And My World Changed

I remember everything about the day I met John. I was 20 years old and was hired to be the secretary for an accountant in a nearby town.  I had been working in Toronto for just over a year in a large office but I was tired of the commute.  In March 1976 I decided I wanted a change in my life and moved out of a large bullpen into a two person office.  I settled into the office and one morning my boss Tim gave me a set of financial statements to type up.  He told me to make sure I stay within one inch margins because the guy I was typing them for was VERY picky.  I very carefully typed up these statements (remember .. these were the days where there were no computers, I had an IBM selectric typewriter).

On Friday these two men return with my boss (Tim) after lunch.  I was surprised at the difference between the new men, one was tall, thin, calm and blonde and the other was shorter with a bushy beard and almost a frantic way about him.  The tall man sat down across from me and asked for the statements.  Tim off handedly said “This is John and George” and I immediately thought of the Beatles.

I passed the statements to John and without even a look at me he took the ruler from my desk and started to measure the margins.  Now, I think I’ve mentioned before that I’m an introvert but I’m not a wall flower.  I’m a strong person and I don’t like being pushed around or insulted.  I immediately got my back up when John started to measure the margins of the statements I typed.

He leaned back, looked at me and said, “They are fine”.

I said, “Fine? Fine? They are perfect.”   I gave him a look that surprised him.  He handed me a package of paper and asked me to photocopy several copies of the statements and bind them.  It was only then that I saw the paper was framed like a picture frame and the statements had to sit inside the frame.  He apologized for his tone to me and I could see the other two men were shocked by this change in John.  John asked me what I thought of the letterhead and I told him it was old fashioned and dated and not something a progressive firm would use.  He never ordered that paper again.

The three men talked in Tim’s office while I copied and bound the statements.  I could hear them laughing and for some reason I could feel the tension in my entire body.  I went in and handed John the statements and could feel his eyes on me.  When John and George left Tim turned to me and told me I better get used to them because he had just agreed to go into partnership with them and I would be joining them.   We were to become the Four Musketeers.

10 Months and Counting

I realize I haven’t posted for some time.  I’ve been struggling, but in a new way.  It seems I have battle after battle to fight, whether they are legal or tax challenges that relate to my husband’s death.  I’m just so tired.  I am doing tax returns this year and all the clients that come to see me want to talk about John.  It is not easy to tell the story over and over again.  I never want to cry in front of them.  Everyone makes a comment like “you are an inspiration to all of us”, or “you are so strong” or the one I hate most “you look great” (because I have lost weight).  I am not an inspiration, not strong and I feel like shit.  They don’t realize that as soon as everyone is gone that I cry.  I wake up crying, go to sleep crying.  I feel like crap.

This week has been one of the worst I’ve had in a long time.  I don’t want to rehash everything but my company is being audited by CRA (this is a non-issue but just frustrating right now), I had to file the estate tax return for my husband for the IRS because we held property in the US and had issues with my new car.  On top of all that it is tax season and I have had so many clients here this week and employee who barely shows up.  There are no excuses during tax season not to be at work! So I’ve had even a rougher go the last little while.  On top of that I’m having heart tests done.  I’m not trying to be a doctor but I know there is a problem.  I’ve always had a weird thing with my heart where it races and sometimes I get light headed and feel faint.  But now I’m getting worried.  It happens more and more lately.  I hope it is just that I need a pacemaker to regulate the heartbeat or medication.  I have always said I don’t want open heart surgery and now … well even more so now.  If my heart is physically broken it can match my emotional heart.

Now I feel like I need to wrap things up.  Get things organized.  Make sure my son can take care of himself (he actually finishes college today).  I need to train him and my daughter on taking over the business or simply close it down.  I have a “to do” list.

If I’m to move forward I need to change that attitude.  Find something to live for.  My kids are all self sufficient so once my list is done I don’t need to “live” for them.

My next blog I will begin telling stories from my past.  How I met John, how we fell in love, how our life was together.  I’ll tell stories from my childhood and leave an online legacy.  Gives me something to do.

Forever and all ways … I will love you John.

Last Perfect Day

Today I hate FaceBook. A memory came up that is hard to deal with.
 
One year ago today I had my last perfect day. I remember as though it was yesterday. John and I were in Florida at our condo. John decided to sleep in a bit because we were going to have a busy day. He was still building his strength up after the corrective surgery he had in January. He was feeling better, eating more, smiling more and we were feeling positive. At this point it never occurred to us that he wouldn’t recover and we were happy. The sky was so blue that day and it was warm and breezy out.
 
John got up, showered, changed and had breakfast. He was in such a good mood. We were meeting friends for lunch at a restaurant about an hour away from our condo. We left around 11 and drove leisurely along Gulf Blvd so we could enjoy the beauty of the day. I was driving and John was enjoying the sunshine. We were laughing, reminiscing about all the places along the route. I could see John was so much stronger and happier.
 
We arrived to the restaurant before our friends so we walked around looking at the water. This restaurant is beautiful (Pier 22 in Bradenton). The building was built in 1928 and had a breathtaking view of the Manatee River. We walked along, mindful that John didn’t want to get overtired early. Our friends arrived and we were seated in the restaurant.
 
John was on fire that day. He was chatty, happy talking about work and happy being in the company of old friends. My friend Lisa mentioned how thin John was but I reassured her that we had heard back from the doctor from the tests were all negative and that John just needed time to recover. The doctor had told us there were no signs of cancer, that it was pancreatitis and he would be fine in time. John had a good lunch, ate sushi and crab. He was laughing and having so much fun.
 
Afterwards we walked hand in hand back to the van feeling better than we had since the whole journey started back in October. John was tired but happy.
 
When we got home he napped and we had a light dinner. Afterwards we went over to our neighbour a couple of doors down and had a glass of wine and chatted. We went to bed happy, tired from the sunshine, wine and long drive.
 
The following week we stayed close to home as John was taking a tax course. Even “semi-retired” John felt it was important to keep taking these courses. He was always looking forward to the future.
 
He didn’t really have another perfect day. He was tired, not eating and quiet. We went to a couple of Spring training games for the Jays but he only lasted 2 or 3 innings. Ten days after our perfect day John flew home to see our family doctor as we felt he was not recovering as planned.
 
Eventually it was our family doctor that diagnosed him with pancreatic cancer. All the specialists and surgeon missed it. I don’t think the end result would have been any different if we had known back in February but at least I had that one last perfect day with him.
 
So if you actually read this … I’m not looking for your pity or sorrow. I just want you to make sure you live each day to the fullest and show the people you love that you love them. Don’t just tell them, you need to show them. You never know when your last perfect day will be.

Another Ending

I no longer own a piece of paradise in Florida.  It sold a few days ago.  I know it was the right thing to do … to sell it … but it still has taken another piece of my heart.

John loved our condo.  He worked so hard making it perfect for us.  He laid the floors, painted the walls, put the trim up, designed the kitchen and built me a beautiful craft area.  It was our dream that beginning October 2016 we would spend our “semi-retirement” there.  I knew he was happy sitting out on the lanai looking out at the golfers and palm trees reading his book and he knew I’d keep busy working on various crafts.  I planned to knit, sew, draw and paint there.  Over the past 9 years we slowly moved all this stuff down there so we’d have lots to do while we were there.  Then life changed everything.

 

(John’s chair and view from his chair)

It just wasn’t the same for me there without John.  My friends Don & Tena took such good care of me, inviting me out almost every day, but it doesn’t fill the void.  I could see John in every corner, I could hear his voice and I could almost feel him there.  But instead of feeling comfort I just felt lonely and empty.  I wanted to be home with my children.

I have been home a week now.  It is been a hard week for me because I need to work on filing an estate return for John in order to get my funds for the sale of the condo. It means I have to go through all the paperwork of his death again.  I spent one day (the day I had to pick up a death certificate from the Purolator office) in tears.  It was almost like I lost John all over again.

I know people think I am strong but I’m not.  John kept telling me I was strong and I could get through this but I think he was wrong.  I go to bed every single night thinking I’m one day closer to when I’ll see John again.  Cross another day off the calendar.  Another one down … how many left? I need to get everything in order first, the house, the business and my estate so that the children are taken care of when I die.

Acceptance Speech

It has been 7 months now.  I’ve noticed that there has been a gradual shift in my emotions this month.  I realized I have accepted John’s death.  Before, in my heart, I was waiting for him to come home.  Now I have accepted he is gone from me.  He can’t talk to me, he can’t advise me, he can’t hold me, he is gone.   I still am overcome with grief throughout the day but it is almost like ripples on the ocean as opposed to large waves.  It is silly little things that trigger it.  I won $13 at bingo the other day and the first person I wanted to tell was John.  Then in the same instant I realized he is no longer with me.  It was a small ripple and not a wave.  I felt my breath catch but then could move forward.  Breathe in, breathe out and move on.

Fuck 2016

Every where I go these days all I hear is “Fuck 2016”.  Everyone seems to be so concerned about the deaths of celebrities and the election but I feel differently.  I say Fuck 2016 because this was the year I broke.  My heart broke when my husband died and I will never be the same again.  But lately I’ve been thinking that I know I won’t be the same but I can still “reboot” myself into a new person.  I will find my own path and become happy again.  I will not fill that hole in my heart but I reassemble this broken person into a whole, happy being again.

It is strange to hear so many people lament the death of people they really didn’t know.  Alan Rickman, Prince, David Bowie, Carrie Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Glen Frey … the list goes on and on.  My Facebook is filled with photos, stories and people moaning about the deaths of people that they don’t even know.  Everyone seems to think because they saw that person up on stage or on the screen that they somehow are connected to them and they mourn their passing.  I think it is time for people to give up social media and spend more time with the people in their own lives and not “fake” mourn for people they really didn’t know.

I am going to move into 2017 with a new attitude.  I know I will always have John beside me (as he was in my life) but I’ll move forward. I know I will still have bad moments but I’m more open to the happier times that are coming.

I hope 2017 will be a year of peace and love and brings happiness to all of us.

 

REBOOT

I have decided on my word for 2017.  My focus word is REBOOT.  
Verb (used with object)
1.  to restart (a computer) by loading the operating system; boot again.
2.  to produce a distinctly new version of

3.  to make a change in (something) in order to establish a new beginning:
4.  (of a computer) to be restarted.
Noun
5.  an act or instance of restarting a computer.
6.  an act or instance of making a change in order to establish a new beginning:

a reboot of our product line.
7.  a distinctly new version of something
This is the perfect word for me for 2017!!  I am going to REBOOT my life, my health and my finances.
Come on this journey with me as I restart my entire life!