I have been here in England for almost a week, having left my ‘home’, in Indiana, where I grew up, on Tuesday night. Slowly, I am settling back into this space that Stan and I shared.
I love this place, this century old cottage, with its wood floors and cabinets, its quirky, misshapen rooms, perched at the top of a hill, just a few feet from the countryside paths that I walk, most days. It is small, as most homes are, in England, but it was enough for the two of us.
I remember the first time I came here, shortly after I met him. I was so impressed by the beauty of it—the stone fireplace, the artwork he had chosen to adorn his walls, the overgrown garden in the back.Read more
On October 27, 2006, I married my forever soul-mate. On July 13, 2011, he died. It was sudden and out of nowhere, and now, 3 years later, I still struggle to understand why I have to live without him, and why he doesn’t get to live. Today is November 6, 2014. Today, Don Shepherd would have been 50 years old. But instead, he will be forever 46. It’s unfair that I can’t throw him the big 50th birthday party that I always pictured throwing in my head. Instead, I will gather with some friends in Central Park, and sing and play guitars in his memory. And I will write this list – here are just 50 of the reasons why I loved, still love, and will always love, my beautiful husband. I will pass this out and share it with the world, because he deserves to be known by many, and he deserves so much more …….
How can I describe the strange set of circumstances that brought me here, from North America to Northern England, to this wild and expansive place, with its sloping, green hills, its mossy, stone walls, to this terrace house, built in 1889, to live the life that my husband gave to me? Over the weeks and months, you will come to know these things. But today, on my first visit to these pages, the most I can muster is a summary of events.
I came from Florida to work in London, in a sort of flight from grief. I had lost my sister and then my mother, there, within eleven months of each other, both through lingering illnesses, and the pain of those losses sent me in search of a different life. I responded to an international recruitment of Social Workers to live and work in the UK, and, six months after my mother’s death, in May of 2009, I arrived at Gatwick Airport, with two suitcases and a broken heart.Read more
Sometimes I'd swear Mike is here with me. I keep getting the sensation of his presence...or maybe, my mind and heart are just working overtime to remember. To remember how it felt when he was in the room with me. The sound of his breath, his footsteps...how he looked, the familiar freckles on his forearms, his latest mustache creation, his favorite camo t-shirt. That bright, childlike smile he wore. It's like I don't want to forget that feeling of being next to him, or the way his essence permeated my daily life.Read more
I put a blue sticky note on it so the movers wouldn't pack it. I carefully carried it to the car, hefting its astonishing weight, and placed it gently in the back seat.
Alone for a few moments at the new place, I picked it up again, and carried it close to my body up to the new bedroom and found its new spot where it snugly fits. I closed the door to the closet, pressed my hand against the door and then my forehead, breathed in...out. I sent it thoughts. Gratitude, disbelief, anger and a remnant of the shock I felt in every cell that day three years ago.
I was driving around town the other day and I suddenly became aware of my thoughts. You know how when you're driving sometimes it's kind of by rote, and you forget how you got where you were going because you're so busy chewing on some memory or idea in your head?
I paused at a stoplight and looked around. I realized I had been thinking about Mike. Nothing too specific, just allowing random memories to float through my mind; remembering what it was like to ride in the car with him, imagining how he would comment on the view, or some annoying driver on the road, or try and get me to stop somewhere for lunch. He loved driving around this island; he loved just going for a ride.
At that moment it wasn't a deeply sad series of thoughts; I wasn't crying - though the idea that he is really gone is still ping-ponging its way around my brain for sure. I was just thinking about him.Read more
Friday was Dave's birthday. He would've been 41. I met him nearly 20 years ago. These three facts feel impossible. The day I met him feels like yesterday. I will always think of him as the 23 year old I first met. And his birthday keeps showing up to remind me that I'll soon be older than he ever got to be.
He was a sweet, chubby baby. His aunt found him irresistible and would go into his room even when he was sleeping to squeeze him.
He was a lefty and when he was very small, his parents would hand him a spoon to eat with - offering it to his right hand. He would just sit there, with the spoon in his hand until they finally thought to put it in his left hand and he could finally go to town with it.
...... remembered, but not celebrated.
Jim would've been 54 today (as I write this it's Tuesday night).
Instead, he's forever 47.
And that sucks.
In more ways than one.
I hate that his birthday is so close to Christmas ...... which is so close to the day he died.
This time of the year can be one onslaught after another.
And yes, it still brings tears.
...... of Christmas Past.
I know that most of you out there wish this day was just an ordinary day. Just the 25th day of December, no more, no less.
Actually, I know that most of you wish that you could've fallen asleep around December 22nd or so and stayed asleep until January 2nd. Or February 15th.
I get that.
All too well.
Things are softening. Memories that used to have razor edges that sliced me from the inside are hazier and the edges don't leave as much damage as they used to.
Talking about him often results in a smile almost as much as tears. Most of the time it's both. And the tears are a bittersweet love story not a fathomless depth of blackness.
The idea of never seeing him again doesn't rip and tear its way through my body like it used to. It floats at the edge of disbelief still, but it doesn't injure me quite like it used to.