Not sure what I want to write about tonight, but I will begin by telling you where I am. Lobby of Marriott hotel, Tampa, Florida. Attending and presenting my comedic performance for the 6th time at Camp Widow. All of the camp events officially begin in the morning, but Ive been here since yesterday afternoon, and have already reconnected with old friends and met a few new ones. Us widowed people find each other pretty easily. Just look for the nearest bar.Read more
No matter what else is happening on any given day or who I am with, Mike is never gone from my mind. I realize now, after 23 months, that he never will be. One never “gets over” the death of a beloved spouse. I think we just learn how to live with it. One way or another, we slog or float through our days, even though sometimes we don’t want to. And we are changed - some space deep within myself feels altered, warped perhaps, as a result of living through this experience and landing on the other side of the unimaginable. I will never be the same person again.Read more
This has been a difficult week. I have re-entered the work arena, on a 'phased return', as they call it, here in England, and, Tuesday, I had to go speak to someone from Occupational Health, to justify my time away, and my continuing to work part-time for a few more weeks. This meant I had to recount the story of the tragic day my husband died. And it meant that the images of that day, images I have tried to place in the background of my consciousness, were brought, full force, to the front of it.Read more
The other day, my cat Sammy was lying on the couch, when my other cat Autumn jumped up next to him. She looked at Sammy for a few seconds, and then started to slowly lick him and clean him all over his face and neck. This went on for awhile. Then, she sort of kissed his nose a bit, and slowly sat herself down right next to Sammy, leaning against him, and they both went to sleep. In the midst of this, I ran to grab my cell phone and find the video option so I could take video of this unbelievable sight. As I looked through my phone's video, catching only the last few seconds of this madness, I started to cry.Read more
Last weekend a friend who is dear to me and was dear to Mike since nearly the day we moved to Kona in 2001 had a terrible asthma attack. This young man was 11 when we met him. He is now 25, so we have seen him grow up into a young adult. He and his mom were devoted students of Mike’s for many years in martial arts, and since his father was not present in his life, they became like family very quickly. Mike’s death has just wrecked them both, I know, and it has been a long journey of grief for all of us, losing his powerful and reassuring presence in our lives.Read more
On this bleak, grey, England winter's day, I remember the comforting quiet of snow. Stan loved the snow. He would sit for hours, watching it. When we first began to talk to each other, he told me that he wanted to move to the Northeastern coast of England, near Whitby, where he said they had a 'proper winter'. Proper winter? I had moved to England from the west coast of Florida, just a year before, and the bits of snow I had encountered in London, that year, were quite enough, for me, thank you. But he wanted to see more of it.Read more
Somehow it ended up that Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Day all fell on Thursdays this year, my day to write. It is the season so I know it doesn't really matter what day we write or what, if any, religion we practice - holiday time in general is hard for us widowed folk, but it certainly rings very clearly that I'm posting on days that are meaningful to many of us.
It makes me search for something special or meaningful to write about, but there isn't really anything particularly insightful that comes to mind. I'm just surviving as best I can, this second year without Mike, this time around at my parent's house almost on the other side of the world from my little house in Hawaii. Here in Virginia the air is crisp and cold, memories from my childhood stir and wobble my brain, old dear friends are revisited, and my house, dogs, new guy and "normal" (for what is normal anymore?) day-to-day life are very, very far away.
Thursday, December 18th, today, is the 9 year anniversary of the day that Don proposed marriage to me underneath the Rockefeller Center Christmas Tree in NYC. (You are reading this on Friday, but I'm writing it and posting it on Thursday evening, and it is right now, as I write this, my proposal anniversary.) The first Christmas after he died, going within even blocks of that tree made me panic and gave me anxiety and awful, horrible pains. My stomach would go into knots and I would literally go in a different direction and walk detours just to avoid even seeing that tree by accident, rising in between the buildings that make up the NYC skyline. The second Christmas, I went back there way before I was ready, and had a pretty epic emotional breakdown while sitting under those lights. I sobbed until I couldn't sob any more, and then I sobbed a little bit more. Last year my grief therapist came with me to the tree, and we talked and remembered Don and I cried and it was very hard and very sad. This year, yesterday, one day before the actual anniversary, I was in the audience for the taping of The Meredith Viera Show, and afterwards, the plan was to meet Caitlin again by the tree so she could be beside me for whatever emotions I needed to get through.Read more
We all have certain days that we dread as they swing back around the calendar. The anniversary of the day he died. Our wedding anniversary. His birthday. Maybe another special day we shared. But the holidays are among the worst. Most of us all have memories of the good times we shared, and going through it all without them…well it just sucks big time.
This time of year in Hawaii, the Snow on the Mountain comes into bloom. It’s called that because it blooms in winter when there is usually snow on our mountains here in Hawaii. The one in the picture here we planted together several years ago - his daughter Jamie gave it to us as a tiny little stick of a thing, and it has really grown. Mike so admired it, and we always commented each year as it bloomed a little bigger and a little more vibrantly.
The last Christmas we spent together in 2012 was among the best. It was actually a quiet year, but Mike was very full of the holiday spirit. He couldn’t wait to help me pull out all the decorations and put up the little fake three we’d bought together for our first Christmas back in 1999. I remember we spent many evenings that December on the lanai looking in at our little tree through the window, enjoying a glass of wine and the temperate weather, looking out at the sunsets over the ocean. Little did I know it would be our last.Read more
Things around the house are starting to look quite a bit different from when Ian was here.
Use of rooms has been shuffled. Furniture re-arranged in various rooms. I got extra kitchen cabinets installed six months after he died - a project Ian had started trying to get quotes for, but was having no luck what so ever.
And now there a new paint colour on the corridor and living room walls.
My parents helped - Dad with moving furniture, my step-mum with the actual painting.
My house has a large(ish) open plan area for the living/kitchen and dining areas, but we just couldn't get the dining area walls painted because of the amount of furniture I have, and the lack of floor space to pull it all into the middle to access the walls.
My Dad was keen to try however. Until I explained that one cabinet was pretty much still as Ian left it. Including the post-it on the front with his last 'to do' list written on it.