SIRI . . . Find My Husband

siri-ios-7-signA few weeks ago,  I laughed as one of my sweet grandsons asked the wacky woman who lives in the phone (otherwise known as Siri) for his mom’s password. Hey, you gotta give him props for ingenuity, right? I guess he figured if the all-knowing Siri knew movie times, road directions and phone numbers, why not his mother’s password? Well, Siri didn’t but it did give me pause. What if that nebulous voice in the phone (actually mine is a proper British guy) could take a pass at finding where my husband hangs out now in this universe?

Looking up into clear cool nights at stars, the tops of silhouetted trees, even the moon, I often wonder where he is in the ethernet. Come on, I know you’ve had the same thoughts. We’ve all been told those we love never truly leave but are around us every day – but where? And how can we ever know for sure?

If my husband is still transmitting — we’re not on the same frequency. Continue reading

Together…We Remember. 9/11/01

september-11th-memorial-3-largeWhen an anniversary marks a death, there is little to celebrate. When it marks the death of more than 2,996 people, an anniversary is a misnomer. Anniversaries somehow denote champagne but celebration is anathema to those left standing after a precious loved one dies. But when those they loved are simply removed from the planet, when they disappear into the either in an instant, words can’t be articulated. The calendar imprints today as the 15th anniversary of September 11, 2001, a day to remember – all the days of the year.

Maybe you knew or lost someone in the towers or on the plane. You might have known one of the first-responders who never knew how their pledge to serve would be tested. You might have been watching tv at home or in the office or listening to the radio in your car. Wherever you were, whoever you knew one thing is for sure, you will never forget that day.

This past week, my thoughts were crowded with all the people who went to work that day and never came home. I thought of the terror, the unfathomable horror of a day that began with brilliant blue skies. I thought of the parents, siblings, children and spouses whose lives were ravaged with one phone call. I thought of how many that day were my children’s ages now. I thought of all the family pictures, the photo albums, the weddings, all the sweet things of life that will forever be minus one important person in them. Continue reading

Happily Ever After, they said.

Heart in the bark of a tree.Tree with heart shape. Heart wooden cut texture

When this all began, we knew there’d be a price…”Jekyll & Hyde

Some wondered if it was a good idea to marry a man with cancer. Looking back, it wasn’t really a decision. It was actually a no-brainer.

I loved him.

Everyone arrives in your life with baggage. Everyone. Some carry bags as small as coin purses; others drag a dumpster. When we met, it seemed neither of us carried more than a wallet.  (okay, mine included a make-up case, keys with the fuzzy duck, two pairs of glasses and all the just-in-case stuff, but you get the idea) My husband’s, however, grew to industrial size proportions. Even so, we figured real love is a match for ANY luggage, right?  It has to be – when the baggage is cancer. Continue reading

Freeze the moment . . . yes, even this one.

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We are all only lent to this planet — and to the people who love us. We want to believe that we have a long lease, and some of us do, but even that time is relative. How long we are able to have the people we love and care for – is not our decision.

If that was true, my husband and I would still be singing in the car at the top of our lungs. I have a decent voice but my husband, the Irish tenor, was blessed with the singing prowess. Still, the memory of our naïve, wistful voices singing our hearts out can still bring me to tears. One of these songs, by Trisha Yearwood, encapsulates our story so very well:

If I would’ve known the way that this would end
If I would’ve read the last page first
If I would’ve had the strength to walk away
If I would’ve known how this would hurt

I would’ve loved you anyway

I’d do it all the same
Not a second I would change
Not a touch that I would trade
Had I known my heart would break
I’d have loved you anyway.

Would we choose to be all-in for someone, in all the dimensions love calls us to, if we knew our person would be stolen without even a whisper? Can we really say that foreseeing decimating heartbreak we’d still choose to ‘love anyway’ ? I’d like to say I never doubted it but in the deep of night, at the moments I feel most alone, I admit I’ve wondered. Would I do it all again, knowing what I know now? Continue reading

Clothes Don’t Make The Man

shutterstock_319571114…but they sure make it hard to let him go! If you haven’t yet parted with the clothes of someone you loved, sooner or later you will. It’s another rite of passage in the long goodbye. It’s the admission that no, he or she won’t ever again be coming back to wear them – not the shirts or jackets that still have their scent or shoes with their feet imprinted inside.

Sooner or later, those clothes, at least most of them, will be released from your care. And you are the only one who will know when that will be. You were issued no calendar date; no deadline. You are the keeper of the memories and only you will know when it’s okay to emancipate them. For me that day happened almost by accident.

First, I must say – my husband was a classy guy . And his clothes showed it. He wasn’t a clothes horse and didn’t spend the household budget on them (he saved that for his hobby collections –but that’s another post! Lol) My guy had good taste, looked very GQ handsome  in a suit and always ‘cleaned up well’. He didn’t shop much but what he chose was classic and well-made; in other words clothes that lasted. In fact, they lasted after he was gone – thus the dilemma of how and where to disseminate them. Continue reading

Missing: One Green Nissan — and Driver.

2004-nissan-altima-virginia_beach-va-4595858251557422887-2Glancing out the kitchen window this morning as I made my tea, it struck me yet again — that ‘Greenie’ was gone. Yes, really and unequivocally gone – just like the man who drove it. That well-used green Nissan racked up more than 250,000 miles on its trek to clients and office each week. But seeing the suddenly inert car in my driveway, appearing like a ghostly mirage without its driver, would take my breath away. When one of my son-in-laws found someone who needed interim wheels, the little car seemed the perfect answer. It quietly, unceremoniously made its exit, heading for a new owner and routes unknown.

How the heck then, can I still be stupefyingly surprised, in moments like this morning, that my husband’s trusty green chariot is AWOL?

I can still envision Greenie pulling into the cul de sac in front of our house, a comfortable reminder that the man I loved was home. I miss seeing that car slowly pull out of the driveway, idling in front of the house until its owner and I waved goodbye, an ‘us’ tradition. I miss seeing that car roll back in at night, allowing me to breathe easier knowing my man was safely home again. That car was an extension of him in so many ways. Continue reading

“You Are You. Now isn’t that pleasant.”

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Dr. Seuss always nails it.

You are YOU — just a wee bit different than you were ‘before’.  The first time you check  the “widow” status on a form, have to change your emergency contact or start to say ‘honey, I’m home’ and realized no one is there, you are a different you. And it sucks. But it’s life now. Whether it happened with no warning or after months of dread, the title ‘widow’ is as foreign as if you shucked your identity for the Witness Protection Program. You feel  like you woke up on another planet — without rocket re-entry to your old life. This is it.

My husband is gone almost 10 months. I should be used to the title but ‘widow’ still doesn’t compute. To totally absorb it, means I need to accept the basic fact that my husband died and is never coming back. Before you think I’ve lost it entirely, of course I know he’s gone. I know he’s not just on a business trip; he’s not on a road trip. I get it.  I’m the one who found him that fateful night.

Cancer perched on the sidelines of every facet of our lives for years. Often sneaky, even silent, sometimes we ‘almost’ forgot it was even there. There were more emergent battles to fight. Debilitating treatment side-effects that dogged him constantly that we both knew would never leave. But sometimes even the most upsetting can be business as usual when you’re immersed in the day to day and you almost forget the gorilla waiting to pounce.  Continue reading