Thursday, December 29, 2016

The Funk

Tom and Ellie have been home, for Christmas break, from their colleges.

Emotions have been stirred, for sure.

When we were off, on our own, it seemed like we were doing "alright."

Being together, back home, has re-heightened our awareness of the missing link, T, and has put us all in sort of a funk.

I know we will each work our way out of it.

I just hope and pray we do it before our time together draws to a close.

Rolling along

"Grieving is like a roller coaster ride."
One day, the worst is over.
The next day, even the next hour, it seems like you've made no progress at all.

So true.

Saturday, December 3, 2016

Beauty in each day

"While we are worrying and fretting and feeling sorry for ourselves, life slips away.

I will look around me now, this minute, and see what life holds.

Greet each day as its own gift-or it's own trial if it's that kind of day. But let's not bury the sunshine and beauty of this day under the shadow of a regretted future-about whose nature we can only speculate."-Martha Whitmore Hickman

Friday, November 25, 2016

Unafraid at last

"The spirit of tenderness, of love, will not desert you. You will find that it has become part of you, rising from within yourself; and because of it you are no longer fearful of loneliness, of the dark, because death, the last enemy, has been overcome."-Daphne Du Maurier

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

Keep moving forward

"Bit by bit, we need to loosen our hold on a past we cannot keep and get on with the life we have."-Martha Whitmore Hickman

Sunday, November 13, 2016

Another sort of milestone

Church try #1 many months ago: decided to try going back to my Catholic roots so went to an early mass. Got sad looking around at all the happy families and left early.

Church try #2 a few months ago: decided to try a Methodist church because I knew some friends who attended there. While looking for a parking space I saw a friend and his wife walking into church holding hands. I started to tear-up and drove home.

Church try #3 today: decided to go back to the Christian non-denominational church we attended for almost the ten years before T's death. I cried while the lights were dim and songs were being sung because I had flashbacks of being there with T...but stuck it out. What followed was an excellent sermon on faith, on not being afraid and the importance of being out of your comfort zone at times to encounter things and people you would have otherwise not encountered.

It was as if Pastor Joel was talking to me...just as it had always seemed like he was talking to T and me.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

The homestead

Shrines have their place, but they are poor backgrounds for life in the present moment-Martha Whitmore Hickman.

I love my home and neighborhood and EVERYTHING it has stood for in terms of my life with T and in raising our children except that T collapsed in our home on 6/18/2015 while watching TV with Ellie and me.

My home is a shrine, jamed full of mostly wonderful memories but that one memory will never be forgotten.

T's gone and both of our children are in college.

I'm pondering selling my home.

Sunday, October 30, 2016

Getting out and about

I'm going to start getting out more.

I'm able to talk to others now and not tear up when they ask me how I'm doing or when they mention how they are still so sorry about our loss.

I even referred to T as my "late-wife" today while talking with someone and didn't feel too awkward. It was only the second time I had been able to use that term.

I'm still uplifted most days by reading "Healing After Loss-Daily Meditations for Working Through Grief" and the Bible nightly.

These last 16 months have been challenging and life changing on so many levels.

I still so miss Tori.

I've just finally realized that being alone most every evening and all weekend, with just my dog Dwight, is increasingly depressing. Dwight's great. It's just that our conversations are always one-sided.

I need to do more than just work, pay bills, take care of Dwight, keep up with the house and errands and go to the YMCA.

I need to socialize more, travel again.

I'm going to try.

Saturday, October 22, 2016

Exactly 16 months of LWT

"The time required for healing cannot be measured against any fixed calendar."

The past is over.

The future is unknowable.

God is in control.

I know T would be proud of how I've done so far without her.

I know I'm here for a reason.

I'm am, for the most part, very thankful.

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Top ten things I miss the most

Just hanging out together.

Always having a sounding board.

Having a TV watching, reading, sleeping and snuggling buddy.

Kissing her goodnight.

Kissing her good morning.

Problem solving together.

Tackling life's many challenges together-car and home repairs, division of chores/errands, etc.

Planning our future.

Traveling together.

Private intimate times.

Tuesday, October 18, 2016


I've been going to a men's Bible study for the last couple of months.

Last night had an excellent reminder from 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18: Always rejoice. Never stop praying. Be thankful in all circumstances, for this is God's will for you who belong to Christ Jesus.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

No promises

I listened to an interview, on the radio today, with a young woman who had widely metastatic breast cancer.

When asked how she copes with everything she noted that she has been able to stop being overwhelmed worrying about the future because she now, more than any previous time in her life, understands that NONE of us are promised tomorrow.

She, therefore, prefers to live in the present and to make the most of each day.

I know I should always be doing the same.

I just don't always remember.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

All is fine

I cried today...but just briefly.

Someone I know from the YMCA asked how I was doing.

He knew my wife had died but we hadn't crossed paths for a long time.

He's a nice guy.

He wanted me to know that God is always with me.

That's when I noticed my eyes were wet.

I let him know I believed the same and thanked him.

I wiped the tears away.

We shook hands and went our separate ways.

I was actually fine soon after.

Time has clearly helped me to bounce back much quicker.

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Hurricane watch

Hurricane Matthew is on the way.

I've tried to prepare.

I know Tori is watching over us.

Today and everyday.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Day by day

"Then come the quiet times...our loneliness stares out at us from the mirror. All the places we used to go to together, we go alone."

"Maybe it would temper our grief a little to acknowledge how blessed we are to have had a love that rich."

"Though it may be heavy going for a while, we will realign our patterns of thought and expectation so we can be grateful for the life, and the memories, that we have."

Much thanks to Martha Whitmore Hickman for the above quotes.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Anniversary thanks

Today would have marked my 24th wedding anniversary.

All I would like to say to her is thanks for the wonderful life we shared.

Just thanks.

Sunday, September 25, 2016

Wise words

"Grieving can be habit forming and after a while we need to move on. Retreating into our own small world and its painful security will not protect us from further dangers...but it may keep us from savoring the world-its beauties and relationships, which are also passing, and which our loved one would want us to enjoy to the full."-Martha Whitmore Hickman

I continue to be quite a head case but words such as these really resonate with me and I'm so appreciative that authors such as this have put them down in written form.

Sunday, September 18, 2016

Times 5!

I saw a male in his home recently who is actively dying due to metastatic renal cell cancer.

I spent some time with his 84 y/o wife and wanted to make sure she was doing OK.

"I'll get through it. He'll be the 5th husband I've buried."

Her response took me by surprise and I didn't ask any follow-up questions.

It was great to have had someone to share everything with and to divide and conquer all of life's many, often daily, challenges.

I'm just so stunned at the thought of this woman having done so 5x's.

Monday, September 12, 2016

It's that time of the year again

Last year the month of September really sucked.

I recently got to spend three days with my daughter, which was GREAT, so that so far, this year, September just sucks  (note the absence of "really").

It's easy to understand why (birthdays for Tori, my son and my Dad all fall in September, as well as my wedding anniversary) but the depth of my sadness still takes me by surprise.

Things, in general, are less intense for sure but so many special dates in the same month seems to just amplify the issues related to grief that I've been dealing with for the last 14 months.

There's one big difference this year, however... I know I'll get through it.

I know I'll get through it.

Sunday, September 11, 2016

15 years

Our life changed in an instant on 6/18/2015.

So many other lives changed in an instant on 9/11/2001.

God bless all the families and our country.

Wednesday, September 7, 2016

# fourty-seven

Tomorrow would have been T's 47th birthday.

I'll make sure to reach out to everyone who is sure to remember.

I suspect I'll hear from some of them before I've had a chance to contact them.

She was loved/admired/respected by all.

It was pretty awesome to have been her right hand man for almost 26 years.

Monday, September 5, 2016

A good reminder

"It's easy to become disillusioned with the circumstances of your life compared to others'. When I am consumed by my problems-stressed out about my life, my family, and my job-I actually convey the belief that the circumstances are more important than God's command to always rejoice. To be brutally honest, it doesn't matter what place you find yourself in right now. Your part is to bring Him glory."

"Frankly, you need to get over yourself. It might sound harsh but that's seriously what it means."-Frances Chan

Sunday, September 4, 2016

A well placed canvas

"Faith is not knowing what the future holds but knowing who holds the future."

My daughter placed this quote on a canvas and it's been sitting a top our piano for years.

I've walked past it to numerous to count times-so many times that I stopped reading it.

I've been increasingly worried about most everything lately; actually, almost to the point of feeling completely overwhelmed.

The canvas recently caught my eye again.

I've been reflecting on the quote Ellie picked out, from so many she could have chosen, and conveniently placed in my path as I make my way around our home.

It's helping to settle me into a much better place.

Tuesday, August 30, 2016


My son continues to hurt.

His girlfriend of 4.5 years broke up with him because she needed "time alone to find herself."

He recently saw her making out with her new boyfriend and was informed they had been dating for over a month-starting just about two weeks after she broke up with him.

His confidence and self esteem have taken a huge hit but right now he's just really angry, in the F-U phase, and I'm fine with that.

I prefer that to him feeling sorry for himself and as if his life is over at age 21.

I hope T would agree.

I'm pretty sure she would.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Every new morning

"You are stunned at the normalcy of life around you as people go about their business, totally unaware that your world has stopped and your entire life has been turned upside down."

Over a year has past since T died.

I can honestly say, that for the most part, I am so much less stunned.

"Most everyone you meet is going through a battle you nothing about."

Until, that is, you get to know them better.

"Our experience of loss teaches us much. What comes, if we are fortunate, is a kind of empathy with all of creation-a sense of wonder at the suffering and the beauty, of the world."

I loved T with all my heart.

"The best memorial to your loved one is to live life fully, one day at a time."

"Every new morning starts a new page in your story. Try to make it a great one today."

I'll read this post again in the morning as a gentle reminder.

Friday, August 12, 2016


I helped my son move into his apartment today for his senior year of college.

I helped him move last year, around this same time, for his junior year. It was less than 2 months after T had died.

However, I wasn't fighting back tears and I wasn't a basket case, literally, on returning home alone this year.

I think about Tori every day.

I'm still sad that she can't experience these wonderful life events with our children and see what awesome young adults they continue to be, in largest part due to her.

I'm just not crying all the time and that's been good.

Thursday, July 28, 2016

A stronger faith

On driving home, from a rural area today, I passed a small church that had the following message on a sign out front:

"Come on in. Let God help you become the man your dog thinks you are."

What a great message.

It's true and I'm trying.

Sunday, July 24, 2016

Choice words

"Every person you meet today is either a construction or a demolition project. Your words will make a difference. Will they be weapons for construction or destruction?"-Author unknown

I've usually always tried to avoid breaking folks down with my words but I haven't always emphasized  building folks up with my words either.

I've usually felt that words of thanks are not necessarily needed if/when someone is doing what they are supposed to be doing.

I'm now understanding better that this is, in fact, a good thing to do.

Life is short-why not tell folks you are thankful for things?

"No matter what people tell you, words can change the world."-Robin Williams

Saturday, July 23, 2016

A surprise in most every cabinet

So many wonderful things mysteriously happened in our home over the years.

I would typically go to work on a day around a holiday and when I would get back home our house would be decorated.

Other times I would come home to a special treat-brownies, bundt cake or cupcakes.

My home is not large but does have a good amount of storage space.

I've been going through most every drawer and cabinet-drawers and cabinets that I never had a reason to go through before.

I've come across carefully stored Easter, Halloween, Thanksgiving and even Independence Day decorations.

I never knew we had 15 cupcake pans-all different sizes.

It's been emotional but time has helped.

I know I couldn't  have done this 6 months or so ago.

I'm saddened but more than anything just so incredibly thankful that we had such an amazing life together and that she made such an incredible home for us.

Just so truly thankful.

Monday, July 11, 2016

A fairy reduction

We used to have twice as many "fairies" in our home.

T was the grocery fairy,  the laundry fairy, the bathroom cleaning fairy, and the even more amazing cook fairy.

I was always the dish cleaning fairy, the trash-taking out fairy, the vacuum fairy and the weed pulling fairy.

Things are getting done but will never be the same. I'm usually really tired every night.
I'm fairied out.

Sunday, July 3, 2016

Still grieving?

A William Shakespeare quote:

"Everyone can master a grief but he that has it."

I think he means that "everyone who hasn't dealt with grief feels they can master it but anyone in the midst of grieving wonders if it will ever end."

It's true.

There's really no predictable timetable, unfortunately, for those grieving.

I never knew I would come across such a concise Shakespeare quote that I could understand and possibly use in the future!

Friday, July 1, 2016

On being heartbroken

My son's girlfriend of over 4 years recently broke up with him. He's really hurting. They started dating when he was 17 and she was 15. They are now 21 and 20.

She's an amazing young lady. She's been like another daughter.

When a break up is unilateral it hurts so much. It also feels like you have lost another family when you've been together so long.

I was dumped twice when I was younger. Both hurt. Both were relatively long term relationships.

During my first year of Medical School, my girlfriend of over 3 years broke up with me on Valentine's Day. I was studying a lot, and stressed, and she was working as a paralegal for a law firm in Washington DC, and socializing a lot. Every radio station had love songs playing on my two hour drive from DC back to Charlottesville. I cried like a baby. I lost track of her but I know she's been married.

I dated another woman during residency for a couple of years, until she broke up with me. She contacted me when she heard about Tori's death. We met for coffee a few months ago when she was down in Florida visiting her mother. She's been divorced for years. Her ex-husband reportedly was not a very good guy. She has two children. She wrote me a note after we met and wanted to explain that the real reason she had broken up with me some 28 years ago was because I was "too predictable." She went on to say that my predictable qualities were that I was "honest, kind caring and genuine." Qualities that she "came to appreciate" as she got older. I thanked her for saying such nice things about my character.

So...back to my son. I know he has strong faith. I've told him I know he's hurting to his core. I told him he's a great guy. I told him some things can't be explained. He knows that none of us know what tomorrow will bring, especially after losing his Mom last summer. I told him to take care of himself-eat, sleep and exercise. We will keep all communication lines open and he knows I will do anything for him. He knows he will experience all the emotions he experienced last summer, including anger, and that that is actually healthy. He knows that it will take an acting performance to pretend he's doing fine every time he cross paths with her for a while. He knows deep down that he has a great future ahead of him.

I know he doesn't need me to remind him how fortunate I was to be married to his Mom or how glad/blessed/proud I am to be his father. God had a plan.

I'm sure he will also eventually connect the paragraph above to my having had my heart broken twice when I was younger.

Thursday, June 30, 2016

Long term recipe

"Don't let loneliness drive you back into a relationship you know you don't belong in. Enter into a relationship when you're ready, not when you're lonely."-Author unknown

"Men replace and women mourn."-Author unknown

I've been able to abide by the first quote and I'm sort of offended by the second quote.

T will never be replaced.

I've never believed in "love at first sight" but I do believe in "attraction at first sight."

When T and I were first dating and would be out and about, we would often run into women that I knew.

Many times I knew them because I had dated them, once.

She would joke that I had dated every other single woman in town, once.

My explanation was that I would go on a date with someone I was attracted to and if there wasn't a connection I would remain friendly...just not go on any more dates.

Tori and I were together for almost 28 years.

I only had two other long term relationships prior-one for over 3 years and one that lasted 2 years.

All started with an attraction, became an attraction combined with a connection and then ultimately ended with love.

Attraction, connection and love.

That's my recipe for a sucessful long term relationship.

I have no clue if I will ever experience all three again.

If/when you fall...always get back up

"The ultimate measure of a man is not where he stands in moments of comfort and convenience, but where he stands at times of challenge and controversy."-Martin Luther King, Jr.

"And once the storm is over, you won't remember how you made it through, how you managed to survive. You won't even be sure whether the storm is really over. But one thing is certain. When you come out of the storm, you won't be the same person who walked in. That's what this storm's all about."-Haruki Murakami

"The pain you feel today is the strength you feel tomorrow. For every challenge encountered, there is opportunity for growth."-Author unknown

Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Sure could use some T

Just got home from work.

My son's girlfriend of over 4 years was driving away as I pulled into the drive-way.

She had just broken up with him.

I gave Tom a hug and said I was so sorry.

She's a great young lady and I know how much he loves her.

Shortly after my daughter called to let me know her beloved trainer for the Equestrian team at college, for the last 2 years, had just announced her retirement and would be leaving in a few weeks.

After a prolonged silence I said I was so sorry.

She's a wonderful, intuitive woman and she and Ellie have a special bond.

Both children are heartbroken.

I'm heartbroken for them.

Both are resilient and of strong faith but are really hurting. We will work through things.

I pray that I'll say and do the right things to help them navigate through these life events.

I just really miss T's wisdom and physical presence next to me.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Encouraging words

I met a remarkable women recently who has been widowed for the last three years from an equally remarkable man.

Her husband was diagnosed with ALS, in his late 40's, when their twin daughters were still in high school.

His disease progressed and he bravely elected to die naturally at home.

I had heard about her and her family (and all the things they had been doing to increase ALS awareness/research and funding) and she, through the same friend, had heard about the death of my wife.

We chatted briefly. I also saw her spending time talking with both of my children.

When we were getting ready to leave the gathering, she was gracious enough to pull me aside and let me know I was doing a great job with my children.

This simple statement filled my heart.

Besides having continued guilt over losing Tori, I've also often questioned, over the last year, how I'm doing as a single parent for my children-who are now both young adults.

I know I was a good husband, father, dish washer, garbage taker-outer, weed-puller, and youth sport coach but Tori was pretty much our everything.

I was always the co-pilot, her right-hand man.

Having this woman, who has been through so much, take the time to give me such encouragement, was more appreciated than I can adequately express in words.

I hope to do the same for others as well.

"Most everyone you meet is going through a battle of which you know nothing about."

...until you get to know them on a deeper level. Be encouraging.

Monday, June 27, 2016

Super absorbent!

I had always let T know that if/when I got demented:

1. If I remained nice to let me stay home wearing diapers but

2. If I was mean and nasty to put me away somewhere

Seriously, we had this conversation multiple times, because I spend a large part of my day seeing elderly demented individuals and have witnessed the stress on caregivers.

Lately, completely unsolicited, I've been getting ads to purchase "Adult Diapers" on my home e-mail.

I've previously never gotten them before.

The ads always make me think of the pact I had with T.

I envision she's letting me know that all will be fine in the future; I will be a nice elderly demented male. I hope so.

I'll do most anything to keep smiling.

Life with grief

“Grief can destroy you-or focus you. You can decide a relationship was all for nothing if it had to end in death, and you alone. OR you can realize that every moment of it had more meaning than you dared to recognize at the time, so much meaning it scared you, so you just lived, just took for granted the love and laughter of each day, and didn't allow yourself to consider the sacredness of it. But when it's over and you're alone, you begin to see that it wasn't just a movie and a dinner together, not just watching sunsets together, not just scrubbing a floor or washing dishes together or worrying over a high electric bill. It was everything, it was the why of life, every event and precious moment of it. The answer to the mystery of existence is the love you shared sometimes so imperfectly, and when the loss wakes you to the deeper beauty of it, to the sanctity of it, you can't get off your knees for a long time, you're driven to your knees not by the weight of the loss but by gratitude for what preceded the loss. And the ache is always there, but one day not the emptiness, because to nurture the emptiness, to take solace in it, is to disrespect the gift of life.” -Dean Koontz

Thursday, June 23, 2016

A new year

"Something quite unexpected has happened. My heart is lighter than it has been for many weeks. And suddenly at the moment when, so far, I mourned the least, I remembered her the best."-C.S. Lewis

It's just day#1 but there just might actually be something to passing the one year mark.

It's sounds absurd but I also feel less tired and achy than I have in a long time-basically, in a year.

I've always had a strong belief in the mind-body connection.

This is a perfect example.

A friend who lost his wife suddenly, years ago, told me that his first year sucked.

It did suck but it also made me a much better person.

I'm just disappointed T never got to experience Dr. Bill 2.0.

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

365:4:44 pm

Four forty-four PM, tomorrow, will represent three hundred and sixty-five days since Tori died.

Passing this day will be a big milestone.

I'm just planning to get through the 22nd and see how I feel on the 23rd.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Keeping it personal

Father's Day seems, at times, to have become a contest to write the most impressive personal message to your father or husband, thanking him for being the worlds best father, and to then post it on social media for ALL to see and comment; instead of just sending the individual a message, note or card.

I heard from my son and daughter today for Father's Day.

One Father's Day, years ago, when for some reason I was temporarily feeling unappreciated, I noted to Tori that I felt last in line in the family, in regards to her attention; even beneath our dog.

She smirked and wanted to know if I wanted to pick up some additional chores and duties related to our kids and dog.

She always kept it real by a simple reality check.

I quickly came off my pedestal.

But then she and my children presented me with a framed home-made certificate that was entitled "Billy's Fan Club."

She was the president of the club, and my #1 fan, and my kids and our dog were members.

I never again felt unappreciated. It still sits atop our piano.

I smile every time I look at it.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

The choice

Tori collapsed a year ago, today.

This has been the most profoundly sad year of my life with enough tears for a lifetime.

I'm getting through the day, however, thanks to a quote from the movie, "Shawshank Redemption," that's been stuck in my head.

"I guess it comes down to a simple choice, really. Get busy living or get busy dying."

I know Tori would insist that I choose the former so that's what I'm trying to do.

I rarely disagreed with her advice; she was smart, practical and always down to earth.

Friday, June 17, 2016

In an instant

"You sit down to dinner and life as you know it ends. In a heartbeat or the absence of one."-Joan Didion in her book "The Year of Magical Thinking."  She was describing the death of her husband who died while they were  eating dinner together.

49 people were killed this week, at an Orlando nightclub, while in the midst of having fun socializing and dancing by a deranged gunman.

A 3 year boy, visiting Florida with his family, was dragged into a lagoon this week by an Alligator and drowned.

Last evening I hit an errant tee shot, on a par 3, and struck an egret that died instantly.

Tomorrow evening at 9 pm will mark the 1 year anniversary of when my wife, daughter and I were watching TV and Tori collapsed.

"Everything can change in the blink of the eye. But don't worry; God never blinks."

Got it.

All the recent reminders aren't necessary but continue to drive the point home.

Today's mantra: "Accept what is, let go of what was, and have faith in what will be."

Saturday, June 11, 2016

Starting another day

"Part of every misery, so to speak, the misery's shadow or reflection: the fact that you don't merely suffer but have to keep thinking about the fact that you suffer. I not only live each endless day in grief, but live each day thinking about liviving each day in grief."-C.S. Lewis

I know I need to snap out of the funk I've been in again but the last few days have sucked.

"Happiness is beneficial for the body, but it is grief that develops the mind."-Marcel Proust

I would choose a less developed mind right now.

"There is a sacredness in tears. They are not the mark of weakness, but of power. They speak more eloquently than ten thousand tongues. They are the messengers of overwhelming grief, of deep contrition, and of unspeakable love."-Washington Irving

I agree.

"Grief is in two parts. The first is loss. The second is the remaking of life."-Anne Roiphe

I keep hoping to wake up from sleep with answers to all my questions.

I'm still waiting.

"Grief can be the garden of compassion. If you keep your heart open through everything, your pain can become your greatest ally in your life's search for love and wisdom."-Rumi

I hope so.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

T minus 13 days

A year ago today I was undergoing a revision on a left hip replacement that had initially been done in 1997, at age 37, due to dysplasia.

Tori, as always, was by my side.

9 days later she would collapse at home.

4 days after that she died.

I've been looking back through a journal I've kept and came across this from months ago:

"Cherish every moment and every person in your life, because you never know when it will be the last time you see someone."

I was so thankful of her being with me at the time of the surgery.

I just, obviously, had no idea that it would be the start of a 13 day countdown to losing her.

The next 13 days will be especially tough but I'll get through them.

The year of firsts will be coming to an end shortly.

Sunday, June 5, 2016

A 180

My emotions have been all over the place for months but have never been close to a 180 degree difference over the course of a day.

Even when doing "alright," I've just been doing "OK" and not overly hopeful.

This morning, on the way home from a college reunion, I stopped by a place that Tori and I had previously visited and was overwhelmed with sadness.

It persisted for hours after I left.

But earlier this evening I had a "Clarence, please, please...I wanna live again, I wanna live again!" moment (you know...Jimmy Stewart's famous line from the classic movie "It's a Wonderful Life").

I've been feeling that way now for a few hours.

I can't explain why but I'm going with it.

Truthfully, it's the first time in over 11 months that I've felt at all hopeful about the future.

Even if the feeling wanes a bit it's nice to know it can still be there.

Tuesday, May 31, 2016

The emotional dam leaked again

It's been over 11 months since Tori died.

I've been doing significantly better emotionally of late.

I decided to stop by and wish the teacher, who both my children had for kindergarten, congratulations on her pending retirement after a 36 year career teaching.

I basically just wanted to quickly drop off a thank-you card.

I started to tear up the second I saw her.

Dropping our kids off for kindergarten, so many years ago, was just one of so many memorable occasions for Tori and I.

Seeing the teacher, who is amazing, opened the floodgates to this memory.

I said a quick "hi and thank you," gave her a brief hug and left.

The emotions took me by surprise.

You would think I wouldn't be surprised after all this time by the intensity...but I am.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Too much information

A recent Facebook post from a wife of a close friend:

"Happy birthday to my partner, my best friend and my lover. Thank you for being my partner, my best friend and my lover."

I can only assume that all the stores were out of birthday cards so she decided to use Facebook to send all of us this personal message meant for her husband.

Or she wanted to clarify that he was, in fact, her lover in case anyone else was thinking of putting the moves on her or him for that matter.

Tori would have never sent me a public message such as this and would have been so annoyed with me if I ever did the same to her...and would have told me so.

It's another thing that I loved about her.

Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Some awesome young adults

Saw my sister this past weekend.

I mentioned it was so cool to see the amazing young adults her children had become.

She said the same about mine.

She noted that loving, doing your best to understand, accepting and enjoying their uniqueness seems, to her, to be the most important thing for parents to strive for in raising children.

I know Tori had similar thoughts.

Saturday, May 14, 2016

Don't worry, be happy

"Do not take overmuch thought for tomorrow. God, who has led you safely on so far, will lead you on to the end."

Too frequently trying to assess your "emotional temperature" while in the midst of grief can be exhausting.

It helps to not be so introspective.

God is in control.

I'm finally starting to get better at remembering that again.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Day #324

I've got some OCD traits for sure.

Despite two smart phones, an I-pad and a lap top, I still prefer to use a day planner that I write my to-do list for the day and cross out when a task is accomplished.

I've also been noting the days since T died, everyday.

Today is day #324 of LWT (Life without Tori).

Now that I've recorded it I can get on with the rest of my day.

I'm odd.

I know I am.

Sunday, May 8, 2016

Forever in our hearts

One of the songs we picked for T's memorial service, by Train, was "When I look to the sky."

"...'Cause when I look to the sky something tells me you're here with me
And you make everything alright
And when I feel like I'm lost something tells me you're here with me
And I can always find my way when you are here..."

It's Mother's day.
I'm going to go see my 84 y/o Mom today.
My children won't see their Mom today.

Tori was an amazing Mother.
I'm sure to have the lyrics in my head all day. 
I suspect my children will as well.

Wednesday, May 4, 2016


Something I read recently: when you are feeling down and blue tell yourself that life is worth living.

I've been doing that lately and it has been helpful.

I'll keep doing it until I read a different quote that speaks to me and then I'll give that one a try; still just taking things one day at a time.

Friday, April 29, 2016


"Grief for things past, that cannot be remedied, will never benefit me."

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

Kindness and Compassion

The 1st Tori Sheahan Memorial Award and Scholarship will be presented today at the award assembly for graduating seniors of Winter Park High School.

It's being presented to a student who has been recognized by faculty and administrators as having two traits that were always associated with Tori, by all who knew or had come in contact with her: Kindness and Compassion.

It's awesome and so greatly appreciated. My eyes are wet but they are truly tears of thanks.

Sunday, April 24, 2016


Had every intention of going to church today.

Got up in time to walk Dwight, eat breatfast, shave, shower and get dressed.

Left my house on time.

Arrived at church with some time to spare and while looking for parking saw a friend of mine walking toward the church hand in hand with his wife.

They didn't see me.

I rounded the corner and headed home.

Sometimes I feel as if I'm losing my mind.

I'm happy for my friend, and for all the others who have their family unit intact, but still just get so darn sad when I see happy couples.

I don't feel like this is the right mind-set to actually be able to listen and absorb a message from the Pastor.

I'll continue to work on my spirituality on my own for now.

Hopefully in the near future I'll be able to park my car and actually walk in.

Two steps forward and one back.

It's an improvement from months ago.

I keep reminding myself of that fact.

Friday, April 22, 2016

Another small step

Our last dinner together, on the night she died, was at Tijuana Flats.

We ate there about once a week for the previous 9-10 years-I'm not kidding.

I hadn't gone back there until tonight.

I ordered at the counter.

I didn't need a menu, even after not having been there for ten months.

I knew exactly what she would have ordered.

I scanned the inside for a table but then saw the table against the window where we had sat.

I decided to sit at an outside table.

I was alone but was surrounded by multiple couples and families doing what we had done for years: talking and laughing while eating and reviewing our day.

I'm sure no one had any idea what I was trying to work through.

To them I was just a dude having a meal.

But I was also a dude who was making a breakthrough.

It was another good step in the right direction.

Thursday, April 21, 2016

No promises

"Focus on today and look forward to tomorrow, but remember, tomorrow is not promised."

A 68 year old neighbor, who lives 4 houses away, seemed to be sleeping late so his wife left the home quietly yesterday morning to run some errands.

After returning home at 10 am she went to check on him and he was dead.

There was no suspicion of foul play.

His family is grieving but he actually had the perfect death-at home, in his own bed and while he slept.

I wonder what he was thinking about just before drifting off to sleep.

I suspect most of us think about the same thing: family related stuff.

If I wake up in the morning I'll try to have a great day.

It's always possible that it could be my last.

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Some new friends

Mignon McLaughlin: In the arithmetic of love, one plus one equals everything and two minus one equals nothing.

Ernest Hemingway: There is no lonelier man in death than the man who has lived many years with a good wife and then outlived her. If two people love each other there can be no happy ending to it.

I've been more out of sorts and lonelier over the last 9-10 months than I've ever been in my life.

However, I'm extremely appreciative of the many friends who in subtle, and not so subtle, ways have been so supportive as I continue to figure things out.

I have neighbors with whom I've been an acquaintance for over 20 years who are now friends.

That's been a really good thing.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016


Melissa Wilder Joyce: "The strength, courage and qualities I have found within myself through the process of grief is unparalleled to what I ever even knew existed."

I think I was a good husband.

I'm pretty sure I would have been an even better husband now.

I'm both proud and saddened by this realization.

Sunday, April 10, 2016

A fear of intimacy

I've gone to bed and awakened alone for 292 days.

I so miss her presence next to me at these times but would be lying to say I haven't had thoughts of wanting to be with a woman again.

But, I get queasy thinking about being with someone else intimately.

The absolute trust we shared allowed our intimate times to be amazing for so many years.

Obviously there's no way of knowing if I will ever find that again.

Many others are not so fortunate to have had what I had.

I spent 1/2 my life with T.

I'm actually sort of thankful for the queasiness.

It's helped me understand I'm not ready yet to pursue another relationship.

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Here and accounted for

Wayne Dyer had some wonderful quotes over his life.

"Present moment living...getting in touch with your now...there's really no other moment to live...the future is really just another present moment to live when it arrives."

Granted, easier said than done but, nontheless, still useful to help motivate one  to be present in the moment and to try and make the most of each and every day.

Wednesday, March 30, 2016

Happy face

Loss takes you, and keeps bringing you back, to some dark places.

Facebook is, overwhelmingly, usually sort of a show and tell about everything that's good in a persons life.

I completely understand.

The photos posted often show happy couples, friends of mine.

When I used to post the same type of photos I never, not even for a second, pondered how they would make someone who is struggling with loss feel.

I do now.

I don't like the feeling of being jealous of or resenting those whose partners are still living.

I need to take a break from looking at Facebook.

That's what I'm going to do.

Tuesday, March 29, 2016

The continued waves of guilt

Did I miss something related to T's health?

Should I have taken a more active role in her healthcare?

After she died I saw, in her day-planner, that she had postponed all of her regular doctors appointments until her job and the school year were completed for the year and my hip revision surgery was finished.

Should I have insisted she make earlier appointments? I didn't know she had postponed them but should have-she always thought of others before herself.

9 months since she died and I'm still, unfortunately, cycling through these same questions.

I know it's not a worthwhile use of my time.

The questions are draining.

I know I also should have asked for an autopsy-it's just that I wasn't thinking too clearly at the time.

I do know Tori would tell me to stop acting this way and to get on with my life.

Tomorrow's another day.

I'll try.

Monday, March 28, 2016

It's a wonderful life?

Easter has always has been a wonderful day.

Yesterday was as good as it could be but I wouldn't say it was wonderful.

Some days it seems that nothing will ever meet the definition of wonderful again.

I'm hoping this blog entry just falls under the category of another holiday in the "first year without" that so many others discuss.

Sunday, March 20, 2016

A new beat

"Tell your heart to beat again" by Danny Gokey:

"Let the shadows fall away-step into the light of grace-yesterday's a closing door-you don't live there anymore-say goodbye to where you've been-and tell your heart to beat again."

The weekend blues

Weekends remain an awkward time.

I'm never quite sure what to do with myself.

I haven't  been able to get comfortable trying to socialize yet so I basically just spend time walking my dog, cleaning, doing laundry, running some errands, doing some yard work and occasionally getting together with family.

About the only time I feel normal is when I'm at the YMCA.

I know I should get back to church more consistently.

It's just that the few times I've gone all I could think about were all the happy couples and families there and ended up feeling sad, instead of listening to the message.

I know it doesn't make a lot of sense and I'm trying to work through it.

I'll head to the "Y" soon.

I'll feel better for a while after that.

Sunday, March 6, 2016

Taxed out

I wasn't expecting tax prep, this weekend, to be so emotional.

Having to put down that I'm now a widower, record T's social security number, once again note her date of death and enter her last W-2 was incredibly sad.

I'm wiped and just hoping to drift off to sleep soon.

I'll be back trying to act normal again in the morning.

Sunday, February 28, 2016

Late to use the phrase

According to many, when your wife dies, you should refer to her as your "late wife" when talking to others.

Some suggest your "ex-wife" but that seems to be so much more common in those who are divorced.

Our marriage vows included "till death do us part."

After 8 months, however, I've only referred to Tori as "my late wife" in conversation one time.

I almost had to force myself to say it.

Over time I suspect I'll get used to it.

There aren't a lot of other options.

Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Side by side

Yesterday marked 8 months of going to sleep and waking up alone.

I was never, as T would say, much of a "cuddeler" in bed.

I just have never been able to sleep on my side.

She knew it and she always said she was fine with it.

For the most part, neither of us ever had trouble going to sleep for the night.

Comfort and confidence in what we had most always just enabled us to drift off to sleep easily.

It was pretty darn awesome.

I think about it a lot while tossing and turning.

Thursday, February 18, 2016

Another anniversary date

Exactly a year ago Ellie and Tori shared a wonderful snow filled mother-daughter weekend in Charlottesville while Ellie was also showing in a horseshow.

I still love to look at the pictures and videos they forwarded that were a result of their time together.

I didn't want to remind Ellie because I thought it might make her sad.

During our phone conversation today she acknowledged being down, sad.

She didn't need for me to remind her.

She knew.

Of course she did.

Monday, February 15, 2016

Words were always greater than things

Got through Valentines Day yesterday.

I did fine for the most part but had a recurring thought.

V-day was never about flowers or jewelry for us.

It was knowing we were confident in our relationship with each other and usually expressing it best in the form of a card with a message.

I've saved every card I received from her over the years.

Even though I know multitudes of the same store bought cards are produced it always seemed like she picked the perfect one, usually with a bit of humor, that mirrored our relationship. It was as if the card had been made just for us.

The added message was usually simple-thanking me for sharing life together.

Many are not so fortunate.

We never took it for granted.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Worth every second

I recently read a story about a dog owner who had to put his dog down due to cancer.

He wasn't sure if he would ever want to have another dog in the future because it just seems to represent a "countdown to sorrow."

That's such a depressing way to look at things.

Our dog was on clearance at the puppy store last November.

To be honest I liked the sound of that-the clearance part-when Tori told me we were going to look at a puppy.

No one had claimed him and he was already three months old.

I suspect he would have been put down if he went unclaimed.

Tori held him for about 5 minutes before he climbed up her chest and started to lick her.

She knew he was the one. We didn't look at any other puppies.

Dwight's been fun, gets me up in the mornings and just loves to hang out.

He's become sort of famous in our neighborhood. Everyone loves him. He's a buddy.

Sunday, January 31, 2016

Starting to bounce back?

The vortex of emotions can come at unexpected times.

Watching a TV show may evoke memories; even opening a cabinet at home.

I've read that the only way to stop the vortex from paralyzing you is by rebuilding your emotional resiliency to face memories.

I think I'm starting to rebuild some but am only cautiously optimistic because you never know what tomorrow will bring.

Fingers crossed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2016


I joined a support group last week.

The 1st homework assignment was to bring in a family picture or two to tomorrow's group.

I spent a short amount of time looking at some old photos earlier this evening.

I've spent a much longer time trying to recover emotionally.

The homework led to heartache.

I'm sure that was expected.

We will talk about it tomorrow.

I'll be fine.