Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Everything that was needed

I cleaned out the Toyota van in order to get it ready to be sold.
The center console was full of pens and pencils, a notepad, tooth-picks, Kleenex, sunblock, hand lotion, pony-tail hair bands and baggies.
All items that T knew the kids might need and would have forgotten to pack for themselves.
The baggies were due to the fact that when younger, and occasionally even as a young adult, our son would get motion sickness and need to throw-up either during or shortly after arriving to a destination in our car.
She was always prepared.

For a car trip of any length, she also always had a cooler packed with water, Gatorade and snacks.
It's been wierd walking by the un-used coolers in our garage over the last few months.
It's not until I'm driving somewhere and am either thirsty or hungry that I remember that, once again, I failed to adequately prepare.
I wonder if I ever will.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Good + bad/2=OK

"OK" means acceptable/mediocre.

I think it's a good word for someone who spends the day feeling good one moment and then bad the next moment.

I'm OK.

Sunday, September 27, 2015


I've talked to Ellie, on the phone, almost every day since she went back to her second year of college 6 weeks ago.
We've usually talked either early in morning or later in the evening which still tends to be the worst times for all of us emotionally.
I got up to see her this weekend and just returned home.
I spent the day yesterday at her first collegiate horseshow for the new school year.
I was off to the side alone for a fair amount of time doing what I've always loved to do-watching one of my kids.
It was so great to see her laughing, smiling and enjoying being with her friends/teammates.
I know she struggles daily with the loss of her Mom/best friend, but to witness a bit of normalcy for her was priceless.

Saturday, September 26, 2015

2 great kids

Today would have been our 23rd wedding anniversary.
It's a sad part of the day now because it's quiet and winding down but the majority of the day wasn't.
I spent today with our 19 yo daughter and touched base over the phone with our 21 yo son.
We've always been so proud of them.
T and I were a great team and we could not have had better children.
We were always so thankful because we know this isn't always the case.

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Don't worry, be happy

I had a wonderful person to grow old(er) with.
We also joked a lot about our future.
Especially the part about when I got demented...not if I got demented.
We had a plan that we agreed upon:
If I was mean-swearing, acting out, biting, etc., she had my full blessing to put me in a nursing home-also known as a warehouse where we send our old folks.
But, if I was kind and gentle, I would stay at home with her wearing my Depends.

My future now sort of scares me.
I don't want to be a burden to my children or to their future families.

I've appreciated reading another blog entitled "Lost without her."
The author notes that when we worry about our future it's because "our expectations of the future are flawed. They were created in our own heads. They are illusions of the way we think our life should be."

T's death is a daily reminder of how suddenly our time on earth can end.
I'm still scared about my future but I'm really trying to suppress these thoughts.
NONE of us know what tomorrow will bring.

Monday, September 21, 2015

There's no alternative

From the book, entitled, I Wasn't Ready To Say Goodbye:

"The experience of sudden loss of love and the recovery process that follows can provide a basis for growing and expanding us as human beings in ways we never thought we were capable."

I wish this wasn't the reason to grow and expand, but it is, so I must.

Going to try

James Taylor's song, Secret O' Life, has been stuck in my head this morning.
I've always liked listening to JT-one reason is because I can actually understand his lyrics-a huge feat for me-T and my children spent a lot of time over the years laughing whenever I would try to do a sing along with so many other musicians.

"The secret of life is enjoying the passage of time.
Any fool can do it, there ain't nothing to it.
Nobody knows how we got to the top of the hill.
But since we're on the way down, we might as well enjoy the ride."

I'm trying.

Saturday, September 19, 2015

A model bug

T never wanted to own a mini-van.
She wanted an SUV when the kids were young and then she hoped to get a yellow VW bug (Bettle) when Tom and Ellie graduated from high school-her dream car.
However, we rented a mini-van for a trip once and she saw how convenient it was to be able to get up and walk around in order to meet all the kids needs while we were traveling-deliver juice boxes and snacks, change DVD's and diapers, etc.
She felt it was much more functional than an SUV for families and traveling.
We literally went out and purchased one the day we got back from that trip.
We put a ton of mileage on our two vans-the first was a Chevy Venture and the most recent (purchased in 2004) was a Toyota Sienna.
For about 5 years she and Ellie traveled all over the east coast to horseshows, usually once or twice a month.
The van was always packed to its limits.

Many years  ago, I gave her a model of a yellow VW bug that still resides on a bookshelf-it was a reminder to her that I had not forgotten her wish.
When I dusted it today, while doing housecleaning, it brought back a flood of memories.
Included was the realization that she never got to own her dream car.
She always placed the care of our family over her own desires.
I'm sure she dusted the same model many times over the years.

Friday, September 18, 2015

Yes you can be

The late Dr. Wayne Dyer said:

"You can't be lonely if you like the person you're alone with."

I don't agree.

I don't dislike the person I'm alone with now.

I just really loved the person I previously shared my life with.

Thursday, September 17, 2015

A tough day

Yesterday was a pretty crummy day emotionally.
It was my Dads birthday and it's always sort of been a day of reflection since he died in 2001.
Could I have been a better son?
Did I thank him enough for being a great father?
At the same time, I was having thoughts of:
Did I tell Tori enough times that she was a great mother and wife?
Did I tell her enough times how beautiful she was, inside and out?
I also  ran into a neighbor who had been away around the time of her death.
He stopped on his bicycle when he saw me walking Dwight to say how sorry he was to have heard the news.
He went on to say "it must have been Gods will. God must have needed a great nurse up in heaven."
I'm sure he thought he was saying something uplifting.
It didn't have the desired effect.
Throughout the day I kept hearing his same words in my head and it made me even more contemplative.
Many will think otherwise but I don't believe her death was Gods will.
I plan to never say the same thing to someone who has lost a loved one in the future.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Harder decisions

T and I let each other know long ago that we wanted things as simple as possible when we died.
She was cremated and her remains are at our home.
We had an amazing memorial service-it was truly a wonderful celebration of her life.
I'm just struggling with what to do now because our discussions never progressed past this point.
I've made a ton of decisions over the past 85 days but just can't seem to answer these questions:
Do I just keep the ashes at home in the urn?
Should I purchase a spot on a memorial wall to place her urn and ultimately mine?
Should we sprinkle the ashes at one or more of her favorite places?

I don't know what to do so I'll just do as many others have advised....I won't make any of these decisions at this time.
But when?
I have no clue.
I'm sort of hoping that maybe "time will tell."

The low point of the day

I would have to say that I've been a morning person for many years.
T was as well.
The only problem now is that mornings represent the time when I'm the saddest and inundated with thoughts of "I woulda, coulda, shoulda."
It's always the same early time of the day and still dark outside.
The best way to stop the flood of emotions is to turn on my bedroom light.
As soon as I do that Dwight starts to lick whatever part of my body he can to remind me that it's time to start the day and more importantly to let him out to pee.

Monday, September 14, 2015

It sure was nice

It was always so convenient in the past to call each other if, for example, one of us had car trouble.
If there was a long anticipated arrival time of AAA we could meet which ever one was stranded to offer relief or we could pick up the other after the car was loaded up on the tow truck and on the way to our mechanic.
It's a perfect example of how great it is to have a partner to share life's many inconveniences.

It's a 90 degree day with about 100% humidity.
I just finished grocery shopping and the car won't start.
AAA thinks they can be here in about 90 minutes or so.
I'm hoping it's just my battery-that would be a total bonus.
If not I'll figure out someone to call for a ride home.

I came across a statement from a blog written by someone else who had lost his wife:
The author notes "we shared problems with each other and while we weren't often able to offer real solutions, a problem shared is a problem halved."

It's wonderful to split your problems in half.
I miss it for sure.

Sunday, September 13, 2015

No interest in going back

For many years we had a favorite Tex-Mexican restaurant that we ate at almost once a week.
The restaurant originated in our home town and has since been franchised with multiple sites around Florida and in neighboring states.
For no less than about 6-7 years there was a weekly credit card charge for almost the same amount because the 4 of us would order the same thing every week.
The amounts would have been exactly the same except for the slight increase in prices that occurred over that span of years.
We loved eating there.
It was uncanny how we often all 4 of us would get a craving to want to eat there.

We ate there before the same night T collapsed in our home.
The three of us haven't gone back.
I get nauseous every time I drive by the one in our town as well as whenever I see their restaurant sign somewhere while traveling.

Friday, September 11, 2015

Minus one

For the last year, Friday nights were pretty quiet around our house.
For many years prior we were either attending a sporting event for our son or Tori and Ellie were traveling to or already doing practice rides for whatever horseshow Ellie was competing in for the weekend.
With both kids in college, Friday nights now usually represented a night off so to speak.
It allowed us to sort of re-group after a busy work week.
It was just two dudes and a babe relaxing, watching TV (me), reading (T) or chewing on a chew-toy (I'm pretty sure you guessed our dog Dwight).
Dwight and I sure miss seeing our babe siting on the couch next to us, wearing an old, comfortable baggy t-shirt and pair of boxer shorts, while reading her kindle.
It was nothing fancy, just exactly what was needed.

Thursday, September 10, 2015

I called

I made a call to inquire what the Employee Assistance Program (EAP) might have to offer in terms of counseling.
The first time I called and worked my way through the automated selections, I ultimately ended up with a dial tone.
I called again and at the end of the selections a human did answer-a very nice woman named Beverly, who informed me she was the intake person to determine my needs.
"What sort of issues are you dealing with or need help with?"
I did my best to explain.
"How long were you married?"
"This month would have been 23 years."
"Oh, that's a long time."
Not long enough I thought, but didn't say anything.
"How exactly does the system work?" I inquired.
"Well it sounds like you need to work with a grief counselor so I would put your information out to all those counselors who are available to see who might like to work with you."
"How does the billing work?"
"You would be entitled to receive 6 sessions through your employer at no charge to you. If you decide you would like to continue after the 6 sessions, and if the counselor still feels like you need to be seen, then you would need to use whatever insurance plan you have, so long as we get an approval from your carrier to continue the sessions. Otherwise the cost would be yours to handle completely."
"Oh, I see. Thanks for the information. Let me give it some thought. I'll get back in touch with you if I decide to proceed. Thanks again."
"OK, let us know if we can be of service and please take good care of yourself."

I'm pretty sure that I won't be calling back but I can at least tell those who ask that I did make the call.
Thankfully, most will not ask a follow up question to see if I'm actually seeing someone.
I've read multiple books on bereavement, grief and mourning and TNTC web sites and blogs on the subject.
I'm still having huge swings emotionally but am seeing some decrease in the extremes.
I don't need the stress wondering if an available grief counselor would be willing to take up my case and/or if the allowed "free" 6 sessions would be sufficient.
My daughter sent me an essay she wrote last night.
It was an amazing display of her strength and resiliency.
I've read it multiple times.
It's probably more helpful than any professional counseling at this time.

Wednesday, September 9, 2015

Wasn't there a doctor in the house?

A house in our neighborhood recently had a fire.
It quickly spread through the attic and by the time it was extinguished it was considered a total loss.
The owner of the home is a fireman.
He was on duty, at work, the night of the fire.
I have heard many neighbors mention how ironic it is that a home belonging to a fireman burned down.

I witnessed my wife slumping over, while sitting on our couch, on June 18th.
I wonder how many of my neighbors think it's ironic that my wife basically died, at home, in front of her husband who's a doctor.

Grief is associated with feelings of sadness, guilt and anger, among others.

I've read that thoughts during grief can vary from "there's nothing I could have done about it" to "it's my fault, I could have done more." Grieving behaviors run from crying to laughter, and from sharing feelings to engaging silently in activities like cleaning, writing or exercising.

The above paragraph has been spot on.

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

The fourty-sixth

The day is about done and I'm getting ready to hit the sack.
Heard from multiple friends and extended family members today all of whom called or sent a message acknowledging T's birthday.
It was a day of many private but also a few public tears.

I also had a nice conversation with both Tom and Ellie.
I can't adequately express how proud of both of them I am.
We all wanted to make sure the other was doing all right.
The really cool thing is that we really didn't have to say a whole lot.
We know how fortunate we were to have had her in our lives.
We were lucky.
We were the privileged three.
That's what will always keep us close.

Monday, September 7, 2015

The busier the better-hopefully

September has always been a month of things to remember.
Birthdays for my wife, son, and Dad and our wedding anniversary.
Tomorrow would have been T's 46th birthday.
I know it's going to be a day of wide emotional swings.
My daughter called from college today and we had a long discussion reviewing her day and her upcoming plans for the week.
Near the end of the call I mentioned "it's Mom's birthday tomorrow so give me a call if you want to talk."
She said, "I know, so I'm planning to get up at 6 am for a long work-out so I'll be tired and then between class, lab and a discussion group I'll pretty much be tied-up from about 9 am until 9 pm. I figure the busier I am the less distracted and sad I'll be...and give me a call if you want to talk."

I'll try to do the same-stay busy all day and just keep taking one step forward after another.
I do know that's what T would expect of me.
I'll still keep some tissues handy, however.

Sunday, September 6, 2015

A mail break

Mornings are the saddest time of the day
The evenings and nights are obviously the loneliest.

In general, however, today was a good day.
It's Sunday so there was no mail delivery.
No mail means a medical bill, statement, or co-pay request couldn't arrive today.
In the 76 days since T died, there has been only one other day, besides Sunday's, in which this was the case.
I actually hate opening my mailbox now.
This was never an issue before.
It seems like this is going to continue for a good amount of time to come and her hospitalization only lasted 4 days.
I can't fathom what it must be like for the folks whose loved ones spent weeks or months in critical care before leaving earth.

Friday, September 4, 2015

A little help

"...but the reality is that children and young adults are typically the forgotten grievers."
I worry about my children.
Both are back at college.
We talk more now than we ever have in the past.
My daughter was with me when we witnessed my wife collapsing on June 18th as well as all the resuscitation attempts in our home by the rescue squad.
We were all with her when she died 4 days later.
I have always had a pretty solid relationship with both children but my wife was ALWAYS their preferred counsel, text message or phone call.
She had this amazing ability to, no matter how much she may have been multi-tasking prior to them asking her a question or wanting to discuss things, give them undivided attention and straight forward advice whenever truly needed.
I would often eavesdrop on the conversations, and occasionally join in or offer some input, but frankly I don't think I ever disagreed with whatever advice my wife gave them at the time.
I always thought my wife needed to write a book on raising children.
She was just so wise.
I know she would have been much better at offering guidance to my children if I had been the one to die first, and I should have been.
Quick fact that probably isn't really that surprising-widows currently outnumber widowers by approx 8-10:1.
I talked to my son earlier today.
Thankfully, he started counseling at his school and felt as if the first session was helpful.
He goes back again next week.
My daughter also let me know today that she is meeting with her small group leader for young-life at her school this weekend.
I should sleep a little better tonight.
I'll make a call for myself in the near future as well.
I know my children will sleep better when I do.
I know they're worried about me as well.

Wednesday, September 2, 2015

In the midst of all three

The person who has lost someone is said to be bereaved.

Grief is the internal experience of loss: the thoughts and feelings about a loss that you experience within yourself.

Mourning is the outward expression of grief. An easy way to remember the definition of mourning is "grief gone public."

Tuesday, September 1, 2015

The dark side

I've had some dark thoughts over the last 10 weeks.
I've read a lot of books on grief, mourning and bereavement but haven't come across many sections in which the authors suggest that one might spend a fair amount of time wishing others were dead instead of your wife.
T was 5'4" and weighed approximately 118 pounds.
She never smoked.
She had a beer or a glass of wine 3-4 times a year, at most.
She never did drugs of abuse.
She took one prescription medication-synthroid for thyroid replacement.
She exercised-walked our dog 2 miles a day, did yoga once or twice a week, and intermittently did resistance training with weights.
She got approximately 8 hours of sleep most every night.
She ate a balanced diet..
She had one vice-a can, sometimes two, of diet coke everyday.
You get the picture...
So, when I've seen middle-aged women who were smoking, I greatly resented  the fact that they were alive instead of T.
I wished they were dead.

I have come across some advice regarding an "I wish mentality."
"Refuse to go down the thought pattern of I wish...most I wishes are pointless and damaging and lead to a world of blame and guilt which is totally unhealthy."
In this case it leads to wishing someone who smoked was dead, who in most cases I don't even know or have never actually met, instead of my health conscious wife.