Sunday, December 27, 2009

"Bringing Up Memories"

I hate this statement.
Hate. HATE. HATE!!!
It makes me think that my "memories" are not always in my mind.
That my thoughts of Roger are far away.
That widows/widowers ever can push their dead spouse "down" somewhere.
Unfortunately/fortunately some part of Roger is in my mind every day and almost every minute.
I cannot escape thoughts of Roger, our friendship, our dating history, our wedding, our marriage, the accident, and/or his death.
Nor do I want to.
I want to remember everything forever.

Someone was recently talking to me about New Years Eve.
I mentioned how I am not looking forward to it.
How I do not do well with that holiday.
And especially this one.
When they responded with the comment, "I am sorry to bring up memories."
Followed by complete silence on their part.

No, time does not heal this.
Not at all.
If I can "preach" anything to anyone, it is this:
In time, I am learning to cope.
In time, I am learning to live.
In time, I am learning to have hope.
In time, I am learning to keep moving forward.
But time does not make me heal.
The wounds are still very real.

So when I talk about Roger or our life or anything.
It is not bringing anything "up".
It is just me letting a person inside my head.
Inside my thoughts.
And the best feeling is when others think of him and bring him up.
Absolutely the best.

Rant over...

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Another Holiday Blow...

Since I decided to spend Christmas Day here in Orlando, I wanted to go to Miami today.
I had a plan.
I was excited to see my Miami family.

But first I did not sleep well last night.
Lots of odd dreams.
So my plan was delayed.
I slept in about two hours.

Last week, when my car was in for service, they told me I needed new tires.
And a brake flush.
And some other weird thing done.
But nothing was very urgent.

Instead of paying the high dealership price, I decided to go to another popular auto service place near the mall.
I called them first.
I asked if they had my tires.
For $400 cheaper.
I planned to go this morning.
Before my trip to Miami.

So after I woke up from crappy sleep, I made my way to the mall.
I walked in ready to hand over my keys for a couple of hours.
I planned on seeing a movie.
Relaxing before the four hour drive.

Then the stupid day went south.
They do not carry my tires.
They cannot order my tires.
They cannot do the weird thing I need done without buying the parts from the dealership.
And they do not think I should drive to Miami on those tires.

So I came back home.
Unpacked my car.
Unpacked my bag.
And cried.

It is just not fair.
And I so do not do well when plans like this change.
So now I am alone.
Day after Christmas and I am alone.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Yeah, This Sucks

I was doing okay.
All day.
Just another day.
Another holiday.
Not too bad.
Lots of memories but it was manageable all day.

Till about half an hour ago.
Then I went to crap.

I am not in Miami.
I decided to stay in Orlando.
Close to home.
Just in case I needed to run back to bed.
I am doing Christmas with Mr. X's family tomorrow.
Today was just a hang out alone day for the two of us.

I slept in.
I made a very small turkey.
In my roasting pan.
We watched some movies.
I played around on facebook.
All was "normal."

Then Grace called.
To tell me how family Christmas went.
I still have not been able to brave Christmas in Miami.
Maybe next year.
But distance wise, I am getting closer.
She talked about all the fun.
The stress of wrapping all the gifts.
The kids getting a visit from Santa.

And I lost it.

She talked about how people asked for me.
I could not stay on the phone.
I hate crying on the phone.
I even hate crying now.
I miss them.
I miss that part of Christmas.

One day I will go back for Christmas.
One day I will face it.

It is just hard now.
It is so incredibly hard this year.
I wish I had words to adequately describe this feeling.
Those who know know. Those that don't, hopefully will never.

No one except my sister and Grace have called.
Not that I am begging for callers.
I am not begging for callers.
Now if people call it will be because they read the blog.

It just sucks everyone off doing their own thing.
Having happy times.
Enjoying the holiday spirit.

Now I have started to doubt everything.
Are people really my friends?
Do people really love me?
Or are they just afraid to leave me?
Have I scared people into friendships with me?
Paranoia is the best friend of grief I think.
At least for me.

So a happy holiday to everyone.
I hope yours is better than mine.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

August 22, 2008

It is about 6:00 am.
It is still slightly dark.
The paramedics arrived a few minutes ago.
They divided up and people are working on Roger.
But he is stuck in the car.
I wish they would just concentrate on him and leave me till later.
But later I find out that I am in a semi-serious condition as well.

Since my neck was hurting and I can barely move it, the paramedics put me in a neck brace.
And on a wooden backboard.
Shards of glass are still in my mouth.
And in my hair.
And all over my body.
The combination of the board, my head, and the glass on the back of my head is pressing into my scalp. I am trying to wiggle just a little to be more comfortable.
But of course the paramedics keep telling me to stop moving.

It is raining.
The rain is getting into my eyes.
It is also wetting my hair.
I can smell the relaxer chemical from the night before.

I am crying.
I want to know about Roger but no one will say anything.
Michelle, the paramedic assigned to me, tells me I have been in a serious accident.

As they start to lift me, they start to lose their grip.
They almost drop me.
The board is wet now and I am heavy.
I try to not think about falling off the board.
And into the ground.

They finally get me onto the stretcher.
And into the ambulance.
My left arm is hurting and bleeding.
My right knee is hurting.
I think I broke both.
But I cannot see them.

I am starting to hyperventilate.
My blood pressure is high.
Michelle is trying to calm me.
She is rubbing my head just slightly.

The ride is really bumpy.
I hope cars are moving out of the way.

Michelle tells me that she has to cut off my clothes.
I am upset.
I love these jeans.
I just bought this shirt.
And it is a Victoria Secret bra.
She leaves on my underwear.

I have been in a serious accident...

Monday, December 21, 2009

My Troubles

Today I found myself having lunch with some old coworkers.
Afterwards, I wandered the halls and tried to bump into other former cohorts.
I found a few.
It is always nice to see old familiar faces.
Nice to have some old hugs from people who knew me from before.

The one physician, Dr. B, I used to work with is a really nice guy.
I did not appreciate him before.
We are generations apart.
And honestly, he annoyed me.

But, unfortunately/fortunately we have something in common.
Five years ago, his son died in a small plane crash.
He was twenty-nine.
He had only been married ten months.
He was full of life.

At Roger's funeral, I greeted each attendee with a hug.
And my tears just overflowed.
Dr. B quietly handed me his blue handkerchief.
I could tell he was deeply sad for me.
He understood slightly.
I could tell he did not want me to feel this pain.
To share this kind of grief.

A few months later, when I received the autopsy report, it was late in the evening.
I needed someone, specifically a doctor.
Dr. B helped me.
He helped me decode all the medical terminology.
What it really meant.
What it meant in real life.
To me.

Today, as I traversed the halls, I wanted to say hello to him.
It is always nice to talk to someone who gets it.
Even if it is slightly different point of view than mine, we understand each other in some ways.

He said a few things today that resonated with me.
After Roger and I were married, I felt different.
Like I had a completely dedicated team member.
But Dr. B phrased it even better than me.
He simply said, "When you are married, your joy is doubled and your troubles are halved."
That is exactly it.
And boy how my troubles are not halved...

Then he talked about how for a young widow it is hard to start to move forward.
But he mentioned how widows have an opportunity to love again.
A different love. A new love.
But parents do not.
They do not get a second chance to have another son or daughter.
And neither do siblings.
It is different for them.
And he warned me about how it will go when Mr. X meets Roger's family.
How it will be hard for all.
How it may never be comfortable for everyone.

But, he always talked about how he desires such happiness for his daughter-in-law (and he still refers to her as that).
He has met some of her boyfriends and even her (ex) fiance.
He still talks to her and she is still part of his family.
Even five years later.
That gave me joy and hope.

Dr. B was happy for me.
He was truly happy for me.
And interestingly enough, a man I did not like very much when I first met him understands me.
And my troubles.

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Mrs. Doubtfire

I finished my exams for the semester yesterday.
Straight As for the term.
I also took the second of the three state teaching certification exams yesterday.
So now it is time for Christmas break.
Time to relax.

Today I decided I would not be leaving my house.
At all.
I did manage to shower.
But no trips to the grocery store.
No errands.

Just me.
My computer.
My camera.
And some movies on television.
Fun times.

All day I have been in exercise pants, Christmas socks, and a sweat shirt.
Comfy times.

One of the movies on television was an old time favorite of mine - Mrs. Doubtfire.
I love Robin Williams.
Love the story.
Makes me laugh.
But like I mentioned the other day, I never noticed the widows in the movies.
Until now.
Mrs. Doubtfire herself is a widow.
Even in this movie, there is a widow.

And I know that Robin William's character's character had ulterior motives, but still.
Her/His comment bothered me.
When his ex-wife starts to date someone new, she asks when Mrs. Doubtfire started to feel desires after her husband's death.
Her reply, "Never. Once the father of your children dies, you never want someone else."

Now, I have not met too many older widows.
Just my mother-in-law and her sister but still.
I do not believe this statement is true.
Almost every younger widow I know has "desires" for love.
And more importantly, sex.
Yes, we need sex.
And I believe it is normal.

I guess the part that really bothers me is that if others watching this movie or in life believe this is true of widows.
If society thinks widows should just close themselves off for someone new.
Never have sex again.
Never be in love again.
Maybe they think that of only older widows.
But even then, why is that fair?

No one deserves to be alone and/or lonely.
We deserve to be desired and have desires.
We deserve sex.
We need it just like everyone else.

Ugh, Hollywood widows... mostly far from the truth.

Wind chimes

I hate wind chimes.
Cannot stand them.
But Roger loved them.
Not sure why.
We had no less than five hanging on the patio.

Ding ding ding every time the windows were open.
Oh my, how annoying!
During this year's July 4th party, I had a friend take them down to put up the decorations.
The wind chimes stayed down on the ground.
Just laying on the patio.
I could not seem to put them away or put them back up.
But every time I went out to the patio, I saw them staring at me.

In October, when I removed the July 4th decorations, I did not put the wind chimes back up.
Yes, in October.
But then earlier this month, I started spring cleaning.
Yes, spring cleaning, a little late.
I decided to have a yard sale soon and I am going to be selling some things.
Including the stupid wind chimes.
When I went to gather them up, I saw one that reminds me so much of Roger.
One he bought at a local grocery store years ago.

When we moved to this house, Roger took down all his wind chimes at the old house.
And he told me about this particular one.
It has a cardinal on top.
And sunflowers hanging down.
He told me of how when he bought it.
How it reminded him of his dad.
As he removed it from the ceiling, all the pieces fell off.
The twine had rotted.
Roger said we could throw it away.
One less wind chime.

I hate wind chimes.
But I knew Roger wanted to keep this wind chime.
So I went to the garage and gathered some fishing line.
I took all the pieces and reconstructed it.
Roger had this huge smile on his face.

So the other day as I put the others in the yard sale pile.
But I could not get rid of the cardinal one.
It had to go back up.
Mr. X went and got the ladder.
He put it back up for me.

The windows have been open the last couple of days.
In this lovely Florida winter weather, I hear the ding ding.
And it makes me smile.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

October 1, 2007

It was a Monday.
It was my birthday.
I took the day off.
Roger had bought us two year passes to Universal.
We were on our way to ride some roller coasters.
I was excited.
I love roller coasters.

We also had dinner with friends.
Just a few friends at PF Changs.
Followed by a night of bowling.
It was a fairly low key night.

But I was excited about one important thing.
My last single lady birthday.
By the next birthday I would be married.
I could not wait for my first married birthday.
To get my first "wife" birthday card.

But, the next year, October 2008, I was not married.
I did not receive my first wife card.
I went to the beach with some friends.
Had dinner with some girl friends.
And the day after my birthday, I met with a life insurance guy.
To "investigate" Roger's death.


Old Tradition On Hold, New One Begins

For many years, I have sent Christmas cards.
Probably since I moved out of my mom's house.
I loved it.
I felt like an adult.
I tried to include a personal note in each one.
It took me hours.
And I sent tons.
Usually about fifty.
Sometimes a hundred.

Roger and I started sending them together right after we were engaged.
Or rather, I started sending them for us to both our friends and family.
Roger probably did not really care that I did them or did not.

I even sent some last year.
A postcard style.
I adore postcards so it made since.
It was also as a thank you to those who had supported me.

But this year... I just cannot do it.
I cannot bear the thought of doing Christmas cards alone.
The thought actually makes me queasy.
We never did our married Christmas card.
Never a card as Mr. and Mrs.
Never a card with our favorite wedding photo and a "Happy Holidays from both of us."
So for now, Christmas cards are on hold.

I hope all my friends, family, and everyone else who receives a card normally from me understands.
I do still enjoy receiving them.

This year I did start a new tradition however.
One that a friend sort of started for me last year.
I doubt she even realizes it.
She bought me two Christmas ornaments.
Superman's outfit on a small hanger along with wonder woman's.
It represented the year for me.
Roger was a super hero to me and to others.
And I had survived-a wonder woman if I do not say so myself.

So this year, I decided, I wanted a new ornament to represent 2009 to me.
Something that encompassed everything.
My feelings and everything that had happened.
I found the perfect one.
An angel holding a small silver heart above her head.
At the bottom of her dress, the cursive word "Hope".

Hope is my word of the year.
It keeps driving me forward.
Hope for the future.
Hope for pure happiness to come again.

So for now, Christmas card tradition is hold for me.
But I think I like this new one.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Another Health Insurance Fail

A couple of months ago a fellow widow asked me to write about some of my health care experiences.
So I wrote about my experience with Roger's health care.
But I forgot about one important part.

Last November, I quit my job as I have written about.
I worked for a very wealthy hospital system.
One that owns and operates their own insurance company.
The insurance was awesome obviously since they also own about half of the hospitals and doctors in the area.
All of my health care expenses with them were covered.
Even the ones incurred at their main competitor in town.

After I left, they offered their health insurance to me at the non-discounted rate.
I could not live life without insurance at this point in my life.
My paranoia would not let me.
So I swallowed hard and paid the almost $350 per month.

It was a good thing too.
I experienced some health problems during the first three months of this year and again I was covered.
Big sigh of relief.

I also knew the $350 payment per month would not be forever.
I knew once I was a full time student at the university, I could apply for student health insurance.
It would not be as great as the insurance from my pervious employer but it would work until my next employer.

And then, one night while watching television, I saw an ad.
Blue Cross Blue Shield promising good insurance at a cheap price - $150 per month.
"Wow, that could save me about $200 per month until school starts."
So I tried to do the online application.
Annoying to say the least.
The application taking the information sucked.
The amount of information they wanted sucked.

Then came their supposed customer service.
First, I paid online right after completing this long application.
Then I heard nothing for about a month.
Nothing in the mail.
Nothing via email.
Nothing via the phone.

On the brief confirmation email I had received initially right after completing the application, there was not a phone number.
I went back to their website.
I called the number on the website.
"Oh, you are not calling the right phone number. I cannot help you."
"Oh come on."
"I do see we received your payment and a nurse should be calling you soon."

Finally about a week later, a nurse called me.
She asked me all the same damn annoying lengthy questions from the online application.
"But I answered all these questions before."
"Yes, but I have to ask you again."
"Then why do I even bother answering them online. It took an hour to complete online."
"I am not sure."

She asked me about my counseling.
My grief counseling for the death of my husband.
I answered all the questions honestly.
At that point I had probably been in counseling six months.
Which seemed short to me for such a big experience.

Another nurse called me a week later.
"Oh, you already completed the nurse questionnaire?"
"Oh, no one marked it complete."
Surprise, surprise.

Then nothing.
I called again.
"Oh, we mailed out your information. You should receive it soon."

I received it a week or so later.
I laughed when I read it.
They would cover me alright.
But they would never cover any mental health issues for the rest of my life.
For my entire life, no medication, no therapy, nada.
No way in hell.
No fucking way in hell.
Because I am in therapy for my husband's death, I could not ever use any other mental health benefits.
Got to be kidding.

So I promptly wrote back that I did not accept.
I was not mentally ill.
I lost my husband.
Then came getting my money back...
Another long process...

Entire process about two and half months (not including getting my refund).
I will never ever willingly have Blue Cross Blue Shield.
What a joke of a company.
What a joke of customer service.

I continued to pay my $350 per month until August.
Until I could get my student insurance.
Who accepted me for who I am.
Accepted all my "mental health" issues of being a widow.

Oh the joys of health care and widowhood...

Wednesday, December 9, 2009


Widows and widowers are everywhere in movies.
Many times as a minor character that is hardly noticed.
Except when a widow or widower watches the movie or show.
I notice my society members all the time.

And there are some movies I try not to watch.
Knowing there is a really sad story about a widow or widower.
Or I know that I will cry a ton.
Like I will not be watching "PS I Love You" for a long time.
Or "The Notebook".

But tonight, I must be a glutton for punishment.
Or just need to feel not alone in my feelings.

As a teen, I loved the movie "Ghost" like most girls my age.
I even owned the soundtrack.
One of my uncle's bought it for me as a Christmas gift when I was in middle school and I watched it over and over again. [I am not sure what happened to my copy of the soundtrack or the VHS.]
The sexy Patrick Swayze.
The cute Demi Moore
The love story.
Some action near the end.
Cheesy special effects.

I cried almost every time I watched.
Not ever knowing how close it would be to my own life.
Not knowing how I would one day relate to Demi Moore's character.

I had not watched since Roger's death.
Mostly because I have avoided most movie channels until recently and secondly because I knew the story way too well.
And I knew I would definitely cry.

Tonight I arrived home after a day of errands.
Tired but yet not ready for bed.
So tired but just not wanting to lay down until exhaustion sets in.

I flipped on the television.
Nada on my usual go-to channel, HGTV.
A rerun on my next channel for mindless TV watching, Food Network.
So I look toward the next channel on the list, TLC but on my way there I see "Ghost".
I could not not watch.
Halfway through the middle but I started to watch it anyway.
And the tears started to flow almost instantly.

I know how "Molly" feels.
The shock.
The cops.
The anger.
The not wanting to leave the house.
The "I love you" regrets.
The not understanding.
The feeling things were just beginning.
The feeling of everything was perfect.
The feeling that it cannot be over.
The longing for one more contact.
To touch Roger.
To talk to Roger.

And then at the end of the movie the bad guys get what they deserve.
The goblins take them away to what I think is probably hell.

I hope the other driver gets taken away by goblins.
I hope shadows jump up and take him away.

Now it is playing again.
An encore presentation.
Like my life too.
Like a ghost haunting me...

Monday, December 7, 2009

My husband & mother-in-law...

Back in September, I met Mr. X's parents.
I was nervous like in a normal way.
The way I assume most people get when meeting their person's parents.
But they are nice people.
I like them.

I have seen them on several occasions.
Mostly at their house for dinner.

But then...
This past weekend I invited Mr. X's parents to my house.
For dinner at my house.
And I guess I was nervous in a normal sort of way.
But there was another element.
Another weird feeling in the pit of my stomach.

It was strange to have someone else's parents in my house.
My boyfriend's parents were coming to my house.
In the house Roger and I bought together.
Yes, it is my house now.
Yes, I am comfortable here and I do not plan on leaving this house so I need to get used to this.
But it is a strange feeling.
Very strange feeling.

And then...
I do not have many pictures of Roger up anymore in public areas.
Only one 4x6 in a collage frame in the family room.
Mixed in.
As to not be so obvious.
But to still be there.
To remind me of a time when things were simple.

But I do have lots of my Cuban family up.
Second cousins.
My sister-in-law.
And my mother-in-law.

Mr. X's mom loves photos like me.
And when she arrived at my house Saturday she was looking at all the pictures I have up while dinner was finishing.
So as I was showing her around and showing her my photos she asked a question:
"Oh, who is that?"
I could not think of how to word it without simply saying "My mother-in-law."
To me she will always be my mother-in-law.
But eventually I will have a new mother-in-law.
At least I hope.
Then what?

Mr. X's dad was also looking at some of the photos.
I wanted to explain the significance of one of the babies in my photos.
Roger's cousin's baby.
There is no way to explain except to say "my husband's cousin's baby..."
I guess I could say "Roger" but I try not to say his name to Mr. X or to people who did not know him.
Weird thing for me.

Even more odd than having them here in my house was saying "my husband" and "my mother-in-law" to them.
I am not sure what other terms to use for them.
Roger will be always be my husband.
My mother-in-law will always be there.
But I am not sure what to call them.
To Mr. X, to his family, and to others.
Because I do hope to have new husband someday.
Not tomorrow, but someday.

"My ex-husband" does not fit.
"My dead husband" sounds morbid even though I am okay with that term.
"My former husband" sounds weird.
And weirder is "my first husband".
It makes it sound like have many husbands.

Ugh... any ideas are welcome.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Tuesday, August 18, 2008

I woke up first.
As usual.
I did not want to go to work.
There was a storm coming-Tropical Storm Fay.
Lots of rain and lots of wind.

But I got up anyway.
I took my shower.
Got ready.
Said goodbye to my husband.
And left for work.

But I was scared to go to work.
There was a weird gut feeling in my belly.
The radio weather guy was telling people to stay inside unless they absolutely had to go out.
My job was not absolutely necessary.
I did not absolutely have to go out.
If anything, I could do my work from home.
Or any place with internet access.

I had this fear I was going to be in an accident which had been going on for a few days or so.
I could not convince myself to drive the 80 plus miles that day to work.
Not that day.
As I was about to exit my neighborhood, I decided my salary was not worth my life or my car.
I turned around.
I headed back home.

I called my director.
"The weather guys on the radio are saying to stay home unless absolutely necessary to be out in this weather. And schools are closing."
"Well, our office is still open. Some are saying the bad part of the weather will not be until this evening. Unless you want to take a vacation day, you need to come in."
"It takes me over an hour to get to and from work. If the weather comes this evening, I could get stuck. Can I work from home?"
"No, our policy does not allow you to home."
[Now, under a previous director, one I absolutely loved, I was allowed to work from home on a regular basis and on several occasions for much less serious reasons. I would probably still be working at this company if she was still my director.]
"Well, I will take the vacation day. My life and my car are worth it."
And what I was thinking: A weather guy knows a little more than you about what is dangerous and what is not.

I pulled back into the garage.
I took off all my work clothes.
I went back to bed.
Roger asked me what happened.
I told him about the radio weather guy.
He was a little annoyed that I was home with such a "minor" storm.
But he said it was my decision.
I reminded him people die in hurricanes and this was like a baby hurricane.

Roger was working from home that day.
I cannot remember why.
Was he still on call?
Was Tuesday his normal work from home day?
Was his office more sensible?
I cannot recall.
But he was home.

It was nice.
I was glad of it then and I am more glad of it now.
It was one of the last times we spent the entire day together.
He was working most of the day and I was just relaxing.

Side note: My office did end up closing around noon. And my coworkers were allowed to work from home. But whatever...

I am so angry that he did end up dying that week.
From such a minor storm.
I am so angry that I was in an accident.
But at least I had that day.
It was worth my vacation day.

Thursday, December 3, 2009


When I am distracted, I am fine.
I appear okay.
I can get through the day.
I can get through life.

When I am not distracted,
I am not.
I am low.
Lots of tears.
Lots of sadness.

My confidence is low.
Very very low.
Shaky at best.

I am so afraid people do not like me.
I am afraid of people leaving me.
Even my closest friends.
I interpret everything as an act against me.
As if people are avoiding me.
I have to keep assuring myself I am loved.
And my confidence is fading, quickly.

I am so afraid of becoming fat again.
Since hurting my ankle, I have not been able to exercise.
So instead I eat.
And eat.
And eat.
I have gained back about five pounds.
And I know it is only five pounds but it really scares me.
I keep craving sweets and instead of being able to distract myself with exercise, I eat.
And my confidence is going down.

I am so afraid of the holidays.
I am trying to be happy.
I am trying to be excited.
I am trying to attend events to help me get into the spirit and listen to Christmas music but...
While shopping, I become overwhelmed.
I have no idea what people want.
I just feel low.
Very very low.

I know I should go back to counseling.
I plan on calling soon.
I promise.
Because I do not like feeling this shaky.
This unloved when I know its not true.
And this low.
I need me back.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"How Was Your Thanksgiving?"

This week I have been inundated with this question: "How was your Thanksgiving?"
What I cannot figure out is what people mean.
Are they asking how was MY Thanksgiving?
As in, was it hard for me? Did I do okay? Did I survive?
Was I sad?
Is it another one of those general greeting questions like "How are you?"

I want to say, "Good."
Because it was good.
I enjoyed myself.
I enjoyed seeing family and spending time with Grace.
And I really loved seeing all the babies and kids.
Such innocence and energy.

But it was a means of survival really.
It was still very very hard.
Remembering why I was not making the turkey.
Remembering why I was not in Orlando.
Looking at who was missing.
I want to say "I survived."

Just because I had a fun time and I smiled and I laughed does not mean I was not thinking about Roger.
Thinking about my empty roasting pan.
Wondering about the many, many "what ifs".

Upon my return to Orlando, I have been flooded with more reminders of what I do not have.
Many of my friends have celebrated or are celebrating their new family traditions with their mostly new husbands.
One friend just posted pictures of her first married Thanksgiving.
And her first Christmas tree.

Many people think that in grief, there is only one loss-the spouse.
But there is loss after loss after loss.
It continues forever.
Widows and widowers only learn how to cope and how to hide.

So I will say my Thanksgiving was good.
Because it was.
But it was also a reminder.
A reminder of everything that I have lost.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Mi Familia

The very first time I ever met Roger's mom, she called me her other daughter.
And every time she has introduced me after that, she said the same.
In her cute accent and a smile, "This is my other daughter."
Roger's entire family has always accepted me as one of their own.
As their cousin.
Their niece.
Their sister.
Their daughter.

When I learned I was losing Roger, one of my next biggest fear was losing them.
Losing this new found family that was close and fun.
People who loved each other.
People who celebrated each other.
People who were by each others side.
Even mine as Roger lay in his hospital bed those last six days.

The tears fell at the thought of how they were going to hate me.
Blame me.
How I would never see them again.
I did not want to lose them too.

And fifteen months after losing him, thankfully I still have mi familia.
About the only thing I can be grateful for right now during really hard grief this month.
They still care about me.
They still love me.
I am still their cousin, niece, sister, and daughter.

Thursday was the first Thanksgiving I have celebrated in Miami.
Like I mentioned, Roger and I normally celebrated in Orlando.
And in the prayer said before dinner, Roger's godmother said something that almost made me lose my already shaky composure.
She said she was thankful for me.
Thankful that I was still here.

The thing is I am not going anywhere.
This is mi familia.
These are my people.
One of Roger's final gifts to me.
A gift that keeps giving.
I love these people so much.
I am so thankful they are still here.
That I am still invited.
That I am still loved.

My biggest prayer is that as my life moves forward, mi familia will also love who I love.
I pray my children will have their Cuban primos, tios, tias, and of course an abuela.

So to my big Cuban family, please still be here.
Please stay here.
Please celebrate with me.
Please mourn with me.
Please continue to love me.
Without you (along with others), I would not still be here.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Flooded, Part 2

I have driven alone to Miami quite a bit now.
Only once or twice before his death and now it is becoming a regular thing.
But there are still a lot of memories attached to the many trips down the turnpike with Roger.
And almost every time I do it, especially when alone, I cannot help but have memories flood me.

The first time I came with Roger was for his sister's birthday get together.
I was meeting his family for the first time too.
At least a preview of his family.
I met his mom and sister.
Some cousins.
A few aunts and uncles.
It was also the first time Roger told me he loved me.
As we pulled into his mom's driveway.
We had been fighting.
I was annoyed.
And I was annoyed that I was annoyed before meeting his family.
So he turned to me and said something he had said to me a hundred times before to make me smile: "You know I like you" in his sweet please-forgive-me voice.
I gave him the you-have-got-to-be-kidding-if-you-think-that-will-work-now look.
He tried again.
"You know I love you."
I smiled.
I had to smile.
I had told those three little words to him four months previously but insisted that he could not say it back to me just because.
But it had to be in the right moment.
That was the right moment.

Another time we hit a huge raccoon on the way down.
I was horrified.
It cost us $2500 in damage to the car upon our return.
Plus the cost of duct tape to make it the rest of the way down.

There were many pit stops along the way.
Usually at Fort Pierce, the half way point.
We would get snacks and something to drink.
Stretch our legs.
And once we got 50 brochures for various tourist attractions for our wedding guests' out of town bags.
It was a game to get the correct amount without looking like we were hoarders and without actually standing there counting.
Although we did return those that were over the fifty mark.
To be nice of course.

Another time we were coming back to Orlando on the turnpike.
Roger had eaten at one of his cousin's house right before we left.
Roger did not eat pork.
His cousins' food was flavored with pork.
We stopped at each service plaza along the way.
About every forty to sixty miles for the entire two hundred and fifty miles back home.
Not to mention some gas stations and pharmacies before and after getting on the turnpike.
I could not help and giggle each time we stopped.
"Umm, yeah. I gotta go."
Followed up with a "I feel better now" comment.

Roger also liked to talk on these trips.
And he would blame me for missing his exit or getting lost.
"Was that 869?"
"I dunno."
"Dammit, you made me miss it."
"How? By listening to you?"
"Yeah" as he would smile.

The times I did not come with him, he would call me.
We would talk for hours.
And sometimes a fight on the phone would lead to me not talking to him for hours.

Lots and lots of memories.
It is weird to make this drive alone.

Flooded, Part 1

As I promised my mother, I put up my Christmas tree.
With Mr. X as my assistant.
I knew memories would come.
I knew memories would be attached to lots of ornaments.
But I hoped it would also help me.
Perhaps make me feel a little better about all this holiday crapola.

Before I handed the ornaments to Mr. X, I looked at them.
And let the memories flood over me.
Good and bad.

My music note ornament from high school.
The ornament my friend Andrea gave me one of the last Christmases she was in the country.
A wooden miniature bird house from an older widower I met on a plane the year my friend Andrea got married.
My superman and wonder woman ornaments from my dear friend Courtney.
Joanne and Javier's wedding favor ornament.
Lots of happy memories.

The bride and groom fish ornaments.
They are held together with magnets to look like they are kissing.
The "brother" ornament.
The "Dream" ornament with his name and the year on it.
I put them in a bag.
Back in the Christmas box.
I figure out what to do with them later.

Ornaments that scream Roger.
Dr. Seuss.
Frosty the Snowman.
I let those be hung on the tree.

After Christmas 2007, Roger and I bought stocking holders to hang in the archway dividing our family room and dining room.
The kind that are super heavy and sit on a shelf so we would not have to put holes in our walls.
We bought several of them.
One for each of us. A few for possible visitors.
Never used.
Still not.
It is silly for me to hang up just one lonely stocking.
Why would I?
To mock me.
To show me how little my family unit has become.
They will stay in the box for now.
Along with Roger's stocking.
For now.

But I did it.
I put up my tree.
I was flooded.
But it is there.
It is all there.

Friday, November 20, 2009

More Holiday Stuff, Part 3 (?)

Last year was so "easy" during the holidays.
I remember being shocked.
I did not even cry on Christmas Eve or Christmas Day.
I felt fine.

This year... it is not so easy.
It is hard.
And it sucks.

I cannot get away from holiday stuff.
It is on sitcoms.
It is on the radio.
It is on the news.
Gift ideas.
Christmas trees.
Christmas lights.

Last night I watched "Grey's Anatomy".
I love that show.
It is one of my favorites.
But it put me over the edge last night.
There was a brain dead kid.
They were using him for a heart transplant.
I lost it.
And I cried for the next hour and half.

I miss Roger so much.
I just want things to be different.
I want him to be here.
I want to set up our tree together.
I want to decorate together.
But I do not want to do it alone.
Or with others.
I want Roger!

And I get why Christmas season is when people commit suicide.
I am not suicidal.
Let me repeat, I am not suicidal.
I just get it.
I get how Christmas, happiness, gifts, family, love, blah, blah, blah, can be overwhelming.
Especially when the grief monster is around the corner.
Especially when I am constantly reminded of my loss.

I do not skip school but this morning I could not function.
I woke up.
Took a shower.
And then crawled back into bed.
My eyes are way too puffy.
I am way too emotionally drained.
I would stay in bed if I could.
But alas I cannot.

I must keep going.
And wait for these holidays to pass.
I just need to get to January and ignore that February will be around the corner.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The Ring, Again

Over a month ago, I took my ring to be cleaned.
I am 99% sure my ring was fine when I handed it over.
When the jewelry store woman returned it to me, she made the comment, "Nice design. I love the smiley face."
"Thanks. What smiley face? I've never noticed a smiley face."
To my horror, one of my wedding band diamonds encircling my engagement diamond was missing.
I was shocked.
I know it was there five minutes before.
Jewelry store woman said it was like that when I gave it to her.
But thanks to a warranty on the ring and the diamonds, it would be replaced.
Yeah, replaced with a non-wedding band diamond.
Replaced with a diamond that has no sentimental value.
I tried explaining this to the jewelry store woman.
I do not think she really cared.
But yes, I wanted it replaced.
And it was.
But I lost one of the wedding band diamonds.
It was not just the monetary value I lost, it was more.
I was upset to say the least.

Now, I am scared to wear it.
Great... just great.

Another weird thing is when I do wear it, people have been noticing it.
And commenting.
Mostly just "nice ring" or "pretty ring" is what I hear.
And I mostly just say "Thanks" and keep moving especially with people I am never likely to see again like a cashier but also lately I have also been divulging information about the ring to classmates.
I guess I am kind of proud of it (?).
Of what it represents.
Of how I had a huge part in what it looks like.
But I before I just jump into "Oh, this is my engagement ring and wedding ring combined. See, my husband died and I wanted to keep wearing the ring but just not 'the' ring" I sort of pause but sort of not.
I try to judge if the person can handle hearing this story but only as I start to tell it.
The story almost falls automatically out of my mouth and then I hear the words coming out of my mouth and feel guilty and I want to stop.
But I cannot.
I stumble over each next word.
"Crap, now what will this person think?"
"Great, where will this go next?"

I should just say "Thanks" and keep moving.
I really should stop freaking people out.
What is this newish need to divulge again?

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

More Holiday Stuff

I am about 80% sure what I want to do for Christmas.
At least for today.
I am like a pendulum swinging on this one thing.
I am still seriously debating finding a quarter to flip to completely make the decision.
Two out of three should be sufficient I think.
But I am also afraid of what will happen if I go against the coins.
Like they will be angry if I go against what they "determine".
The pro/con list method is not working either.
I am too afraid I will make the decision and I will need something different the actual day.
And both of these options are not something I can change my mind about easily.

The thing that pisses me off is that these decisions were already made.
We had a plan.
We had a fucking plan.
We discussed our holiday plans in our pre-marital counseling.
It was part of the program to discuss before our marriage.
Thanksgiving would be at our house (which we only had two together, one in the old house and one in this house).
We would invite both our families and friends.
I could use my new roasting pan.
For now/then, we would do Christmas in Miami.
We would make a trip to Virginia to visit my family when we could.
Roger was a bit afraid he may freeze if we went in December.
Which he did freeze in May during our trip.
New Years Eve would be up in the air.
Probably in Orlando.
We would find a friend's party to attend.
Everything was set.
It was a good plan.
Our plan.

I hate that these plans are in shreds.
I do not want to remake these decisions.
I hate that I have to remake these decisions.

Last year, I hid from my holiday life with Roger.
Thanksgiving was spent with my friend Cecilia.
Christmas with my friend Elizabeth and her family.
Things I had done before Roger existed in my life.
Familiar things but no memories associated with Roger.
I could pretend Roger was just missing for whatever reason.
I could pretend he was not dead.
He was just on a separate visit to his family or friends.
Man, I wish.

This year I am going to slightly acknowledge the holidays.
But only slightly.
Warm back up to the holiday thing.

At least I have a "solid" plan for Thanksgiving.
I am going to Miami for Thanksgiving to spend the weekend with Roger's family.
I am slightly excited to see them.
But I am nervous.
Celebrating without him.
This Thanksgiving will be similar yet different than our plan.

But then... then there is Christmas.
Already not my favorite holiday before all this.
Already a stressful month for me.
I am having trouble figuring out what I want.
Where do I want to be?
And I have options.
I have lots of people presenting options to me.
But I am debating between two.
I just have no idea what will be best for me.
What will I want on the actual day?

Right now, I would prefer to just close all the blinds.
Lock all the doors.
And stay in bed.
No shower.
No makeup.
I do not want to do Christmas really.

But I made promises.
First, I promised my mom I would acknowledge the day.
So I pulled down the Christmas decor from the attic.
Now the crap is mocking me from the garage.
Ours. Mine. And his.
His stocking.
His manger scene.
His ornaments.
I need to sort through it.
Something I skipped last year.
But I will put some of it up.

Last year, I refused to decorate.
I had two ornaments hung to a bulletin board.
A friend of mine had given them to me during Christmas last year.
They were the only things to indicate that Christmas was in the air.

The second promise I made to my mother is that I will not wake up alone in my house.
Or alone in any house.
This is the harder promise for me.
If left up to my own devices, being alone would be the option I would choose.
But I won't.
I made a promise.
I just cannot go to Miami.
It is too close to the old way.
The way things are suppose to be.
Not this year.
Not yet.

I hate Hate HATE having to remake these decisions.
They were made.
Our plan was made.
And here I am making it alone.

Where is that quarter?

Monday, November 16, 2009

Paranoia #459

Paranoia comes in a lot of forms for me.
I encounter it a lot while driving.
I guess that one is obvious.

And one that keeps bothering me in the last few days.
One that has been consuming some brain power...
What if my friends do not like Mr. X?
What if they are too scared to tell me?
Maybe they do not want to hurt me?
Perhaps they see that I am happy and do not want to disturb that?

It scares me a lot.
My friends are important to me.
And I want to be able to have both my friends and Mr. X.
To be able to hang out together.
To plan dinners together.
Game nights.
Beach days.
I do not want my friends to stop hanging out with me because of a guy.
And sometimes I think they are already doing this (thus the title of this blog).

I wonder if they would ever say something.
I wonder if they would see something I do not (not necessarily Mr. X but anyone).
I wonder if they would let me marry someone who they do not believe is the right person.

Just more of my paranoia...
More effects of the grief monster.
He has many disguises that do not disappear just because a year has gone by.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

One Day...

A fellow blogger and friend wrote me an email the other day about the post regarding Roger's tears at our wedding.
And she hit the nail on the head.
I am thinking a lot about my next wedding.
I actually had a nightmare a few nights ago.
Not that I am anywhere close to having another wedding.
But... I cannot help but think.
To think what if.
To wonder what it will be like.
To dream.
To have nightmares.
To plan, again.

As long as the man is worthy, I will marry again.
I want to marry again.
I want to wear the dress.
Walk down the aisle.
Eat the cake.
Dance the night away.
Be married.

But... I know it will be hard.
I know the planning will remind me.
The first time I planned a wedding.
The first time I picked flowers.
A dress.
A place.

I know that this new person will have to be heavily involved.
I had my day.
I had pretty much everything I wanted.

I dread the influx of memories.
I know they will be there.
I know the grief monster will be there.
I do not know how I will be able to not think about Roger.
About our day.
About our marriage.
I know there will be lots of tears.

I also wonder if anyone will be brave enough to say something.
Either privately or publicly.
Will someone mention him?
Will someone be brave enough to say something to me?
Will someone remember him?
I kind of hope so.
At least that is what I hope now.
I hope that I will not be the only one remembering him.
Thinking of him.

I also know that I will be a mess on the sixth month anniversary.
The one year anniversary.
And especially on August 22nd.
August 28th.
February 23rd.

Luckily, I am not crossing these bridges today or tomorrow.
Or even next week.
I have time.
At least I think I have time...

One day...

Friday, November 13, 2009


This is a side note to today's previous post:

One person mentioned to me one time before the accident I should be careful because God may take all of this away from me.
I was not a gloating person.
I would not have boasted at the reunion.
If anything, I would not have said much at all.
I would have just been me.
I would have been happy.

And uhmm, I am sorry but I cannot believe that for one minute.
I was not ungrateful or undeserving.
I went through a lot of crap in my life.
Why should I always suffer?
Why should I always get the shit end of the stick?
If God is my father then why would a father do this to his child.
Sorry... I really do not think God works that way...
Yeah... a bit of a tangent that still burns me.

I am sure that person never thought I would lose my husband.
But still...
I cannot believe God is like that.

I Didn't...

As many know, the day of the accident, Roger and I were on our way to the airport.
We were going to visit Virginia for my ten year high school reunion.
I was excited.
I was excited to say I was married and happy.
I was excited to say I had a good job with good money.
I was excited to say we had a nice house.
I was excited to see people I had not seen in nine to ten years.

The night before we left, I went to bed early.
I was tired from work and I wanted to be well rested for our trip.
Roger stayed up for a little while.
He was gearing up his iPod.
Downloading songs. Navigating all the features.
I had given it to him on his birthday.
He had not used it yet.
He never used it.

I remember when he came to bed.
I smiled at him.
I was very sleepy.
I rolled over to my side of the bed and went to sleep.
I didn't snuggle with him.

Like most couples, we would snuggle before we went to sleep.
Only for about five to ten minutes.
Then one or both of us would roll over to our respective sides and then go to sleep.

But that night.
I didn't.
We had a million other nights ahead of us.
Something Roger had reminded me of continuously through a relationship.
"It is okay if we do not to , we have time dear."
"Yes dear."

But we didn't have time.
At most we had around 1,000 potential nights together.
And on this last night, I didn't snuggle with him.

It really bothers me.
I have to continuously tell myself that I didn't know.
I did not know it would be the last night.
But it does not help that feeling.
The feeling that I missed an opportunity.
Among so many...

I didn't.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

He Cried

For the last couple of days, I have been stuck thinking about our wedding.
And one moment in particular that keeps coming back to me over and over.

Roger's father died three and half years before I met Roger.
From a car accident ironically.
Six years before our wedding.
Six and half years before Roger was murdered by a stupid driver.

From everything anyone has ever told me, Roger's dad was an amazing guy.
I wish I could have met him.
I wish I could have known him.

Roger loved his dad.
He admired him.
He talked about him often.
And he missed him.
A lot.

For Christmas before our wedding, I gave Roger cufflinks with a locket feature.
I took a picture of Roger's dad and put it inside of each.
Roger's dad may not have been able to be physically present at our wedding, but he at least would be by Roger's sides.
Roger did not react much when I gave him the cufflinks.
It seemed my gift was a dud.
I was a little disappointed in my gift giving ability.

On our wedding day, Roger wore his dad's watch.
It did not work.
But Roger wore it anyway.
He also wore my gift.
Roger asked our wedding photographer to take pictures of him wearing the watch and of the cufflinks.
So he did like the cufflinks.
He was showing them off even.

I knew Roger felt the missing part of his day.
But he did not mention it.
I could feel it.
I felt saddened Roger's father was not there.
The most important day of his life and his father was not there in a physical sense.

Then came the best man's toast.
A toast to the missing man.
Roger started to cry (as did most of the guests).
And there was nothing I could do but rub his leg.
I was trying to be the best wife I could.
Everyone raised their glass.
Roger raised his Heineken, his father's favorite drink.

He cried.
Only the second time I ever saw him cry.
Once happy.
Once sad.

This moment runs through my head a lot lately.
Almost two years later and I cry when I think of his tears.
How he cried.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Run Run Run Away

In counseling, I discovered mindfulness.
A concept Roger had tried to teach me for the entire three years we were together.
I practiced it in the car.
While falling asleep.
In the shower.
And mostly, while running.

When I was running, I would notice the wind.
Describe the wind to myself.
I would notice all the noises.
The dogs barking, the cars driving by, the A/C turning on, the children playing, and some garage door opening.
I would try to describe each particular sound as scientifically as possible.
I would try to notice each and every sound.

When I was running, I would try to feel.
Feel my feet hitting the ground, the wind on my face, my heart rate, the temperature.
I would describe each feeling to myself.

It was a way to calm me.
A way to focus.
A way to de-stress.
An added benefit was exercise.
And weight-loss.

Then in July, I came crashing down.
I fell down a set of steps.
I sprained my ankle.
Severely sprained.

I could not run.
During one of the (many) hardest months, August, I did not have my running.
My one sure way to de-stress.

Four months later, I am in a cast.
For at least a month, maybe three.
It seems my ankle was healing incorrectly.
The pain and swelling I continued to have was not normal like I wanted to believe.
And with the encouragement of my friends and family (READ: forced), I was finally treated right before Halloween.

Again, I am having another really tough time as the holidays approach.
And I cannot de-stress in the way I enjoy.
I have gained five pounds since July as well.
A bit of depression has settled in around me.

I just want to run.
I want to run away from all of this.
And I can't.
I am stuck.
Waiting to heal.
Waiting to heal.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


When I was a little girl, Thanksgiving was celebrated at my grandparents house.
Then my grandparents started to die off.
And so did Thanksgiving traditions.

Then I moved away, and Thanksgiving had even less tradition for me.
I celebrated with various people through the years.
Chicago, New York, Orlando.
But I rarely went back home.

When Roger and I started officially dated, it was only a few weeks before Thanksgiving.
Although we called each other, I celebrated with an old friend from New York and her family in West Florida.
Roger celebrated with his sister and mom here in Orlando.

That was their tradition.
His mom and sister would travel to Orlando.
Roger would make the turkey.
Other people from his family would come to his house.
He was the tradition for Thanksgiving.

By the following Thanksgiving, we were engaged.
Roger cooked the turkey.
I helped with the sides.
I was excited.
It was time for a new tradition.
Thanksgiving was ours.
I was happy.
It felt perfect.

The following year, Thanksgiving 2007, I bought the roasting pan for the turkey.
I convinced Roger it was a good investment.
Instead of buying the disposable aluminum turkey pans, we would have a real pan.
It was on sale and in seven to eight Thanksgivings it would have paid for itself.
We were being green.

We had his cousin and his wife over for Thanksgiving.
And their four girls.
And Roger's sister and his mom.
And Roger and me.
In the new house.
Roger's mom prayed for little pitter patter of feet.
Not just of the cats.

But Thanksgiving is not at my house anymore.
Not last year.
Not this year.
The pan was used just the one time.
One fucking time.
No one comes to my house for Thanksgiving anymore.

I had a Thanksgiving tradition.
Now I am back to being a nomad.
Trying to figure out where I will be for this holiday.
Or the next.
Trying to find my place again.
I feel tradition-less again.


Friday, November 6, 2009

In the Wee Hours of the Night

When I am alone,
I cry.
The tears just fall.
The memories flood.

I cry just to cry.
It is like all the feelings I have been distracted from bubble up.
Deep from within me.

And sometimes I cannot stop it.
Like last night and into today.

But I do not want to call anyone.
I do not want to be with anyone.
I do not want to show anyone.

I just want to release these feelings.
Get them out of my body.

And then I find myself just awake.
In a way, I do not want to go to sleep.
I do not even fathom going to sleep until my eyes will not stay open anymore.
Until exhaustion has completely set in.
Then I go to my bed and just collapse.

I won't even wash my face.
Or brush my teeth.
Just collapse.
Snuggle under the covers.
Burrow into my pillow.
And cry.

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Daddy's Little Boy"

Two of my good friends are having a baby.
A baby boy.
I am very happy for them.
I am very excited for them.
This is a planned child and I know they will be exceptional parents.

Because I care about both of them.
I wanted to plan a shower for the mother-to-be.
I felt like after all they had done for me in the last year, I wanted to give back.
The shower is on Sunday so I am in the last minute throws of party planning.

Today I was shopping for my actual shower gift.
I printed out the registry.
Made my way to the baby section.
Navigated through all the baby stuff to the actual gift item on the registry.
But of course I wanted to add some cute outfits for the new baby boy.

And of course, I almost had a meltdown.
A cute blue onesie.
"Daddy's Little Boy."
Tears started to form.
I started to get flustered.

I have been thinking about it all evening.
I know, I know, I know that this can still be a possibility for me.
But it will never be a possibility for Roger.
It will never be a possibility for Roger and me.

Yes, we were not really planning on having kids.
Both of us were heavily leaning toward no.
But I cannot get over his journal.
The one where he wrote about a dream he had.
And how he wrote, "I hope I am a great father someday."

Not that we had time.
We were only married six months.
Six months...

I know he would have been an amazing dad.
And he truly would have had a "Daddy's Little Boy" t-shirt or maybe even "Daddy's Little Princess."


Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Little "Roger"

For the last few of weeks and for the next coming weeks, I am teaching a 7th grade class about self awareness, staying in school, self budgeting, etc.
It is going well for the most part.

But there is one little boy.

He has shaggy blond hair.
Light eyes.
Baggy clothes.
Sweet kid.

And every time I look at him.
I see Roger.
And every time I interact with him, he reminds me of Roger.

Last week he told me how he wanted to be an architect.
How he loves looking at blue prints.
How his mom got him this new cool thing.
Roger was into drafting in high school.
I still have some of his supplies.

Then today as I was helping the class play a game in groups.
He was asking me a question about a particular "go back to the beginning" rule in the game.
His group was right.
He was wrong.
And he says to me: "Well, you can't blame a guy for trying."
I could not help but laugh instantly.
But I wanted to also cry.
This was Roger's philosophy most of the time in life.
He applied for all sorts of jobs, even if he was not exactly qualified.
He told me stories of how he flirted with every girl in a bar, even if he knew he might not get them.
Because "you can't blame a guy for trying."

I wonder if this will happen in the future when I meet other children.
Or people in general I guess.
I know Mr. X is a lot more like Roger than I initially thought.
And that scares me some times.
But I wonder if other children I teach will be little "Rogers".

I cannot help but feel a connection to this child.
Plus he actually participates in class.
Listens to me.

And tries.

The Grief Flu

I think something is going around.
But it's only contagious for a select few.
I think some of the other widow/widower bloggers I know are going through a similar thing.
The grief flu.

I feel tired.
I have a zillion things to do for school, home, and upcoming parties.
But all I want to do is nap.
And chill out.
Watch TV.
Eat horrible, crap food.
Not move.

It is a struggle for me to make plans with people.
I would rather just be at home.
I just want to curl up with a good book and a blanket and read.
Or sleep.

My body feels heavy.
I do not really feel like eating real meals.
Especially cooking.
I do not feel like going to the grocery store.
I do not want to clean my house.
Or take out the trash.
Clean a litter box.
I just want to be.

I do not want to make any decisions.
I hate having to pick out clothing.
I do not want to shower.
Or cut my finger nails.
Or brush my teeth.

I do not have the energy for it.
I just have enough energy to wake up.
To get out of bed.
But beyond that, everything is a struggle to get the energy for.
Which is bad since I have having 25 people over on Saturday.

Hopefully this is just a 24-48 hour flu.
Although it has already been longer than that.
Perhaps it is time for more counseling.

Sigh... the grief flu...

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


Halloween is on Saturday.
Three years ago on Halloween, Roger and I got engaged.
So much has changed in those three years.
We moved in together.
We bought a house.
We became landlords.
Roger got a passport.
We got married.
Roger died.

It amazes me even how much I have changed too.
And now how different my life is.
I am single again.
Not working.
In school full-time.
And dating a wonderful guy - Mr. X.
But not with Roger which seems odd for only being engaged three years ago.

I am having our-turned-my annual Halloween party this weekend.
Once again without Roger.
Once again with the amazing support of many friends.

The weird thing is I am reusing an old costume.
The same costume I wore the day I got engaged.
I did not really think about it till today when I pulled it into the house for it to get a makeover.
A lot like me.
Same bones. New girl.

Now as long as I can put on my party face instead of the way I feel at this moment, that will be good.
I will try.
I will put on a mask and try.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fourteen Month Check-up

It is the 26th.
Two days until the fourteen month anniversary of Roger's death.

How am I doing?
I am not sure.
My biggest mission in this journey is to educate people about grief/widows/widowers.
About how losing my husband does not go away.
About how it does not stop hurting just because more time has past.
Yes, I can cope better.
I can cry less in front of people.
But I still cry.
I still have sad moments.
And moments where I just want to go back.
And moments still where it does not feel real.
And moments where I feel alone in the middle of friends, family, or in a crowd.

I feel like I am doing okay for the most part.
But then I am still having issues about certain things.

The most annoying for everyone involved... undone plans.
I know I am not alone in this "symptom" of grief. [I consulted a fellow widow today and then I have talked to my twin about this too.]
But fourteen months ago, my life came undone.
All my plans went to shreds.
Yes, I realize that life is like that on every level for every person.
But to take absolutely everything I knew about my life, throw it out a car window, let all those plans crash to the ground while I continued to drive forward is my life.
My morning routine changed.
My day routine changed.
My night routine changed.
My career changed.
My weekends changed.
My bank account changed.
Absolutely everything!

I realized my life was not under my control.
My fate was not under my control.
The unexpected happened to me.
The unthinkable.
My fate was not under my control.
Since the unexpected did happen, now all of the unexpected is scary.

So now, I like plans to stick a little.
Even small ones.
And if then they go to hell.
I freak out.
I start to feel out of control.
I get annoyed.

For those non-widows out there, please be kind to the widow/widower.
We need plans.
We need things to go according to plan.
At least ninety percent of the time.
So to help us (or at least just me).
I need to time to process changes.

How is everything else going?
School is good.
Dating is good.
But nothing, absolutely nothing, replaces what I lost.

Today I found myself drawing Roger.
Just a doodle but a picture from him on his last birthday.
I wanted to keep it but it was on an exam paper.
One I could not keep.

My paranoia is mostly in check.
I found myself this morning being afraid of an intruder again.
I imagined him standing in the driveway.
Waiting for me to open the garage door to either attack me or to invade the house.
I got into the car and locked the doors.
No one was there of course.

Otherwise, most days I am coping.
It does not go away.
I just learn to cope.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Chutes and Ladders

Yes, I am dating.
Yes, I am in school.
Yes, I feel good for the most part at least a good majority of the time.
Yes, life moves forward.
That is life fortunately/unfortunately.

But some days I cannot help but feel like I am in a bad game of chutes and ladders.
Instead of enjoying married life, I slid back single-hood and now I have climbed back to dating life.
Instead Roger and I decorating my home together and planning parties, I am planning without him.
I am barely maintaining my home and only with the help of others.
And although Roger and I did not plan to have children for five years initially, I was thinking right before his death about maybe reconsidering when I was thirty.
To make a (semi) final decision about to be or not to be.
I did not get a chance to talk to him about it.
To be or not to be was decided for me.
And now, I will be thirty in a year.
And I am not where I ever imagined.
And especially where I thought I would be at almost thirty.

A few days ago, the wife of one of Roger's coworkers had a baby.
Roger really liked this coworker.
He talked about the potential he saw in him.
He talked about what a nice guy he was.
He talked about hanging out with him outside of work.
He talked about how he could see himself in him.
And in the day and age of facebook, I saw pictures of this new family.
A picture of his wife.
A picture of the baby.
And one picture that I cannot get out of my head.
This coworker and the his new baby.
His first child.
Tears were in his eyes.
And then in mine.

I can only imagine what kind of father Roger would have been.
I can only imagine the look of pride on his face.
And as I stared at the picture on my computer screen, I could see the same face on Roger.
The potential tears in his eyes.

Sigh... I hate this...

Blood Money

This was funny and gross as it was happening.
But it probably was/is not that funny.

Roger had his wallet in his pocket.
Roger kept his wallet in his front pocket.
There was a lot of blood.
Some of that blood got onto his jeans.
And thus into his wallet.
Thus onto the cash in his wallet.
[Although I still have his wallet and it does not seem stained so I am a little unsure about this part.]

It was not a lot of cash.
I really cannot remember exactly how much.
Perhaps twenty dollars or so.
I remember thinking of it as blood money.
I cannot remember if I actually said this out loud.
Holly or Scott would have to chime in for that:
[Holly says:

Yup, we joked about it together that it was blood money. We both apparently share a morbid sense of humor because I still think it's semi-funny to call it blood money. Scott and I helped spend some of it for you - we spent it at CVS when we picked up your prescription. Scott actually washed some of the money off in the sink there, dried it as best as he could with paper towels, handed the cash over to the pharm tech and then we bolted out of there before anyone could ask any questions!]

But I wanted it gone.
I wanted it out of my possession.
I could not spend it fast enough.
I used it to pay for my antibiotics.
Some food that I pushed around a plate.

I wonder about that money.
What happened to it?
Does someone take money like that out of the cash flow?
I wonder if by some weird chance if I will ever see it again.

I apologize to those who have handled that money.
Roger did not have anything.
Except he was positively amazing.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Another Fall

So the weather finally changed.
It is a glorious time of year here in Florida.
One of my favorite times of the year.
The reason I stay here.
The reason I suffer through the really hot, humid days.
In Florida, it is fall.
The days are about 70ish.
The nights are cooler to about 40-50.
I love it.

But it reminds me.

The morning of the accident it was warm.
It was humid.
It was balmy.
It was a typical August morning in Florida.

Then after a few weeks, the weather turned cold last fall.
Against my will, I entered a new season without him.
It was hard.
It was awful.
I did not want to leave summer without him.

And it is here again.
Time for jackets.
Time for jeans.
A whole year without him.
Completely realized.
Not just the date of a year has past but now, summer is over.
I have gone through an entire cycle of seasons.
Without him.

Life has changed.
I have changed.
And now the weather has changed.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Over $225,000

I am one of the lucky ones.
Roger was smart.
He was a planner.
He had a job.
Thus he had health insurance.
I was lucky.

I did not have to think about health insurance after the accident.
I did not have to worry how much the daily CT scan was costing us.
Costing me.
I did not have to worry about how much the respiratory therapist who came in every few hours to check the ventilator was costing.
Or about the nurse giving him his bath and a shave.
Or worry if Roger really needed the mannitol.
Or the Ensure supplement to make sure he was nourished.
I did not have to worry.

I had to worry about a lot of things.
But the last thing I had to worry about was insurance.
It is the last thing any wife or husband should have to worry about.

Roger was cut out of the car.
He was rushed to the hospial.

Roger broke his femur.
He broke his humerus into a billion pieces.
He broke his radius and elbow.
He broke some facial bones.
He broke the back of his head.
He broke some ribs.
He broke his spleen.

I knew it was costing about $50,000 a day.
I knew from my past life how much critical care cost.

But what if.
What if Roger was out of a job.
What if Roger elected not to have health insurance coverage.
What if I was not so lucky...
Yeah, he would have still died.
Yeah, I would have still survived.
And yeah, I would have eventually started to heal.
But... I might have not had a home.
I might have had to evict my renters.
I might have not been in counseling like I needed.

I would be back at my horrid job.
I would not be finishing school.
I would have a roommate or two.
I would be wrestling with creditors.
I would be dealing with even more stress on top of grief.

I would owe over $225,000.
Just for Roger.
Instead I paid about $2500.
A small price for my wonderful husband's care.

No one deserves to have to think about health insurance as their spouse lays dying.
No one.
No one deserves to make the choice between money and their spouse's health.
No one.
Everyone deserves health insurance.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

A Small Gain

The other day I lost some IMs.
It was devastating.
I was heartbroken.
I accepted the loss.

Last night I was doing my dreaded alone task - the bills.
I remembered I also wanted to send a card to a friend for her birthday.
"Where is her address? Oh, I have it in the wedding guest list spreadsheet."
I plugged in an external hard drive.
It was not in my section so I went to Roger's section.
I found the spreadsheet.
I found the address.

Instead of just finishing up my bills and starting some homework, I kept exploring the hard drive.
I opened his "TWC" section from his old work computer.
I gasped.
A folder called "IM Logs".
I quickly opened it.
A different time period than I lost.
But it was a gain.
It was something.

December 2006 to March 2007.
Right after we were engaged.
Right after I moved in with him.
Almost three years ago.

It was great to "hear" his voice.
To see our jokes.
Instead of "I love you" we said "You love me" a lot.
His "I feel much better now" after going to the bathroom.
"Pobrecita" [Poor girl] to me for everything under the sun.
His sunglassed smiley face.
Three hours later I had read all 173 pages.

I gained something else too.
A new prospective.
On me.
I have changed. Thankfully.
I am such a different person.
Every part of in my life was shifting.
I was engaged.
I was moving in with a boy.
And I was freaking out. At everything.
Man, Roger was so very patient.
So very very patient.

I also read his IMs to other people.
I felt a little bad invading his privacy but I just could not get enough of his "voice".
I needed to "hear" him.

Thank you, dear, for being so patient with me.
I know I have said it before, but thank you for helping me.
Thank you for fixing me.
Thank you for your numerous gifts before and after your death.
I love you.

I See Him

This happened a lot staring when I was around ten after my grandmother died.
She had been a daily part of my life growing up until I was about nine.
Then she went on vacation to Tennessee and ended up staying.
When she died, I did not believe she was really dead.
I just thought she did not love us anymore.
She did not want to be part of our family.
I thought she was angry with me for some reason.
I would see her everywhere, alive.

I would see her in the grocery store.
I would see the back of her head at the mall.
I even saw her into my early twenties.
She was in Florida.
She was in New York.
She was everywhere.

Now, I see Roger.
And not exactly him.
I see versions of him.
Or people who remind me a lot of him.
Almost making me look a third time (because I always look twice).

There is one boy in the classroom I have been observing and teaching.
He has longish blond hair (Roger was blond as a kid).
He wears glasses.
He is skinny.
He is fair skinned with light eyes.

The first day I taught my first lesson, I was gathering my things together.
I heard someone ask "Can I help you?"
I ignored the voice thinking it was two students talking.
He asked again.
It was my Roger look-a-like.
"Of course you can."

I also see "Roger" on campus.
Yesterday in my physical science class he was sitting in front of me diagonally.
It was his nose.
I saw it from the side and new it was him.
I leaned forward just to make sure.

I see him walking.
He was in front of me a few days ago.
I recognized his strut.
I laughed.
I could "see" him.

I saw him again today in a classroom I was observing.
He was not interested in school.
He was sleepy.
He was still skinny and growing out his hair.
He kept pulling it down on the sides.
I wanted to say "Stop that! It looks better when you do not do that."
But I did not.

And a few nights ago when Mr. X was spending the night, Roger was laying next to me.
I said something to Mr. X and he responded quickly "Otay".
I was shocked.
I had to have misheard him.
I asked him to repeat.
He said "Okay."
"Is that what you said before?"
"I said 'Otay' before."
I freaked out a bit.

He is always there.
Around the corner.
In the eyes of a stranger.
In the walk of a student.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"God Must Have Needed Him"

People never know what to say.
And I get that.
I do not even know what to say.
I tell people about my husband dying last year and then they say "I'm sorry for your loss" and then I do not know what to say after that.
Quick change of subject? "Thanks"? "Yeah, it's okay"?

But some people say a lot of stuff.
A lot of weird stuff.
Sometimes stupid stuff.

Last week, I was talking to my twin and she told me a story of how someone said to her "God needed him more."
I had to laugh.
Realy, God needed one human so much that said human had to die and come to heaven?
Now, let's look at some of this logic.
God is all knowing, all powerful, beyond time, etc.
So why would God need anyone?
Why would God need one specific person?
God needed a specific skill that the dead person had?
Doesn't said person's wife or husband or family need said person more?
Aren't humans the ones who need people?
Can't humans do more good on earth alive than when dead?
I mean, yeah, dead people can give up their organs and such but...

I realize this person was just trying to say something.
Say something comforting.
Trying to rationalize a horrible thing.
But if God needs someone what does that say about His abilities?

But I guess it goes back to the old saying: "It is the thought that counts" but I cannot help but think if people really do need to think before they say something.
The best thing to say: "I am sorry for your loss."
"I am sorry that you had to go through a horrible thing."
Because beyond that, there is nothing.
Especially telling me or any widow or widower that God needed their spouse more than them.

I needed Roger.
I needed him more.