life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

life, love,art. heart failure and assorted ramblings

Don't Talk Like That...

I write to find out what my heart thinks....
I am here to celebrate my life, to uncover my fears, to hold on to love, to grieve my losses, to laugh long and hard, and to learn how to live a full magnificent life with heart failure. I am honoring my creativity, and exploring all of my emotions out loud ...before anyone can say....."Don't talk like that!"



Thursday, December 12, 2019

The tree is up!

Christmas tree is up....and lit!

"Grown Up Christmas List"  Micheal Buble'

I do miss my "goofy" reindeer of Christmas's past,
but cannot do it by myself anymore, and then the
packing it back up...Oh my!

all of the friggen' weirdness

Grief really sucks. It has screwed up just about every part of my life that I had not already managed to screw up on my own.  I had no idea how many horrible and truly weird things grieving people experience.  I thought it was just me, and I was quite possibly on the verge of "lock her up" crazy. Things I do or don't do, that the outside world might think is unusual or weird but is actually perfectly normal for grieving people. The problem is, grieving people often don't realize how normal we are until we share this experience....honestly including all of the friggen' weirdness.

                   "In My Blood" Shawn Mendes

Wednesday, December 11, 2019

Unexplained evidence

From  my Facebook post on this day one-year ago….

Skip is home for a few days...we have played (gone to the movies, out to dinner) and the big one...on my list of to-do's...Cleaned out the pantry, painted, new shelf paper and reorganized...Yay...DONE!

And it feels like it was just yesterday...You are still everywhere…which becomes the most wonderful painful fact of my day to day life.  You are not here, I still am.  My heart and brain still cannot get wrapped around this undeniable truth, but there is some kind of unexplainable comfort that I have tangible and wonderful evidence of you with me everywhere every day.

"Here, There and Everywhere"  The Beatles

Amazon is my Hero!

I know this is going to look and sound silly, but here goes anyway!  I read a quote the other day that said: “Those that are living focus on dying, those that are dying focus on living.” And I will add my own addendum “and being independent in my own home is a big ass deal!!! So, this little doo-hickey may not look like a big deal to you but for me, it will be fantastic!  Hand-held shower heads are the most spectacular things…when you can reach them.  However, the shower stool and my diminishing inability to reach up…is making showering a bit dicey!  After looking at all kinds of possibilities, including the obvious of installing additional grab bars and praying that the old ceramic tile would not crack when the drilling begins, the cost or having a weirdo stranger in my bathroom to install it. I was at a frustrating standstill of what to do short of sponge baths or not showering at all, and believe neither is a good option. Then there was Amazon!  And this suction cup doo-hickey holds a showerhead that you can put it anywhere on your wall came up in my search! This means I will not have to stand up in the shower at all to reach the showerhead.  Amazon is my hero for $9.99 and there will be no weirdos in my bathroom!
"Express Yourself" Charles Wright and 103rd St. Band


The most heinous part of losing a loved one are the sneak attacks of overwhelming uncontrollable grief.  I understand that grieving people call them “triggers” and they can be anything! They are brought on by a situation, a memory, a smell, a song, food, a photograph, a grocery can be absolutely any ridiculous thing known or unknown! And that is precisely why they are so unavoidable and overwhelming.  I am learning how to “check-in” with myself, especially after or during a trigger, figuring out what it was, how to avoid it or at the very least acknowledge that there is one coming and prepare myself.

I am now wondering if I can activate that same “check-in” when there is something that helps, creates a giggle, makes me feel better.  Yesterday I got to help. It was as simple as helping my son drop off and pick up his car for some work.  Yesterday I got to be the HELPER …NOT the HELP-EE…and it really felt good!
"Have a Little Faith in Me" Michael Franti

Thank Goodness for Alexa!

"No matter how your short-term memory worked before your loss, it has likely changed in your grief. It's as if remembering all of life's little details are "extra" expenses, and your mind can't afford them. Your mind can only retain so many things, so it simply drops what is not necessary for survival."

Thank goodness for Megan Devine, therapist, writer and someone that can honestly share the real grief experience. Her writings always make me feel a bit more normal. Not better, but normal in my own, sometimes scary, weirdness.

Thank goodness for Alexa!!!

"Hold on to the Memories" Corey Tynan

Monday, December 9, 2019

Holy Crap Holidays....

This time of year, seems to add an extra measure of "holy crap".  Christmas, 45th wedding anniversary, and the New Year, it feels like I am already bearing more than I can, more than I should ever have to. There is the heaviness of all the ways I miss you and the traditions that have gone flat.  Death sours the season in ways that I could not have ever known or understood.

I have always loved the holidays. There are parts of me that want the traditions to stay exactly the same, other times I want to change everything make it new, start fresh. But right now, I think I would rather just hide in my blanket fort until the whole thing is over and adding insult to injury… it is another Monday …always a good day for a blanket fort.  I have no idea how I will survive, just fairly certain as long as I have a blanket fort that I will.

"Thinking Outloud"  Ed Sheeran

Sunday, December 8, 2019

Fearlessly Authentic

For a good part of my life, I really felt like my superpower (most of the time) was my ability to assess and control my reactions to a bad or a good situation.  I carefully began to realize that the only thing in life, I had any kind of power over is how I feel about something. For a control freak, this is a big deal! Most of the time this fell into the “picking my battles” or simply eliminating the source of frustration from my “emotional plate”.  But this is really the first time I have not been able to do that! How does one rationalize the ridiculous nonsense, like I am terribly lonesome, but I do not want to be around people? How much  I want to claim my self-confidence back but I am now realizing how much of that was because I always had him to back me up, even when I was wrong. I set deadlines for myself “to be over it”, they come and go and still I am not over it. These feelings are frustrating and uncontrollable. I have lost my superpower. It is not pretty or comfortable.  What I am left with is incredibly vulnerable and absolutely no control over how I feel about anything. The only thing I can hang on to, right or wrong, is to be fearlessly honest and authentic about surviving death.
"We Are All Alone"  (Learn How to Pretend) Boz Scaggs

Saturday, December 7, 2019

I lie.....

People ask…and I lie!  

It does not matter where or who, the first thing they ask, out of true concern is “How are you doing?” My “go-to” answer is I am fine.  That is what I want you to hear.  But it is a lie.  I am not fine.  I did not go to a Christmas party last night with wonderful art friends and gallery owners because I just could not face them.  I turned down an invitation to another party next weekend for the same reason. (That and I should not be driving at night, or at all for that matter!)  I fell flat on my tail bone in the bathtub this week (not a pretty picture) and it still hurts like the dickens, the cat drug in another rat, a leftover from the now-empty hoarder house next door, and I came as close to passing out, without actually collapsing, chasing him and the rat back outside. The house inspection for new homeowners’ insurance did not go well, because so many building codes have changed and the house is 50 years old. My TV remote quit working and I cannot understand what the technical support people are asking me to do to fix it….thank goodness for Roku, at least I can change the channels.  Just another normal week without you, I am fine....but I lie.
"I Won't Last a Day Without You"  Paul Williams

Thursday, December 5, 2019

The glorious mess that I am...

Today marks the end of 4 months and the beginning of the 5th I have been alone.  His death still marks my time weekly and monthly. August 5th feels like yesterday and years ago at the same time and I struggle to keep track because my emotions and grief play terrible tricks on my perception of time in both my heart and head.  One of the things I have learned is how awkward it is to be around people.  I work so hard to smile, blend in, NOT to talk about it so no one is uncomfortable, but it is exhausting and painful to pretend that I am recovered, and back to normal.  I know most people want and expect the old me, and I try, but to be so profoundly changed, grieving, and so different at the same time is brutal.  I do not want anyone to feel sorry for me, I just wish I could share this grief.  But until then I am learning to accept me, and the glorious mess that I am.
"Gray Street"  Dave Mathews Band

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Comfortable & what I know....

As much as I want things to stay the same, comfortable, and what I know, they change and I have no choice but to move along with them.  Changes used to be discussed, not always before they were made. Most changes were a deliberate act.  Since August an ongoing series of changes keep rolling over me. Some require my input others are going to move on with or without my acceptance.  Some are huge legal (well huge for me) others are as silly as how do I shop for groceries for 1 person.  But what I can tell you is that every decision brings a certain amount of angst because, in the end, I have no one to celebrate the successes or share my mistakes.  That is kind of what I am thinking as I unpack the Amazon blow-up Christmas outdoor snowman to replace the 9 ft penguin that just crapped out.  And I wonder do I really need a giant blow-up snowman?  This time, "the same, the comfortable and what I know" overrules anything reasonable. And one big blow-up tacky, obnoxious, ridiculous and happy Christmas decoration is how it has always been for over 20 years and I just cannot change that, not yet.

"The Same Mistakes"  James Blunt

He is up!
There are no ice sickle lights along the roof because that is way outside my skill set at this point, but I do have just plain white lights on the rock border. So this year the snow is already on the ground rather than falling off of the roof. My grandsons were great at doing that! I cannot wait to see it when it gets dark!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019


Surviving roadblocks!  I know it might sound silly to most, but roadblocks to recovery pop up daily. One of the biggest I have found is giving away your “things”. Your truck, your clothes and this weekend the boys came and I wanted them to have your fishing stuff, watches, coin collections, metal detectors, tools, family heirlooms, and your guns.   As much as I want to and know in my heart you would want them to have them too, each time it feels like I am giving away parts of you, I am letting go of you over and over and over again.  It hurts but to do anything else would not be right either.  These were things my son and grandsons could use and enjoy and perhaps remind them of much you loved them. I am reminded of the proverb that I will misquote here…You cannot open your hands to accept the new gifts of life if you have your hands clenched around the old things.  I am learning that holding on the “things” does not make me feel good, holding on to our love and memories does.  The stuff has become a roadblock that may be
keeping me from moving forward.

"Give Me Peace, Give Me Hope"  George Harrison


Sideways is a good description of my recent life! I recognize how things should be, but I know some never will and then there are other things I should do and be and are doable but I just can’t.  Life has gone sideways!  There are days that my head and heart want to do something and my body just craps out on me, and the same thing happens in reverse….it is maddening!  

I decided I would not do an indoor Christmas tree, but I would do simple outdoor decorations. I was a light string short and the blow-up Christmas penguin sprung a leak.  Then there has been the gross rat invasion after the next door “hoarder house” was cleaned. (She lived there for years, with 2 dogs but the last 6 weeks without power or water, it took a 4 person hazmat team to 2 dumpsters to clean it out). The cleanout was followed by an exodus of rats into the neighborhood!  I caught 3 in traps, then in an effort to stop up and possible entry point with that expandable insulation spray can, I trapped one inside the wall, I cannot begin to explain the putrid smell. The bottom section of the porch screen door "fell" out, the one with the cat door. It has felt like I am paddling hard as I can and accomplishing nothing.  I am not standing still.  I am moving as fast as I can, which admittedly is not that fast, in fact, it feels more like doing nothing more than stamping out fires before they overwhelm me.

I am not moving forward or backward…but I am moving to just maintain. I just wish it was faster, better, healthier, recovered, etc. etc.  Although I prefer to acknowledge that sideways is better than downward or completely immobile. I am accepting sideways as a positive thing.

"Everyday is a Winding Road"  Sheryl Crow another string of lights, ordered "Rat sorb" overnight from Amazon it seems to be working thank goodness, a new blow-up snowman on the way and I have the bottom of the door and a healthy supply of duct tape out on the table for repair, my day is full moving sideways!

Friday, November 29, 2019


So, here is this: wherever I am in my life, whatever path I am currently on: I write.
I write to leave my future self some messages. I write to give myself a path to my heart. I write to figure out the lessons of the universe. I write to say the things I am afraid to say out loud that might hurt someone's feelings, sound silly or is just something that over the years I have learned is not proper to talk about in public.

I am working so hard to smile and appear to be “over it” while my life is still shifting and changing. It feels like standing at the beach.  Right at the edge where the waves recede and wash the sand from under my feet. The first few waves you feel the sand slipping away.  Then all of the sudden I have to step forward, backwards, or sideways so I do not lose my balance and fall down.  As I shift away from the intensity of the early days, I often feel as though I am failing.  I just do not know which way to step first. I feel like I have to re-enter the minutiae of life and I am failing.
So I write to leave myself a map, or develop a plan, reminding myself of what did not work, and explore what might work, because in the end, I just really don’t know.

"Arms Around my Life"  Janis Ian

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Thanksgiving...and coexisting

This will be my first Thanksgiving after 45 years without you.  There were lots of “Norman Rockwell-ish” Thanksgivings, but there were also a good amount of harrowing, terrifying and looking back, funny Thanksgivings too!    There were years when it was just our little family of 4, years of a full house bursting at the seams with extended family and friends, a year in Philadelphia with 160 teenagers in the high school band performing  in the Thanksgiving Day parade, and when both of our sons were in the service, (Navy & Air Force) stationed far away from home that we shared our Thanksgiving dinner for other young servicemen that were also stationed far away from their own homes and family. Each of these precious memories all had one thing in common…you sitting at the table.  As I enter this unimaginable holiday season without you, I am trying so hard to allow the grateful, happy, funny and loving times to exist between the overwhelming grief of losing you. This Thanksgiving I will be grateful for the wonderful memories and supportive family that I do have, but there will also be unbearable grief that you not here.

"Ghost" Indigo Girls