Tuesday, December 31, 2019

Wednesday, December 25, 2019

Making a tea of Christmas memories

Tea is made by steeping leaves in hot water to make something new.
My Christmases now are made up of steeping myself in old memories to warm my heart and throwing in a little new to add some spice.
I bought a new pre-lit Christmas tree and new angels this year.
And I surrounded myself with happy thoughts from Christmases past.
They warm my heart and I am grateful to have them.
Before you start complimenting me on being so "together", let me tell you - the sadness is there.
I miss John very very much.
But this is life now.
So we make the best of a not so good situation.
I treasure what I was blessed to have.

Monday, December 23, 2019

Be Here Now

Today the world is mourning the passing of Baba Ram Dass. He was the modern day guru who was transformed in the 60's and 70's from Richard Alpert to the man we know today as Ram Dass.
He is famous for many wonderful teachings but the one I am most familiar with, and touched by, was his philosophy of living in the moment told beautifully in his book Be Here Now.
It's a way of life that I both aspire to and struggle with but it's definitely worth working on.
And as this holiday season draws near, that philosophy takes on new meaning for me.
We can mourn what we don't have and who we miss or we can celebrate who we were blessed with and who and what are still in front of us.
We can treasure and be grateful for what we have and what we can share.
We can hug and love those who still travel this world with us for some day we or they will be gone too.
There is time for sadness.
There is time for joy.
Both can exist at the same.
We are our brother's keeper.
And as Baba Ram Dass once said "We are all just walking each other Home."
Thank you for teaching us.

Saturday, December 14, 2019

The preciousness of Now

John Pavlovitz recently wrote movingly about valuing what is and is not important in an essay entitled "On The Day I Die". I recommend it.
Because it's so true.
His essay reminded me in very stark terms of the day I came home from the airport after John had passed away.
John had died while we were vacationing in NY, visiting family.
After going through the ordeal of paramedics and coroner and packing up our things from the hotel room and making phone calls and changing flights and then traveling 5 hours by air all alone, I finally arrived home in Arizona.
As we always had done, I entered our house through the garage. The garage had been John's hobby place. He loved working on old cars and old car parts and had set up a little workshop in our garage. We always laughed about that because it took up all the space. Neither of our cars were ever parked in it. The garage was John's Place.
He had set up saw horses and plywood and made himself a large workspace for tools and air compressor and liquids and sponges, etc.
Now, as I walked through the garage on the way to the door to enter our home, I saw all the things as he had left there before we had embarked on our trip.
The tools.
The car parts.
The solvents.
The sandpaper.
The sponge.
The half-filled water glass.
Everything was there as if he were going to come back at any moment and pick up where he had left off.
Except he wasn't.
He never would again.
Seeing those things stopped me in my tracks and impressed upon me, probably more than anything else in the last 18 hours had done - John was gone.
Our life together on this earth was over.
Forever over.
And just as John Pavlovitz has said, there is a lesson to be learned.
We don't know when our life will end.
Oh, we can surmise sometimes.
Maybe we have a terminal illness or a chronic condition and we assume that will take us.
But will it?
Who can say that the terminally ill patient just given 6 months to live won't be hit by a car and killed the day she walks out of her doctor's office after hearing that news?
I'm not trying to be morbid. Just practical.
We really don't know when and how our life will end.
So, we must use that knowledge to make the most of every day.
I know my John did.
He inspires me. I am trying to live by his example.
It's not easy. I tend to worry - a lot and often about stupid things. But that worry robs me of so much. It robs me of enjoying what is in front of me.
Ekhart Tolle in his powerful book The Power of Now speaks about this. His message is simple but powerful - living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment.
RIGHT NOW all is well. Right now, I have all I need. I have food and shelter. My bills are paid. My animals are healthy and safe with me. My health is good. I am content and cared for. Right now, all is well.
Maybe this is too Scarlett O'Hara-ish but right now, I need to practice this. I know I have less days in front of me than behind me.
They deserve my attention.
Some day, others will have to pack up the things that I leave behind.
I pray I used my time well.

Thursday, November 28, 2019

So much to be thankful for

This time of year is very hard. When friends and family are gathering to celebrate, John's absence is even more acute.
John loved the holidays. I think he loved Thanksgiving the best.
He LOVED turkey.
I am so grateful to have so many happy memories.

Saturday, November 16, 2019

Memories of love

Perhaps love is like a resting place
A shelter from the storm
It exists to give you comfort
It is there to keep you warm
And in those times of trouble
When you are most alone
The memory of love will bring you home
Perhaps love is like a window
Perhaps an open door
It invites you to come closer
It wants to show you more
And even if you lose yourself
And don't know what to do
The memory of love will see you through
Oh, love to some is like a cloud
To some as strong as steel
For some a way of living
For some a way to feel
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you
And some say love is holding on
And some say letting go
And some say love is everything
And some say they don't know
Perhaps love is like the ocean
Full of conflict, full of pain
Like a fire when it's cold outside
Or thunder when it rains
If I should live forever
And all my dreams come true
My memories of love will be of you
Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: John Denver
Perhaps Love lyrics © Kobalt Music Publishing Ltd., Reservoir Media Management Inc

Monday, October 7, 2019

I Remember You

I Remember You
Trisha Yearwood

I can picture you, like a photograph
I can see your smile
I can hear your laugh
No I don't have to look back
I remember you
When I'm all alone
You're all around
I tell you things, yeah I talk out loud
Ever since you left the ground
I remember you
You can ask the sun
You can ask the moon
Every day that goes by
I remember you
And even when
I close my eyes
Like a dream, you come back to life
I can't escape your love, your light
I remember you
You can ask the sun
You can ask the moon, yeah
Every day that goes by
I remember you
And I know some day
Only God knows when
I'll touch your face
And I'll breathe again
And life goes on, so until then
I remember you
Yeah, I remember you
Every day that goes by
I remember you
Source: Musixmatch
I Remember You lyrics © Universal Music Corp., Songs Of Windswept Pacific, Southside Independent Music Publishing, Internal Combustion Music, Universal Music Corporation, Year 9 Publishing, Island Winds Music, Centricity Music Publishing, Year 9 Music, Spruce Road Publishing, Sony/ATV Story Music Publishing, MUSIC OF ONE77

Saturday, September 28, 2019


This wasn't the blog post I had intended to write this morning but that's how life goes.
Things change.
A little while ago I found out my mother-in-law's cat passed away yesterday.
I didn't expect her death to hit me as hard as it did.
But even now, the tears are just around the corner.
Friskie's journey was a long one.  She started her life living with my in-laws in Texas. After John passed away, my mother-in-law's health deteriorated rapidly and I brought her - and Friskie - out here to Arizona.
Mom went to live in a beautiful assisted living home nearby and my plan was to make Friskie part of my family that already consisted of 2 dogs and 3 cats. John and I had promised Mom years ago that if anything ever happened to her, we would take care of Friskie forever.
But Friskie had other ideas. She hated not being an only cat so, after a few months of vainly trying to change her mind, Friskie went to live with a friend who offered to foster her for me.
And then a few years later that fell apart and Friskie found herself back in my home.
By that time, Mom had passed away and my heart was heavy. I needed to make this work.

Friskie said No again.
So, I reluctantly sought the help of a cat rescue here in town.
They promised me they would find the best home for Friskie and, if they couldn't, Friskie would live out her life in their care at the rescue.
But life had good things in store for Friskie.
One of the volunteers at the rescue immediately fell in love with her and adopted her.
Friskie once again was an only - and very spoiled and loved - cat.
She thrived in that home and I would occasionally get updates on how she was doing.
Until this morning, when the sad news came that Friskie had gone over the Rainbow Bridge.
She lived a long life and she was in a wonderful home when she passed.
But still I cried. Maybe because this was another link to Mom - and John - that is lost now.
We lose our loved ones in so many ways - when we give away their possessions, when we move out of a home we shared - and yes, when a beloved pet that knew us dies.
I'm happy Friskie was loved by so many people.
I'm grateful for the rescue and the volunteer who gave her a home when I couldn't.
RIP, little one.
You are with Mom again.
2002 - 2019

Friday, September 13, 2019

Sad all over again

Death by a thousand cuts refers to an old form of Chinese torture whereby a person would slowly die as he bled to death from a thousand little cuts.
Grief is like that.
Yes, death gives you an initial gut punch that brings you to your knees.
But after a while, the shock wears off and you assimilate the loss and continue to live.
But the grief, the pain of losing that person you love so much stays with you and day after day, month after month, year after year, you bleed.
I bleed when I turn over in bed at night and caress John's empty pillow.
I bleed when I make coffee for one in the morning.
When I heat up a frozen dinner at night instead of making a delicious meal for two.
When I watch the sun rise in the morning and John is not here to share it with me and I see another day before me without him.
Grief robs you day by day, cut by cut, tear by tear, loss by loss.
I don't want to sound morbid or pessimistic.
Life does become "routine" again, if you will.
Gradually I have incorporated losing John into my new life and I have learned to band aid the cuts and soon they scab over.
But they never really heal.
Anything can pull that scab off.
Sometimes I am surprised by the renewed hurt.
Sometimes I understand what did it.
A song.
A smell.
A noise.
I was taken aback by the sound of the the pool man one day as he dove under the water to fix a pop up head. For a split second, it sounded like John was back in our backyard. John who loved our pool and dove into it every day after work to cool off. For a split second my soul felt whole again.
And then...
And then it bled all over again.
There is no rhyme or reason to what can make a grief cut bleed again.
Today is the anniversary of when John and I moved into this house we have now in Arizona.
After driving for 5 days with 1 dog, 3 cats, and 1 parakeet, we entered our new home.
Now I am here alone. Different dog. Different cats. No bird.
And no John.
Tomorrow the bleeding will stop. Again.
But today I am cut all over again.
Such is grief.

Thursday, September 5, 2019

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

I miss you so much, Sweetheart

This month of August is now bittersweet for me.
As the days tick by I am daily reminded that 38 years ago John and I were planning our wedding. We were engaged on August 3rd and married on August 28th.
So the memories are both sad and happy.
Yesterday, I had a meltdown while listening to a Willie Nelson song.
I try to take comfort knowing John is with me but some days I lose the battle.
I know John is still with me. I know it with every fiber of my being.
But that doesn't make the missing any easier.

Thursday, July 4, 2019

Together - Always, Still

John shows me every day - sometimes in big ways, sometimes in small ways - that he is still with me.
It comforts me.

Sunday, June 2, 2019

A gift for my heart

Today, I was driving home from Church and, as usually happens when I am in my car, my thoughts drifted to John and our life and how much I miss him.
And then just as those thoughts were going through my mind and I was feeling especially sad, this song came on Pandora.
John Denver's My Sweet Lady.
One of my favorites and oh, so special now.
I felt as though John was speaking directly to me through John Denver's words.
Thank you, Sweetheart.

"My Sweet Lady"
Lady, are you crying, do the tears belong to me
Did you think our time together was all gone
Lady, you've been dreaming. I'm as close as I can be
And I swear to you our time has just begun
Close your eyes and rest your weary mind
I promise I will stay right here beside you
Today our lives were joined, became entwined
I wish that you could know how much I love you

Lady, are you happy, do you feel the way I do
Are there meanings that you've never seen before
Lady, my sweet lady, I just can't believe it's true
And it's like I've never ever loved before
Close your eyes and rest your weary mind
I promise I will stay right here beside you
Today our lives were joined, became entwined
I wish that you could know how much I love you
Lady, are you crying, do the tears belong to me
Did you think our time together was all gone
Lady, my sweet lady
I'm as close as I can be
And I swear to you our time has just begun

Friday, May 24, 2019

9 years today

John and I loved to celebrate anniversaries. The usual ones of course - our wedding day [both of them!], our first date.
But John even made up some to celebrate. One of them he called Bunkie Day - the day we moved in together to start a new life.
Today is an anniversary too but it's not a happy one and not one I relish acknowledging and certainly not one I care to "celebrate".
Today marks 9 years since John passed. 9 years ago today I woke up to find my world changed. John had died and nothing would be the same ever again.
My love, my best friend, the man who made the world right no matter what, was gone from this life and I had no idea how I could go on.
But I did.
I made it my business once the shock wore off to continue our relationship. I knew beyond a doubt that John still loved me as much as I loved him and that his death was a change, not an end.
We were/are still married and we are still connected.
I knew if there was a way to stay connected we would find it.
And we did.
Today, John shows me every day that he is still here with me. Sometimes the signs are huge. Sometimes, they're small. But I see them and I smile and say Thank you and it gives me peace.
Of course, I still miss what we had and I yearn for what was and for what can no longer be.
I'm not saying this new relationship is better. It is what it is.
But. it. is.
That's what's important. We are still together.
And I know this may not work for everyone. That's OK. It works for us and it's what we want.
I had no idea where I would be today 9 years ago. There are days I still can't believe this has happened to us. But the raw horrible soul-destroying grief has subsided and for that I am grateful. I can find peace in our life and I look forward to our reunion.
So, I guess today I do celebrate. I celebrate our new life and how grateful I am that we have it.
May 2010 - NYC

Thursday, May 16, 2019

Signs of love

I love how our loved ones who have passed know just when to get our attention.
The next few days are going to be tough for me. The anniversary of John's passing is coming up soon and I am acutely aware of it.
The sadness that I am, for the most part, able to tamp down, is bubbling up more than usual. So, I have been talking to John and asking him to be with me. And he is letting me know that he hears me and is indeed here with me.
Yesterday I changed the wallpaper on my Alexa Show and instead of the picture I uploaded from my phone [a pretty cactus picture I had taken], John sent a picture of himself and after a few seconds it changed to a picture of the two of us. Then before I had a chance to even realize what was happening, it went to the correct picture.
Then today as I was out to running errands, I synced my phone to my car which automatically starts my music. Unless I specify an album, the phone shuffles my music which is what happened. The first song to play was “Lay, Lady, Lay”. John and I always liked that song. I had even made it his ringtone. 
So, I knew that was him. 
Then I waited to see what the next song would be.
It was “Let It Go!” from Frozen. That song speaks to me. It reminds me how John always told me to not worry so much. In fact, he used to put a smiley face on my finger in ballpoint ink to remind me when I would get upset about things. I even wrote about that in my book.
I think he was trying to say that again.
Thank you, Sweetheart.