It is funny, I never really thought about the afterlife much until John got ill. We were both raised Catholics but left the church when we got together since the church didn’t accept people that were divorced. I think in the back of our minds we both believed in some sort of Heaven but we didn’t talk about it.
John was a very logical, smart man. He was a Chartered Accountant (before his death they changed the name in Canada to Chartered Professional Accountant “CPA” and he hated that name). He worked a great deal with lawyers and other professionals that valued his intelligence and his dedication to his career. It was not a job to John but a way of life. He was one of those people that never worked a day in his life because he loved what he did.
While John was dying he would comfort while he held me. He kept telling me just to listen harder and he’d still be talking to me. He spoke with such calmness, so sure that we would be together again that I would stop crying.
One day he was in the hospital being treated for a massive infection that the hospital gave him and he started looking at the door. My daughter Amanda and I were with him at the time and I asked him what he was looking at. He replied, “your dad is here … he’s waiting for me”. Then a few minutes later he said that my dad had left and would be back later. He didn’t remember saying this to me later.
Just before John passed away I had changed his clothes, made him comfortable with the PSW that came to help me. He had been sedated for 10 days. I went to sit in the other room for a few minutes to talk to my daughter Laura and there was a loud knock. I went in to check on him, took his hand and he opened his eyes and died looking at me.
It has been over a year since he passed away and I know in my heart he is still with me and he’s waiting for me. He has shown me this by me finding the Valentine’s day card, or the email that he sent me years ago. Every once in awhile I catch a glimpse of him in the corner of my eye or I can smell him. He is doing everything he can to let me know that he is waiting for me. He also wants me to stop being sad and to live my life with joy and happiness in it. I know this with every fiber of my being. When my life is over we will be together again. Forever and all ways.
My grief has changed. I don’t cry as much but I am incredibly sad. I smile, I laugh with people but inside I’m so sad. I’ve been trying different meditations for happiness, playing with my kittens and spending time with my family but I’m just sad and tired. I have no energy to do anything and really can’t think of anything I want to do. It doesn’t help that it is just dark and gloomy outside all the time and it rains every single day. I have a few work jobs to complete and I can’t get motivated to do those and I need to spend time on my other business but it is a struggle to even work on it. I need something to kick me in the ass so I can get on with my life.
I did a “game” on FaceBook today and it told me I will live until I am 109. No thanks … Right now I’d be quite happy to die as soon as I have everything organized in my life. I have a list of things that need to be done, I need to document everything financial that I deal with, I need to organize my work so that my clients will be taken care of when I finally die and I need to make sure my children (who are adults now) are able to take care of themselves. My stepdaughters are fine, both are married with children and are financially secure. My daughter is married (no children) and is quite independent from me. My son is just starting out in his career, working in a restaurant on the line. He makes next to nothing right now but I’m sure with hard work and perseverance he will achieve his dream of being a restaurant manager.
Most likely I should downsize and move out of my house. Right now my son and his girlfriend are living with me but he can’t afford to live here on his own. This will probably take me a year to achieve because I need to renovate the house and empty it. At the rate that I’m moving it will take me years just to finish that project.
I want to be happy again. I don’t want to wake up crying every day. I want John to know that he was right and that I can handle everything that needs to be done. It is difficult because while he was dying he decided I needed to continue the tax practice but I should have told him no. That put incredible strain and stress on me and I don’t believe he could foresee that. He always told me I was the smartest person he knew and he believed I could handle it. Well I did handle it but the stress almost killed me. I need to make changes going forward.
I have a friend that is also a widow and we have been doing things together. We have been going out at least once a week but I am an introvert and she needs to contact me instead of me contacting her. We are making travel plans (going to Bermuda in September, Mexico in October and Florida in November). Her husband passed away over two years ago from complications from MS. She is quite happy to spend time with me in Florida too. Florida seems to be my happy place. I think about being there all the time. As I mentioned before my daughter is quite unhappy with me that I sold the condo there. She looks at it as a place of memories but to me, it was my future with John. We worked hard to get the condo ready for our retirement which was supposed to start in 2016. But he died before we were able to see our dream come true. No one loved that place more than I did but every moment I spent there was like a knife in my heart. I didn’t think I could survive if I stayed there. But I love the area and I will go back. I’ll most likely buy another condo and make it mine. I can go to “our” favourite places and remember John and smile but try and move forward and get through my life. If I can’t move forward then I might as well liquidate everything and die. What is the use of living?
I really do want to be happy. I want to smile where it actually touches my insides instead of my outside. I want to wake up feeling happy to be alive instead of getting up every day thinking of what I have lost. I have been trying different meditations and they are helping and so are my kittens. They obviously love their mama cat because they are with me so much of my day. They curl up and sleep beside me while I work. My boy cat (Obi-Wan) loves to watch me type and he stares at the screen of the computer.
I am trying … we will see how this journey goes.
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.
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.
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?