Today is my first Thanksgiving without my husband.  I’m having a very hard time finding anything to be thankful for even though I know in my heart I should be grateful for the life I have.

I still don’t sleep well.  I tend to wander the house at night.  I sleep a few hours in my bed, sleep a few hours in the living room and then a few hours in the family room. I’m most comfortable in the family room because I feel John is in there.  It is the room where he died.  I curl up on the sofa and pretend he is still there in his hospital bed.  I think I will do better when I return to Florida.  It is less stressful there for me.

My son Adam made his first Thanksgiving dinner yesterday.  Turkey, dressing, mashed potatoes, squash, steamed veggies and a yummy creme brulee for dessert.  My daughter Amanda came with her husband and we all enjoyed the meal.  Everyone seemed to avoid the topic of John but he was never far from us.  Tomorrow I’m going to another daughter’s house to celebrate again.  But this celebration is really difficult for me.  I know I have to be strong for them but it is really difficult.

A good friend of mine called today to tell me he was thinking of me.  He said that he knows it is hard experiencing “firsts” without John.  He’s right.  But I think I’m going to miss John every day of the rest of my life.

I have been thinking though that John would be upset with me if he knew I was still feeling this way.  John always wanted my happiness before his.  I’m going to work hard at being more social and getting my feet back on the ground. I spend too many days feeling lost and empty.  I don’t want my life to be wasted.  I still have time left to do some good in this world and make my mark.  I’m going to try and be more positive and find my way.

I have been working on clients year ends lately and I want to get them all finished so I can clear my mind when I go down south.  I don’t want to take work down there with me.  So for the next week I’m going to keep my nose to the grindstone and get it all done!


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.



My Last Tax Season

I’ve been having a difficult time writing lately and I think it is because I’m tired of work.  A little background for you first … my husband and I have had our own business for over 20 years.  He’s a chartered accountant and I’ve run the office plus worked with clients teaching them bookkeeping and QuickBooks.  The practice was successful but there are times I think the cost was too great.  We worked very hard, most times 6 or 7 days a week.  We spoiled our children.  Just when we had decided to stop working as hard, my stepdaughter moved in with her one year old baby.  Suddenly there were two more mouths to feed, a baby to dress and care for and we had to work harder to provide for the family.  Then the whole financial crisis killed our investments.

In 2010 my husband entered into an agreement with another chartered accountant to take over the practice.  He turned 65 on his last birthday and he deserves not to continue working at this pace.  Over the past two years we have been winding down and getting the clients used to the changes.  My time at the office will end the end of April while my husband will continue working (but less hours) for the next couple of years.

I’m finding it difficult to focus at work.  I feel a sense of loss since work defined me for so long.  My role there has changed.  I’ve gone from the person running the office to the person making tea, answering the phones and, yes, I am filing.  I have some tax returns and bookkeeping to do for clients but I’ve lost my work mojo.  I am tired of being there.  It is time for me to move on.

I feel tired all the time and I know I’m trying to sleep the time away.  I need to look at this as a positive change in my life.  One step at a time and move forward instead of dwelling on the past.  So tomorrow I’m going to try to focus on my happiness plan and work on the plans I set out earlier this year.

Plan B

So I haven’t had the best start to my new life. I got up yesterday, ate a bowl of my healthy steel-cut oat breakfast (recipe will be posted later) and started to clean my basement. Why start in the basement? Well … just because it is winter time … my furnace decided to stop working. (side note … I really hate the three dots and I have no idea why I started using them … I really need to stop.)

I went into the basement and almost had a heart attack. Cat poop everywhere (we had a sickly cat that had bowel problems), I could barely get across the basement because of all the garbage bags down there (my daughter cleaned out her room before moving out and left it there along with most of her belongings) and a mess left by my son when he moved his games room upstairs.

Two trips to the dump later I was starting to feel under the weather. I’ve had a persistent pain in my right side since Sunday morning and it was getting worse. Now those who know me know I hate going to the doctor but I decided it was time to go. I called my doctor and was shocked when his nurse said I was to come right away.

My doctor examined me and told me to go to the hospital. He called ahead to the hospital to have them expect me. After he had examined me he said he believed it was my appendix.

The doctor at emergency also examined me, decided it was my appendix and ordered blood work, had me change into a gown and an IV was put in. I had to drink this foul-tasting orange liquid and wait for it to flow through my digestive track. Then off for a CT Scan. They inserted a die in my IV that made all my blood vessels tingle (makes you feel like you wet your pants but you don’t really).

Back into a little room I go (but at least they gave me a TV so I could watch NCIS while I waited). The doctor came back in and said it was not my appendix and they couldn’t find anything other than one large kidney stone and one small kidney stone. After waiting an hour to make sure I didn’t stroke out from the dye I was released with no answer to my pain.  So off I go home (with a nice needle for pain) and I go to sleep in a freezing house.

So today I got up all enthusiastic to start again.  Knock me down and I’ll pop right back up!  Ate another bowl of steel-cut oats, finished cleaning the games room, cleaned a pathway to the furnace, made a healthy meat free dinner (fresh mushrooms, garlic and tomato sauce over pasta) and had a hot shower in a cold room.  Furnace people are coming tomorrow.  I’m still in pain but not nearly as bad as yesterday.

So everything in life is about how you handle Plan B.  Yes, my dream is to have an “A” life.  I want the “happy every after”.  I want my husband to feel strong and well. I want our finances to ensure us to have a comfortable retirement.  But that never happens for me.  My husband has major back and body problems and the economy directly hit our retirement plan.  But how do I handle this?  Do I sink? Or do I swim?  Do I wallow in self pity (like some people I know) or do I make the best of the situation?  The choice is mine and I decide I always need to be ready for Plan B.

So I am looking at the past few days as a positive thing.  Yes, I was in terrible pain yesterday but I got a state of the art CT Scan that checked me out and found nothing.  No surgery, nothing came up on the scans other than one big and one small kidney stone.  (I am having them blasted next month.)

My furnace went out.  OK, positive thing is it forced me to work on the basement.  I had planned to work on my room, but now I have the games room cleaned and available to use while renovating my house.

Nothing ever goes the way I plan.  So I need to learn to rely on Plan B.

Change Change Change

I have been thinking too much lately. I’m not overly happy with my life and want change. The other day I saw a job that would be perfect for me and I jumped on it. I was going to apply for the job and I knew that I could sell myself to this organization. I would be useful again. I would earn my own money …. help out with our retirement fund. Then I started thinking … my house is a mess and needs major renovations and I promised I would spend more time with my mother. I wanted to be creative again.

I realized going for this job really isn’t an option for me right now.  If I take the job I’ll continue living in this broken down house.  Time will slip away and nothing will ever change.  I need change in my life.  Positive change.  I need to take time for me.  I need to get healthy, fit and happy.  Change, change, change.

So how do I make these changes?  How do I get to the place I want to be? I started this blog to make changes and then it sort of slipped away from me.  Now I need to take it seriously.

Step one.  Breakfast.  Tomorrow’s breakfast is already make.  I made steel cut oats in the crockpot (my nephew started me on them and I love them now).  Healthy eating starts now.

Step two:  No junk food.

Step three:  Move more.

Please keep me on track.