Friday, July 31, 2009

Ten More Minutes

In ten more minutes, I will be thrusted into August.
Pushed against my will.
Time is not being nice to me today.
Why must it be August already?
Can August just be skipped entirely?
Can I sleep through August?
Can it please be September instead?
Please. Please. Please.
Just so I can say I survived.
Just so I can say it is over.
Just to be done.

Tonight, my twin celebrated her husband's 30th birthday.
She did a wonderful job putting together a nice party for him.
It was one of the few things she had to go through something first between the two of us.
The first husband's birthday after passing away.
My turn is a week away.
In this awful month of August.

Roger would be 35.
Roger will never see 35.
Or 40.
Or 50.
Or 75.
Or any other age except through people remembering him.

I just want to burrow my head into the sand.
I just want to pretend none of this ever happened.

This just sucks.
It hurts.
It does not seem real.
I just want the pain to go away.
I just want to see him alive and well.
See him smile.
See him laugh.

And now, as I wrote this entry, it has become August.
August is here.
August has invaded.
Let the fight/survival begin...


Yes, I inherited some normal things.
A house. Life insurance. A little money from checking account.
Normal things that most beneficiaries get.

But then people forget about the other stuff.
The everyday stuff.
And the little stuff.
All the little stuff people accumulate during a lifetime.

When Mr. X was asking me if I had a certain tool in the garage, I said "I do not know but..."
I started listed things I did know I had.
Things I had seen when I have to go out there for a screwdriver or as I am leaving the house.
He said it sounded like I was reading an inventory list.
A weed whacker, an orbital sander, some plywood, various size nails, paint, a leaf blower, safety goggles, some hammers, a car wash bucket, disposable gloves.

Sometimes people will comment on something they see at my house.
A piece of furniture. A throw. A painting. A magnet on the fridge.
They will ask where I got that cool book or ugly painting.
"I inherited it."
And I discover new things all the time.
Office supplies. DVDs. Toiletries.
Some things I love.
Some things are okay.
And some things I hate and I will eventually get rid of.

One of my favorite things is an eraser.
Yes, an eraser in the shape of a CK one cologne bottle.
It is very silly to love this very simple thing.
It used to sit on his desk in the office.
I never remember seeing him use it.
But I do.
It is now it my backpack.
I use it during tests.
When I take notes.
I use it during my science labs.
And every time I feel it in my palm, I think of Roger.
Even when I just see it.

I will keep this.
I will use it as long as I can.
And I will probably cry when I cannot use it any longer.
Roger's silly eraser.

P is for Paranoia

Paranoia is part of the widow condition.
If widowhood was a disease, it would be listed as one of the symptoms.
I can see the infomercial now.
"Do you have lack of appetite, insomnia, loneliness, depression, and paranoia?..."

My paranoia has definitely lessened in the last eleven months.
I can sleep if I forget to set the house alarm.
I do not think everyone is out to get me (as much).
I do not everything is going to die all the time (as much).

But... this morning, I felt some paranoia coming on.
I am trying to fight it.
I am trying to remind myself that most things are going to be fine.
I am going to be fine.
Everything is going to be fine.
Relax, Star. Relax.

This morning Mr. X went on to a family reunion out of town.
The first bout of paranoia came this morning as I took him to the airport to drop him off.
Same damn road. Different direction. Different airport.
But still. Driving in a car going to the airport.
With a guy I care about.
The road does not have barriers in all sections of the road.
So people can still cross the median going 65mph.
But I was driving. Not him.
This is not the same situation I kept reminding myself.
The chances are slim.
I have driven on this road many times when nothing happened.
And of course, nothing happened this morning unusual.

The second bout of paranoia is just the whole flying thing.
On a plane.
Yes planes do not crash very often.
Planes are much safer than cars.
I am sure everything will be fine.
Everything will be fine.
I will be fine.

Then there is just general paranoia about him being safe.
From cars.
From freak accidents.
From bugs.
From weird things.
And there would be no way for me to help him. [Yes, I am a bit of a control freak.]
Would someone remember to call me?

And this is the less paranoia than before.
This is my paranoia waning.

I know it will continue to wane.
And I know there is nothing I can do if something happens to him.
But I cannot help but be slightly scared.
Scared that I like him a lot and I do not want anything to happen to him.
Scared I will lose him like I did Roger.
From a freak moment.

Please please please do not let him die.
Please please let my paranoia continue to fade.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

One Tough Cookie

On Saturday night, I was leaving some new friends' house.
I was not drunk.
But I was tired.
And I was a little hungry.

It was late.
As Mr. X and I were leaving the house, I was in front of him.
I looked down at the steps leaving the porch and they looked uneven and dangerous.
It was dark.
There were no street lights.
It was out in the middle of nowhere dark.
I felt like I was going to fall.

Like self-filling prophecy, I fell.
My ankle took most of the fall along with my wrist.
My ankle is severely sprained.
Still bruised and a bit swollen even now.

I remained composed.
I tried to stand up on my own.
But couldn't
I tried to walk on my own.
But couldn't.

I really wanted to cry.
I really wanted to scream.
I really wanted to just give up and have a temper tantrum.
On the inside.

On the outside, I played tough.
I said to myself, "I can do this."
"I can do everything and anything."
"All by myself."
Except I sort of couldn't.
Except most of the time I can't.

Mr. X helped me get to the car.
He asked if a trip to the ER was necessary.
"No, no. I am fine."

I am always "fine".
Always playing the tough girl.
Because that is who I am.
I do not like to look vulnerable.
Even when I am down.
Even when I just want to cry.
Even when I want to scream.

Mr. X asked me "So is this always going to be the case? Are you always going to play 'tough girl'? The stubborn girl? Or are you going to let me help you."
"Yes, I am the tough girl."
Even as my ankle was throbbing and starting to swell.
He reminded me I did not have to pretend this game with him.

I am trying to not be "tough girl" all the time.
Especially in front of those where I can be the real me.
Those who will let me cry and not be scared.
Those who will hold my hand and tell me it will be okay.
Those who will hold me when I am hurt physically or emotionally.
I really do.
But it is hard.
It is hard to let myself hang out there.

After the last almost year of falling apart, I am trying to be put together again.
Trying to be composed.

We shall see how long this lasts.
I have already had one random unexplained crying spell this week.
Yes, the grief monster is on the edge of haunting me once more.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

August 7, 2007

It was August 7, 2007.
Roger was turning 33.
And as he proclaimed the year of his enlightenment.
The year of his life he would become a husband.
He compared it to the same year of Jesus' life and Mohammed but I am not sure what exactly he meant by that.
For his birthday that year, he wanted to learn how to surf.
"Yes dear. Whatever you want. It is your day."
It was one of his life goals. How could I say no?
Why would I say no?

It was a Tuesday.
We both took the day off from work.
We woke up semi-early.
Drove over to Cocoa Beach.
And met up with the instructor.
Roger was excited.
Like a little boy getting his Christmas wish.

I was official photographer.
Not great photographer but the day was recorded.
There is even a video somewhere.

Roger was a natural at surfing of course.
He was so athletic that he got it right away.
He was happy.
I was happy.
The few hours of lessons went by quickly.
He wanted more.

Afterwards, Roger talked about how he was going to do this more and more.
He even wanted to buy a board.
"Sure dear. After the wedding. And you have come here several times before you commit to a board."
He agreed.
And perhaps he would have done this.
I would have not minded at all.

I was never one to stand in front of Roger's dreams.
If he wanted to do something and we had the money, then I would encourage him.
So he had a lot of random hobbies.
So what.
He was enjoying his life.
And that is what makes me happy most days even now.
I was with him while he was enjoying his life.
He was meeting silly life goals like learning to surf.
Why would I stop him?

I am glad I got to be with him in his year of enlightenment.
I am glad he had a great year being 33.
I am glad I was there.

Oh Baby

Well, I cannot believe I am admitting this in an online forum.
Or any pubic place.
I cannot believe I even have these feelings.
I cannot believe these thoughts and words are coming out of my head and out of my mouth.
What is wrong with me?
Me. The me I thought I knew so well.

But here it is.
Here is something so crazy that I know my friends who know me in real life are going to fall out of their chairs.
Their mouths are going to drop open.
I think, that maybe, just maybe, someday I would like to have a child.
Yes, that is what I just said.
A real little living breathing child.

Now, this is a shock to me too.
And I am not making any promises that this is for sure.
Or that I will not change my mind again.
Because I just might.
Who knows.
And do not push me, because that will definitely make me run back the other way.

At first these thoughts started to freak me out.
Really freak me out.
Why now?
Why this change?
I just wrote about how I did not want any a little more than a month ago.

And then I thought, "Why didn't I have these thoughts with Roger?"
Was there something wrong with me then?
Was there something wrong with us?
And that really bothered me.
I know for sure Roger would have been a good father.
He would have loved being a dad.
But collectively we had decided it was not in our cards.
At least not for a while.
And quite possibly not ever.

And in the last few weeks, the idea has become more appealing.
I kept asking myself.
Because of Mr. X?
I barely know Mr. X.
Is it something hormonal?
Pheromones perhaps?

But then tonight, I was having coffee with my friend Courtney.
She actually shares the same birthday with Roger.
They both were really into philosophy and debating things.
And sometimes when she is explaining or talking to me about something to me, I can totally hear Roger.
We share similar family backgrounds too.

I was telling her my mental inside my head drama/dilemma.
How could I feel this way?
How could I be changing so much?
But then she shed some new light.
Some new perspectives.
She said despite Mr. X and despite the whole widow thing, I am different.
I am not the same person I was a year ago (this I knew already).
A year ago, I had a job.
I had a different career path.
I had a different life plan.
I was married.
I was planning my life with Roger.
But that is all gone now.
I am in school full time.
I am looking at becoming a biology teacher.
I am learning new things.
I am changing.
I could have gone a million different directions after Roger died.
But I went in a positive one.
And I will not make the same decisions I made a year ago because I am not the same person.
I am not the same person I was a month ago.

So, this change may have nothing to do with Roger.
Nothing to do with Mr. X.
It may be something to do with me.
It is probably all me.
I cannot feel guilty for changing my mind.
I have new information.
And that is what life is all about.
Constant reevaluation. Constant growth.
If I am not growing, then I am stagnant.
And that would be boring.

So, I should appreciate this new growth.
This new change.
I should just let it be.

Thank you, Courtney, for being an outside perspective and listening to me. I love you!
And Mom, don't get your hopes up just yet.

Monday, July 27, 2009

Slide Show

I removed the slideshow from the blog.
It made me sad each time I started to write a new entry.
It was depressing to see us so happy.
So carefree.
So in love.

So it is gone.
For now.

"Almost a Year Ago"

As I have been studying for finals, I have had a few classmates over to study.
Some of these classmates did not know my story at first.
On purpose, I did not tell them.
I told some of them way after they got to know me.
And it was really after trying to explain why I knew something about how hospitals work.
It was inevitable detail to the explanation.
Some of them still had no idea.
I did not want it to define me.

Last night, one person who knew and one who did not were sitting at my dining room table.
We were studying and chatting.
And as I was telling a story to the one who knew and assuming both did know, the other said, "Wait, what husband?"
"My husband died almost a year ago."

"Almost a year ago" rang in my ears.
The words just resonating.
The words send my stomach sinking.
My head was trying to wrap my mind around the words.

It was the first time I had uttered those words.
"Almost a year"!!!
Tomorrow it will be eleven months and then after that it will truly be "almost a year."
How did this happen?
How did I get so close to the year mark.
I do not want it to be a year ago.
Or even almost a year ago.
And definitely not more than a year ago.
It is not possible.
It is not possible that it has been that long since I talked to him.
That long since we held hands ("we" as in Roger was an active participant).
That long since we kissed.
That long since we told each other we loved each other.
That long since I left him in the OR.
That long since his ashes came to rest at home.

The best analogy I can think of to the way I am feeling right now is holding back a door that has an intruder on the other side.
Sitting right in front of it pushing my weight against the door.
I can try my hardest to keep him out.
But I know it is only a matter of time.
He is bigger than me.
He is stronger than me.
He will push the door down.
I am only delaying it.
He is banging on the door.
Screaming for me to let him in.
And I am getting weaker.
I cannot fight much more.
I cannot deny it much longer.
It will happen.
August will come in.

His birthday is eleven days away.
Less than two weeks.
The burial of his ashes and the anniversary of the accident fifteen days after that.
My eighteen month wedding the following day.
And then his actual death anniversary five days after that.

Oh, please help me get through this.
I so want to survive once again.


As everyone knows about 50% of marriages end in divorce.
[I wonder how many end in widow-dom?]
And the other day I got to thinking.
I was only married six months.
Six very short months.
We did not have a lot of time as a married couple.
How much marriage experience do I really have.

And then I thought:
Would we have made it?
Would we have been celebrating our 25th wedding anniversary someday? 50th?
We had done pre-marital counseling.
We had made a commitment to be in it forever.
But isn't that what everyone says?

I mean, I have some friends that have no problem getting married two or three times due to divorce.
They see no issue in this plan. They feel it is the American way.
I have some friends that have been married less than three years and have already threatened the big D.
But Roger and I said we would do whatever it took to make it work forever.
A very short forever of six months.
No matter what came up, we were going to work it out.

It was very ambitious of us.
And now I started thinking, would it have really worked?
Which 50% would we be in?
Would something have happened to change our feelings?
Would we have hated each other by year five?

I know I cannot ask "What if?"
It is not healthy.
It is silly.

And I sort of know where this idea is coming from.
I sort of know what is prompting this new self analysis.
It is from the myth that people only have one true love.
A very stupid myth.
Really? Just one person? Please...
Who made up that rule?
Probably the same person who said widows cannot date for the first year.

So as I am starting to explore my relationship with Mr. X, I am very happy with him.
He is different than Roger of course.
Very different in some aspects.
And I am really happy with these differences.
It is an internal battle right now.
Who was really the Mr. Right for me?
How could I love two guys who are very different than each other?
Was one love fake?

Maybe (quite possibly) I am overanalyzing things.
Maybe I am very different than I was.
And even more quite possibly, a person can truly love two very different people. Maybe even more if they had the chance and/or opportunity?
Maybe Roger was what I needed for the person I was then.
Maybe he prepared me for the next phase.
Maybe he had to happen in order for me to be fixed.

And maybe Mr. X is the person I need now.
Fix all my new issues.

Or maybe I am just insane.

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

"Think About Your Dead Husband"

This past weekend was great.
I was at a good friend's house.
He was having his annual summer party.
I was surrounded by loving friends.
I was smiling.
I was having a good time.
I was with Mr. X who I am caring about more and more with each day.
Life was being kind.
Life was good.
I felt good.
August felt like miles away.
Widowdom felt miles away.
I was feeling normal again.
I was feeling beautiful.
Life was feeling beautiful.

Then an unstable "friend" of mine disappeared from the party.
Last time I saw him he was trashed.
Three sheets to the wind.
This is not uncommon occurrence but he is bipolar.
And off his meds.
But as his (now former) friend, I was concerned, like always.
"Where is he?"
No one knew.
I had seen him disappear out the back door but he was no where to be found.
We checked the entire house.
We checked the yard.
No one else was worried.
I was just hoping he was not driving.
I was just hoping he was safe.

Then he sent some texts to a friend.
I responded on her phone.
I wanted to make sure he was safe.
He was being dramatic.
"Are you safe?"
I told him to stop being a drama queen.
His comment back to me:
"Tell Star to think about her dead husband."

I was shocked.
Think about my dead husband, eh?
Well, mister fucking asshole, I think about my dead husband every single fucking day.
Every. Single. Day.
Every single hour.
Just because I am dating.
Just because I am smiling.
Just because I am happy.
Just because I am trying to live my life.
Through everything I think about my dead husband.
All the time.

I wonder why us.
I wonder why him.
I wonder what if.
I wonder how.

Even when I am happy.
Even when I can finally take a few deep breaths.
Even when I can enjoy my life again.
I think.
I replay.
I rewind the tapes.
I see the images in my head.
They never stop.
They never go away.
And as I know from others' experiences, they will not stop.
They will only be less frequent.

I am not sure what my "friend" was referencing.
The fact I was with Mr. X?
The fact I am happy?
The fact I was having a good time?
I do not know.
I do not care.
I know I was not the (only) source of his anger at the moment.
But still.

The horror of someone who supposedly is my friend actually saying this to me.
People say stupid shit to me all the time.
And most of the time it rolls down my back.
Most of the time I can just let people's stupidity be their own.
Sometimes they are just ignorant.
This however will not not.
I will not follow some standard or rule of being sad all the time and having pity party for the rest of my life for what does or does not happen.
I suggest this "friend" do the same.

Life is hard.
Life sucks.
So when I can, I will enjoy the moments it is not so hard.
The moments it does not suck.
I suggest anyone to do this.
It will make life just a little easier to swallow.
It will help take away a bit of the pain life can throw.

I do think this was probably the worst thing someone has ever said to me in the last eleven months.
The stupidest thing.
The meanest thing.
Although there are some close seconds of things said to me and/or about me.
And they know who they are.
And to all of them, I say good luck and good bye.

The 23rd

I try not to overanalyze.
I try not to connect imaginary dots with imaginary lines.
I try to be reasonable.
I try to be logical.
I really do try.

But sometimes smart people rationalize stupid things.
Roger read a whole book about this.
So I am trying not to do this.
I am trying hard not do this.
But... here it is.
Call me crazy.

My wedding anniversary is (was??) February 23rd.
The car accident was the day before our six month anniversary.
August 22nd.
I was really looking forward to August 23rd.
To say we made it six months.
To reflect.
To read our love letters.

Okay... so Mr. X and I met the first time on a 23rd.

Now, the crazy/weird/funny/illogical thing is that my counselor told me to be distracted on those days.
On the 22nd, 23rd, and 28th of each month. I really had a hard time with those dates at first.
My counselor told me to plan other events on those days so I did not have new dates to get stuck in my head.So she suggested to do something fun.
Have something to look forward to on those dates.
And when Mr. X and I decided to meet for the first time, he picked the date.
I did not even realize what the date was.
I realized it after the fact.
When I started to stick the date into memory.
[Important dates always get stuck in my head.]

Now please understand, I realize I am making a mountain out of nothing.
I realize I am trying to make meaning out of some sort of coincidence.
But I cannot help but think of it.
I cannot help to dwell on it a bit.
There have been some other coincidences too.
Nothing I can write about in a public forum but again I know I am being silly.
I am putting weird faith is weird things.
But the thing about people believing weird things, it is what usually helps them get through their days.
It is what helps them make sense out of chaos.
So maybe just maybe it is helping me get through my days.
Maybe just maybe it helps make some abstract life events seem normal.

And the cool thing is I know have a new reason to like the 23rd.
It is a day that a new life began.
Just like before.
Just like it sixteen months before.

One Month From Today

One month from today I will be burying my husband.
Eleven months ago started this whole journey toward widowhood.
I woke up eleven months ago to attend my high school reunion.
I went to bed with my friend Holly sleeping next to me instead of my husband.
It is hard to believe.
I realized it this morning exactly what the date was.

It is hard to believe.
I already dread it.
I already feel empty from it.
I already feel exhausted from it.
Part of me wants it here now.
Part of me wants it to be done already.
Part of me wants it to still be months away.

And although I keep repeating myself over and over again, I cannot believe this actually happened to us.
How did something so awful happen to us?!?
How did this other driver get to walk away from it all?!?
Why was our life disrupted?!?

I am nervous about burying him.
I am nervous about him not being here with me anymore.

And then what happens after the year mark?
Does some magic feeling wash over me?
I know I will wake up and it will feel the same.
But I do hope to receive some closure.
Some bittersweet taste in my mouth.
Just something.

But I do feel a ticking right now.
A little clock with the minute hand making a small noise as it goes around.
As it gets closer.
As time draws near.
Now I can see the end of this year.
A small light at the end of this tunnel.
Of course, like most lights at the ends of tunnels, it could be a train.
A train that will crush my flat like it did last year at that time.


Thursday, July 16, 2009

Entry #322

I have wanted to write this entry for some time but I could not find the words, strength, and just debated the appropriateness.
However, I need to get this out of my head.
I am hoping by writing it down, it will lie still.
The constant replay will die down.
So be warned this may be hard to read.

In my relatively short lifespan, I have seen two people die.
First, the boy-I-moved-to-Florida-with's mom and second, Roger.
Both were similar in nature as in they were both taken off life support.

Both experiences are burned into my memory forever.
And ever.
How could I forget.
How could anyone forget.
It is one reason I did not want certain people like my friend Holly to see Roger die.
I did not want that to be the last memory of him.
I was afraid of how peacefully or not he would go.

As for the first time I witnessed death face to face, it was horrifying.
My ex-boyfriend tried to convince might not to be there.
To just wait outside.
But I could not.
Damn stubbornness.
And for years, I regretted that decision but at the same time, now I am grateful for the experience. (What? Man, that sounds weird/crazy.)
She gasped.
She gurgled.
The sound of the heart monitor beeping.
Those images and sounds haunt me still.

With Roger, Grace and I decided to donate any and all of his organs they would take.
Not really realizing what that meant at the time.
It meant Roger would need to be close to the operating room.
It meant that instead of dying in a private room where he had been for the previous six days, he would die in a semi-private area in the pre-op area.
Where other people would be.
Where only a wall would separate us from the non-dying.
It meant we would only have a few moments after his official passing to be with him.

First, they took him away to prep him.
Then they took him off the machines and we joined him.
As I walked down the forever long hallway, I turned around to see who was with me.
I actually do not remember exactly who came besides a few faces but I know it was a long line of people following me.
Roger's aunt, Noelia. His coworker, Patrick. My friend, Cecilia. Grace. Tania. His cousin, Alex.
Those are the only people I specifically remember.
But I know there were a ton of people in a very small confined space.
But the hospital staff were awesome.

The nurse started pumping him with morphine.
For the pain they told me.
But, I know the respiratory depression side effect of overdosing on morphine.
Plus they had already told me how his pain sensory was gone.

I was screaming.
I was crying.
I was holding his hand.
I was running my hands through his hair.
I wanted to climb up into the bed with him.
I wanted for him to die holding me.

Roger's skin was turning ashy and grey.
His hair was starting to come out in clumps.
Alex was pushing the heart monitor to silence it.
His eyes kept trying to open as his involuntary reflexes started to go.
But after probably twenty of the longest minutes of my life, he peacefully went.
He did not gasp much.
He did not gurgle.
He did not struggle.
He was gone.

Why did I put myself through this?
I had to.
There was no way I would let him die without me.
I had to know it was real.
It was not some sick dream.
Some sick trick.
He was really gone.

The hardest part was leaving him.
I just wanted to go with him.
But I had agreed to let him be a hero.
Let me save as many lives as he could.

This whole scene replays over and over again.
It happens a lot while I am driving.
Not because of the crash but just because I do a lot of thinking while driving.

The crazy thing is how long ago this all happened.
Sometimes it feels like last month.
Sometimes it feels like years and years ago.
But it was a little less than eleven months ago.
Less than eleven months ago, I left my husband on the fourth floor at Orlando Regional Medical Center.
Less than eleven months ago, I had to witness him leaving me.
Just less than eleven months ago...

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

The new "Strong"

In addition to hearing this a lot, I also hear "You are strong" a lot.
Even from Mr. X. I need to talk to him about that.
I have written about how this sort of bothers me before.
Like here, and here, and here, and even here.
Wow, I guess it bothers me quite a bit.
I am getting better at accepting that compliment like all compliments but it is still the hardest one for me to say "Thanks" to and smile.
I just want to ask people to look closer.
"But look at this. And look at this new weakness."
Do they still think I am strong when they take a second look?

I actually talked to my twin about this particular subject last week.
I do not feel strong still.
Not even almost eleven months out.
I still feel weak.
I still feel un-independent.
I still need help a lot.
Even though I do not ask for it.
I feel very un-Star of before.

But there is some truth to the "You are strong" statement.
Yes, I am stronger in some areas.
But I am weaker in others.
So if all my "strong"ness was put into a box, it would be the same total as before.
However, some of the "strong" has been shifted to new areas.
Sort of like a balancing scale.

I am weaker when it comes to emotional stuff.
I am stronger doing my house chores.
I am weaker when it comes to being alone.
I am stronger in budgeting.
I am weaker at handling unexpected changes.
I am stronger at expressing my needs.

So maybe I seem stronger.
Because people only see the new strength.
Or maybe I seem strong because I survived/am surviving a tragedy.
But do not look too close at me.
Do not look beyond the surface.
Do not scratch too deep.
New weaknesses are there.
Just different.

I will accept the "strong" compliments now.
Just be specific.
Since I am still not 100% strong yet.
Not sure if I will ever be.
The grief monster is a tricky guy. He steals strength from parts of me to give to poor parts.

Not sure if I will ever be back to original strength.
I feel like I am a cleaning product that has been reformulated.
Maybe I will not be able to remove wine stains like before but I will now be able to sterilize all sorts of bacteria.

Sigh... yes, I am the reformulated Star.

"You Have All the Time in the World"

I hear "You have all the time in the world" a lot.
Especially when talking about getting school finished.
Over and over again.

But how do people know I have all this said time.
I thought I had all the time in the world to spend with Roger.
Roger thought he had all the time in the world.
But he did not.
He ran out of time.
What if I run out of time?
Life is short.
Life is too damn short.

Roger used to say the same thing to me about having loads of time.
When we first started officially dating and I started to really fall for him, he was really busy.
He was going to school, working full time, and then he was out of town on the weekends.
So for about six weeks, I barely saw him.
I was annoyed.
I was very annoyed.

Roger kept saying, "Don't worry. We will see each other soon. We have our whole lives to spend with each other."
Of course he said this way before we were even talking about marriage.
Or at least before I was thinking of marriage.
He was already threatening to propose at that point.

But we did not have our whole lives.
We only had three years together.
We were only married six very short months of those three years.
And he died one random day.
He was not sick.
He did not have cancer.
He was strong and healthy.

So, how do people know that I have all this time?
How can they be so sure?
Did they know Roger was going to die?
Did they know and not tell me?
I think not.
No one knew.
And yet everyone keeps telling me how much time I have.

Monday, July 13, 2009

The Anniversary

As my blogger friend Candice jumps past her four year anniversary hurdle, I am facing my first.
And as I have noted, I am nervous.
And because I am nervous, I have not made any plans.
I am so scared to.
How will I feel?
Will I even feel anything at all?
Will I be numb?
Will it be just another day?

I know I should plan at least something.
I know this is how I have survived other big holidays/anniversaries.
But at this moment, if I had to plan something tonight, I would say I just wanted to crawl up into bed that day.
Stay under the covers.
Wait it out.
Get in a bunker.
Maybe just have all my friends come to my bed.

And I already know that I will not be able to do that.
I have two classes that morning.
I will have to get up at least and at least pretend to be here.
Pretend to be functional.

But after that?
After I finish my class at 11am that day?
What then?
What about the rest of that day?
And because it is on a Friday, what about that weekend?
Do I do my normal monthly 28th routine of a massage?
Do I do something different?
Will people remember?
Will they even care?
Will they think if I do want to do something that I am dragging this out?
Or will they just be too busy?
Or think that I should just get over it by now?
And parts of me can hear some of them say "Geez, it has been a year."

I hate asking for help.
So I will not on that day either.
At this moment, I want the day to be low key.
I want people to remember but I also do not want pity.
I want my true friends here with me.
To get me over the hump.
I want those people who truly care here.
But that is about all I can plan for now.

God only knows how the grief monster will play out that day.
How hard he will play.
How much he will play.


The Other House

When Roger and I bought this house it was not really the timeline we had planned on.
We were paying for our own wedding so the "plan" was to get married, pay off some debts like my car, then buy a new house a year later.
Plan Schman.
Roger would say, "We make plans and God laughs."

So as most plans go, I decided one day after work to drive by a new neighborhood being built down the street from us.
I picked up one of the flyers outside one of the inventory homes and in bright bold letters it said, "Star Home!"
I laughed.
It was a cute house.
Not exactly what I wanted but I took the flyer home to show Roger.
More for the "Star" wording than actual interest in that house.

Roger also saw the joke.
He said, "Perhaps we should go inside it this weekend. It is YOUR house."
So on that Saturday afternoon, we went in for a peek.
It was nice.
The other models were nice.
They did not scream out to me which was fine.
We had our plan anyway.
This was not the plan.
But the builder had a deal. Something about being their 50th anniversary or something.
Some really cool offer that we wanted to just look into.
Just to see.
Roger suggested we check out their website.
It was the beginning of something very outside the plan.

When we looked at the website, we saw my current neighborhood.
I loved it.
A community with everything within.
Grocery store. YMCA. Restaurants. Ice cream palors. Cafes. Phamacy. Schools.
Then I saw our floorplan.
It was everything we had been talking about.
Four official bedrooms.
A bonus room above the garage.
The garage in the back of the house.
Three car garage.
Separate master room from guest area.
We wanted to "just look" at it.
After all, we had our plan. And this was not the plan.
No harm in just looking.

We arrived on the scene the next day.
We went into the sales office and started looking at the floor plans.
As the sales lady approached us we asked to see "that floor plan" as we both pointed to it.
There was only one house left with that floor plan.
It was an inventory home.
It was the last one of that floor plan being built in Orlando.
Geez, but that is not the plan.
Of course, we had to see it.
I fell in love almost instantly.
It was perfect (and still is).
I wanted it.

But wait, there was another house.
A different house.
One we might like more.
The sales lady took us there.
It was very cool as well.
But bigger.
And people were already giving us a hard time about wanting a 4/5 bedroom house.
This other house had five official bedrooms, a loft, and a bonus room.
It was two-story.
It was huge.

But it was not our home.
Yes, it was bigger and grander.
It was not the house.
So, we bought the perfect one.
The last one in Orlando.
We bought the one that fit us.
That fit our dreams.
That fit our ultimate plan (just not the timing part of the plan).

However, that bigger house is only four houses down from my home.
I run by it during my workout.
And tonight as I ran by it, I thought as I have many times, "Wow, what if we had bought it?"
What if I was living alone in that huge thing?
What if I was living there and walking by this house?
Roger and I would walk by that house together as well.
We were both happy with our decision.
I am really happy with our decision.
But I had to smile and reflect.
Smile as some other family is enjoying it.
As some other family without me is enjoying it.

It still makes me laugh/cry/smile/frown when I think about all the plans we had.
All the plans we thought we had.
All the time we thought we had.
And how we thought we were in control.
Plans Schmans.

Friday, July 10, 2009

Premarital Counseling

Premarital counseling was great.
I thought it was worth every penny for us.
We learned a lot.
How to fight. Who we are. Our priorities. Our fantasies. Our dreams. How to handle money together.
I even recommended it to my non-Catholic friends.
Hell, I would recommend it to anyone who was even remotely thinking of getting married.

But then, I was pissed.
I was pissed that Roger had died.
We took all the right steps in preparing for marriage.
We did it right.
As some of our friends were struggling with their marriage, we were enjoying the married life.
And partly because we took marriage seriously.
And secondly because we did our premarital counseling.

I was pissed that I had worked so hard.
Hard to be the perfect wife.
Hard to be a better person.
And all for a marriage that ended almost as quickly as it started.
Damn it.

But in the last couple of months, I have realized something new.
All that premarital counseling, it did not just benefit Roger and me.
It benefits Mr. X and me.
It benefits my friends and me.
It benefits my family and me.
It benefits just me.

I am a better person through one part of premarital counseling, two parts of grief counseling, and a twenty parts of widow-ness.
I am (slightly) more patient.
I am more understanding.
I can admit when I am wrong.
I can see other points of view.

I am still benefiting from that premarital weekend back in February 2007.
I know more about me.
I know more about others.
Of course, I still have more to learn.
And I will definitely do it again.
Because it was and is worth it.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

This is Suppose to Feel Good

About a month ago, I was complaining about all the estate stuff.
How I was sick of it.
How I wished it would just go away.
How I wished it would just leave me alone.
Well, it did.
I got my wish.
Today I received the final bill for the probate lawyer and their nice-to-work-with-you letter.

So I should be happy.
I should be jumping for joy.
I should be glad to end that part of this process.
The legal part.
The business end of death.
But... guess what...
I just love the way grief works its "magic".
I am not that happy about it.
I feel a little bummed actually.
Not because I will not get the joy of writing those checks each month.
Not because I want probate to go on forever.

I guess it is just that its over.
Another official closing.
Another reminder that yes this really happened.
Yes, Roger actually died.
He actually is not here.
He is not coming back.
He is gone.

It is a hard pill for me to swallow.
It was almost like a break up letter to me from the probate lawyer.
"This letter ceases our representation of the estate."

So today, I just wanted to go back to bed.
Crawl up and just pull up the covers over my head.
To tell the world to go away.
Let me just lay in my pity.

I just cannot believe it is over.
It is all over.
I have to remind myself of this over and over again.
It is all over.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Stuck With Me

This past weekend I was so happy and excited that my sister-in-law, mother-in-law, and my mother-in-law's sister came to visit me and spend my favorite holiday, July 4th, with me.
Little old me.
It was just a great present for me.
I was so thrilled to have them here.
Here with me.
As a family.

Roger's mom had not been up to visit the house since the funeral.
I knew it may be difficult for her.
And based on some things she said to my sister-in-law, she was a bit taken back with all the changes in my house.
I mean, I have covered furniture with slip covers.
I have painted the walls.
I have removed some Roger-specific decor.
I have added my own sense of style.
I have moved some things.
I have removed most of the wedding pictures.
I have started to make it my house.
I have to in order for me to be able to stay here and be comfortable.
In order to start to move forward.

When they left on Sunday afternoon, I also had Grace, my sister-in-law, take my wedding dress.
I could not stand it to me here any longer and it did help to have it removed.
This was also hard for my mother-in-law.

She told Grace she was afraid of losing me.
She is afraid of losing me?!
And perhaps she thinks I am eradicating Roger from my life.
Which is impossible like I have said.
Roger has made a huge impact on me.
And nothing will change that.
No amount of stuff or new people in my life will change that.

The crazy thing is I had the same thoughts back on Tuesday night, August 26, 2008.
As the doctors told me that Roger was not going to survive.
That he was going to be a vegetable for the rest of his life.
That he was never going to open his eyes.
That he was never going to walk again.
That he was never going to be Roger again.
And they also informed me, if all that was not enough, that I was legally responsible for his care.
His life.
His health.
His death.
Fuck fuck fuck.

Some of my first thoughts as I knew what the right decision to make was that Roger's family was going to hate me.
I kept repeating it to the doctor, the nurse, my doctor friend, and the chaplain.
"They are going to hate me. They are never going to speak to me again. They are absolutely going to just hate me."
I was so scared of losing them.
They are my family.
I did not nor do I ever want to lose them.
Any of them.

I am one of the lucky ones.
I married into a wonderful family.
My sister-in-law is the best.
My mother-in-law is fun, sweet, and adorable.
The cousins are fantastic.
The aunts and uncles love me like I am one of their own.
I got a great deal- an amazing husband and his amazing family.
I was stoked to be part of that.

But standing there in the middle of that ICU, I thought the walls of that great family support system was going to crumble.
I was losing my husband. I did not want to lose my family.
I could not bare the thought.

And for the most part, I have not lost any of them.
They love me just as much.
They never hated me.
They knew I made the right decision.
And they call still me their niece, their cousin, their daughter, and their sister.
And I am very grateful.
I love them so much.

The fact of the matter is they are stuck with me.
No matter what happens in my life.
No matter when I get remarried.
No matter if I have children.
They are my family and anyone I bring into my life will be their family too.
Death may have ended my marriage.
But death does not separate families.

So to all my inherited family out there reading this blog, you got me for life.
And for that I am eternally grateful.

Roger's Hole

Those who have known me for a while will remember Roger's hole.
In the summer of 2007, Roger decided to copy what his cousin, Eddy, had done at his house.
Except Eddy hired someone to do this work for him.
But Roger being Roger decided he could do this for himself.

We had only been in our brand new never lived in house for about three or four months when Roger wanted to re-do some things.
Now, I was very much opposed to this idea.
Why did he feel the need to change a perfectly good wall?
Did we really need this new "area" he was creating?

Roger felt we did.
I made him do lots of googling.
The project was Roger wanted to remove part of the wall where the washer and dryer sit.
They are on the other side of a wall from the staircase to the bonus room.
So he would remove the entire wall underneath the stairs to create a new storage area which I believed this wall was supporting the stairs.
A wall I thought was probably important.
"Is that wall needed to support the stairs?"
Roger said, "Not based on everything I have read."
After Roger begged and begged to destroy that perfectly good wall so we could have some "cool area" next to the washer and dryer and maybe some storage area, I finally agreed.
I gave one condition.
"It must look pretty and just like the other walls."
And so it started.
See the first picture above.

Roger had promised this project would take two weekends at the most back at the end of July/August.
For some reason, I had my doubts.
So I gave the deadline of the Halloween party.
He had lots of time that way.
No matter what happened.
Yeah right...
I called this project "Roger's hole" and took pictures along the way to document his progress.

First issue on the first day as Roger removed the first panel of dry wall that came up was some tubing hidden in the area beneath the stairs.
The builder had put all the plumbing for the upstairs bathroom under those stairs.
So Roger's plan of completely removing the wall under the stairs had to be modified.
The new area would be smaller than planned.
But no worries for my husband.
He had a plan B.
He decided to create two little closets.

The project continued and continued.
The months dragged on.
And as with any project, the scope of the project creeped a little.
Roger then wanted to store the subwoofer for the TV from the opposite room under the stairs.
So an electrician was called to install an electric outlet under the stairs.

As summer started to come to a close, the "hole" still was not finished.
Halloween was creeping up.
There were so many issues.
One, the paint color.
We could either buy a five gallon bucket costing over $100 or try to match it.
The wall is still a different color than the other walls.
But only slightly.
And only I can tell.
Two, the wall is not completely bump free.
It is pretty enough I guess.
But even now, I still stare at the major one while doing laundry.

The biggest issue occurred two days before the Halloween party.
Yep, bumping right up against my deadline.
We had paid someone to lay a few tiles in the new area.
We had waited the designated time for the new tile to set and needed to move back the washer and dryer into place.
As a team, we moved them into position.
Roger was in charge of putting all the tubes back and plugging them back in.
As soon as he was finished, I put in a load of laundry with an extra rinse cycle.
About an hour later, I walked into the laundry room aka new pool created by my dear husband.
Water was absolutely everywhere.
He had forgot to put back the drainage tube for the washer.
Water was under the stairs.
Under the subwoofer.
And starting to soak the walls.
I ran for towels.
Roger ran to the store.
Some of his work had to be undone so we could dry out the area properly.
After hand wringing out towels for about an hour or two to remove the water, I was a bit furious.
But it was presentable at the Halloween party.

In about November, Roger's hole was no longer a hole but a nice wall again.
And pretty.

In the end, it did become somewhat of a useful area.
And it still makes me smile.
Roger's hole.

NOTE: I guess I never took a completely finished photo. The closets do have handles on them.

Tuesday, July 7, 2009


I am happy.
Like very happy.
On cloud nine happy.
It is a strange feeling for me.
So foreign.
Like an old friend I have not seen in a while.
Familiar yet new again.

It feels good.
It feels surreal.
It feels sort of scary.
I do not feel guilty about this feeling.
Just afraid a bit to let myself truly enjoy it.
But I am trying.
I am trying to embrace it with everything I am.

Today as I left class, I found myself smiling from ear to ear.
Singing along to the radio.
Driving in my car.
Excited about the day.
And then I realized how happy I was.
"Whoa I am happy."
How long it has been since I felt this way.

And the oddest thing happened.
Although it should not be odd to me.
But I started to cry.
I started to cry about being happy.
I guess these are happy tears.
Not tears of sadness.
But it was still strange yet funny and weird.
I am crying over being happy.

It is slightly hard for me to believe how happy I am at the moment.
I keep questioning rather it is real or not.
Although people say they hear it in my voice.
They see it on my face.
I can feel it inside.
Bubbling up.

I guess I should be happy that I am happy.
Yes, I will be happy that I am happy.
Because guess what, I am happy.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Tick Tock Tick Tock

I have always had a habit of counting down to things.
When we were engaged, I had a countdown to the wedding.
At work, I had countdowns to vacations.
With my friends, I had countdowns to my birthday.
And honestly, there is probably always one going on in my head.
They just do not stop.

Most of the time, I enjoy these countdowns.
Just like the kid who is counting down to Christmas morning.
I love them.

Except for this time.
Except for the ones coming up so soon.
First up is Roger's birthday.
I started thinking of this today.
Yes, I have my fabulous trip planned.
But I am still very conscious of what day it is and how far away it is.
I am sure tomorrow it will be even more apparent as it will be a month away.

And then the countdown to the accident.

And then the countdown to the one year mark.

I wish I could stop these countdowns in my head.
At least I do not have my usual white board countdown on my fridge like I do for the "fun" days.

And it is not like I am not busy.
I am extremely busy.
But the thoughts just do not go away.
My mind still goes there.
With or without me.

So this is it.
The month countdown begins.
The clock is ticking loud and clear.

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Running Out of "A Year Ago..."

Well, I mostly survived July 4th.
And every other holiday this year.
I was distracted most of the day.
Hosting a party at my house with family and friends can do that to me.
Being surrounded by friendship, family, laughter, and good food.

But then as the night started to end and I found myself with less and less people around, I started to realize how close that year mark is to me.
And soon, it will be more than a year.
In less than eight weeks, I will not have those "a year ago, Roger and I were doing...."
I am running out of memories that happened less than a year ago.
Soon they will be even further from me.
Soon it will be more than a year that Roger was alive and with me.

Instead, I will have "a year ago, I was grieving..."
I am running out of time.
I am running out of "Roger died n months ago".
Soon it will be a year ago and so many months ago.
And then it will be years and half years ago.
Part of me does not want to cross the year finish line.

Last night I found myself sobbing on my bed thinking about this.
Thinking how last July 4th was the last time some of Roger's friends saw him.
Thinking how this year is quickly closing in on me.

But at the same time, it is sweet relief.
Sweet sweet relief.
Like a chapter in the Star's grief history will be done.
I have survived a whole year.
Yes, I survived the first year of the worst time of my life.
And I am still here.
In mostly, one piece.

It is like finishing that first 5K.
I just want to cross that finish line to say I did it.
But at the same time my legs are achy.
My heart is racing.
I want to throw up.
I want to almost give up but the finish line is so close.
And I know I will be glad to be done.
And be able to say I did it.

So with only about a "quarter a mile" to go, I ask to keep sending me positive thoughts and prayers.
Because I cannot cross this line alone.
This will be a group effort.
I will need everyone to push me over that finish line.

Thursday, July 2, 2009

"Ring worm"

Roger had not worn many rings in his life.
Maybe his class ring in high school but I am not even too sure about that.
Or for how long.
And even though I proposed to him with his band as his engagement ring, he did not wear it until the wedding day.
I did tease him a lot about not wearing his "engagement" ring.
Like on a weekly basis or so.
But he insisted he wanted it to be special.
He wanted to wait until the official day.

It was so cool to see his band on his hand on our wedding day and in the days that followed.
It was a bit surreal.
It was a bit weird to hold his hand with it on but I enjoyed every minute of it.
He was mine.
We were together.

Once summer hit last year though, a slight problem came up.
He complained his ring finger was itchy.
"Yes dear. You still have to wear it."
"But I think something is wrong."
"No, you just need to get used to it."
I did not believe him.

A few weeks later, Roger showed me these weird bumps under his ring.
"Hmm, what is that?"
"I don't know. Maybe you should go to the doctor."
"Do you think it is ring worm?"
"No dear. Ring worm is not on your ring finger."
Silly boy.
But I believed him.
There was a slight problem.

He did go to the doctor.
It was a fungus.
I felt slightly bad.
The doctor told him that he had to take off his ring when washing his hands and make sure his hands were very dry before putting it make on.
And then of course apply a medication.
It seemed water was getting trapped along with sweat.
It had become a slight haven for fungus.

I remember telling him, "I do not want to hear how you forgot your ring somewhere at some restaurant."
Teasingly of course.
I knew he was not that type of guy to "accidently" lose his ring.
But he would sometimes leave it around the house.
I would pick it up and hide it.
To see how long it would take him to discover its disappearance.
Much to my surprise and delight, he would notice pretty quickly.
I would act all coy and slowly give it back to him.

After the accident and as soon as he arrived at the hospital, I wanted his ring.
I wanted his ring bad.
I was begging every nurse or resident that came to me to find his ring.
I knew they had removed it from his hand with all the CTs he was getting.
I could not fathom losing it.
I had to have it with me.
Not with some random hospital staff person.
But with me.
Once I had it, I placed it on my thumb of my left hand.
And left it there until it almost fell off.

As I washed my hands yesterday in a public restroom, I thought about Roger's ring.
I started to smile and giggle about Roger's ringworm.
Silly boy.
And for six months, he was mine.
All mine as shown on his left hand.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

"Please Don't Die"

As I wrote about, I have been dating Mr. X.
He is an amazing guy and I am having a great time with him.
He is so giving and understanding.
It is just what I need right now.

I found myself having trouble when we depart from each other's company.
The same thing happens with my cats when I leave them for a night or two as well.
He will smile and look back at me after we have hugged and said our goodbyes.
I have to remember to smile because as he gets into his car, I find myself, in my head thankfully, saying "Please don't die."
"Please please do not get sick and die."
There is this slight fear that I may get attached to someone else and the same damn thing may happen again.

I know statistically the odds are low that I would lose another person in the same manner.
I know people are in auto accidents all the time and they are fine.
But that is not what happened to me.
Or to Roger.
And we are good normal people.
People who loved each other a lot.

It is not an overwhelming paranoia like I had before.
I can still function and enjoy his company.
I do not think about it constantly.
Only as he drives away.
Which to me, again, makes sense because that is how I lost Roger.

However, if for any reason it does happen again.
As in this is some really sad Lifetime movie that I am starring in, please just send me to a mental institution.
Do not pass go.
Do not collect $200.
Just get me to a mental institution immediately because I do not think I can love and have someone die on me again for at least forty to fifty years.

But I am hoping it does not keep me from letting myself go.
Letting myself truly enjoy his time with me.
Letting myself truly fall for someone new.
Maybe even loving someone new.
So after the "Please don't die" thoughts in my head, I try to follow it up with: "He is not going to die, Star."
"This one is not going to die today."