Saturday, May 20, 2017

A Beautiful Morning

It's such a beautiful morning.

The air is crisp and cool. There's a slight breeze and the sun is shining through a clear, blue sky.

I slept well last night and awoke to the sound of birds and the tickling sound of my windchimes. The baby foxes appear to be gone, but I did see the father cross the yard yesterday morning.

There is some type of sparrow that has nested above the bay window in the dining room and the Robin is in the bush outside the kitchen window.  And the hummingbirds have returned as well.

It's the start of a good day.

I've enjoyed a quiet cup of coffee before I head outside to work in the yard.

I'm looking forward to doing the yardwork.  With the rain and heat wave earlier this week, the lawn desperately needs to be mowed. So I'll be heading out soon to do that AND the hand trimming because I will gaze upon the end result and be pleased.

I will put out solar lights and lawn ornaments and this will make me happy.  I will prep the garden and flower beds in anticipation of planting those next weekend.

It's the start of what will be a good day.

Capturing the moment since you never know how long it will last...

Bright clear blue sky...

 
The Rhododendrons are coming back nicely after been hit hard two winters ago.

 
Lily of the Valleys....One of my favorite flowers and I love the smell!






Sunday, May 7, 2017

Kits!

Today I've decided to post about some "good" things for a change! Don't get your hopes up...it's nothing too exciting. But since I tend to post when I'm feeling down, I did want to take a moment and share the recent highlights of my day which is watching a family of Red Foxes in my backyard!

The father I've seen in the neighborhood for the past couple months. But on April 17th, I noticed the "kits" (baby foxes) running around the backyard with their mother. What a delight to see! Their den is in the woods just behind the house and I can watch them while standing on the back deck. So each day, I look to see if they are out playing. If I'm lucky, they'll be up in the yard running around. I know they will soon be moving on, so I'm enjoying them while they're here.

One day while standing in the backyard watching them, three cardinals flew by my head and landed in a nearby tree--two males and one female. I wasn't able to capture a good picture, but I continue to see them every few days.

And yesterday I noticed the Robin is once again nesting in the bush outside the kitchen window. The bush has filled in since it was damaged a couple winters ago, so it's hard to see the nest. I remember the year that Ed trimmed branches so we could watch them from the kitchen window. I'll have to see if I can do that again.

Small, simple pleasures and moments to make me smile. My low moments still come...these are times when I feel the aloneness and truly struggle with trying to figure out the purpose of my life. "Joy" continues to allude me and it scares me that I may never find it again. But I'm working hard to at least spend time with family and friends and enjoy simple times together.

Last weekend, Dan and I and some friends went hiking on Mt. Tom. We ended up getting rained on which cut our hike short, but it gave us a story to tell!  We'll need to attempt it again because we didn't make it all the way to the top.  I've also gotten together with some other close "wid" girlfriends who I wish lived closer and I've gotten together with some friends from church who treat me so kindly and always make me laugh.

So I try to focus on these "good" moments. Some days are just harder than others...  After these "good" times spent with others, I find myself back home again, alone and the darkness and loneliness tend to set in. But today has started as a good day. Maybe because a friend sent me a text to start my day and letting me know someone is thinking of me. I appreciate that because that is what I miss the most especially since I feel I'm always the one initiating and organizing get togethers with friends. So when someone else makes the effort and/or thinks of me, I appreciate it.

Anyhow, below are some pics and videos. These make me smile...and I hope they do the same for you as well! I'll try to do better at keeping you all posted on my baby foxes (who are growing up so fast!)!

video

Two of the four "kits" (what baby foxes are called)


From our Mt. Tom hike before the rain came.

After a long trek up a steep hill...

 
Signs of spring...the primrose in my side garden




Love the smell of lilacs
 Below is a "puppy" my mother gave me on April 21st (day before Ed's sadiversary). I had seen these years ago in the gift shop at Cooley Dickinson hospital and thought they were so cute. So now I have a "puppy". Good news is that he's low maintenance, doesn't shed, doesn't eat too much, no vet bill. Bad news is that I now talk to a fake dog!!

video


Sunday, April 23, 2017

Looking Back

I (obviously) made it through yesterday. The weather was not as nice as I was hoping. It was cold, gray, and rainy. It would have been a good day to just hang on the couch, under a blanket, reading a book or watching TV.  Nope...not me. I find it difficult to just sit.

Instead I ran some errands and stopped at the cemetery to put some flowers and the angel figure on Ed's grave. I played the song we played on the day we laid him to rest.  BIG MISTAKE! Although I didn't cry that day when we first played it, I did yesterday.  Someday I'll learn.  But I pulled myself together and got back to my day.

I worked in the yard clearing some brush and took care of a number of other little things on my "to do" list.  I went to choir and Mass, a Mass that Dan and I had said for Ed.  Afterwards, a couple that Ed and I were friends with and that I continue to be in touch with, asked me to join them for dinner. I was touched because, surprisingly, people rarely think of doing this.  Now I am one who usually has my weekends all planned out and it is difficult for me to deviate from that plan. But last night, I didn't have firm plans and so I said "yes".  It was nice to spend a couple hours with them and, better yet, it was better than coming home and making and having dinner by myself.

Today I'm getting together with some friends who are also widowed.  It is my day to relax and do nothing (other than drive to our destination).

Last night as I looked back over the past 4 years, I truly wondered what have I done for 4 years. I survived... But I need to remember to live. To enjoy each day and the people in my life.  Like my friends who invited me to dinner last night and those that I will get together with today for lunch. I AM appreciating these moments and people.  I just sometimes look back, though, and wonder "What have I done? What do I have to show for 4 years?"

Survival, I guess. Survival...


Saturday, April 22, 2017

Four Years Ago Today

Yes, today officially marks the 4th anniversary of your death. You passed at about 1:30 AM, so it was the evening of April 21st, 4 years ago, that we were last together. Last night as I recalled the details of that day and evening 4 years ago so vividly, that is what brought tears to my eyes. It was not a good day for you. You were in pain and so we increased your medication and you slept most of the day. I recall how I pushed the button on your PCA pump before I left that evening because you could no longer do it. I remember Dan and I sitting with you, one of us on each side of your hospital bed. I held your hand all day. I hummed music I think to calm me more than you, and I prayed. I prayed that God would end your pain and suffering. And I recall so vividly the difficult decision Dan and I had to make on whether to spend the night with you or go home as we usually did. At the time, the doctors said it could be another day or two. So we decided to leave because I know, beyond any doubt, that this is what you would have told us to do. "Go home. Get some sleep. I'll be fine". It still hurts so much that I made that decision to leave. If I had known that evening was going to be your last, I would have stayed at your side. But I didn't know and I try to forgive myself knowing that I was there by your side every day for the 26 days you were in the hospital and the 31 years we were together.

April 22, 2013 was about making phone calls and making arrangements. After getting the call from the hospital that you had passed, Dan and I drove over to see you one last time. I don't know why, but it was something I felt I needed to do. Maybe to confirm for myself? They had disconnected your IVs and cleaned up things in your room. I remember getting mad that they threw out your lip balm (and Dan laughed at me). It felt so strange leaving you there. When we got home, we called Beers&Story. What you didn't know was that I had already called them the week before to inquire about arrangements, so I knew it was okay to call them at whatever ridiculous time it was. Dan and I met with them later that day to make your funeral arrangements and pick out your casket. As I recall this, I know you would have been so proud of Dan as he helped me make these decisions, all in your honor.

I know the Saturday before you passed, you had a private conversation with Dan after I left. I still to this day cannot figure out how you knew this would be so hard on me. I was convinced I would be "okay". I was strong and I was someone who got things done. I was not an overly emotional person and I rarely broke down in tears. But somehow you knew this would rock me to my core. And you told Dan he needed to be there for me and he has, every single day since you passed. We did so good raising such a wonderful son and I am blessed to have him in my life. I thank God for him every day.

I cry now remembering the pain and sadness of your last days. I cry for the future that has been taken from us. I cry that Dan does not have his father here. I cry that I don't have my best friend.

But Dan and I are learning to carry on. Somehow we've survived 4 years. I really do think you would be proud of us. We've taken care of things around the house, we've enjoyed time together just hanging out or going on vacation, we've taken care of each other. We have found moments of joy and laughter to share. We keep your memory alive and we carry you in our hearts forever.

There are days I get very angry that you are gone, that my future happiness has been ripped from my hands. I'm trying to let go of that anger. I'm trying to enjoy the day, the moments, the people in my life. You learned how to do that. Having cancer for 3 years, you made sure to live those 3 years. The pictures around the house of trips we took and things we did together, both make me smile because we spent time together laughing and enjoying moments together but it also hurts because I no longer have you to continue to laugh and share things with.

Today I will try to let go of the anger and instead remember you and all the love we shared. My plan for today is to do some yard work. Being busy is good.  And I will watch the family of red foxes that have made a den in the back yard. The kits will run around and play and just the thought of them makes me smile.  Yesterday, as I watched them, three cardinals flew by and landed in the tree above them.  Two males and one female.  And I stood and watched it all...the cardinals singing in the trees and the kits playing down below.

And I thanked God and you for these gifts of nature for it all brought me peace and helped me simply pause and enjoy the moment...

...and smile.

Me and Dan at Easter. My rock...


Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy (?) Easter

It's Easter morning. The sun is shining and the sky is a bright blue. Spring has definitely arrived as the lilac bush outside the window is budding and the various bulbs planted outside are beginning to bloom. Dan is home for Easter and that always makes me happy.

We spent time together yesterday just chatting as he hung out in the kitchen with me as I made desserts for today. We then did some work outside, made dinner together, and watched a couple movies. I like just hanging with him. It makes me happy.

Today we'll head to my mother's and spend time with family. Part of me wants to instead go away and start new traditions. Although traditions can sometimes be a good thing, it bothers me at times that we continue to do the same things we did "before" as if nothing changed. But everything changed and so with that I sometimes want to make significant changes as well.

But I also know my family is important to me and therefore I know I should and I need to appreciate this time we have together for, as we know, we never know when all of this could change.

With the arrival of spring and the start of a beautiful day, I will try to live in the moment and simply enjoy the moment and worry less about the future. I will enjoy time with Dan and with family. I will enjoy a day where I am forced to sit and relax.

I will appreciate the smell of the hyacinths and Easter lilies that fill the house right now. I smile when I remember how Ed always bought me Easter flowers and now I continue that tradition for myself. I bought extra so I could put a couple plants on his grave later this week. Saturday marks 4 years since he passed. But I won't dwell on that right now. No, instead I will simply enjoy today with Dan home and time with family. At least I'll try...

Happy Easter!


Saturday, April 8, 2017

Sometimes Nice Days Don't Last

I've been dreading this time of year. The time when by brother Michael passed to start the downfall of my life. Ed passed just over a month later and then my brother-in-law about a month after that. The avalanche of loss, all at one time, still overwhelms me.

Today, this moment, is one of them. I've been trudging through the past few weeks occasionally replaying every moment of the days 4 years ago, leading to Ed's death. Most days, I've been successful at pushing these thoughts down or the demands and activities of day-to-day life have kept me distracted from focusing on them.

But the 22nd is approaching. Like a freight train coming down the tracks and I can't get out of it's way.

The lump in my throat right now, I can't explain. My day started out well enough. I had a very nice lunch with a very dear friend, who I consider one of my closest friends. He may not realize that, but he's one of the few I can totally be myself with. The sometimes quirky, sometimes silly, sarcastic, over thinker that I am. Someone I don't need to pretend I'm something I'm not.  So it was a nice day.

I came home and got some things done around the house including putting out some Easter decorations. Part of me wonders why because I'll just be putting them away in two weeks, but I like them, especially the small stuffed bunnies on the stairs.



So it's been a good day. But then, suddenly, a wave of sadness falls over me. My heart aches, the lump in my throat is there, and now tears dampen my eyes. I try to figure out why? It's the fear of my future. A future lacking in love and full of loneliness. That is what I'm tearing up about. Ed is supposed to be here, loving me. Buying me my traditional Easter flowers and candy. Instead, if I want these, I need to go out and get them myself. And when I'm the strong, independent woman that I hate having to be, I will get them for myself. I don't rely on others for my happiness. And I hate that. I hate having to always be strong. Always pretending I'm okay and "life is good". Life can really suck sometimes.

I hate that grief can still creep up on me and ruin what was a perfectly good day. And so I will let the tears fall and I will sit here and sob, alone. With no one to comfort me. And it will pass. It always does. But that doesn't mean it gets any easier.

I want someone to love me. I want someone to care about me. I don't want to be alone until I die. I don't want to die alone. Damn Ed for dying on me. We were supposed to grow old together. Damn him for leaving me....alone and sad.  I feel like I've become this sad, old woman. No wonder no one loves or want me.

Thankfully tomorrow is a new day....

Saturday, March 11, 2017

Coincidence or Sign?

I awoke in the middle of the night. The moon was bright and shone a light across the snow covered ground. There was a peacefulness and I could still see the stars that shone through the night sky.

I climbed back into my warm bed under my down comforter and fell back into a peaceful sleep. My dreams filled me with happiness although when I awoke I could not recall any details.

But as the morning sun shone through the window and fell on my face, I awoke with joy in my heart. I thanked God for allowing me to awake this morning as I recalled 4 years ago when my brother died suddenly in the evening, never to greet another morning. And my friend's wife died in her sleep, not knowing she would never awake to greet another morning.

I'm sure they didn't mind. I'd like to think they felt a great peacefulness that drew them towards that light and away from us.  It is those of us left behind that face the emptiness and pain.

And it reminds me to appreciate each day and live it to the fullest. Of course, that is easier said than done. Some days are just "bad" days. Work is stressful, things go wrong, people anger you. The trick is to make sure this does not become the majority of your days.

As I start this day, I appreciate the sunshine and blue sky. I watch the birds as they fly back and forth to the feeders. I notice buds on the lilac bush, a sign that spring will be arriving. I ask God for help. Help in keeping me strong to continue to see these joys and make it through each day.

I ask for a sign; I wish for a sign. Is God there? Is Ed there? The cynical me says you make signs out of what you want and as these thoughts go through my head, as I gaze out the window, I see the cardinal in the distance. Cynical me asks if cardinals are really a sign; but if it gives me hope and peace, the softer side of me says, why not believe?

But the cynical side of me challenges God. If it's really a sign, then bring that cardinal closer to me. Have him land on this bush in front of me. The skeptic in me snickers as Titmouse and Chickadees fly in and out of the bush.

And then it happens...the bright red cardinal appears. First landing in the lower branches in the bush. But then he moves up the branches to the top so I can see him clearly. And he sits and allows me to absorb the fullness of his presence. He then flies away. But continues to flit in front of my eyes as he flies from tree to tree, reappearing every so often.

A sign or coincidence? Or is coincidence a sign?  You decide...

A Beautiful Morning

It's such a beautiful morning. The air is crisp and cool. There's a slight breeze and the sun is shining through a clear, blue sky...