Friday, August 29, 2014

Just out of Reach

Friday is here. Let's travel over to Heading Home and join Five Minute Friday. A comfortable, safe place to share five minutes of writing raw. No editing, no over-thinking. Just putting your thoughts down and then hitting the publish button. The only rule is to offer another writer (or two or three) your love and support. Let's go. This week the writing prompt is:



The sun was pouring through the front door windows when I saw the shadow pass over my loved one's face. I knew his time was here. Those who had been lingering in our corners stepped forward. It was time. I reached for his hand and held it tight. And I reached deep into my heart for the strength that I knew I would need from this moment on. He passed peacefully. He had reached his goal. There was no pain. No discomfort. Just a quiet letting go.

I sit now in a silent room and reach for peace. It is out there. This much I know. I just have to reach for it. I stretch out my hand. It is just outside my grasp. My thoughts are filled with the past and what I have lost. I cry. But I must keep reaching to find my future...and know that he is still with me....just out of my reach!


Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Throwback Thursday

This is a picture of Richard taken in the early 1950's, while he was serving our country, somewhere in Germany. He wrote on the back of it...."getting ready to watch a parade." The entire back of the photo was covered with his writing...telling about a little German boy who he gave 4 pennies to and how happy it made the boy. I love reading about the time he spent in another country. Most of the pictures of this time have his writing covering the back. I am glad that he documented his journey for us.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Willing or Not

It is already Wednesday. It seems that time just keeps marching forward, doesn't it. Can't we pause just a bit? I want to catch my breath. But that is not the way this works. So I am joining my friend, Lisa, at My Sweet Peanut in her weekly One Word Wednesday challenge. This week the word is:


I am not feeling all that willing right now. I am just not. I don't know why. And I am not interested in finding out why. If being willing means moving on then I'm not going to. Not just yet. If willing means: ready,  eager and prepared to do something, then I am not willing

I just completed a three year roller coaster ride. If you are interested in the journey then you can check out My Care-giving Journey Page by clicking here. I didn't ask to go on this journey. But I was willing. There were times (many more than I want to remember) when I wanted to get off. When I had taken all that I could take. When I even said, to anyone who would listen, that I couldn't do it anymore. But I kept with it. I was willing. I had to be. This man was my husband. The love of my life.
 The man who came to me 36 years ago and agreed to take care of me and two sons who were not his responsibility. And he was willing. I have never felt a more powerful love than the love that was given to me, by Richard. It couldn't have been easy for him to make the decision to date a young woman with 2 young boys. Many people out there discouraged both of us from entering into this relationship. Many people thought it wouldn't last. But it did. And you know why it did? Because both Richard and I were willing.

Marriage is not easy. All married couples know that. It is easy to just give up when things start to go downhill. I know that! Because I did it once. Richard knew that. Because he did it twice. When he and I decided to get married, after having lived together for 18 years, (I know, I know) we talked about what this was going to mean to us. For better or worse. We knew that we would have plenty of each. We had already been through a lot. For richer or poorer...yep, been there too. In sickness and in health...we didn't have a clue what was waiting for us around the corner. To Love and to cherish....we both did this. I loved and was loved. I cherished and was cherished. Til' death do us part....We were willing.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Don't Give up Hope

Don't Give Up Hope

This world just keeps on getting crazier and crazier everyday
You're so afraid
Sometimes it feels like it's chasing your sanity away
And you start to break
Let me help you find your way

Don't give up faith
Don't give up hope
There's always something better
Waiting around the corner
Don't give up now
Please, don't let go
What can feel like the ending
Could just be the beginning
Don't give up hope

Your life is spinning like a rocket that's gone out of control
And you've let go
You're slowly losing your confidence, you're a wounded soul
But I hope you know
I can help you find your way

Don't give up faith
Don't give up hope
There's always something better
Waiting around the corner
Don't give up now
Please, don't let go
What can seem like the ending

Could just be the beginning
Don't give up hope
Don't give up hope now

Don't turn around
Keep on moving
Find your faith
You'll be doing all right now
Don't look back
Keep on moving
Find your faith
And you'll be doing all right now
Don't look back
Keep on moving
Find your faith
And you'll be doing all right now

Don't give up faith
Don't give up hope
There's always something better
Waiting around the corner
Don't give up now
Please, don't let go
What can seem like the ending
Could just be the beginning
[Repeat 2x]

Menu Plan Monday and Life

Another Monday is upon me. I will always think of Monday's now as the day that he died. Never did like Monday. Today marks 5 weeks. And life just keeps marching on. The kids have started debate practices twice a week. We have dentist appointments twice this week. Scouts starts again tonight. And the church youth group is having a back to school paint party on Wednesday. Our last week before school starts. And, for the first time in I don't know how many months and months, my youngest son didn't come to visit. He is sick with pneumonia and a mysterious back pain. All prayers for him are welcome. Now onto the Monday Menu Plan. It has lots of last week's menu because I just didn't feel like cooking.


Leftover Day



Kids eat at church


Scalloped potatoes
Brussels sprouts



Chicken Cordon Blue
Mashed potatoes/gravy


Green bean soup
Sour dough bread

See...not much change. I am linking up with I'm An Organizing Junkie.

Friday, August 22, 2014

Tis The Season for CHANGE

On Friday's I join a group of friends and other bloggers for Five Minute Friday. Kate Motaung at Heading Home is our hostess for the challenge. We write for 5 minutes without over-thinking, editing, or worrying about what others will think. The only rule is to link-up and support others who are writing. Let's get started....This weeks prompt is CHANGE


Oh wow! This is not one of my favorite words. I am one of those people who doesn't deal well with change of any kind. I like things to go along status quo. The same everyday. That is just how I roll. Bring on any changes, for me, and you are bound to see anxiety and moodiness. All the years I worked at the hospital I didn't like when things weren't going smoothly. I think one of the biggest reasons I liked changing to the nursing home so much was because it was day to day with few changes.

winter 2014
Oh the changes that were brought about in my life when Richard got sick three years ago. I had to quit working. I took over all the grocery shopping (he had always done that), all the meal preparing (he helped here a lot), all the financial matters, (this was totally his baby), and all the taking care of house and car. And I didn't like it one darn bit. But I survived. And I do okay. In fact, I used to tell Richard that when it came to the financial part of our family life, I was much better at it than he was. Of course, at this point, he didn't care. So he just smiled! Oh how I miss that sweet smile.

Now here I am again making changes in my life. Not big changes like I had to make when he became sick. Just the change of not having him here anymore. Just the change of not having him to talk to. To take care of. To smile at and hold his hand. To feel him squeeze my fingers. To hear him say "I love you sweetheart!". Just those changes...


Now it's your turn. How does the word change impact your life. Go over to Heading Home and join the challenge.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

Throwback Thursday

This is the exact spot where we were married in 1996. This picture was taken in the fall of 2007.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

I'm a Planner

I have always been a 'planner'. I like a set schedule and I want everyone to stick to it. I hate being late. I am always the 'early one.' I plan dinner for tomorrow, today. This past couple of years I have been planning my meals for a week in advance. Then I plan my grocery shopping and life is so much smoother. 

However, life doesn't always go according to my plan. And it creates a lot of anxiety. Three years ago, when Richard had a stroke, all of my best-laid plans went to hell. I had to quit working, so that he would have someone home with him all the time. This created another kind of planning that I was not at all used to doing. Budgeting. And I hated it. Richard had always done this. Also, I had to become the caretaker of the house. And Richard had always done that. So I had to become a better planner.

I am a list maker. And I use my calendar. Without my calendar I would be lost. I have a calendar on the computer, on my phone, and a paper calendar. And I keep them, all 3, set up with our schedules. Two teenagers can create a lot of schedule planning. 

Since I knew that Richard's death was 'coming', I had plans for it. I wrote his obituary early, had the telephone lists ready for who needed to be called and in what order, things lined up to take to the mortuary with us for that 'horrible meeting' that takes place when you are your most vulnerable. I was ready! The only thing not planned was my reactions. And you can't plan for emotions, I guess.

If you would like to share how you plan with us then go visit my friend Lisa at My Sweet Peanut and join her One Word Wednesday link-up.

Back to School Contract

A couple of years ago I found a Back to School contract somewhere on-line and it spelled out exactly what I expected of the kiddos. I could always pull it out and say, "Look, you signed this on this day and agreed to this." It didn't stop all arguments, but it helped.  So this year I just drew up my own contract. We discussed it yesterday. I like to have their input. Below is what we came up with. 

Back to School Contract
This contract is between                          and Grandma

1.     Bedtime and Awake Time

2.     Chores:
Every day after school I will:

3.     Television, video games, and computer time: No TV, video games, or computer until after homework, chores, showers, and dinner.
No more than 2 hours per day and you may chose how to divide up the time.

4.     Homework: Immediately after school. If there is homework for Monday, it will be done on Friday, before any activities.

5.     Powerschool grades will be checked on Friday’s. Any D’s or F’s will lose me all TV, video games, and computer time until said grades are brought up. (That means at least one week)

Final Notes: If you are in compliance with the above rules, WITHOUT ARGUMENTS, all week you may spend time with your friends over the weekends.
If NOT in compliance, you may spend time hanging out with Grandma.


Monday, August 18, 2014

Menu Plan Monday

I have to get back to menu-planning. We all still need to eat. And now it is more important than ever before that I manage the budget. And the kids like knowing what is going to be for dinner. So here goes...


Roast Beef
Potatoes and Carrots


Sour Cream Noodle Bake*
Tossed Salad


Kids eat at church


Skillet Chicken/Dressing*
Brussels Sprouts


Taco Soup*


Chicken Cordon Blue
Mashed potatoes/gravy


Green Bean Soup
Sour dough bread

*links to recipes

What I've Been Reading

From the publisher:
Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Becky is Chris's fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman - and now faces her greatest obstacle yet. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them. Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed.

My Review:

This isn't my normal type of book to read. But it was a Friday Freebie on my Nook. And I was looking for something light to read after Richard's death. 

Well, it not light.

But it is totally a likeable book. One I would give 4 1/2 stars to. (out of 5). It made me cry. But what doesn't make me cry nowadays. I liked the two main characters Chris and Becky! I did NOT like Chris's ex-wife. It was a quick read. Although, I am not into 'fantasy' at all this was nice.

I am suggesting this book for both of my grandkids. They will like it! 

A Month That seems like an Hour or a Year

It has been a month today. Four weeks. So hard to believe. It seems like Richard just died an hour ago. I still feel the raw pain as if it just happened. And yet, so much has changed since that day, that it feels like it has been a year. But a month! Four weeks. Twenty-eight days. However you want to refer to marks an anniversary. One month.

One long month. I still feel him in the house. Yesterday, while setting the table for dinner, I placed four place settings instead of three. When the kids reminded me I burst into tears. It just doesn't seem right to sit at the table with just the three of us. His place is empty. There is such a void. I think it is time to mix everything up and everyone sit in a different spot. I don't like the empty spot where Richard used to sit. And I don't want to start eating in the living room. In front of the TV. That would be so easy to do. It would fill that void. But I think family's should eat at the table. I think kids have better manners if they eat at the table. I want to hear about their days. Without the TV interfering. 

I don't wash clothes everyday either. It is strange how losing just one person changes the way that everything is done. His loss touches every area of my life. The grocery shopping. My routine. Eating. The laundry. All of these things are not things that I thought about before. What I did think about was that his absence would be great. And it is.

I don't think everyone else misses him the way that I do. I feel like everyone but me has moved on. I wonder if there is a proper time to grieve. I wonder how long it is acceptable to keep crying. I feel guilty every time I cry. I feel like people are looking at me and thinking "she needs to move on. It's been a month, for goodness sake." I know that people aren't saying that. I am sure no one is even thinking it. That is what, I think, is bothering me. That no one is any longer thinking about him. Remembering him. He's just gone. It's like he moved away.  He is somewhere. I'm just waiting to hear from him. 

I know that this blog is no longer very interesting. Maybe it never was. It was all about Richard and my life. My hard life. What a whiner I was. I have read over some of those previous posts and I would go back to all that whining in a heartbeat. In a New York minute. If it put him right back in that hospital bed, right here in my living room, I would go back. I have thought about making my blog private for a time. Then all of you wouldn't have to keep finding the right things to say. I know that you are getting tired of telling me how sorry you are. Hell, I'm getting tired of it. I try to find other things to write about but all I can think about is death.  

Tomorrow will be another day.

Saturday, August 16, 2014

He Chose Death

I have a hard time understanding why someone would Chose to die. I am in the midst of grieving and mourning the loss of my beloved husband. I am trying to deal with why the sun continues to come up each morning; when the light has gone out of my life. I am trying to find out how I am going to breathe life back into my very existence; when his breathing has stopped for the rest of eternity. I am looking at my future and wondering if I will find a reason to keep on going. What does the future hold for me? What will be my meaning? And can I find it while I feel all this pain? And will I forget him? What he looked like? Smelled like? And yet while I am contemplating all of this, the news has been overtaken with the chosen death of Robin Williams.

My husband would have never, in any of his immense pain, have chosen to die. He wanted to live with me for as long as I lived. I find it so hard to understand how a man can not put his wife and kids first. Many of you know that I grew up in a home without a father. Because my father chose to end his life. (You can read about it here.) So I have walked in the shoes of a child whose father committed suicide. Mental illness is just an excuse. Early stages of Parkinson's disease....give me a break. Think about Muhammad Ali or Michael J. Fox. Think about my Richard. 

I find suicide to be one of the most selfish acts a person can commit. It is senseless and selfish. The only pain that ends is the pain of the person that dies. The pain that death creates will go one forever and forever. It never ends. There is never an answer. And families will suffer until their own death. It is just selfish and thoughtless.

I read a comment made by Robin's daughter, Zelda, While I'll never, ever understand how he could be loved so deeply and not find it in his heart to stay, there's minor comfort in knowing our grief and loss, in some small way, is shared with millions." I cannot understand it either, Zelda. And I never will.

And Robin Williams had so much to be thankful for. He was a great comedian. He was a great actor. He was the father of 3 young adults whose lives have been forever changed because their father CHOSE death. He had money. Money that could have bought him the best mental health care in the world.  Something many others, who chose to live, cannot afford. Instead he wasted his money on drugs, alcohol, and self-pity. And it pisses me off. I am tired of hearing stories of celebrities, like Robin Williams and Whitney Houston and others, be glorified after their CHOSEN deaths.

You might be right if you say, "But you don't understand mental illness." Maybe. But I DO understand suicide. I understand it in the way that others might not. People need to take responsibility for all of their actions. Take responsibility for what they do for and to their loved ones. Think about your son feeling that "the world will always be a bit grey-er," or your daughter having altered pictures of her father, supposedly taken after his suicide, posted on her Twitter account. These are things that I read that happened in the days following Robin Williams death. Of course he didn't expect that to happen. But it happened. And because he was selfish he caused his family more pain. What we all need to remember is he CHOSE death. I chose life!

This hasn't been written to offend anyone. We all should feel free to think and say what we wish. But in my grief of losing a man who meant the world to me ,through a natural death, I cannot imagine mourning his death if he had caused it.

Thursday, August 14, 2014

How Do We Tell...

It is time for Five Minute Friday at Heading Home. This week the prompt is tell: Write for five minutes and link up with the others and give love and encouragement to the person who posts before you...That is what it's all about.



Even though we knew it was coming, I didn't know how I was going to tell people. How can you say the words he's gone. He died. He's dead. It is over. Who do we tell? And how do we tell it? I sat next to his bed and held his hand and told him over and over how much I loved him. And now I have to tell the world that he is gone. That he doesn't any longer exist. Justin was with me...thank I wouldn't have to tell him. But there were so many to tell. The kids were away at camp. How do we tell them. Papa is gone. Papa has left us. Papa is with Jesus now. Papa died. I struggled with the words. What to say. In the end it wasn't me who told them. When their Aunt walked into the camp, they knew. They knew what she had come to tell. It wasn't unexpected. There wasn't anything to tell. When I called my big brother, there was nothing to tell. We usually text each other. The fact that his phone rang is all that he needed. That was my way of telling him. Telling people that someone they love has died is one of the hardest messages you will ever have to tell. Even when you think you are ready. Even when you believe the person is in a better place. When you believe they are wrapped in the arms of the Lord. It is still hard to tell. I don't want to tell anymore....


Throwback Thursday

Near Lake Isabel Colorado. I would guess the year is about 1980 

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

He Took Away My Senses

I walked into the room. And stopped. There was something different about the air. I felt a cool breeze blow by me. The fan was oscillating. The day outside my window is very warm. It is August, after all. I stood. And listened. I don't hear anything, but the fan. The noise is gone. The noises that were such a part of my life this past year. The air-flow mattress, with the 'whisper quiet' motor, which supplied consistent air flow, through the pillows of the mattress, to help prevent bedsores.. is now gone. It has been silenced. The oxygen concentrator, with it's breathing-like sounds, is silent. It too is gone. No more alarms when the power goes off. An alarm that would wake the dead. There is no coughing. The sound that I most hated. That phlegmy, moist coughing that he did all day and all night. It is gone. The room is quiet. So quiet. 

The air is cool. The warmth has seeped out of it. I stand and I think. That warmth was him! His smile could lift my spirits and make my step lighter. There will never be the warmth of his smile again. It, too, is gone. It exists only in my memories.

I sniff. I try so hard to find his smell. It was just here the other day. But it too is gone. The smell of his aftershave. The smell of his deodorant. The slightly disinfectant smell of the wipes that were provided to us by Hospice. The smell that I wondered if there was cancer growing somewhere inside of him. The smell that I grew accustomed to when I worked on the oncology floor at the hospital. We never had a diagnosis of cancer, but I smelled THAT smell a few times. I have a bottle of his aftershave. The girls and I drip it on our pillows sometimes. When I need to feel that he is close. But today, the smells are gone.

I stand and I take it all in. I look around the room. It doesn't look like the room I used to care for him in. It is back to being a living-room. No hospital bed. No bedside table. No oxygen machines. No wheelchairs. No stacks of pads and wipes and cloths to clean with. It is all gone. We're back to cozy! The room we gather in each day. We talk less about what is missing. Kids are resilient. I have heard that so much over the past three weeks. I know that they miss him. I know that Harley cries at night. I know that Darian feels the need to be close to me. And touch me. We smile and share a story, a tear, a smile.

But what was once the center of our everyday world is gone. And when he left he took my senses with him. I know that I will hear again. Without straining so hard to see if it is him trying to talk to me. I know that I will smell things again. And not every smell will remind me of him. I know that I will taste again. And it won't just be salt-water tears that I am tasting. And I will touch. And I will see again. What I will see I'm not yet sure. But I will see again!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Gone is the Routine

in the Rockies around 1987
One Wednesday's I used to have a routine. It was the same thing everyday. Many of you caregivers know how important this is. Richard and I got up at the same time each morning. And then we followed the same routine. I got him up and to the table where I helped him to brush his teeth, wash his face, and prepared his breakfast. While he read the paper (for the first time of the day) I drank my coffee and read blogs or checked up on emails. Then he went to the bathroom and we changed his clothes for the day. Then into his chair and he watched The Chew, NCIS re-runs, Katie Couric, and Dr. Oz. By then it was nearing time for the kids to come home from school and I cooked a meal for us. Back to the table for Papa and then clean up after. Back to his chair for what shows he wanted in the evenings (Usually everything on CBS). As soon as the news was over I gave him his pills and got him comfortable in bed for the night and I fell exhausted (and lonely) onto the couch where I slept fitfully until it was time to repeat the routine again the next day.

But then came Monday, July 21, 2014. The day my routine changed forever. The day that the love of my life left this earth. And left me behind. Now that I can do what I want to do, as I often longed for, while he was alive....I don't want to do anything. I go through the motions. I get up and go through the day doing the things that need laundry, cleaning house, cooking, mowing the grass, running the kids here and there. And missing my husband. I cry. I sob. Sometimes I moan. But there is no more routine. 

I know that I will find my groove again someday. But right now, it's gone. And the days are long. And they seem empty. I seem adrift. I feel alone. Even when others are around, I feel alone. I feel that I am the only one that is missing him. The only one with the big hole in my heart. I know that is not true. He left a big void in this house. In our hearts. In our lives. I just feel alone.

Today I am joining my friend Lisa at My Sweet Peanut where she hosts One Word Wednesday. I am no longer a true caregiver. Now I am a caretaker of the grandkids (or are they taking care of me) and I am the caretaker of our memories. Please come and join us. 

Monday, August 11, 2014

Nine Years is such a Short Time....

Love this 70's hair!!
Today is the anniversary of my mom's death. She died on August 11, 2005. Richard and I were out of the country when she died and I learned of her death when we arrived back into the USA. It wasn't an unexpected death. We just didn't know when. I had told my family that should something happen, not to try to notify me because there would be nothing that I could do. So they didn't. I called home when we arrived ashore in Galveston, Texas to learn that mom had died. It was a sad, long trip home. But I was happy for her that her journey had finally ended. I had visited her just before we left and she told me that she wanted to go home to be with the Lord. So I was okay. But the cremation had taken place and the obituary had appeared in the paper. There was no funeral, per her request. We had a balloon launch at my house as way of remembering Grandma Ping. 

With my grandchildren
Can you find Darian, Harley, and Paige?

Paige and Harley

My brothers and sister

Monday Memories

I used to follow a blog that did Monday Memories but she doesn't seem to be blogging any more so I'm going to continue to share my memories right here...on Monday!

This is one of my favorite pictures of Darian and Richard together. In May 2011 we were the very, very lucky recipients to an all expense paid trip to Walt Disney World with our (the ones living with us) grandchildren. It was given to us by an anonymous donor from the church where the kids go. We flew down, stayed 10 days in an awesome condo, had a rental car to get around in, a rental scooter for Richard, and all the entry tickets into the four parks. A very impressive gift!!

On this particular day we were in Epcot. We had just ridden Soarin and Darian purchased a "pilots wings" pin that said 'I love my Papa' Harley is pointing at it in this picture. There is so much love in both of their eyes. We will always savor the memories of Walt Disney World. It was our last vacation trip for Papa had a stroke 4 months later. 

Have you visited Walt Disney World and do you have special memories? 

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Sunday Stealing

Moving on to familiar things! Putting one step in front of the other. I have always loved Sunday Stealing and this week it is a meme that I have always called the Simple Woman's Daybook. And since I used to do these at the beginning of every month, what a perfect way to start August. Thanks Kwizgiver!

1. Outside my it is cloudy. They are saying we might getting a little rain. It's only 71* right now. A beautiful day!

2. I am thankful family and all my friends (that means you too, blogging buddies) who have been with me these past three years as I was a caregiver. And you are still here with me as I grieve my loss. 

3. In the kitchen....there hasn't been much going on in my kitchen. I need to get back to it and cook again. I know the family will appreciate it.

4. I am uniform, black yoga shorts and a bright turquoise shirt.

5. I am creating....memories. Right here on my blog, for my family and friends.

6. I am put on foot in front of the other until I get to the end.

7. I am reading....NOTHING! I have to get back to that.

8. I am learning....that I was wrong when I thought I had gone through all the grief as I watched Richard slowly die. I was, oh so wrong.

9. I am pondering....what the future holds for me.

10. A favorite quote....

11.One of my favorite summer. This summer will be one that I will always remember. And next summer, I plan to spend in the sun!

12. A few plans for the rest of the week....Darian and Harley have debate practices on Monday and Wednesday and I hope to start painting in his room.

13. A peek into my day....I am continuing to share my pictures of Richard. Here is when we took 3 of the grand-kids to the Royal Gorge. That is Harley, holding Papa's hand, so that he wouldn't be afraid walking across the bridge. :)
Please go to Sunday Stealing and join the list of those who are sharing their 13 things today.

Friday, August 8, 2014

One Bank at a Time

Today I went to the bank. The bank where we have our checking account. We have a savings account at another bank. I never really understood why Richard wanted it that way. But that is the way that it is. Today I had to take his name off of the checking account. And put the account into my name. I can only do one thing a day. It is too over-whelming to me right now. I've been told by so many people what a strong woman I was while taking care of Richard. Well, where the hell is that strong woman now? If you see her will you send her home. Because I need her.

Why does everything have to take so long. First of all, we had to wait for one of the managers to get freed up so that she could help me. And then she admitted that I was a "guinea pig" because she had never removed someone from an account because of death. I had his death certificate with me. It is required. I bought and paid for 5 of them. $15.00 each. And not one place, so far, has kept it. They make a copy and give it back to me. But I cannot take a copy to them. They have to see the original certified copy that I paid $15.00 for from the State. Ridiculous, right?

And then it took so long. Questions asked and answered. Social secuity numbers given. Address and phone numbers. None of that changed, but they need to verify I guess. "Just scratch his name off", I wanted to shout. But she was just doing her job. 

The lady at the bank was very nice. And offered her condolences. She was a stranger to me. But she knew Richard. Her father worked with Richard in Boy Scouts. And Richard helped her son with obtaining his Eagle award from Boy Scouts. She talked fondly of him. It strikes me as odd how many people knew him. And that people thought he was a good man. That gives me peace. A little! I know that this will continue to go on as I make my way through all the days ahead. He was very active in this community. Very civic minded. He talked to everyone. He was a people person. 

I cried less today. And if I am not thinking of him every single waking moment then I start to feel a little guilty. But then the grief comes over me again. And I wish I could not think of him as often. It's as if I am losing a bit of my mind. But it is what grief is all about. Even when I have known for the past years, the past months,the past weeks, that death was coming, I am still so surprised how much it hurts.

 I will keep sharing my thoughts and my pictures. This picture was taken on his last day at work. Well, the job that he worked for 40 years. He did other part-time jobs too. But this was the job that was his career. He retired in February 2000. Then we took a cruise. Hence the leis we are wearing.....

Fill Me Up

No more Five Minute Friday at Lisa Jo Baker's site. I guess I missed that annoucement with my moments of grief last month. I am glad that she is passing the baton on to someone else. As writing for Five minute Fridays has been very important to me in the past. So now we all just need to head over to Heading Home and share our writing. Same concept. Same Rules. And this week's prompt is:


Fill is a strange word, isn't it? Especially now that I feel so empty. I am not ready to fill my days with anything but my grief. I can't even begin to think of how I will fill the time that I used to spend taking care of Richard. And sometimes being so resentful. And sometimes wishing I didn't have to take care of him. And yet he filled my heart with so much love. Anyone who knew us as a couple knew that he loved me so much. And I hope that they also knew that I loved him. As I type these words my eyes fill with tears. They will soon start to run down my face and then I will begin to sob. I know this because it happens everyday. The pain fills me to the top. There is no room for anything else right now. Just pain. I hide it when the kids are home. I try to carry on and show them that we will be
okay. I don't want them to worry. I don't want them to see their grandma as weak. I need to fill them with love. I need to fill them with care. I need to show them that even though our lives have forever changed that we will be okay. So everyday I pray for God to fill my heart with peace. I just want to find some peace from this overwhelming grief that I feel. Fill me up!

Thursday, August 7, 2014

The Paperwork of Death

It has only been 2 weeks, 3 days, and 5 hours since Richard died. It feels like it was yesterday. It feels like it was months ago. Doesn't that sound crazy? But that is how it feels when the sun has quit shining. When the lights go out. When the door opens and joy leaves and slams the door after. I feel exhausted. I feel drained. I am sad. But life all around me continues to go on.

I wonder if people are getting tired of my grief. And yet, I don't care. Because when you have loved someone for more than 36 years and you lose them, it takes awhile to get over it. It isn't like losing a mother or a father. I have lost both. So, I know. I was very young when I lost my dad and quite old when I lost my mom. Well, I was 54. Not really old. But quite a bit older. I lost a baby, after a full-term pregnancy to stillbirth. Not the same. Losing the man that I lived with for the past 36 years is very different. And I will write about it until it either doesn't hurt as much anymore. Or I quit writing about it! 

The things that are required of a widow following the death of her spouse, lover, best friend and soul-mate is over-whelming to say the least. The fact that I had to leave my house early the very next morning and go to the mortuary to plan his services just about took my breath away. I wonder why mortuaries don't come to people's homes. Wouldn't that make it much easier? And by the way, I have only used that term widow twice. And it hurts each time. Thank God I had Justin to go with me. And lean on. And that, for the most part, I knew exactly what Richard wanted. Because we had talked about it over the past 5-6 years. I suggest you start those conversations with your loved ones, if you haven't. It made that part of this journey so much easier...knowing what Richard wanted.

Then came the phone conversation with Fidelity. They are the financial management team that handled Richard's pension, medical insurance, and life insurance. They were very, very nice. And solemn. And offered condolences. But the fact that I had to spend almost 40 minutes on the phone giving them information that I can't believe they didn't already have. Like his social security number. And his birth date. And mine. For goodness sake you have been sending him retirement checks for 14 years. I know you have all this information. And yet nothing can be done until they have a death certificate. And like anything that happens with a government organization, that takes time. Over two weeks for death certificates. While all my finances are on hold until then.

Today I had to go to the Social Security office. Even though I spent 30 minutes on the phone with them yesterday, giving them all the same information that I am sure they already had listed right there on the computer sitting in front of her. But she was very nice. And offered condolences. And then she told me I would need to bring my marriage license (the original, not a copy) and a voided check to the local office so they could process my claim. But they DON'T need a death certificate because they already knew he was dead. The mortuary let them know. Why can't the mortuary let everyone know??

I get to the Social Security office and the waiting room is packed full. Of elderly people. Of disabled people. Of screaming and crying kids. And a non-smiling security guard told me I had to check in through the touch screen system and then take a seat. I told him I was only there to drop off a couple of papers. That I had already gone through all the claim forms with a lady called Misty yesterday. He said "doesn't matter. You have to check in and wait your turn." I couldn't wait. I was on my way to pick up Darian and Harley from debate camp. So I had to go back. I checked in. We sat and waited. And waited. And waited. And when they called my number I walked up to the window and handled the nice gentleman my marriage license and a voided check. He made a copy and we left. Wow! This system could use someone to streamline things.

Then I get home and have a letter in the mail from the bank. I have to take a death certificate (and these by the way are $15.00 a copy) in tomorrow and have Richard's name removed from the checking account.

This makes me smile
Then at another time in the future I have to have his name removed from the savings account that we have at another bank. And I will have to take a trip to the courthouse to change the house over to 'just my name.' And then there is the car, and the household utilities, and the insurances on house and car. And on and on and on.....

And all of this has to be done IMMEDIATELY or you can't go on with your life. 

And by the way, I am not interested in going on with my life. I want to grieve. I want to feel sad. I miss him.


Throw Back Thursday

I have seen plenty of Throwback Thursday's across the social medias. So I went in search of what it is and this is one definition that I found:

"On Thursdays, anyone can participate in the Throwback Thursday trend by posting content (usually a photo) on social networking sites like Instagram, Twitter, Tumblr or Facebook to remember a past event. Photos can be from years ago or from just a few days ago. There aren't really any limitations, and even though it can be fun to participate, it really just gives people an excuse to post more."

So why not Throwback Thursday on my blog:

1987 somewhere in Colorado

Go on and share a throwback on your site. I would love to see them

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Today is AN Anniversary

Eighteen years ago today Richard and I, while in the beautiful Rocky Mountains, near a crystal lake where he spent many of his childhood summers, became man and wife. We had already been together for 18 years, raising kids, buying a house, and building our careers. I always thought I would be happy with just that. I didn't need to be married. But Richard did. He had asked me many, many, many times. I had worn my diamond engagement ring for several years by this time. I was afraid. Afraid of making another mistake. And I had two young sons who I didn't want to drag through another miserable marriage. So I kept dragging my feet. On this beautiful, sunny, warm August day I changed my mind. By this time my 'boys' were 20 and 24 years old. They had already had this man as their father for 18 years. I needed to do what was right and make him happy. I needed to become his wife. So, along with my best friend, her husband and their two kids we drove to Colorado and got married. The minister, who you see in the picture with his guitar, sang to us. The song he sang is on the You Tube video below with the lyrics on the screen. They are perfect for us and our love.  I miss you so much sweetheart. Happy Anniversary....

Tuesday, August 5, 2014

Dealing with Death

Early on last year I discovered a book called Grief: The Great Yearning. It is written by Pat Bertram. I also read her blog which is called Bertram's Blog. And while I read her book, I knew what I was going to go through in the future. She suffered extreme grief when she lost her life/soul mate. Her writing made me cry. It is raw. It is deep. And it is exactly what I am going through right now. When he died she thought he would rally because he, too, had plummeted so low and then came back. Just like Richard.

I knew that Richard was going to die. But I wasn't ready for him to die. I didn't want to let him go. We had so much more to talk about. So many more places to visit. We have grandchildren to raise, for Christ sake. Even when taking care of him was so hard, losing him was even harder. And living without him seems like it will be impossible. I am constantly finding something that I want to tell him. Only to be jerked back to the reality that he is no longer here. He is gone! I can't talk to him anymore. Although, I do. I talk to him all the time. Especially at night. After the kids have gone to sleep. Kids deal with grief in such a different manner and I am afraid of letting them see how raw my pain is. I don't want them to hear me talking to Papa. I don't want them to worry that granny is 'crazy' or that she is going to join Papa. I need to cry. I need to scream and pound my pillow. I need to be pissed off. I am mad as hell that God took him away from me. 

I, like Pat Bertram, knew that I was going to be sad. But I didn't know that it was going to feel like my guts had been ripped out. I know that I have to go on. For the kids. I have to put my life back together and decide how I will look at his chair and not find him sitting there with his crazy, two toothed smile. That I won't hear him say "I love you too, sweetheart" ever again. The pain is tremendous. I didn't expect it. Even when I read Pat's book I would tell myself: "it won't be like that for me because I will be prepared." But you cannot prepare for the finality of death. 

As I sat next to his bed and held his hand he took his final breath. And with it he took my heart away.