Regrets?

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I've been thinking about regrets a lot lately.  Not about Jim and me.  No way.  He knew that he was seriously loved and adored ...... as did I.  I have no regrets about us and our marriage, other than it wasn't long enough ..... not by a long shot. 

This past weekend was our youngest child's (Son #3) Confirmation.  This was our first Confirmation without Jim.  I had been dreading it for a while, as had Son #3, I think.

It was a very difficult .... and yet good, day.

Many tears were shed.  And not just by me.

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Embracing Life

04_28_09.jpgI'm in Bloomington Illinois today to watch Michele, my WSM (love that Taryn!), receive one of the 2009 Embrace Life Awards presented each year by State Farm Insurance. The program recognizes people who have suffered the loss of a loved one and tried to make it into something positive. Obviously, Michele fits the bill perfectly. 

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Unimaginable

04_27_09.jpgMy life path has never included poverty. Or prejudice. Or destitution. Or the feeling that my current life position was all I could ever expect. Overall, I have been greatly blessed. I live in a country where widows are able to inherit, own property, pursue a career, and manage their own affairs. Though prior to my introduction to the global state of widowhood, the concept of not having these privileges would never have occurred to me.

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Why We Relay

04_26_09.jpgThis weekend was the Central Austin Relay for Life. This is the fourth year that Team Dippel has competed, and the fourth year that we have been in the top five fund raising teams on the day of the relay. Our team is made up of family and friends, all of whom have been touched by cancer, most of us in more than just one way. 

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W.S.M.

What is a W.S.M.? A little acronym I came up with which stands for: Widow Soul Mate

After losing Michael I had the fear of never meeting anyone else who could or would understand the pain, love, and grief that I was feeling. Luckily with my line of work, I have met many amazing people who are the epitome of survivors. In my travels through widowhood I have met a certain few which I truly care about, one who has come to be known as my WSM.

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Good(?) Grief

04_24_09.jpgDear Wonderful Widows!

Clients often ask me if I can recommend books - books that will help them understand their grief and help them feel less alone. There are many such books available.

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It is birthday weekend.

04_23_09.jpgDavid and I were born only two days apart, out of all the years I've known him we've only been able to spend 3 birthdays together... Our 16th, our 21st, and our 22nd birthdays... (Picture taken at Six Flags California, April 2006, our 21st Birthdays)

Previously, I looked forward to new years to come, new challenges... another birthday... life. Right now, just thinking of turning another year older without him leaves me with a knot in my stomach. How is this possible? How is it that time can fearlessly move forward without the love of life and without my consent?

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Things Change .....

... whether you want them to or not. I mean ---- obviously, right? I decided to carry forward with both Michele's post and Michelle's post.

After Jim died I never considered removing my wedding rings. Never. I felt it would be on my finger forever. And for many, many months it was.

And then one day ..... that feeling changed. I know that I am still Jim's wife. I will always be Jim's wife .... but to the outside world .... I am not. And so it suddenly felt like I was doing something false by wearing the rings. I in no way think this is true for every widow .... or even most widows .... I just know that one day .... it was true for me.

And so I took them (his and mine) to our local (and much frequented by Jim) jewelry shop and told them what I wanted. The rings fit perfectly inside of each other ..... and I wanted them at an angle. But I also wanted to be able to easily remove them, in case I change my mind down the road, or one of the kids wanted to use them.

This was my design and now I wear it every day (I think if you click on the picture you can see it up close).

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In Sickness and in Health

04_21_09.JPGI have many memories of hospitals from the months of Daniel's cancer treatment. I was at every appointment, every procedure, in some cases I was Daniel's voice because the nurses and doctors weren't always patient enough to understand his altered speech. I remember him telling me how much he appreciated me being there, and how much it meant to him to know that he was not alone in his battle.

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My Favorite Trail

04_20_09.JPGLong Canyon Trail, in my hometown of Simi Valley, is one of my favorite places. This beautiful dirt road has been pounded by my feet on many a run. It is also the place where Phil and I most often rode our mountain bikes, went for evening runs, took the kids for night hikes looking for frogs, and did many a "double workout" on the steep hills that lie within the canyon. And on the night of Phil's death...this trail is where he was headed.

On August 31, 2005 while riding up the street towards this trail head on his mountain bike, Phil was hit and killed by a large vehicle. I was called to the scene by a witness, and sat on the green grass of the sidewalk that I passed countless times on the way to my favorite place...watching as my unconscious husband was loaded onto an ambulance. He died less than an hour later.

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