Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Love and Light

Today is the winter solstice - the longest night, shortest day of the year.  This is the night that I fill my home with lighted candles and say blessings for the year that is waning and the new year ahead.  I found this post on Facebook; it is beautiful and captures so much. 

Tonight is the second night of Hanukkah AND the solstice - I am hosting "Pagan Hanukkah" - lots of candles, blessings, a few latkes and a menorah too.  Many blessings to each of you.  I hope you enjoy this story:

From an article written by Beth Botts in the Chicago Tribune a few years ago titled, “Out of Darkness, Rebirth.”


The darkest day is the birthday of hope: For many thousands of years, that is what the winter solstice has meant to people all over the world; the shortest day of the year, when night had its greatest dominion. But it also is the day that light begins to grow. And from ancient times -- in imperial Persia and prehistoric Ireland, in Peru and China, in Scandinavia and Rome -- it has provided powerful metaphors of survival and rebirth to help us face the apparent death of the natural world and look on to the season of new growth to come. Many of the customs we associate with Christmas have their roots in pagan winter solstice celebrations from northern Europe, where the longest darkness and deepest cold brought the greatest fear. Thousands of years ago in pre-Christian Scandinavia, a giant oak log was burned to symbolize strength and endurance, as the household gathered around the fire in the face of darkness. That image of the fire on the hearth still is central to our idea of Christmas. Traditionally the log that celebrated Yule -- a name probably derived from an old word for wheel, as the wheel of the year turned -- was big enough to light 12 days of feasting. A fragment would be saved to light next year`s log, symbolizing continuity and rebirth. In Celtic myth, the winter solstice was the time that the Oak King -- who had grown weaker through the fall, just as his sacred trees lost their leaves -- revived to do battle with his evergreen twin, the Holly King. Holly long has been associated with European midwinter celebrations, because it remains green and holds it berries at a time when so much of the forest is gray or brown and seems dead. Later, as a new metaphor arose for light and rebirth, the holly`s berries, like those of mistletoe, came to be associated with the blood of Christ. Evergreens, with their apparent ability to defy winter`s death, long have been sacred in Northern European traditions. At the solstice, evergreens were decorated with offerings to beckon the return of the growing year. After the Middle Ages, the custom began to move indoors, and it entered American tradition after the German-born Prince Albert introduced the Christmas tree to England in 1841. All these customs speak to what the old pagans saw -- the forest dying, the world darkening and closing in and threatening their lives with its deadly cold -- and what they deeply hoped: That underneath it all, the world was still alive. Of course it is. The yews in the front yard may still have red berries, if the birds haven`t gotten them. Cones at the top of pines are ready to fall and drop seeds. Many plants -- such as lilacs -- already have formed the buds of next year`s flowers, bundled up and waiting to bloom. The dead-looking trees that dropped their leaves were merely conserving energy and moisture as they hunkered down to nap. The compost pile may not be cooking, but the busy little microbes are still there, waiting for warmer days. The ground may be frozen at the surface, but a few inches down, roots still are alive and bulbs already hold next year`s tulips and lilies. Many animals are hibernating. But others will be awake all winter, scurrying under the snow or visiting the bird feeder. Unlike ancient pagans, we have science to tell us that the solstice is simply the day when the Earth`s axis tips us farthest from the sun, so the sun appears lowest and weakest in the sky and has the shortest arc. As the Earth tips back, the days will inevitably grow longer. Knowing is one thing. Real comfort comes when we deck our houses with evergreens, light fires and candles, feast with our families to banish cold and dark, sing songs, worship together and tell sacred stories of hope and rebirth. But we can also seize a couple of those fleeting hours of midwinter sunlight to take a walk. Catch the glisten of a berry or the flicker of a bird. Look for the subtle swelling of a bud. Spot the tracks of a field mouse. Remember where we planted the crocuses. Scatter, perhaps, a few seeds of some sturdy native wildflower on the snow, which may float them down to the ground as it melts and keep them moist to germinate in the spring. There is no finer promise of better days to come. Let us find peace in the ancient promise of better days to come.

Peace and joy to everyone.  There is more to come.....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Mother --- the next chapter

It has been awhile since I blogged about my mother.  She celebrated her 85th birthday on November 15th - alone in Yountville - how she wants it, because she doesn't want any of her friends to know "how old she really is".  We now respect her wishes (paranoia) and don't even think of throwing a party to celebrate milestone occasions like turning eighty-five.  

My heart is in turmoil - emotions all mixing together inside - frustration, anger, helplessness, anxiety, admiration, and a deep longing to know that she is safe and not knowing where to start and what to do. 

Mother is still living in the little house we purchased 2-1/2 years ago when she moved from the big house.  My long-time blog friends may recall that Mother is functionally blind as a result of macular degeneration.   She has recently been diagnosed with glaucoma.  Macular degeneration destroys the central vision - glaucoma, the peripheral vision.    It is now a matter of time - unless they can halt the glaucoma.   I fear she is not taking the eye drops - recently she stopped taking the blood pressure meds (AGAIN) and had the 200/250 BP at her appointment.

Mom is getting weaker - less able to get around - more tentative.  Since she cannot see, there are many things that just aren't as clean and tidy.  The fridge often contains spoiled food - and not just a small amount either. 

She has an incontinence problem and often you get a whiff of urine.  She doesn't eat properly and often has diarrhea - you can imagine the result of that.   She is often confused and yet, she has adapted so well that unless you spend a bit of time with her you would not know.
She refuses to have a regular cleaning person - let alone a weekly companion/housekeeper.  She is competent and yet is on the edge.  There is a wonderful person that I pay to go visit once a week or so to help with bills and such - but that is touch and go (Mom has no idea she is paid).  Mom really likes Cathi but is fiercely guarding her independence; I understand as well I can from my 20 years younger perch.  "Independence" - what is that?  Safety - Health - Companionship  - I am so conflicted.  
It is very difficult - time to ponder the next steps.  Any thoughts??

PS Mom can afford household help - a companion, etc.  So it is not about money.  :_(

Sunday, November 13, 2011

The Annual Vigil

i am in San Antonio with youngest son, his wife and our new grandbaby, a beautiful little girl named, Raegan. It is wonderful to be with them, to hold and love this baby; to witness the blessing of my baby parenting; to be in the warmth and to have a break from my familiar surroundings. (I am unable to upload photos as I only have my IPad with me, pics to follow.)

Today marks seven years, seven years ago this day was the last 24 hours that Tom was drawing breath on this earth. Granted, he was in a coma, but he was here, he was warm and we were together. The nearly four days from November 11 to 14 in 2004 remain a blur.

There are things that stick out in sharp relief, inscribed in thick, indelible lines within my very heart.

When I walked into the trauma room in the ER that night, he was on a gurney, his clothing had been cut-off and he was intubated. They let me stay - I quietly stood at the end of that gurney and held fast to his big toe. The floor was littered with the detrius of their life saving actions. I held hope in both hands. Thirty minutes later a nurse took me in a little room and gently told me "it doesn't look good". I clutched hope more firmly and went to ICU.

Looking at the MRI for the first in the early pre-dawn hours - my dearest sister-friend Lisa by my side - it was so clear, the right side of his brain was gone. Still I hoped. i looked at those MRI pictures a half dozen times and hope began to crumble. Removing the breathing tube was the ultimate step to freeing him, but oh so difficult to do and to watch.

Laying beside him in the hospital bed, recounting our meeting, our courtship, our marriage, our love and our lives - this was his last night on earth. In the middle of the night, Cheryl, our nurse came in, gave us a smile and said, "I don't know what you are talking about, but every once in a while his heart rate jumps up there.". We were on the same wave length. Later she returned and as she was leaving, she turned around and said, "enjoy his warmth". I didn't totally understand then - I do now. I will forever feel grateful that on his last night on the planet, I slept in his arms, holding him with all I am or ever will be.

So, here I sit in the kitchen in San Antonio, listening to baby gurgles, feeling sadness mixed with such gratitude and hope. Once again touching the wound that will never quite heal. Memories assail me this morning. There is more to come.........

Wednesday, November 09, 2011

The "L" Word

OK, OK - I'll bet you thought I had taken a slow boat to another continent.  Well, in some ways I did.  I have so many things to write about - the one I want to share tonight is that I am in love.  Yes, that's right, the "L" word.  I also am loved.  That's right the "L" word.  It is amazing. 

The guy and I have walked a path the last 15 months - singly, together - whatever.  We have done the dance - the dance in happy; the dance in the rain - the dance that is scared beyond belief (we both know what it is like to lose the love of your life); the run forward - quick, run back. 

Tonight, I can say with a glad heart and a sense of contentment - we love one another.  The kind of love that one holds carefully and with joy.  The kind of love that is steady, and feels oh so true. The kind of love that acknowledges the preciousness of life.

Right now, we are in the vigil-time of the loss of our spouses - he on October 27 (14 years) - me on November 14 (7 years).  We talk about it, cry together, comfort one another and give each other space to be lost in our memories.  And through it all - we are here in the blessed here and now. 

I have so many things I want to write - I hope each of you are well - I send my love.   In my darkest hours I never thought the sun would shine again and I certainly never imagined that I would say the "L" word from the bottom of my heart.

Happy, Happy, Joy, Joy.  One thing I know for sure - Tom wants me to be happy.  There is truly much more to come.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Where to Begin

I have missed you dear blog and any of my readers who may be left.  I am still here on the planet and for that I am grateful. 

The Grief Project continues to flower. 

The guy and I are here - yes, we are still making our way together.  It is difficult to write about our personal things - because they are just that. However, here we are - learning and loving and learning.  

Whew -- Changing one's outlook, changes one's world. 

Glad to be here with you - love hugs - more to come...

Monday, August 01, 2011

The First Sacred Journey Retreat - A Success!

Not only has The Grief Project (TGP) launched, we had our first widowed retreat July 23-34 and it surpassed every expectation.

Here are some of the reactions of retreat participants:

"What stands out the most is how "Spirit-led" the entire experience felt. Quakers call such times "gathered meetings" where mysteriously, and mystically, Spirit seems to be present and all feel that presence together. It is as though something greater than all of us is brought into being by our collective longings and love.

I felt the sense of expectancy in the participants immediately when I arrived. I could feel their need to have a meaningful experience and to find some solace for their pain. Talking about how we experience grief in all the different areas of our lives was a wonderful way to begin the retreat, a safe way to ease into the topic and to also begin to immediately feel how much everyone had in common. All of the activities seemed to just flow naturally one into the other, the participants, myself included, being gently prompted towards more and more intimacy through feeling safer and safer as the day progressed. The depth and joy of the labyrinth experience was palpable."

"This weekend of coming together has been the most incredible satisfying experience. It has surpassed all my expectations and is exactly what I’ve been searching for. I lost my husband less than a year ago and have struggled to find a gathering of widowed people. I feel I’ve made some forever friends traveling this same journey. I’ve experienced peace, sadness, loneliness, and AHA moments! Every piece of this retreat was planned with incredible passion & caring. There was time to cry, reflect, learn and laugh. Although we are “strangers” to each other we have developed a bond as close as family. I have learned how to take care of myself and how to continue on…. Hopefully this group will continue to meet and our friendship grow. Suzann, Joan, Lisa, Jean and Kathy and all involved are truly angels sent to comfort others. Suzann & Joan – you have truly made a difference paying it forward is a gift I will cherish and remember forever. My experience learning and using labyrinth is something I will use and remember forever. It is so powerful! Bless you all! Love to you all."

"This retreat was very well worth the time. It was very well organized with amazing content and presenters. I especially enjoyed the labyrinth and learning about them and more about myself. I would enjoy to attend a second one of these with the same people, to build on the relationships and progress. Thank You!"

"Really enjoyed the value brought through the journaling through grief workshop & packing your toolbox. Mind-body & spirit topics, which are all important to healing. Personally I loved the labyrinth work, so peaceful & moving experience. Thank you for so generously giving to the bereaved. A blessing.

The setting was perfect – it was a great start to lasting friendships & connections!! I want to see more with the same group. I look forward to continued renewal & healing! Thank you so much for all your spirit & hard work making this happen!"

"I am so appreciative of all who worked so hard to organize this retreat. I felt the location was wonderful – so much beauty & peace in nature to observe. I liked the size of the group… The pace of the retreat…. The music… the food… and especially the people. While it is sad to hear of so many losses it also gives me hope for life. I hope we can continue interacting on some level as I know our journeys will continue for many years. Blessing to all of you!"

"As the time came closer to attend the retreat I felt more conflicted in whether or not I wanted to attend. It has only been 4 mos. Since my husband death and I was afraid I’d make a fool of myself in front of others. Sometimes the tears start and I think they will never end. I walked into the room and was greeted immediately by Joan with beautiful music playing I the background. I knew immediately that this was exactly where I was meant to be. The weekend brought me a sense of peace, I felt “secure” and it was due to the fact that I was coming among people “who got it”. I have not had this feeling since my husband passed away. The wonderful women who brought this weekend to us were true leaders, their compassion and love could fill an auditorium. I want to stay and never leave! All the workshops were extremely relevant to what I needed. I had no ideas what I needed as I feel most of the time I’m in some type of fog. I will use the tools in the future which will absolutely help me down this path no one wanted or asked for. I feel a depth of gratitude to these extraordinary women who have reached out to us in this time of incredible need and sorrow. I hope and look forward to possible future retreats and get together with “our group”. Thank you from the bottom of my heart."

Highlights from the retreat included an interactive workshop about how grief affects us in areas such as physical, social, emotional, spiritual, and mental followed by a "Journaling your Way through Grief" session. After lunch we reconvened for two sessions.

"Packing your Toolkit" provided information about holistic healing and therapies to access to help people move through through their grief journey. It featured practical, hands-on, natural tools to use everyday to balance mind, body and spirit.

"Telling your Story" gave participants an opportunity to tell their stories, helping to give weight to each journey, to the ongoing experience.

Our dear Lucy Starshadow was in attendance providing a soft presence for everyone - here are photos of Lucy loving the Retreat.

The weekend was heart-centered and spirit led. It was everything we dreamed and so much more. Each participant brought their whole selves and freely shared their hopes, fears, pain and widowed journey.

After five years of dreaming and planning to have this opportunity to be present to others' pain - to be a companion - to bring some light into that dark, dark place - such a blessing. The participants were of every age from 30's to 60's - there were those whose widow journey began 17 years ago and those who lost their spouse a mere 3 months ago. It mattered little. We hand-built a trusting space together - we became a family in two days time. Everyone is looking forward to another gathering with "their group"!

Now we will begin to plan the next gathering - probably in the Twin Cities later in September - an opportunity to come together for more enriching support and ask people to help us plan the next steps of The Grief Project. There is so much more to come..........

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Paraphrase of Walt Whitman by my friend: Louis Alemayehu

I have heard what the talkers were talking,
The talk of the beginning
and the end.
But I do not talk of the beginning
or the end.
There was never anymore beginning
than there are now,
Nor any more youth or age
than there is now,
And never be any more perfection
than there is now,
Nor any more heaven or hell
than there is now.
Clear and sweet is my soul,
And clear and sweet is all that is not my soul.
I welcome every organ and attribute of me
Not an inch,
Not a particle of an inch is vile to me.
I am satisfied –
I see, I dance, I laugh, I sing!
I will go to the bank of the river in the woods
And become undisguised and naked,
I am mad for it all to embrace me.
I am obsessed with the agony and ecstasy of this life!
It all amazes me!

Sunday, June 26, 2011


Here we are the day after my birthday - it is my 6th birthday without Tom here on the planet. On my 60th, my evil twin and dearest friend Lisa arrived at the party with a small box (the unmistakable jewelry box box) and said - Tom wanted me to give these to you. Inside: beautiful sapphire and diamond stud earrings. Thank you Lisa - thank you Tom.

One of the pleasures, privileges and a constant in my life before death was that Tom told me EVERYDAY that I was beautiful - it was such an honor and such an amazing thing to have that gift given from the heart.

Last night we went to dinner - the guy and me and my best friends - Joan and Steve. During dinner, Steve looked across the table and said (something like) - you don't look 65 - you look lovely and so youthful. Translate - "you look beautiful"

This afternoon I realized that those messages came straight from Tom's heart and from Steve's heart too. Thank you Tom for coming to visit last night through one of your best brother friends - thank you Steve for being my brother. Namaste.

Friday, June 24, 2011

On the Eve of another Birthday.....

This is the last day I will be 64 - how did that happen?

It just seems to sneak up on a person.

This is also my 640th blog post! June 18th was this blog's sixth anniversary. To borrow a phrase - "I've come along way, Baby" since this blog began. When I began this "journey to a new life" I had no idea how many amazing people it would bring into my life - I had no idea what a healing force it would be for me and for others. I am blessed to know each of you who visit here - thank you for enriching my life.

Today, I am reminded of a watercolor that hangs downstairs in my guest room. It has the following quote inked around the edges:

We never really grow old it seems, we keep in our hearts our fancies and dreams, and in a corner all tucked away is the child we all were yesterday.

This year of being 64 has been a very good year. It is the year that The Grief Project was born - a dream come true.

It is the year I learned to open my heart again and feel that unmistakable man/woman feeling that I thought was gone forever.

It is the year that my bestest friend J came to the Twin Cites and now we get to see one another all the time - blessings abound.

It has been a year of healing and growth - the year that I know for sure that I am blessed beyond all imagining. I am grateful for my work, my home, my health, my heart, my friends and family and for my resiliency.

Standing here on the brink of 65 is a pretty good place to stand.

I just took these photos with my computer to mark this day - the last day I will be 64. There is more to come.....

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Beginning of the End

And oh it makes me sad. Sad. Sad. Sad. I suppose once your heart is ripped out by its roots and once you have walked that pain-filled WidowRoad, how can anything hurt worse? It can't.

Yet, I stood in the shower this afternoon and wept.

It is not the sadness that hurts me. It is the loss of the potential of something very wonderful. I cannot settle and I cannot change anything or anyone but me.

So, I will just have to be sad.....I believe there is much more to come.

Thursday, June 02, 2011

Life is Precious

This is a poem by an unknown author. I have come across it a few times, and today, when it ended up in my mailbox again, I thought it would be a good thing to share.


People come into your life for a reason, a season or a lifetime.
When you know which one it is, you will know what to do for that person.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed. They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support,to aid you physically, emotionally or spiritually. They may seem like a godsend and they are..

They are there for the reason you need them to be. Then, without any wrongdoing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.

Sometimes they die. Sometimes they walk away. Sometimes they act up and force you to take a stand. What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled, their work is done. The prayer you sent up has been answered and now it is time to move on.

Some people come into your life for a SEASON, because your turn has come to share, grow or learn. They bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh. They may teach you something you have never done. They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy. Believe it, it is real. But only for a season.

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons, Things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation. Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life

It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant

Thank you for being a part of my life, whether you are a reason, a season or a lifetime.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Leading with My Heart

I don't often write about the guy - he is very special to me. I have been struggling inside - where is this relationship headed? What does this mean - are we two single people hanging out until the next step comes along in life? Are we two single people standing together seeing if we can become a couple - in it for the long haul? What does the future hold?

We have very similar values in most areas of our lives. We both come from a very liberal perspective about the world. We walk and talk. We hold hands and hug. We laugh - oh, how we laugh. We love to snuggle and stay in bed on Sunday morning with coffee and the newspaper. We smooch. We watch movies in bed with popcorn and red wine. We dog walk and talk about the future. Things that both of us love - gardens, canning, flowers, growing tomatoes and green beans, fresh baked bread and cottages.

We generally do not see one another during the week due to work but we talk on the phone and text many, many times each day.

We have now been seeing one another for 9 months. At times, I feel like I run forward and then run back. I want to have a future that includes him and then I am unsure of it all - including how he feels and how I feel.

Here in the burgeoning springtime with my birthday just ahead - this morning I finally asked - "are we 2 single people hanging out or are we 2 single people being here to see if there is a committed couple emerging from this relationship."

We are stepping forward to see what commitment the next months bring - leading with one's heart is so frightening - leading with one's heart takes courage - leading with one's heart means you are true to yourself - I am glad I led with my heart this morning. Namaste.

Sunday, May 08, 2011

The Grief Project

Please visit our new website. The Grief Project. It is the dream of my heart and now it lives. I have walked with other widowed people for the last several years, it is my new life's work. This project is the formal part of that work. A call to action for those who wish to help. A safe place for those in pain. Please visit the website and let me know what you think.

Tonight I am in bed writing this on my IPad. I am having a bit of trouble sleeping. Tonight I miss Tom with an intensity that I have not felt in a long time. Tears. Longing. Anger that he is gone. Wishing for a life that vanished so long ago. Wishing for my husband who loved me to the bottom of his heart and told me so daily. Wishing for his shoulder to lay my head on, wishing for his hand to hold, wishing for his gentleness, his easy manner, his unconditional love. Even after six and a half years my pillow is wet with tears. I miss you honey - I miss you.

Thursday, May 05, 2011

Reflections on the Eve of a Launching a Dream

This week is a tornado of activity - my work is very complex, this is the part of leadership transition that is the most chaotic - it is a critical time of engagement with the board, staff and community and it is a time to collect a great deal of data as part of a deep organizational assessment. This week is also the week that I have been preparing to launch The Grief Project website. This is the project I have mentioned over the years - it is a project that has captured my heart and soul. I have dreamed it and worked on it since 2005 - every so often putting it temporarily on hold while I honored my own journey and healed.

My work with organizations used to be my life's work - now it is the work I enjoy, but it has become the thing I do to fund and fuel the my new life's work - companioning the bereaved. What a blessing.

This week, as I have worked early, early in the morning and late into the night - with client work in between - Tom has been very present. I have driven by the old familiar places and a couple of times I have felt that old, old tug in my heart. Tears in eyes and longing in my heart, a frequent refrain the last few days.

Last weekend was Tom's birthday. For the first time, my guy and I went to the cemetery together. He helped me to select flowers and drove me to Fort Snelling. It was an amazing experience. At one point I turned around and he had tears in his eyes as did I. He knows - he will long for his late wife until the end of his own days. Joy and Sorrow. Life.

I feel so fortunate to have walked the deepest, darkest path through the arid desert and burning hell of the grief journey. I feel so fortunate to have this relationship with a man who has walked his own painful road. Here we are - survivors - standing in the light - walking hand in hand and taking it a step at a time. Laughing, playing, sharing tender moments, looking forward - just being, being together in the moment.

What an appropriate thing tonight - to honor Tom and know that this new project will make a difference to so many. Thank you Tom for all you gave to me - thank you for watching as this dream comes true. Thank you Spirit - blessings abound.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Oh Dear

I can't believe it has been almost a month since my last post - bad on me! I have begun a new leadership transition gig and have been devoting a lot of time to The Grief Project. That's right after five years the project is alive and about to be launched.

I hope you have a happy Friday and I PROMISE that once the new project is launched this blog will once more be a happening place. Love and Light to All xoxoxo

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Update Two

Just when you think everything is OK -- last Sunday, my weird symptoms returned. Sunday afternoon I went to the Emergency Room and they kept me for observation. I had another MRI on Sunday evening and it was conclusive that not only was I not having another incident, they no longer could see the mark from the earlier stroke.

On Monday, I had the heart test (TEE) to be sure I had no heart abnormality that could cause problems - that test came back totally negative. The neurologist told me that cardiologists generally find something wrong with everyone's heart and couldn't find anything wrong with mine.

Dr. H thinks that perhaps my anxiety got the best of me on Sunday - after all I know too much (first-hand) about what a stroke can do to a person in the long-term.

On Monday late afternoon I was released from the hospital and given a clean bill of health. I can return to working out and resume all my daily activities. I was given quite a bit of sedatives for all these tests and so I slept most of the day Tuesday. I also have taken some quiet time to reflect on everything that happened - it had a positive outcome and for that, I am very grateful. I am here now and ready to resume my life journey.

What a trip this has been - thank you for your messages, prayers and positive thoughts. I have been off my exercise and eating program for a week and am ready to jump back in.

I am totally grateful for my life, for the sunshine outside my window right now, for my friends that helped me during this past week, for my home, for the Spring that is happening under the melting snow, and that I can return = renewed and ready for the next steps on the journey.

Thank you so much for being my companions and my inspiration on the journey.

Friday, March 25, 2011


I just came back from Neurologist. They think I might have had a little stroke,  not a TIA, a stroke for god's sake - amazing.

The doc thought so too - he said that with my profile of healthy eating, lots of exercise, no clogged arteries (MRI looked at my carotid arteries and all the arteries in my neck going to brain), no heart problems, no high blood pressure, no high cholesterol - that I am "the last in line" for a stroke. Go figure. The MRI showed a tiny "scar" on the left side of my thalamus - a tiny pinpoint that happened in the last 3-4 days.

 I am fine - the dizziness and tingly hand and foot have resolved themselves. My energy is coming back. Of course, after watching Tom have a stroke in front of me - after living nearly 5 years in stroke disability and recovery - it makes me sad and a bit nervous. The doc said to not worry - I am healthy and that it was an isolated incident. He will continue to see me and monitor things for a while. So strange - I am so healthy - no medications, no "conditions", not much illness to speak of.

Sure has made me reflect and take time to think - I didn't sleep much last night. I am going to take a nap now - it has been a really full couple of days. Life is mysterious. I love each of you very much - you are a treasure to me. Thank you for your words of encouragement and support. xo

Thursday, March 24, 2011


For the past three days I have been feeling dizzy, a bit disoriented, and a little clumsy once in awhile. Yesterday I stayed home and slept all day. Today I went to the doctor.

I am not a person who is a big user of western medicine. I am very healthy. I take no prescription medications. I workout most days every week - weight training, pilates, and cardio. I eat healthy - lean protein, veggies, whole grains. I do NOT eat fast food, EVER. I do not smoke - five years now. By and large - I am healthy, active, vital.

It turns out that sometime in the last 2 to 3 days I had a very small stroke - OMG = my faithful readers know I have a history with stroke - that is what killed Tom. This was a tiny TIA but still - what a shock. I had an MRI today and a full cardio workup - I have no clogged arteries - I have nothing that needs surgery or other intervention. Tomorrow I go to the neurologist. The doctor wants me to take a full aspirin a day - instead of the two baby aspirin I usually take.

This has been a scary thing - but yet, the doc wanted to rule out brain tumor so I guess all is good. Life is precious - make sure you are living it the way you want. More to come........

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Baby Steps

I have not updated the blog in a couple of weeks. It has been a time of patience, impatience, sadness, joy, reflection and waiting. The guy and I continue to see one another and enjoy each other's company. He is a wonderful man and I truly care about him as he also cares deeply about me. We will take baby steps and see where it leads.

I am strong and resilient in my approach to life and to the future. Sadness (as you know) is just a part of being alive - on balance I certainly have more joy than sadness these days and that is a blessing.

Knowing when to move forward and when to step back. Knowing when to continue and when to stop. Knowing - I pray for patience and also know that I have this "one wild and precious life" and I want certain things. I deserve to be with someone who adores me and will allow me to adore them. I deserve to have the passion and excitement of new love that matures and mellows with time - always with that spark. So here we are - baby steps, baby steps, baby steps into the future. For now, we are taking those steps holding hands......there is more to come.

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

After Changes Upon Changes

I do not know what lies just ahead. I have blogged that I believed the man who I have been sharing my life experiences with the past seven months was here in my life for awhile. It appears I was correct.

We care deeply for one another - we have fun and laugh incessantly. We have made some wonderful memories. We hold hands and hug and kiss a million times a day when we are together. We do the simple things of life that are so important and we have fun doing so. It appears that it all is about to be just that - wonderful memories.

Am I sad? Of course! Will I live? Absolutely. Once you have had your heart abruptly torn out, there is little that can happen to bring you down for long.

As I wrote in the beginning - I don't know what the next steps are between us. We will be friends - but if this moves forward in this manner then we will not see one another for a bit - I can't change channels that fast.

Yesterday, I stayed home and stayed in bed, reading, reflecting and yes, shedding a few tears. He and I talked on the phone several times. Today, he still sent me his early morning text - we talked at 5:30 am like we do everyday. Today - the sun is shining. I am up and ready to go to work. Baby steps, baby steps, baby steps into my future. That is all any of us can do. Namaste.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Celebrate Life!!

Today is my 58 month anniversary of quitting cigarettes FOREVER!! I am so happy and so proud that I kicked the old demon nicotine squarely in the butt and out of my life.

I used the support website Quitnet ( - it worked! Here are my stats that came in my email today:

Your Quit Date is: Sunday, April 23, 2006 at 9:35:00 PM

Time Smoke-Free: 1766 days, 6 hours, 30 minutes and 7 seconds

Cigarettes NOT smoked: 26494

Lifetime Saved: 6 months, 22 days, 9 hours

Money Saved: $5,963.62

In this case, it is your money AND your life.

PS For those who are new to my blog - my quit date is also the birth date of my dear husband Tom - it was a gift to him and to myself to quit on that date.

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Walking the Widow Road

The fiery widowed road is beyond the understanding of anyone who has not been forced to tread its path of pain and sorrow. In the early parts of the journey, there are days that death seems preferable to continuing to arise and face another morning.

Slowly oh so slowly - we heal - slowly oh so slowly - we create a new life. In my early widow years it was inconceivable that life could EVER be joyful again.

Slowly oh so slowly - we put one foot in front of the other on the devastating widowed road. There comes the day we first smile and immediately feel guilty - "he is dead", what is wrong with me?!

There are days we feel we can face life with some optimism and ten minutes later we fall into the deep, black hole of tears and hopelessness. Somehow, we manage to dig ourselves out of the ravages (over and over) to face another day.

One day at a time - one foot in front of the other - the beat goes on - somehow.

The journey brings many lessons, real lessons, not words - they have become the values that guide my life.

Love is all that matters.
We have nothing but this moment in which we stand
Material things are transitory at best
Take no person for granted
Never leave those you love in anger
A person can withstand more pain than one ever imagined
True friends stand with you - no matter what!
Kindness and time are the greatest gifts we can give

Now in my seventh year of widowhood (six years in November) I have found a companion. A man who has walked his own widowed road. Slowly oh so slowly we are developing a deep, deep care for one another. Slowly oh so slowly I am opening my heart to the possibilities. Slowly oh so slowly I am coming to the place that I can say from very deep in my heart and soul - how I feel. Stay tuned for more......

Sunday, January 30, 2011


It has been way too long since I posted - way too long. I have been juggling a lot of things - new projects, catching up on professional reading, a huge fitness challenge that I embarked on about a month ago, time with friends (not as much a hermit as I have been the last few years) and busy with the things of daily living.

I have been working out at a really ferocious rate - increasing my exercise by at least 50%. For a bit my knees were really bothering me from doing so much high intensity interval cardio work on the treadmill. No more pain as now I have discovered the recumbent bike and it's much easier on these old knees. This week, in addition to 2 weight training sessions with Suzy and my cardio, I plan to do a Zumba class and a core training class, both at the YMCA.

I have much, much more to share with you. Some of my dear readers may remember that a few years ago I tried to start an initiative called, "The Grief Project" and I just couldn't do it then. I was too raw, too deep in my own bereavement. Now is the time.

The Grief Project is being initiated now. I will do a post this week with all the details. It is exciting and fulfilling a long held dream of mine. I will also blog soon about my fitness program and the challenge. It is an exciting mind, body and spirit endeavor.

Glad to be back at the blog = there is more to come.....

Sunday, January 09, 2011

Monday, January 03, 2011

Blessings for the New Year

"Traveler, there is no road.

We make the road by walking."

Antonio Machado