In my dating days, I had more than my share of goofy events, hopeful suitors, and odd match-ups. I thought I knew what I wanted but as one of my friends kidded me, I should have been more specific. Maybe that’s why ‘the list’ was born.
Made up of all the must have’s as well as plenty of “don’t touch that’s”, the list seemed so reasonable — on paper. Basically it was about making good choices; knowing opposites may attract but oil and water still separate. That the more you know, the less you’ll be disappointed by the man behind the curtain. And hey, what doesn’t work better with guidelines? I learned a lot in those few years. I realized what I could tolerate, where my values lay, my own weak points, what drove me crazy, what I craved, needed and could do without. I also knew what inspired me, what I admired and respected. I just had to pay attention. Continue reading
Photo junkie that I am, I have an embarrassingly h-u-u-ge amount of pictures on my computer— and I make no apologies. As I tell my kids and grands when they protest their gramma-razzi sneaking pictures, pictures are all we have in the end. With literally hundreds of pictures of my husband alone, I am pretty grateful for my addiction to photo opportunities.
No, I don’t pore over these pictures constantly. But there is always one that pops up in one way or another, and when it’s a shot of my husband, it sometimes does me in. The funny thing is that I don’t even have to look too closely to see so much more than the camera lens shows. With just a glance at his face, his arm around me; mine around him and I can’t look away. I analyze, romanticize, tear up, melt down. Continue reading
We were word people. We both loved words so much that my husband was forever making up his own puns – and himself up cracking in the process. We watched Jeopardy and did the crosswords – competitively of course. I kidded him about being the grammar police. It’s hardly surprising then that words can also make me scratch my head, thinking ‘what’? Really?
As I stood in line at a wake this weekend for the wonderful young son-in-law of a dear friend who lost her own husband as well, I couldn’t help thinking of what I would say to this heartbroken young wife. I knew her since she was a teen and it seemed more than important that I say something, anything that spoke what was in my heart. I knew most on that line behind and in front of me might be thinking the very same thing. Don’t we all want to speak words that make sense of the unthinkable? Being so recently in her place myself, I know how impossible that is. I know it is as hard to receive most words of awkward consolation as it is to say them. Sometimes, seeing their struggle, we often want to comfort — those who comfort. We all want so much to say what is comforting, gift verbal pieces of our heart and sometimes just mumble odd sentiments instead. We say tired clichés. We offer what we’ve been conditioned to say, hoping somewhere in there, the person who’s hearing the words knows that our clumsy attempts at consolation are heartfelt. They do. Because let’s face it, we all are awkward – even those who’ve been on the receiving end of well meant words.
Maybe the next time we yearn to say what’s in our hearts, we’ll measure the words differently. Maybe we can hear them as the bereaved might. Maybe we’ll even say no words at all because sometimes silence is better than words and phrases like: Continue reading
Word chick. Design Diva….Heartbroken Widow.
One crisp autumn night, last October 2015, I went from wife to widow in an instant with no warning and no chance for goodbye. My husband was not only brave, fun, creative and loving but the love of my life, as well as my business partner.
We knew when we took our wedding vows 10 years ago, that cancer would be the third partner in our marriage. When you accept a disruptive, insidious elephant into your living room, you know anything can happen – and everything did. Though we lived a much different life than we envisioned on our wedding day, in many ways, few ever knew my guy had cancer. We didn’t outrun or outsmart its sneaky presence, but my handsome, vibrant, generous husband was still working day he died. And ultimately, in typically ironic fashion, I lost him not through cancer but an embolism.
The days before, since and ahead are all part of my journey.
There’s a new car in my driveway (no, that’s not my driveway). There’s also an entire crockpot of feelings stewing about it. Knowing car prices would never decrease but my trade-in value definitely would, I decided a few weeks ago to check out my new car options. Recalls had began showing up in the mail and I started to feel deprived at not having Bluetooth, techno brat that I am. It also seemed like the right time considering the car dealer had (after considerable wheedling on my part) offered the right trade-in price. So yesterday I became owner of the newest model of the exact same car that’s served me so well these last many years.
Funny how my old car, a sweet little Rav4, was never my husband’s favorite. It became my car nearly as soon as it came off the lot because his lanky legs always felt confined behind the wheel. I laughed to myself as I imagined his reaction about this somewhat obscenely bright blue new set of wheels glowing in daylight today. Knowing his spunky, artist wife so well, he wouldn’t have been surprised. In fact, I can just picture him shaking his head as he told me to ‘go for it, kiddo’. Continue reading
I always played that Pollyanna ‘glad game’. You know, that mental game you use to create something to look forward to each new day. It could be the smallest, most insignificant thing but it’s always something; something to help you anticipate the next day, the next week. And sometimes, in this crazy life, you need those little ‘somethings’ badly.
I won’t say Pollyanna has left the building but now I find her annoying and clueless. I can’t seem to play the future game now, even for the next morning. All I want to do is find a way back – back to when I could hear my husband turn his key in the door. I want to turn back the clock to see my man on the couch in his spot next to the end table, where he used to tease he had ‘squatter’s” rights. Continue reading
Sometimes your heart needs more time to accept what your mind already knows
One night, this past October, my life got real in an instant. A terrible, unimaginable real that at first doesn’t even compute. It actually took a moment to understand what I’ll never unsee – and never change. That was the moment I found my handsome, loving husband crumpled on the stair landing. It was the moment I went from wife — to widow.
Gone for only a hour, one nondescript hour, I could never have known my breezy ‘see you in a bit’ would be the last words I said to my man. There would be no warning that his red shirt was the first thing I saw as I reached the landing at the top of my split stairs. Even when I saw his awkward position and didn’t hear a single word in answer to my wailing pleas, it was still hard to comprehend. It would be the infinitesimal moment before confusion became pure panic. It wasn’t until later, much later, that it would strike me how I never noticed how partial he was to red. Crazy, right? But then, crazy would be kind of apt for this kind of night.
What do we all wish for when we realize something is not a nightmare but more ‘real’ than we ever bargained for? A miracle? A time machine? No matter what you pray, hope, wish for, nothing is crazier than what just happened. Continue reading
What the heck ever made Charlie Brown think those two words actually made sense together? I can’t imagine what could be remotely ‘good’ about anything that rips your heart apart.
Grief shreds complacency, can change your life in an instant and is one of the only stories that begin – at the end.
No matter how devastated you might be, there’s no escape key, no easy out. Your story ending starts a brand new chapter, one you never wanted to write. Yet, if you’re a write brain widow — you keep writing.
Maybe it’s because you’re crazy enough to think that words will somehow help you find an answer to the unthinkable. Or maybe, that thinking is as wacky as the words — Good Grief. But just in case I’m not alone trying to find the right words to survive this ‘dark and stormy night’, you can join me in my word journey – beginning at the end.