Friday, June 16, 2017

Death Do Us Part

To My Husband,
Happy Anniversary. Today would have been our, what, anniversary? I have lost count. The past years have blurred together and I have a hard time counting time. The past has become a blur; the present seems to speed by.

I'm unsure about this life since you have been gone. The days blur together as I keep myself busy. I'm not sure if I'm busy because there's now more to do now that I must do it alone or if it's because if I keep moving, I won't be constantly reminded of the hole in my life without you.

33 years...Yes, that's it. It was 33 years ago today that we were married (and together 2 years prior to that). Oh, we were so young with what felt like our entire lives ahead of us. So many dreams and not necessarily these big, ambitious dreams. No rather, they were dreams about being together, building a home together, raising a family together. Our days were filled with simply living life.

Was it always easy? Absolutely not. Of course, since your passing, you were perfect in my eyes. The perfect husband, the perfect father, the perfect man.  We both know that wasn't necessarily true just like it's true that I wasn't always the perfect wife. We squabbled over little things and there were times when we annoyed each other by petty things. But these were few and far between and they only lasted for brief moments. Our commitment and love for each other always re-centered us.

33 years ago today we vowed our love and lives to each other. I glossed over that "until death do us part" piece. I think most young married couples do. Now it sticks out with blaring horns and flashing lights when I attend a wedding.

I took the day off from work today.  I don't know why.  Work is a necessary evil but a good distraction as well. If you were here, we would have done something together. Maybe something simple like a day trip to the beach or the casino. Or you would have cooked a nice dinner for both of us. Simple times, simple things....just time together.

Today I remember our wedding day....it was a fun day, partying with friends and family into the evening. I remember the next day, all you men moved my piano into our house. I remember sitting in the dining room of our new house, at our new dining room table, writing thank you notes. I remember your father making the trip and appearing at the church surprising us. I remember our wedding night with me going to bed and you staying up talking with your father and Chuggy before they headed back to Philly the next day. All these memories make me smile.

And I remember the 29 years we were married and how lucky I was to have someone who loved me beyond the ends of the earth. Someone who loved me through his last day on this earth. Someone who protected me, cared for me, made me feel like the most beautiful and special woman in the world. You loved me until "death do us part".

I miss you today. I miss you everyday. I miss our love. I miss our laughter. I miss my best friend who knew me better than anyone else--who understood my moods, who could read my mind and know just what I needed to make me smile or lift my spirits.

I try to be grateful and recall how lucky I was to be happily married for 29 years but sometimes it is hard not to be sad about the years that were taken from us. We definitely would have been the couple that would grow old together. Remember laughing about that when we were in Venice watching that elderly couple? We knew then that it would not be in our future, but we still smiled and laughed and looked lovingly at that couple.

So today I will try to remember all our previous anniversaries. The flowers you sent; the cards you carefully picked out. I was blessed to know such great love and that explains why it hurts so much now that you are gone.

Happy Anniversary Ed! Know I will love you always and forever even after "death do us part".


Sunday, May 28, 2017

Moments with Friends

I'm back home again after spending a very nice day with a friend and his family. I so enjoy these times with others, but they are typically followed by the quiet and downside of then being alone. I'm trying not to let the grips of sadness get a hold of me today. I am truly trying to appreciate and enjoy the moments with friends for what they are...moments of enjoyment, creating memories to look back on with happiness and to look forward to future ones.

I went to the "beach" yesterday...rather, I stood on the edge of the ocean. It is so calming as I breathed in the salt air and listened to the waves crashing on the rocks. It brings me such peace and settles my soul. I was able to share this time with my friend which made it even more special because we were able to banter, about nothing, and just walk along the shore and look for crabs or shells or pretty stones. It reminded me of when Ed and I would do this and instead of the usual sadness when I do this alone, I was content. Because these moments, as peaceful as they can be, remind me how alone I am without the person who was supposed to be my partner for life. So I am grateful to my friend for going with me....obviously, a true friend.

I also met family and friends yesterday and they all greeted me with hugs and smiles. Such loving people. I would like to think they also found the same in me...a kind, warm, and loving person. I can be a bit of an introvert, especially around people I don't know well. I hope I made them smile as much as they made me smile. I would like to think the hugs as we said goodbye are my answer. All-in-all, it was a very nice day.

So today, I will cling to those memories and attempt to do so with warmth in my heart instead of allowing the thoughts of what is missing creeping in instead and grabbing hold. Today I will work in the yard and take my time to appreciate the beauty around me. Instead of missing the warmth, laughter, and company of others, I will attempt to appreciate how lucky I am to be able to spend time surrounded by others one day and have time to myself the next and recognize that this can be a good thing.

Yes, life has changed...  There are things and a future I will never be able to share with Ed. And I realize, ever so clearly, that if it wasn't for Ed's passing, yesterday would not have happened. I would not know this particular friend, or any of the other close friends I've made these past few years. At some level, that makes me sad. Which I find interesting...

My happy place...


Went on a day trip to Salem this past week with my mother and my sister Cathy. Another "good" day!!





I started my day yesterday morning with seeing this...  I was happy to see they are still around!

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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!


Death Do Us Part

To My Husband, Happy Anniversary. Today would have been our, what, anniversary? I have lost count. The past years have blurred together and...