Tuesday, December 31, 2013


Alone, that’s a scary word. Alone for a while each day is good, time to reflect, organize thoughts, a few minutes here or there are all I’ve gotten in a long time. I valued my moments of solitude, but suddenly to be living alone and missing my best buddy. What a whammy, I’ll tell you.
First I had to come to grips with Kirt never coming back. After twenty-four weeks, I go it; he’s not coming back. Sucks, but I can finally feel the surrender called acceptance creeping over me.  I’m sad, but not the screaming pain I’ve lived with for months.
Going from the out of my mind stage to just profoundly sad feels like a change, however, ya never know when something will trigger a back slide day, so you could say I am cautiously optimistic.
Being alone with a heart screaming for your spouse, well, it was just the most miserable time in my life, bar none. Okay, I’ve accepted he’s not coming back, but I still don’t like being alone so much.
As I exit the fear stage, my courage returns to ask the hard question. Why don’t you like being alone? I just don’t, didn’t satisfy me. The real answer is I have no experience with living alone.
This can be cured by getting a roommate, but the last thing I need is a stranger’s life intruding on mine, so that’s not an option, besides I hate feeling lonely when other people are around; it seems so dysfunctional. I have the last few months whenever I was in the company of others to make my point. My husband not only got me, but he adored me, I’m so spoiled. I’m also so hard to get along with that I argue with myself.
Before I do any quick fixes to get myself in a peccadillo, I think I’ll ponder alone, maybe find out why I don’t like the idea or the experience. I’ll get back to you on that.

If you’d like to share in the comment section, I’d love to know how you’re feeling. There are so many widows and widowers out there going through the same pain. Sharing helps validate what we feel to a world that doesn’t necessarily get it. 

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Trouble in Widow Land

Right now my life sucks, the ever ready bunny of make it better can do spirit is down. I am not to quote one of my favorite song writers, “a rock, an island.” I do have need of friendship even if it causes pain. The strangest thing for me is how my feelings today remind me of how I felt as a teen, which was the last time I was without, my Kirt. I suppose widows having lost their second husband would have a whole different set of issues to deal with, but this back to the teens’ turmoil and angst is so repugnant.
I’ve spent my whole adult life finding peace, tranquility, happiness, my self respect, and most of all, love. This all was mine for a time, but now, it’s over. Well, I do have my self respect, ta-da, thank you my honey for that gift.
Love, I still feel your love. As the pain that short circuits the brain lessens, I feel your spirit around me. Together we were a shining beacon of love. How many total strangers have commented on what a loving or lovely couple we were. Remember the shop girl in Amsterdam, who watched you help me with my back pack with tears in her eyes, holding her heart and waving the other hand in front of her face. Last year in New Orleans we had breakfast on the way to the VA, at Betsy’s, our favorite on Canal Street. You finished your grits, while I checked my email. A man about our age from the next table leaned towards you and said, “Sir, how long have you been married to that woman?” You know me; I thought he was going to say something bad about me. You replied, “Going on forty-five years and loved every minute.” He smiled, “I can see how much you love each other; God’s blessed you.” 
Peace and tranquility wish to return to my life, along with your gentle spirit. The dark forces grab me; anger and bitterness try to steal my serenity. Turmoil daily assaults me, looking at the ocean only makes me cry. I want to calm down and be as I was, but that’s never going to happen. Why does that not sink in, the life I knew is over.
People tell me write a new chapter, you’re strong, you can go on. My mother said, “You’re strong, you’ll be fine,” as if that negates all my suffering. My friends lead busy lives. We don’t pal around day to day, that’s what I did with you. I’ve been blessed that friends held me close after you died. My neediness tries people who expect me to be strong. “We’ve all had losses this year, yours isn’t any worse,” I’ve recently been told. I can’t expect someone who’s never had a soul mate understand, so no point in saying a word, just stuff it down. So many things are just not worth responding to; I am learning. This finding me shit is not working; without the strength, the motivation to get out of the house, which can become a trap for me, I fear depression.
Alone, no, not completely alone, with family and friends, touchstones in my life to whom I am grateful. And the two who truly love me, my honey, my husband in whose love I believe and God, who just wants to be loved, just like the rest of us. The Beatles were right; love is the answer.

Saturday, December 28, 2013

Christmas in Heaven

My Darling, your first Christmas in paradise, how was it for you? Did you hang with your mom and your dad? I’ll bet your sister Jeanette was glad to see you. She always loved you a bunch. Is there really a rainbow bridge or did our best boy, Tyr just come running up to you?
That day about six months ago, I sat on the bed studying your features as you slumped in your chair dead. A Mona Lisa smile on your sweet face told me even then death was a friend. Looking and learning in spurts between screaming and crying, I saw the spirit had left the flesh grey, the spark that was you left the body, the shell. In the sprinkle of clarity I knew you were watching the scene. I could feel your love for Alma and Adri, whose hearts were battered. They loved you as friends.
Your wife, who hardly ever cried in her life, shed buckets, out of control, that which she values so much. You watched me swearing at paramedics, who wouldn’t help lift you to the bed, when you were not yet dead. Everything I tried to do that day went wrong, starting with the thunderstorm, when I first found you in trouble. Fate, an angel of God, conspired against me at every turn; nothing went right, no, not for me.
Your body was broken, you suffered cruel pain, when you lost your leg, you weren’t the same. I felt your shock that day in the room, when you pulled back the cover. Your leg wasn’t there, your eyes focused in horror, the hurt on your face, I’ll never forget it.
Our love mended you as best we could, your spirit prevailed, you came home and doing well. Iris Soto, the physical therapist, who came to the house, made you laugh. The two of you giggled when I’d come into the bedroom, where you were working on the bed and say, “What’s going on in here?” We visited Adri, the Wednesday before your death. We had a very good time. She said, “You, can’t keep your hands off her” to you. A guilty smile mischievously crossed your face. We were happy again. You told me that day that you could see yourself living to seventy-nine. I was sure that wouldn’t be enough.

Four days later you left me.   

Friday, December 27, 2013

My First Christmas Alone

Homer Simpson clouds, what Kirt called fluffy white clouds that dot the sky. It must be a Simpson day, no, it’s Christmas. The sun shining brightly, the still air silently screams, alone.
Alone, what do I do? Who do I please? Chi-Ping sleeps curled at my knee. Smoki says, “Wow” as he squeezes between Chi and my knee. He has the whole bed to choose from, but where he wants to be, with feline finesse he claims his spot. It’s good to feel loved. I won’t say, if only by pets, for it’s the best I have these days.
Chi-Ping the independent terrier, who trusted no one, has given her heart to me. Smoki, the cat, once a curmudgeon, now claims best friend status. Blondie, the bullying big babe seems shy about asking for love; years on the street have taken their toll.
The spiritual spot with pretty house on the hill, beckoned for months. Deep down in our souls we knew it must be ours. Our golden years called, we put down our toil to sit in the sun surrounded by beauty. You lost a limb and then your life.
We were together for always or so it seemed, forty-five years, we stop counting. The sun warms up a gentle breeze. Lucky and Robert Redford search for a way to get into the house. They knew you as puppies; kind of like my sister knew our dad. Lanky lads, they run and play, hunting with gusto or gathering coconuts and avocados, they’re country dogs surviving in style, smart fellows cracking open coconuts by rolling them down the driveway to smash into the neighbor’s garage, a trick they’ve learned since you left us. You told me stories of riding homemade go carts down your childhood driveway, everything reminds me of you.
You demanded my attention, you wanted my love. A pair of white birds flies towards the lake. Smoki wants his share of my yogurt. We acted like teenagers here; really it was fun, my honey and me under a shroud sprinkled with diamonds we sat late in the night, watching for shooting stars, snuggling in the dark. You were sexy right till the end.
Alone, I find myself pleasing the critters more and more, a Christmas Eve party, liver popsicles for everyone; don’t you wish you were here?
You told me you loved me every day, we hugged and touched; I miss that so much. Letting go of you being physically here, accepting only your spirit is near, when I’m addicted to your solid presence is some days more than I can bear.
Either I’m going to learn to go on, or I will die, as stress affects the body. Living with you taught me to love life among so many other things. The salt of the earth, a rather grandiose man once called you, my happy, humble, honey. The world should know about people like you, who lead lives being kind; sharing love, for everyone loved you. And I’ll tell them, as per your request, that man sure could fix things.
So this is Christmas, to anyone who can, hug your honey, say I love you, as much as you can. It feels so good to hear, and wonderful to say, “I love you!” Enjoy your day.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

No Future Without a Plan

A plan for Christmas and the New Year seemed in order. Plans have always been my friends; you can change them or forget them, but you have a plan, which even in the bleakest times has given me comfort.  
I.            Who am I, what do I want
II.          Spend Christmas week alone, doing as little as possible, only what I want, meditate, talk to Kirt and God; listen to what they say.
III.       make plan for implementation
Who am I is a very good question, since I best know myself reflected in his eyes. Here goes:
Animal lover, dogs especially, passionate writer, kind hearted person, admirer of creation, art n’ jazz fan, devourer of good books, seeker of spiritual truth, absolute idiot and goofball girl, woman usually on a quest, planner, a good friend, not judgmental, supportive, yet respectful enough to let you make your own mistakes, just like I do.
I a)  What I don’t know about myself is:
How to be single, how to live alone, how not to be caustic or scary when frightened, play nice and make friends to name a few.
 The next couple of days I’m going to be open to the universe to learn what I need to start my life over, to re-invent myself as they say; made annual plans for many years, so this is a step in getting back to the essential me.  

Any thoughts or suggestions will be deeply appreciated. God bless you all on this Christmas eve. 

Saturday, December 21, 2013


A steady rain greets the dawn, moist humus scent wafts through my open windows. Morning has long been my favorite time of day. The steady invasion of light in valleys and alleys with creatures stirring, birds calling tell me it’s time to say good morning to God and my honey. When I grind the beans for my coffee, I say, ‘Hey, Darlene, good morning.”
Darla, the puppy I found in a bucket on the side of the road last week has doubled in size as of this morning, bounces at the side of my bed with a tail wagging incredibly fast. What a happy puppy she is, unless she’s not getting her way. That’s an issue I’ll have to address later.
Everything for me lately is later. It’s making me feel like a bad person, but I know I’m not. Kirt’s death mortally wounded my zest for life. The sun shines under the clouds, while water droplets hang in the air. A banana tree’s leaves look like they've just had a good scrubbing. God, you do good work, good morning.
The view from Sato Hill is peaceful, yet ominous clouds and sun, kind of like my life, the sun is trying to shine through. This puppy I didn't want brings me laughter, jumping and running, wanting attention. Smoki, the cat shows her the right way to seek attention. He carefully steps past the hounds on my bed to stand on my laptop, purring. This is how you get attention; he looks down at Darla wagging her tail. She bounds down the hall in search of some kibble wondering; who does that cat think he is.
Gradually the sun shines through, the rain is gone. The Saturday before Christmas I have an errand to do for a friend and then I need to go to the shopping center to pay a bill. Crap, it’s Claro, the bill isn't due until after Christmas, but I have no service. Don’t let me get started on big corporations’ behavior. I’d better get moving.
A dog barking in the distance, grabs my attention, as a hawk dives down the side of the hill after a pigeon with a sign on his butt saying, “desayunos”, or breakfast as we call it back in the states. My outlook alerts me that I have four overdue appointments and on Sunday Kirt will be dead twenty-three weeks. My honey, we fit together so well; I miss you!
I remember when we not quite young, well, maybe we were young, still in our twenties. You were wearing headphones while painting the family room wall. You didn't hear me because you were singing, “She’s close enough to perfect for me,” with a conviction so dear; I loved you even more. You smiled and kissed me, and went on singing and painting. Neither one of us would have ever won a singing competition, but how I miss your voice.
How do I go on without you, my Darling? Yeah, you’re right; I need to figure that out on my own.
Here, I have one for you. This is good, somebody on the widows’ support line asked this. If a widow remarries, when she and the second husband die; do the guys duel in the clouds for her? Love you.


Friday, December 20, 2013

Lost in Widow Land Week 22

Each morning, as quick as the coffee’s made and the dogs are fed, I go online to check the widows’ support group to find out how everybody is doing. I’ve only known them online for a few weeks, but I want them to be well. The thing about a support group is that when I read a sad story, I feel sorry for that person. In that point of time, when I sorry for you, my pain is less. I wonder what brain chemicals are released on that one.  Ah, yes, misery loves company endorphin trigger.  
The bones of our spouses are like chum in the waters we navigate looking for safe harbor and maybe companionship. Cast overboard, our heads bob, treading water, we drift; cursing in the dark. Our eyes search for a lighthouse. A flicker, a beam so sweet so brief, but we get no relief. Will this be our demise or will we continue living our lives?
If you see me during the day, you’ll never know you’re looking at a bombed out shell, I go through the motions quite well, lately I haven’t even told anyone to go to hell. Anger you see is a huge part of this deal for me. We put our lives together like a puzzle, we fit. Did I not enjoy the now, planning for tomorrow? The woulda, coulda, shoulda’s will get me if I let them. Bottom line is that God was the only one with control.
My honey and me, we made each other so happy. We were huggy and lovey dovey til death did us part, the end. Damn, that’s hard to say.
Last week was sensory overload with people staying here. A week of love’s first bloom, flirting and giggling school kids blush, the rapture made me feel like a snow globe in the sun.
This week’s depression could be expected, alone again is so hard to be. The week before Christmas, a holiday I never much liked except for the story of Jesus, with money that doesn’t go far enough, I’m not buying anything; all I can think about is what I’ve lost. I’m not in a giving mood, bah, humbug.
People want me to be well, they love the stories we tell, a laugh, a smile, a tender moment; I’m on my way, alone again. Can I blame them for not tuning in to my pain, not honoring my loss; they have plenty pain of their own. The contract with life states clearly, constant problems or threats shall affirm one’s status as alive. How we handle it says everything about who we are.

Honoring my feelings I’m doing as much or as little as I can handle each day. When I violate that caveat, jitters, tears, f---ing high anxiety ensues.  It’s like God is this dog trainer zapping my collar when I give a wrong answer. We all grow as trainers, so I’d like to put in my request for positive motion training only from now on, please, as long as it is Christmas and all, no lottery, just take it easy with me. Come on, please. 

Thursday, December 19, 2013

Plant Magic

Gardening is great, planting seeds, germination, maturation and crops, food glorious, food. Every step an adventure, when seedlings pop leaves above soil there’s always the wonder; what the hell did I plant here.
You’d think plants would be a low maintenance relationship, but no, they’re demanding; water me or I’ll die, feed me or no fruit. The clean, green look of a healthy plant puts a satisfied smile on the face making it all worthwhile.
Fertile flowers so pretty swell, soon to become fruit I can’t wait to harvest. Basking in sun, sucking up nutrients during the day, growing at night, born to nourish others, our food grows.
Gardening in containers can be especially fun. I put some tomatoes in front of my bedroom window to catch some sun. This particular night the fruit was grown, green at dusk, during the night to my surprise and delight I watched it go ripe. Every hour or two in anticipation I looked out the window. The green orb caught in the act blushed noticeably more orange.  By morning would you be ripe?  
Good morning, indeed when I got out of bed my tomato was waiting all ripe and red.

This happened last year, 2012, in New Orleans, when Kirt and I were staying with our friend, Darlene Cusimano May. It was a magical night for me. 

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Too Hard to Say Goodbye

My current responsibility is to be here, lonely, miserable, to show up and learn, oh, to cry big buckets of tears. I’m doing swell on the lonely, miserable and crying buckets. My emotions are still off the charts. This was a loud crying morning, the kind I don’t want the neighbors hearing. I've gone to the window to see my neighbors standing compassionately at the bottom of my driveway, when the wailing's been too loud; funny, I felt sorry for their discomfort. I don’t want to be responsible for anything, but myself for a moment in time, my time in New Orleans.
In Puerto Rico I have the Sato Hill Gang and, of course, Smoki, the cat. I’m sad and tired; don’t know if I can be happy again, looking for contentment. I’m scaring the crap out of myself.
Life changes, okay, I don’t get a vote, no negotiating, just take what you get change. Can you guess I like to be in control? Well, then you know how out of my mind, out of control, scared I feel.
Do you suppose I should own how scared I am? Ha, ha, a sudden dawn of light; I’m scared. Be calm; maintain self control is always a goal. I do best when I have a goal, so which do I want calm or self control?
The last time I was alone I was a teenager. God knows, what an idiot I was. It’s like my whole adult life’s been wiped out, or died with Kirt,the best part of my life. I felt safe with him. Safety is a big issue for me.
Some of us come from woe is me families, some angry, some laughing their way through adversity; mine was an angry family. Kirt’s dad always had a joke or a story to tell me, plus he taught me about looking around to see what’s available and making the best of it. The thought of Kirt and his dad back together, wow, it’s good. They were good, positive energy in my life. I have gratitude, thanks so much. I’m better; thanks to you.
Anybody who thinks that past the five month mark this gets easier; forget about it. It’s not the raw pain of the first months in Widowland; OMG, when they handed me his ashes, I hoped that I would spontaneously combust in the parking lot so I wouldn't have to bring him home like this. I’m crying so hard I can’t breathe, just thinking about it.

Get busy, time heals, yeah, sure, but I have to say good bye to my wonderful guy. It’s too hard. 

Tuesday, December 17, 2013

After the Accident

After Kirt’s surgery, return to work and re-injury in the blink of an eye, he became what they called permanently, totally disabled. Heavy narcotics barely changed the pain, but oh, lord, was he loopy. A couple of years after his second surgery we were still going to pain clinics and therapy in hope of improving the outcome.
My forty something husband aged over the winter; together we became rotund. Did you ever notice how good food tastes when you stress eat? He hurt, he ate; I stressed, I ate.
We had no money coming in for a few years, so we took a second mortgage on the property and began selling the beautiful furniture we bought when newlyweds. With our location on a busy road, garage sales made enough money for groceries and utility bills. My fondness for auctions paid off, when I’d pick up nice antiques for a good price and sell them for a better one. Kirt hated not being able to go. He’d inspect all my finds. So many of the farm antiques he’d used as a kid, so he’d explain how the implements worked. He had a story for everything.
Job possibilities came my way, but leaving Kirt never felt right; between the pain meds and the muscle relaxers he didn’t know which way was up. I had a group of people coming over to train dogs a couple of times a week; it’s what I did for fun, which for me was the best part of this time period. When I told people that I wouldn’t be working with them and their dogs because I had to go back to work, they offered to pay me. At first my low self esteem wouldn’t allow me to believe I was good enough to be paid for training dogs or working with behavior problems, which is what I loved to do.
I began training dogs for a living and Kirt started going to auctions with me. Many times when we arrived he’d say, “I’ll just wait in the truck.” The tightness about his eyes and mouth told me he hurt. A new dog training business and week end garage sales came close to paying the bills, but you know, how close isn’t good enough. Kirt had to see the dentist, Dr. Dave, because he was grinding his teeth. Stress makes us stupid to begin with; stress, narcotics, and muscle relaxers took a toll. Kirt sat in a stupor while the stove caught on fire. I walked in the door just as the flames started. You can’t imagine how bad he felt after that.
One of my new dog training clients, Debbie Howard, talked me into pet sitting as an additional income source. Pet sitting in Illinois meant going out no matter what the weather, which in the ten years we did it, came to some nasty extremes. I say in which we did it because no matter how much pain Kirt was in, he would drag himself to the car to ride along with me. It was appoint of honor for him to not let me go by myself.
Kirt didn’t boo-hoo, “Look at those fall colors, I’ll bet Michigan color can’t compete with what we have right here. What’s your favorite color yellow or orange?”  One afternoon I returned from an appointment with a potential pet sitting client to find Kirt had filled the dogs’ little kiddy pool. “What’s up with the pool?” I asked. “Look,” he said. In the pool were six baby wood ducks, who wandered out of the woods. With a yard full of Rotttweilers, it could have been the end of baby ducks, but Kirt kept the dogs a respectful distance away from the chicks paddling in the pool. As I brought some groceries in, he called, “Here comes the mom.” She circled overhead, he backed away from the pool, called the dogs to come with him, the mom landed, and she quacked, the chicks jumped out of the pool to form a line behind her. We hugged each other, as they waddled away.
Kirt understood that medicating for pain would be a way of life for him, so he cut back on the meds. A doctor sent him to take biofeedback training. The therapist allowed me to go in with him because I was fascinated, but Kirt didn’t believe in it, before long he sat outside while I went in for his biofeedback class. Years later Kirt would appreciate everything I learned in those classes.
As soon as our finances allowed I resumed showing dogs. By this time Kirt had a decent pain management regiment established, so he’d come to the shows to hold dogs for me. After years of taking lessons and hard work I began to win. Kirt developed a following of people who would sit ringside with him to pick his brain for training tips or ask questions. I was running around the ring like a crazy fool while my husband was holding court. One day in particular a man kept pressing him for information on how we got our dogs to stop four square every time. Kirt knew it had something to do with how the dog held his head, but couldn’t articulate what the man wanted to know because he didn’t know. The man kept pressing the question, finally frustrated he said, “You’ll have to ask Pat.” I enjoyed watching Kirt with his groupies and wasn’t going to let this guy get the better of him, so I replied, “If he won’t tell you, it must be a training secret, so if you want to know, come to class.” Later, I gave him a hard time about dispensing advice on things he didn’t know too much about. To which he replied, “But I’m having fun,” with that mischievous boy look I could never resist. I rolled my eyes and laughed; what could I say, the man was having fun.  
I was so maniacal about doing my best and winning. Kirt taught me to enjoy life. For me winning was fun; for him hanging out with me was fun.  

The Day Disability Struck

The day my husband crawled in the door on all four limbs, unable to stand changed our lives forever. My big strong man couldn't stand, I lifted and drug him, moving him the few inches required all my strength. “What happened?” I shrieked, when I saw him at the door, his pain so great he could only get out, “Accident...at work.”
“Let’s get you back in the truck; I’ll take you to the emergency room, right now.” How could they let him go home like that; I wondered, as I went to pull his truck closer to the house. At times like this my mind whirs; what do I need to do to get him back in the truck, oh, my God what’s wrong with him, I need to run back in the house and turn off the stove.
“No!” His exasperated cry startled me. “Honey, we have to get you to the doctor! You need help.” He collapsed on the front step, his head on the step. “Please, let me take you to the doctor,” I yelled. Kirt’s dislike of hospitals and doctors and avoidance of same was legendary, so I slipped straight into frantic. “Open the door,” his voice demanded and plead simultaneously. “No, I don’t know what to do for you. I can’t help you. You need a doctor!”
“Been. OPEN, the door!” Okay, that put a different color on things, but now wasn't the time for questions. I opened the door. He couldn't lift himself, so I asked, “Are you sure you don’t want to go to the urgent care or the ER?” “Grab my shoulders, pull me in,” he replied.  I took his left arm at the shoulder, but he yelled in pain, both sides had to be lifted equally to get in the door, I tried to lift while straddling him. This proved awkward, so with a big towel slipped around his chest and under his arms I lifted and pulled all my might and he pushed propelling himself through the door.
On the floor in a heap like an injured puppy he panted and moaned. At this point in my life I didn't cry, so only my bloodshot eyes revealed my horror at seeing my hero broken. The table and chairs had to be moved and the coffee table. He needed a clear path to the sofa. How could a doctor send him home like this? What the hell happened? “Oh, oh, oh,” my big guy cried. “You rest here. Let’s put this towel under your head. Try taking some deeper breaths.”
Kirt always had that farm boy commonsense, so he worked with it, taking deep breaths, relaxing as much as he could. The towel under his head felt better. My good guy said, “Thanks.”
By the time I had everything out of the way, he started to crawl on his hands and knees, few feet later he collapsed, so we did the same thing with deep breathing and the towel under his head. “You say a doctor saw you,” I commented without expecting an answer.
Just five years earlier we bought our little house on tens acres. We filled it with horses, cows, chickens, dogs and flowers. My husband always wanted me to stay home, so he gave me what I loved. The place demanded more work than I could imagine, so each day I scheduled my chores. Kirt came home to see me struggling to clean up the barn. In twenty minutes the man had the whole job done, smiled at me and said, “Let’s have dinner.” At the time it made me feel weak and incompetent, but I admired his strength and the ease with which he got things done. He took care of me.
On the sofa at last, I had all I could handle to not bombarded him with questions. How do you get home in this condition? What kind of doctor would let you go home like this? What is happened? It hadn’t taken much to figure out his back hurt, but damn, this seemed extreme. Once, the hood of a car slammed on Kirt’s thumb, he had to pull it out. The indentation of the hood remained on his thumb for a long time to come, all he did was shake it off and go on about his business. This is no cry baby guy.
“Going down the Eisenhower I hit a pothole, the seat bottomed out. Pain shot through my legs. By the time I got back to the shop they were numb.” They took me to a clinic in Cicero. The doctor gave me this prescription for pain pills and a couple of days off.” Kirt’s face was still tight with pain, but he had gotten his breath back.
From that day in 1988 he never had a pain free day in his life.   


Monday, December 16, 2013

Shouldn't I be Looking for Me?

Without a compass to guide me, each day I forge on doing whatever seems right but nothing feels right. My organization vanished with my husband. A few feeble attempts at list making is nothing. When I try too hard to focus, my body reacts with jitters or if I’m really lucky, a headache.
Advice I’m getting from a majority of my sources completely conflicts with what I think I should be doing. I respect my advice givers, so my resolve falters.
My belief tells me that my husband completed his life’s journey, but I haven’t; God has me here for a purpose. Being in harmony with your purpose is a state of grace, so I really want to do my whatever, my purpose. I’m guessing that since God took away my best friend, my moral support, I’m supposed to do this whatever, alone. This means many things including that I need to be strong or have a strong sense of self. It’s so easy to hide behind your husband and think you’re strong.
When I’m ready, I should look for a guy, so many of my friends say. My eyes crossed when I heard elsewhere essentially, that I didn't have time to waste. I should run right down to the guy market and get myself one. After a lifetime of meshing with one great guy, it’s bloody unlikely that I’ll ever connect quite so comfortably with another. The last thing I want is some strange guy’s opinion affecting my life in any way.
Who does she think she is? Who am I without a guy? Who am I, just me?  Without my guy..

Going back to New Orleans where as a child I wished for my life, dreamed of who I would be; maybe that’s where I’ll find me. 

Sunday, December 15, 2013

Love and Lonliness

Love’s playful spark permeated Sato Hill. Four days of my friend and her sweetheart, the ever handy Jamie, who sealed my roof and did a myriad of honey do’s, went well despite the things that went wrong.
Tying down the items required to do the job might have been at tad less problematic. Budding romance energy in my home of mourning made me feel unbalanced; it tired me. My regular cries took on melancholy, I could howl like a sad and lonely wolf, but didn’t; my happy friends blew kisses to each other and shared knowing glances. New love, part of me enjoyed seeing my friend in that honeymoon phase. The rest of me just ached to have my love back; who made his list, went to the store before starting a job, and rarely had to go back. I miss that. I miss my honey.  
My friend in love to distraction left her clothes at home first trip to my house, the second trip she left a green bag of food on her carport. Watching her made me giggle like a school girl, so it’s all good. Her guy with sparkling personality sang to her, they flirted with each other. I liked the positive energy even if I felt out of sync with it.
On Saturday I shared my best face mask with the divine Ms. M it was like a spa day, until she answered the door in her green mud pack; how mortified she was to be seen like this. Why am I smiling?
My dear friend helped me so much, she’s an angel. Jamie did a very big job. He cleaned up one mighty mess. Maintenance of cement roofs in the tropics is essential for health, mine was overdue.
I’m blessed with wonderful people in my life; thank God for so many gifts. I’m scared and feel unworthy. My head hurts from input overload. My darling isn’t coming back; that seems so wrong. It’s a good thing that personal tragedy doesn’t throw the earth off its axis.  

Tuesday, December 10, 2013

I Have No Sense

I want to scream and cry again, but I don’t, so my stomach twitches, telling me how upset I am, when I just want some tranquility in my life; we were tranquil. We were happy, and now that’s gone.
Just when I think about something positive, an email from U.S. Department of Veterans jerks me back to thinking about my loss. Kirt died, but I've begun to think of this as my loss; not his, mine, my times with him, my pleasure with his company. How self indulgent I've permitted myself to be, yet when I think of how happy Kirt’s eyes would be to see the first rays of dawn, it saddens me more deeply. I can’t go there. There’s no point, God said that it’s not going to happen.
How can I make sense of this? How can I process my husband’s loss, so I can live a meaningful life? It’s not just about losing Kirt; it’s the dog, my friend and everything else going wrong that’s forcing me to stand alone or get help.
Saying good bye to Kirt is saying good bye to the best in my life. People tell me, “You have to hold on to the best memories,” yeah, okay, I’ll make a note to do that; problem is memory co-creator, my best friend is gone, no more memories.  I should be grateful for anyone taking the time to say something, but I’m not. A sympathetic smile and nod, a hug would be appreciated. My husband hugged me all the time. I miss hugs like a drunk misses Scotch.  
Why do people feel a need to tell me the obvious; I’m grieving not lobotomized. “You need to get on with your life” is my personal favorite. “How would you suggest I do that,” my reply usually gets a strange, how the hell would I know look on their faces. I swear one day I’m going to laugh. Not too often someone will give me suggestions like go on a cruise, which might be nice.
For a person wishing to be a positive light a venal irony is that all my little bitches about how people don’t do this right or I’m not happy with that are what in part brings me to my present. Shit, that sucks.
I’m tired, not my usual energy, missed Zumba a few times. I have a banana tree to plant, let me go do something constructive for once. 

Monday, December 9, 2013

Does Death Come in Threes?

Does death come in 3’s or does the mind fill in details to prove beliefs?
I hadn’t lost anybody “close” to me in a long time. My Uncle Lou died about thirteen years ago. I loved him with a big heart little girl crush. Writing this gets me lost in memories of a man with rare natural class. I remember my aunt telling me something about death and three, but blew it off, so I can’t tell you about the other two.
My father died the year I graduated from high school. Walking to work with my dog, Donovan, singing Parsley, Sage, Rosemary and Thyme; she once was a friend of mine is pretty much my best memory of the time. I was angry and scared, but too dumb to know it at the time.
You may recall me telling about my dog Lola dying shortly after Kirt, and now my best friend from childhood; that’s three loved ones taken away.
Death touches us HARD, slapping us around with no regard for our feelings. It tests us as organisms in a dish. How much can we take? Will we respond in a healthy way, surviving and, maybe, thriving or does this abuse cause us to become bitter, to wither emotionally, as my friend did, and die?

Is this cruel fate, or the loving hand of God? But for gentle transitions or the smile on my husband’s face  after he died and mini visitations, I might doubt. Prayers for understanding and acceptance will be answered, when I get my shit together and am ready, which I pray God will be soon. 

Saturday, December 7, 2013

The Reaper Got Her, So Long My Sister

Darlene, Dahlene, Cajun Queen, author of many chapters in my life; farewell my friend of childhood, so long ago, but remembered as a magical adventure growing up with live oaks, dueling oaks and Mardi Gras, and confidences shared with you, my first good friend. We told each other of hope and dreams for a future free of terror, said we’d find each other and always be together.
The 60’s, 70’s, the 80’s, oh, even the 90’s flew by, and then you reached out to me in a letter sent through aunts, good friends the generation before us. My palms tingled, my heart raced; I called you, which was the best call ever. The girls were back, if only on the phone. With a loving connection, we’re not alone; life was good. Thanks so much for being a part of it.
You were a trip, my girl, when you went out, you ruled the party. Kirt and I, your sidekicks at the casino and definitely out to lunch, had great fun.
Say, “Hi,” to Kirt and Milton. On a corner somewhere in a place called heaven there’s a bunch hanging out, listening to good music and having fun with you and the guys. Pet my dogs; until I get back and I’ll check on Lucky.

Friday, December 6, 2013

My Darling,

 I visit friends, help out with causes, talk to everybody in my contact list and loneliness is my closest companion. None of this really hard trying makes a difference. You’re not here.
I don’t know where I belong or even who I am. Would it be a sin to give up on my life, to die? People seem to like me, but I am all alone. How do I do this alone shit? It’s so painful.
A journey of self discovery is in order, but how, where? We should be sitting in rockers on our porch overlooking the lake and smiling. You were so easy to be with my honey; how can I go on without you? I loved my life with you. The world is still beautiful in the morning, the stars still shine at night; the difference is me. I’m not the same without you.
The people I think should love me most tell me I’m strong; I’ll be fine, essentially buck up and get on with life. I was so in love with our life together. This has far less meaning. What does God want me to do? Send me a memo in one or two syllable words. I hurt; I’m not getting this.

Every day you kissed me and told me you love me. I miss that the most. I love you. Nothing comes close to what I lost when you left me. 

Saturday, November 30, 2013

Twenty Weeks Without My Honey

My stomach is doing strange things. A curse of vague symptoms is ruling my life. My SUV makes strange little noises, which make me crazy and then something breaks. It’s fixed, so then I think it’s over, problem solved, only to have the basic noise begin gain, a tiny whir, a constant reminder that something’s not right, how ironic, a perfect metaphor for my life.  
Some “truths” hit you like turning on a bright light; others are like the slow light of dawn. Some of my greatest ah-ha moments were at that time of day. They all led me to now.
 I believe that every life has meaning, and is meant to be enjoyed. My niece once told me to begin writing a new book. In the instant I knew my love story had ended, no more anything. . .
My guy gone for the rest of my life, that’s a new reality I can’t embrace; acceptance, well, there’s no choice. My niece, Rachel, was right I need to begin a new book, which I’ll call, “Life After Honey”.
After forty-five years of us and we, a party of one; how do you make that fun? It can be done. I see it happening all the time. It’s a skill set I’ve yet to cultivate. When I’m not busy lamenting what I’ve lost, life’s abundant moments enchant like my island. Thank you, God, for all you’ve given me; I am not blind to it, in spite of my behavior.
My head hurts; grieving, the pain, the suffering just really freaking sucks. You can apply all the positive attitude, religion, even meditation and this still is the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Even women who didn’t have a sweet, loving guy are lost. I have to learn how to put my honey, my loss on the side, so I focus on what my life will become now; whatever that is.
Good luck to me and anyone else in this boat. God bless us, please.   

Thursday, November 28, 2013

First Thanksgiving in Widow Land

My Darling, I missed you so today! Thanksgiving dinner without you, I can tell you it felt strange to be with people, but not you. After forty-five holidays with you I carried you in my heart today. We enjoyed the day. I worried that I’d break down, missing you. I cried thinking about it, but today I just lived the day as it came.
Tonight as twilight dwindled, I sat on the balcony thinking about how we loved the view of the ocean at dusk. I smiled as I lingered over a lifetime of sunsets with my best guy. Remembering how much you love me made me smile. The ache I usually feel from missing you didn’t grab me. I felt grateful for my life with you without the searing pain, a first.
My hosts, people whose company we’ve enjoyed a handful of times, were as charming as ever. My dear hostess prepared a feast for the holiday. The table display deserved a magazine cover. Did I tell you the food was good? Yum.
The two other dinner guests rounded out the table nicely with friendly conversation. My first holiday dinner without you didn’t totally suck; it was nice. I had a good time, and then our crazy lady bud, Adri arrived. I had somebody I love a bunch in the house. Before long it was time to go home. I lived through one of those bench mark days I’ve been dreading.
For all the tears and fears the pre holiday anticipation generated Thanksgiving couldn’t have been better, unless of course, you were here. I’m so stuffed.

Thanks God, for my friends, you place the best people in my life. And thanks for all the years with a great guy who loved me more than I could possibly have deserved.  

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Raw Pain Strikes Again

Mindfully staying focused on each day’s activities, hoping to get in the swing of my new life, I’ve searched the classifieds for a stationary exercise bike, things to put in my itinerary for New Orleans, but my hands are sweaty and my stomach is twitching. Tears hang in the corner of my eyes wanting to come.
Tomorrow is the first Thanksgiving without him in forty-five years. How can this be? Ready to scream and cry again, I didn’t know this level of sad and lonely was even possible. This pain has got to end or at least decrease. I feel so broken.
I think back to the desperate days after his death when I seriously thought about walking into an ocean current. Today, I wish I’d done it.
Now, quivering, crying, all snotty nose happy horse shitting as my darling would say; what do I do?

In time I’ll take comfort in how well my husband loved me, but today the pain of his loss feels so unbearable. God, why do you do this? Is there a point to all this pain? Don’t YOU love me? I’m trusting YOU to take good care of my darling.  This hurts, but I still love You and I’m praying for your grace to get through this. Only You have the power.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Does Pain Have a Purpose?

Heartache, heartbreak, the pain grabs me by the scruff and gives me a good shake. Some days focus comes my way, but not today. Overcome by sorrow, my tears flow.
My Honey, I miss you so. Is this my purgatory? Is this my hell or just the dark night of my soul? For such a smart youngster, I’ve become the dull oldster. I no longer know anything. Your quiet strength gave me such confidence, and I thought it was me, silly.
I thought I knew who you were in my life. I thought I was the strong one; wrong, again. You gave me so much more than I ever knew; thank you, thank you. We were so good together; I learned the value of love with you. Safe and comfortable in your heart and arms, I felt sheltered. With every fiber of my being, I miss that feeling.
Are we really spiritual beings on a physical vacation? Are you home and happy? You keep sending fireflies into the bedroom! That’s so cool. I know it’s you.  It’s too weird to be anything else.
One of your purposes in life was to be with me, thanks; we made the best of everything, becoming better people in the process.
Thanks to you, I see the good and God has responded by putting enough good in my life to trip over.
When I was young, I believed that bad luck is what God doled out; good luck is what you made for yourself, which served me well for some years, but I hated to look at God like that.
Pain, hah, pain is the frienemy of growth. After a comfortable relationship with God and my husband, I feel the crushing loss of both.

Re-constructing these relationships, my growth challenge has me hurting today, but if I am a spiritual being, I suppose, I’d better act like it. Good luck with that. ;) 

Friday, November 22, 2013

Acceptance in Widow Land

Enough activities in a day will keep my mind busy most of the day. Being physically tired at day’s end guarantees a few hours sleep, but just when I start to get caught up in my new life, that hole in my heart opens wide, aches hard and I cry, not like these award winning actresses, who squeeze out one poignant tear, oh no, this old girl sobs.
According to the Tao as I understand it, the key to happiness is accepting reality each day. Accepting the new reality means letting go, accepting that never again I’ll hear my husband’s voice saying, “I love you.” There’ll be no hugging, hand holding, no more knowing looks or inside smiles. I could go on, but my nose is starting to run. I don’t like to think how much I miss him; it hurts too much. Okay, let’s just say, “I’m working on it.”
The new stuff is just as freaky. What do you mean new stuff? That would be everything I’m doing, now, without him. Shortly after Kirt died I went to a restaurant, the waitress showed me to my seat, as she handed me the menu she asked, “Will anyone be joining you?” I started to say my husband, but sputtered and stuttered, getting tongue tied, so I bit my lip and shook my head, no. I’ll be dining alone is freaky new stuff, shopping for one. All of my decisions are about my wants and needs, actually, I’m beginning to embrace that one, but sometimes it feels so guilty.  
Accepting that I have no one to share all those special little moments in life with me; how is that going to help me be happy? Perhaps, I’m being obtuse about this, grrr, so be it.
My life is getting busy again; busy is good up to a point.  Thanksgiving is coming, the first in 45 years without him; how do I embrace this? I don’t know, but I’m tired of hurting. I could embrace some healing, if I knew what that was.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Still Learning

My Aunt Margaret, the woman who first taught me about learning to “speak dog,” is still teaching me.
On her last day in the hospital, Margaret implored me to come, stay with her when she got home. Her usually strong voice quivered, faltering over the words, “Patty, I want you to come and stay with me, when I get out of the hospital. I’m on oxygen. There’s fluid on my heart and lungs. I’m having a hard time breathing, and my back still hurts.”
“Yes, Maam, I’ll be there as soon as I can get organized.” “Patty, you need to come to New Orleans anyway. You have that expensive storage locker. You can use my truck to move that stuff to a better location or sell it. You need to cut down on your expenses or you won’t have enough to live on. You live too far from home. If anything happened to you; what would I be able to do from here?”
“My dear heart, Adri, will take the dogs, but I want to bring Smoki. He’s going to be seventeen years old. Its bad enough he lost Kirt. He’s used to being with me. I’ll have to get his travel papers. When are you being discharged?”
“I have a cat. My cat DOES NOT go in my house; does your’s go in the house? Margaret queried in a less faltering voice.
Smoki, the cat in question purred into the phone, as I stroked his chin. “Yes, Aunt Margaret, he’s in bed with me now.” I put the phone near Smoki, so she could hear him purr.
“You have a cat in the bed with you,” she fairly boomed. “Yes, Maam,” I snickered while tickling the two dogs on the foot of my bed with my toes. “I don’t keep animals in my house; see if your friend will keep him,” she said in her end of subject voice.
I decided not to ask her if Smoki could sleep in the bathroom where her little Jack Russell, Daisy Duke used to sleep. “Margaret, he’s an old cat, he’s all I have left from Kirt, and our years in Yorkville. I don’t know, if he’ll make it, but I also don’t know if he’ll make it in cold weather, so let me think about it. When are you being discharged?”
“Tomorrow, they’re going to send me home with oxygen, my insurance only pays for four days in the hospital for this and I’ve been here too long. They haven’t done a thing for me, I feel just as bad as I did when I first came in here.”
“Margaret, who’s taking you home? Is Harry taking you home or Mike? Are you going home, or will you stay somewhere else?”
“I don’t know who’s taking me home. I suppose Mike is; I’ll know when tomorrow gets here. In the mean time I’ll say good night to you and speak with you tomorrow.”
I responded, “Good night, Aunt Margaret, I love you,” and hung up.
Margaret likes to convalesce without intrusion, so the first week after her procedure, I wasn’t worried, but midway into the second week I began to worry about her, good gosh, I just lost my husband; I want to spend time with my aunt, but didn’t want to go there until spring, well, what I wanted isn’t too important right now.
Think straight, get organized, there’s so much to do. Kirt’s ashes are still on the night stand; should I do something with them? Robert Redford and Lucky need booster shots; can’t forget.  Where’s Margaret going? I’d better call in the morning before she’s discharged, so I have the number. Need to give the dogs’ heart worm med before I go. How long can Margaret stay at Mike’s house? I know she hates to be away from home. I hope she’s going to be okay.
Wow, I’m going to New Orleans. I’m going to miss my dogs, maybe, I shouldn’t take the cat. He likes Adri. The trip could be hard on an old cat. He likes to go out, but he’s an inside cat. Margaret’s big unneutered male might rip up my little guy. She lives in the country without a dog to bark. I would be better off bringing Chi-Ping, at least, she’ll bark to let me know someone’s coming.
I’m spinning, too much sudden change, and a feeling of dread, so I decided to think of all the questions. Solutions will be had in the morning.
To be continued.


Friday, November 15, 2013

Just Shoot Me

Nothing screws with my head like family. Now that my aunt is back home and doing well enough to find her critical voice again I think I’ll cancel my trip, which went from a mission of caring for her and keeping her company to a “vacation” as soon as she felt better and comfortable at home.
While I’m glad to have my strong, hardcore aunt back, I’m not interested in leaving Puerto Rico with the low temperature of 70 for Louisiana with a low in the 40’s. I’ll take my vacation in spring, when I would prefer to go.
Recently, we’ve had too many conversations in which she has told me what my husband ”really” thought about my writing, how much time I spend on the computer and what I “should” have been doing. She knew him better than I did, the poor man. How do I grit my teeth or remain composed when listening to that?
My husband adored me, only death could take him away from me. We were together 24/7, since 1988 after his accident. We worked out our differences and became almost one. We were always two individuals. We were both strong people and personalities crazy about each other. Why does my aunt feel required to rip that to shreds?
To be stuck in her house listening to her tell me how he “really” felt sends shivers up my spine. He hasn’t been gone eighteen weeks; I’m lost and alone in my mourning. I don’t need to subject myself to abuse in the name of family love and concern.
I still answer her with “Yes, Maam,” respect. I love her dearly. She has many wonderful attributes, but she doesn’t get to trash my life under the guise of what she calls “honesty.”   
How long does it take people to understand most of what we call truth is just our opinion?
Spending my first holidays as a widow with her is suicide; that’s my opinion.

Thursday, November 14, 2013

And So It Begins

Twenty years ago I didn't keep an eye out to see my Aunt Margaret standing on the curb in front of a store waiting to be picked up. Today she informed me that she would not tolerate me playing with my computer when I should be focusing on her during my visit. She felt very put out to have to search the parking lot. She shouldn't be treated that way.
This is what she chose to tell me, when I told her what time my flight arrived, that rentals car prices were higher than I expected and I’d still have the problem of returning the car; could we find somebody to bring me to her house for $75? That’s not bad for a couple hours work; it’s a win-win in my book.
“So do you know anybody, whose kid wants to make $75 picking me up at the airport?” I asked again, not wanting to honor the little prickly she tossed at me.
“Did you think it was right to leave me to search the parking lot for you?” she demanded. “Margaret, I was in the fourth car.”
Remembering my side of that unpleasant day, I said, “Margaret, that’s water way under the bridge, please, let go of it. How should I get to your house?”
“I want you to know,” her tirade began. I interrupted, “Margaret, you have to have your say and then you’re going to hear the other side of the story, and so it goes, just turn it loose, let go of it.”
“I've said my piece, let go of it, is right. If you’re planning on going anywhere, you’ll need your own transportation, my truck has to ready in case I need it,” Margaret moaned. “Are you planning on going into New Orleans?”
Somehow I knew the, “You can use my truck to move your things from the storage locker,” wasn't going to work.
Somehow suspected that when she got home and felt better things would change from “I want you to stay with me” to “You can come visit me on your vacation.”
My VACATION! My friend is having surgery next week. She’s important to me. I would never have left on vacation the day before her surgery had it not been a special request from my most beloved living family member. I had happy plans for Thanksgiving; it was going to be the kind of party Kirt and I love. I was going to picture him smiling, joking.
Margaret ranted about how she has friends because she doesn't ask them for favors. She wouldn't ask her family for favors. She doesn't ask anybody for anything, if they want to do for her that’s another story.
“Margaret, I think most families have somebody who would like to earn $75 in no more than two or three hours at the most, picking me up from the airport. That’s not technically a favor; it’s fair trade, but if you can’t ask anybody, you can’t; I’ll figure it out.”
Margaret then told me that her nephew had signed a contract to help her with her doctor appointments; that I wouldn't be taking care of her in that way. She really didn't need to be taken care of at all. She would cook and clean and show me her hospitality.
I assured her that I had ambitions to take control of her. I respect her and honor her autonomy. I bought the ticket in hope of providing companionship and having some fun with her.
Fun was out; she had doctor’s appointments to worry about. That’s the last thing I remember her saying before I hung up.

Well, God, I didn't think it could be done, but I didn't think about loss or mourning or even Kirt, too much. I’m so blessed with these new circumstances, I think I’ll just go lie down.  

Into the Fire

It's not bad enough that I'm sad and lonely, apprehensive about a future alone. I must at this point remind myself why Kirt and I preferred to  be away from my family. 
I"m going to take care of my 88 yr old manipulative, domineering aunt, who is also sweet and loving and all of those things a southern belle manages so well.
I'll teach her mutual respect and compromise or leave. It has to be that way. In my family I always ended up feeling guilty and inadequate. My husband really loved me, which taught me to love myself. 
I have to learn how to say, "F you!" in a nice way, I'm so hostile. 
Margaret is the queen of my way or no way. We both had husbands who spoiled us.  
We'll either work it out to live together compatibly or I hate to think. 
I don't intend to allow my life to be trashed for family duty, this needs to be good for both of us. 
I have a friend who takes excellent care of her mother. She caters to that ungrateful woman, who never has a good thing to say to her or about her. I've wanted to tell the old girl how lucky she is; "I'd have put your behind in a nursing home a long time ago."  Grrr.
Ok, a few deep breaths, calm down, lower the blood pressure. 
My family is still embroiled in all the negative psychological stratagems/shit that screwed me up in the first place. 
I must add that I love these people and they love me. Love isn't the issue; how we behave is the issue.
Welcome home almost feels like a threat with out Kirt to balance them out. 
God, if this is a test; give me strength, please.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Gratitude in Widow Land

Thank you, God, for forty-five years of learning about love, learning to love when young and lusty, when comfortable, fat and sassy, under stress, duress in sickness and disability, always caring, always, kissing, holding hands, wanting to be together LOVE.
I no longer bawl wildly out of control, screaming, sobbing; thanks. My tears simply flow down my cheeks impolitely plugging up my nose. This new toned down version is a blessed improvement; thanks again.
Do I sound bitter? My best friend from childhood, she’s bitter. She lost her husband after Katrina. He was in a hospital having test when Katrina struck. She searched for him online and by phone after the hospital shut down and patients evacuated all over the states. Records were lost, things happened, his cancer went undiagnosed until treatment too late. This woman is bitter, dark and sad. I’m just lost without my guy.
I’ll thank you again for any help with not feeling like a fish out of water, with not feeling like the Widow Carr, a breed of females apart from society.
The last time I was single, I was an awkward teenager; thanks for the opportunity to relieve that experience in an old body. I can hardly wait.
I’m not bitter; I’m scared. That’s something I rarely felt in the forty-five years I was married to my hero. When I was with him, I thought I could do anything. Thanks, Honey, that was so awesome.
So, God, thanks for giving me the right guy for me. I admired your work on that one!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Life in Widow Land

The pain, the pain, the panic, the frantic feeling my head would explode, the sudden loss of my other half, my better half, my constant companion, my friend, my lover flipped my world upside down.
Seventeen weeks later, I remember the day vividly, but the days after, no, the first couple of months after are a haze.
At some point I realized that having a project I believe in to work on would be good for me. I had been talking about doing a fund raiser for a friend of mine, who runs an animal shelter, so I picked the easiest I could think of and we did a photo day fund raiser for Amigos de Los Animales PR.
Working to concentrate on a task that’s more stimulating than challenging gave me moments of peace in that second month. I had to “buckle down” to put it together. Sometimes regardless of how the project went, I’d have uncontrollable bouts of crying and screaming.

As a rule I’m a pretty buttoned down hard ass, thanks to my WW II Marine Corp dad who beat me regularly until I reached eighteen and he died leaving me really screwed up; until along came the hero of my story, the guy who died this past July, my guy.
Life in Widowland still sucks.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Joined Widow Support Group

I joined a Widow/Widower online support group. I’m a handbook kind of person. Other people’s posts helped; some were interesting, others were so sad. Reading about other people’s pain helped. I don’t like the idea of misery loves company, but their painful stories somehow normalized mine. Can this make sense?
To say I experience the dark night of the soul after Kirt’s death would not be an exaggeration. My faith, my love of God was completely challenged. People asked if I was angry with my husband for leaving me, no, I was angry with God for taking him.
Then came the bargaining, God, I would have traded half the life I have left to die at the same time. You know I would! I’m a person who prays, talks to God regularly, so to have my primary relationships disrupted was overwhelming.
The support group may be a bridge to a normal life again; whatever my new normal will become. We all handle things in our own way with our own style and grace. Reading these stories gave me a snippet of peace.
Telling a widow of three days that in time it does get better little by little or as we say here, poco a poco and knowing it to be true felt good.

Tears flowed again, but this time I felt a touch of relief when I stopped.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Weird Widow Blues

The Sabor/Flavor de Isabela outing went so well we weren’t ready to go home after visiting every booth, so I called a friend who lives in nearby Aguadilla. This is a guy my husband and I have known since our first visit in 2005.
This man and Kirt were tight buddies, the kind you get few of in a lifetime, so his pain and loss I feel with my own when I’m with him. It was unbearable to be near him. Call me weird, but sensing energy levels is something I’m fairly good at doing. My heart goes out to our friend, but I found it impossible to cope. My pain felt like it could kill me; not the bad day and you’re dead way Kirt went, slow decay.  
I have to let go of Kirt to be well and not attract darkness. When I hang on to Kirt the hardest, bad things happen in my life. I’ve had a ton of bad shit happen lately. Other widows tell me if I don’t get out meeting people and being socially active, I never will, that we shut ourselves off; it becomes a habit, and then woe is me.
Who knows how many other widows have a hard time being with their husband’s old buddies? For me this boulder got bigger as time went on, now would be a good time to see him and say hello or something.
This is so stupid, why I should feel so awkward with this friend, but then so much feels awkward or at least off center. Even if I sit in a room of strangers, in my mind it’s the wife of the late Mr. Carr, the widow Carr sitting there, so I’m not quite a raving loon, but….
The afternoon went well Marcy and he spoke very fast in Spanish, like they know if they talk fast I haven’t a clue. They were right. I don’t care, it’s a good day.
Seeing this man’s face, looking into his eyes, I see all the reasons I liked him in the first place. Why we liked him.
Don’t you just miss the sound of your husband’s voice? I wish I had a recording of Kirt’s voice, the voice I love above all others, sorry A.B.
To sit and talk with our friend, to hear a warm familiar male voice was nice, by a friendly fire nice.
Poco a poco, little by little my life looks like it’s coming together. Please, don’t let me be premature in saying that.
My wonderful women friends sustain me. The maternal energy of this island is amazing. And my friends elsewhere, who all happen to be women, thank you so much for your love and support.
God bless and guide us, show us some love as we strive to love you. Big SMILE, thank you.

A Taste of Life After my Honey

My friend, Marcie, and I went to a Taste of Isabela or in Spanish Sabor de Isabela to taste our way through the food vendors. These early forays into society after widowhood make me tense. My world has turned 180*, but everything else is the same. He’s never coming back to me; my husband is gone in this lifetime. This hasn’t sunk in yet. It horrifies me, but here I go smiling and laughing with my friend.

Our first shared dish, chicken wrapped around chorizo sausage accompanied by mashed yucca got lip smacking rave reviews. The sun shone brightly, so my big floppy hat came out of the back pack. Salsa music kept our feet stepping smartly. The Plaza of Isabela is charming with well trimmed ancient Mimosa Trees shading some of the walks.
Marcy my vivacious friend talked to everybody in the fastest Spanish I’ve ever heard. Some conversations I understand nothing, and then others I can follow along quite well. Learning Spanish is almost as much fun as learning to speak dog. A major difference would be I don’t know when the dogs are laughing at me. Speaking Spanish takes me away from my usual fears, for some reason I’m not afraid of my mistakes.
My budget is so tight I squeak, but I’m a sucker for things people make themselves, if of course, I like it. Lucy, this tiny little slip of a vendor made some of the loveliest jewelry out of dyed seeds and coconut shells. Twenty dollars will feed me for a week, so it’s dear, but when she put the necklace around my neck we knew it belonged there. Her first sale of the day had to be my last, since I found a purse another woman made in shade of blue that suit me perfectly and my well worn fanny pack no longer zips.
Kirt waving from car. 

Marcy with the Rosie Perez voice tickles my funny bone so we cut up like school girls. When a thirty something told us when she grows up she wants to be just like us, I laughed more deeply than I have in a long time. We high fived womanhood. It was a good day; it’s still possible. For so long I thought I’d never see the sun in a day.   

Let me buy a couple of things, feed my face and tell me a good joke; turns out I am easy to please. The pain of losing Kirt begins to ease. And then I feel oh, my God how can this be; I’ll never see my love again.