Tuesday, June 30, 2009

More Roger-free Zones

On Friday, I finally did it.
I removed all the wedding photos from their frames and from the walls and replaced them.
It was hard.
It was sad.
It was nice to look at the pictures and remember the day.
But also sort of annoying that it is over.
And not just the wedding day but that time and chapter of my life.

The honeymoon pictures came down as well.
Remembering all the fun times.
Remembering how I freaked out one night at dinner when I realized I was actually married and marriage is forever and found myself crying in a bathroom.
That little moment only lasted about fifteen minutes when I realized I had married a wonderful guy and it will all be okay.

There is only one picture left hanging.
It is of Grace, Roger, and his mom from the first weekend I met the majority of Roger's family.
It is a 4x6 in a collage of pictures.
Which will be moved in time to my office.
For now, it is in the family room.
I can glance at it when I want but since it is in a collage it is surrounded by other friends and family photos.

Now, I am not sure what to do with all those photos.
I am thinking of putting them all along with the candid shots that I took out of other frames into an album of sorts.
But at the same time I almost do not want to spend the time.
Why should I?
So they are just grouped together?
Will I ever feel good enough to flip through them without longing to go back?
For things to be different than they turned out for us?
To sit and look at him and not believe that he actually died?
I mean, Roger, of all people?
How can he be gone?

All the photos are off the walls.
Gone like him.

Then I removed some more of his decor.
Replaced it with my photography.
In my bedroom, I changed out my duvet.
Changing up the bedroom just a bit more.
It looks nice.

It looks different.
It all looks different without him.
My life.
My house.
And me.


Monday, June 29, 2009

Orlando is a Small World After All

As I wrote about previously, I was on match.com.
Since starting on the dating site, I am going on real dates.
And with that, it means I am going to places in Orlando.
Like restaurants.
And movies.
And parks.
Places where other people also may go.
People I may or may not know.
But especially scary are the moments where I see someone I know.
Like a deer caught in the head lights.

Such an occasion happened yesterday.
With Mr.X [I will not use real name and I am not sure of a good nickname yet].
We were at the Cheesecake Factory located in a very popular area of town.
We went just for dessert.
We decided to sit outside since it was a beautiful Sunday Florida afternoon.
Plus there are less people outside.
Not that I am hiding from people.
It was just more private for being romantic and it really was a great day to eat alfresco.

As we were enjoying our very delicious cheesecake, my wedding florist and wedding day of coordinator were standing on the side walk next to me waiting on the valet to retrieve their car.
About three feet from me.
As in I could have reached out and touched them.
I started to giggle.
To say hi? To not say hi?
What would they think?
Why do I care what they think?

I decided not to say anything.
To keep my face away from them.
It is my wedding vendors for Pete's sake.
Wedding. Vendors. From sixteen months ago.
Yes, they are aware of my "situation" but it felt odd to introduce them to him.

It took forever for them to leave.
I continued to giggle.
Mr. X asked me why.
I told him I would explain in a second.
As they left, I explained to my date who they were.
But I could not explain my thought process.
I still cannot explain my thought process.
Why could I not introduce them to him?
They would understand.
I apologized today to my wedding vendors for ignoring them.
Mr. X was understanding.
He is very understanding anyway.
[Love that quality.]

I am not sure how it will be to date around Orlando.
I do not want to move away.
I am not sure what it will be like to run into people who do not know what happened with Roger.
I am not sure what it will be like for my friends to see me with someone new.
My family.
Roger's friends.
Roger's family.
But I do know that life continuously moves forward.

Friday, June 26, 2009

"Isn't Ironic"

I remember singing Alanis Morissette in high school while driving around with friends.
I knew all the lyrics.
I think I even had the CD.
And this line has stuck with me forever:
"It's like rain on your wedding day."
I guess no one wants it to rain on their wedding day.
I guess it is a bad omen of sorts.
Today as it started to rain, I could not help but remember that song.

When Roger and I picked a date for our wedding we took rain into consideration.
Among other things.
Like no hurricane season for us so that eliminated June through end of October.
No major holidays.
Cooler weather.
And I did not want to be on my period or PMSing.
That left about two weekends - November 10, 2007 & February 23, 2008.
November 11th was Roger's parents' anniversary so we picked February.

It does not rain much in Florida in February.
The average is 0.04 inches.
So I did not worry too much about rain.
Not that we were having an outside wedding but I did want outdoor pictures and I did not want the hassle of being out in the rain when getting to and from places.

February 23, 2008.
I woke up about 9:30am or so.
Thank God for antihistamines letting me sleep in.
I looked out my window.
It was pouring.
Rain, rain, rain.
Really? This has to be a joke.
I was not too worried knowing it was Florida and the weather could change at the drop of a hat.
It did change.
It was sunny about five minutes before I needed to leave for the church.

But, it rained on my wedding day.
It fucking rained on my wedding day.
Not sure if I believe it was an omen or anything but...

My Wedding Shoes

I love my wedding shoes.
Such a contradiction from my dress.
But in grief, I have no control on what things effect me and which ones do not and how they effect me.
And from what I have heard and read, this is true for most members of this "club."
Lucky us.

I wear them a lot.
Probably at least every week or two.
But I pretty much always have.

I bought them in a hurry.
My alterations had to be started and I had not picked out my shoes yet.
So with about thirty-six hours to go, I went to DSW to find something.
I wanted blue shoes.
Our colors were navy and blue and it is my favorite color.
But no luck.
Again, I had very limited time.
So I picked out these pictured above.
Non-traditional wedding shoes. Silver. Cute heel. And Florida-ish.
Being a little practical I knew I could wear them again (and again and again).

I even wore them before the wedding.
I wanted to get used to them.
Or at least that is what I told myself and those who asked.
I wanted to show them off in reality.
So I wore them to work.
I wore them to our dance lessons.
I wore them in my boudoir picture session.
I was already in love with them.

Then, on my wedding day, with my painted blue toenails (if I could not have blue shoes, I would have blue toenails), I slipped them on.
I was so excited.
They were cute and perfect.
Just lovely.

Now days, I wear them when I want to feel pretty.
To remind me of better days.
And just seeing them in my closet, it makes me smile.
They take me back almost instantly.
To my favorite day of my life.
And the best part, they are comfortable.
I can wear them out all day.
People compliment them.

An added bonus, I did not pay much for them.
Maybe $20. Maybe $30.

This is the one wedding item I can keep around without pain.
Amazing how this whole thing works...

Thursday, June 25, 2009

MY Side of the Bed

The weirdest thing happened.
Maybe three or four weeks ago.
I migrated.

Before this newest migration, I had been sleeping either on Roger's old side of the bed or in the middle.
But never ever on my side.
I could not do it.
It felt weird.
It felt like betrayal as odd as that sounds.
Like I was going back to old ways.
Like I was denying something.

But a couple of weeks ago, out of necessity, I had to go back.
I did a ton of laundry.
I dumped it on the bed thinking I would do it before I tucked myself in.
Much not to my surprise, I did not.
I went to study for an exam and did not return to my room until I was exhausted.
Until it was entirely too late to put away laundry.
Until I was only getting a couple hours of sleep before the exam.

This huge pile was covering my "normal" sleeping areas.
I debated staying up an additional half hour and putting the laundry away.
But I was tired.
So tired.

I went over to the old Star sleeping spot.
And the most amazing thing happened, I slept so well.
And the next night.
And the next night.
And the next night.

Hmm, maybe it is time to move back permanently?
I am not sure.

Another old habit is cropping up as well.
I used to travel for work as a consultant.
Monday through Thursday I stayed in hotels for two years.
I would almost always get a king size bed.
Then I would sleep diagonally or horizontally with my head on my side of the bed.
This has resumed. I wake up in this position.
I am not sure how I feel about this old new habit.

I am not sure how I feel about any of these new/old sleeping habits.
Does it mean something?
Does it mean nothing?

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Well, This is Just Odd

I have only been with my current last name for a little less than sixteen months.
It still has that new feeling. Like how the new car smell lingers for awhile.
I still have a slight delay when I write my name.
I even have it when I say my name.
And when I yell at myself for doing something stupid or silly, I still use my maiden name.
Like when I forget to turn on the dryer and leave wet clothes in it for twenty-four hours.
My new name just is not natural quite yet.
I mean, I was with my maiden name for over twenty-seven years.

If more odd...
Introducing myself to potential dates with my new last name.
"Hi, my name is Star X."
I would not have my new name if it was not for Roger.
If I had not been married before.

Yet I would not be dating had he not passed away.
It just feels odd.
I almost want to tell them both.
"Well, my name used to be this. But now it is this."

But I am proud of my new name.
I am proud because it made me Roger's wife.
And I am still Roger's wife.
It meant we were finally married.
We did it.
And I was finally married.
Me, the commitment phobia girl.

Yet here I am dating (again).
Other people.
Not Roger.
I am Roger's wife dating other people.
I do not feel guilty.
At all.
Just odd at some points.
Like how can this be.
A year ago things were so different.
I was in a different place.

Very odd.
Very odd indeed.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

"Probably Not"

Okay, okay... Yes, I am on match.com.
Yet again.
I am trying to date.
It is somewhat fun.
Somewhat different.

My first "issue" with the website was the marital status question.
I wanted to use "single" but they do not have that option.
The website's only option for singledom is "never married."
Well, that does not fit me.
So I had to use my least favorite word - "Widow."
I do not want to lie to people but I also do not want people to jump to preconceived notions of a widow.
I do not want pity.
I want someone to get to know me. Star. Not Star-the-widow.
But... it was my only option.
So Star-the-widow I am.

Then there is another question.
The question about kids.
Do I want them or not?
Hmm, well... there was an option that fit me perfectly in this area - "Probably not."
Yep, I probably do not want them.

Of course, all of this questions are laced with thoughts of Roger.
And it made me think.
I am twenty-eight.
Yes, not old.
Not old by any means.
But I do not want to have kids after thirty-five.
And I am single.
Even if I met Mr. Next Husband tomorrow, it would be at least two years or so before I was married again. Maybe even more.
Two years is the minimum.
And then I would want to be married for a while before having kids.
So that only gives me about two years or so before my "deadline."
Hmm.. so probably not.

But if I was with Roger, the "probably not" may be different.
We had completely put the question on the back burner much to the dislike of our families and the priest who married us.
At the time, we did not want them.
We said we would look at the decision at about the five year wedding anniversary mark.
Then right after or right before Roger's birthday last year, I cannot remember which, I wanted to discuss making the "final" decision when I turned 30.
I never got to tell him.
Not that I wanted kids.
But I wanted to re-look at the decision.
Make the final call in two years versus five.

The weird thing is I never even really thought about it right after the accident.
At least I do not remember thinking that thought.
I thought about a lot of other things.
But not about us having kids.

But then... after he died.
I thought about it.
After I found the journal from a few years ago, he wrote about a dream he had where he had a kid. He talked about what it would be like to have kids.
It seemed at least when he wrote it he sort of wanted them.
So did he not want kids because I did not want them?
What would it have been like to have his child?
To have a part of him.
Even if he still died, to have some part of him still here.

And then... I did not even think of it at the time and I only found out maybe a month ago, I could have collected some of his sperm.
I could have still had the opportunity.
The choice.
Maybe not now.
But maybe in two years.
Maybe in five years.
Maybe never.
But to have the choice.
I wish I would have thought of it.
I wish I would have known.
I like choices.

But for now, my choice is still "probably not."
I cannot imagine it.
Not without him.
Not without his sperm.

Someone else will need to win that part of me over again.
Make me consider it again.
At least consider saying "yes" or "maybe."
Otherwise, it is "probably not."

I love when my friends are pregnant.
Just because I know they want it and I love hearing their good news.
I also love children and babies when they belong to someone else.

First Weekend of Summer

Wow, it is summer.
That means the middle of summer is coming up.
Roger's last summer.
The last one we shared together.

I had decided a few weeks ago, I wanted to clean out (finish cleaning out) Roger's office.
Roger's cousin, Freddy, had seen it after my first go around last year in about December and said "Oh, you haven't changed it yet."
"Yes I have. That is different and that and that."
He gave me a look.
Yeah, he was right.
It was basically the same.
His diplomas were still on the wall.
His toys were still on his desk.
His art on the walls.
Yeah, it was still Roger's office with me pretending to be mine.

So I wanted to make it mine.
I took down the diplomas.
I put up some of my baby pics.
I removed some of his toys.
I put some more of his things online for sale.
I felt odd but okay.

But then I was sitting on the floor.
I do not remember how or why I got there.
And then I was laying on the floor.
I could not hold myself up any longer.
Then I was sobbing.

I used to lay on the floor while he was working.
I used to just go in there to be with him while he was working.
Sometimes I would be quiet.
Sometimes I would beg for attention.
Sometimes I would whine.
Sometimes I would be super sexy and tempting.
But most of the time I would just be there.
With him.

On this Saturday, I was alone.
On the floor.
Without him.

I just wanted to sink into the floor.
I just wanted to close my eyes and have him reappear.
But no such luck.
Just an empty house with me and two cats.

I did not even realize how much it effected me until I went out Saturday night to meet some friends out for drinks.
I was getting irritated at drivers.
I was getting irritated at everything not going exactly right.
I got lost on my way to the bar and I was even more annoyed.
I just wanted to turn around and go home.
I keep telling myself, "No, you need to get out of the house and be with people."
"You do not need to be alone."
So I finally got parked.
I found my friends.
I got ready to sit down at the table.
"Hi Star! What did you do today?"
"I cleaned out Roger's office" came blurting out of my mouth before I could even think.
And then the tears.
But my friends are great.
They let me vent.
They let me get it out.
Obviously I needed it.

The actual first day of summer, my favorite season...
Still a little bumming.
The year mark is rolling toward me like a big ball of shit.
I am bracing myself.
I am planting my feet firmly in the ground.
I keep telling myself this will not scare me.
I can do this.
I have done so much, I can do this.
This growing ball of shit may just look big from far away.
It may just be some optical illusion and it will not be as big as it seems right now.

The earth has almost completed its orbit around the sun.
A whole year without Roger.
A whole set of seasons.
Sigh... and this is the last part.

Sunday, June 21, 2009


During the accident and the six long days after, there was this huge feeling of helplessness.
I could not do anything to make things better.
Everything was beyond me.
Beyond my control.  
God knows I do not do well in those situations.

I could not eat.
I did not want anything to drink.
For six days, I did a lot of sitting.
A lot of thinking.
A lot of standing over Roger with nothing to do for him.

I did talk to him.
I did journal what had happened so he could read later.
[Which I am pretty sure I destroyed because it made me angry that he would never read it.]
I took a few pictures of him so he could see how far he came later.
[Which were deleted.]
I did ask about his bowel movements and his blood glucose level because I know about those things.
I did stand next to him and hold his hand.  
But there was nothing else I could do.
I could barely talk or listen to my friends.
I do not even remember most of the conversations I had with my friends and family during these six days.  
I do not even remember every person that came and I know a lot of people came.  

And then everyone was asking me what they could do.
What did I need.
God, I did not know.  
I needed Roger to be better.  
I needed Roger to be fixed.
I needed to wake up and find out it was all a dream.

But there was one small thing.  
Roger was on a ventilator.  
The tubing went down his mouth into his lungs so his mouth was hanging open.
His lips had become so chapped and dry.
So when one of my nursing friends asked me what they could do for me, I asked for chapstick.  
It was the only thing I could do for my husband to make him better.  
Fucking chapstick.

Since she is a wonderful person and friend, she brought it to me.
She brought me about three different kinds.
I am not even sure she knew it was not for me.  
But I took it in with me during the next set of visiting hours.
And I carefully applied chapstick to his lips.  
I had his nurses put a label on it and left it in his room.
Every time I went in to see him, I applied more.  

Of all the care being done to him, it was the only thing I could do.  
And it did not even matter in the end.
My one little thing did not even matter at the end of the six days.  
Yes, it was good of me to think of it.  
Blah blah blah.
But he still died.
I did not fix him.
I did not contribute to his fixing.  
I was still helpless.  

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Firkin A

I was enjoying bliss for a brief moment today.
I had just finished dinner with some awesome friends.
I had yummy food and a nice beer.
We were on our way to meet more friends for a night of bowling fun.
And I was happy.
I took a deep breath and I felt joy.
Blissful.  Complete happiness.
"Life is good. Life is back to being great."
I was feeling great.  
Almost awesome.

But then....
It hit me.
It was not guilt.  I have not felt guilt about being happy without Roger.  
Maybe it was grief.
Maybe it was something else completely.
But there it was.  
I thought, "Roger would love this."
He would have enjoyed the pizza.
He would have enjoyed the company.
He would have enjoyed bowling.
He would have enjoyed the dancing.

It makes me sad he can't.
It makes me sad he is not here.

And I still had fun.
I still enjoyed my friends.
I still laughed and smiled and tried not to think too much.


If you live in East Orlando, I highly recommend Firkin & Keglers.

Friday, June 19, 2009

More Photos to Share

These photos were taken at Lake Eola in downtown, Orlando.  
I love my camera.  
I love creating something like this.  
It gives me a new joy.  
It is my new therapy.  
I hope you enjoy.
Click on the photos to see a better view.

"And I you"

It was the most annoying and sweetest thing Roger would say to me.
"And I you."
But it was one of his responses when I said "I love you."
Those rare times I actually said it.  

He would say it to me and I would groan.
"Come on, say the real thing."
"I am being real."
"But say the real words."
"Yes, dear.  I love you too."

And if he did not comply.
I would pounce on him.
Tickle him.
Make him go into hysterical laughing fits.
Until he said it.
Or until he would kiss me.  

It is these little idiosynchrocies that made him him.
Things that differentiated him from every one else.   
Things that I just loved.
Or were annoyed with but still loved.

I miss those things.
Phrases like "CoolNESS" and "yep Yep YEP" over IM.  
Things that I find myself saying or typing.
Things that will always remind me of him.
Remind me of who he was.
All the good and all the bad.

Just to be annoyed by him... 
Just to be loved by him... 
Just to hear "And I you" one more time.  

Thursday, June 18, 2009

I Hate...

... my wedding dress.
Like despise.
Like abhor. 
I cannot even stand to see pictures of it.

I criticize it.
I hate the shape.
I hate the way it looked on me.
I hate the color.
I hate the way it moved.
I hate it.

I want to get rid of it.
I do not want to see it in my house.  
I want to sell it.
Or maybe give it away.
But I do not want it here.
I do not want to see it hanging in the "crap-I-cannot-get-rid-of-yet" closet.  

But maybe it is not the dress' fault.  
Maybe it is not the shape.
Or the color.
Or the way it moved.  
Maybe just maybe it is what it represents.
Maybe just maybe it is what I lost.
Maybe just maybe it is a reminder of 2008, the best day of my life. 
The worst year of my life.

I am not sure.
And in all honesty, I am afraid to get rid of it.
What if I do want it a year from now?
What if I get rid of it then regret it?

I know I will never put it on again.
The thought of that makes me cringe and my skin crawl.  
I do not even look inside the bag.  
I think just accidently touching it would bother me.  
Thinking about it actually makes me feel nauseous.  
Yeah, it is probably not the dress itself.  

Talking with my twin, she came up with an idea.
I will give it to my mother-in-law to keep.
That way it is out of my house.
It will be four hours away.
It cannot haunt me.
At least as much.
And if in a year or a five years, I really want to part with it, I can.
Because right now, I do not think "we" can both live in the same house.
Damn dress.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

The First Birthday

I have been dreading Roger's first birthday for months.
Knowing it is in the month of August has not helped.
Knowing that only three weeks after his birthday is when he went away forever from me.
So it has not been my favorite thing to think about.

Plus he would have been 35.  
The first semi-big birthday since we had been together.
I mean, it's not 30 or 40 but still.  

Plus I did not bake him a cake last year.
His favorite thing - layered cake and I completely forgot.
How could I forget?
I planned the rest of the day.
But forgot the damn cake.
I bought him one from Publix.  
Which he loved their cake so it was fine but still... 

I saw a sign.
A literal sign.
I saw a billboard that JetBlue is now going to the Bahamas.
I was driving on the highway when I saw it and I started jumping up and down.
I have a credit for JetBlue.
Then on television, I saw a commercial for Atlantis. 

Now, Atlantis is another guilt spot for me.
Roger told me when I first met him before we even discussed marriage that he was going to Atlantis for his honeymoon.
I think he may have even said "With or without you..."
But when it came time to plan our honeymoon, I convinced him we would do Atlantis some other time.
The Bahamas are only an hour away from here.
I wanted to go away for our honeymoon.
Somewhere we could not just go for a weekend comfortably.  
Somewhere with no kids around.
Somewhere romantic.
So we went to St. Lucia instead.
It was still a relaxing Caribbean honeymoon but far far away.  

And we never got to go to the Bahamas together.
Or to Atlantis.
I robbed him of that.
We probably would have gone this year.

So with my twin, whose husband's birthday is July 31st, we are going to Atlantis to celebrate our husbands' birthdays!
It gives us something to look forward to.
We can comfort each other.
Drink our blues away.  

And I am actually excited now.
No more dread.

As far as the cake is concerned, my wonderful friend Courtney is going to help me.  
Love her! 
So I have a plan.  Which helps me feel more settled.  
Makes me feel okay.  
Makes me feel like I will get through.  

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Roger's Burial

On August 22, 2009, I will finally bury my husband.
On the one year anniversary of the car accident.
Yes, almost a year later.
Twelve months.
Three hundred sixty-five days.

It took me a long time to figure out what exactly to do with his ashes.
He has been resting upstairs on his meditation table since September.
But what to do after that?

I never wanted him to be in a casket.
I hated the thought of it.
Not to mention the un-ecofriendliness of it and the cost.  
And then the photos last year of the floating caskets in Texas. Oh the horror. 
Roger and I had talked about it.
So I knew it was the right decision.  
But we had never really talked about what to do after he was cremated.  
[By the way, spread me into the ocean.  Atlantic preferably. DO NOT PUT ME IN A CASKET!]

I debated evenly distributing him here at home near his banana trees, a little in Miami, a little in the ocean, and a little somewhere else.
Some people did not like that idea.  They wanted him all in one place.  
Okay. That's fine.
But then where?
Naples? Where he spent a lot of time as a kid with his family on vacation.
The Keys? Where he spent a lot of time fishing as a kid with his dad.
Atlantic Ocean?
Gulf of Mexico?
There were lots of choices.
But nothing sounded perfect.
Nothing tickled my fancy.  
And although I would not mind keeping him at home forever with me in a selfish way, some people did not like that idea either. Again, that's fine.
So I kept racking my brain.  
Where o where should my husband lay?

In December, while visiting my good friend Jennifer she gave me an idea.
She told me how one of her aunt's ashes was buried on top of her other aunt's casket.  
The perfect place instantly came to mind.
With Roger's dad.  
He would love to be with his dad.

Roger loved his dad.
They were so close.
Roger dreamed of him often.
Even the week of the accident and last June.  
Ironically they both died in car accidents.  
Six and a half years apart.

I spoke to Grace, Roger's sister.
She thought it was an excellent idea.  
We told his mom.  She liked it.

Now, two months from now, his family, friends, and I will be burying him.
And in order to avoid making a "new" anniversary, I wanted to choose a day that already a meaning.
Thus the day of the accident.
It was my wonderful counselor's idea since I have such trouble with that week each month already.
So a year from the last day I talked to him.
The last day he told me he loved me.  
The last day he was conscious.  

I know I will cry.
I know I will cry a lot.
But I am also hoping to celebrate his life.
Celebrate who he was.
Not his death.

I want to hear stories about him.  Familiar and new.
I want to hear the laughter of our friends and family.  
I want to see the smiles as people remember him.  
I want to remember him.
I want everyone to remember him.  
The person he was.


Monday, June 15, 2009

"I'm afraid of hurting you"

I have heard "I am afraid of hurting you" a lot from the few guys I have dated in the last few months.
And I have to say it is frustrating.
Beyond. frustrating.
I want to say to all of them, "Are you kidding me?"

First, do they really think I am that weak?
Have I not proven that I can handle the worst pain ever?
I am stronger than most, I think.  
I think I can deal.  
I am actually pretty sure I can deal.
Even if I cry, it does not mean I am weak.
People cry.  
Get over it.

Second, if it does hurt me, do they really think I could not survive this new pain?
I mean, come on.
I lost my husband.
The man I loved more than anything else.
My best friend.
And I survived.  
And I am surviving.
My sister-in-law says I am even thriving.
Do they think they are on the same level at that? 
Do they think the pain they may cause will hurt me that badly? 
Even if they were half as important, I am pretty sure I can survive not being with them.  
I may get a scar in the process, but scars still heal.  

Third, what kind of person wants to hurt other people?
As long people do not hurt me intentionally, then it is fine.  
I will be fine.
Cry, maybe.  But I will be fine.
And I have to believe the people I am dating are not the type to hurt people on purpose.  
I am a better reader of people than that.

Sometimes, I put myself into situations knowing the outcome.
I know what I am doing most of the time.  
I know the outcome of some things before I do them.  
I would not put myself into a situation that I could not handle.  
I know what I need.
I know what I want.
And I know how to express those things and get those things.

It is not necessary to treat me differently.
It is not necessary to try not to hurt me anymore than normal when dating me.
I am not that different than an ordinary person besides surviving a tragedy.
Yes, my heart was broken.
But many people get their hearts broken. 

And I will always survive.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Removing Old Trees

Last month, in the midst of traveling from coast to coast, I read the book "The Longest Trip Home" by John Grogan.  
He also wrote "Marley and Me" that I read a few months ago.  
When I first wanted to read this book, I did not really realize the entire story.
I knew it was a memoir and I love memoirs of semi-ordinary people.  
So one of my friends bought it for me.  
Again, I am not sure when.  
It was in the stack next to my bed.

The basic premise of the story is about how hard it is to move away from author's parents.  
Not distance wise but forming his own beliefs.  
Becoming his own person.
Even when that meant going against what his parents believed.  
But then he had to reform that relationship between his parents and himself.  
It is a great book.
I laughed.
I cried.

I really enjoyed reading it except for one tiny part.
Okay, big part.
The author's father dies at the end.
Which I guess is not abnormal but there was a striking familiarity to me.
The author and his siblings had to take his father off life support.
A hard horrid decision.  
I sobbed.
And sobbed.
And sobbed.  
And I was on a plane.  
This was when I started to feel wobbly.  
I did not know this was part of the book.
I probably would not have read it if I had known.  
At least not now.
Or anytime soon.

I am pretty much over most of my guilt from having to remove Roger from life support but it is still a painful memory.  
It is still something I will never forget.
It was still the hardest decision I have ever had to make.
And still one of the worst days of my life.  
I do not even know which one was worse - the day of the accident or the day of his death.

One chapter in the book really spoke to me.  
The family home had this huge maple tree in their backyard.
The family loved this tree.  
They climbed it as kids.
They had family BBQs underneath it.  
In all its glory though, the author calls it a "flora bully" as it took up all the sun, water, and food for other plants.  
Nothing else could grow there underneath the tree.  

After living many decades, during a winter blizzard, the tree falls and dies.  
The author compares it to losing part of his family.  
But the author's father, after going through a brief grief period, sees the opportunity in the loss. 
So he decides to plant a garden in the same spot where the maple once lived.

His father starts investing in this new dream.
He toils the earth.
Puts in some perennials.
          "My father's exercise was a vote of confidence in the future."
And then this is the part that really touches me.  
Yes, the loss of a tree touched me.
          "The garden would rise and flower and stand as a modest testament to nature's exquisite exuberance and sweeping rhythms, and to its unsentimental resilience... Seasons change, trees fall, seeds sprout.  From death and decay spring new wonders. Life moves irrevocably forward."

I feel like I am investing in my future.  
I quit my job.
I am back in school.
I am back to dating.
I am back to living.
My old life died.
Roger left me.  
But without his death, none of those things would be possible.  
I loved that old "tree."
I wish "it" was still here.

But through his death, I am facing a lot of new opportunities.  
Things like going to school full time which would not be possible before.  
Things like falling in love again.
Things like having first kisses again.
Things like a new different life.
Not that I wanted to kiss someone else or fall in love with someone else or have a new life but those can be fun things.  
I will be able to say I had more than one life when most people barely live one.
New growth.
New life.    
"From death and decay spring new wonders."

Saturday, June 13, 2009


A great boyfriend/husband or girlfriend/wife will make the other want to be a better person.
They will encourage them to be a better person.
They will encourage them to meet their goals.  
Roger was that for me.
And I hope I was that for him.  

I always wanted to be a better girlfriend then fiancee then wife.  
I wanted to be pretty for him.
Not because he ever said anything to me that I was not, but I wanted to.
I wanted him to be proud of me.
I still got dressed up when we went out.  
I still did my hair and makeup.
I did not want to let myself go after we were married. 

I wanted to further my education.
Roger was always encouraging.  
Asking me what was next.
Pushing me to keep going.
And not in a negative way.  
Because he knew I had that goal.  
I wanted it and so he wanted to help me.
It was the way it should be.
It was nice. 
I did the same with him with school.
And when he finished I was uber happy for him.

When I wanted to get back into shape, he was my number one fan and motivator.
He would compliment me when I made time for the gym.
He would compliment me on my changing body.
He would give me tips as he was a certified kickboxing instructor (yes, another one of his many talents).
He would check up on me.
"Are you going to the gym today?"
I would sarcastically reply, "Jim who?"

And maybe he was a little bit pushy.  
But it was all for me.
All to make me who wanted to be.
Not that he wanted me any different than I was.
He said many many times that he loved me just the way I was whether I was having a bad hair day, bad work day, or bad body day.  
He was a great boyfriend/fiance/husband.

And today I found myself running a 5K!!
Thats 3.3 miles.  
Not something I would ever think I would do.
I am not a huge athlete or anything.
But six weeks ago or so a friend asked me if I wanted to do a 5K as a group.
"Hmm, sure.  Why not?"
What?  Who am I? What would Roger even think?  Of course he would have pushed me to train a lot more.
But I did it.

My group came late so they ended up not running with me so I was mostly alone.
And I was pissed about running alone.  If it was planned not to run together, I would have been fine.
I would have brought my iPod like every other person there.  
But unexpected things do not sit well for me.  
Especially since I was so far out of my element.  
Especially since we were wearing matching T-shirts.

And then, I am not one much for spirits and ghosts and that kind of thing.
I have had some weird unexplainable experiences in my life.  
But I have only had a few experiences where I knew Roger was with me, like this time.  
And this time.  
But today I felt him again.
On the last mile or so.  
I was still brooding about running alone.
Like everything else in my life, I was running alone.  
I was annoyed.
Then I heard him.
"You are not alone.  I am running with you."
I felt chills down my left side of my arm and my left leg.
"Yeah, but I can't hear you for real."
"Oh, I am not talking loud enough for you now?"
I use to complain all the time that Roger spoke too loud.  He said it was just a Cuban thing.  And maybe he is right because his mother is loud too.  
But then he told me he was proud of me.  
And maybe it was not him.  Maybe it was some voice inside of me.  
But it felt like him.  
I want to believe it was him.

I finished the race which was my goal number one.  
And I finished under forty minutes which was my goal number two.
About a twelve minute mile.  Not great. But I am happy with that.  
I did not run the entire time and I was not the last person.
So I am good with that.  
And at least I can add that to my list of life accomplishments.  
I ran a 5K.

I will continue to try to meet my goals.
And I know part of it is Roger pushing me.  
Or at least me knowing that he would be if he was here.  
And that keeps me going.  

Friday, June 12, 2009

Fourth of July

The fourth of July is my absolute favorite holiday.  
I love it way more than Christmas.  
I love it the same as my birthday which is saying a lot.
I have such fond memories of it growing up.
My family lived about quarter mile from where the fireworks were set off.  
And we lived near loads of farmland so we had a great view of the show.
So each summer, we invited family, friends, and church friends over to our house for a huge BBQ.
It was so much fun.
It was such a relaxing good party.  
I even have one memory of kissing a silly boy as the fireworks went off. 
I also spent almost each one from sixth grade to my senior year with my good friend Andrea.  
It was tradition.  

I also love that there are no presents involved with this holiday.
No fear of giving the wrong gift.
No fear of receiving the wrong gift.
There is no pressure.  
Just good fun.
Hanging out with good people enjoying life.  
Enjoying the goodness of summer.  

Last year was one of the last times many of our friends saw Roger.
At least saw him in a relaxing out of work/school environment.  
It was the first time many of our friends saw our wedding albums.
It was about six weeks before the accident.
Sadly, I did not take many pictures.  
God, I wish I would have.  
I actually cannot find any of him from that day.
It was so much fun though.
We were over the wedding and starting to get into the 'married' rhythm.  

Our neighborhood does a huge show and festival each year.
We invited about twenty people to our house but ended up with about fifty.  
Which was perfect for me but I remember Roger being shocked.
"I thought this was going to be small-ish," he said as we were buying the food.
"It was suppose to be.  I am not sure what happened," I said with a sheepish grin.  
Roger just sighed.  
But he loved the big party.  
Mr. I-am-not-social had fun.
He even talked about next year.

We had tons of food.
I made a huge cheesecake from scratch.  
I made some table clothes too.
I was being all wife-like.
We all sat/stood too close to the fireworks and got some debris on us.
Yes we were in front of the 'Caution' tape instead of the legal part.  
But that is Roger.  
I loved every minute of it.  
It was the second time we had hosted the party together.  
The first time at the 'new' house.

Six weeks later, he left me.
Left me to celebrate both our favorites alone.

I am hosting the party myself this year.
Well, alone with our friends.
But without Roger.  
And although I am excited, I am a bit sad.
This is our event. 
We did two parties a year - Halloween and Fourth of July.  His favorite and my favorite.  
And he is not here to enjoy it.  
My favorite holiday and he is not here.

Last year, I had the menu planned by this point.
I had started looking at decorations.
This year I am having trouble getting started beyond sending an evite.  

I am starting to get anxious and scared too.
How will I feel?
Will I be okay?
The good ol' anticipation monster is rearing his head.  
I keep reminding myself the monster is worse than the actual event.
I know this.  I have experienced this over and over again.
But I know I will miss him.
I will miss having lists of things to do for him.
I will miss seeing him at the grill.
I will miss him asking me if I need anything else from the grocery store.
I will miss him being right about needing more things like plates.  
I will miss us as a couple as I watch all my friends.  
I will miss him as the fireworks light up the night sky.  

I also know what this means.
It means August is around the corner.
It means it has been almost a year.
It means I have been unmarried for even longer than I was married.
It means his birthday is coming up.
It means his burial* is coming soon.  

But I want to have this party.
I want to keep moving forward.
I will be disappointed in myself if I succumb to life's challenges.
And I know my wonderful friends will hold me up.
They will make the day the holiday I love.  
Like always.

*I will blog about this soon.  
When I can find the words.

I Did Depend on It...

Right now in downtown, there is this billboard that says "Choose ORMC like your heart depends on it."
It urks me.
I want to scream every time I read it.
ORMC is the hospital we went to.
I really did not have a choice either.
We were sent there because we were trauma patients and it is the level 1 trauma center in the area.  

My heart and my love and my life depended on them.
Depended on them to fix us.
Fix him.  
And it did not work out.
I am not saying they did not try.
I know they tried.
But it still did not work out.  

I am not sure I could even walk into that hospital again.
I worked there years ago when I first moved here.  
So it was already odd being back there.
Now, there is pain associated with it.
Just seeing the hospital from the highway makes my heart ache.  

Hearing noises similar to Roger's hospital room make my skin crawl.  
There is a machine in my microbiology lab called an autoclave.
When it is in steam mode, it sounds like his ventilator.  
Certain beeps of things also sound like his heart monitor.  
I know this will wane.
At least I hope so.

I guess I am going through another anger cycle.  
I can feel it.
Deep inside me.  
I guess I will continue to express it in the ways I know how - here.  
Through my written word.  
Because I can depend on that.  

Junky Junk

I used to love checking the mail.
Probably ever since I was small.
It was always fun to see what I would get.
One summer I even (way before I was green), I decided to call every 800 number I could find and have them send me their catalog, coupon, or anything else they wanted to mail me.  
I got junk mail for a good two years from that.

Roger and I checked the mail nightly together.
Our mailbox is about a block away from our house so it would be a few minutes to walk together, recount our day a bit, and see what goodies awaited us in the mail.
Yes there was always bills but it was still fun the one in a million chance it was not.    
If I did not go, Roger knew I was upset for one reason or another.
It was a great signaling system.
Except when we were receiving the RSVPs (those we did receive!), I could not stand to wait for him to get home.  I was way too excited.

I do not check the mail daily.
I hate the process.
I hate all the junk mail Roger still gets.  
I write in big letters "Return to sender!"  
I then mark through his name and write "Deceased."
I figure if they keep having to pay for having it returned, they will take him off their mailing lists.  
At least this is my theory.
It is less than it was.
Although it makes me sound psychotic.
I am sure the mail person hates me.
But I do not want it.
I do not want to be reminded he is not here.  
I do not want to be reminded he is not coming home.
I do not want to be reminded of the zillion things he belonged to and supported.  

Then there is all the estate stuff. 
Ten months out.
Even after the estate has officially legally closed.
I am still dealing with crap.
People wanting to get some piece of money.

And my least favorite - the vultures.  
I have received several letters from people trying to buy the house from me.
They are very sorry for my loss.
They want to help me.
They want to take my house off my hands.
And there is no need for a real estate agent or lawyer to be involved.  
They will even give me a fair price.  
Fuck them!!  

And I rarely walk to the mailbox.
I get it on my way home.
When I am driving.
Walking there reminds me how lonely I truly am.  
It is the longest walk alone ever.
I feel like neighbors are staring at me if I do.
"Wow, what happened to the guy who used to walk with her?"
[Because they have yet to ever talk to me.]
"They must be divorced now."
Even though, I know I am imagining this part.  
I know they probably do not notice at all.
Or care.  
But I do not want to be thought of as divorced.


Tuesday, June 9, 2009

"Clean House"

On the Style channel, there is this show called "Clean House."
Roger and I watched it a lot.  
I am not sure how we found it exactly.
I am not sure which of us found it first.  
Let's just say it was me to save some of Roger's maleness.  

The premise of the show is these people live in the ultimate mess.  
Their houses are filled to the brim.  Not just a room or attic space.  Their entire houses.
They are pack rats on the maximum end of the spectrum.  
It was crazy to see these people's homes.
Sometimes it was just gross.  Sometimes they were not the cleanest people on top of the pack rat-ness.  
The show would come in, help them sort their crap, make some money, and re-do a few rooms of their house.

Roger loved to point out that he was not as messy as them and I should be grateful.
"At least I am not that messy."
"Yes dear. You are not that messy."

Some of the people on the show were on the edge of crazy.
They had some serious obsessions with their things.  
During the course of the show, some people would realize their own craziness.
Some people did not.  

The show had this very saucy host too.
Niecy Nash and she was awesome.  
She was outspoken and dressed to the nines most of the time.  
But she would try to help these poor souls come to their senses and sometimes used bribery to help them rid themselves of their stuff.  

A lot of these people held onto their stuff because it belonged to their recently deceased relative.
Their mom's sewing machine that was beyond repair.
Their dad's unopened mail from 1979.
I do not think I ever saw a widow on the show but I was not looking for one either.
But Ms. Nash would help them realize it was just stuff.
Just materialistic things, not the person.
Not their memories of that person.  

Last week, I wrote about how I was creating "Roger-free" zones.  
I would like to clarify a few things.
It is just stuff to me.  And from watching this show with Roger, I know he would agree.  
Nothing will ever take away my memories of Roger.
I am not trying to rid him out of my life.  
I do not think I could even if I wanted to.
And I certainly do not want to at all.
Roger made his impact on me.
And there will be things and stuff I always hold on to.  
I may take down the pictures, but I will not be burning them in a bonfire on the front lawn.  
But for me, I cannot keep looking at the pictures of my happy previous life.
For me, I must make my home my own.  
For me, this is the way I am moving forward.  
For me, this is how I am making myself comfortable in my home.  
For me, this is how I will hopefully make others comfortable in my home.

Eventually, I will meet another man.
And I will do all the fun happy couple stuff again.
I will make new additional memories.
But nothing will take away my Roger memories.  
Not even purging a bit of his things.  
Not even cleaning house.


... is overwhelming some days.

Some days it is manageable.  
Some days it is easy to ignore.
Some days it is easy to swallow. 

Tonight is not one of those nights.
Tonight it is suffocating.
Tonight it is keeping me awake.  
Tonight I could cut it with a knife.

It started as I was winding down for the night.  
I decided to go to  my room and finish watching a movie in bed.
Probably not the best choice in movies though - "The Notebook."
As I shut off the television in the family room, I made sure the doors were locked and set the alarm.
I could just hear all the silence.
I noticed how I am alone doing all these activities.  
Just me.  
By myself.

I went to bed and finished watching the movie.
I was lying in the middle of my bed which is somewhat of a habit now. 
With no one else.

I thought of all my friends who are going to sleep with their husbands and wives.
I thought of the characters in the movie who got to get old together and sleep together countless nights.  
Even a lot of my single friends have a person of the opposite sex to rely on.  
And fulfill some of the physical contact.  
Yet I am naked and alone.  

And then I thought my mother-in-law.
She worries about me.  She knows I have great friends.  She knows I have a wonderful support system.
She knows the loneliness.
She knows the suffocation.  
She is a widow too.  
Her husband, Roger's dad, died seven and half years ago.  
She knows the pain.  
She knows how hard it is.

As I turned out the lights and the movie ended, the room was dark.
I looked over to Roger's side of the bed.
For the last nine and half months, it has been empty {not counting the occasional friend who has spent the night).  

He got up out of bed the morning of that August day expecting to return back following Monday night.  
And he never returned.
Not even for a moment.  
But I have to.

Then I remembered one of our night rituals.
It was not every night.
But some nights, Roger would meditate in bed.
He would sit cross legged on his side of the bed.
I would curl myself around his legs.
He hated it.  
He said it was disruptive.
But I wanted to touch him.
I promised to be still and quiet.
I wanted to cuddle with him.  Maybe even absorb some of his meditation.
I would fall asleep.

Tonight, I looked over and I wanted to cuddle around his legs.  
It was such a strong desire.
I wanted to touch him.
But he is not here.  
He is not fucking here.
The bed is cold and empty.  

And I am here.

Monday, June 8, 2009

"Eat Pray Love"

A few weeks ago, during my traveling extravaganza, I read the book "Eat, Pray, Love" by Elizabeth Gisbert on a couple of planes and in a few hotel rooms.  
My cousin sent this book to me a while ago but I did not read it right away.  
Time was one issue but I was afraid it would be too churchy but it is not at all.  
Spiritual, yes, but not churchy.  
And I adored how this book spoke to me.

The author is not a widow.
And it is not really a grief book per se.  
But similar themes apply.
Especially for me.  
At about thirty years old, this author wakes up and realizes that the life she has chosen (big house, nice husband, perfect little life) is not what she truly wants.
She is not the woman she wants to be.  
This is not the life she really needs.
So she divorces her husband.  
Which of course is not easy.  
It takes her a few years.
And in it, she goes through a grief process of finding herself and figuring herself out.

One theme I related to is I am a bit of a control freak.
[I can hear Roger laughing about the "a bit" part of that statement.]
One of the author's friends said this:
     "...you're a powerful woman and you're used to getting what you want out of life, and you didn't get what you wanted... and it's got you all jammed up... Life didn't go your way for once. And nothing pisses off a control freak more than life not goin' her way."
Of course, I have been pretty lucky in most of my life.  
When I wanted a boyfriend, I got a boyfriend.  
When I wanted a job, I got the job.
When I wanted a particular house, I got that particular house.
But during my grief journey, one aspect that always haunts me is the absolute no way to control anything.
I could not control the accident.
I could not control Roger dying (except for the actual day).
I could not control the court system.
I could not control my emotions.
I could not control my thoughts.
I could not control my anxiety.
I had to let go of everything.
I had to learn the only thing I can really control is my breathing.  
And what I focus on.
This is what gets me through most of my days.  
Especially when I am particularly anxious or stressed.  
This line also stuck with me: "It all goes away.  Eventually, everything goes away."
Even now, the thought stops me in my track.
Nothing is permanent.
I know this!
I know friendships come and go.
I know jobs come and go.
I know technology comes and goes.  
But Roger was not suppose to go.
He was suppose to stay forever.
On the flip side, everything goes away.  
That includes pain and loss.  
Eventually, I will not feel the pain I feel today.
Eventually it will be a little less.
Eventually it will be a less frequent.  

The author presents a pretty cool theory on soul mates too.  
It slightly reminds me of Roger's theory on soul mates which I have also come to accept and love.  
The book's theory is this:
     "...a true soul mate is a mirror, the person who shows you everything that's holding you back, the person who brings you to your own attention so you can change your life. A true soul mate is probably the most important person you'll ever meet, because they can tear down your walls and smack you awake. But to live with a soul mate forever? Nah. Too painful. Soul mates, they come into your life just to reveal another layer of yourself to you, and then they leave. And thank God for it... David's [one of the author's lovers] purpose was to shake you up... show you your obstacles and addictions, break your heart open so new light could get in, make you so desperate and out of control that you had to transform your life..."
I reflect a lot on Roger's influence on me.
The lessons he taught me from learning how life is all about shades of grey to learning how to accept love and be loved.  
He fixed me in a lot of ways.  
Helped me during his life and after.  
And an added bonus of a great family.  
For all that, I am eternally grateful.  

Destiny is also a struggle for me.  
Was this really the plan for my life?
Did someone out there know I would go through this?  
In this book, she talks about destiny as a two part recipe.  
One part fate and one part will.  
     "Man is neither entirely a puppet of the gods, nor... the captain of his own destiny... We gallop through our lives like circus performers balancing on two speeding side-by-side horses- one foot is on the horse called 'fate', and the other on the horse called 'free will'.  And the question you have to ask yourself every day is- which horse is which? Which horse do I need to stop worrying about because it's not under my control, and which do I need to steer with concentrated effort... there is so much... I cannot control, but other things do fall under my jurisdiction... I can decide how I spend my time, whom I interact with, whom I share my body and life and money and energy with. I can select what I eat and read and study. I can choose how I'm going to regard unfortunate circumstances in my life..."  
Of course, this goes back to the control issues as well.  
But I love the analogy here of the horses.  

She also talks about happiness.  
How it is up to me to make myself happy.  
"Happiness is the consequence of personal effort.  You fight for it, you strive for it, insist upon it, and sometimes travel around the world looking for it."
I must keep striving for whatever makes me happy.  
To keep me joyful.  
And let go of the things that do not make me happy.  
I am getting better at this.

This is striking home about now: "Let your conscience be your guide."
Like I have said before, this "situation" is different for all people.  
Some people take longer than others to start to move forward or move forward in the ways I have.
At my last counseling session, I talked to my therapist about a lot of the things I was started to do again.
I told her I felt no guilt.
It made me wonder if I was doing things the "right" way or if I was hiding from myself.  
She asked me if the things I am doing felt okay and felt good.
I responded yes.  She said my body language reflected I was not lying.  
She told me to follow what my body and mind and heart told me.  
To keep an open ear.  
And as long as I did not feel "bad" about anything, I was fine.  
My conscience would keep me safe.  
And as the book said "my heart said to my mind... 'I love you, I will never leave you, I will always take care of you.'"
I know that I am this way toward myself.  

So for all those control freaks who are also in the category of I-lost-my-spouse-to-death, I recommend this book highly.  Just have tissues ready and be ready to laugh out loud too.  
This is also a good read for most other people too.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Another wedding?

I have thought about this a lot.
I know it is prematurely.
I know it is not going to happen anytime soon.
But maybe because I had just got out of wedding planning mode, I have thought about it ever since the beginning of my "situation".  

At first I thought, I would never do the wedding thing again.
But then I thought about how close the wedding brought us.  
How much we learned about each other through the process.
And how much I loved our wedding day.

I was talking about this last week with my twin.  
Again, because she understands.
We were talking about how weird it will be.
What colors would I use?  Like I mentioned, I used my favorite colors.
What location?  I picked my favorite location in Orlando. 
Maybe a new city?
Would I use the same vendors?  
Would they be offended if I didn't?
Would my groom be offended if I did?
This groom better have some good ideas that is for sure.

Some people say I should just do a destination wedding.
Maybe something small.
But I want loads of people there I think.
I almost think I want to go even bigger this time.
To spend even more money.

I am not sure about a lot but I do want to create the memories again.  
I want the white dress again. 
I want the video again.
I want the photos again.  
I want to form new memories.

Then I think about how it will be emotionally.
How will it be planning?
How will it be to walk down that aisle?
How will it be dancing the first dance?

Then there is the issue of the marriage license.
In Florida, at the bottom of the license, it says what number the marriage is for each person.
For Roger, it was one.  For me, it was one.
But now, it will be my second.
I do not want to say "2".  
I want it to say "1" with an asterisk.  
With this note: 
"*marriage ended in death, not to any fault of either party."
Or at least just the note.  

Again, not anytime soon.
I have to date someone for more than a few weeks first.  

Price of Marriage

We spent pretty much the average amount for the wedding.
And I loved our wedding.
Roger loved our wedding.
It was everything I wanted.
It was my dream.
I used my favorite color.
I used my favorite flower.
I used the best vendors.
It was what I wanted.

But some days, I get angry about it.
I planned most of it myself.
Yes, Roger helped a lot more than most but still the majority of the work was put on me.  
We did the planning ourselves.  
We paid for it ourselves.  

It took up a lot of time to plan that one day.
It was a lot of work to plan that one day.
I had to make a lot of decisions.
I had to make a lot of DIY projects.  
I had to send a lot of emails.  
I had to keep track of a lot of details. 

We kept everything in perspective while we were planning.
We tried to keep everything in balance.
A balance between cheap and over the top.
We wanted a nice wedding without breaking the bank.  
We told each other over and over again, "It's one day but its the only 'one' day we will have."
I was never going to have to do it all again.

And all that for what?
To be married six months?
To go from planning for sixteen months for a wedding to planning a funeral in an hour a little over six months later?

Do not get me wrong.
Do not take this the wrong way at all.
I loved being married.
I loved being married to Roger.  
And I loved the day we were married.  
It was worth every thing we put into it.  
It was worth all the stress and all the headaches.
And every penny.

Yet here I am.  
Fifteen and half months later. 
With nothing but memories, a video tape, and some photos.  

Friday, June 5, 2009

The First Kiss (After...)

What was my goal for that first date?
Honestly, to be kissed.
It was all I wanted.
I did not want a boyfriend or anything.
Just one kiss.
Or maybe a few.  

But it did not happen.
With the first.
The second.
Or even the third guy I went out with (even on two dates!).

The second guy/second date sucked.
I was not attracted to him.
I did not want him to kiss me.
I did not want to kiss him.
But he had heard me complaining about date number one.  
He offered.
So I took him up on it.
Plus I really wanted to see a particular movie.
As we were walking back to my car, he called me something that just completely made me cringe.
He called me "rich."
Yeah, not anything horrible per se but I hate being called that.  
Yes, I have a semi-nice car.  But nothing outrageous.
And I had a lot of crappy cars before this one.
Cars that lasted less than a year (most only lasted a few months).  
So when I moved back to Florida, I bought a brand spanking new car.  
Hence, I never talked to that kid again.
There were other reasons too but that was the tipping point.

The third guy I dated was a little better.
I met him at another birthday party for a different friend.  
A friend that I knew through Roger and have remained friends with.  
I was looking hot.
I had bought a really cute short skirt and a top that really flattered me.  
My friends Kathy and Randy were shocked.  "Wow, Star, you look great.  We will have to fight the guys off with a stick."
"No, do not fight them off.  Please do not fight them off."
Jack, Kathy's friend, saw me and started talking to me.
And then he asked the question.
"So, how do you know Kathy?"
"Well, I met both Kathy and Randy through my husband."
I kind of figured Kathy and/or Randy had told him my story before we actually met that night.
But nope.
He did not know the fate of said husband.  
So I had to say, "You know my story about my husband, right?"
So I told him.
He seemed to handle it.  He was taken back but he was processing it well.  So I thought.
He got my number and said he would like to see me sometime.  
I said "sure."
We went out that week.  First date was okay.  
We ended up going to the same restaurant as Roger and I did for our first date.  
But I tried hard not to think about it.  
It was also the day I got back the final court order.
But I was okay.  I was cute and friendly.  
I asked him questions.  Answered his.  Normal date stuff.  

Now there was one weird thing.
He told me about some health problems he has.  Not sure why on the first date but...
My gut reaction, "Oh my God, he is going to die.  If I date this guy for real, I could go through the exact same thing AGAIN!!"  
My counselor said this was a normal reaction.  
I went on another date with him to a movie.
But then... we never saw each other again.  [He does occasionally talk to me online but...]
And I still did not get kissed.
Damn it!  I just wanted to be kissed.

During this same time, I was flirting heavily at school (and pretty much everywhere else I saw a cute guy).
And I mean heavily.
I was being so forward.  So brazen.
Kissing and being touched was all I could think about.
I was like a hunter looking for that one deer.  
I so needed to be touched.
I needed to know I could feel again.
I needed to know I would feel again.

So one of my classmates, Sam, and I started flirting.
He was 22.
It started in class.
He invited me and a friend to a bar to see a band.  
We did not go but he got my number and we became friends over facebook.
We started chatting over facebook.
We started texting.
We started flirting over text.
We started teasing each other.

Then one night after a basketball game he called me.
He wanted to see me.
"Well, I am not exactly at home but I am on my way there.  I can meet you there."
We met at my house.
I was freaking out.
My head was running a million miles a minute.
My house was a mess.
I looked like a mess.
I had onions for dinner.
A guy was going to be in my house.
A guy I had been flirting with.
Holy crap!!
He could not stay long.
And that was fine for me.  I only needed one very simple thing.

We sat on my sofa.
I started trembling.  
I was trying to make small talk.
My head was saying "Just kiss him."
Telepathically, I was trying to tell him "Kiss me now."
Nothing was happening.
Fine.  Fine.  Fine.  
I attacked him.
Yes, I attacked him.
I kissed him.
As my lips were completely shaking, but I was getting a kiss that night.

Sweet relief.
I did feel again.
It was not weird.
I did not feel guilty.
I kissed a guy in my house and I did not feel guilty.
Yay!!!  I was ecstatic.  

Poor Sam though.
I was pretty much done with him.
He served his purpose.  
I was no longer attracted to him.
Classes were about to end.
So I never spoke to him again.  

Dating lesson number two: most people cannot handle knowing I am a widow right away.  And kissing is still fun.

Thursday, June 4, 2009

The First Date (After My World Exploded)

Earlier this week, I said I was not going to do this.
Earlier this week, I said I was afraid of hurting people.
But when I see people in real life I tell them.
Or at least some people.  

But I have been thinking.
As always.
I have been thinking how Roger would want me to be happy.
As one of my old coworkers told me today, Roger would not want me to be shut up in my house, wearing black, and being celibate for a prescribed amount of time.  
And I know this.
I know this because we did talk about it.  

I also know there are others that are similar to me.
People who write to me.
People who comment on this blog.
I know I am not alone.
So... I am writing about some of my "first" experiences.
Not all, but at least the ones in the semi-distant past.
To help those who also need to feel normal.
To know they are not alone.
Nope, not alone at all.
Names will be changed to protect the innocent/guilty.

The first date was a little less than three months ago.
I was starting to feel better.
I was starting to have good days.  
Even good whole weeks.
I was starting to do my hair.
Do my makeup.
Make sure I looked nice.
Wearing cute clothes.
The works.

I went to a friend's birthday party.
I knew most of the people there.
And most of the people knew me.
I had just started practicing not being a widow.  
I had resumed drinking.

At said party, there was a guy, Kevin (again, not his real name), who I have known for about four years.
Mutual friend of many of my friends.
Nice guy.
Right out of a relationship. 
He had met Roger on occasion.  
He knew my situation.

As the night went on, I found him flirting with me.
I found him finding me in rooms.
Sitting next to me.
Finding reasons to touch me.
I found myself flirting.
I was flirting.
It felt nice.
It felt great.

We both stayed until the party was over over.  
He walked me to my car where I could tell he wanted to kiss me.  
But he was afraid.
He probably was freaked out.

We became facebook friends.  
I inquired about him from our main mutual friend.  
We agreed to meet up to experience a hookah bar.  
He drove to my side of town.  

And oh my God, I was nervous.
I have not been nervous on a date in years.
And I mean years and years.  
I was never nervous while dating Roger (because I did not really like him in the beginning).  
And I actually cannot remember the last time I was nervous before a date.  
I called Grace, Roger's sister.  Yep, Roger's sister.  
I discussed outfit.  
I discussed everything.

When I actually got there, it was fine.
Kevin was nice.  
But I also think he was freaked out.
I mean, like, I am a widow.  
My husband like died.  
He had to "get up early the next morning" so the date ended fairly early.
And at the end of the date, he barely hugged me.  
Man, I must be scary.  

Dating lesson #1: I thought going out with someone who knew my situation would be ideal.
Nope, not at all.  People do not know how to handle a young person-who-has-lost-their-spouse.

I have not seen Kevin since.  
Which is not unusual but I hope he knows I do not hold it against him.  

"Walk Ahead"

For Christmas, I got the movie "P.S. I Love You".
I remember holding it in my hands staring at it.  
I knew what the movie was about.  
I remember wanting to see it before the world exploded.
But my friends told me not to watch it.
Never to watch it.
They told me just to get rid of it.
Get it out of my house.
They said it would be too much for me.  
They said I would cry.  
But of course, I would cry.  I would have cried a year ago too.  
If I did not cry, it would have been unusual.  

So being a glutton for punishment and just wanting to cry today and not being able to for whatever reason, I watched it.  
And yes, alone.
In some ways, it was so surreal.
Both of main characters were young.
No children.
And fought in similar ways as Roger and me in the opening scene.
I started crying right off the bat.  

But the dead husband wanted her to move on. 
To walk ahead.  
He wanted her to get rid of his stuff.
It is just stuff for God's sake.
He wanted her to be happy again whatever that meant.
Even with someone else.

The movie brought back the memories of my birthday last year.
And it also reminded me of the letter I have from Roger.  
It reminded me so much of the struggles I have been going through in the last nine months. 
But also the strides I have made.
But it also made me feel relieved to see how she persevered.  
How she was able to be happy in a short amount of time.
How she was able to kiss someone new and not feel guilty.
How she was able to fall for someone else.  

I know Roger would want me to be happy.
I know in my deepest of hearts that all anyone wants for someone they love or have loved is for that person to be happy.
I remember last summer how distraught I was at work.
How I wanted so badly to just walk out and quit.
I told Roger how frustrated I was as I sat crying at my desk.
And he reminded me how it was frustrating for him as well to see me so upset.
With not any way to fix it or make it better.

"Roger J: don't you think its frustrating for me too... that there is nothing I can do to help you.. to see you get frustrated.. 
Roger J: so all I can do is listen.. and tell you I think it will all work out for the best in the end
Roger: and I truly believe in the end it will all be good"

So I will keep walking ahead.  
I will keep believing it will all be good.  
And I must see to it that I am happy.  
Whatever that means.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

My Twin

I have a twin.
Just like other sets of twins, we have our different personalities.
We have a different ways of doing the same tasks but for a lot of things we are the same.

I did not know I had a twin till about a month or so ago.  
Maybe longer.
And I have to say I am very grateful for having her.  
I am very grateful for her finding me.

She is a widow too.
She was married six months.
She lost her husband unexpectedly as well in October.
She is thirty.  
She lives in here.
And even more scary is her husband and she met online too.

I do not really remember the details of this but when I first had the world exploding event thrown into my lap, my dear friend Holly scoured the internet for anything she could do or say or find for me.  
And as always, she found some great blogs and some nice websites.
One was for a local widow group here where I live.
I signed up.
I wrote a profile (I am assuming I did this because I do not remember this part).

The group seemed older.
Even though it was called "young widows", they were a lot older than me.  
And with kids.
And they had been married for years.
And they had been widows for years.
And most of them were not unexpected deaths.
I did not feel a connection to them.
And they were a bit dormant in activity.

Hence I did not visit the website much.
Or go to any events.
But one day I got an email from this girl, my twin.  
Someone who did understand me.
Someone who was a lot like me.

A few weeks ago we met up for dinner.
It was such a relief to have someone to talk to.
Someone to share stories with.
Someone who had a lot of the same emotions.
Someone who could say "Yes, I completely understand" and actually mean it.
Someone I could let my guard down with a bit more.

Tonight I had dinner with her again.
And the same feelings.  Almost a sigh of relief to know I am not alone.
A kindred spirit.  
And I am thankful.  Very very thankful.
Because no matter how much my friends can empathize they do not get it.  
And I pray they never do.  
I pray so much they never do.