Sunday, May 30, 2010

Dead Husband Diet...

... is over.

Sadly.  Very sadly.
I am no longer sporting the new body I gained after Roger died.
With school and school-related stress.
With foot injuries that made it impossible to run.
With a hard winter and early spring emotionally.
It has all added up to weight gain.

But part of me says, at least at the moment, I am fat and happy.
And I would rather be happy now than how I felt the months after Roger died.

But the other part of me says, I look crappy, again. [Please do not comment about how great I look.]
I look older.
And I do not find myself as attractive as I was a year ago.
That I need to work on.

I need to start running again.
No excuses now.
I want to be happy and thin(ner).

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Being Brave

Time and time again I was told, especially in the beginning of this journey, that I am brave.
And as I have said I do not see myself as brave.
I am a widow.  I get up out of bed the same way as everyone else.
I breathe in and out because I have to.
I go on because I have to.
Bravery is more about doing something frightening voluntarily.
I did not chose this life voluntarily by any means.
I just have to live in it.

However, a little while ago, after some encouragement from some fabulous friends, I did something brave.
I decided to start a small photography business.
Location photography for families.

Roger encouraged me a lot while he was alive to pursue my love of photography more.
He tried to get me to sell my calendars I would make each year.
He tried to get me to sell my photos as stock photography.
But I did not have enough faith in myself.
I just had fun when I took photos of my friends and family.

When I got the website to a rough draft level, I cried.
I wanted to show Roger my work.
I felt proud of myself.
I am actually doing it.
Roger would be proud, I think.
Even if it does not work out, he would smile at me.

I feel like this adventure is walking out on a limb for me.
I could easily fail.
And perhaps I am not the greatest yet.
But I am the beginner.  This I accept.
I have a lot of improving to do and knowledge to gain.

This to me is scary.
Investing some time, energy, and money into something that has a 50% failure rate.
Something that a year from now may not exist.
This is being brave.

Friday, May 21, 2010


Everyone knows it.
Most people even say it.
Do not compare the dead husband with the new guy.
And I try not to.
Mr. X is different in most ways.
In some ways however, they are similar.

They both liked drafting in high school.
Both are a bit nerdy.
Both a bit handy around the house.
But Mr. X is much more outgoing.
Much more physically affectionate.
And I could go on but I will not.
Because I should not.
It is not good to compare.

When Mr. X moved in, I gave him some drawers in the bedroom for his clothes.
This was bound to happen.
I do not have millions of drawers so the odds were good.
But I was still a bit weirded out.

I was putting some laundry away.
Some of Mr. X's underwear was ready to put into the drawer.
Out of habit, I opened the drawer where Roger's underwear normally resided.
And to my surprise, Mr. X's underwear resided there in the same exact drawer.
Freaked out, I decided to see if his socks were in the same place.
Yep. Socks in the exact same drawer.
I could not even open the other drawers.

Now I know its not huge.
But it was still freaky and weird.
I did not mean to give him the same drawers.  Some of them are not but some are.
Mr. X just happened to organize his things the same way.
So weird.

So It Has Been Awhile Since This Happened

Last week one of my favorite bloggers, Pioneer Woman, visited Orlando.
Unfortunately, no one could come with me.
Mr. X was sick.
Holly was out of town.
My mom, who would have loved to meet her and visited me the week prior, does not live close by.
And most of my other friends have jobs and/or are not fans.
Most of the time I am completely fine to do things alone.
Most of the time I even like doing things alone.
But last Wednesday, I did not want to go to this book signing alone.
I wanted someone to go with me.
I knew a million other people would be there and they would all be in pairs or groups.
I almost decided to stay home.  But I went anyway armed with her cookbook and my camera.
And I was right, I think I saw one other person alone.

Then I saw some familiar faces.
That should have been a good thing.
Except one of the familiar faces hates me.  I initially met her on a wedding planning site.  Then on discussion board site, called, she blamed me for some pretty terrible things.
None of which I did by the way.  Like widows have the time or the will to do half the crap she claimed.
Ugh. Ugh. Ugh.
I did not want to see her.
She pretended not to see me.
Good. But it frazzled me.
People I met wedding planning, who I am not real friends with, scare me.

The other familiar face was somewhat friendly.
I also met her while wedding planning.
We had met in person at some bridal events.
I saw her last about a month before the accident.
We were at one of those paint your own pottery places with past brides and to be brides.
Everyone made gifts for their hubbies or about their hubbies for themselves.
I made a huge plate that said "The Jimenezes est. February 23, 2008". It is high up in a cabinet now.
She made a spoon holder for her kitchen.
She also knew "what" had happened.
She was standing in the row in front of me.
She eventually turned around "I know your face I think."
"Yes, I am Star." Like I am celebrity or something.
"Yeah! I am Cindy."
I did not feel like talking.  At all.  I did not feel like stumbling through the conversation. I did not feel like taking the energy to make her feel better.  I did not feel like catching up on the almost two years since we saw each other last.  I am sure her life is just grand in married bliss.
The awkwardness was all over her face.
She asked if I was alone.
"Yep." Alone in a crowd of probably 500 people who were all happily talking about their wonderful lives and husbands and kids and how happy they were to be able to see Pioneer Woman.
Eventually she turned back around and started chit chatting with her friend.

Later some other group of ladies started chatting with me.
I had been overhearing part of the conversation and I could help but laugh at some of the jokes one girl was telling.  She was very humorous.
They also asked, "Are you here alone?" with a bit of a shocked tone.
I tried to explain at least to the complete strangers.
Probably because they did not know my other story.

Eventually I made it up to the front to meet Ree aka Pioneer Woman.
I was so excited to meet her.  I had been waiting for almost three hours.
But as I went to talk to her I started to feel shaky.
I fought back tears and stumbled through a few words with her.
I verbally vomited how my husband had died and how she was inspiring to me.
She took a picture with me. Patted my hand. Told me life does go on.
And I was on my way...

I felt so... I do not even know the words.
Beyond alone.
And embarrassed.

I hate public meltdowns.
Meltdowns at home or with friends. Fine.
But public ones?  Ugh.
I will never get used to them.

Thursday, May 13, 2010

From "His" to "Ours"

I announced a few weeks ago that Mr. X is moving in.
As we get toward the two week mark, so far so good.
It is a nice change to see him everyday.
To prepare all our meals together.
To share the household chores.
To wake up with him each morning.
And we are also starting to decorate together.

When Roger first died and I decided (I do not think it was really a decision but...) to stay in the house.
But somewhere in something I read in the millions of grief related advice, it stated if I was going to stay, I should change things around.
To make the space different.
So I painted the kitchen, the family room, the dining room, the living room, the master bedroom, and the master bathroom.
I slip covered some of the furniture.
I rearranged the furniture.
I bought new sheets.
I rearranged some artwork on the walls.
I started to make the home mine.

Then at some point I stopped.
I realized that some day I would want another man to live here with me.
That one day I would want the house not just to be mine but "ours" again.

When Mr. X moved in, I wanted to make him feel comfortable.
I wanted this house to become his home.
So his table is in the kitchen.
Pictures of his family are up.

And then, we started looking at the office.
It still looked like Roger's office.
As much as I have tried over the last two years, it still looked like the same basic set up.

So in continuing with my efforts to make this a home for Mr. X and me, we decided to re-do the office together.
We are taking down Roger's desk.
Selling part of it and giving the other part to my roommate.
I am getting a brand new desk that I have been eyeing for a long time.
Installing a huge wall size bookshelf for all our combined books.
And setting up Mr. X's desk as well.

I am not sad about changing this room.
I am really excited about this new room.
The physical ones and the emotional ones.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010


Some days I get really angry at the universe.
And beyond the normal grief reasons.
Beyond the normal car accident and widow reasons.

Simply for the reason that I feel like I was tricked.
Roger was my friend when we first met.
I was happy with him being my friend.
I loved him being my friend.

And then after two months I feel in love with him.
And for the next three years I fell further and further in love with him.

Then he was ripped away from me.
After I let him in.
After I become attached.
The universe took him away.

Some days I feel angry that I let myself fall for him.
That the universe put him there.
That somewhere someone knew this would happen and they let it happen.
It was an evil trick.
Like giving a child a game which was they were okay with but then the parent added more and more cool accessories to go with the game.
And once the child was addicted to the game, the parent burned it while laughing.


Sunday, May 9, 2010


Yesterday morning, my mother left my house after a visit.
Her flight left at 6:30am.

I woke up at 4:45am.
I grabbed some clothes.
Roger's old workout pants.
Roger's UCF t-shirt.
As I went to put on some shoes, the first pair was the same ones I had on that day.
I could not even put one toe in.

We needed to leave about 5:00am.
It was humid and warm.
Kevin drove.
I was in the passenger seat, again.
I had my entire purse.
Strapped into the seatbelt with me.
I kept my flip-flops on.
My hands clasped tightly together.

I scanned the road intensely.
I watched for any wild animals that may jump into the road.
Watched for cars coming the opposite direction.
Watched the cars behind me.

We came upon an accident.
Some stupid drunk asshole who lost control of their car drove off the side of the road.
Fire trucks and an ambulance were cleaning up the mess.

We got to our first turn.
A car behind us sped through a completely red light.
Not a yellow light.
Not a red light that just turned red.
A red light.
Do people really just drive like this?
With no regard for others?

I could not talk.
Things were too similar.
I was so frightened.
Frightened by the possibilities.
Frightened by the stupidity of others.
Frightened by laws that do not protect me.
Frightened by the corruption of the world.

Saturday, May 8, 2010


Succession is what happens to an ecosystem after a major disturbance like a fire or a hurricane.
In my ecology class, we talked a lot about succession.
I did a whole twenty-two page lab report paper on the subject with graphs and pictures and loads of technical terms.
I talked about the differences in forest structure and species composition before and after a fire.
What did the forest look like?
Was the forest more diverse in species after or before?
Was one species dominating another?
What was the overall health of the ecosystem after the fire?
What was the differences in the unburned section of the forest and the burned section of the forest?

The ironic thing about fire in the forests around here in Florida is they do better after fire.
They are stronger.
More diverse.
And some of the animals do better too.

Another funny thing is most forests do well if the disturbance aka fire is not too frequent and not too intense.
Otherwise, the entire forest may die.
One species may outcompete another.
Invaders may come.
And the ecosystem may completely change.

I thought when Roger died my entire "ecosystem" was dead.
I thought the "fire" ripped through and destroyed everything.
And in some ways, I lost a lot of things about me that will never come back.
Some parts of me are extinct forever.

But I was not completely destroyed nor am I completely different.
Not all life from me disappeared.
There were small seeds of hope left.
Seeds that are recovering me.
Small seedlings are starting to grow.  Some new "species" and some old.
And in some ways I am starting to see the recovery in myself.
Starting to feel better than I was before.
Starting to feel stronger than I was before.
But still feeling a bit like me.

I will never be the same person 100%.
And grief is not just about Roger being gone, it is also about part of me being gone.
Part of me that cannot recover ever.

But succession does happen.
For better, for worse, it happens.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

A Year From Now

Since August of 2008, I have not been back to work.
Besides a one day stint at my last job to wrap up some things.
And my teaching assistant position this past semester.
But not a real career sort of job.

However, in a year, I will be back in the "real" world.

I am slightly nervous about entering the career world again.
By that time, it will be 2.5 years since I was really working.
Two and half years since I dealt with the additional stress of work.

Yes, I have been in school.
And that has been stressful at times.
However, being a student versus being an employee has a different type of stress.
I can be fired from a job.
I cannot be fired from school.

I will have to meet loads of new people.
People who will be my boss.
People who will be my colleagues.
People who will ask questions.
People who I will need to be at least somewhat social with.

As a teacher, I will also be in contact with students' parents.
Parents who may also ask questions.
Parents who may find out my "situation."
The students themselves may find out.
May ask questions.
May use it against me at some point.

In a year... Eeek.