Monday, February 27, 2006

Rest Stops on the Journey

Sometime last year (probably right about this time) I was so numb and grief stricken that I actually googled "What to do when you're lost." Now I look back and can truly laugh. It was not funny at the time. My reality so distorted that I was desperate for direction and unable to make meaning of anything.

I believe that the hard work during this journey is finding the meaning for yourself. The grinding pain, while exhausting, can be transformative. I am a different person than the woman I was when Tom passed away in my arms. I know - in the deepest sense of knowing - that life is surely fleeting. I know that money, things, success are meaningless. I know that the vital stuff life is made of are the smallest of everyday things - a small smile shared across a room, a hot bowl of oatmeal shared on a cold morning, a hug from behind, dancing in the kitchen, sharing a cup of tea while listening to music, a cocktail after work shared at the kitchen counter.

I know that healing on the journey is a choice - there were times when I put Tom's picture away for a while because it tore my heart out of my chest everytime I looked at it. Grief in year two is still an everyday companion - sometimes it catches you unaware and momentarily brings you to your knees. Year two also brings times of blessed relief - rest stops. The transformation continues.

Saturday, February 25, 2006

MAC Mania

My old PC died this week and I was going to get a new desktop for my home office. Then it occurred to me that instead I could just get a fabulous MAC Cinema Display to hook up to my Power Book. And so I did and it is just about the most incredible thing I have seen in my life. It is a 20 inch display and just knocks your eyes out! JSB and I also got isight cameras - now we can have our partners' meetings remotely, when need be, and see one another!

So, with my wireless mouse and wireless keyboard - I am set. Wow, do I ever feel like a Queen.

Friday, February 24, 2006

Friday Morning ITunes Orgy

Whew, just came up for air! All I did this morning was open ITunes to look at this week's free download. An hour and many, many downloads later - here I am listening to my new playlist called, "Cruising." Being a MAC maniac has its benefits and dangers - just like life. Oh well, at least I regained some control before I maxed out my credit card.

So, if you think of me this weekend - just visualize me - dancing my butt off all over the house. Have a terrific Friday.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

The Blog Has A New Look.....

But it's just the same old me doing the writing. When I selected my first template, I was so enmeshed in the psychosis of grief that I could only look at dark colors - Now, it is time for light. Turning into the wind - beginning to see the outlines of a future. Light, clean and white. I like it.

Wednesday, February 22, 2006


What an amazing community this blogosphere is.....for 7 months I just wrote my heart and soul, trying to make meaning of the journey I didn't ask to take - it was a solitary and healing experience.

In the last 2 months I have read endless and amazing blogs and have begun to make blog buddies. There are places I can't wait to visit every day. It is positively addicting.

What a wonderful community to have found.

Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Happiness on a Tuesday Afternoon

The Grands of course. Olivia, Christina and Evan. Makes me very happy just to see their faces. How fortunate we are to have children who are raising such wonderful children themselves.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Happy Monday

Our cold snap is over. Today is supposed to be a lovely 25 degrees. What a blessed relief. I am sitting here with a perfect cup of french press coffee watching a perfect sunrise over my backyard. All purples and magentas.

I am so glad last week is behind me - something about Valentine's Day and the 14th of the month falling together that just brings torrents of memories and low grade sadness my way. So, it's forward on the journey - continuing to turn into the wind.

Time to do the weekly task list and prepare for a productive week ahead.

Saturday, February 18, 2006

Ah Spring - February Dreams in Minnesota

February is always the month that I begin to long - I mean REALLY long for spring. It must be the old Californian in me and the phone calls from my mom talking about planting pansies outside. Add to that the fact that these last two days are the coldest in a decade in St. Paul and I am pining for spring. Yesterday, I bought armloads of flowers and put them in just about every room in the house. Let's see, tulips, iris, daffodils, carnations --- instant, indoor spring. So here is my dining room table and just one of many vases of flowers.

Friday, February 17, 2006

Now That's Just COLD

Here is the state of the state in my backyard this morning at 7:21. Yeesh, the news is saying it is -2. As you can see, my temperature gauge is recording a much lower temp. Oh well, when it gets below zero, it is just cold. Guess it's time for longies and stupid hats today.

It is Friday though and for that I am a happy woman. It is going to be a cold weekend and then warming up to 19 on Wednesday.

Hey, this is Minnesota - we're tough. Have a happy Friday.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Back to my mean old self

Woke up feeling like myself again - no more snotty nose. Guess I will go to work today and do some billable hours - have just hung out here and been a sloth for the last two days. Between the cold, Valentine's Day and missing you know who, it has been a "lost" couple of days. Lots of sleep and vitamin C though.

I found this great site called spark people, it is fantastic! It's a healthy life style site that helps you to set goals, track your nutrition and exercise and stay motivated. All kinds of information, resources and tools - having fun with it. The thing I like the most, it promotes reality - it's not "lose 20 pounds in 4 hours!" It is about making permanent changes that stick. It's the old baby steps routine. It is about intentionality - ah, the synchronicity of things. Oh yeah, the best part is - it's free!

One of my greatest challenges is exercise. When I do it, I feel terrific - sparkpeople is helping me to incorporate exercise regularly and meet my goals. That always gives me a Kick! So I have lost a few of the 10 pounds that I gained last year during the crazy grief journey but more importantly, I am developing and reinforcing healthy habits.

Tuesday, February 14, 2006

Hanging Out At Home

Woke up this morning with the beginnings of a nasty cold thingy - dang. Have been trying to "get it" for the last week and ZCam has done the trick to keep it at bay. Sooooooo, here I am in my snuggy black PJ's and thick socks just hanging out at home today.

I have spent most of the day blog browsing and learning more about it. I started this blog in June 2005 - after 30 years of written journals (under the stairs in a box) - just fooling around. Now, I am getting hooked and connecting in small ways with other bloggers - the community. I saw some awesome blogs today - this little cyber-journal is important to me - the siren call to write.

Oh, the three stone ring - here is a picture I remembered that Bonnie took at the wake - my rings and his, on my hand in our kitchen.

Reflections on Valentine's Day

This is the second Valentine's Day without you. No big card propped up on the kitchen counter - no big hugs and kisses. I remember the first Valentine's Day together, you sent me the heart container filled with flowers complete with a little Mickey Mouse balloon with a big "lipstick kiss" on his cheek. I still have that vase.

I remember the last Valentine's Day together when you bought me my three stone ring - the ring I still wear everyday with my wedding ring (and some days I wear my first engagement ring with those as well.)

The day you bought the three stone ring, you said to the jeweler, as you pulled your wallet out of your pocket, "She needs this!" How little we humans know - that this would be the last Valentine's Day together - that there would only be a few more months of us.

The three stone ring - supposedly for "yesterday, today and tomorrow." Well tomorrow is here and I have you in my heart for eternity. And Tom, you were right - I did need it, more than I could have ever imagined.

My sweet baby darling, you - the love of my life. I do not love or miss you more today because it is Valentine's Day. I just wish you were here with your big smile and warm arms. I am profoundly grateful for your love - for all the memories - for all you taught me - for the life we shared. My husband, best friend and lover - forever in my heart.

Monday, February 13, 2006

Control - Ahem, what an illusion

JSB and I had a meeting with a new client today - the nameless client is a big funder in these here parts. I really liked the person we met with - she is new there, she is very smart and knows her stuff. However, it is really important to her to be in control. Control - what a laugh. There is no such thing. And thinking you can control other adults and all outcomes is total BS.

About the only thing I can control - is this very moment that I have my fingers on the keyboard. No one on this planet knows what the next moment may bring. Control - dream on.

Sunday, February 12, 2006

A comment regarding today's post from Cliff

I would like to add something...
Those of us who have loved and lost through death are given a gift to compensate for the pain. If we pay attention and work through all of the negative feelings we eventually see the beauty of the love that was in our lives. We realize that we are one of the few who can say "I was here and I found happiness in this world that is so often filled with hatred and anger. And although I can no longer see it I will always feel it." Cliffhanger Jones

2/12/2006 9:06 AM

We are All Connected

This week is my friend Susan's three year anniversary of her Tom's passing. Such hard times, no matter how long we have been without our loved ones. I made a card for Susan this morning and have been thinking of her all weekend. There is a deep understanding between those of us who have been forced to take the grief journey.

Yes, healing is to be found along the way - yes, we have our memories to comfort and uplift us. The fact remains, we are here and they are gone.

This morning, I had to do my least favorite thing on the planet. I had to copy Tom's death certificate to take to the bank. It is just an ordinary piece of paper - 81/2 x 11 - but oh my god, it rips at my heart everytime I have to touch it. Why? It's not like I don't know - deep in my soul and my gut - that Tom is gone from the earth.

Widows and widowers are connected - we know about the transitory nature of life, we understand the depths of insanity and pain that are the companions on the journey one never asked to take. For those of us who have passed the first year mark, we know that one year is just a sign post on the journey - there is more ahead.

The grief journey is excrutiating - it also is transformative. My heart flies out to Susan - making meaning this week of another anniversary of loss. Namaste.

Thursday, February 09, 2006

Today in my backyard

Winter just made an appearance in Minnesota today. We have had the strangest winter....called almost none.

How beautiful it is to look out at the snow falling and be warm and dry inside.

I love inside and outside in winter....the beauty of nature. Living in four seasons is incredible. All my friends who live other places just don't understand how we can live here in the cold.

This was taken at 3 pm - it just stopped and is due to start again overnight. A quiet snowy weekend. Snuggle in - a good book, a homemade soup - pure heaven.


One of my ongoing struggles in this life is and has been patience. Living in the moment. The grief journey presents endless opportunities to practice patience - healing is not something one can force. It is the proverbial steps forward, steps back scenario.

"How long will it take?" "Are we there yet?" "When I get the promotion..." "When I finish the house..." "When I lose 5 pounds..." And on, and on, and on.

Intentionality and mindfulness are the bedrock of patience. Impatience robs today of meaning. It's tough to enjoy the now when one is obsessing over a future situation -- a thing, a person, a reality whose time has not yet come and may never.

Patience - working on living here in each moment.

Tuesday, February 07, 2006

I believe I can fly

There is a hole in my heart - a hole that can never be filled. A void that will be there forever. It matters not the healing - you will never be forgotten. No person can ever fill that hole. The smallest things are what I remember most and what I miss every day. Hugs from behind while washing dishes. Kisses in the morning. Hearing your laughter in the other room. Long legs and bony knees poking me in bed at night. Boxer shorts. Down vests. Black Levis. A tall husband who could reach anything. Unconditional love - life's greatest gift.

Now I have my precious memories and a heart with an everlasting hole.

Moving My Butt

Well, well, well - I am finally able to exercise again! My ribs and back are still a little tender and uncomfortable at times but I can work through it. I did a 45 minute Pilates workout last night and not only did it but I am walking this morning.

It feels so wonderful to be in a place where I can not only set goals again but DO something to achieve them. Last year, I was an apathetic, disinterested mess. Just stumbling through life - "fake it til you make it" was my motto.

I honestly did not believe that I would ever regain my natural enthusiasm and optimism. I did not think I would ever feel the sense of mastery or well-being that springs from inside. I did not think I would laugh again - the real laugh that comes from joy at being alive. Time, the support of friends, intentionality, and creating a sacred space to experience the grief - it's not over by a mile, but it is better.

Resiliency - don't leave home without it.

Sunday, February 05, 2006

The Future Beckons

I suppose once you break down and clean the ENTIRE house all at once, you know nothing is impossible.

I finally disposed of Tom's meds this weekend. They have been sitting in the bathroom cupboard all this time. We received three months supply of medications just days before he died - $400 worth. I have no idea why I left them there - it's not like I had plans to open a mini-pharmacy or was going to lower my cholestrol with medication. In the early days, I am sure I was waiting for him to "come back" and of course, he would need the meds. Oh well, this is another part of movin' on.

What do you want to be? All things are possible. Argue for your limitations and sure enough, they are yours.

Thursday, February 02, 2006

My Horoscope for Today

February 2, 2006 - Horoscope

CANCER (June 22-July 22). Deep inside, you know who you are, and you know what you want. So, instead of tap dancing for the masses, stay still and reflect what's in the core of your being. Do this, and you're irresistible.

Knocked me out. Still on the journey - listen to your heart.

Wednesday, February 01, 2006


Welcome February. January was a whirlwind of activity in all corners of my life. Dendros is jamming and I am engaged in the work as I have not been since Tom died - I have climbed out of my chasm of despair and have turned into the wind.

Yesterday it occurred to me that January 14th had come and gone and for the first month in 14, I did not spend the day ruminating on the "x month anniversary." For an instant, I felt a deep pang of guilt - "how could I not remember." Then I relaxed with the knowledge that I am making grief my friend. That is a Patsy quote and one I never really understood until now. I do not have to suffer every month to honor Tom's memory. The most lasting honor to Tom is to live my life with meaning and intentionality.

Turning into the wind does not mean I am done - healed - whew, that's over now. I still have the moments that arrive unannounced - Saturday, I was in TJ Maxx and heard a song on Muzak that nearly brought me to tears in the towel aisle - notice the operative word "nearly." This time last year I would leave my cart in the aisle and hardly make it out the door before bursting into tears. Sitting in parking lots sobbing became a common pasttime. Progress.

There are things ahead that I cannot see - but for now it is with a deep sense of gratitude and wonder that I can say I am re-engaged in life in a new way.

"You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars.
You have a right to be here.
And whether you know it or not,
Life is unfolding as it should."

How's that for an old hippie quote. So, from this old hippie, Happy February.