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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
So today I am 60 years old. I’m officially an old woman. Sixty. Wow.
I had a good birthday. My son was very attentive all day. He knows I’m very emotional and wanted to keep me happy. We went to the movies in the morning, I had visitors in the afternoon and we watched a DVD at night. On Sunday my family is getting together to celebrate. I wish they hadn’t organized this birthday lunch. I would rather just ignore the day. It is not a big deal to have a birthday and right now I don’t feel like celebrating without John.
These are the words that I am going to chose from in order to move forward next year. They all are good words, positive words and strong words. Which one should I pick?
In 2017 I need to believe that I can move forward with my life. I need to believe I can go on without John. I need to believe that I will be alright again. I need to believe that I can make this journey and not just survive but thrive again.
In 2017 I need to restore not only my life but my health. I am overweight, my sugar levels indicate I’m pre-diabetic and I’m out of shape. Writing this word makes me realize that it does not encompass my goals for the year. I need to find a new life. Perhaps Reset (like a computer) is a better word.
I need to rebuild my life. I need to get stronger, build a stronger body, build a life for me that encompasses financial and emotional stability and build bridges to my family and friends so that our relationships are closer.
I want to explore myself and the world around me. For all my adult life I’ve stood with my husband and now it is time to stand alone. I need to find out who I am and where I want to go.
This year has been hell on me. My body is rebelling, my business needs attention and my home is in the midst of renovations. I need to spend nourishing me, my business and my home. I need to strengthen myself in order to handle my life alone. John was always my safety net and my strength. Now I need to become strong enough to go on alone.
Which word should I pick?
I have decided to use a workbook in order to direct my life in a more positive way. The first thing the workbook wants is a word that I will relate to during 2017. This word is to direct me, inspire me and help me achieve a happy, shining life. That is a great deal of importance placed on this one word. So what word should I pick?
The journal says I should ask myself the following two questions.
- What do I need more of?
- What do I need less of?
The second question is easier to answer. I need less stress. I am worried about everything. I’m worried about my finances, I’m worried about my children, I’m worried about my house falling apart, I’m worried about my health, I’m worried about my business. I have panic attacks where my heart pounds and I can’t breathe because the pressure across my chest is so intense. This even happens while I’m sleeping! And sleeping … I wish I could sleep a peaceful sleep. I toss and turn and no longer dream. I would love to sleep normally again.
So what do I need more of? I would like to have more time with my children one on one. With the phones put away and attention spent on each other. I need to get back into a creative mode, where I produce something. I waste so much time playing silly online games. I need more balance in my life where I take care of myself, my children, my home and my finances/business.
I have narrowed my word list down to five words: Believe, restore, build, explore and nourish. Which one should I pick?
John died six months ago. June 13, 2016 the life I knew ended. I’m learning to move on.
I miss John. I miss talking to him, sharing things with him, knowing he always had my back. But what I miss the most about him is the way he smiled at me when I’d come home. He would look up at me and give me this half smile and it would make my stomach flip even after 35 years of marriage. In that moment I could always tell he loved me and he was happy to see me. I miss that smile.
I believe I made the right decision about selling the condo. I know John would have kept it but he loved going there because he was comfortable there. He would spend hours sitting on the balcony reading and watching the golfers. He liked having his own things there and sleeping in a comfortable bed. He was not happy traveling. I think though he would understand why I am selling. I know I’ll have second thoughts and regrets but in the long run it is the right decision for me. I know it.
I find it overwhelming having to handle everything on my own. Not just the big things but the little things too. John was so good to me. He would fill my car with gas or just bring me a bowl of ice cream (he did love his ice cream). He would take the garbage out at the the condo and take my car to have the oil changed. We also split the office work. We worked on tax returns together, he’d choose the mortgages we would fund and I’d do the bookkeeping. We were the perfect team. I took good care of him too. I’d remind him to take his insulin, I took care of him the best I could. Not just when he was dying, I always took good care of him. It made both of us feel good to do things for each other. Now I am alone and struggling.
I have been thinking about what I want to do in the future. I don’t want to continue working with the clients. I should never have signed up with Simon to continue working with the clients. Simon isn’t reliable enough and it is stressing me out. I should have just told the clients that I was wrapping everything up when John died but I didn’t. First, John wanted me to continue with the personal tax clients and secondly I thought I was helping Simon. But I’m not qualified to do all these tax returns. I would rather get a normal job than have to deal with all these clients all the time. But I’ve told them I would take care of them. I need to figure out a way out of this mess. I will continue taking care of the family’s returns but not everyone else. I only have two corporate clients to worry about and I can either have them work with Simon or go to another accounting firm.
I wish last April that John had not encouraged me and the clients to continue our relationship. I don’t like answering the phone. I don’t feel qualified to answer the questions they ask me. John wanted to make sure i had something to do when he was gone but he shouldn’t have decided my future for me. I can easily get a part time job and make just as much money and have less stress. I need to move toward that life. The accounting practice was John’s life and not mine. I only got involved when he opened his own office. I’ll blog about that story another time. But right now, I realize it is time to give this up.
I need to carve out my new place in the world. I need to decide my own direction and my own life. I need to leave my old life behind and move forward. I need to make my own mistakes.
I am really starting over.
Someone asked me the other day how I’m dealing with my grief. They were trying to get me to go see a grief counselor and I replied, “I’m seeing myself.” I find that writing about my thoughts helps me to focus and I am hoping that when I reread some of the older posts I’ll see that I’m getting stronger. I know in the beginning I felt incredible despair and blackness and felt life was hopeless. I have better days now, and yes, I can say “days” instead of “moments”. Now I still cry, sob actually, but I no longer have such an overwhelming desire to die. I am discovering, and surrounding myself, with the people that want to be with me. Family and friends that share in my grief and help me find a new normal for myself. I am hurt by the disappearance of some people that I thought were concerned for me, people I thought that would be there for me during difficult times but they have either totally faded from my life or flit in and out without regard to my feelings. But I am also surprised by how some people have swept into my life and put their arms around me to comfort me and give me strength. They are my angels.
Laura arrived right in time. I had such a stressful time regarding selling the condo and missing John that I was thinking that I didn’t want to go on anymore. I was tired of the emptiness and feeling so alone. The only time I’d feel alive again was when my children and friend Anne FaceTimed me. Getting a text is not the same as hearing a person, seeing a family member … not quite the same as being able to touch them but it was the next best thing. The oldest daughter, Julie loves to FaceTime me and we do it no matter where I am. She was always there with a smile, always ready to chat whenever I needed her. Adam also FaceTimed me regularly. On days he didn’t FaceTime we chatted by text. We did discuss business matters but we also just had nice chats.
On Saturday Laura arrived. I was late getting to the airport but her luggage was last off the plane so it all worked out. We went straight from the airport to the ship. We decided to start our vacation by having a couple of drinks on the Lido deck of the ship. It was a great start to our holiday and the entire week was filled with laughter, some tears and good times. I felt “normal” again. We went to Georgetown, Grand Cayman and to a private beach off the coast of Cozemel. We did have wonderful chats about John. We laughed over some memories and cried over others but it felt good.
The cruise was only 5 nights so we had a few days back at the condo before we flew back north.
While we were onboard the ship there was an offer on the condo made by my neighbours that walked away from the deal earlier. I had to sign all the paperwork on the deal but Laura and I were in a hurry because we were going out that day to get groceries and to have some fun. When the agent left I told Laura we needed to freshen up and we’d leave. I was in my bedroom, got cleaned up and ran out into the family room and was stopped in my tracks. I swear John was sitting in his chair in the living room. He was sitting there smiling at me. For a split second I felt whole again. I called to Laura and he disappeared. I cried but I felt he was letting me know it was ok for me to sell the condo. He wouldn’t have done it if the situation was reversed but he understood why I was selling it.
I got home on Sunday. I feel like I’ve been running since I got home but it feels good. I’ve been cleaning up after the renovations that were done while I was away. I had work to do for my business because I was away too long. I have cried every day since I’ve been home but now that I’m back with people that love me I feel more complete.