It made me sad. Missing and mourning John is going to be a lifelong process. I know that. I accept that. It is never going to be okay.
I am able to go about my business. I accomplish things. I function.
But it will never be the same as it was. There will never be a person who holds me in his heart all day long the way John did. I will never mean to anyone else what I meant to him.
And I don't mean I want someone else. I don't.
John was Home to me, my constant in life. I carried his love and care in my heart with me no matter where I went and what I did. There was the constant comfort knowing he was alive in my world even when we were apart.
And now that is no more.
I know John is still with me. He has sent me signs just this week, just yesterday and I cherish those.
But it is not the same and I miss what we had.
My only comfort is knowing I will be with him again and then all this sadness will be over.

Friday, October 24, 2014

More hello's from John

John has been working overtime letting me know that he is around me and it makes me feel so good to know that.
I saw something on the deck last week that was unmistakable but for the sake of privacy I am going to keep it under wraps because it is going in my book. But it has been probably one of the strongest signs yet.
And then this week John played a song on my car computer [via Amazon Music] that was NOT downloaded to my iPhone so there was no way that the bluetooth could have intervened.
But there it was. It was the song "I'll Be Seeing You" by Billie Holiday from the soundtrack from the movie The Notebook. And yes, I just wrote about that movie and how it made me feel and that is why it was so poignant and special to have this song play the very next day. It was as if John knew I had watched the movie and blogged about it.
No, it wasn't as if. He was telling me he knew.
And I believe it.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

The best 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 you forever.” Noah from The Notebook
Nicholas Sparks

I watched The Notebook today, probably my favorite movie. For some reason the story makes me think of me and John. I think Ryan Gosling even looks like John a little [especially with the beard]. Maybe it's the strength and depth of the love of the two main characters. It makes me sad but it makes me happy too. I am lucky to have had what I had with John and nothing can change that. I was [and am] loved by a wonderful, sweet, and special man.

Friday, October 17, 2014

My home

I have always said John was/is my home. I have been bereft since he passed.
Looking forward to being Home with him again.

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

Scripted jewelry

Yesterday a dear friend sent me a link to an Etsy shop. Caroline the owner makes beautiful jewelry from the scripted notes of loved ones.
Scripted Jewelry 
Mauri, my friend, said as soon as she saw this shop she thought of me because she knew I would love to be able to wear something that had John's handwriting on it.
She's right.
I ordered a necklace with a heart-shaped pendant. And I submitted this note to be engraved.

 After John passed I found this note written on a post-it note. It was in my bedside end table drawer. I have no recollection of when John gave me this note or what the occasion might have been but he was always doing things like that. I'm so gald I saved the note. Every so often I take it out and look at it. It's a wonderful reminder of the love we shared.
And now I will have that note to wear. I can't wait to received this and I am so glad Mauri saw this and thought of me.

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Here's my sign

There's a comedian who likes to point out the stupidity of some people and his punch line is "Here's your sign".
Well, since John has passed he has given me many signs but they are not for stupidity. They show me that he is still around and loving me.
Like yesterday.
I was out running errands in Scottsdale and decided on the way home to go to Costco to get some needed items.
And as I always do when I am driving, I was thinking about John. And feeling sad and missing him.
So I pulled into the parking lot and saw a spot I wanted. But a gentleman was loading his purchases into his car and his door was protruding into the space so I moved on.
And then I spied another spot I thought would be good. As I neared it I knew it was the spot meant for me and John was also saying Hello.
Parked next to the open parking spot was a truck and this was on its side.
Thank you, John. I love you.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

So true

Searching for You

Lord, hear my heartfelt soul's lament,
I fear my tears will never be spent,
Aching, soul-deep despair and sorrow,
It’s so hard to care about tomorrow.
True agony of the soul,
What now will be my goal?
No longer will there be,
The plans and dreams I hoped to see.
I still look for you each day,
How could you have passed away?
I look for you in the house and yard,
Nothing I could imagine would be this hard.
Without the sense that you are here,
Only in a different sphere,
The pain would be much too deep,
For my soul to ever keep.
Stay always by my side,
A loving, helpful spirit guide,
And when my time here has passed,
Together we will be at last.
Copyright © C.A. Stevenson 2009

Friday, September 26, 2014

If only.....

Sometimes I see men who remind me of John and I squint my eyes and pretend it's him I'm looking at.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'd Want It To Be You

I am missing John a lot today but even in sorrow I am feeling him close.
It seems he often sends songs to me with lyrics that touch my heart at just the right time.
This morning I was in the car taking Bella to day care and I cued up my iPhone's music so it would play through the car's stereo. I recently bought Barbra Streisand's newest album and the first song that played this morning was this one.
I really felt he was telling me he is still here for me.
Yes, John and I are best friends. We always will be.
Then I saw this on Facebook.

And I can't wait until both of us are home again - together.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014

The new Apple watch

The new watch by Apple was unveiled yesterday and while it has many features and seems quite cool, the thing that got me the most was the heartbeat feature. This phone will sense your heartbeat and send a signal to someone of your choice and they will be able to feel your heartbeat against their wrist. Maybe some people might think that's creepy but I found it endearing.
I thought it was romantic. What I wouldn't give to be able to feel John's heartbeat. We'll never be able to share that. And I felt sad.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

Had some slides developed

I found an envelope of slides while I was going through old photographs and dropped them off at Walgreen's to be developed and put on a DVD. It was fun to see what was in there. Based on some of the photos I figured these were from Spring/Summer 1984. There was a picture of John in there. It's not very good because I wasn't very good at taking pictures back then so the focus is fuzzy.
But it's still John. I'll take it. This was 30 years ago, which would make John 41 years old.

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Happy Anniversary, Sweetheart!

33 yeas ago today I married my best friend. Thank you for our wonderful life, John. I love you and I miss you so much.
Our song

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Sonnet XVII by Pablo Neruda

I do not love you as if you were salt-rose, or topaz,
or the arrow of carnations the fire shoots off.
I love you as certain dark things are to be loved,

in secret, between the shadow and the soul.

I love you as the plant that never blooms
but carries in itself the light of hidden flowers;
thanks to your love a certain solid fragrance,
risen from the earth, lives darkly in my body.

I love you without knowing how, or when, or from where.
I love you straightforwardly, without complexities or pride;
so I love you because I know no other way

than this: where I does not exist, nor you,
so close that your hand on my chest is my hand,
so close that your eyes close as I fall asleep.

I love that last part.

Happy Days

These were taken in the Poconos at that honeymoon place at various times. We went there often. It was close to home and just plain fun.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

A window in time

I am still going through old pictures and I came across an envelope of slides. Hard to believe the old way we used to take pictures. What can you do with a slide now if you don't have a slide projector?
I tried scanning one of them into the computer but that didn't work at all.
Then a friend told me about Walgreen's photo services so I dropped them all off yesterday - there were 20 total - and they are going to put them on a DVD for me.
It's going to be fun to see what's on there. I tried holding some up to the light to see what was there. I know there is a very nice head shot of John and I saw a picture of one of our cats who is now passed. Looked like a couple of christening shots of one of my nieces too so that helps me tell when these were taken. I think it was 1984.
I'm looking forward to getting the pictures back.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Honeymoon 1988

John and I went to one of those honeymoon places in the Poconos after our Church wedding in 1988. You know the ones with the heart-shaped beds and in-room pools. It was lots of fun.

Monday, August 11, 2014

John's Garden

I had John's Memorial Garden worked on last week. Some of the plants had died and needed to be replaced and it desperately needed wedding. I had tried to do my best but the cacti were out to get me. So I called on the guys who do my grounds maintenance and they did a wonderful job.
I took some pictures afterwards. There was a lovely yellow butterfly floating around and it made me think that perhaps John was showing me how much he liked what I had done.
But I was in for an even better surprise.
When I uploaded the pictures to my computer there was a secret in the first one. A haziness. I zoomed in on it and it appeared to be an ethereal orb. I like to think that John was visiting the Garden himself and we were admiring it together.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

"Everything I Own"

You sheltered me from harm
Kept me warm, kept me warm
You gave my life to me
Set me free, set me free
The finest years I ever knew
Were all the years I had with you

And I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own
Just to have you back again

You taught me how to love
What it's of, what it's of
You never said too much
But still you showed the way
And I knew from watching you
Nobody else could ever know
The part of me that can't let go

And I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own
Just to have you back again

Is there someone you know
You're loving them so
But taking them all for granted
You may lose them one day
Someone takes them away
And they don't hear the words you long to say

I would give anything I own
Give up my life, my heart, my home
I would give everything I own
Just to have you back again
Just to touch you once again

Saturday, July 26, 2014

That old bugaboo - "You are grieving too long"

My doctor told me this week that I have been grieving too long. That since it has been longer than six months and I am still sad that I should think about taking an antidepressant. I reminded him that not only did I lose the love of my life in the last four years but I also lost my mother-in-law who I was caring for for 2 1/2 years, that I had to put down 4 of the 6 pets that John and I shared, plus my relationship with my mother totally fell apart [and it was never good anyway].
He agreed that that was a lot to experience and backed off, saying we should put antidepressants on the back burner for now. 
But even if that hadn't happened, I don't think years is "too long" to grieve. How do you put into words what it feels like to lose your other half suddenly and without any warning? John and I loved each other for 32 years and I am to be "over it" in just 4?
It's not like I sit around in a dirty house all day mourning. I do things. My house is kept up, the pets are taken care of, I eat and sleep, I meet friends for outings, I even eat out and go to the movies by myself.
But I am sad. There is always a baseline of sadness that will never go away and I accept that. That is my life. And that is okay. Why can't it be okay for others? Who's to say how long to grieve is enough? The answer is no one. It's no one's business but mine.
I was explaining this to a friend over lunch the next day and she understood. She lost her mother when she was twelve. It's been 50 years and she is still feeling the effects. Not that she cries every day or tears her clothing. But it's a loss and she feels it. It has shaped who she is and that is neither good nor bad. It just is.
We are the sum total of our experiences and we can't go around numbing those feelings and experiences with pills.
I don't mind feeling John's loss. I don't like it. I wish he were here and I know in my heart that if by some miracle he were to walk through our front door and life would go back to the way it was before, there would be no sadness and no need for anyone to suggest antidepressants. So that tells me pills are not the answer. This is situational, not chemical. Fogging me up with antidepressants is not going to change reality. It will just mess up my driving and my reasoning.
As I explained to my friend, this sadness baseline is like driving a shopping cart with a bad wheel. I can get the job done but I have to push harder and sometimes I steer in a direction I don't want to go. And sometimes the cart seizes up and I have to move backwards and go forward again to get going. But I'll get there.
This is one of the first pictures I ever took of John. He is holding one of my cats Squeaker. John used to call this picture "The Boneless Cat" because of how relaxed she was. One of the first things I learned about John was that he loved cats and that made me love him more. So few men love them or at least admit that they do.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Memory lane

John at his college graduation from Old Dominion in June 1970. I found these pictures when I was closing up his Mom's house. There were many pictures and even John's baby book and saved curls of his baby hair. So precious now.

Monday, July 21, 2014

We're still us

This was one of John's favorite songs. Now when I hear it it could be from John to me or from me to John. We are still us. We always will be. John still lives. I know he is still with me and always will be.

You're Still You

Through the darkness
I can see your light
And you will always shine
And I can feel your heart in mine
Your face I've memorized
I idolize just you

I look up to
Everything you are
In my eyes you do no wrong
I've loved you for so long
And after all is said and done
You're still you
After all
You're still you

You walk past me
I can feel your pain
Time changes everything
One truth always stays the same
You're still you
After all
You're still you

I look up to
Everything you are
In my eyes you do no wrong
And I believe in you
Although you never asked me to
I will remember you
And what life put you through

And in this cruel and lonely world
I found one love
You're still you
After all
You're still you

Sunday, July 13, 2014

Pictures are so precious now

And going through what I have I feel there just aren't enough. I wish I could have a picture for every day, every second of our life together.
I bought some software to help me enlarge some so that they don't pixelate so much.
It helps a little.

Monday, July 7, 2014

John continues to show up

Two friends and I have started a Reiki share group. We have met two times so far. And both times when I have been on the table getting a treatment, John has shown up.
One of the girls giving me a treatment yesterday told me she felt John's presence and even asked him [in her mind] if he was there and felt she got confirmation.
I saw John in my mind's eye and at one point felt a definite strong pressure on my right hand. At first it felt like he was holding my hand and then I just felt a downward pressure. It was unmistakable. In fact, I opened my eyes just  a little bit to see where the girls were in relation to me because I thought maybe it was one of them.
But one woman was at my head and the other was at my feet. And I still felt the pressure on my right hand.
So I know it was John.
My Love.
My always and forever.
Thank you, Sweetheart. 

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

I've Loved You Before

I was told through a medium that John and I have been widowed from each other a total of seven times. John and I have always thought and felt that we have been together forever.
And will be.
I think of how you know me,
no doubts no thinking twice.
When your smile can be so soothing,
a familiar paradise.
When there's no one else that makes me whole.
I have never needed more
I get this feeling I've loved you before

We were lovers in an army,
marching all for Rome,
side by side in battle,
did we bravely leave our home?
Did I hold you in my arms,
as you were taking your last breath?
Did I shout to all the gods,
that I would love you beyond death?
I swear I've loved you before.

Did we hide in the dark ages,
from a vengeful god above?
Were our names too unfamiliar,
to ever speak of love?
Did I cling to every moment with you,
in every parting glance?
An accidental touch,
did we ever take the chance?
I know I've loved you before.

Have I wandered through the desert?
Have I looked and learned all the stars?
Have I rode the days and nights on rails,
to get back where you are?
And every time I foundered,
it's your eyes I know for sure.

When I think of how you know me,
no doubts no thinking twice.
When your smile can be so soothing,
a familiar paradise.
When there's no one else that makes me whole.
I never wanting more.
I get this feeling.
I know I've loved you before.

I know I've loved you before
I've loved you before

Sunday, June 29, 2014

More pictures

I think this was taken in February 2000. I don't recall why I took this. Maybe John was wearing a new shirt? It really doesn't matter. It's a picture of John and that's enough for me.

 Sunset in Hawaii, April 2000.

This was May 2000, Memorial Day weekend. Toby's first day with us. She was so happy to be in her new home and we were so happy to have her.