Monday, February 29, 2016

One in everything

I am so tired and drained.  I think about all the loss our daughter has gone through.  She went to her first funeral when she was three years old when my Mom died.  April 10, 2010.  You left this world five years later.  April 11, 2015.  Moody died a few years ago, it's terrible, but I can't remember what year she died.  Then of course your Mom died February 22, 2014.

You really didn't have time to grieve for her, three months after her death you were diagnosed.  I still remember that night we got that phone call.  You thought it was a sick joke and you were in utter shock.  I remember you telling the person on the phone "here talk to my wife"  and the chaplain on the phone telling me about the car accident that killed your mother.  I did everything I could, so you wouldn't have to.  I remember you really made a connection with this song "Looking for Space" you would sit at this very same spot in this very same chair and listen to that song over and over and over again.  I even gave the eulogy at your Mom's service, which was no easy task.  I don't remember if I ever told you, but my last words to your Mom were not kind.   She started one of her lectures and started to bad mouth you and I told her she couldn't talk to us like that and I hung up the phone. I distinctly remember saying "us" but I was the only one on the phone, I was the only one home.  That was thing, it was alway us even when we were not together, it's how we operated, how we lived, it was our way, I've channeled Mr. Marias again, you'd be so proud.  That phone conversations with your mother was the first time I ever stood up to her like that, usually I would be very meek & try to convince her that the world was not awful, or when she would speak ill of you I would usually just say something like "please don't call him that" or "it couldn't be that bad" but the last time I ever heard her voice I cut her off in mid sentence and told her "you can't talk to us like that" and simply hung up the phone.   A few weeks later much to my surprise we got a huge "Valentine" package from her with gifts for all of us and notes as well.  At that point you two were on good terms and I'll never forget your last phone call with your Mom.  She was heading to Omaha to pick up her new car, she was so excited and you told her you were happy for her and that she deserved her happiness.  We were in the garage heading out somewhere and that was the last time you would ever speak to your Mom.  Hours later our phone would ring and that would be that.

We were both living in this world without our Moms, something I wish we didn't share when our little girl is still so young.  I even gave the eulogy at my own Mom's funeral.  I still remember sitting in the car driving from the funeral home to the church, it was just my Dad and my brother, you were at the house with our little girl.  As we were making arrangements and decisions I asked about the eulogy, and I remember my brother saying he couldn't do it and I know my Dad couldn't, so I did.  The wonderful supportive husband you are, you wrote it for me and I just had to read it.  It was beautiful.  When your Mom died I wrote it and delivered it.  I remember showing it to you beforehand and you really liked it, saying you wouldn't change a thing.  14 months later I wrote your obituary.

When you hurt I hurt.  When there is sorrow in your heart I feel sadness.  When you are joyous I smile.   Our friendship, courtship, and love made us one in everything.

 We relished making each other happy.  Even just little things.  When we were dating in Des Moines I remember going to six different stores to find Cracklin Oat Bran cereal, just because it is your favorite and I wanted to make Christmas morning special.  You, remembering a conversation we had & I told you how I always wanted to learn to play the cello since I was in grade school.  You made that dream a reality with cello & lessons organized for me.

March will be here in a matter of minutes, the beginning of the end.

I love you handsome man, longing for us.

take care,

Sunday, February 28, 2016

I miss you. 


We had quite a day handsome man.  I actually jumped in a frozen lake and it was great. I have to admit I was a little lonely at lunch when we all went out as a big group.  I miss you so much.  In social settings it's hard because I feel like the fifth wheel. Today was a little different, it was not just a bunch of couples socializing it was a good mixed group, yet I was surrounded by all these people and felt so utterly alone.  At least I wasn't plagued by it all day.

During our event today I met an individual who is no longer with his significant other.  This person was so open and honest with me it took me by surprise.  I am not that way as you so very well know.  I'm quiet until you get to know me, but once I really know you I just don't shut up.  This person shared the story and talked about the struggle with depression and finding a support group was so helpful.  Maybe it's because I can be such a listener, it was nice to be able to listen and show kindness.  After the conversation went on for a bit this person realized he was baring his soul to a complete stranger and kind of laughed and said "and how's your life?"  There was a bit of a silent pause and I told him, oh fine and for some reason I paused again and told him I had a similar predicament and that you died in April.   I did not tell him our whole story or any of the details, it was just those simple words "my husband died in April."  He was very kind and said how he just couldn't imagine.  It was just nice to know that I am not the only one struggling.  Of course I know I am not the only widow in the world.

 I struggle with the fact I became a widow at 40, I lost my best friend, my partner, my lover.  I watched half of my world painfully leave my life and now I sit and listen to the other half of my world sleep.  Part of me died with you and it will never ever come back and I live my life for the remaining half of my world.

I love you handsome man.

take care,

Sunday, February 21, 2016

Makes no sense at all.

I still miss you so much.  I don't know I'm just empty.  I constantly think of you, everything I hear or see reminds me of a piece of you or something we experienced.  I heard a conversation about paramedics today and I thought of all those paramedics who transported you back and forth across the street and how you treated each of them with such kindness and friendliness.  I know you were in so much pain, but you asked about their day, you amaze me.

I'm forgetting things, things you said all the time, your humor, but then I'll remember something so vividly.  I try to think about what you would say or do in a certain situation, but I have to remember I'm not you and I wouldn't handle it the same way or say the same things.  I'm definitely not as quick as you are or as funny or have that wonderful gift to make everyone feel at ease.  I am just me, and I don't measure up.

I'm doing my best to focus on others.  Help them see the good in situations or just listen without giving advice, just to be there.  Honestly sometimes I just want to stay in this room and never leave.  Never talk to people, just stay in our house.  I'm sorry, I know I'm not making any sense at all.  I'm just tired of all of this and I don't want to do it anymore.  Maybe I can just turn it all off and pretend not to care.  I've become good at pretending and faking it, maybe I can fool myself.

I love you so handsome man and miss you even more each day.

take care,

Tuesday, February 16, 2016


My bag of tricks is getting empty.  I hope this jumping on the bed and pillow fighting works for a long time to come.  I don't know what words to say when she gets so upset, I don't know what to do, I can't take that pain away from her.   I'm so glad she talks to me and doesn't hold back.  This morning she shared with me that she's had thoughts where she wished it was me that died instead of Dad.  This was not said out of anger or to be hurtful.  She even prefaced the comment that she loves us both equally.  I could tell she was nervous & concerned, but wanted to share something with me, I told her that she could tell me anything and I wouldn't be mad.  I told her that was normal to have those feelings, I was doing my best to make her feel better and safe so she would continue to talk to me and let go of her feelings.  I have no idea if that is normal, I'd imagine it is, but the important part was that she felt better.

She also has a fear of me getting sick & in her words it gets so bad it becomes lung cancer.  She even told me about this whole scenario of me being sick in the hospital, changing rooms, getting worse, changing rooms again and I end up in the same room as you and die in the same room.  I validate her feelings by telling her that is a scary thought, but I'm okay. I saw the doctor in January and everything is fine.  I'm so glad she didn't come to me in November.  I never told you, but in March when you were in the hospital I had an ultrasound and the doctor saw something she wanted to watch.  I kept that from you and it just bothered me.  I never kept anything from you.  It was a wait and see kinda thing.  I didn't even think about it because we had so much going on.  Next month marks a year that you went into the hospital and didn't come home, even though I promised I would bring you home.  It also marks a year since our trip to "Paris" and the Louvre.  I am so sorry I told you "I hope not" when you asked me if this would be your last trip.  I remember it so clearly, getting you into the car from the house it was no easy task, you were in so much pain.  Trying to get you to your chemo treatment.  We were such a good team, we even had a routine for moving you.  Adjusting the seat back, I would lift your leg and bring it in the car, you would slide and I would bring up your other leg then we'd adjust your seat.  I still can't believe I said "I hope not" when you asked if this would be your last trip.  And then you know what I did, I convinced you to go into the hospital.  I still remember you, me, & Aunt Sherry sitting out in that damn waiting room, new pain medication prescriptions, waiting to be called back to start your chemo.  The doctor gave you a choice go to the hospital to get pain under control or go home and try another increase in dose, which would take days to start working, and you chose to go home and try the new dose.  We sat out there and I talked you into going into the hospital for pain control, I thought the IV medication would work so much faster. I promised I would bring you home, because I knew you were afraid this would be your last trip.  You agreed and then you didn't come home.  I am so so sorry.  Please forgive me.  I love you so much even still. I am so sorry.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Here I am

Here I am, I should be asleep, I'm tired, here I am.  I've become immune to your pictures on my wall, right here where I sit when I write to you. As I stare at these photos there is everything up there from comedy, to goofy, pride, love, and a serious scholarly pose.  I see these pictures every day and lots of time I don't give them a second thought.  Maybe that's me just trying to move on, but then I feel so guilty because I don't want to be immune, I don't want to have this life without you, but here I am.

You know I tried to help someone tonight, I really tried.  I believed him, though many in my place would have a cynical view & thought is was a story.  It didn't work out, he didn't believe me, he was upset.  I also worked with some different people over the last few days and just listening to them complaining about every interaction they have with another human being, it was sickening.  The world does not revolve around individuals, humanity is a group effort.  Put yourself in that person's shoes, just the part you know about, never mind the aspects of their life you don't see; an abusive relationship, financial burden, PTSD.  In our line of work people are coming to us because they need something to breathe, to improve their quality of life, to survive.

I miss you so, I really needed to hear your voice tonight, just to tell me it would be OK.  I remember calling you from work and just hearing your voice would help me calm down and stop my trembling hands.

I love you handsome man.
take care,

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Even Gatsby

You'd be so proud of our little girl.  I so wish you were there this morning, well every morning, every minute of every day, but I digress, and not in the Javier meaningful way.  Our little girl comes to me this morning very nervous to tell me her news, it almost seems like she's afraid to tell me or worried about my reaction.  She informs me she not only wants to destroy cancer, but she wants to end racism.  I told her that's wonderful and she would be an excellent advocate to end racism.  Of course that started an entire discussion about the meaning of advocacy, but she was thrilled with my response and proud of herself. Our little girl is always always thinking, even when we don't see it or realize it, it's happening.  We went to this race exhibit a few weeks back, it was an excellent display and gave lots of different information and points of view.  I must admit it really made me think, so much I wish I could have had a conversation with you and talked about the specifics and what it means for the world around us, for our little girl still making her way and forming her foundations of understanding humanity.

On the way to school this morning she and I had this wonderful conversation about the exhibit and she told me what struck her most and I shared with her.  She even went on and told me what she knew about Rosa Parks and what she learned, probably from one of her "Who Was" books.  There is so much of you in our little girl it's absolutely amazing.  She's a thinker and asks lots and lots of questions, I love it and totally encourage her.  She's even come to me and told me she doesn't think she believes in God, her words exactly "where's the evidence?" it's so funny because those are your words in her voice.  Don't worry, you know I would never ever force anything upon her, that's why I have always been so adamant about being her teacher.  I've told her that's fine if she thinks that there is no God, but I want her to have all the knowledge and information.  I shared with you all those years ago about what I thought about belief.  You always said I wasn't a "real" catholic, granted I don't believe in hell, I don't follow every idea of an organization just because a man with a funny hat says I should, I'm not even sure about God any more.  Sometime I still can't believe you laid out your theories and evidence on our 3 day drive home from my Mom's funeral, I wasn't mad or hurt by any means it was just the two of us having a conversation about big topics and ideas, I miss that so much.  It's just now that I think about it six years later it was funny timing is all, maybe it was just what I needed to focus on something bigger than me, you always knew exactly what I needed.  I have to stop, it's been a wonderful morning and I can't sit here and cry.

Last night I challenged the kids in class to not "give something up" for lent, but to do something.  Again she thought about it and thought about it, she decided she's going to spend more time with our pets, my response to her was "even Gatsby?" and she reluctantly said yes even Gatsby, that'll be the challenging part for her.  It was just an idea I gave the kids and she took it so seriously.  As for me I think I will try to stop focusing on the grief that surrounds me, and think about others and what they might be going through.  A task especially difficult at work with high maintenance people.  Though for the first time I didn't feel bitter when I saw an order for a cancer patient.  It was for very high doses of pain medication for a person about 10 years older than you, I remembered what we went through trying to get that under control and increasing dose after dose to just astronomical numbers. That was the first time I was not bitter about those scripts, though this one in particular really hit home.  These past 10 months I've wanted absolutely nothing to do with cancer information, research, or breakthroughs.  I've stop following all cancer sites and even removed information someone thought would be helpful to me.  I've kept this to myself and still encouraged our little girl that she can destroy cancer by going to school and studying.  I know this sounds terrible, but I was so sick of hearing about Jimmy Carter and all the news of him having brain cancer & now he's miraculously cured, I should be happy for him and his family, but all I can think was he is 91 years old, he's raised his kids, he's shown the world he's a good person.  It still pains me to see old couples at work, we would have been a great old couple.  I have to stop.  This is my problem, I think of what I don't have anymore.

I'm not ready to do the lung run again, but I'm really going to try and think about other people.  Though now that I mention running I so miss running.  I always feel so good after I run, it clears my  mind.  I'm not doing the half marathon after all, a decision I made that really bothered me.  Ever since I can remember I've never given up on a challenge, I've not always been successful, but I've always tried.  I think it was a good decision to make, I don't want to set my self up for failure and I don't want to get injured.  It's funny how I have to think about that now, I don't have a back up anymore.  When I sprained my ankle you were here to do what I couldn't.  All those little things I have to think about with everything I do.  I still get silently nervous when I hear a sound and don't know where or what it is.  I'm so grateful for our dogs and the alarm system.   I think I'll pack a bag tonight and run tomorrow.  After work and before I pick up our scholar.  I love you my handsome man.
take care,

Sunday, February 7, 2016

Just nature

I can't believe I'm here again.  When will this end?  I understood your beliefs and I respect them still, that's what is so hard.  I see a beautiful sunrise on our little girl's birthday and I think of you and wonder just maybe, but then I hear your voice expressing your ideas of those beliefs and that beautiful sunrise just becomes nature.  You were never disrespectful and I do not follow the doctrine, for me it's all about acts of kindness, compassion, and how one conducts their life.  Your brilliant mind does not allow me to find you in every day things, yes memories, but in your words you just turned off.  I so wish there was a switch I could just turn on and know you were the one putting my lost coffee cup on the counter or something silly like that.  Our little girl gets a tingling feeling on the back of her neck when she "senses" you're watching, it makes her feel comforted that she is still your princess and I encourage that for her.  I just know how you felt and you didn't believe in such things and I truly respect that and now it haunts me.  Again you were always so respectful to people that have beliefs in a higher power(s) and were glad it was there for those in times of great tragedy and loss.  I don't know where I fall in the category.  We talked  extensively about the topic and shared many similar beliefs.  I need something and I'm not finding it at church, many times that is a place of my deepest despair.  I love you my handsome man.

take care

Saturday, February 6, 2016


I need a hug!  I need to feel loved.  I need to feel like I'm taken care of.  I am alone in this world and I give hugs to my little girl, make her feel loved, and taken care of.  I must be the pillar she needs, I just so wish there was a pillar for me.  You were my pillar and I was yours.

Just when I think I've got this thing beat, when I think I've accepted my new reality, a reality of being alone, fending for myself, when I think I've filled the void with stone so as not to hurt anymore it all crumbles.  I ache.  I'm drowning.  I can't breathe.

When our friendship began all those years ago I remember you sitting in that orange chair as we talked all night, sitting in my apartment.  You rocking back and forth, the hours ticking on, us sharing with each other until dawn.  We talked about all sorts of things, important things, not trivial nonsense.  The topic veered toward fears people have in life.  You were not afraid of death, your greatest fear was being alone.  Here I am living your fear.  We became the best of friends, we knew everything about each other.  Those conversations didn't stop once we got married, we would joke that we would die together as geriatrics, we would die making love and a customized casket would be necessary.  That was our running joke. At one time you shared with me that you would rather  I die first at a ripe old age so I wouldn't have to be alone.  As end of life approached I know you struggled, your greatest fear would be my reality.  Even in the face of death you so desperately wanted to take care of me.

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

take care,