Stephanie Vendrell

Ghost House

I have been back home in Hawaii for a couple of weeks now after spending the holidays back East with my family, and my world has shifted on its axis. We are moved into the new place completely now. After nearly 17 years in that house, I do not live there anymore.


I’ve spent many long, grueling hours the past couple weeks moving furniture, making trips to the dump, clearing out the old place and organizing in the new. Last year I did a major clear-out and garage sale and got rid of what felt like 80% of my stuff and STILL there is SO MUCH STUFF. How does that happen??


First world problems I guess. I’ve been very selective about what I bring to the new place, but even so, one day with a moving truck was not enough. I’ve done countless carloads too. It has seemed never-ending, and yet as I write this, I am seeing light at the end of the tunnel.


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  • commented on Laden with Gold 2015-11-05 21:27:16 -0800
    Thank you for reading, and relating…

  • commented on Carrying the Sadness Forward 2015-10-31 14:52:42 -0700
    Mirrors my own experiences and thoughts, Rebecca. I am so glad you came to our beautiful state. It is said to be a place of intense spirit and healing. And of course, beauty. It will always remind me of Mike – he so loved it here. I often wonder if I will stay without him here now, but if I did leave I’d have to get over the thought that I would be leaving him too, in some way. Traveling without him – experiencing new things without him – is so hard. But I’m glad of every cent I spend on travel. Life is too darned short. We can’t take it with us. That is one thing I’ve learned so painfully. Hugs.

  • commented on Backward is Forward 2015-10-31 14:48:46 -0700
    I know this voice. It’s hard to hear sometimes but it is there. Thank you for sharing all of this Kelley. It is indeed moving to hear the pain, and see the shifts.

  • commented on Inspiration 2015-10-30 15:33:11 -0700
    Thank you Kelley. I guess we will always try. And Cathy, yes, we who have been there get it. It is the hardest thing I’ve ever done.

  • commented on The Things We Carry 2015-10-26 15:19:40 -0700
    Tricia, I, too, will miss you writing here…but I know you will be out there still, perhaps occasionally sharing on your own blog, but living your life; and I know what you will be carrying in your heart are many of the same items I carry in mine. I am grateful for this year of sharing and supporting with you. I remember the first day you wrote that horrible, tragic, heart wrenching story of your love and his death. I cried, and each week looked forward to your beautiful words which bore such pain but also brought a measure of solace to my own. A sisterhood of widowhood, as it were, such a treasured thing to have. Thank you, Tricia, for this treasured year with you.

  • commented on Grief Timeline 2015-10-25 17:10:52 -0700
    Thank you Michele. And I too have truly appreciated being part of this community because I have learned SO MUCH about the process of grief. That it is truly never-ending but always changing.

  • commented on Disappearing 2015-10-23 15:05:35 -0700
    Man I get this. I was in a panic for months after he died because I hadn’t written down the words of the song he wrote for me. I finally remembered some of it and wrote it down…but I am forever heartbroken that I didn’t record him singing it. I will regret that till the end of my days. And the animals: same thing. No recordings – we used to do the same thing, make up songs for them. Most of it – gone too. Mike was also just suddenly gone. It’s a horrible thing to live with Kelley. I’m so sorry.

  • commented on This Ringing 2015-10-23 13:46:10 -0700
    I have an iPod full of music I can’t listen to. I wonder if I ever will. It just elicits so many heartbreaking memories. Thank you Tricia. I will miss you here but look forward to keeping in touch. xoxo

  • commented on Just Be There 2015-10-08 21:26:57 -0700
    I am glad this post articulated feelings so many of us have…and sad that it is so in our world. On top of our grief, to have all this…hugs to everyone. At least we have each other.

  • commented on Searching for Stan 2015-10-05 14:54:15 -0700
    So beautiful Tricia, hauntingly and sadly beautiful…the longing never ceases and we never cease to look for them everywhere. Thank you for this.

  • commented on Many Families, One Tree 2015-10-04 16:39:38 -0700
    Yes this is so wonderful…now I want to do that too!!!!

  • commented on The Girl With the Crooked Smile 2015-10-04 13:39:29 -0700
    Thanks everyone. It was kind of huge going public about this so I really appreciate the support…

  • commented on Pockets of Loss 2015-09-28 07:46:19 -0700
    Oh Tricia. Your writing always touches me so deeply. We all go about our lives as best we can, in the background that Knowing that so many others have been touched by loss and grief as well…and as you said the only alternative to protect ourselves from more is to shrivel up inside, which is no practical alternative at all, at least for those of us who see the beauty in the world…thank you again. Hugs.

  • commented on Not Growing Old Together 2015-09-27 10:16:24 -0700
    I love the way you write, Kelley – it’s so personal and relate-able, and yet again you’ve written about a topic we all think about. Getting old alone is just a horrible thought. I’m just a few years older than you (happy birthday btw, hope there were some fun moments) and imagining it all without Mike just SUCKS. There is no good time to be widowed but having gone through it in middle age stinks. I have met someone, yes, but I just can’t know what will happen there yet. When I see old couples like you saw I still always, always think of Mike and what I will miss without him. I think it will just always be like that. :(

  • commented on Living on Memory Lane 2015-09-26 08:12:21 -0700
    Chasing memories with memories…and then to be free and in the moment…what a powerful experience Tricia, and what powerfully beautiful words. Truly your writing touches me so very deeply, and I am glad to feel myself walking beside you and absorbing your hard-fought wisdom. Thank you.

  • commented on You're Missing It 2015-09-25 09:09:04 -0700
    Wow you said it. Being here in “spirit” just doesn’t cut it. What they are missing out on hurts so much. I wish Mike could see his grandchildren grow up. As much joy as they give me, I will be forever stricken by his missing presence in all our lives. Hugs.

  • commented on On the road again... 2015-09-25 09:01:17 -0700
    HI Tricia, yes, it can be isolating, which can be hard as you know. I am indeed enjoying these visits and adventures. Blessings to you and your family – anytime we gather, their missing presence looms so large.

  • commented on Fellow Grief Travellers 2015-09-15 16:33:12 -0700
    As horrible our grief is, there is something comfortable having people in our lives who GET it. I am glad you will have a visit with family. I’ve rediscovered how important some of those relationships are, in the wake of Mike’s death. Hugs.

  • commented on Regretting an Absent Memory 2015-09-15 16:32:04 -0700
    I have experienced similar feelings with my recent travels. Regret that Mike and I didn’t venture out more together, though the reasons why were many…and yes, guilt at the joy of traveling now. I guess they will just always be there…I hope, in time, we may finally allow it to sink in that they simply cannot be here and we must continue to live as we can. But that is NOT an easy process. Blessings to you and Sarah, and Shelby.

  • commented on Turning A New Page 2015-09-13 15:42:28 -0700
    Thank you for this beautiful post, Sarah. I am so happy for this move, and for you and Mike…I love the idea of “different happiest years”. And I get the part about the truck deeply. Been writing about my own car issues this week…

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