Thursday, March 30, 2006

Home Sweet Home

I have almost finished everything - except packing for my trip. I am excited to go but always with a little pang - I spend a good bit of time in my home enjoying my solitude. This time last year, I embarked on a remodel of the town house - took over two months and many months of planning. In fact, Tom and I had begun planning the remodeling before he passed.

I spent most of the winter of 2004-2005, picking colors, granite, appliances, flooring, carpets - it was the one thing that saved my sanity.

Here is the old kitchen, dining room, living room and the completed great room transformation. My haven.

Tonight is finishing my March billing, packing and looking forward to Florida and lots of fun ahead. But I will miss this little heaven on earth that is my home.

Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Just Plain Fortunate

I just watched a piece about the obsessive, workaholic/busy nature of our culture on the NBC Nightly News.

It is absolutely crazy - we have misplaced our priorities in such profound ways. I am fortunate to have J as my business partner. We are really intentional about our work - from the very beginning - we started Dendros to support our whole lives. Yes, we make money - after all we both have mortgages and other responsibilities. However, money is the by-product of doing work we love and balancing the work with time for reflection, for our families, for creative pursuits, for personal development, for our dreams.

When we leave this planet, we do not take our degrees, our money, our playthings, our professional success - we go as we came with only our humanity. The most valuable thing we leave behind is the legacy of our love and care for others.

Sunday, March 26, 2006

Just Can't Help It

I just got these beautiful pictures of O and E - two of our three sweet grandchildren and just can't help but share them. Makes my sunny Sunday even brighter.

Saturday, March 25, 2006

Busy Weekend Ahead

Preparing to leave on VACATION! Yep, I'm taking a vacation from my problems - not just "outta here" but going on a real live vacation. I have not been on vacation since Tom and I went to Philadelphia in December 2003 - our last together. Once we came home, my mother-in-law really began to fail until she passed away at 94 in June 2004. In the middle of that, Tom had a second stroke in March 2004 and of course had another in November, which culiminated in his passing on the 14th.

Lots of "stuff." So, with a change of attitude and perspective, I am on vacation next Friday for 10 days. Lucky me. Thank you to all my blog friends for your good wishes and comments on my upcoming trip.

Today, I am having a massage at 10 am and then running errands - got to get some shorts and a swim suit out and pack. Have client work to finish before Friday and a nice breakfast with my friend Bonnie tomorrow. We also are going to visit our old neighbor, M - who is in a nearby nursing home. All in all - a very nice weekend and a busy week ahead.

This morning - in my email inbox - my word for the day from the Gratefulness website

Live in the present. Do the things that need to be done. Do all the good you can each day. The future will unfold.

Messages are sent to us everyday in a myriad of ways - paying attention is important - how many affirmations do we just plain miss because we are distracted by worry or mundane details? Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, March 22, 2006

I'm Outta Here

Well, I kicked my own butt and got out of my paralyzed state. I am going to Florida for ten days starting March 31st. Whoooweee. Going to see my oldest and bestest friend in the whole world. We are going to walk, talk, eat, laugh, get massages, and just plain have fun. I am really excited to have a change of scenary and get out of the winter for awhile. Nine days and I'm outta here.

Monday, March 20, 2006

Kick My Butt

So, what is going on? My girl friend didn't come to dinner - that was fine. I ate gorgeous lamb shanks all weekend.

My confession, I have been a recluse this weekend - feeling disconnected. Why? I was so intentional in the first year of the grief journey. Made hard decisions, honored my grief, reached out, tumbled through the turbulence, chose life many times over.

What is this second year? I know Tom is gone. I have made and remade myself - I have remodeled the house, bought the duplex, wept a gzillion gallon of tears, started exercising, finally went to the doctor, learned to laugh again, spent time with friends, see a future ahead - hazy may it be.

This weekend, I am back to wanting to run away from home - yet am paralyzed. So blessed am I and can recount my gratitudes to the nth degree. Yet, I am here today - in my nightgown.

So, here in the second year - I am still engaged in the turmoil of loss. I sound like some people who, "just wanted me to be over it."

Saturday, March 18, 2006

The Seven of Pentacles

Under a sky the color of pea soup
she is looking at her work growing away there
actively, thickly like grapevines or pole beans
as things grow in the real world, slowly enough.
If you tend them properly, if you mulch, if you water,
if you provide birds that eat insects a home and winter food, if the sun shines and you pick off caterpillars, if the praying mantis comes and the ladybugs and the bees, then the plants flourish, but at their own internal clock.

Connections are made slowly, sometimes they grow underground.
You cannot tell always by looking what is happening.
More than half a tree is spread out in the soil under your feet.
Penetrate quietly as the earthworm that blows no trumpet.
Fight persistently as the creeper that brings down the tree.
Spread like the squash plant that overruns the garden.
Gnaw in the dark and use the sun to make sugar.

Weave real connections, create real nodes, build real houses.
Live a life you can endure; make love that is loving.
Keep tangling and interweaving and taking more in,
a thicket and bramble wilderness to the outside but to us
interconnected with rabbit runs and burrows and lairs.

Live as if you liked yourself, and it may happen:
reach out, keep reaching out, keep bringing in.
This is how we are going to live for a long time: not always,
for every gardener knows that after the digging, after the planting.
After the long season of tending and growth, the harvest comes.

Marge Piercy

Friday, March 17, 2006

Not Here

Tom's favorite holiday - St. Patrick's Day - how I wish I had a picture of that tall, smiling guy in his emerald green striped rugby shirt - complete with the Murray Crest. Today, I have deep ache for my guy.

I have been thinking and dreaming of the morning Tom died - and so, I share it now -

I came home on Thursday night at 4:45 pm and found the love of my life on the floor of my office and called 911 - when I got to the emergency room (of course, I didn't ride in the ambulance - we had done ambulance before and I would need my car to get things ready for his homecoming) he had been intubated. At 10:30 pm - our family doc showed up and I knew that wasn't a good sign.

Early hours of Friday morning - Dr. Lee, the neurologist showed up - Tom's MRI showed profound brain damage. He was totally unresponsive. There were many and very hard decisions to be made in the next 24 hours. I made them.

Angel Nurses surrounded us - family and friends sat with Tom - telling their stories and love. Each night, I slept in the bed with him - not sleep as we know it - long nights of retelling our story - saying the future that was not meant to be.

On Sunday morning - Cheryl the nurse who had been with us every night - came in and we bathed Tom. I asked if they had razor; she went to get one. Tom had not opened his eyes or made any voluntary movement since I had found him. I was standing by the bed, holding Tom in my arms and looking right into his face - I said, 'you are the love of my life.' - his eyes slowly opened - a golden light shined out - I felt his spirit pass.

In seconds - Cheryl was in the doorway - she came and scooped us in her arms - took Tom's pulse - said, " He's gone." She said a prayer and went to the phone to call S & J (our best friends - staying at our house) - She said, "J, come Tom has just PPPPPP" at that moment, Tom took a deep breath. He was back. (A few months later I found out, it was 12 minutes from beginning of death to coming back.)

Cheryl was dumbfounded - "in twenty years, I have never had this happen - sorry, sorry, sorry." J & S arrived - J held me - S went to his buddy's bedside and talked. What I remember is, "you can go, we are here - now you can golf everyday, drive your Porsche, watch the Vikings, you don't have to worry - we will always take care of Suzann."

I went back to the bed and held him - stroked his forehead - kissed him and said - again - "YOU are the love of my life." His spirit passed.

Thursday, March 16, 2006

The Smallest Things

Today we had more snow - this week we have had as much snow as we have had all winter. Good for the garden this spring and summer.

Tomorrow I am having an old friend for dinner - it gives me the opportunity to COOK - one of the thing I miss most since Tom died is feeding people good food. How he loved to eat my cooking.

Since it is snowing and wintery, the thing I chose is braised lamb shanks - funny, since I have not eaten red meat in so long - but it just seemed like the perfect comfort food. Chewy, glutinous lamb in a slow simmered sauce composed of browned veggies, red wine, tomato paste, good stock and fresh herbs. I'll serve it with roasted garlic smashed potatoes - a steamed green vegetable (broccoli?) and a frisee salad with sherry vinagerette dressing (tossed with a handful of organic sliced radish) Oh yes, and some good crusty whole grain bread to dip in the succulent lamb sauce. - for dessert, a scoop of Stonyfield Organic Dark Chocolate Frozen Yogurt.

I worked in my home office today - so I cooked the shanks - good smells filled the house. Lamb shanks, one of Tom's favorite winter dishes - wish he were here - in body - to eat these beauties. The smallest things bring sudden longing - sudden tears.

Wednesday, March 15, 2006

The Angels in My Life

Blessed be the friends in my life - many family of choice, many kindred spirits on the path.

My heart - the panorama of the sky - and writ large by this loving flier - Joan, Lisa, Bonnie, Heidi, Ann, Hope, Susan, Amy, Marilyn, Cindy, Rhonda, Ann, Kathy N., Cheryl, Heather, Fern, Renae, Kinshasha, Vanessa, Terri, Hope, Lissa, Sally, Patsy, Kathy B, Jeannette, Jonathan, John H., Jim, Steve, Mark, John Z., Martin.

My heart friends in the computer - Den, Joy, Anne, Libby, Cece, Lucy, Tigger, Rachel, Nan, Chasmyn.

Blessed be.

Monday, March 13, 2006

Only in Minnesota

The first picture was taken yesterday in my backyard - the second was taken this morning. Yesterday, I was scanning the hillside next to the house to see if any daffodils or other early bulbs were beginning to peep out. Today, I am grateful to be inside with a hot cup of coffee and my computer.

I know Spring is out there somewhere -

Sunday, March 12, 2006

A New Week Begins

and boy am I ready for a brand new start. This past week was certainly strange. Just couldn't seem to motivate myself to do my workouts - to meet my goals. Today was a good day - Bonnie and I cleaned out the rented storage unit and took everything over to the garage at Dora Court. Last time I saw those boxes of pictures and things, it tore me to pieces - today, it was just a task that needed doing. Progress.

So here's to a new week - I am strong, I am healthy and I meet the goals I set for myself - my favorite affirmation right now.

Friday, March 10, 2006

Grief Support

I had an email today from someone who had cruised my blog and told me about her friend who had recently lost her husband and was struggling on her new grief journey. My heart goes out to Sharon on this path that none of us choose.

There is a wonderful online group of friends that are there for those in grief. It is GROWW - grief recovery online. It is a volunteer driven website that is open 24/7 to all who have experienced the loss of a loved one or friend.

The site is rich with grief resources - message boards, readings, email to heaven, reflections. There are also chatrooms in every category. The general grief support room is open 24 hours a day - the widowed room is open every night from 7 pm to midnight - eastern time. All rooms are moderated by a host who has experienced a similar loss.

In the early days of my own loss - the GROWW widowed room saved my sanity - I found people there who had walked the path before me and in loving ways told me that I was not insane, that what I was feeling was "normal."

I still visit GROWW and have made friends there. It is a place to take your tears and fears and find solace, comfort, understanding and support. Bless all those volunteer hosts who spend many hours online to ensure that those most in need have a place to go - to begin to heal. Thank you GROWW.

Wednesday, March 08, 2006

Golden Lucy's Spiral Journal: I'm Not So Smart

Golden Lucy's Spiral Journal: I'm Not So Smart


Reading Lucy's Golden Spiral Journal this morning was uplifting - gratitude has been such an overwhelming emotion over the past 15 months - even in the midst of life's sudden destruction - so many blessings.

This morning, the fog of blueness has lifted and my gratitude for life and all I have been given is palpable - grateful today for.....

1. friends - the angels on earth (including my friends in the computer)
2. family - always here with love and support
3. work - to be of service to others
4. health - the vehicle to carry me into old age
5. home - the safe haven to always return to
6. eternal curiousity - the fuel of imagination
7. courage - the will to forge a new life

So much to be grateful for - I am blessed and have deep gratitude in my heart.

Tuesday, March 07, 2006

Blue Monday

...and Tuesday too. Just had a bit of the blues the last couple of days. Had a meeting today and then spent the afternoon "blog cruising." How interesting - so many people, so many blogs. Tomorrow is another day - Sleep well.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Part in the here and now - part in eternity

It came in an instant, if Tom were here, where would he "be" in this new life I am forging. It was a fleeting thought with a swift impact - instant guilt.

I am healing - but it is so hard to relinguish the essence of YOU - your laugh - your tall body - dancing in the kitchen, being on this earth together = unconditional love. And all the icky parts too - it is so easy to make the person who dies into a "saint" - you were not a saint - me neither - but you sure were my totally human husband,mate, brother - friend.

Before Tom's spirit passed - Heather - wise beyond her years - ICU Nurse, walked me in the hall - one of the things she said, "Tom did not come into your life to leave you a broken, empty shell - he came into your life to enrich it."

That he did -

It is still more a feeling than a thought to be written. Om Shanti.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

My Adventure

Yesterday was a very weird day. I went to the office, had a meeting with JSB and then went to run some errands. I was in Whole Foods when all of a sudden - I felt this strange pressure in my chest and down my arm. I stopped and took a deep breath - other than the chest and arm, everything seemed OK. So, I kept shopping and checking in with myself. The pressure and arm pain went away and then came back - that happened a couple of times. Then my imagination ran wild.

As a person who has gone through three strokes (the last one fatal) with you know who - I know that there are things worse than dying. Disability - mental and physical - loomed before my eyes. I am not a person who runs to the doctor for much of anything. I never even use up my $1,000 medical deductible EVER.

Soooooo - I paid for my groceries, got in the car and it came back again. Out with the handy cell phone and a quick call to my doctor, who said, "go straight to the emergency room." Which is what I did. After three hours, an EKG, blood tests, nitroglycerine and observation, they sent me home. Everything looked fine.

I saw my doctor this afternoon and he thinks I am in fine shape - nothing shows up. My blood pressure is great - pulse low for my age - heart sounds very regular. Just to be on the safe side, I am going to have a stress test sometime in the next two weeks. That was my big adventure for this week. May as well have that bone density test I have been thinking about - cause I sure have used up my deductible for this year.