Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Nineteen Months

I was talking with a fellow widow when she made the observation how we measure death like children.
First we talk about how many days out we are.
Days turn into weeks.
Weeks turn into months.

Right now I still measure my widowness in months.
Like a toddler under two years.
Nineteen months for me.

Widows also think about firsts like parents do.
First time for this and that.
First birthday.
First date (after).

It feels like the raising of a child.
It's a lot of work.
It's tiring.
It has its own strong will.

So maybe I am raising an invisible child.
Without any of the rewards.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010


When I was visiting New York City a few weekends ago, my old friend Cecilia and I were talking about some of the things that happened the week Roger died.

She came down on Sunday night (I think?) before he died to help me and be with me.
She became me as I handed over my identity for a few days as she called people while I just tried to just exist.
And as always with my dear friend Cecilia, we had some funny moments that week.

The one that has us rolling in laughter a couple of weekends ago was one particular moment at the funeral home.
It was already quite a strange place.
They had about seven, maybe more, exactly the same shaped sofas that had the exact same ugly mauve floral fabric on them.
Something that would have been popular maybe in the eighties.
I had to laugh at how many of these sofas they had.
They were everywhere we looked.

In the front of the funeral home, they had a curio cabinet full of ceramic dogs.
I found this very odd and amusing.
Until I realized they were very pet ashes.

In the meeting with the funeral director, he had so many death impulse buys and gimmick items.
Paperweights with lights for the ashes.
Thumbprint necklaces.
Odd, odd things.

Roger's middle name, like a lot of Hispanic males, was "Jesus."
It is pronounced in the traditional Spanish way. With an "h" sound instead of a "j".
The funeral director asks me for my husband's full name.
I give him his first with spelling.
He asks for his middle.
I say "Jesus" in the English way to aide this very WASP guy.
"What was his middle name?"
I repeat it.
I say it louder.
"Jesus. J-E-S-U-S as in Jesus."
The funeral director says "Oh okay. I am just hard of hearing."
Except I never had to repeat myself for the rest of the time.
Was it really that hard to believe someone was named "Jesus"?
Especially a Hispanic male?

After we left, we all laughed.
"Jesus as in Jesus."
It still makes me smile.
A very shitty shitty day but at least I could laugh and smile.

Friday, March 19, 2010

The First Time

I have debated writing this entry a long time.
My family reads my blog.
Roger's family read my blog.
But so do other widows.
So do other widows who are new to the "club".
So fair warning... this may be TMI.

Before I met Roger, I dated. A lot.
I liked dating for the most part.
Yes, there were heartaches.
Yes, there were some times where I just wanted to be in a relationship, but for the most part, it was fun just dating.

Then in December 2004, I decided I wanted a real life boyfriend.
Someone to hang out with on the weekends.
Someone to go on vacation with.
Someone to cuddle with.
Someone to have sex with on a regular basis.

I was living in New York City at the time with a consulting job.
I traveled every week for four days.
I loved the concept of my job but I was sick of the traveling routine.
In one city for part of the week, in another city for the rest of the week.
It was a great lifestyle for dating.
But not for boyfriend life.
So in January 2005, I started looking for a new non-traveling job in NYC.
I tried for about four months. Nothing.
My consulting job had a database of all the clients.
I decided to use my resources and look up the clients in Orlando area.
Moving back to Orlando would be easy with a friend base already in place and I knew I loved Orlando.
I moved back. And I started trying to date more seriously in August.
I met Roger at a time when I was dating two other guys.
But by November Roger won my heart.

On my wedding day, I was so nervous.
Not about how the day would go. I hired great vendors that I trusted for that.
But that I would be with the same man for the rest of my life.
"Forever" as my old friend Nick would say.
I would be having sex with the same guy for the rest of my life!!
I felt on the verge of vomiting all day until the ceremony.
But of course afterwards, I was happy with my decision.
Roger was good to me.

After I realized Roger was going to die on me, I thought about how I was going to have sex with a new person someday.
I was in the elevator at the hospital with some very close friends when I exclaimed, "My 'number' is going to go up again!"

Last April, I was longing to be touched.
Not just a hug from a friend.
But T.O.U.C.H.E.D touched.
But I was also so nervous.
Would I feel guilty?
Would I feel like I was betraying my vows?
Betraying Roger?

Before I started dating again, I consulted some of my peers who had gone before me.
Supa and Crash were emailed.
"Did you feel guilty the first time you had sex?"
Both replied no.
"Okay, I can do this."

So last May, I did "it."
I had to make all the first moves.
This guy I was dating was nervous about offending me.
About moving too fast.
To me, I just wanted it out of the way.
I wanted to know yes or no about feeling guilty.
I wanted to know if I could enjoy sex again.
Could I feel?
Could I feel good?

For me, I did not feel guilty at all.
I did not feel I was cheating on my husband.
I did not cry which I severely feared I would.
I could feel again.

I try not to think about Roger's reaction to this whole ordeal as if he is somewhere watching over me.
That is just weird to think of anyway.
But I know Roger would not want me to be sad forever.
Roger would not want me to be alone forever.
He loved me. He would want me to be happy and be loved.

Thursday, March 18, 2010


So like Supa and Crash Course Widow, I made a fan page on facebook.
Check out.
Be a fan if you would like.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

My Tuesday Afternoons

In my school program, I have to complete so many observation hours.
Usually it is fifteen hours per class.
This semester I have two classes that require them.
So a total of thirty hours for the semester.
It may not sound like much but of course most of them do not start right away due to red tape like fingerprinting and background checks.
Most must be completed by early April.
And the school teachers are hard to get set up with unless there is a connection already.
Do not even get me started on the lack of communication between me and the school teachers.

One of my professors gave the class a deal at the beginning of the semester.
We could volunteer with her friend's son instead of in a school.
We would be going to the child's home and working with him for an hour each week.
In exchange, we would not have to do the normal observation hours and we would not have to complete the weekly homework assignments.
Perfect, right?
Except this sixteen year old child is not normal.
He has a severe case of cerebral palsy.
I signed up.

Supposedly he is at age level developmentally but he is unable to communicate except for some grunting and some head movements.
He has a computer to communicate with his family but he does not use it during our sessions.
This boy can be lifted easily by one person he is so small.
His muscles have atrophied severely.
He is wheelchair bound.
He spastically moves his head, eyes, arms, and legs.

A group of four of us help him do some physical therapy exercises in order to help him belly crawl at the end of the hour.
Belly crawling may sound easy but we have to first warm up his hands.
Then deep pressure points on his upper extremities.
Then warm up his arms.
Helping him flip-over multiple times.
Then we use infrared on his legs.
Unlock his lower extremities.
Then in the last ten minutes or so, we help him crawl.
Maybe twice if he does well.
And sometimes maybe half.
Most days it takes the entire ten minutes to crawl about three feet.

It is an hour a week.
It is exhausting for me.
And emotionally.

Yesterday, I realized something.
Roger would have never even been half as functional as this kid.
Roger would have been exhausting.
And it would not be an hour a week.
It would have been 168 hours a week.

I look at this child's mother.
She is tired.
She is stressed.
She is aging way faster than she should.
Her entire life is her son.
She tries to be positive and gives so much to him.
But he requires constant care.

That could have been me...
Except as a wife, not a mother.
And as crazy and dark and horrible as this sounds, I am grateful.
Grateful that this is my life.
Yes, I would love Roger to still be alive and well.
But I do not know if I could have been that strong.
This mother strong.
I do not know if I could have dedicated my entire being to the lifestyle of a caregiver.

When Roger was dying, I wanted him to survive.
But he didn't.
And despite the worst week of my life, I lead a mostly normal life.

Thank you...

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Backyard Update

Last month I wrote about my plants.
I was so depressed looking at my backyard.
I cried as I realized everything was dying from the extreme cold and the bitter winds.
It was awful.

A couple weeks ago my doorbell rang.
It was my yard guy.
He said almost everything was dead.
He asked if he could cut everything back.
He said things may come back.
Or maybe not.
"Sure" I said as my stomach dropped.

With the time change, Florida also changes the water restrictions.
So tonight I was outside changing the sprinkler system.
I looked back where the banana trees used to be and I saw the first picture.
It was depressing once again.
I wanted to cry again.

I grabbed some fertilizer for the other plants.
As I was sprinkling the small pellets around, I noticed something else.
The second picture.

I got closer.
And I noticed something.
Something amazing.
I have some baby banana trees coming up.
Yes, the old ones are gone and dead.
But there are new ones for me to take care of.
I probably will not have bananas for a while but I have banana trees!
I have banana trees!!!

Some of the other "dead" things are coming back to life as well.
Some new sprouts here and there.
Some new life peaking out from underneath the old dead leaves.

Surviving despite the conditions.
New life.

Monday, March 15, 2010

"You Don't Fit"

This past weekend I went to visit NYC.
I lived there for three years five years ago.
I loved it.
It was a dream fulfilled for me.

It was a great time of my life.
Great yummy food.
Diverse people.
Awesome public transportation.
Fantastic culture.

But I hated the cold winters.
I hated wearing a thick coat for months at a time.
I hated how expensive housing was.
I hated dating city guys.

I still enjoy visiting and try to do it once per year.
Last year, I had a meltdown before going so I did not make it.
In 2008, we had the wedding and then Roger died and thus I did not make it.

On this visit, I was overwhelmed with memories.
Memories of my life before Roger existed.
Before I was a widow.
A time when I was just free.
They were everywhere and connected to everything.

I felt a little out of place while I was in NYC.
I felt like I did not quite fit like I used to.
Not like I was a tourist but just different.
I quickly adjusted to NYC culture and small spaces.
I adjusted to the price of things.
To having cash instead of a debit card.
To eating fabulous food and drinking without having to drive.
But I felt off (and cold and wet due to crappy weather).

And then I had two separate friends at separate times say the worst things to me.
"You are not NYC material anymore."
"You could not do NYC again."
"You just don't fit."
Which is mostly true.
I left because I wanted to have a real house, routine, and find a real relationship.
I probably would have stayed at the time if I would have found a non-traveling job but I could not after searching for three months so off to Florida I went.

But I hate to be told I could not do something.
I am a bit stubborn.
After all I have been through, I can do pretty much anything I think.
I made it in NYC before. If I did it once, I could do it again.
But I do like my life in Florida.
I like having ample space.
I like having my friends here.
I like having Mr. X.

So I will visit once per year.
And later in life, if things change, perhaps I will do it again.
Because I can.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

The Widow Card

In this messed up journey I have to have a sense of humor.
It keeps me somewhat sane even if the sense of humor is dark and twisted.

And I am not the only one.
My blogger friend Supa created these widow cards.
I had a set of them in my purse for a while.
But then I lost them when switching between purses.
And I just have not got around to replacing them.

I have/had fantasies where I would bust them out.
"Stop, I am widow" as I flashed the appropriate card to the "suspect".
I could see myself wearing the official widow badge.
And the official widow outfit all in black with one of those old fashioned birdcage veils in black.
And maybe sometimes there would be a group of us on the "scene" to help out a new "victim".
Yes, it is a sick sense of humor.
But it helps.
I have to laugh.
And the thought of all that really makes me laugh.

But then a new thing happened.
Someone tried to use the widow card on me.
They try to use it in reverse!
Recently I had to fire the person who cleaned my house.
I could not afford it really and it is a luxury item.
She was quite upset.
And guess what, she used the widow card on me.
I was shocked at first by the comments like "...you sure have changed since Roger has been gone and not the least bit good..." and this one is a doozy: "...poor grieving star..."
Then I was slightly hurt.
But then I started to laugh.
It is a widow card!

Someone was using the widow cards on me.
Someone was trying to reverse the playing field.
She was trying to make me feel bad.
Trying to shock me into submission.
Trying to use my situation as a get-of-out-jail-free card.

Thankfully, I do have a sick sense of humor.
Now, I will just need to get my widow outfit together so I can go fight "crime".

Thursday, March 11, 2010

"The Best"

I cannot utter the words "the best" with Mr. X.
I certainly cannot say "You are the best boyfriend ever."
Or even more simply "You are the best."

I just can't.
It feels like I am violating something.
Like I am violating Roger's status on things.

Neither of them were/are better than the other person.
They are very different.
They meet different needs of mine.
They have different personalities.
In some ways Mr. X is the best at things.
In other ways Roger was the best.

But yet I cannot say "the best" to Mr. X.
I do not think I believe in the "best" anymore.
Only "best right now" and that just sounds silly.

Mr. X is not a replacement so making him the new best is just weird too.
So no "best" coming from me for now.
Just "awesome" and "fantastic" and "wonderful" and "great".

Tuesday, March 9, 2010


This is weird.
This is strange.

Last night Mr. X and I were out buying some groceries.
At the register, there were some DVDs for sale.
One was "Charlie Wilson's War".

I turned to Mr. X and said "Remember when we saw that with Holly and Scott."
I continued trying to remind him.
"No, Star. I did not see that movie. I wanted to but I did not see it."
Oops. Oops. Oops.
I picked up the movie and looked at the date the movie came out.
"It came out in 2007. That was not you."

I have noticed something in the last couple of weeks.
I am starting to confuse Roger stories with Mr. X stories.
I rarely dream about Roger.
I dream about Mr. X.
He is the one I see in my dreams.
He is the one I do things with in my dreams.
Not Roger.

I am not sure how I feel about this.
I think it is good.

I think. Maybe.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I Can Feel That Now

Many people describe loss as numbness that encapsulates them for the first few months.
And I totally felt that.
I could not feel anything except grief.
Nothing penetrated the fog of grief.
Everything is fuzzy in my memory.

When I started back to school last year, my period got completely messed up.
My period was sort of backwards.
Bleeding for twenty days at a time and then not for ten days.
It went on for three or four months.
And I could not figure out why.

I remember sitting in my counselor's office.
And in my gynecologist's office.
I kept telling them I did not understand why.
It was not right after Roger death.
It was about four or five months out.
My gynecologist asked me: "Are you stressed?"

I looked reflectively at myself.
Was I stressed?
I was back in "real" life with school.
I was dealing with the estate stuff still.
My husband did die.
Maybe I was.
But I did not feel it.
Stress was on the list of things that did not penetrate the grief fog.

This week I feel stressed.
My muscles in my back are tight.
I feel overwhelmed.
I am easily agitated.
And the good thing is, I feel it.
At least I think it is good.
Good that I can feel it.
Feel something besides grief.

I am feeling.