Saturday, August 31, 2013

AN OMEN

Look what showed up on Facebook this morning.  I joined this gym three months ago.  Already, I’ve taken two classes.  Even though I love my water aerobics classes at our community pool the best ... this invitation will be good in two ways.  

Learning which classes are specifically set up for the 60+ (and overweight and out of shape, I hope) crowd AND the social aspect of meeting more ladies in my age group!

A couple of weeks ago, I got up the courage to visit the Kihei Community Center on one of the two days they offer four hours of Senior activities (like Yoga, Zumba, games) including lunch.  This might be a good place to meet some retired people, learn a new card game and have a social meal!  When I walked in, there were maybe twenty 80+ year olds in a cavernous room.  Some were doing chair Zumba (use your imagination).  Some were working on crafts.  Most were waiting for lunch.

In their defense, a volunteer from the kitchen greeted me within three minutes but I had to tell her the exercise portion was a little mild for me, even though I’m a total beginner.


I think I need to get involved and GET a senior community going.  I’ll start by attending the Senior Fall Festival.

Friday, August 30, 2013

HIGH TECH GRAMMA

I admit it.  I love technology.  It started with the very first Apple computer in 1981.  Although I spent years with PCs, I made the switch to Apple products about ten years ago.  My life is so easy because all the gadgets talk to each other and sync any information I might add to one of them.

Today, for the first time, I paid to get some help.  In the past, I learned stuff on my own or via One-to-One sessions at my local Apple store. Unfortunately, Maui does not have an Apple store.

Huey spent several hours making my webcams visible on my network as well as from afar.  On my computer, the iPad or my iPhone.  Spycam Gramma!!  Now if the motion sensors notice something, I get an email with photos taken every second.  (We had to initially set the cameras up inside ... we forgot the ceiling fan was on ... I got 79 messages in pretty short order ...)

Background information ... I bought one camera a year ago and must have spent hundreds of hours trying to get it to be motion sensitive.  Proudly I did get it to work remotely.  But even after watching YouTube instructional videos, even after setting up a gmail account, it would NOT alert me.

Now I don't feel so bad.  It took Huey a while also.  We signed up for an inexpensive web hosting site and a camera DVR site and a gmail account (even my expert could not get things working with my icloud account).

While things were loading or syncing ... he also set up my wireless backup system and transferred Ralph's 10,000+ photos to my computer AND backed up all photos.  

TGIF!


Thursday, August 29, 2013

CLOUDS, COSTCO and CARWASH


Well, I had a few sad memory moments today.  Doing ordinary, run of the mill errands.

Ralph LOVED clouds!  Every day, every single day, he would comment on the cloud formations.  He took photos of clouds.  He learned about clouds.  And he would always share about clouds.  Naturally, I enjoy clouds because they remind me of him.  Yet I miss him rattling on about them.

Maui is lucky to have a Costco location ... and they sell gasoline!  I am in the habit of driving into “town” (Kahului ... airport, cruise ship destination and lots of shopping) once a week (at least).  An island doesn’t offer a lot of road trips but I do manage to use half a tank of petro every week or two.  And despite that this is a household of one, there are some items I prefer buy at Costco for the savings.  So I get those items and gasoline.  

Costco was one of Ralph’s big retirement treats.  He loved gathering samples and talking me into buying a 25 lb bag of pistachios or 18 cases of yogurt or whatever we could rarely eat all of.  He was in charge of choosing affordable bottles of red wine, which we enjoyed every evening.  (I’m continuing this tradition!)  So I always think of him when I go into the wholesale store.

Last and most important on his list of bi-weekly to do's ... a car wash!  It’s a good thing it is pretty private inside the spraying and wiping and whirling.  By the time the car was sparkling, my tears had subsided.


I sure miss this guy.

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

GET YOUR SHIT TOGETHER

I’m not usually one to use such language, but this IS the name of a website!  http://getyourshittogether.org/  It was started by a young woman whose husband was killed unexpectedly WITHOUT A WILL.  In addition to all the heartache, she had many gigantic headaches trying to get things handled.  He paid the bills and she didn’t know the passwords.  Did he even have life insurance?

Fortunately, she is sharing her anguish and nagging the rest of us to get this stuff handled.  She has her website and a Facebook presence.  She even sends me monthly reminders.  I think she has written a book!  Please check it out.

So today I met with an attorney.  Since I want to control things from the grave, she suggested a Trust.  While drawing on the whiteboard she explained that a Trust is like a bucket.  You put in all your assets and while you are alive, you get to hold the bucket.  You can put things in and take things out.  In my case, when I’m gone, my bucket goes into two buckets (one for my daughter and one for her son ... more buckets if she has more kids) with my dear nephew holding the buckets.  He has written instructions on what he can do with what is in the bucket.  Along with my confidence that he will interpret my wishes if they are not stated specifically.

This attorney is amazing.  She explained everything in language I could understand, without talking down to me.  She was gentle with the tough questions and offered suggestions that made so much sense.  Obviously she’s been through this before (ten years worth).  What a blessing.

AND ... for passwords my same wonderful nephew (who is smart, totally into technology, as well as kind and erudite) turned me on to an online password keeper.  Now he only has to know my master password and the program saves all of my sites and sign in names and passwords for us!  Previously I had started a list but my goodness ... I even sign in to Safeway.com to get personalized deals!  I could make a list of bank accounts and and credit cards but I don’t think I could even begin to think of all the little things that must be handled. 


Including turning off this blog!

P.S.   (It’s called 1Password

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Expectations

Last night, in my late night insomnia internet searching, I came across the BEST article.  I'm sharing!

Ten Things Every New Widow Should Know- to Survive


When you suddenly find yourself without your life partner, you don't know what to expect. Your world's been turned upside down. Like the mighty oak caught in a fierce wind, you feel uprooted. Your feet don't touch the ground. You think you're crazy. But you're not. You're just a new widow. Your husband is dead and your life is forever changed.
Learning to expect the unexpected will help you get through this most painful time in your life. Here are 10 things you need to know if you are to survive.

1. Expect people to say stupid things. "Don't worry, you're young, you'll meet someone new." No matter your age, this will sting like a hot iron on raw flesh. Your mind is on your husband and preserving His memory. The thought of another man in your life too soon after His death may cause you additional pain.

"I'm sorry for your loss." If there is a "loss"? This makes you wonder where is found? For the new widow, there is no found.
"He would want you to find a new man." Hmmm… On this one, this writer takes umbrage. Nobody can tell you what He wanted, except you, nor, should they.

"I understand. I'm divorced." Not. Divorce is different than death. Though a divorced individual may wish her ex to not be here, it just isn't the same thing. While divorce can be painful, and having experienced one personally, the death of a soul mate is different, as this writer will attest, there is no connection.

2. Expect to be asked out--by your best friend's husband.
3. Expect to be asked, "Do you masturbate?" by your best friend.
4. Expect to break down in tears when you least expect it--at the sound of the doorbell, at the sound of the telephone, at the sight of a couple walking hand in hand. All too soon the reality of being without Him sets in and it will take time for you to let go of your past. But you will.
5. Expect to begin each day wondering how you made it though the day before. And end it thinking you just can't do it any more.
6. Expect to feel weak, strong, suicidal, angry, happy, euphoric, glad, sad, guilty, alone, lonely, trapped, free, tired, bored, overworked, overwhelmed, silly, puzzled, like you don't belong.
Why not? You have just experienced life at its worst. I'm here to tell you, everything will be okay. Think baby steps. Think, I can and think, I will.
7. Expect all your friends to run away. They're frightened, too. And they just don't know how to handle your grief. Seeing you dealing with the death of someone near and dear is just too close for comfort.
8. Expect all your friends to come back. Give them time. The real ones do.
9. Expect to find yourself standing in front of an open refrigerator at 3:00 in the morning studying the expiration date on a bottle of ketchup. Give yourself permission to process your grief any way you need to.
10. Expect to laugh when the dog pees on the living room rug, when the garage door falls off its hinges, when the refrigerator makes a puddle on the kitchen floor, and when the woman next door goes out on a date--with the woman down the street. Your life is forever changed and so is your outlook. In the big picture, these things become miniscule.
11. Expect to wish you were dead.
12. Expect to blame yourself for His death.
13. Expect to ask yourself questions that have no answers. What if? Why me? Why couldn't I have died first?
14. Expect to make plans to run away.
15. Expect to cancel them, because you realize there is no place to run away to.
16. Expect to kiss a fool.
17. Expect to feel like you cheated. You didn't.
18. Expect to wish for a giant eraser to erase away all the pain.
19. Expect the pain to never end. It won't. But in time you will learn how to manage it. I promise.
20. Expect to smile when you feel like crying.
21. Expect to not sleep.
22. Expect to not focus.
23. Expect to not eat. In the beginning you won't be able to enjoy food. But it is important to drink plenty of fluids. If nothing else, drink water to keep your kidneys flush.
24. Expect to eat too much.
25. Expect to not be in the mood for all the things you once were in the mood for. Imagine. This writer didn't want to eat chocolate!
26. Expect the sun to come out tomorrow, the daffodils to sprout in spring, every bird on the planet to sing, every oak, elm, and cottonwood to shed its leaves in autumn, the moon to glow, the stars to twinkle, the earth to spin on its axis, and then to wonder why.
27. Expect no one to understand. Though they say, "I understand." They can't. They don't. They never will. Not even another widow. Grief is personal. It's just like a thumb print, no two alike. Expect to make mistakes.
28. Expect to forgive yourself.


Okay. That's it. And now I know what you're thinking – She's listed more than ten things.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Deciding to Not Decide

Now I understand why people suggest that you not make any major changes after the loss of someone close.  My brain is numb and paralyzed.  I get a good idea then in an hour it’s not such a good idea for me.

Financially there are a lot of things to consider.  I’m not employed.  I’m too young to collect his Social Security.  I could take it early (next year) but would only receive 75% of his monthly stipend.  A bird in the hand?  Undecided.  Still thinking.

Ralph had an IRA to which I am the beneficiary.  Do I roll it into my IRA?  Or put it in a regular account and buy some old fashioned safe corporate bonds?  

I own a tiny house in Maui and a small condo in Oregon.  For two years we were snowbirds!  Financially, that is a pretty high hurdle.  When we learned he had bone cancer, he wanted to live in Maui for the few years he had left (turns out only months), so we rented it to a great young little family ... who just happen to babysit our grandson!   But the rent doesn’t quite cover my expenses.  Should I move back to Oregon?  Should I stay in Maui?  Just raise the rent?

In addition, I’m helping support the care and upbringing of the most handsome baby boy in the universe.  Should I back away and simply let the parents (not married) handle?

You know what ... I need to have a glass of wine, put all this reality out of my head ... and decide to think about this tomorrow.  Or the day after.


Awkward Level X

The Good, The Bad and the UGLY

Ralph has been estranged from his 40+ year old son for over twenty years.  I’m pretty sure neither of them even remember what the tiff was about.  Oh well.

Two months before he died, when he stopped all treatment, Ralph asked that I call and cancel all future guests who were coming to Maui.  He didn’t want people “to see him like this”.   It was a difficult and awkward position to be in, canceling friends’ vacation plans.  One of these was his eldest daughter, Janet.  She made a compelling case that she wanted to visit her Dad one last time.  And so she came.

We have never been a very close family.  I am the second wife.  He was married for 27 years prior to me.  Janet was in college and Mike was finishing high school.  We bought their family home as the ex kept lowering the price weekly.  In my mind, maybe the mother said a few disparaging remarks about me.  Whatever.  Janet never warmed up to me and though she lives just 45 minutes from us in Oregon, we got together maybe twice a year.  To give and receive gifts.

When she arrived, she asked her Dad to call her brother and make amends.  Ralph had been quite stubborn about reaching out in the past, but during the 4-5 years prior, had asked Janet for contact information for her brother.  She always refused.  Saying Mike “was just not ready yet.”  Curiously, apparently NOW he was. Ralph suggested that she let Mike know that he could call his Dad.  He has had the same phone number for 30 years.  Until three years ago, the same address.  He was the one who could not make contact.

Janet was very upset saying Mike would not make the first move.  If his Dad refused, Mike would be devastated for the rest of his life.  Please, Dad.  Call him.  He did not.  Nor did Mike take that very important step and call him.

Before she arrived, I asked Ralph to gently bring up the topic of his will to be sure Janet understood that he was not bequeathing any money to her (or her brother or our daughter together), but providing for my livelihood.  I reassured her that upon my death, should there be anything left, I would leave some to her.  

Her face dropped.  A million miles.  She began to cry.  Then to wail.  (Yes, a 50+ year old woman wailing in my living room ...  If I had not been there, I would never have believed it.)

She just “wanted to be acknowledged” was her plea.  Huh?  But, he was so kind and so calm and so loving, and explained that he did "acknowledge" her as his first born daughter.  He loves her.  He’s proud of her.  All the universal reassurances possible.  He was drained and excused himself to bed.

And then the devil showed up.  Janet told me that making this trip to say goodbye was a huge step for her, following years of therapy.  She informed me that her Dad had abused her as a child.  Verbally.  Emotionally.  Pyschologically.  Physically.  WHAT?  This man does not have a mean bone in his body.  I’ve lived with him for almost 30 years.  Not possible.  Well, she spat out, he’s different with you.  He’s happy.  

I asked to her STOP talking.  It isn’t true and I would never believe a word of it.  If any of this HAD happened, why didn’t she tell her Mom?  Why, her Mom was there but what could SHE do?  He was bigger than her.

9-1-1.  That’s what she could have done.

P.S.  I think she knows I will not be leaving her one darned cent.  Maybe the therapist will refund her money.


Sunday, August 25, 2013

You're NOT Having a Funeral? Really???

Ralph and I have talked about funerals, celebrations of life, memorials, ash spreading ceremonies, cremation, etc. for many years.  We don't want any of that.  Maybe in the past these ceremonies were necessary for closure or for notifying distant acquaintances and family.  I'm not sure.  But just like being buried in the ground is becoming less popular, maybe the parties are also.

Anyway, I respected his wishes.  But I'm still getting called on it.  Despite the fact my sister wrote a fabulous obituary, I did not place it in any newspapers.  Only on Facebook, his favorite news outlet.  Also in emails that I sent to those who are not using Facebook.  


"The sun has set on the man who adored sunsets all around the world. And all around the world are people whose lives he touched and who touched his. Ralph was an amazing man, husband, father, Poppa, uncle, colleague, friend. His contagious smile lit up any room and ensured he never knew a stranger, from neighborhood children to restaurant servers to CEOs. He made you feel as if just seeing you made his day!  Ralph shared his "useless knowledge" and "Ralph-isms" with so many who were eager to be part of his world. 

He will be missed deeply by his best friend and wife, JB, his children Janet, Mike and Kate, and the light of his life, grandson Braeden.


There won't be one of us who will see a sunset without feeling Ralph in its warmth and beauty. Aloha, dear friend!"


Friday, August 23, 2013

Say What?

Yes.  More of the weird and interesting things people have said to me since Ralph died.  I won't name names (that would be awkward)(for them).  




  • You are grieving too much.  
  • You are not grieving enough.
  • You are going to replace your bedroom furniture, right? (heck no!  It's less than 3 years old.  And VERY comfy)
  • Have you thought of joining a singles club?
  • Don't worry, my neighbor remarried in under two years.
  • Don't you think you are crying too much?
  • You need to find a church, so you can have a local "family" 
  • I bet you feel so relieved to no longer be a caregiver
  • You should be seeing a therapist.
  • You should go to group therapy.
  • Have you thought about Match.com?
  • When are you going to lose weight and get a make over?
  • I don't think you are moving on with your life.
  • How is your grieving going?  (as compared to ???)
  • You'd probably feel better if you would cry more often.
Mind you, it hasn't even been FOUR MONTHS yet.  Many many people have been kind and supportive.  I'll do a blog about them soon. Their words have encouraged me! 

May I suggest one short sentence when you know someone who has had a great loss?  Simply say "I'm so sorry for your loss."  And if someone says these words to you (sorry for your loss) ... remember to say "thank you for your kind words."  

Thursday, August 22, 2013

Make New Friends, But Keep the Old ...

Friends really are silver and gold.  

Guess what?  It's way more challenging to make friends in your sixties.  In the past I met potential friends through my employment, my husband's job, the neighborhood, or even our daughter's school.  I was a big time volunteer when she hit third grade (my hubby was making enough to support all of us and preferred that I not work).  (Twist MY arm).  

My life is big and productive in Oregon.  We lived in the same house for 27 years.  Ralph worked at the same company for 26 years.  We had our daughter, our grandson and our pets.  Then we retire to Maui.

Making friends with a partner in crime is a little easier.  We had each other in the meantime.  Now I actually have to make an effort.  We had two couples in our Maui neighborhood who became our best buddies.  We met via the disgusting poop issue of the free roaming cat problem within our subdivision.  

Such fun we had!   Once or twice a week we'd get together.  One person in each couple has a major health issue, so we would all understand if there were last minute changes or cancellations.  The first couple have lived here 11 years.  They are both artists and designed a beautiful rock landscape for their front yard.  Couple number two created a rock yard this winter (after living here two years ... and having a major issue with their irrigation system).  And we followed suit.  

Two days after Ralph died, Couple #2 had to move back to Alabama for her health problems.  Couple #1 took great care of me, daily, for several weeks.  Phone calls, drop ins, invitations to a movie or a meal.  Saved my life!  Still are.

But I didn't want to wear out their friendship.  I'm going out of my way to talk to people wherever I go.  Guess what?  It's working!!  The young lady who designed my new closets and I seemed to hit it off.  To celebrate the beautiful installation, we shared some wine and conversation.  I visited her at the local Farmer's Market (she's a gluten free baker).  She's a newlywed.  He works second shift so she has free time in the evening (my hardest time).

I invited them both for dinner.  We had a wonderful time.  Lots of laughter.  A few tears (they had never met Ralph).  Great wine and good food.

Not even one awkward moment.






Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Level IX Awkward

Just so you know, I am NOT changing most names in this blog.  I don't want anyone to feel AWKWARD!  This blog is real ... this stuff have really happened!

A blog or two ago, I introduced neighbor Tom.  I was so naive.

After visiting Oregon for over a month, it was good to be back in the sunshine as well as my little home.  Ralph wanted to add a front lanai before he departed, so we could enjoy late afternoons in the shade (and save me the embarrassment of sitting in the driveway on a folding chair, waving to neighbors).  It was a huge, long project but I'm happy to say, with a LOT of help from our friends, it was complete before he died.  Not a blade of grass to water, fertilize and mow (we've got this free roaming cat issue here on Maui ... with the Crazy Cat Lady living across the street)(that's another blog entirely).

That leaves me open for Tom to wheel down every time my garage door opens.  I enjoy being outside!!  Hmmm.  He looked different after being away for a month.  Are you serious?  I think he dyed his hair!  He's shaving.  Upgraded his wardrobe.  This is creeping me out sorta.  Then he asked me how I liked his new look?  He turned 90 while I was in Oregon.

Now he's changing our conversation topics.  I am becoming uncomfortable.  He's telling me stories of his youth, about drinking and grabbing women.  Come to find out, this is AFTER he was married and had kids (I think he has five).  Light hearted me I change the subject back to gardening or grandchildren or life in Japan.

Next he brings me a catalog.  The kind I've seen at my parents' house advertising bunion aids, back supports, walker glides and clap on, clap off lights, etc.  Dr. Leonard's, I think.  We chatted a bit and I took in the catalog.  Later that evening I flipped though the pages.  Smack dab in the middle were two pages of adult sex toys!  OMG!  Ew.

The day after, Tom wheels down with a huge smile.  And another catalog.  He asks me if I would buy something for him.  I couldn't quite understand what he was saying about DVD (in my high tech grandmotherliness, I bragged that I no longer rent or buy DVDs ... I "stream" in Netflix or Amazon).  Finally, after several attempts, I asked him to just show me.  (The catalogs are mailed to his home, in his name, so I'm wondering  if his credit card isn't already on file?)  He held up his $20 bill and flipped through the pages.  Landing on the adult sex toy pageS (yes, capitol S as this catalog has several!), he pointed to an erotic DVD.  

Buy for me, make me feel young.

Huh?  Go home, Tom.  This is inappropriate conversation and I do not want to talk with you.  Please leave.

He hasn't been back.  Thank goodness.  I am totally grossed out.






Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The First Month or Two

His suffering is over, thankfully.  I’m happy for him, mad because he was taken too early and sad to be without him.  Cancer stinks.

I spent the first month being overly busy and around friends (or at least people) then off to spend five weeks helping our daughter get moved into a new apartment.  Pros and cons to that.  Note to self:  two weeks is long enough to visit and don’t stay with anyone longer than five days.  We had our moments of too much togetherness.  In addition, the only bathroom was up a flight of steep and narrow stairs ... which caused much pain in my knees.  It was almost bad enough to stop drinking water.

Anyway, I’m already set up for my October visit ... for Braeden’s third birthday.  Fortunately, Ralph and I own a condo in Portland (which I am currently renting out for under cost, to Braeden's best babysitter).  The good news is the complex has a guest suite to rent for visitors!  WAY less cost than a hotel and no stairs at all.

Upon my return to Maui, my now not-so-stressed body decided to give up and catch every bug that wandered down my street.  I was sick for the whole month of July, off and on.  Mostly on.  It seemed that I was paralyzed.  Nothing productive was getting done. I couldn't remember anything, even with a list.  Honestly, I thought I was losing my mind.

Then I read this: 




Whew.  That was a close call!


Monday, August 19, 2013

Really? You're asking me that?

There used to be a TV show called "Kids Say the Darndest Things."  It featured Art Linkletter asking cute young children questions and recording their precious comments.  The show was funny and charming and light hearted.  I loved it.  I wish it were still on air somewhere.  (Tell me if is it!!)

"Things People Say to Widows" is not cheerful or helpful or even very kind!  Some days it takes all my energy not to just smack someone.

My sidekick, Ralph, was 18 years older.  On paper, that sounds like a LOT.  In reality, we were evenly matched.  Several friends/acquaintances have recently asked me why I wasn't more "prepared" for him dying first since he was so much older.  Really?  He didn't die of anything old age related!  He died of cancer.  People get cancer at any age!!  He could have been smashed by a city bus while the driver was texting (I was kinda thinking about the settlement from the city and the mobile phone company in that scenario!).  He had JUST retired.  We had at least 20 healthy years to share (if I started exercising).  Good grief!

Another common misconception ... you are lucky, since he was sick for so long, at least you knew it was coming and had time to prepare.  Really?  Nothing could have "prepared" me for the death of the most charismatic, bigger than life spouse I had.  Although I guess he did give me a list of his passwords.  




The most awkward of all?  Hey!  I've got a few guy friends I need to introduce you to.  

Really?






Sunday, August 18, 2013

Level II AWKWARD

The day Ralph died, our neighbor rolled up in his wheelchair with his typical expectant look.  This was his morning tradition for the past two days when Ralph got a hospital bed facing his beautiful lanai for his scenic journey.  With tears in my eyes, I nodded that yes, he had gotten his wings.  Tom asked for a hug and then whispered that I should now dress more like a lady and wear a little make up.

Tom had a stroke 15 years ago and is 89 years old.  Speaking is difficult for him and he sports hearing aids in both ears.  Having a conversation with him requires 100% concentration.  

Still, I was a bit taken aback.  Really?  Of course I do dress in Hawaiian sweats (baggy cotton capris and oversized t-shirt).  Lately I had been crying so much (in private, of course, so I didn't interfere with Ralph's joie de vivre) that it made no sense to put on makeup.  Maybe Tom had a point.  If I look cheerful, maybe I can manage cheerful.

That was an awkward moment.  Unfortunately, it was just the first of many to come.


Saturday, August 17, 2013

IS THIS NORMAL?

The first three months after losing a spouse are unbelievable.  At least they were for me.  Even knowing that his disease was terminal didn't brace me for the shock that came over my life.  Even wishing that merciful death would come sooner rather than later so he wouldn't have to suffer any longer.  I went into shock for 100 days.

Oh sure, I went through the motions of survival.  Reassured everyone I was doing okay.  Left my Maui to return to Oregon to be with our only child and our only grandson.  It was good to have some sort of purpose.  Once I returned to an empty home, I got a big slap of reality.

Ralph had just retired on his 76th birthday, three years prior.  We sold the house we lived in for 29 years and bought a 982 sq ft home in Maui as well as a small condo in Portland, Oregon so we could be snowbirds!  The next twenty years were going to be a blast!

He was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few months after retirement.  His doctors were all very optimistic about having years to enjoy, if he would just try this treatment plan or that treatment plan.  Honestly, I think he would have had the same timeline and outcome had he not done a thing.  And after watching the side effects and his disposition, I highly recommend not having treatment.  At all.  Just my opinion, mind you.

So here I am.  All on my own.  Part of me is excited to do things my way.  Most of me is wanting his big bear hug and booming voice to banter about the decisions and solutions.

Fortunately, I have a nest egg that should support a modest lifestyle despite the fact I don't have an income.  At 61, I'm too too young for Medicare or Social Security.  Modest doesn't include being a snow bird.  Do I sell one place?  Do I rent one place?  Do I go where I have my little family and big circle of friends?  Do I stay where we dreamed of spending our second phase of life?

Normal people advise me to wait a year or so before making any big decisions.  Based on the loss of brain cells while in that paralyzed first three months, I am deciding to not decide just yet.  I'll keep working on the pros and cons.

Friday, August 16, 2013

The First Step

Me?  A blogger?

A girl needs a hobby!  Since I'm in love with my computer and technology and talking, it seems a good fit for now.  Plus I seem to have a lot on my mind these days.  And a willingness to write it down.

My wonderful husband of almost 29 years died on May 2, 2013 after a two and half year battle with prostate cancer.  The medical world was so optimistic that we would have YEARS, as well as quality of life, to enjoy but in January we learned the cancer had spread to his bones.  He tried radiation which did help reduce the pain, but ruined his quality of life.

He tried his darnedest to get to the finish line on his own schedule. The Person upstairs had a different plan.  When Ralph stopped eating and drinking in order to rush things along, I posted on Facebook that if anyone wanted to say goodbye, this was the time.  He was overwhelmed with comments, posts, private messages, emails, texts and phone calls.  The occasional snail mail as well.  From all over the world.  So he rallied!  Hospice arrived a few days later.

And WOW.  Did that perk him up!  We had a fabulous, wonderful two more months.  He finished his journey with his typical midwestern charm and upbeat attitude.  Never one to refuse a party, he died the morning after my birthday.

What will I do without my buddy?