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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My Wedding Ring

04_19_09.jpgI confess... I am an American Idol fan. I know, I know, but I love the show. So, for those of you who don't watch, this year in the finals there is a young widower named Danny Goeke. As the season has progressed I have watched Danny with interest as he grows as an artist, and I can sometimes imagine that I see him processing his grief.

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La Vie en Rose

04_18_09.jpgIt's just one of those days, where the sun can't shine enough to get me out of this funk. One of those days where my bed held me hostage, and I didn't mind. One of those days where I don't feel like doing much, and you know what...............

I'm totally ok with that!

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A Widow's Brain....

Dear Wonderful Widows!

When Anneke was eight, a year after Mike died, I dropped her off at her Tae Kwon Do lesson and I was so relieved to have time alone that I forgot to pick her up. Forty-five minutes later as I unpacked the groceries she walked in the house having gotten a ride home from her instructor. She was incredulous and outraged. “You forgot me! You actually forgot me!” I was speechless. My daughter who forgives almost anything did not forgive this for a long time. A child who has been abandoned by her father does not take well to being forgotten by her mother. I had visions of the instructor reporting me to DSS.

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My Valley

04_16_09.jpgIt's Thursday. As I lay in my bed pondering all the emotions I've traveled through this week... I can't help but smile and shake my head... Wow. Where the heck did I go this week?? And how did I get back?! 

Have you ever traveled through the depths of the "valley" of grief and lost recognition of who you are? I think and say things that surprise even myself while I'm making my way through the dark. I speak of doubt and my thoughts are easily consumed by hopelessness. I become lazy as the remote control becomes my best ally, my social skills go down the tubes, and I see no end. 

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My Circle ...

This picture is from our last vacation .... we went to Alaska in June of 2007.  Jim died in December, 5 months later.  I love this picture because it really "shows" us.  We didn't know it was being taken and were just enjoying some quiet time together.  We held hands .... all of the time.  I hate how empty my hand feels now.
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Still Looking for Signs

04_14_09.jpgThe weather on the day of Daniel's funeral was spectacular. It was early November, 75 degrees and beautifully sunny. When they covered his grave, all of the funeral flowers were placed on top of it. Although the service was long over, family and friends still lingered, and no one seemed ready to leave. I know for me it was a finality I wasn't yet ready to experience. The kids were playing in the cemetery, picking flowers, running around the headstones, finding the joy in the situation as kids tend to do. I have a very clear memory of watching my son with his cousins as they each picked a flower to keep in Daniel's memory.

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What My Kids Have Taught Me

04_13_09.JPGThere is not much I wouldn't do for my three kids. You know, jump in front of an on-coming train to save their lives, feed them first from my last ration of bread, offer myself as a meal for the hungry bear that is chasing them...pretty much anything.

In the normal course of life moms feed, bathe, clothe, soothe, encourage, celebrate, hold, hug, and protect their little ones through the bumps and bruises associated with living, learning and loving. But when death came knocking, I couldn't protect them.

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Happy Easter?

04_12_09.JPGWishing someone a good day or a nice holiday weekend seems innocuous enough most of the time...but as a new widow well meant wishes from family, friends or strangers struck me like arrows. How exactly am I supposed to have a good day? Why do I care about this holiday? Have you forgotten for a moment that my husband is dead? Some days I could accept the kind words for what they were, other days I lashed out at unsuspecting humans with no screen for the kind of pain I was in.

So today, at my own personal risk, I am going to wish those of you who celebrate this day a Happy Easter. Yes, you heard me right, Happy Easter.

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