Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Eve

I know this might sound a little nutty, but for me, New Year's Eve is going to be the hardest holiday to go through without Bobby. Some people might think it would be Christmas or my anniversary, but tonight, New Year's Eve, will be the hardest.

I know everyone's traditions and situations are different, but for me, on Christmas Eve and Christmas, I was missing him badly, but I was so busy and surrounded by my family and I was in constant movement...serve appetizers, serve dinner, clean up, open gifts, serve dinner, clean up again. Not a lot of time to think until everyone left, then cried and went to bed.

It so happens this year, on my anniversary, I had made plans for some home repair to be done, since it was a Saturday and I'd be home. And truthfully, we never really celebrated our anniversary on "the day" most of the time simply because if it fell on a weekday, we had to go to work that day and more than likely drive the kids somewhere that evening. So I got through that. (I'm not saying it was easy, but there were distractions).

But in my lifetime, New Years has always been all about midnight, couples, and the kiss. Every year, at midnight, no matter who we were spending it with, all the couples would stand next to their spouses, count down backwards, and at midnight, kiss each other, and then hug and kiss the kids. I kissed him for the last nineteen New Years Eve's and planned on kissing him for a lot more than that, but tonight I won't be able to do it.

So New Years has gone from "fun with friends and the kiss at midnight" to just another blaring opportunity for loneliness to rear it's ugly head. It is so hard to get my head around the fact that I will never again get a New Year's kiss. Maybe I'll just go to bed at 9:00.

Saturday, December 25, 2010


Well, it's Christmas evening, I'm home with my PJ's on, and the festivities are over. My boys are busying themselves around the house and I'm here with my laptop. I made it through my first Christmas Eve and Christmas Day without Bobby, although I had my moments where the loneliness was both physically painful and absolutely unbearable.

I put up the tree and decorated the house (sans mistletoe). I shopped at the mall. I managed to entertain yesterday, since I couldn't bear the thought of my house being empty. I watched my kids open their presents this morning; I even managed to take pictures. I went to my sister-in-law's today to have Christmas dinner, and celebrate my nine-year-old niece's Christmas birthday. I gave and received presents, and tried the vodka-spiked punch and had some cake. I even laughed with my four-year-old niece who can be very entertaining. But something was missing....

I'm not talking about the obvious...of course Bobby was missing, that is a given. But there was - is - something else missing...and that is joy. No matter what I do or where I go or who I am with, there is no longer any joy in my heart. I was one of those people who really enjoyed Christmas and the whole season...I never wanted or wished it to be over like some people do. But the joy of the season, even the every day joy that people experience, is gone. It's just gone, and there doesn't seem to be anything I can do about it.

Merry Christmas, Bobby, where ever you are. I miss you....

Thursday, December 16, 2010


OK, I guess at some point I had to address this issue.

Yes, I wear black. I’ve been wearing black since the day after Bobby died. I’ve been told its “creepy”. I’ve also been told I’m too old to be “goth” – that it is a “high school thing”. Recently, several friends, relatives and colleagues have asked me after the six month mark when I am going to stop. My answer? "When I open my drawer one day and I want to wear something else." It's intrinsic. The choice must come from within.

The tradition comes down from my ethnic heritage; my grandmother wore black for a year after my grandfather died. I wasn’t even born yet at the time, so I don’t know if she just stopped wearing black exactly one year and one day after it happened, or not. It’s just that it felt right when I started, and still feels right. The only time I don’t wear black is when I am wearing Bobby’s clothing around the house, which consists of his pajama pants, his t-shirts and his fuzzy bathrobe.

It’s not like I’m wearing a long black gown and a black lace veil to go with it. I still wear modern clothes (black jeans, corduroys, dress pants) and normal black blouses and sweaters with various embellishments – I even bought a black t-shirt for myself that says “Rock and Roll Hall of Fame” when I took my kids there over the summer. I don’t feel like I’m being creepy or goth. I’m just doing what I feel like doing. Wearing colors, right now, does not feel right. One of my colleagues recently told me that she cannot believe that someone can wear all black, every day, and still have the wide variety of outfits that I have.

Besides, there are a lot of good things about wearing all black. First and foremost, it was Bobby’s favorite color in clothing and he liked me in black. And you wouldn’t believe how incredibly easy it is to get dressed in the morning for work when all your clothes are the same color. Not to mention the slimming effect....

Friday, December 10, 2010

An "A-HA" Moment?

I was talking to a colleague of mine earlier this week, and I was telling her how I was really surprising myself. I told her that the holiday season was not turning out to be as hard as I thought it was going to be. It confused me, but I thought to myself, wow...maybe I’ll really be OK. I had an "A-HA" moment...or should we call it a "DUH" moment instead?

Because it dawned on me tonight...of course the holiday season wasn’t bothering me....because I was ignoring it. I have not listened to any Christmas Carols, opting instead to stick to classic rock. Aerosmith’s Dude Looks Like a Lady is a lot more appealing to me than Celine Dion’s Oh Holy Night. (Well, let’s face it, even before Bobby passed away, we would both probably have made the same choice.) I have not decorated my house yet. Not one thing, except for the Lego Advent Calendar that the kids pulled out just so they could put together the Lego figures. And holiday shopping? I’ve been doing all my holiday shopping on-line. So of course it was not bothering me...because I was not bothering with it.

But that changed today. I dropped my son off at a friend’s house and my other son was at Boy Scouts, so I figured it was a good time to run to the store to pick up some gifts I hadn’t found online. So I went to Kohl’s. As soon as I walked in, I felt like I’d been hit by a truck. Holly and poinsettias and Christmas trees all around! Slow sappy Christmas songs over the PA. (Thank goodness they weren’t playing Elvis’s Blue Christmas). An inordinate amount of husbands and wives shopping together, and don’t even ask me about the men’s department. (All the shirts I saw that would have looked great on Bobby....)

So boy, was I ever wrong when I spoke to my colleague earlier this week. I’m not handling it well. Not at all. So like the rest of us who are experiencing our first holiday season without our beloved, I’m muddling through the best that I can. I’ll decorate the house for the kids, but I’ll stick to my Classic Rock on the radio. Small doses. That is all I can take right now.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

What Silver Lining?

Every time I’ve ever had something crummy happen to me in my life, I’ve always managed to find the “silver lining”. Lost a job? Got a better one. Lost a friend? She wasn’t really a friend to begin with. Broke up with a boyfriend? Somebody better came along. Fight with Bobby? We learned something that made our relationship stronger. Bobby came up with the best one ever: he was divorced before he met me, and it was a horrible experience for him. One time I asked him if he wished he had not married his first wife and married someone else so that he would never have had to go through his horrible divorce. He said no, because if he had not married her, he would have never gotten divorced and married me. So even in his divorce was he able to find a “silver lining”.

Well, I’ve decided in widowhood, there is no silver lining. At least in my case, and most cases, I’m sure. (I did see a woman on a talk show once that told the host that she was actually glad her husband died because they had such a horrible relationship and she was finally free of him, but I’m sure this woman’s experience was the exception.) I can think of absolutely no silver linings that can come from his death.

I do not mean that I cannot have good experiences, good friends, good times. But there is nothing that I can think of that could happen to me where I would say to myself, “There is the silver lining.” Sure, some things have changed and become somewhat more “convenient” since he passed away. For example, I can now go down the shore during the week when there is no traffic; I do not have to wait for weekends when he is off. I’m not being woken up by snoring. I can set the thermostat to where I’m comfortable without worrying about him turning it up, resulting in me sweating in the middle of January.

But none of these qualifies as a silver lining.

Even if his death resulted in me getting zillions of dollars, a new love, or even the throne of England, I would never believe that any of those were worth his death.

Because even if “good” or “convenient” things could happen as an indirect result of his death, “better” things never will. Because I would take the weekend traffic, the snoring and the sweat back in a heart beat if I could have him back here with me. No amount of money or no other man, will ever cause me to say, let alone think, “Boy am I glad he died!”.

And I’ve never really had any interest in the throne of England since I was about twelve.

Friday, November 19, 2010

"The Day the Music Died"

I was on my way to work this morning and the song American Pie by Don McLean came on the radio. I’ve always liked that song, so I’m listening to it, and then he sings at the end of the first verse, "...the day...the music...died". It hit me like a ton of bricks.

Bobby was a musician. He was innately talented, and self taught himself to play the guitar and the banjo, and damn, he was good. He never played professionally, and he didn’t like playing in front of crowds, so he never performed on a stage. In fact, the only time he played in front of a crowd was when he played at our church a couple of times. Other than that, he would usually play alone, with his brother, or with a friend. And in the past few years, before he was diagnosed, he would occasionally play along with our sons when they were practicing their instrument lessons. But my favorite time that he played was when he played for me. He took requests.

He would relax after a day at work by playing the banjo or guitar while watching television, which baffled me. I could never understand how he could successfully play a banjo while watching Diners Drive-ins and Dives. I was not a huge fan of banjo or blue grass music before I met Bobby, and really never had any interest in that type of music. But when it was him playing, I loved every note. Even when he played the tune from the movie Deliverance, which I watched with him and hated. He would play the tune just to get a reaction from me, which usually consisted of my eyes rolling, and a reiteration of how much I hated that movie. Then he would laugh. Once in a while, he even played tunes that he made up in his head, which I especially loved.

I remember shortly after he was diagnosed, I was making dinner and around the corner in the family room he was sitting on the couch playing his guitar. He wasn’t playing any song in particular, but it was the familiar finger-picking and strumming that I loved hearing. And I started to cry. I did not let him see me cry, because I didn’t want to upset him, but I couldn’t bear the thought of never hearing him play again. So I tried to memorize the sound in my head.

Unfortunately, there are no recordings that I know of in which he plays either the guitar or banjo. His banjos sit in our family room now, collecting dust. I bought myself a beginner’s banjo book, with the hopes of learning to play, but I have absolutely no musical talent whatsoever, so I’m wondering where that is going to go. My younger son, who is learning the guitar, will play his dad's guitars once in a while.

So in addition to the loss of my wonderful husband on that horrible day in April, for me, it is the day the music died.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

This One's for Daddy

Well, today is Bobby's birthday. His first birthday we are experiencing without him. Truthfully, in "widow-time", it set me back quite a few months.

I cried on the way to work. Held in the tears all day, then cried on the way home. Cried when my youngest cried. Crying now. Will most likely cry when I go to bed later.

This may sound redundant, but I feel so bad because I feel so bad on his birthday. Know what I mean? His birthday is supposed to be happy. Not that we made a huge deal out of it when he was alive. The kids enjoyed his birthday more than he did, and that is the part he really enjoyed. He would watch them get all excited when he would open his presents, which I let them pick out. (You can only imagine what he got...stuffed animals, boxer shorts with Disney characters, you get the idea.) All he ever requested on his birthday was to "order a pizza".

So tonight, like I planned, we ordered a pizza. My younger son, who typically only eats once piece of pizza, ate two tonight. When he put the second piece on his plate, he said, "This one's for Daddy."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The First Week of November... a word, sucks.

November 3? Our civil anniversary. November 6? Our church anniversary. November 9? His birthday. It didn't fall this way on purpose, but he was thankful it was all in the same week. First, it was easy for him to remember "3, 6, 9", which meant he would never forget either of our anniversaries. (He wasn't going to forget his birthday.) It also meant when we went to church, he didn't have to stand up in front of the congregation alone for the "special event blessing" that they do every month. I was always with him, celebrating our anniversary along with his birthday, and he didn't have to stand up there alone.

Now this week we looked forward to every year has become one of the banes of my existence. It's not the same fun week it used to be. This week will never be the same again.

Every year on our wedding anniversary, my husband would send me roses. And he would send them to work, so I would have the pleasure of getting the phone call that there was a delivery for me in the front office, and then I would get to walk the hall with the roses to put them on my desk and get all the comments from my colleagues about how lucky I was.

Well, it's not rocket science for you to figure out that I didn't get the roses this year. I already knew that I wouldn't be getting them, but the actual not getting them bothered me. However, I'm positive that he remembered, and sent me a sign. I was in a Wawa yesterday, (the church anniversary) getting myself a cup of coffee, and on the sound system came that silly song, "Going to the chapel, and we're gonna get married." I never hear this song on the radio, so I feel like it was his way of telling me that he remembered, and that he was with me on our anniversary.

It's only Sunday night right now, and I don't know what Tuesday, his birthday, will bring this year. We never really made a huge deal out of his birthday, he didn't like that. All he ever wanted was a pizza and some home-made cards from the kids.

So I'm thinking on Tuesday night, I might just order a pizza.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Day of the Dead, the Corduroy Jacket and a Big Hug

I don't know a lot about Spanish or Hispanic Heritage, but I do know that on November 1st, they celebrate something called "Day of the Dead". I've been thinking about this day for a while now, and I was thinking I might want to celebrate it, since I unfortunately have someone to celebrate. But since it was a regular work day, then I had plans after work to help my son study for a science test and take my other son for a hair cut, there wasn't much time for celebrating.

I was thinking, "What can I do today to celebrate my husband?" I wanted something simple and easy, but not something that would make me look like I was losing my mind, either. After all, I was going to work.

Then I remembered the corduroy jacket. My husband had (has) a corduroy jacket that he liked to wear basically all winter. He was always cold (even before he was sick), so he would wear this jacket day in and day out, until I got sick of looking at it. However, despite my feelings about the jacket, it became part of him, and now I really miss it. So I took it out of the closet for the first time since he passed away. I put it on and looked in the mirror. No, it did not look great on me. The sleeves were too long, and the jacket itself was too big, and the corduroy is fading, so it was a lighter shade of black than the pants I was wearing. But I folded up the sleeves and wore it anyway. It felt good.

I may not have been the most stylish person at work today, but I'm sure I was the only one walking around wearing a big hug.

Saturday, October 30, 2010


Let's face was bound to happen sooner or later. I'm surprised it took this long.

I made waffles this morning for my sons for breakfast. I'm normally not a big "breakfast" person, I don't particularly enjoy pancakes, waffles, bacon, sausage and other traditional breakfast foods. I'd rather have a turkey sandwich for breakfast. But my husband LOVED breakfast. He was the one who would break out the Aunt Jemima's on Saturday morning, and make pancakes.

So this morning, I decided to splurge for the kids and make the big traditional breakfast. When I went to look for the pancake mix, there wasn't any. We didn't have any Bisquick, either. So I went to the computer and looked up a waffle recipe from scratch. I made the waffles, served the waffles, and after the kids took a few bites, they looked at me really sadly. "What's wrong?" I asked.

They looked terrible. They wanted to tell me something but they didn't want to say it. They kept giving each other looks, as if to say, "YOU tell her." "No, YOU tell her." But I already knew what it was. "I'm sorry Mommy. We like Daddy's waffles better."


I assured them that it was OK, and explained that I had to make them from scratch this time, because we didn't have any pancake mix. They actually looked relieved, as if they were thinking, "Oh thank goodness it's not Mom's fault. We can dislike the waffles and not feel bad!"

I knew the feeling. After my own dad died, I really missed his French Toast. Mom's never tasted the same.

After the waffles were in the compost bin, my younger son took out some pizza rolls from the freezer and made them for breakfast. All three of us chowed down on them. No hard feelings.

But rest assured I will be buying pancake mix on my next trip to the grocery store.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Getting Real on TV

I was watching one of my favorite shows on TV the other day and there was a story about a widower getting married. He was having a conversation with his Godfather on the morning of the wedding, and he was talking about his first wife, Rebecca.

"Rebecca’s on my mind all the time now that I’m getting married again. And the longer she’s gone, the more perfect she becomes when I think about her. You know, but the truth is, she was beautifully human. Never hung up a damp towel in her life. Never filled up the car when the gauge was on “E”, and every once in a while she would use the word “impact” as a verb. And I would do anything to bring her back, but I can’t. And I don’t want to be alone."

First, I need to say kudos to the writers for this monologue. If that writer has not lost a spouse, I’d be very surprised because I could not believe the way he or she captured the feelings of a grieving spouse.

The monologue makes two points that really resonated with me. First, he admits that Rebecca was not perfect. I can definitely say that Bobby was not perfect. He left socks on the floor, toothpaste in the bathroom sink, dirty dishes in the kitchen sink, and for some unknown reason that I could never figure out, he would put his dirty clothes on top of the hamper instead of inside of it. But even though these are true, he does become more perfect as every day goes by that he is gone, and I would give anything to see those socks on the floor again.

I am also happy with the way the writer of this show acknowledges that the widower would do anything to bring back Rebecca, even though he is marrying his fiancée that day, whom he does truly love. I don’t know any widow or widower, no matter how much in love they may be with their new partner, saying or even thinking, “Boy, am I glad so-and-so died, because if they didn’t, I wouldn’t have met so-and-so.” This might sound harsh, but it is how I feel. So it was refreshing to see a widower (albeit a fictional one) admit those feelings, even on his wedding day.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

"If it's any consolation..."

I was at work today and ran into one of the maintenance guys, Vinnie, who knew my husband also through work, and they even shared a birthday. Bobby and Vinnie sort of got to be "work friends", although they never hung out outside of work.

Vinnie asked me how I was doing, and I said the usual, "I'm okay, doing the best that I can." He then went on to tell me how he missed seeing Bobby at work, and how he thought about him whenever he thought of his own birthday. Then he said, "I have another friend named Bob, who I talk to a lot, and whenever I go to call him on my cell phone, I see Bob's number right under his. If it's any consolation, I can't delete it. I just leave it there."

Well, you know what? It is a consolation. I like hearing people tell me that they can't or don't want to forget him. It doesn't take away any of the pain of missing him, but it does give me a sense of relief that someone else out there is still thinking about him. I really want, (or need?) for him to be remembered.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Another Ending

I decided on a whim this evening to take my younger son to The Lone Star Steakhouse for dinner. We hadn't been there in a while, in fact, the last time we were there was with Bobby. The place was packed, which I thought was a little unusual for a Sunday night, and we were told there was a 15-20 minute wait. So we waited.

When we were seated, the server introduced herself (Kelly) and told us immediately, "We are out of a lot of things on the menu. Tonight is our last night."

"Forever?" I asked, a little confused.

"Yes, forever. They just told us last week we are closing. They are tearing down the building to build a Buffalo Bill's Brewery,” she explained.

Under normal circumstances, this would not bother me. But under my abnormal circumstances, tonight it did. Not because I'm a big fan of the Lone Star Steakhouse, but because Bobby and I made a wonderful memory there about 13 years ago when our oldest was just a baby. We went to eat there, and my son had his first piece of pumpernickel bread. He gnawed on that bread forever, and it was so cute. We got such a kick out of it, and talked about it for years to come, entertaining our now-14-year-old with the story.

I remember where we sat in the restaurant that night. I remember looking at my son in the high-chair, which was pushed up against the booth. I remember that it was also our first time at the Lone Star, and how much we loved their pumpernickel bread that they served warm.

It made me realize something: the memories that Bobby and I made are finite. Now, I know we are all mortal and everything that we do is finite, but in my case, the end has already come and gone, and no more memories will be made, and I'm young enough for it to bother me. And now, one of the places that reminded me of a wonderful memory is going to be torn down. It made me realize another cold hard truth...that one by one, the memories are all going to be torn down, and no new ones will be made to take their places.

I never knew the Lone Star Steakhouse could make me so sad.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Let's Talk.....

...about my husband. Seriously. I do want to talk about him.

I went to a BBQ over Labor Day Weekend and my cousin, who is the sweetest person ever, was talking to me about any and everything but Bobby. At one point in the conversation, it was natural for me to mention him. I don’t remember what we were talking about...but his name came up. My cousin said, “I knew that, but I didn’t know if you wanted me to mention him. I didn’t want to remind you.”

“Remind me? I think about him 24-7,” I said.

She hugged me.

Last week, I met a new supervisor at work, who I know for a fact knew my husband through work (for new readers, we worked at the same place, only in different departments). We exchanged formalities and went on our way. I saw her again the next day in the hall, and we again exchanged formalities. No mention of Bobby whatsoever.

I felt like I’d been punched. It was like he did not exist. I wasn’t looking for a dissertation, but a simple, “I knew Bob. I’m sorry for your loss." Even something simpler like, "I knew Bob. He was a great person to work with." I would have even settled for, "I knew Bob. He drove me crazy."

I love when people remember my husband to me, and I feel badly when they don’t. They don’t even have to say his name. Now that school has started, and summer is over, I re-enrolled my son into a music program that he had enjoyed last year, and when we walked into the first session, the director of the program saw me and he asked, “How are you?”

I responded with the customary, “Fine.”

He said, “No, really.” Then he hugged me.

Even though he didn’t mention Bobby, I knew he was thinking of him. I like when people remember him. I want to hear his name. I want people to know that it’s OK, even more than OK, to mention him. It actually makes me feel warm that he is not forgotten.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Hoarders - Widow Style

I don’t watch a lot of television, especially reality shows, so I’m not really up-to-date on what is out there. I recently learned, though, that there is a reality show called Hoarders, about people whose homes are covered wall to wall with junk that they can’t seem to let go of.

Well, lucky for me, I’m not going to be on that show. However, I am having trouble throwing things out. Bobby’s things. Not mine, not my kids’, only his.

The other day I was looking for my shoes that I had kicked under the bed the day before. Upon retrieving them, I also came across Bobby’s old sneakers. Not the pair he was currently using when he died, but the pair that came before. I thought he had thrown these away ages ago. (Shows you how much I look under my bed). So I went to throw them away, and got halfway to the garbage can, turned around, and put them right back under the bed where they were. I then looked up and said, “Why didn’t you throw these out when you got the new ones? Now I can’t!” I know he is laughing at me.

I’ve also spent the last few months slowly cleaning out my house, which had been somewhat neglected during my husband’s illness. I keep finding papers that he wrote on: notes, phone numbers, grocery lists and other assorted things. Every time I try to throw one out, I can’t do it. It got to the point where there were so many, that in the name of organization, I created a file in my filing cabinet where I can put all these pieces of paper.

Then there is his clothing. I cannot part with any of it. Luckily, I have two sons who would like his ties, dress socks and T-shirts. My older son even took some of my husbands “nice” shirts because according to my son they are “cool”. I’ve been wearing his bathrobes and T-shirts, too. But his suits, dress shirts and pants are still hanging in the closet, exactly where he left them. I have no intention to get rid of them right now. It’s just something I cannot do.

His deoderant is still under the sink in the bathroom. His toothbrush still hangs with the rest of ours. His wallet, with everything in it, is still in his top dresser drawer, along with his keys and his cellphone.

When he first passed away, I couldn’t even throw out the little cards that the doctors wrote his appointment times on. However, I was able to finally throw them away, because I reasoned with myself that one, he didn’t write on them, and two, he wasn’t going to be able to make those appointments anyway.

There is no rush for me to dispose of his things. They are not in my way, and if they make me feel just a teeny tiny bit better, then they are certainly worth holding onto. So while the hoarding that they show on TV is unhealthy and depressing, this hoarding – widow style – is OK in my book.

Monday, August 30, 2010

Looks Can Be Deceiving

If one more person tells me how well I am doing after the death of my husband, and how strong I’ve been, I’m going to scream.

Because along with this wrongly perceived strength and well being, comes the comments that are for the strong woman, the “cold hard truths” and frankly, I don’t want to hear the “cold hard truth”. I’m living it every day so I have no need to have it pointed out to me, especially if I am having one of those extremely rare moments when I am not thinking about it. A friend once said to me, “Well, the cold hard truth is he is gone, and you don’t have to worry about what he has to say about it.” I wanted to say, "Thank you for making me feel more crappy than I already do."

I’m not doing well. But when people ask me how I am doing, they expect to hear something like “I’m doing well”, or, at the very least “I’m doing OK...hanging in there”. Both of these answers must be accompanied by a smile, lest they think there is something seriously wrong with me. What I really want to tell them is that my world feels like it is falling apart at the seams and there are actually times where I want to throw myself in front of a moving bus. I would love to say to someone when asked how I am, “Well, I feel like crap. I walk around like there is a black cloud over my head, and even when I am laughing, I am crying inside. I’m almost positive that I’ll never be genuinely happy again and that I’ve been sentenced to a long life of loneliness without my soulmate, but I’m muddling through life with this fake smile plastered on my face because I have two kids that I love and I owe it to them to give them a good life, considering they no longer have a father.”

Society has this I-Am-Woman-Hear-Me-Roar ideal that after any kind of tragedy, a woman is supposed to bounce back almost immediately or she is seen as weak, co-dependent and an embarrassment to the female species. According to that ideal, what I’m really “supposed” to do is put all his pictures away, get a makeover, sign up on eHarmony and tell everyone that I am doing well. HA! Never going to happen my friends. And now you know the truth, so you can stop asking me that ridiculous question, and expecting that even more ridiculous answer.

Friday, August 27, 2010

A Season of Firsts - It's Not Just the Holidays

When you become a widow, it is common knowledge that the first year is going to, in a nutshell, suck. The first Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Christmas or Hanukkah, New Year’s, Valentine’s Day, anniversaries and birthdays, all fall into this category.

But then there are the firsts which are not as defined, but they hurt just as much or maybe even more depending on your family traditions. For example, I was in Cape May last week, and it was the first time I had been to Cape May as an adult without Bobby. I wasn’t even thinking about it or dreading going; instead I was focused on taking a friend of mine who had never been there. But once I got there, I got a horrible pain that hit me in the stomach the way a baseball hits you in the back of the head...very unexpected and extremely painful. I was in Cape May without Bobby. I was in the quaint little shopping district without Bobby. I was going to walk in the Five and Dime without Bobby. I was going to admire the town's beautiful architecture, which Bobby loved, without him. I became sad and introspective, and my poor friend was stuck with me. She gets lots of points for patience.

This experience stuck with me, and today while I was putting our family activities on the new school calendar, I realized that our annual apple-picking trip will no longer include Bobby. The annual hospital picnic that we attend every year will no longer include Bobby. Our holiday trips into NYC will no longer include Bobby. My first day back at church after the funeral was ridiculously tough, and even though I’ve been back to services several times since then, I cannot even get through a service without crying.

Even something as simple as buying concert tickets for a Beatles Tribute Band was sad...I only had to order three tickets instead of the normal four. When is three ever going to be normal? Four is normal for our family, dammit, not three!! I guess we have to use that new normal number for our family. God, how I hate that phrase, ‘new normal’.

I wonder now how many more unexpected firsts I’m going to be hit with over this next year. Maybe even the second year. Whether it is picking apples or Christmas Day, it’s going to be very tough. I hope I can get through it with grace, but if I can’t, I hope my friends and family will be patient with me and understand!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

"Life on Mars"

I was watching DVD reruns of a show from 2008 called “Life on Mars”. In a nutshell, it’s about a cop named Sam from 2008 that ends up back in time, to 1973, working as a cop. He says in the beginning of the show, “...I don’t know how or why I’m here, but it’s like I’ve landed on a different planet...

Like Sam, I don’t know why I’m here in Widowhood, but I do know how (damn cancer). And it really is like living on another planet.

It’s a whole other life. Sure, I have the same job, same house and the same kids, but it’s completely different. As I’ve said before, my husband and I worked at the same place, so my workplace is completely different. He is not there for me to bounce things off of, the one person I could trust completely, without reservation, to talk to about work openly, honestly, and humorously. I could say what was really on my mind without having to worry about being politically correct. He would also send me emails throughout the day, just to say he loved me. I miss that the most.

It goes without saying that my home life is completely different, too. From learning how to use a weed-whacker to worrying about car inspection...that was all part of his domain, and now they are in mine. I’m not very mechanical, so I find it somewhat difficult.

Then there is the single parenting. There is no longer anyone for me to discuss with what is best for the kids; are we doing this right? Should we let the 14-year-old do this, or the 12-year-old do that? What if I make a wrong decision? And how the heck am I supposed to teach a teenage boy how to shave his face? I’m guessing it’s a lot different than shaving my legs.

Lastly are the dreaded social situations. For the last nineteen years, I was part of a couple. Now I am a single. God, I hate being a single. I went from dropping my kids off at the water park and walking hand-in-hand with Bobby on the boardwalk to dropping my kids off at the water park and sitting on a bench reading a magazine. Feeling completely pathetic, even though one of my friends with four kids pointed out that if she saw a woman sitting on a bench peacefully reading a magazine she would be jealous. I see her point, but it doesn’t make me feel any better.

So yes, I am living on Mars as far as I am concerned. And it is a really lonely planet.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

"...I Want to Marvel at Something"

I went to see the movie “Eat Pray Love” last night. I read the book a few years ago, and really enjoyed it, so I figured I might as well see the movie. I really like Julia Roberts, and the movie was good, but not as good as the book. For those of you not familiar with the story, it is the memoir of Liz Gilbert, who after a string of unsatisfying and bad relationships, decides to go on a journey around the world to learn to live with just herself, without a man. (She does find love in the end, even though she is not looking for it. Luckily for her, it is the healthy love that everybody really wants, not a dependent dysfunctional love. But that is not my point.)

I think Liz’s idea could really work for widows, too. Of course, I can’t imagine a jaunt around the world with my two boys in tow. I’m sure they would be all for the eating part in Italy, but ripping them away from their friends and activities for praying at an ashram in India and meditating with an old guy that looks like Yoda in Bali would not be their first choice of fun things to do. I’m sure it is not even in their top hundred. Given the choice, I’m sure they’d rather watch paint dry on a wall.

In the story, Liz loses her ability to savor life. Her line,I used to have this appetite for food, for my life. And it’s just gone. I wanna go someplace where I can marvel at something” really resonates with me. But just like she lost her appetite from being in bad relationships, I’ve lost my appetite because I’ve lost my great relationship. My life is very empty; except for the shuffling around that I do to get my kids to and from activities and friends’ houses in order to keep their lives normal. My appetite for MY life is gone. There is really nothing that I WANT to do with it anymore.

My husband and I had plans. We were going to travel. We were going to live on a houseboat. We were going to get a dog. Hell, we were even going to watch all the reruns of The Sopranos together, since we hadn’t seen every episode. And now my appetite for doing these things is gone.

Like Liz, I want to marvel at something, like I used to. No, I never got to marvel at the Taj Mahal or the Great Wall of China, but together, we marveled at simple things, like a rainbow or a beautiful flower, even something simple as a joke, each other’s laughter, or our house after just cleaning it. But all this has been taken away from me along with my husband. My son pointed out a rainbow the other day and I found it so hard to really care, even though I was able to fake it for him. (And I used to really like rainbows.) Now I go from day to day, doing the things that have to be done, and not getting any real enjoyment out of anything. I may laugh and smile at times, but there is always a black cloud looming over my head, ready to envelop me at any given time without warning.

So what can I do about it? Taking a trip around the world to find myself like Liz did is out of the question, given my job and my kids. So where is a widow to go to marvel at something again?

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

I'm Not a Marine Biologist

Disclaimer: It is not my intention to offend anyone with this post, and I want to apologize in advance if I do. I certainly mean NO lack of respect to anyone, but I feel the need to be honest while posting in order for this blog to remain genuine.

Due to my recent widowhood, I’ve recently joined the ranks as a single mom. I’m just getting used to having mail come from the school, addressed only to me (not Mr. & Mrs.), and having all the bills only in my name now.

However, I do not feel very comfortable with this label because most people who didn’t know me before will automatically assume that I am divorced. I mean no disrespect to women who are divorced. I know many divorced women who I consider friends. However, I want there to be a way to distinguish myself as a widow and not a divorcée.

This is not because I think divorcées are failures or less of a person. But now, just like I don’t want anyone to think I am a divorcée, I don’t want anyone to think I am a Marine Biologist, either. When I present myself, I want to present myself as who I my case, a widow who was in a wonderful marriage and misses her husband immensely, not someone who kicked their loser ex-husband to the curb (and we all know that some husbands do deserve to be kicked to the curb).

It is just that my husband was not one of them.

My mom told me many years ago that widows traditionally removed their wedding bands and moved their engagement rings to their right finger to signify that they are a widow. That is fine, but my problem with that is two-fold – first, I haven’t yet removed my wedding band. I just do not feel comfortable without it. (Let’s save that tidbit for whole other post). Second, it is such an old custom, I’m sure most people in my age group (and younger) wouldn’t have any clue what the engagement ring on the right hand even meant. Truthfully, I feel most people would just think that I got my right and left confused.

Introducing myself to people as a widow just doesn’t sit right, either. It would just make me look as though I am looking for sympathy. And a scarlet “W” just doesn’t match with all my clothing. So how do I distinguish myself from the divorcees? There doesn’t seem to be a clear answer to that question. Luckily, it isn’t pressing either, since as far as I’m concerned, my wedding band is still where it belongs – on my left ring finger where he placed it on our wedding day many years ago.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

Lookin' for Bobby in All the Wrong Places

About once every summer, my cousins with the great backyard have a party of some sort. We’ve been going to these parties for years, and I’ve always had a good time. Every party is set up the on a table in the kitchen, and depending on how hot the weather is, there are either tents set up with picnic tables outside or snack tables in the family room and extra chairs in the dining room so everyone has a place to sit. Whenever the weather was too hot to sit outside, Bobby and I would gravitate to the dining room.

So this summer, at my cousins’ almost-annual party, I filled my plate with food, and instinctively looked around the house to see where Bobby was sitting so that I could go and sit next to him. I caught myself a half second later and went and sat in the dining room without him. It was an odd feeling.

A few hours later, everybody decided to change into their bathing suits and go in the pool. I took my turn in the bathroom and changed into my bathing suit, too. I got into the pool and started floating around, watching my kids play with their cousins in the pool. Again, for a split second, I looked around the pool, looking for Bobby, so that I could float over to be by his side. Again, I caught myself. He wasn’t there.

Then last night, I dropped my son off at the 4-H fair, and on the way back to the car, I saw a dog that looked like the kind of dog he wanted to get when we retired. Without thinking, I almost actually turned around and said, “Look at that dog! That’s the kind we want to get!” Luckily I caught myself before I actually turned around, because that would have been even more depressing.

My most recent example was tonight. I was picking my son up from the 4H Fair again, and while we were walking out, 3 girls walked by and said hello. They said it in that cute, almost-but-not-quite flirty way that 12-year-olds can muster. My son is only 12, too, and I'm not used to this girl stuff with him. My first reaction was to go home and tell Bobby about it. Another split second later, I was sad again because I couldn't share it with him when I got home. Will this gut reaction ever stop?

These were all sad, yet surreal experiences. It’s the same feeling that I get when I see or hear something funny, and I cannot wait to tell him, or I want to confirm a piece of gossip I may have heard at work. It’s a split second of what I consider normalcy, how our life used to be, before I was thrust into the navigation of this unfamiliar territory on my own. I miss the old normal, and I miss the familiarity of what my life used to be. I know I’m supposed to create this “new normal” but my subconscious may not be letting me. Instead it gives me split second glimpses of how it used to be. I hope this is a part of the so-called “process”. So far, the “process” sucks.

Monday, August 9, 2010

The Old Couple

I was at church a few weeks back, sitting with my friends Donna and Peter and their children. Sitting in front of us was an old couple...well into their 80s at least. You could tell that the man has had some health issues, but the woman seemed to be in better health, alternating between sitting, standing and kneeling without much effort, while the poor man had to be helped by his wife into every position.

The man also had a cane with him. He must have dropped that cane into the aisle at least five times during the service. My friend Peter (sitting on the aisle) kindly picked it up for him every time, as it was obvious that man was having difficulties.

What bothered me about this couple was that every time the man dropped his cane, or whenever he had to change positions, the woman would get angry, roll her eyes, and scold him (especially when he dropped his cane). What was the big deal? Its not like she had to pick it up, Peter picked it up every time.

I’m sure it was difficult for her, but to tell you the truth I wanted to slap her upside the back of her head and scream at her, “DO YOU KNOW HOW LUCKY YOU ARE TO HAVE THIS MAN BY YOUR SIDE? WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU? AND STOP ROLLING YOUR EYES AT HIM!!!” Here they were, in church, together, and barring any unusual circumstances, had probably been together for at least 60 years. Yes, 60 years. I barely get 19 years with the love of my life, and this lady looks like she is wishing her poor husband would drop dead. It made me angry to see how ungrateful she looked.

I would give anything, yes anything, to have Bobby back. Even if it meant caring for him for the rest of my life. I miss him so much, I even miss all the caring for him. I’m not saying that caring for him was easy, either. It was strenuous, tiring and time consuming. I had to give up myself for those months, it was like I didn’t even exist. My life was all about him. But I miss every single second.

I wish this lady realized what she had and how lucky she actually was. She’s lucky we were in church, because truthfully, I do not know if I could’ve kept my mouth shut otherwise.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Rock and Roll Hall of Fame

Several months ago, before Bobby's illness got to the "there-is-nothing-more-we-can-do-you-need-to-go-into-hospice" phase, we promised the kids we would take them to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum in Cleveland over Spring Break in April. Well, that didn't happen because over Spring Break, Bobby was in Hospice care at home, and the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum was the last thing on my mind.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago and the kids asked me, "Can we go to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Museum this summer?" So I said I would take them. So I drove seven hours (with my sister also in tow) to Cleveland. We spent all day Friday at the Museum.

What does this have to do with Bobby? Well, I cannot tell you how many times I would read a fact or see an object on display and want to turn around and say to him, "Look at this!" or "Did you read this?" It was the first "vacation" I took without him and in some ways, even though I thoroughly enjoyed the Museum, I was so sad because I was not sharing it with him. Which leads me to this next thought....

I'm having trouble moving on without him. (Big surprise?) I "catch" myself enjoying whatever I am doing and I feel immediately sad. I cannot live like this, and I don't know how to stop without feeling completely guilty about it. I feel like there is a part of me that should never have fun, because to have any sort of fun is like a betrayal. I'm supposed to be the person in the world who loved him the most, so why would that person (me) have any kind of fun when the love of her life is gone?

Many well-meaning friends and family have pointed out to me that I should be able to have fun because despite the fact that he is gone, I am still alive (well, duh!) but that is not the simple answer. I cannot picture him saying to me, "Well, I'm gone now, so you need to go on and have fun without me." In all fairness, I also cannot picture him telling me, "You need to mourn in the house forever and never have any fun." We never talked about that sort of thing, so I do not know his thoughts in this case. I'm the person who knew him the best, and I could, in any given situation, answer for him because I knew what he would say in almost all situations. Yet ironically the ONE question that I really need answered, I cannot answer for him. Oh, the frustration!

Monday, August 2, 2010

All Widows are Not Built the Same

Every so often I will look on the Internet for information about being a young widow. It's sort of like looking for the one website, the one person, (most likely a widow) that will have the magic words that I've been waiting for, the words that will take all my pain away once and for all.

It never happens.

What I find instead are an interesting mix...and none of them seem to have the magic words. On FB, I find that the widows there are very understanding an supportive. When they don't know what to say, they just post {{HUGS}} which can be comforting, too. I like knowing that others understand my pain. And I don't mean that in a Schadenfreude way, either.

But there are young widows that I can't say I have a lot in common with. Yes, we've shared the loss of our husbands, and we are raising children on our own. But one widow insists that if we had a love so great and so rare with our deceased husband, that we will find it again. I think she is dead wrong, with the operative word in the previous sentence being "rare". There is no man in this world that could live up to the man my husband was. Not only did he love and cherish me, but he respected me in a way that even my friends in good marriages don't have. He never once, in almost nineteen years, chose TV over me. Never did he ever obviously and outright admire another woman in my presence even though I'm sure he did, being a red-blooded-American-male. All his co-workers have told me on multiple occasions, even before he was sick, that his face would light up whenever he mentioned my name. He loved to see me smile, so he would do whatever it took to see me smile. And he had an uncanny way of making me feel "pretty". Not just "attractive", you know, the word we use when someone is not pretty, but not ugly, either. He made me feel genuinely pretty, even after gaining the second-child-C-section-muffin-top.

I've also read other widows writing about how they've changed so much, that maybe their once-beloved no longer would date them if they met today! I find that a bit absurd. Yes, this can be true if the marriage was not a good one. But my husband and I brought out the best in each other, so anybody that I may become in the future will certainly be someone that he would love. I've already become the best person that I can be, thanks to him. (And vice-versa) I would never change so much that he would no longer "fit into" my life if he were here.

Then they talk about dating. Dating?!?! I cannot imagine dating. Like I said earlier, what we had was so rare, nobody could ever make me feel the way he did. I just feel like if I were to go out and date someone that I would be telling Bobby, my beloved, "Well, dude, you left so I'm moving on. Your loss. Adios." I would never say that to him, either explicitly nor implicitly. I like keeping my house the way it was when he was here (except for the absolute necessities, like replacing a garage door that could've fallen on someone's head and killed them). I've moved his clothing around a little bit with the change of the seasons, but not any more than I would have if he were still here. And through the funeral home, I was able to get a charm for a necklace that has engraved on it his fingerprint from his left ring finger, the finger where he wore his wedding band, which has since taken up residence around my neck on another chain. My wedding band hasn't moved. It is still exactly where it belongs since 11/6/99...on my left ring finger. I'm even considering a tattoo with his name or initials on it, and ask any of my friends...I would never before even consider a tattoo!

Some people may believe that I am one Brady short of a bunch to become a walking monument to Bobby, but this is what makes me feel "OK". (I never feel "good".) Many people have pointed out to me that my wedding vows said, "...until death do us part." I'm by no means an overly religious person, but didn't Jesus say, "He who believes in me never dies"? Well, Bobby was not overly religious, either, but we are Christian (we called ourselves Christian-Lite), and he did believe in Jesus, so doesn't that mean he hasn't died either?

Food for thought.....

Saturday, July 31, 2010

July 31 is a Special Day

No, it is not our wedding anniversary today. We'll get to that in November.

Nineteen years ago today, I first met Bobby. It was a Wednesday. Two days later, a Friday, he invited me over his house and we were inseparable since.

That is what makes today so heartbreaking. I thought we were inseparable, but the big "C" played a cruel trick on both of us and separated us. Physically. While he still lives in my heart and in the faces, mannerisms and quirkiness of all of his kids, he is not physically here, for me to hug, kiss or just lean on. And that causes a dull ache in my heart that never subsides...ever.

I remember seeing his face for the first time when he opened the door. It was so warm and friendly. I never believed in "love at first sight", but I did after that day. In fact, in retrospect, I question whether I even knew what true love was until I met him. I know now. I just wish it didn't hurt so much now.

We would celebrate every July 31 because this day was so special to both of us. Whether you believe it to be God, fate, karma, coincidence, or all four of these, we were led to each other on this day in 1991 and I will never forget it.

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Check the Box

My employer changed insurance companies this month, and as expected, I had to fill out a bunch of new forms. I got to the part where I had to check off "married" or "single". Those were the only two choices. So I had to think...

Married? I feel married, I act married, I wear a wedding band. So I must be married right? Well, not so much, according to Aetna. I knew if I checked off "married", I would confuse the claims agent that was going to process my claim. Where was the spouse on the policy? Does she have other insurance? Etc. Etc. It would take forever to get my claim processed. So I knew I couldn't check off married.

Single? I said before, I feel married, I act married, I wear a wedding band. So I can't be single, right? Well, according to law, (and the church), I am single and I can get married again (if I so desired, which I don't, but that's a topic for another entry). I don't have a spouse on record. So just because I feel married, I act married, I wear a wedding band and I call myself "Mrs.", I am not married. So what box do I check?

I didn't have to think about it too long. I drew a box, wrote "widow", and checked the box. Problem solved.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

At Their Mercy

My husband could fix just about anything. The only thing he didn't like to "mess" with was electricity...he called an electrician. Other than that...he fiddled with things until they worked. This included the power tools, plumbing, pool equipment, and, as mentioned before, virus-laden computers. As I told a friend this morning, he made fixing things look easier than figuring out Blue's Clues.

Now he is not here, and I am so frustrated. Since he's gone, this is what has broke: the air-conditioning, the garage door, the dishwasher, the pool robot, the pool heater, the vacuum cleaner, the oven (well, the oven broke while he was on hospice care), the electric outlet in the yard, and that is all I can think of at the moment, but I'm sure I'm forgetting something. Not only that, my computer and two of my laptops all got viruses, including one "blue screen of death".

And I am now at the mercy of others. I have friends and relatives that will fix things for me, which I truly appreciate from the bottom of my heart. But lets face it...people are busy and have their own life to deal with, they don't need mine, too. Then there are the things that my friends and family can't fix, and now I have to deal with "professionals". I put that in quotes because not everyone you meet is a professional. Some people are just out to get people, and they don't do a good job because it just isn't important if it isn't their own house. Also, being a woman, especially a widow, I just feel like I have a target on my head for all these unscrupulous people who are trying to fleece the public.

I know if any "service" people out there are reading this, they are probably insulted. Well, sorry folks, but I've seen too many people, mostly women and widows, taken advantage of by these so called "professionals" and "service people". Now I am at their mercy, and truthfully, it makes me sick to think that my loving husband is not here to take care of the house we shared. It is now going to be cared for by strangers, and that does not sit well with me, not at all.

Monday, July 5, 2010

Navigating the Garage

I realize this blog has mostly been about my feelings. However, I've been experiencing more than just emotions, I'm experiencing the garage.

The garage was Bobby's realm. We were mostly traditional, I worked on the inside of the house, doing the cooking, cleaning, bills, and he worked on the outside - cutting the grass, taking care of the pool, landscaping. We would cross over into each other's worlds now and then...I would plant the flowers, and he vacuumed. We had very defined tasks, and that worked really well for us.

Now I'm doing his jobs AND my jobs. (Time to get a cleaning lady.) And part of that is navigating the garage. Luckily, I have various male relatives who are helping me out...but I still have to learn. The other day, I was asking my cousin Tom if there was a such thing as an outdoor vacuum, a tool where I could suck up the leaves and grass instead of blowing them around with a leaf blower. He said yes, that he had one, and he would bring it over to show it to me and if I wanted to get one, then at least I would know what one looked like. So he brought it over the next day. Before he even got it out of his truck, he found a large cloth bag in the garage that said, "TORO" on it. He held it up to me and said, "Apparently, you have one, too." Boy, did I feel like a moron. Not only did I not know if this tool actually existed, I didn't even know I had one. He also pointed out that I had a certain type of saw that I didn't know I had.

While some people may find a little humor in this story, it is the perfect illustration of how lost I am without Bobby in my life. I've been taking care of the pool this season, and I feel like it's been one disaster after another with it. First, the water is crystal clear, but there are purple stains on the walls. Then I find out the heater is shot. Then I get the water tested and it turns out my stabilizer is too high, so I have to drain the pool 12 inches and refill from the hose. While I'm doing this, the liner starts to come out by the stairs. I get the water tested again, and find out I have to drain it AGAIN, this time two feet, pull the liner back up and tuck it into it's slot, and refill it. I turned the hose on at 5:30 this morning and it was full by 8:00 tonight. Now the chlorine is too low and my once crystal clear water is now murky. **Sigh** I'm so lost without him...emotionally, spiritually, and practically!!

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Math Homework

It's weird when math homework can save you. What could this possibly mean?

School is out now, but when school was in, I would come home from work around the same time that my kids would arrive home, (I'm a teacher), and go to bed. Not literally under the covers, sleeping, but I would just lie on my bed and flip through the stations watching anything that I could find. I had no desire to do anything. Sometimes I would just lie there and watch TV, other times I would lie there and cry.

There was one particular day where I was having a really hard time. I was lying on my bed, just crying and crying, and I couldn't stop. Then my younger son, in 6th grade, came into my room and quietly said, "Mommy, I have a math test tomorrow. I have to study." I always helped him study, so I got up, wiped my face, and helped him study for his test. This happened on other days, too, whether it was a science test, a social studies project or a ride to an activity or a friend's house. I would be lying on my bed crying, and one of the kids needed something, so I would have no choice but to pick myself up and carry on.

My kids are oblivious to this. They have no idea how much they have helped me get through the last couple of months. They think that it is just me helping them. They don't realize the avenue is going both ways.

The big test was last week. They went to camp. I picked them up yesterday and I was so happy to see them and I'm so happy to have them home. I managed to get through the week alone, visiting friends and taking care of some much needed paperwork that had to be done. In order to feel less alone, I kept the TV on, even though I wasn't watching it, which is something I've never really had to do before when Bobby was alive, but not at home. I guess I needed Regis and Kelly for company.

But throughout all this "progress", if that is what you want to call it, I'm still so very lonely. I'm off to a BBQ today, and although I'll be surrounded by people, I'm still going to be all alone.

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2

It's amazing what will trigger a memory. I was in Shop Rite the other day and I went to pick up milk. Next to the milk section, is the 1/2 & 1/2. Bobby always drank coffee with Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2 in it, so we always had to make sure it was in the house! It felt very very strange not to pick up a quart of 1/2 & 1/2 that day. Very strange, and very very sad. Just another sad reminder of what I've lost.

I also went to the dentist this week. Going to the dentist is stressful enough, but this time it was so sad. Bobby and I used to go to the same dentist. We would even make our appointments at the same time, so that we could go together, since our dentist was a 30-40 minute ride away. I remember one time when we were at the dentist, we were in adjacent rooms. The hygienist that was taking care of my teeth had left the room for a few minutes to get some x-rays developed. So I got out of the chair and stuck my head out of the room to see Bobby. He was stuck with something in his teeth, so he couldn't talk, so I started making faces at him so that he would laugh. When his hygienist came back into his room, she took the thing out of his mouth and he said, "Miss, can you please ask that other patient to leave me alone? She is trying to pick me up, and I'm married!" It was so funny, because the hygienist looked at me to say something about leaving him alone and I said, "Of course he is married, to me!" The hygienist did not know what to think. He thought it was hilarious.

Then there is "the news". I heard something funny today that, for a split second, couldn't wait to go home and share with him, until I realized that I couldn't share it with him. It made me so sad. We always shared all the funny and ridiculous things that happened to us, or interesting stories that would make us laugh. I can't believe sometimes that he is no longer here to share those moments with me.

And boy, do I miss those moments!! We had a lot of fun moments, and they come rushing back at the most unexpected moments and by the most unexpected things, like Fat Free 1/2 & 1/2. Unfortunately, there were not too many of those fun moments in the past year, but before his illness was discovered, we had fun. People ask me if "...I'm having a good day?" That is not a question that I can answer. The question is, "Are you having a good minute?"

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Father's Day

Well, it's Father's Day, the first of the most dreaded holidays this during this first year of my loss. Sure, I've already gotten through Mother's Day, my birthday and my son's birthday, and they were hard and he was missed terribly. But this is one of the big ones.

Father's Day was always a fun day for our family. I think my husband liked it better than his birthday. For some reason, he never really cared about his birthday so much, but he loved the big deal we made over him on Father's Day. Two of the best Father's Days I remember are 2000 and 2001. 2000 was special to us because he chose that day to quit smoking. He had planned for a few months to quit and was working his way down from a pack a day to maybe three cigarettes a day. He never said why he chose Father's Day as his quitting day, but he did. I was so proud of him.

2001 was special because that was the day I rented him a Harley Davidson motorcycle for the day. He was so happy! I didn't tell him about it until it was time to go and pick it up...he had the most fun that day. I'm positive it was on his list of top ten days of his life! He rode as a young man and really missed it.

Well 2010 is certainly not going to be a happy or fun Father's Day for me or the kids. I'll be at the cemetery. He is in the same one as my dad, so I'll stop to see them both. Then, in order to get through the day, I'll keep myself busy bbq'ing for my brother (who is also a dad) and his family. That will give me something to focus on today, since I would probably just lay in bed and cry all day. I hope it works.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

The One

Someone said to me the other day, “It’s not only the loss of someone you love, but the loss of someone who loved you.” Boy did that his home. It’s true. No matter who I am with, no matter what we are doing, even if I am laughing with friends or family, I’m alone. There was no one in the world who loved me like he did. And I knew it. Even my own children, who I know love me dearly and need me immensely, don’t love me as much as Bobby did. I would venture to say that even my mother (and father when he was alive) don’t love me as much as Bobby did. He had a way of making me feel special, like I was not just some regular person on the street.

There are so many things that you do with your spouse that defines the specialness of the relationship. How many times have you been at a party, talking to one group of people and your spouse is across the room, talking to a different group, and you can catch each other's eyes and know exactly what they are thinking? Or you finished each other sentences? That is a unique relationship, one that only comes with loving and living with someone for an extended period of time in a committed relationship.

I went out to dinner the other night with a friend of mine and my children. Her husband called to say he would be joining us in about ½ hour. So she suggested we all get appetizers while we waited for him. Then when we ordered dinner, she ordered for him without consulting him so that his meal would be ready at the same time ours were. That, to me, is a symbol of that connectedness that only two people who are committed to and love each other have. I thought about it as she was ordering, and I knew exactly what was on that menu that I would have ordered for Bobby had I been in her shoes.

It breaks my heart to know that I will never have these special times again. It’s really hard to accept that I am no longer “that special someone” to somebody else. That there is nobody out there that looks forward to seeing me at the end of the day. That there is no longer anyone kissing me goodnight. It's lonely and it really hurts.

Thursday, June 10, 2010


It's been a few days since I've written on this blog. It has not been a good couple of days at all. And now it is 6:35 am on Thursday morning and I don't want to get up. (I'm still lying in bed with my laptop.) I have to get my son up and ready for the day and I don't even want to get up. I have no desire to do anything anymore except surf the net and watch TV. I thank God for my kids because without them, I probably wouldn't even bother getting up anymore.

Yesterday was especially horrible. My husband and I worked for the same employer and he was head of IT. He used to send out emails to "All Users" with his "signature" (name, title, extension, etc.) at the bottom whenever there was something going on with the network. Well, yesterday, I got an email to "All Users" from the new head of IT. I saw the title at the bottom of the email and fell apart. The new guy who got the job is a great guy, I like him a lot, and my husband did too. In fact, my husband would be really happy to hear that he's the one that got the position. However, it killed me to see the title on someone else, and that had he still been alive, that email would have come from him.

Then I started going back into my emails and was reading some old emails from my husband, from as far back as 2006. I found one that included a link to a retirement community in the south that he thought might be a nice place for us to live. He included a list of why this particular place would be nice. I started crying all over again because back in 2006 we were so happy thinking about our future together. We had so many plans of what we were going to do when retired and the kids were on their own. We were really looking forward to that time when it would be the two of us together, doing fun things. Now I am dreading my kids leaving. I know they have to leave someday, and I certainly would not get in their way of living their own lives, but now it's going to be me, alone, when they are gone. I know a lot of people live full lives on their own, but all I can think about is the severe loneliness that I will have to deal with, instead of the fun future that Bobby and I planned.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Computer Crash

My computer crashed this evening. And I'm so upset about it.

Now, your regular person really wouldn't get upset about a computer crash, but I don't want to lose my pictures! Especially one particular picture that I have of Bobby. The last picture that was ever taken of him. I haven't backed them up in a few months. (There was a lot going on). The reason I am so upset is because Bobby was a computer genius. An absolute genius. He could fix computers that the "Geek Squad" considered unfixable. And he never once told anyone that their information could not be saved. He saved peoples pictures, music and anything else that was important to them in the most hopeless situations. And he never once took a dime for it, never. And now I'm in a situation that I never had to worry about before, and I don't know what to do or who to call.

It's just another huge reminder of my loss.

Saturday, June 5, 2010


Birthdays really can suck after losing a spouse. Lucky for me, I have friends and family to take away some of the pain.

Today is my son's birthday. He is 12. It is his first birthday without his dad. He asked me to buy him a cordless amp for his guitar, and I told him today that we would go to Sam Ash to look at guitar amps sometime this week. I also said we would look at them on the internet. He said, "The last time I went to Sam Ash was with Daddy." He looked sad.

My birthday fell 8 days after my husband died. I wasn't really in the mood to celebrate. But my sister, my cousin and three of my friends came over that night and we had dinner together and they gave me presents, which I did not expect at all!! I really appreciated that they came over to make the day a little better.

My husband always acknowledged my birthday. He would send me roses! Sometimes I would tell him that he shouldn't do's too expensive!! And he would tell me I was worth it. He had a way of making me feel he could see something in me that nobody else, not even me, could see.

Friday, June 4, 2010

Bobby Stuff

I had to hand in my husband's laptop to work today. I felt horrible handing it in. Even though I know it belongs to the district, and that it was never technically "his", I felt like I was letting a little piece of him go. It bothered me.

I guess I would feel a lot worse, if I were giving away his wedding band, his watch, or his wallet. I wear his wedding band every single day on a chain around my neck. His clothes are still hanging in the closet and his sweaters are still folded in his drawer. When my son was playing the sax at his school band concert, he had to wear a tie, so he chose one of my husband's ties. While I was happy to have my son wear one of his ties, I made sure that the tie was put back in the exact spot where my husband had hung it.

I also wear his clothes. I wear his bathrobe in the morning after my shower. The black silk one with the dragon on the back of it...his favorite. I wear his clothing to bed. I was wearing his pajama pants & one of his fleeces to bed every night until the weather got too hot, then I switched to his T-shirts. My youngest son wears one of my husband's shirts to bed every night. My older son had another band concert today, so he is wearing one of my husband's good pair of socks and the same tie. And before he died, he hung one of his jackets on a hook on the back of the bathroom door. It's still there. I cannot bring myself to take it down. Leaving these things where they are give me comfort.

However, his wallet, comb, toothbrush, and razor made me really sad to look at. I cannot understand why these items upset me while the other items comfort me? I stashed these items in his top drawer, so I don't have to see them constantly, because seeing them would make me burst out into tears. If I need to see them or hold them, I know that they are right there in the top drawer. And from time to time, I have gone over there and taken his things out, just to hold for a moment.

I see no reason to rush to get rid of his stuff. It hurt to hand in his laptop. And that was not even something that really belonged to him.

Thursday, June 3, 2010

My LAN/WAN Administrator

I saw Bobby's boss today. It was not a coincidence. In a nutshell, Bobby and I worked at the same place, only in different departments. His boss was doing a training session for a new system, and I was part of the training.

After the training, we walked to the parking lot together and talked about Bobby. He told me that he talks to him every day at work. I told him that I was hoping that Bobby would always be remembered, at least for a while. I mean, I'm realistic enough to know that someday, when all the people he knew are gone from the workplace, and all new people are there, who never knew him to begin with, then he would no longer be remembered.

However, his boss told me that in some ways, way into the future, even though he personally would not be remembered, that he would live on. Since my husband was the IT guy, (eventually managing the department), he built the complete LAN/WAN Network for the district from the ground up. When he first started working there in 1998, they didn't even have an email system!

Anyway...his boss told me that the main administrator accounts that cannot be changed are actually his name. So even though years from now, the "new" people may not personally know who he is, his name will have to be typed for a really really long time! And that made me smile.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010


This morning on my way to work I started crying because I heard a song on the radio that Bobby hated. Yes, a song he hated. You would think that this would not get me upset, but it did. It wasn't the song that upset me, but the subsequent conversation that would take place every time it came on the radio (which was more often than not in the car). It went something like this:
Bobby: I hate this song, change the station!
Me: I love this song. (I'd make it louder).
Bobby: How could you like this song? (moan and groan, roll eyes, make face)
Me: I don't know. I just do. (laugh)

That is why I cried. I missed our conversation about how much he hated and I loved the song.

Then there was the banjo music. He loved banjo music, and we had an agreement that whoever drives is the one that can choose the music, the heat, the air-conditioning, etc. So when he drove, he would put on banjo music. Now, I don't hate banjo music, but it isn't in my Top Ten. One day, we were driving along with the banjo music on, and about fifteen minutes into the ride and the music I said to him, "Damn, this is a long song!" He just glanced my way (since he was driving) and said, "No, this is the fourth song." I said, "Really? They all sound the same to me!"

Then there were the dinner conversations. These would take place either in person or via email while we were both at work.

Bobby: What are you making for dinner?
Me: Whatever you want.
Bobby: I don't care.
Me: No, tell me what you want. I'll make it.
Bobby: Make whatever is easy.
Me: No, I'll make whatever you feel like having.
Bobby: It doesn't matter. Make whatever you want.
Me: I don't want anything in particular. I'll make whatever you want. get the picture. This would go on so long that usually there wasn't any time for me to make anything and we would just end up ordering a pizza.

The other day I was talking to my sister on the phone and during our conversation she was bickering with her husband, who was in the background, about something completely ridiculous. It made me sad, listening to that type of conversation, the kind you can only have with someone to whom you are happily married.