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.


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.
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!

Believe, Restore, Build, Explore and Nourish

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?

Home Again

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.


Breathe In, Breathe Out, Move On

Five months have passed.  The past few weeks were some of the most difficult times I’ve gone through.  I started having panic attacks.  I had one when I was out playing bingo with a friend and another while I was shopping at Lowes.  Both times I thought I was having a heart attack.  My thoughts were not “Oh my .. I’m going to die” but “I want to die at home so I can be with John”.

So one afternoon I went to John’s Pass.  Believe it or not, I went to Hooters, found a table by the water and I sat there for 2 hours.  I watched the people on the boardwalk and sat and thought.  I decided that I was going to sell the condo.  John and I worked so hard the past 9 years getting this condo ready for this year.  We were supposed to be retired this year, enjoying our winter home.   We did all the renovations together and, as a result, I feel him in every corner of this place.  Every moment is like picking a scab on my already broken heart.

I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders when I made the decision to sell.  I didn’t realize I was just exchanging one stress for another.  I came home and told my family and they were generally supportive.  My children were all concerned that I was rushing it but my brother totally understood.  Leo was here for a week and he didn’t feel as comfortable as when he used to come when John was here.  My only reservation was that John had asked me to wait a year before I sold the condo.  We talked about it before he died and I told him I would sell and he tried to persuade me to keep it.  If the situation was reversed I could see him keeping the place but I need to be home with my children.  Plus I find it so difficult to continue with our business from here.  My son is helping me as much as he can but it is hard to know where we are at when we are doing everything over the phone.

I needed some time to pack up everything before I listed the unit so I just put a sign in one window that it was for sale by owner.  I had several calls from people that could see it from the golf course but no one came to see it.  My neighbour Jan tried to have her daughter buy it but it really wasn’t right for the daughter.  She has young children and would have to try and rent it.  I totally understood why she didn’t but it but I had a more difficult time trying to understand why my next door neighbours did what they did.  They came over one morning and toured the apartment.  They told me how much they loved the unit and how they wanted to buy it.  They went home to discuss it and came back a few hours later and said they wanted to buy it.  They were going to go to the bank on Saturday and we agreed on the price and terms.  I was on top of the world at that moment.  I felt the tides are turned for me.  Then two days later they came over and told me that they changed their mind.  I was in shock.  I could not believe it.  There are no words to describe how I felt.  It was like the final straw that I could handle.  John’s illness and subsequent death, the problems with the person that bought his practice, the problems I had with the house falling apart, the stress of the business and then this … well to be honest, I didn’t think I would be able to get through it.  I was seriously contemplating the end of my life.

I slept off and on … mostly just took to my bed … and got up 24 hours later and decided it was time to list the condo professionally.  Once the decision was made I felt stronger.  The real estate agent came by on Friday and and I signed the papers.

I had the most difficult time on Friday after I signed the papers.  I was going out for dinner with my neighbours.  I was apprehensive about going since my one friend was annoyed with me already for listing with an agent but I went.  It was 4 couples plus one other widow.  We went to the Elks club.  At the dinner I needed up sitting next to the friend that felt I should have had her sell my condo.  She was very frustrated with me that I listed and she let me know.  I ended up going to the bathroom several times as she upset me so much.  She had no idea how she upset me.  Her heart was in the right place but she doesn’t understand how stressful this is for me.  I’m so torn about selling this place.  I love it here but it is not the same without John.  I’m lonely and it is an expensive place to come sit alone.

So I’m already upset and at this dinner.  I am watching all these couples, friends of John’s and mine, having fun together.  After dinner there is dancing.  I watch my friends all dance together.  I never felt so alone.

A few days have passed and I’m doing better.  Each day is a struggle but I’m counting the days until Laura gets here on Saturday and we go off on our cruise.  And then I go home.  I pray that someone will see my place and buy it quickly and I can move on with my life.


Super Strong

Grief is the strongest emotion I have ever felt.  It has taken over all my feelings of love and hope, erased all the joy and life out of me.  The only time I sleep is when I take a sleeping pill and it is a dreamless sleep.  A restless, dreamless sleep.

Over and over again I reach out for John and he is not there.  He is not there when I need him, he is not there when I need my hand held, he is not there when I am scared or tired, he is not there when I turn to show him something I discovered.  All that happens is that momentary joy turns to overwhelming sadness when I realize I don’t have him here to share it with.  He wasn’t here for the world series, he wasn’t here to see his Orioles get beaten my Blue Jays and he won’t be here for any more of the events in my life.

I am going to fight this though because that is what John would have wanted me to do.  While he was dying he held me and told me that I was strong enough to get through this.  He never was wrong before so why should he be wrong now?  I need to find that strength within me and beat this thing called “grief”.  I am still alive.

I’m not sure how to do this … how to defeat this overpowering thing called grief.  I want to smile again, really smile, when I hear Christmas songs or see a child playing in the surf.  I want to feel better and not spend my days curled up on my bed just staring out the window.  I know where I want to be but I have to figure out how to get there.

I need to be like a super hero … like Dr. Strange or Batman and take this loss and turn it into something positive.  John believed in me.  I need to believe in me.

60 Seconds

I keep thinking that I just want one minute more with John.  Just one minute.  But then I try and think what would I do in that minute? Is there something I would ask him? I can’t think of anything. I wouldn’t waste the time asking if he loved me because I know he did.  Should I ask him if he is proud how I am handling things?  Nope … he would tell me he was always proud of me.  So what would I do with that minute?  I finally figured it out.  I just want home to hold me for a minute.  Just one reassuring hug for 60 seconds.  But I know I would be greedy and want more.  One minute a year, one minute a month, one minute a week … it would never be enough until I had him back with me full time.

I was trying to figure out what it is that I need right now. It is an odd feeling.  I am so lonely but not alone.  My family has been wonderful and supportive and I really am not alone but I sure am lonely. Today I went out with my brother, his wife and their grandaughter to Weeki Wachi.  We saw the mermaids perform, took a short boat ride down the Weeki Wachi river and walked around the grounds.  Beautiful, old style Florida fun but I missed having John with me.  I miss those shared moments where we could communicate our feelings without words and we just knew what the other was thinking.   I am surrounded by people but I have never felt so lonely.  I don’t know if that hole will ever be filled.


Happy Anniversary

It would have been my 35th anniversary today.  John and I planned to spend the entire month of October celebrating in Hawaii.  We made such wonderful plans, a week on Oahu, a week on the Big Island, a week on Kauai and a week cruising all of the islands.  Instead I am in Florida wishing with my whole heart that I could have one more hug, one more kiss, one more moment with the man I loved.

I’m sure everyone feels their wedding day was special or unusual but I felt mine really was.  The night before we were married John put his back out scraping a plate after dinner (I think that was the last time he helped clear the table).  He could barely move on our wedding day (which is why he looks so stiff in our wedding photos).

We were to be married at City Hall at 3 pm.  Around noon his brother (our best man) called and said he could no longer be our best man.  He said he couldn’t do it in good conscience because he felt our marriage was wrong.  John had been married before and had two children from his first marriage.  John was shattered.  It was bad enough that one brother just refused to attend the wedding and now his other brother would no longer be our best man.  Fortunately my brother agreed to step in.  It was, as they say, the beginning of a beautiful friendship between my brother and John.

Even with all this family turmoil John and I were incredibly happy on our wedding day.  My family loved John and accepted him into the fold. John and I had many happy years together and our family grew.  As I said before we had a daughter and a son and the two daughters from his first marriage spent a great deal of time with us. (The oldest actually moved in with us when she was 14 and stayed with us until she finished college and the next one lived with us for almost ten years while she was an adult.)

But suddenly things were not so perfect.  John changed drastically and our relationship suffered.  I don’t want to concentrate on it here as it is in the past and I feel it has to do with his undiagnosed diabetes.  Whenever John’s sugar levels were high he would be quite difficult to be with and once he was diagnosed we knew how to handle it.  But there was a period of 4 to 5 years where our relationship suffered because of it.  Once he got his diabetes under control we decided to reconcile.  For our 25th anniversary we decided to show the world we were united and we renewed our vows on a pirate ship out on the gulf of Mexico.  For the next ten years (until his illness) we were incredibly happy together.


John and I weren’t just married; we were in business together.  This meant we spent more time together than most couples.  We were an extension of each other and that was wonderful.  I would drive John crazy when I’d finish sentences for him but it just showed me how in sync we were together.  There were times I was in Florida and he was back home but we would talk several times a day on the telephone and we shared everything with each other.  We were a team.

Today I celebrate the time we did have together.  Every moment, every smile, every kiss, every tear, every laugh … every second we spent together.  I was very lucky to find my soul mate.  Many people go through their entire lives looking and never find them.  He was and still is my happiness.




My Family

I started this post a year ago before my husband got ill.  I’ve decided that it is time to start looking at the positive things in my life and finish it.  Hopefully it will help me in the long run.

Sometime ago I was challenged by a fellow blogger to write a letter to someone that made a positive impact on my life.  I have sort of done this in my blogs when I wrote how lucky I am to have such a wonderful husband and about the relationship I had with my dad.  So I’m changing this up a bit … just decided to say some of the things I am thankful for.

I know how lucky I am.  I have incredible freedoms in my life. I’m able to go wherever I want to go, basically whenever I want to go.   While the stock market fell I still have enough money to live on.  I go to bed with a full belly every night and wake up every morning knowing I have another chance to make a difference in life.  I am truly blessed.

The icing on the cake is my family.  As I mentioned before I had a husband that loves me.  He was a package deal and came with two daughters.  They have grown up and have children of their own.

Julie is oldest daughter.  Her siblings will say she is the bossiest but at times that is what this family needs.  She is fiercely protective of the family and will defend us to death.  She is always posting things on facebook saying she is a  bitch to which I always think “you say that like it is a bad thing”.  Julie wears it well. She is a strong woman and I’m quite proud of her.  Julie lives an hour away and is happily married and has a teenage son.  They are living a perfect life … big house, good jobs and good health.  They are the ideal family.

Next in the birth order is Laura.  Laura has a daughter Emily and they lived with us since my granddaughter was one and a half and lived with us for almost 10 years. They are both quite happy now, my stepdaughter is now married, she bought a house less than 10 minutes away from me and she has her mother living with them.  Laura is the child that hates confrontation and wants everything to run smoothly.  Ever since John has passed away she comes by to check on me regularly.  She tries to keep me busy by having me over for dinner or just coming by to hang out.

My husband and I have two children together (they are both adults now) and they are both quite happy in their lives.  Our oldest is our daughter Amanda.  She’s a beautiful woman, smart, funny, talented and creative.  She is married to a wonderful man.  I could not have picked a better man for her. She is the most like my husband of all our children.  Things to Amanda (and John) are always black and white with very little grey area in between.  I find that odd since she is incredibly creative and talented in so many areas.  She is an introvert like her mother and she the most competitive of all the children.  This is not a bad thing because it always makes herself push to the next limit.  She has to learn more, train harder, break all her personal goals.  She is an inspiration to me.

Our son Adam protects me, calms me, makes me laugh, frustrates the hell out of me at times, but I know he is always here for me.  He has the ability to center me and makes me see both sides of situations. He is the baby of the family and is spoiled rotten by his siblings.  But they all know when mom is upset to call Adam.  Adam worked several years with John and I but he decided he wanted a new direction once John sold his accounting practice.  He is in the second year of culinary management in college and he hopes to run a restaurant some day.  The benefit to this is he creates wonderful meals and desserts for us but the bad side is it is not helping my weight.  Adam is presently living with me along with his girlfriend Lee.  We would like to continue this arrangement after he finishes college so that I can travel and feel that the house is in good hands while I’m away.

As I have mentioned before I have a nephew that I’m close to.  He is like my kid brother.  There is ten years between us but since we have grown into adults we have become friends too.  Stephen always has my back and I have his.  He is strong and follows the “what would John do” train of thought throughout his life.  John was his father figure and he took all the lessons John taught him to heart.  He is a wonderful man.

You are going to read a lot about these people in upcoming blog posts because they are all the centre of my life.