Sunday, December 27, 2015

Grow old with me

I had a realization the other day, something I would have shared with you of course.  So here I am.  I think our bodies are getting older than our mind will allow.  The other day I was teaching the class where I volunteer and we had a large group activity.  This means all the children gathered together in a larger room, sat on the floor and participated in a lesson then watched a short video.  In the past I've always sat on the floor with the kids.  There are chairs set up for the adult volunteer teachers so they do not need to sit on the floor.  I've always liked be close to my students even if it meant sitting "criss cross apple sauce".  Well I started on the floor and just couldn't do it for very long.  I ended up in one of the chairs set up for the adults.  That was quite a realization, my body is not young like it was.  I'm getting older, at least my body is getting older.  We were suppose to do this together.

Long long long time ago you asked me to marry you.  I said yes and we became engaged.  You still asked me to marry you even with the engagement ring on my finger.  You asked every single day.  If memory serves you asked every day even after we were husband and wife.  Eventually that morphed into "Will you grow old with me?"  We were suppose to grow old together, like gray hair, walkers, and dentures old.  Yes you were starting to go a little gray and you were amazed and maybe a little ticked off that I didn't have one gray hair, still don't.  You also brandished the walker, an electric blue walker at that.  You grew old with out me and here I am waiting to tease you because your age would advance and you would be older for the next 10 months, but that will not happen ever again.  You have stopped and I must go on.

I must not die of loneliness, though part of me has died with you.  The part that learned to love, I still remember sitting in that McDonalds on University in Des Moines and I uttered those words to you.  You taught me the power of those words, words I had never spoken to a man before you.  I allowed myself to be vulnerable to you, I trusted you, that part of me died.  The love that lives is the love of mother.   φιλία and ἔρως I learned from you and we both shared στοργή, and this is all that remains.  

I love you my handsome man. 

take care,

Friday, December 25, 2015

for both of us

Merry Christmas my handsome man.
 I find comfort in this place talking to you.
It sounds crazy, but I feel a little bit better after I write to you here.   Don't get me wrong I still miss you terribly.  I still wear your ring around my neck and close to my heart.

I was at a community gathering last night and I saw a loving husband reach for his wife's hand and they held hands during the rest of the gathering.  I had to look away because that loving gesture will never be again for us.  I was with our little girl and I had to look away and concentrate on something else.  I tried so hard, but the tears just came.  They were silent, brief, and she distracted, thank goodness.

I haven't slept well these last few weeks, and being tired makes everything so much harder.  I need to have better sleeping habits and exercise more.  I know I sound like the stereo typical new year's resolution.  I do feel loads better after I run, just to get the energy out, I just need to get motivated to do it.  I still remember you tracking me on the phone when I trained outside.  Checking on me to make sure I was not lost and doing ok.  You would come and pick me up with a water bottle of course.  Look I've pulled a mini Javier Marias :)

We didn't get a ton of Christmas cards this year, then again I couldn't bear to look at them really, I pretty much tossed them as they came, a few I did put up.  It's that time when you hear from those once a year friends and you realize there are a handful of people that don't know my world is a much darker place these days.  I've sent a few cards out with personal notes to share the information. There is one cousin I thought knew you were gone, but his card had your name handwritten next to mine & our little girl's name.  I'll have to write to him and cut out your obituary and send it along.

No more mail with Mr & Mrs, well no more important mail with Mr. & Mrs.  No more Kate & Richard or Rick & Kate as the older friends recall.  Next month it will be nine months you've been gone, long enough for a baby to start so small as a tiny spec of life and become part of the world.  Something we chose to do only once and it was the best thing we ever did.  We chose only once for many reasons & now I am on this earth determined to love her for both of us.

I love you handsome man.

take care

Tuesday, December 22, 2015


More and more things I see these days remind me of you.  It's like I'm becoming more sensitive.  All I remembering these days are your last.

Those last days when you were in so  much pain & I had to make the hardest decision, I absolutely knew at the time I made that choice that it was the right one, with all I knew and all I saw and watching you suffer, I knew it was the best decision, I had to convince you, put your mind at ease.

 Please tell me it was right, please show me something that says it was right.  I know with my mind that is not possible for you to show me now that it was the right thing to do, but my heart and my soul just aches to know you wanted to stop all the pain.  It was not even 24 hours when more news came with the optimistic bearer.  Did I listen to the pessimist too quickly, was my judgement clouded by all the pain you were suffering?  It was my decision to stop the treatment that moved you twice a day, that caused you so much pain, the treatment that gave hope.  Did I kill the hope?

You would never lie to me, I only made the decision because the pessimist gave his expert opinion.  I truly did what I thought was best, please please forgive me.  I watched you suffer and yet you were so kind and friendly to those that helped, those that caused the pain with hope of relief in the coming weeks.  You told me you wanted to continue, yet you told another you wanted to stop.  I know in my mind the choice I made was the inevitable decision, but did I take away any last precious moments you could have had with your princess? I am so sorry, I just realized that.  I stole time from you, please forgive me.

I broke my word, I said I would bring you home, and I didn't.  I am so sorry, I did absolutely everything I could.  Please know I would never ever have left your side, I had to think about our little girl.  The one night I did spend with you in that room was absolute torture for her.  I know you would want her to be taken care of first.  It absolutely crushed me, I was being pulled in different directions.  I was your wife, best friend watching you suffer.  I also have the professional background to understand what was happening to your body.

 I am the mother protecting her child, giving her the honest truth in words she can understand and live with, giving her the example of how to grieve and keep living with memories of her Daddy.  That is the hardest part, I have to be strong for her, she is the one who needs to understand that it's okay to fall apart and feel sad.  Yes, she & I do cry together sometimes, many times she will sob uncontrollably and I will use the skills I've learned and tools I have to make her feel loved, help her remember good things, and provide distraction.  I can cry with her, but I can not sob or stop being strong.  I can't have her think she needs to take care of me, that would be damaging to her life.  I have to think of her first!

She is the reason I get out of bed.  She is the reason I keep going.  When I am alone I am just consumed by the emptiness, I physically feel different, like there is something in my throat, like the breath entering does not fill my lungs capacity.  This fog comes over me and I just want to stop.  I want to stop thinking about what you would want me to do, stop feeling the emptiness that creeps into my throat.

It was not like this when my Mom died, you were here, you helped me.  I feel so alone.  Though I interact with people every day, I'm alone.  Someone once told me I was a cold person, that I didn't give off "warm fuzzies" and that assessment of my personality hurt, but rang true.  At my own mother's funeral a family friend was disgusted & could not believe how stoic I was being. You know what kind of person I am, you know how I think, you loved me for that.  I think I'm a good person and I do my best to contribute in this world, to think of others before myself, but I don't think people see that because I have this cold persona.

I don't feel loved anymore, I'm alone.  Yes I give off this cold persona, but you saw my tears when there were people I couldn't help, you saw my joy when I was able to make a small difference in someone's life. I trusted you and only you with everything that makes me tick. You understood what I meant before I could come up with the words to explain my idea; then you used your talented words to help me put that idea into action. You embraced me physically & made me feel safe.  You embraced my personality and made me feel loved.  I don't get hugs anymore, I think people see this cold person and don't want to embrace me, physically or personally.

I'm sorry I broke my word, I'm sorry I stole time, & I'm sorry I killed the hope.

I love you handsome man.

take care

Monday, December 21, 2015

It hurts to smile.

There have been more bad than good days lately.  I thought things were getting better, finally moving forward, but I don't know what happened, I'm just absolutely consumed by this emptiness.  It hurts to smile, I'm having a hard time faking it these days.  We went to the store the other night.  I returned the cart to the cart return and walked to the passenger side of the car and opened the door, it was only then I realized I was expecting you to drive us home.

I remember when you taught me to drive stick, 5 speed.  I can still remember the shift positions in that little ford aspire.  You told me a story about someone mistakenly put the car in reverse meaning to put it in 5th gear.  It no longer became 5th, it became go.

I still remember you coming with me to the grocery store, just so we could be together.  You sitting in that library watching me study.  Me with my earphones listening to lectures I attended and studying until it was part of me, not realizing the friend bringing me coffee in the library was becoming part of me.

The very first time we ever danced it was so natural, it was like we fit.  We were the best of friends and slowly realized that would be our life.

You taught me what love is, I know that sounds so corny and totally bad song lyrics. Before I ever laid eyes on you, I had not been in a relationship, not that I didn't want one, it just never happened.  I had friends in high school & college and did things as friends, but never had a "boyfriend" in high school or college.

I made some major life decisions in my early twenties.  I seriously considered joining a convent & becoming a teacher.  I was already working in pharmacy, but I felt that is where my calling was pulling me.  Part of my decision was how my Mom would feel if I went the convent / teacher route.  I had a discussion with a friend and chose to pursue pharmacy as a career.  That was the right decision: lots of hard work, lots of growing up, and I found you.  Now I feel lost and aimless.  I go through the motions, taking care of our little girl,  loving her for both of us, working, & doing my best to think of others.

I don't know what to do about this emptiness.  Who will make the pledge with me on your birthday, to make the year the best ever. You came up with that pledge and we've recited it every year since December 31, 1998.  I miss you so much.

I love you handsome.

take care.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

We must start again.

Days are good
Days are bad
The sun goes up and goes down
Then we must start again.

What story shall I think about tonight, though I should close my eyes and sleep.  What aspect of our life do I dare remember?  All I can think of is what is not.  The emptiness echoes, yet I'm surrounded by noise.  The places I've been so many times are not the same, they're crippling, paralyzing  and force me not to move, my mind stuck in a place I can never return.  I want this over and done, why can't it be tomorrow.  When will this end, I fear it will not and the echo will be my life's forever song.

I love you handsome now and for the rest of my days.

take care

Sunday, October 25, 2015

Your words

Summer 2013

Piano notes and my little girl's fingers
and knee scrapes and cut chins and joy
and fear.
The irrepressible toothless grin from
a water slide collision and golden skin
and hasty ponytails.
Nancy Drew with her mommy and in the land
of Oz with me.  The scarecrow has a brain,
as those sleuths know.
A Bike ride and a dance.  A wandering bird building a nest.
Ph-on-ics.  Old movies of heavy nostalgia in black and white.
Our technicolor world!

These words are yours.  Written when it was simply a reflection of summer, not a reflection of your last healthy summer.  Before you ever thought to utter the words "I'm going to make it"
How I miss you so.  

I love you handsome man. 
take care, 

Wednesday, October 21, 2015

Don't call me a goat head.

Go ahead was something we would say.  Either to let the other speak first or move first or whatever.  I don't know when you started this, but you would say to me don't call me a goat head.  That would make me laugh every time.  You liked making me laugh, I know because you did it so well & so often.  You would know just when to make light of a situation, alway kept me sane and helped me not worry so much, especially about the things I can't control.  

Even now, when I get overwhelmed by trying to keep up with everything from the house, to laundry, to yard work, to homework, and most important quality time with our little girl I think to myself, what would Richard say.  We were so good together, I'd be the one with the plan and you'd be the one with the easy going attitude when things didn't go according to plan.  You use to say life happens when you make other plans.  Before I met you I had come to terms that I might not find "the one" everyone always talked about and was accepting that marriage might not be in my future.  Granted I was only 23 when we became friends & 24 when we started dating.  Never in my wildest dreams did I think I would be marrying such a wonderful man at 27.  I love the fact we started out as friends and were best friends until the day you died.  

love you handsome man. 

take care, 

Tuesday, October 20, 2015


Carpe Diem
Try your best
I'm proud of you
Grow old with me
Come home safe

All phrases you use to say.

You're no longer my emergency contact.  That really sucks!  It was a really good couple of days.  I even took down all but one of your hats.  I was OK.  I didn't feel guilty, it was nice to make changes, to finally realize that things do not have to look the way they did when you were alive.  I don't share this room anymore.  Then I went to the eye doctor, and she asked me to confirm all the information including my emergency contact.  I had to change that, and that wasn't OK, that really sucked.  I wasn't expecting that, I was ready for the "how's your husband?" not for a formality on a form.  The dumbest things just bring me back down to this funk.  It's like taking two steps forward, then one step back.  I don't know when I'll find the strength to move forward again.

I see your pictures on my wall, candid shots, funny poses, loving glances.  Memories of our life, a life I no longer have.  I'm trying to find my life.  Wearing my hair differently, wearing make up.  You always said I didn't need make up, but you're not here to tell me anymore, not holding my hand, not hugging me tight.  I really am trying.  I focus on my little girl trying to do right by her.  Just when I think I'm out of the forest, into the light and I can see what's ahead the clouds come and and the darkness engulfs me.  Tomorrow will come.  The sun will rise and it will set.

I love you handsome man.

take care,

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

Bop it.

I don't know why I do this, but at night when everyone else is in bed asleep I come to the computer and look at pictures, tonight I clicked on the link "Book of Memories" and watched your pictures fade in and out.  There is a place on there where people have left notes and I saw one from Amy.

Amy's name reminded me when the three of us shared that house on Polk Blvd.  She had this "bop it toy" and we played games and just laughed and laughed.  I remember when you & I left that house & moved to San Diego the only comment our neighbors shared with our landlord was they could hear us laughing through the common wall.  Well, probably me, I am a loud laugher, get it from my Mom you know.

So this game, it involved a toy that gave instructions to bop it, twist it, or pull it.  The more tasks you completed correctly the faster the instructions came.
You, me, & Amy (I know that's probably not proper english, but I did use the oxford comma) played this game with an alcoholic beverage.  Of course when you got the buzzer of shame and pulled instead of bopped you drank.  We were so young, I think we were in our mid-20s.  I was not a big drinker back home, I didn't really go out that much.  When I lived in Des Moines we did not go out and drink either, but every once in a while we would hang out at home and play silly games.  I never had a hang over or got sick with alcohol, you would tell me stories about your still younger days and getting sick or being hung over the next day.  My speech would start to slur and I would be bopping when I should have been pulling and I looked at you and said "If I get sick, you're in trouble."  It was always a joke and became a ritual for whenever we played these games.  You were part of my youth and taught me so many crazy things & so many very incredible important things.

I can't believe it's been six months since I last saw you with my own eyes. It was six months on Sunday.  I still remember after everyone left I laid next to you in the hospital bed, just to feel you next to me one last time.  I caressed your cheeks with the back of my fingers feeling your rough, yet gentle stubbled face. It was so hard to leave that room, to leave you there all alone.  I can still smell your fragrance, feel the hair on your chest, and the warmth from your arms as they engulfed me in your embrace.

I don't think I'll ever be whole again.  I feel like my life needs to be a distraction to just get through the day.  I complete daily duties, fulfill a routine, try to keep my mind on to the next task.  It's hard to find joy these days.  If I'm out somewhere doing something fun I remember the last time I was there with you, or I would imagine your response to the event.  All the things you wanted to do with us and never had the chance.  We never took a class at kitchen window, though you sure didn't need a cooking class.  Didn't get a chance to take our little girl to London or your beloved Spain.  I can't do that, I have to remember all the things we did and experienced.

Our first planned trip to London July 2005.  The terrorist attack changed our plans and we went to the next best place in the world, Texas.  We decided to use our trip insurance and cancel, not because of safety concerns, but we did not want to be tourists in a city healing from an attack.  You took it in stride and planned our entire trip.  I had the time off from work, we got in the car and drove for 24 hours in my little 2001 Saturn SL1 to Austin, Texas.  You looked up all kinds of things about Austin, the "live music capitol of the world" and of course all the bookstores they have to offer.  I still remember stepping outside our hotel and we could just hear music playing.  We decided to follow the sound and go listen to some live music, when in Rome right?  Just like now I had my camera and was ready to go.  You drove and we slowed down as the music got louder and finally parked.  There was music under a bridge and there were lots and lots of people.  All kinds of people really, I distinctly remember a woman wearing a very long fur coat with shorts, it was July in Texas. We walked toward the stage and saw people in line for something as we moved through the crowd. Then it all came together, Richard figured out it was a service with pancakes for the homeless.  He looked at me with my camera around my wrist, smiled with those beautiful brown eyes, and we left.

Our trip to the Alamo during that vacation will have to wait for yet another night.

love you handsome man.

take care,

Saturday, October 10, 2015

Here goes...

A friend of mine suggested I write down some memories.  It could be helpful and might be nice for my little girl to have a place to read some stories and hear our tale.  I will do my best and I can not fail.

1998 Des Moines, Iowa.  I just moved to a brand new state to start pharmacy school.  I was 24 years old, my first time living on my own.  I lived in an apartment, not on campus, as a matter of fact it was in a not so great neighborhood on the East side of Des Moines.  I did not know a soul living in Des Moines.  I was so lonely and homesick it wasn't funny.  It was July and it was hot and humid.  I found a $1 movie theater I went to pretty regularly just to sit in the air conditioning.  My apartment did not have that luxury.

I had my own apartment, student loans to apply toward tuition, scholarships to help with expenses, a pharmacy tech job I was able to transfer with my company and I needed to open a new bank account because my bank back home did not have branches in Des Moines.  When I arrived my car was out of commission for a week because the transmission failed during the move.  My new checks arrived for my new checking account; however I did not receive them, they were stolen and money was missing out of my account, which did not have much to start, I did mention I was a student right.  I did have money coming in with hours at the pharmacy; however the pay is not the same in Des Moines as it is in San Diego.  In California I was making just over $10 per hour, that was reduced to the Des Moines rate of just over $7 per hour.  I was not made aware of this adjustment until my first shift at the pharmacy.  What a beginning to my new independent life.  It was OK, because I still had a job, a scholarship that would cover my rent for the year, and I would be starting school soon.  It all worked out.

Before classes started I explored my new city.  I took a walking tour of Des Moines, walked all over down town and the capitol complex.  Things that caught my attention was the lack of different languages spoken.  Back home I heard all different languages and saw all different cultures represented in my neighborhood & school.  There was also no Starbucks in Des Moines, completely foreign to me, I come from a place where there were 12 Starbucks with in a 3 mile radius.  My first trip to the grocery store on my own was interesting.  I got all my shopping done, unloaded my cart, paid for my groceries and the nice young man bagging my groceries took my cart away.  I asked the checker where he was going she looked at me as if I was from another planet, and said he would meet me outside because he was bringing my groceries to my car.  I had lots to learn.

About a week before school started, this would be August, I went to the orientation on campus and after I decided I would try the coffee shop on 42nd & University very near to Drake's campus: Friedrichs World Coffee.  I walked in, ordered my vanilla latte (my usual drink) and was helped by a very nice man.  And that is the first time I ever laid my eyes on Richard, then he was Rick.

I will stop here for now and continue my story another time.  No tears, this feels good.

Good night handsome man. Love you.

take care,

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

love you forever

A song I made up to help our infant daughter sleep.  The last time I sang it was to you.

I love you forever
I love you for always
     for the rest of my days

Please close your eyes now
and go to sleep
You will dream tonight
     about your life.

I love you forever.

love you my handsome man

take care.

Friday, July 3, 2015


You spoiled me so.  I just feel so lost with out you.  There is this emptiness, I feel hollow.  I just feel like I am all alone in this world.  I am doing my best to be sure our little girl doesn't feel all alone in this world.  I'm tired of being strong.  I'm tired of keeping things together.  She is the reason why I get out of bed in the morning.  When I smile now it doesn't feel real, it's so people won't worry.  You could always make me real smile.  My brain tells me it will get better, but my heart doesn't believe it.  Until I real smile again.

I love you my handsome man.

take care

Sunday, June 14, 2015

Miss hearing that song.

I miss you so.

I'll miss hearing this song on my phone, I would get all excited because you were calling me.

I just loved making you happy.

I miss how you always kept me grounded, reminded me not to worry about things I couldn't control. I'm trying to remember, I really am.  When things get too crazy or become too much I try to think what would Richard say right now.  You were so funny and quick it's hard for me to come up with the right words to remember, but I always knew exactly what you meant even before you said the perfect words at the right moment.

I hope you know how much I love you, even still.  I feel so lonely and empty with out you.  You always believed in me and thought I was so intelligent.  You made me feel really good about myself. I'm trying to hang on to that too.

I am so sorry you suffered so much, especially at the end.

I love you my handsome man.

take care

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

A new title

I have a new title these days, one that will not go away. Not really a title, but a category, a box to check.  I became a widow 11 days ago.  My house is so quiet, except for wails of grief from my little girl.  She has no title.  Uncertain future, I keep searching the past.  I hope to come across a note a word from beyond.  I miss you so.  There is no one looking out for me anymore, making sure I'm not lost, telling me to come home safe every time I leave the house.  Those beautiful brown eyes that compliment your smile, I miss those eyes, I miss your looks, I miss your smile.  I'm trying so hard, so very hard to remember you're always with me, to recall the memories, to do all the things I tell our little girl when she sobs in sorrow.  I sit here now, our little one asleep, pondering my new title.

I love you my handsome man.

take care