Friday, September 4, 2015

The Truth About Widowhood

Good morning, storms have past; clean up over, life normal returned again.
After two years it’s time to put my big girl panties on. I feel his spirit with me, finally; I didn’t for the longest time because I was just too freaked out about losing him.
Only widows get other widows. If you haven’t lost your husband, you don’t get it. I don’t care how empathetic you think you are. Prior to my husband’s death, I could sense the despair, the desperate loneliness in widowed friends. It terrified me. I knew it was bad. You think you know bad; I’m sorry, but you’re not even close.
Even women who had mean, abusive husbands go through hell with the loss. If you were in a good relationship, the loss can implode you.
 I remember Aunt Eva, my mom’s aunt by marriage to her Uncle Frank, looked like the life had been sucked out of her, when he died. Going to Aunt Eva’s meant cookies and her sweet voice asking how I liked things. When I think of Uncle Frank, thunder clouds come to mind. After he died, when we’d visit Aunt Eva, she’d lost weight. I thought of her as Aunt Eva’s shell. A couple of years later some man found a gem; he romanced my Aunt Eva the way she deserved making her very happy. Aunt Eva, you were a beacon of love in my life. Thank you.
A pretty blonde in her early forties worked for me as a doggie day care attendant; she applied for the job about a year after losing her husband. During the hiring interview, she seemed so lost and fragile. These aren’t qualities in the dog handling business. Her conversation and resume spoke of competence. When she told me had lost her husband last year, I saw in her my mom, as a new widow. Over the years she worked for me, I heard her stories; I understood, but felt nowhere near the depth. She healed working with the dogs. She told me that saved her life. Even the last time I saw her, I could palpate the pain of her loss. I pray she and her daughter are doing well.
Darlene, my childhood friend, proclaimed herself queen of the bitches. Losing her husband Milton, the boy who fell in love with her, pushed her over the edge. Milton loved his wife, he made her feel desired. The world can be harsh, but when you come home to love all can be handled. My four hundred pound friend in a wheel chair captivated with a personality larger than anything else about her. Darlene and Milton charmed, but Darlene alone harmed everybody near her. She pushed us away; she would be mean for no reason.
Before Milton died my relationship with Darlene always carried love and respect. His loss made her the worse example of bitter old widow, since my childhood. She is what I do not wish to become.
No offence, Girlfriend, I love you.
Widows this isn’t just you; it really sucks. If you haven’t had the loss, understand that it will be far worse than you imagine: fact not melodrama.
Don’t you just feel better already? For me at twenty-six months, it’s time to feel better, already.
To reconcile the pain of my loss, with Kirt doesn’t hurt anymore, helps me come to grips.
Here comes the fun part; right?

Enjoy what you have left; it could be a long time. 

Friday, July 24, 2015

The Flow

In the past two years I’ve been lazy, lacking motivation or self-discipline. Nothing really matters anymore, I hated being alive without my husband. When your life implodes, you’re left a shell, a Gregor, a big roach carcass.
My re-make began with who the hell cares, why am I bothering and, oh, screw it.
What did I still like? Or love?  Anything? ……..Not a lot…..
In my youth, I went through an agnostic phase, but it shocked me that I could be so angry with my creator. God, I was pissed.  Life challenged and punched us, but we made sweet lemonade. God gave me to love, someone, who loved me.
Why wasn’t I dead? I don’t know, but I believe God has plans. And since we’ve had a long term relationship, I’ve been going with the flow, as much as I accepted my loss.

  

Acceptance

     Mourning came in stages. The first six months tortured me with the greatest loss of my life; everything I ever did wrong during my marriage haunted me. A harsh look or loss of temper poked me in the middle of the night. Oh, how I wished I hadn’t done that. I was tired, lazy didn’t want to do the little things that would have meant so much to the man I miss so terribly.
     I lamented my mistakes. My darling, I am so sorry for all I didn’t do. My inadequacies plague me. It hurt so much to realize I’d never be with you again in this life. This loss grieved me beyond what I thought I could bear.
     The depth of who you are never came to me completely while you were alive. The beauty of you unfolded in a year of remembering. How being with you allowed me to become more fully the self I am supposed to be astonished me as I saw in retrospect. You had to be a strong man to put up with me all of those years. That you loved me as much as you did never failed to amaze me. I didn’t get why you loved me so much, but I’ve always been grateful.
     That your (Kirt’s) soul, spirit, or essence is intact became my overriding concern. I meditated on that until I realized it was a matter of faith that I must decide and give conviction to whatever belief I chose. In some moments my belief is firm, solid and then there are times… 
     If I believe that Kirt’s essence exists in a meaningful way then it’s my duty to live out my life with purpose. The law of karma guides my position on things. I may doubt most things given the chance to talk myself out of it; I may have been one of the early sophists, J but I have a perfect acceptance of karma; is not to say I have depth of understanding on anything.
     When I’m in harmony with my higher purpose, I’m in good spirit despite the troublesome items of life. This harmony eludes me since Kirt’s passing.
 

       

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

I Racist, No, I See Our Common Ground

I racist, so if I understand correctly, black people see the world as we. If it happens to one of us, it can happen to all. You have a group identification, as black, before you see your own individuality?
White people, the man said, see themselves as individuals. I must agree with that. When the rich people controlling your life is white same as you, you have to have different ways of viewing them. I’d be stupid to run around berating the white banker, who wouldn’t give me a decent interest rate because I’m a woman, or the white cop who pulled me over to hit on me, but gave me a ticket because I wouldn’t co-operate. Although I must admit that one hasn’t happened in a while; could it be because sexism has diminished?
Worry about hurting my feelings? That’s just another canard!
Understand the problem, MONEY & POWER; until you have either of them, you get treated to varying degrees of shit in society.
I could go into a store in my work clothes, jeans and a tee shirt to be greeted with a curt, “What?” The same clerk says, “Yes, ma’am, may I help you,” when I’m dressed in better clothes and wearing diamonds.
You think it’s about black and white? Wonder why so many blacks drop out of the fight when they make it? Black Republicans, and you’re talking about white liberals not meeting some benchmark of understanding; I don’t get it.
I remember the older white man, put his arm around the shoulders of a black entrepreneur, he leaned in close, the black man brought his head nearer to the white man, who whispered in his ear, “Money’s all green, right!” They nodded and laughed, adjourned to their seats at the table, every man for himself.
MONEY & POWER is untamed and corrupt, if you get enough, you’ll be assimilated.  White or black, it’s rich versus poor.
Get the poor scrapping at the bottom of the monetary trickle down and the one percent dodges the tax bullet.
What was the reason they can’t pony up to cushion the bottom just a bit or allow us the benefits we’ve earned over a lifetime? Oh, it’s theirs and they’re keeping it.
I’m just one of the dumb white hicks, but black people aren’t the ones I have problems with; it’s the powerful bastards trying to unwind our safety nets.
They take private jets, while bitching that you can afford a six pack on the weekend. To the rich we’re just white heads and black heads on the face of the riff-raff.
MONEY & POWER make college education unaffordable and gives scholarships to buddies’ children.
Black or white, it’s because of the sacrifices of our ancestors that union laws protect us; or that we have any rights at all.
We’re in the same hole. I don’t want to stand on your head to get out, and I don’t want anyone standing on mine, so said the silly, liberal, white woman,
Let’s be friends. We need to work together.




Sunday, July 12, 2015

Second Anniversary

Second anniversary, how sweet, we celebrated with dinner, an alcoholic drink, and frolicking sex.  He bought flowers and a card; signed it with a love poem just for me.
We were only getting acquainted, who I was I hadn’t found out, yet. He was just this big, strong, handsome guy, who wanted me there, when he got home.
These first years, when I learned to live without fear flew past. Responsibilities and rituals replaced duck and hide in my life. Clean the house, wash clothes, make dinner; there you have my responsibility. No one yelled at me, or thought to hit me. Sweet.
Getting the feel for someone takes time, and being an older guy, he continued doing most of the stuff he did before; his wife had a whole world to explore.
Bars and cars, my hubby enjoyed; I got into it a bit, but live music did it for me.  My arms around him, cruising down the highway on his Triumph motorcycle gave us the green countryside of Illinois and neighboring states. We found our common ground.
Hugging, kissing, hand holding, and having sweaty sex bonded us physically. Even now my fingers tingle, nipples harden, and heart pumps harder, when images of us cross my mind.
What a paradox, how slowly and quickly two years go by. Two years ago the sky was cloudy, just as today. Today there’s no lightning or thunder, or crying and screaming. How quickly a lifetime is over.
We matured, learning to love each other with a depth I never thought those two could manage. Somehow, we created a life in which we thrived individually, and together; not bad for a couple of young dummies.
My second anniversary as a widow, without you, brings the reflection of a woman with her man beside her in spirit. After two years of torture, I can see and feel you again. Why did it take so long?  Why am I so thick?








Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Deadline Two Years Ago

The second anniversary of my honey’s death comes in six days. The enormity of who and what I’ve lost makes me shutter.  But as I calm down, I can feel his love around me.
Days, when I feel him traveling with me, please me; yesterday, at the mineral baths in Coamo, I felt him. The mountain vibes and aruvadic music relaxed me in the hot water to the point of experiencing his positive presence. Peace, how seldom I’ve felt it in a lifetime.
The trials of life buffet me as never before. It sucks to be old and alone, when you’ve been part of a happy couple. The car maintenance alone wipes me out. I hate doing that.
I trusted everything about my husband; he did what was best for us, no fooling. My other trusted inner circle passed after him.
People aren’t who you want them to be; who they are, takes time to discover. A new inner circle takes time.
For my love, I walked away from my business and life at home in Illinois to live two years with him on a tropical island. I’m not crazy about the part where he left me, but I wouldn’t miss the two years together for anything.
Alone on a tropical island isn’t for everyone; I’m not sure it’s for me. For now, I’m embracing the aloneness; hanging with my dogs, sleeping, watching movies, and trying to figure out how to help the Puerto Rican island dogs. Oh, and going to the gym, which I do three or four days a week.
MY friend, another widow, enjoys much the same things as I, so we go to festivals, ballet, the bath in Coamo, and beaches. The blue of the Atlantic Ocean mixed with the verdant green island touched by orange, purple, and rose softens my nerves. She’s fun.
My lonely life doesn’t hurt as much. That means I’m healing, but tears come without warning, some good, some bad.
He was so good to be with; I miss him.  

  

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Bye Bye, Brother, Bye Bye

Two years after the best in my life left, I’m discarding the negative. To jerk the umbilicus out of my gut caused me pain until the small sigh of relief.
The other love of my life my baby brother, so handsome and charming when you wanted to be, but more often moody and impossible to please. This one excelled in zingers designed to hurt; undermining my self-confidence or embarrassing me puffed you up with bonus points.
Hurting me you did for sport. Why? Kirt thought you just never out grew childhood behavior. Kirt made me see that giving it right back didn’t make me feel better. The whole time I was with that man, all we ever did was to try to help you. Loving you as I did prevented me from hurling the zingers back, seeing you screw your life up, while ridiculing me pushed Kirt to the point of anger. My lovely man, who did so much for you. And, stupid, he didn’t do it because you were so great; he did it because he loved me.
Kirt and I were active, upstanding, respected members of the community. When we took you out to dinner in the local diner, did you think talking loudly about your sordid experiences in prison demeaned us? Did ordering my employees around, telling them to get me right away or get you a cup of coffee, make them think less of us?
You’d come to our celebrations to act mean and angry; verbally abusing your son at one party until one of my guests wanted to take you out back to have a good talk on behavior.
Kirt knew that I wanted to hear what was happening with my brother, but would be out of sorts for days after you came to visit, so he’d visit with you for hours, while you told your tale of current woe for hours. And you had no clue when he’d had it with you, and told you off.
Yes, brother Bill, you were a pain in his ass. He always thought you were a spoiled brat, but he lived under my dictum: love me, love my family.
Mom sent you to live with us, when we first got married. Before you arrived, we were having sex all over the house. Do you think he was jumping through hoops happy to see you every night?
We were so proud when you did the one bit of self-improvement in your life with that truck driving course you took. We knew how many experienced truckers were out of work at the time, but you did something in a positive direction.
Kirt used all of his influence in the company, a union shop with no lay-offs, when your only driving experience was hauling horseshit from the track to the mushroom farm. He vouched for you; and how did you repay Kirt?
When a truck driver puts a tractor and a trailer together, it’s the driver’s responsibility, yours! The company had the coupling tested who was at fault came up in the resulting lawsuits.  Come on, how f’ing stupid are you?
Brother Bill came to our house to tell Kirt how he was going to burn down the shop where they worked, when Brother Bill was fired for the carelessness that caused that accident. Kirt loved hearing how you planned to torch his place of employment, as you raged.
With as much pleasure as you too in trying to embarrass me in later years, you’ll get a charge out of the years of company Christmas parties, when the guys would line up to dance with me, so they could tell how terrific Kirt was and what an asshole my brother was. All the stories they told of how you could watch a man bust his balls without lifting a finger to help.
My favorite part of these stories were how good my honey was. I listened to them and thanked them for sharing. Lastly I reminded them that I picked my husband, not my brother.
I assume it was the last time you were arrested, the time shortly before we left for Puerto Rico, he rode with you from our home in Yorkville to western Iowa, where you had to go to court. He listened to you whine all the way out there, as he sat in sheer agony. The judge saw my husband’s pain. Lucky for you he thought he was your father and gave you leniency.
Do you know how much money we ante-ed up for lawyers and bail for you? It never occurred to you to pay it back or say thanks.  
And believe it or not, we had other things we could have done with the thousands that went to your defense.
The one time he ever called on you for anything; you wouldn’t do it.

“Call your sister; she’s upset. I can’t get her to calm down; talk to her.”

You laughingly told him to tell me to get another house and refused. I’ll bet you were surprised when he came unglued after a lifetime of tolerating you.
Yes, Brother Bill, you were a pain in his ass. And just to inform you that you showing your ass to people I knew only made you look bad.  
In the two years he’s been gone you haven’t had the decency to call me or send a card saying, sorry for your loss.
Goodbye, Bill, so long. I love the baby brother you were; the man you’ve become, well, I’d rather not bother.



Saturday, July 4, 2015

Mommy Issues Need to be Over

 Catharsis, that’s what I need, a good f’ing enema. Shit my guts out and let the stink fall where it may.
Whatever I put my thoughts or energy into becomes the most important item of my day. Shopping or taking care of the dogs momentarily takes it out of my mind, but sooner or later I get back to it.
How do you multi-task doing wonderful, positive things, while pondering why your mother didn’t love you? So maybe, it’s time to spill my guts and get it out of my system.
Mommy, I remember when I was four I did something that made you very angry. So scared by your wrath I ran around the dining room table to escape, but you cornered me by the china hutch and kicked the sick out of me; until my head throbbed. You instilled fear.
At five I failed a lesson of focus and pay attention. It was the fourth of July, fireworks popped up and down the block. You wanted to be nice to me. The sparkler held firmly in my hand, as you lit the little grey stick, moved ever so slightly, when the folks across the street lit off a firecracker.
The flash of the stick in my hand struck my mother on the thumb. Her shriek scared me witless; I just stood there with my mouth open, holding that stupid sparkler.
The ember died; I stood on the porch and cried, knowing something bad was going to follow. I expected to get hit, but now, I realize your hand hurt too much.  Scared and waiting, I stood in the corner on the porch; until finally, you came out carrying a suitcase.
“You don’t love me. You burned me. I packed your stuff; get out!”

At first I was just happy not to get hit. She closed the door behind her as she went back in the house. The tiny joy of escaping a beating became lost in a sea of despair. I don’t know how long I stood there crying, but cried it out.
A five year old standing on the porch knowing, you’re not welcome, inside feels alone deep in the little soul. I did not know what to do. Terrified, abandoned, I dragged my suitcase down the street to the corner before mommy came to get me.
This isn’t going to be a laundry list of what the woman has done to me.
I feel sorry for you, Evelyn, whatever made you so wicked to me, must have been hell, but you have continued to not love me throughout my life. Why did you hate me?
Loving you, but being forbidden to touch you or hug you, hurt.
When we can’t love, we’re defective somehow. I know you’re capable of love. Without a broken wing I can’t seem to connect with you, and I’m tired of trying.
We bonded over the deaths of our husbands. It was swell; once over the cold war began again. Mom, I don’t like this game; I quit.
At your age, sooner or later God or the devil is going to be reaching out for you, so I’ll just say good luck, thanks for the womb.


Monday, June 22, 2015

Wonderful Man of Mine

Celebrate your spirit so rare
Hold your love in my heart
Manly, quiet strength
You were always there
You loved me from the start
Even as an old fart
You loved me for the length

Because of you I shine
You wonderful man of mine







Thursday, June 11, 2015

Widowed Twenty-three Months

On Sunday June 14th Kirt will have been gone twenty-three months. Making peace with his loss little by little. I try to push start the process every chance I get, but it doesn’t work like that.
After a year and a half of steady crying, oppressive sadness came as a welcome relief; until that time at twenty months when I got sick and tired of hating life without Kirt, of wondering if I would be anyone without my husband.
Occasionally in this procession my heart strings would zing for some silly old thing, mostly for the dogs in play or full moon over the lake, a rainbow.
Long talks with my creator have replaced time listening to the flotsam of life, aka the news. I’m getting to peace with my loss, but this detent comes with temper tantrums the likes of which I’ve never, no seldom experienced. There’s a dark facet of me that wants to hold on to the anger, the hate this loss has opened me to. The first year I was absolutely pissed that God would take him from me. One of my life lessons is to learn how to let go; imagine that.
I’m learning to do some little something for myself and the dogs. We play ball as the sun goes down. Even my older hunters, who are no longer thrilled by the ball, mill around and chase each other. It’s our family time.
Going to the gym makes a big difference; after years of sitting around, pushing my muscles, getting them to hurt feels alive. I’m still a fatty, but not as much. I don’t care; the important thing is I can carry a fifty pound sack of dog food. The vote on that item’s importance in this house was unanimous.
Until today I’ve worn mostly black, not so much as a symbol of mourning, which it was, but the one color I’ve avoided most of my life became my color, as dark as my mood.
Today, when I met my friend for sushi lunch, my shorts were red, green, white, and blue plaid with a white tee shirt. I haven’t been able to stand wearing white, since Kirt died.
I wore white shorts on my birthday, which morning from hell describes the start of the day. Once calmed, the day blossomed into a nice lunch at the San Juan Harbor before dropping my friend on the big ferry.
It’s weird how the color of my clothes reflects my interior color. All my oranges, pinks, aquas have languished on the rack. They never looked or felt right. I wish to be ready to reclaim them and the hues of feeling they represent.
Pushing only gives me a rebound backslide, so I’m learning to be gentle with my expectations for myself. This sounds so f’ing bullshit, but I swear it’s not.
I’m seriously committed to having a happy, pleased with myself, contented life again. Who I am didn’t disappear; the context of my life has changed. Alone is the new game. Now, that it’s no longer strange, I can do this.
The emotional backslide I had on my birthday took me by surprise. I rushed through my morning chores, missed my leisurely coffee, didn’t play with the dogs, just fed them and threw them back in the house to hurry to my friend’s house, so we could make it to San Juan between twelve thirty and one to have lunch with another friend.
When I arrived at my friend’s house, my adrenaline flowed; I could not calm down. I rushed around her house huffing because she was so unhurried, while I felt all giddy-yap. I had to give myself a timeout in private to settle. I could see I bugged her and we were basically on time we were not going to be late unless something else happened, so I was too tightly wound up and I knew it; it was ugly.
My usual reaction to stress is I can do nothing; I’m useless. I hate that I can’t maintain focus; that was always a strength. Now, I just go brain dead, duh. Before Kirt died I was taking some classes on Coursera, which kept my mind healthy when his amputation challenges came along. I stayed up late in the night with my Coursera classes and now I just can’t get into them as much as I want to. It’s stuff like this that was never part of my life. The discipline I always brought fails me.
What keeps hitting me is that I need to be gentle with myself, patient, and God, don’t forbid kind. I am enjoying life again.


Saturday, June 6, 2015

Happy Birthday

Time to embrace less
Refuse to stress
Find my core
Walk through the door
Strong, confident, alone
Life in the end zone
Cherish or perish

Happy Birthday
Walk my way
Holding all near
Closer to You
           Love most sincere

Thank You
Every step, every fall
Reveals You, but not all
Humbled to know You
But not humble
Blessed with Your gifts
Standing with too much pride
Small, not significant
But just damn happy to be here!


Thursday, June 4, 2015

Almost Older and Wiser

Every morning for twenty-three months I’ve awaken depressed and on edge. I try to psyche myself into a good day; that’s who I am. Not wanting to live really blows your day.
Tomorrow is my birthday; it’s my annual take stock of my life day. It’s the day I say to myself, “Are you happy?”
“What will make it better?”
No, he’s not coming back; move on or die.
“Moving on, just what would that look like?”
Little things in a day to please myself, to help others, to give love because I have love, thanks to my Honey.
Been doing that for at least a year, faithfully, but no respite; until recently, when I noticed that I was playing with the dogs in the bed, as we woke up. This change reminds me of how I awoke, when Kirt was alive.
Yi-pi-ki-yeah!
This could be a reason to celebrate. I want to come back to my life. I like who I am.
Gratitude, to be grateful describes how I feel for the lifetime my husband gave me.
Blessed to be at peace with my God, and working on the harmony.
Happy Birthday to all those who share 6/5!!!!



Thursday, May 28, 2015

Getting the Hang of Alone

Alone.  After twenty-five years of living with my husband twenty-four-seven, alone partnered with depressed, when he died. Twenty-two months later, I’m not depressed all the time. I’m beginning to engage in life again. It feels good. The issue is that I need to understand and accept alone.
Alone needs to be stronger than us. In we I have a backup, someone, who is as committed to outcome as I am. A collaborator, a consensus builder, such as, myself, thrives in we. I need to learn to thrive in me.
In 1988, when Kirt had the accident that caused his disability, I became the more active, more dominant; I remember the pangs of growing into that role. I love that man with my whole heart and soul; it became my honor to lead our family.
I thought it made me strong; no, I always thought I was strong from the day I stepped out of childhood and refused to be a victim. I didn’t realize I was just a scared little girl putting on a brave mask.
We made it easy for me. Kirt was the best guy for me. His love wrapped around me like a hug. I panicked when he died. No one there to love, to love me like that, made me feel like I’d wither and die with the withering being the worse part.
Alone requires core strength. Alone requires knowing who the me, once part of we, is. I struggled for twenty months with that one, until I recognized the same old girl I always knew and loved her, too. Yes, alone requires self-love.
True self-love has nothing to do with the self-gratification of a me—me, I-I, narcissist. Refusing to be taken advantage of or to be the butt of someone’s joke, to stand your place in line without overreacting to slights would be my best example of self-love; that and an occasional spa treatment. Smile.
Alone, I’m getting the hang of it.



Monday, May 25, 2015

Time Marches, Change Happens

Working through the problems of the day may have opened my life to new possibilities. When the problem of the day is that somebody beat your dog in the middle of the night, probably on your property, that problem needs careful scrutiny.  

Sister of my heart, Adrienne has asked me to move in with her and her husband. My friends tell me I should go.
Jazz radio and the dogs to hang around with has become comfortable. I’m usually self-motivating, but since Kirt died my get up and go is a shadow on the horizon. My focus, lost to the lazy, hazy days of mourning, only spurts very other something or other.

My free ranging critters will need regular runs along the beach, if they are to live in small space. Playing with the dogs, that’s something I no longer do much. Play is good for the soul. I shall play again.

Darling Dominic, the new boy in my life, the brilliant Border Collie, took the position at my side. The other dogs and even the cat accepted him there. Training this love sponge will be fun. He’s rather willful, so lessons in manners are ongoing.
San Juan holds many options for entertainment. Live jazz in old San Juan on a sultry summer’s night, sitting down wind of a spouting fountain, those are the little things I could enjoy.
If I don’t strive for what I want, it will never happen. Here I’m not striving; I’m treading time.
Leaving the last home I shared with Kirt is unsettling. I don’t know if I can do it. For now, I’m going to look at it, as a change of scene short term. This is my home. I’ve never given up my home easily; not sure if that’s good or bad.
Chicken shit here is going to put her toes on the beach and in the world. God will take me, when it’s my time; meanwhile, I need to put on some big girl panties.

  

Sunday, May 24, 2015

My Life's Just Great; Thanks For Asking!

I haven’t cried in months, sad, but felt the healing. Kirt was cremated, but it’s like I’m the one in the coffin. I can’t get out.  
Bad things happened when Kirt was alive, but we shared our troubles, talked about them before deciding a course of action. He held me in his arms, when things overwhelmed me. It’s all on me and I don’t know what to do.  
The usual problems that plague us all seemed impossible to deal with after he died. I’m getting back to my old form of problem solving. I could handle it, when I had a flat tire on the way to the mechanic to replace the shocks and springs in my rear end. The auto parts store didn’t put the new tires on the front like I wanted. That upset me, but I handled it in a positive manner. I was ready to simply return to the store and speak to the manager without rancor, but my car still needed to go to the mechanic. Three days and more than a thousand dollars later, I picked up my car.
The next morning I enjoyed a ride to Ponce to attend a meeting of animal welfare advocates. The sun came up over the mountains as I cruised to my destination.
As the sun dropped, so did I, for I never found my destination. On the trip home my thoughts were positive. It just wasn’t meant to be. A lovely drive made time for thinking.
When I left at six a.m., the dogs all wanted back in the house. Usually I wouldn’t leave them all in for a long day, but they scurried past me and found napping spots so quickly; they won me over. As I said goodbye, I noticed that Blondie had a cut under one eye, a little swollen and a cut on the opposite rear leg. These dogs hunt, so injuries are common, but it looked like she ran into a pipe or something metal. On our little farm in Illinois I’d seen many types of injuries. I wondered about Blondie’s injury during the day.
About six o’clock, when I got home, Dominic, Lucky, Chi-Ping, Robert Redford, and Smoki streaked out the door. Where was Blondie?
“Blondie, come on good girl; let’s go outside!”
In my bedroom curled at the foot Blondie lay without looking up. Her cheek, swollen to the size of a soft ball, exposed the white of her eye; or has a muscular attachment been severed?

I can only wonder. On Sunday veterinarians, rightfully, charge more money. The worst part is that on Monday I still won’t have the money to pay a vet to look at her. The auto parts store and the mechanic have all my money.
Somebody beat the shit out of Blondie in the middle of the night. She’s lived here without an incident like this most of her nine years, so either it’s one of the new neighbors or a night walker.
From the time we moved to the island, we’d occasionally see a lone man walking down the road in the middle of the night. Things go missing. We felt safe because the dogs protect our long, steep driveway.

     You want to know something funny, ironic, funny?
Since Kirt died, I’ve been sleeping with the doors open. I wanted to die, but didn’t want suicide on my soul, so if someone killed me in the night, it was God’s will. Last night I closed and locked the doors with all of the dogs in the house.






Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sexism, Company Policy, or Lone Jerk

How do you handle it, when you buy new tires, you tell the counterman to put the news ones on the front and move the front tires to the rear, and they put your new tires on the rear?
I went back in the store. Mistakes happen, it would take no more than twenty minutes to rotate the tires. I told the counterman the tires should have been put on the front as per the work order in my hand.
Instead of an apology or we’ll take care of it for you, guess what he said. No, not you’ll have to come back tomorrow. I could have lived with that answer. This disrespectful old son looked me in the eye and said,
“It is company policy at Name Brand Auto Parts to put new tires on the rear.”
I point to the work order instructing them to put the front tires on the rear and the new tires on the front.
“I want my new tires on the front.”
He says, “Company policy.”
He walked away, dismissing me.
End of subject, you got the tires on the rear and that’s it; like it or not.
In the forty plus years I've shopped tires for my husband, a truck driver with four million accident free miles to his credit, I've never heard such crap. If you say put these tires I’m buying on the front; they go on the front.
The counterman even tried to justify putting the ones on the rear because the front wears them out more.
I looked at him incredulously; that’s why you want your new tires on the front. That he would attempt to promote this mistake by suggesting putting the new ones on the back would save them, made my jaw drop.
Hello, I buy better grade tires for my safety. My husband taught me to ALWAYS put the new rubber in the front. This isn't my first pit stop.
What could Name Brand Auto, what would they be thinking to have such a policy?
This is so ridiculous; I knew he was lying as it belched out of his mouth. How much closer can a vendor come to saying, FUCK YOU?
And, I didn't get my tires where they need to be. So into my busy day is another visit to the auto parts store, to get what I paid for.
I am annoyed, inconvenienced, insulted beyond measure; and I wonder, if this is one jerk or a corporate culture of not respecting their women customers.
What do you think? I’ll let you know after I meet the manager.


Thursday, May 14, 2015

Say Goodbye Slowly

Four scrambled eggs, tomato and kale were two more eggs than she’d eat, but the other two were for the dogs. She bounced through the kitchen grabbing pan and olive oil for a good start to the day.
May fourteenth, twenty-two months to the day since her husband died became the day she crawled through the open window into her own world, where her animals spoke; and people, for the most part, only made sounds of aye, aye, I, I, me, me, you with no comprehension.


Did she go insane? She’d been through the dark night of the soul. No longer could she focus on words spoken, when wind whistled. All of her adult life she had known who she was, but this wasn’t that.
The dogs lined up in a sit with tails wagging and smiling faces hanging open. Treat would come with tasty grub for hard working, hard playing satos. She pulled the ticks off when they came home from forays into the countryside hunting or patrolling. They revered her kindness.

By the dogs’ body language she knew what they wanted. Only the Border Collie puppy, Dominic, questioned what she said. Treat knew how to handle puppies.
After a filling breakfast of omelet and kibble contented curs curled up around the house. She listened to the birds singing. This island home her husband loved had become hers. Peace, clarity were here.

Everything else, now, that was what felt strange, like when they speed up the action in a movie. How drained she felt after an afternoon in the people place! Being dogless bothered her, even if only for a couple of hours.
Over the last cup of morning coffee she thought about how much she missed her guy, but didn’t cry. All cried out? Or more to come? Who knows?
What’s the difference between bitter and resigned?
Pissed off.
At twenty-two months she grappled with acceptance.
Letting go had never been her forte.



Monday, May 11, 2015

ACT III

Act III

Opens on an island in the Lesser Antilles. High white clouds hang overhead. The wind comes and goes. Dogs bark. Birds chirp.

A comfortable, but modest three bedroom, two bath concrete home on the side of a hill overlooking a lake cries for attention, like the lady inside.
Lethargy, the stalwart companion of don’t give a shit, prevents her from getting up and giving the house a good scrub.
She rallies regularly, only to succumb life’s little aggravations coming in healthy portions.
DO NOTHING SATURDAY is a gift she gave herself. Learning to be good to herself without becoming self-obsessed, to live a balanced life; this is her goal.  
Tuesdays dedicated to helping the street dogs, bringing her plan into focus.
Seclusion Sundays with writing and house work co-mingled.


A regular regimen at the gym, occasional movies and visits to the beach; you’d think she’d be happy. 

Sunday, May 10, 2015

Widow Twenty-Two Months

Twenty-two months ago on a Sunday, my husband died.
Missing him is my biggest pastime; doing things to attend the here and now is my second biggest pastime.
Bitter, mean old ladies, all of whom widows, I now understand you. 
When you've lost the best in your life, self-pity toxicity burdens your behavior. God, I don’t want to be one of those.
Thanks to all my friends and acquaintances, who told me how lucky I was in my hour of loss. I never before realized how deprived and miserable you were. Yes, I've been blessed.
Now, that that’s over, picking up the facets left in my life, I've taken inventory of what remains. Just don’t give a shit is clear winner. On the positive is my love for animals, especially dogs. My days are blessed with nature’s beauty. God did good work in this valley.
Other than sorely missing my man and being bored, lonely; I have no complaints. Not giving a shit makes it easier, but that’s so out of character for me. It feels uncomfortable. Sometimes I scare myself.
The people who were closest to me in this life: Kirt, Darlene, and Aunt Margaret left me here. Alone. 
Tell me what the lesson is! I hate this guessing.


This is it, Act III, so how does it go? Anybody out there know?  

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Acceptance

Going through a storage locker full of things we collected together, remembering the auction where we stood in below zero weather to purchase something we wanted enough to endure until we carried off our trophy; or how Kirt found his prized leather jacket. Finally, I smile instead of cry.
Twenty-one months ago Kirt, my husband died. I thought I’d never get to acceptance. Pervasive sadness, eased only by escape, now lightens on ordinary days.
circa 1985 working on our farm

Accepting that my husband lead a wonderful life, despite pain and suffering and it was time for his mother to take him, completes my grief cycle, but I still mourn his loss. That will never change; I have a feeling.
The day I left New Orleans to return home to Puerto Rico, a good friend sent pictures from circa 1985. Thank you, Gail. My heart skipped a beat. My nipples still get hard when I see those sinewy forearms.
For twenty-one months I’ve been useless; owning my life means having a purpose. All those, who know me exclaim with me. Dogs!
Since Kirt died, I haven’t been able to focus. It gives me a headache or makes me feel jittery. This requires me to take better care of myself.
Shortly after I retired Kirt began to deteriorate, first he lost a toe, then another, finally the leg; and then, he died. Nothing prepared me for the following hell, as life went on.
It’s time for me to stop hurting and embrace the life I have left. Kirt left me a better person, than I was when I met him. I hope it’s in God’s program for me to be with him again.


Monday, March 30, 2015

Crying Time Again

Tears burned in my eyes, as I pulled into a parking space between the Morning Call and the Besthoff Sculpture Garden. Memories of Kirt aren’t enough today. I ache to have him near, to smell his skin, to put my face in his neck. Today without him hurts.
What's the point?

In four months it will be two years without him. You’d think I’d be getting the hang of this by now. I’m bringing him with me where ever I go. I think about what he would say about a piece of art. I know he’d like the naked golden archer poised on a golden ball. From the bench where I sit the pine trees make the perfect back drop.  
A lady Mallard rushes out of the brush near my bench. A green headed boy follows in hot pursuit. She takes to flight just past the armless Venus. He wanders aimlessly without her.
The sobs, which threatened, reside. Watching people observe the sculptures gives me pleasure. I know them so well. Safety, comfort, understanding, and something to admire; and we are all quite contended little creatures.
A day in the park watching the genders and breeds of my species gives me that essential touch stone, the one which shows me the facets of God’s great gift to us. We are not boring.


Doing this each day to keep myself occupied and maybe entertained, helps me continue living my life, but it’s so freaking lonely. Alone is better than a bad fit. Even when I’m with people my mind reaches out to my husband with a thought or a declaration of love. It doesn't stop. 

Sunday, March 29, 2015

Moving On

New Orleans, the eternally entertaining city still captivates me. The witty Dorothy Parker play, the Waltz, reacquainted me with the art of ladylike witticisms, the kind that don’t utterly emasculate.
Yin and yang artfully displayed twenty-four hours a day, all over town. Completely normal looking Americans in blue jeans, tee shirts and white sneakers walk along with a woman wearing feathers and a guy in a cat in the hat hat.  

French quarter craziness rockets me into overload rather quickly. Memories maudlin and otherwise flood my senses with the infamous bitter-sweet. My best years with my dad were in this town.  Pink azaleas remind me of him.  

This morning I’m having coffee in the yard at my friend’s house, where I’ve been staying for just over a week. There’s four of us sitting around, reading the paper, commenting on stories. It feels good to have normal at home conversation again. It’s been a while.
In the middle of everything I think of my honey; I’m sad, but it’s more of that bitter sweet shit. Sad remains in vogue in my head, when we drive to Rouses where I pick up a pound of Crescent City Roast for coffee on Monday.

Rueda Casino or salsa dance class at the Ashe Center on Oretha Castle Haley was fun; I’m going again next Wednesday. I keep trying to fill myself up with fun and interesting, palliative measures; nothing gives me love of life like before. For all the good times, the ha-ha’s, just below the surface I want to cry, but I’m so tired of crying I hate the thought.

Twenty months he’s been gone. I talk to him every day. Missing him hurts, but not as much. I want to be better. I want to quit hurting. I just don’t know how.