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.


Shattered Happiness – Part One

I haven’t written in three years.  In those years I truly found my happiness.  Over the past three years my husband John and I left a toxic business relationship (earlier I mentioned my husband sold his accounting practice to another chartered professional accountant but we remained to help her transition into the business) and we concentrated on ourselves and our family.  My husband continued to work part time (because he truly loved what he did) and I took on other projects.  John and I began to enjoy our “semi-retirement”.  We travelled to Hawaii in October 2013 and were there when our daughter Amanda became engaged to her “sun and stars” Brandon.  Over the next 10 months I planned a beach wedding in Florida for the happy couple.  John and I started spending more time together at our condo in Florida, sprinkling in cruises, a trip to the Dominician Repulic and one to Cuba and just enjoying each other.  Another daughter, Laura, was married September 2015.  We were happier than we have ever been together.  Then things changed.

In September my husband had surgery to remove his ascending colon.  In a colonoscopy they discovered a flat polyp that the specialist felt should be removed.  The kids always were amazed at my husband’s healing powers but this time was different.  He didn’t bounce back quite as fast.  We saw the surgeon late October and he suggested we go south and get some sunshine.  We took a cruise to Grand Caymen and Cozumel but mostly sat on our balcony on the ship and enjoyed the sunshine.  But John still wasn’t recovering.



We came back home and told the surgeon that John continued to lose weight and was passing blood in his stool.  We were assured this is normal after bowel surgery.

We came home for Christmas but everyone could see John was still ill.  He was cold all the time and tired.  Not like him at all.  We saw the doctor again who assured us John would be fine.  We headed back down to Florida for more rest and relaxation hoping that John would get stronger.

By New Years John was weak and in pain.  He had lost about 25 pounds since his surgery.  On January 10 John had to fly back home.  He was near death from loss of blood.  The incision where his bowels had been rejoined was leaking at he had lost almost half the blood in his body.  No wonder he was weak.  They operated on January 11, 2016.  We thought the worst was over.


John started to get stronger.  The surgeon mentioned there was a “shadow” on the pancreas and felt John also suffered from pancreatitis.  We asked .. “Is it cancer?” But we were assured it was just the leaking intestine and pancreatitis.  After 6 weeks John and I went back to Florida with the surgeons blessing.  We felt more sun and seafood would put the meat back on my hubby and he would get strong again.

John had to fly home again in March to work on some client files.  I stayed behind because my grandson and his dad were visiting me in Florida.  John was still complaining about pain in his belly but the doctors felt it was a combination of things but no one considered cancer.

John had to have a CT Scan done of his kidneys because he routinely passed kidney stones. While having the scan he asked the technician to go higher because his pain was across the top of his belly.  She complied.  A few days later our family doctor phoned us saying he had booked an enhanced CT Scan on March 16.  I flew home to be with John for the test.

John was still passing blood so the surgeon had scheduled another colonoscopy on March 21.  While John was having this procedure our family doctor called to tell me he believed John had pancreatic cancer.

On April 7 we went to Princess Margaret Hospital in Toronto only to be told John’s cancer was too far spread to do anything.  All they could do is recommend palliative care.  John had a couple of months at the most.  They recommended a stent be inserted in John’s gallbladder to prevent jaundice and told us they were sorry but nothing else could be done. We came home devastated.  OK .. I amend that.  I was devastated.  John was accepting.  I will write more about that later.

It took a week to have the stent inserted.  That is going to be another post that deals with his last months of life.



Northern Girls oh The Way They Kiss …

I had to come back up north for a few days and I am still shivering. I left sunny Florida on Monday, travelling through the sunshine to southern Georgia. The fields reminded me of winter … acres and acres of cotton in full bloom blanketed the southern part of the state. Travelling north through northern Georgia and Tennessee there were snow flurries. It made me feel nostalgic and I wanted to come home and get ready for Christmas. By Ohio there was snow in the fields. Each time I got out of the car to pump gas or to eat I got chilled to the bone. I can hardly wait to head back south.

I have never liked the cold. I remember when I was a kid my dad would build me an ice rink in the backyard. He would stand out there for hours watering it. He would take me out to teach me to skate but I would be so cold and I just wanted back inside. He finally gave up by the time I was eight or so (but the neighbourhood kids loved the rink). I did love going sledding with my brother. He hated taking me but I loved the feeling of racing down the hill. I may have been cold but I have always loved speed. Even today when I am tense or upset I like going to a ride in the car … driving as fast as I can!

Winter hasn’t even started and I already am tired of it. Decorating for the holiday season will keep me warm but immediately after the holiday I’m heading south!

Falling Out of Love … How Do I Get the Magic Back?

For as long as I remember I have been in love with Mickey Mouse.  As a child my father would tell me stories about Mickey Mouse while we were driving to our cottage.  In the 8th grade I did a school project on Walt Disney and Walt Disney World.  I was totally fascinated with Disney World from that moment on.   I  wore Mickey on my clothes, have a collection of watches with MIckey on them and started collecting all sorts of Mickey items.  I can’t even remember how many times I have visited Disney World.  I have been going there for 32 years … sometimes even more than once in a year.  

My children love Walt Disney World and my grandchildren associate me with Mickey Mouse.  So what has happened?

Today I decided to sort out my collection of Disney pins.  I just started collecting these pins two years ago … started with one of the Beach Club .. special edition showing the Christmas carousel.  I saw the chocolate masterpiece for the first time in December 2009 when my son Adam and my granddaughter Emily went to Disney with me.  My husband was to come but pinched a nerve in his shoulder the evening before we were to leave and he decided to sty behind.  The trip was magical.  My granddaughter discovered the “fun” rides. My son came out of his shell … the three of us laughed, screamed and discovered things together.  I needed this holiday … just prior to this holiday I found out I needed surgery right after Christmas.  It was a holiday to remember .

The next year was one of the worst years of my life.  My annus horribilis.  I lost much that was dear to me … never to be whole again.

At the end of the year I talked my husband into doing the trip with us again in December.  Again at the last minute he cancelled.  This time it was myself, my daughter Amanda and my granddaughter Emily.  Again … it was a perfect holiday.  We laughed, played … delighted in the Christmas atmosphere … sang Christmas songs and I felt myself turning a corner … however the year of loss had changed me.  I looked around at all the happy Christmas carollers and felt a sense of emptiness.  I wanted to feel that Disney magic again … the sense of wonder and discovery … the feeling of childhood joy.  I was beginning to lose it.

In May 2011 I went to Disney World again with my oldest daughter and her family.  My husband came along this time.  Unfortunately it was hot and we were tired from tax season.  While there were moments of happiness with the family generally I felt tired and worn out.  My husband did not enjoy the holiday and I felt his displeasure with it everyday.  I began looking at my beloved Disney World with a jaded eye … began to see the flaws, the crowds annoyed me and I could hardly wait to leave.

I was desperate to reclaim my feeling so I booked another Christmas holiday.  My daughter Amanda, my husband John, stepdaughter Laura and granddaughter Emily came.  We stayed at my favourite resort, concierge level … I planned everything.  Favourite restaurants, wanted to attend the Christmas candlelight show, I researched all the different Christmas events and wanted to share it with my family.  The holiday started out badly … we pull up and my husband waves away the welcoming staff.  Instead of the Disney welcome I ended up having to go out and search for someone who could help us get to the proper level.  Once in the room everyone was complaining … it just went downhill from there.  My granddaughter totally ignored me and hung out with her mother.  There were bright moments … my beautiful daughter Amanda made me laugh, included me on the rides and hugged me when I was down but generally it was just a so-so holiday.

My daughter and her boyfriend wanted to go to Disney in September 2012 so we planned a holiday.  I had thought it would be a romantic one with my hubby …. Amanda and I talked about renting a boat to see the fireworks at night … I wanted to do all the adult things there with John.  Unfortunately John decided not to go so Adam stepped in.  Then Adam brought his girlfriend.  Suddenly I became the fifth wheel.  A romantic setting and I was the outsider.  I went through the motions on the rides … there was nothing there for me any more.  Just emptiness. It was not anyones fault … my children tried to include me but my I just couldn’t get into it. I felt I was getting too old for the rides (even though I still love Mission Space) and I was tired of all the walking from place to place. I was almost content to just sit and read in the garden of the hotel. It was so beautiful, peaceful and calm there.

Is this part of my evolution? Does this make me happy? Do I want to get the magic back? Do I want to feel that childlike wonder again? What do I do with my Mickey collection? Do I box it up? Move on?

Or do I evolve? Do I change … rediscover my beloved Disney on an adult level? Do I try and find the same joy discovering the corners of the world, trying foods in the different countries, watching the fireworks with the one I love? Or do I close the old door and bolt it shut or open a new one?