Archive for the ‘Life as a Widow’ Category

Everything happens for a reason? Actually… it does.

December 13, 2017 Leave a comment

life-goes-on.jpgThis morning I heard that a friend of mine lost her husband yesterday in a tragic accident. I don’t know the details, but they do not really matter. The bottom line is that a 40 year old woman with a young child is now a widow. Ironically his death happened on her 40th birthday.

Life sucks for her right now. I understand her pain all too well. As you all know, I lost my husband Mark nearly five years ago when he very suddenly suffered a massive heart attack.

My friend’s tragedy brings back all kinds of feelings and emotions for me. I know what she will go through. I know how tough this is going to be for her and her son.

I don’t understand why these tragedies happen. What is the reason that a young woman with a small child would lose her husband who was the sole provider for the family? This friend is one of the nicest and sweetest people I have ever met. I have never heard her utter a cruel thing from her mouth. She is always so cheerful and makes everyone smile. This just seems like a really cruel joke that life has pulled.

I don’t really have any terrific words of wisdom for my friend. My best advice would be to allow yourself to grieve at your own pace. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. We all mourn in our own way, and grief has no timeline. Let others be there for you. The people in your life really do want to help you to get through the pain, but they are hurting too. Let them bring you food, make phone calls, watch your son or your pets. It’s okay if your house needs vacuuming or the furniture is dusty or the garbage needs to be taken out. Trust me, no one will notice…. and no one will care.

Allow yourself to cry whenever and where ever you choose. You just suffered a huge loss, and your life will be forever altered by it. Take time for yourself, but do not push away the ones who are close to you. Try to maintain some semblance of normalcy. It’s not easy because nothing is normal, but keeping to a former routine can do wonders. It’s okay to talk about your pain, but it is also okay not to talk. It’s your life, and you need to do what is comfortable for you. Take time to remember the good times no matter how painful it is. Remembering will get easier with time.

patience-everything-happens-for-a-reasonIn the beginning the shock and pain will be overwhelming. It will take your breath away. It will hurt to move, breath, or do anything. This is completely normal. It gets better. It takes time. Lots of time. Give yourself a break. Take it one day at a time…. or even one hour at a time. If necessary, do it a minute at a time. It’s going to get better. It won’t happen today. Or tomorrow. Or next week. It could take months and months. But eventually the sun will peak out and you will realize that the pain is no longer crushing you. You will realize that you made it. It will happen. Time does heal, but sadly the scars do remain. But the scars are simply proof of the battles we have WON!!

When things like this happen to me or those around me, I question everything that I was told to believe. I was always told to have faith. I was told that God had a plan. I was told that God never gave us more than we could handle. I was told that everything happens for a reason. Yea right. How much of this is really true, and how much is just smoke being blown up my ass??

Faith gets shaken when bad things happen. I don’t know about you, but when bad things happen, I start with the “WHY!!!???”.

Does everything REALLY happen for a reason? If you look deep enough into the situation, it really does. You may not know the reason right away, but eventually I have always been able to see some sort of reason. When Mark first passed away, I saw zero reasons for his passing. It was like a punishment, and I just saw no reason and no purpose for why he was taken from me, and my faith in everything was severely shaken. As time went on, I started to see the reasons for his passing. Now I realize that there were a lot of reasons that his life was cut short. But are those reasons just my justification for why it happened or is there some validity to it all?

I guess that can be debated by everyone, but in my eyes. there is a reason. Actually many reasons. What are those reasons you ask? Well, I think it was to tell me that I was actually much stronger than I ever gave myself credit for. I learned a lot about myself in the months following Mark’s death. I learned to step way out of my comfort zone and do things that were uncomfortable for me. I was forced to face things that I should have known about my life but I didn’t because 1) I chose to ignore it, 2) it was hidden from me, and 3) I just could not be bothered with the details. When life is thrown in your face, the only choices you have are to quit or face it head on and just deal.

Years later, I realized that you CAN start your life over, you can find love again after a loss, and you really do get another chance. You just need to push forward and try. Life can be really good the second (and probably the third) time around IF you allow it to happen.

I hope that my friend is able to find her inner strength and put all the shattered pieces back together and start again. If any of those pieces are left over, she needs to just set fire to them and watch them burn. Life is short; way too damn short. Tragedy happens every day. People are born and die every day. But every day is truly a blessing. Live your life like it’s your very last day!!



Categories: Life as a Widow

Summer time and the living is easy, but…

July 15, 2016 Leave a comment

The breathing is hard.

summerflipflopsThose of you who know me know that I love summer! I love the hot weather, the long sunny days that don’t end until 9 PM, the awesomely fresh summer fruits including HUGE Jersey tomatoes and blueberries, cooking all kinds of foods on the grill, fresh and juicy Jersey Corn on the Cob, outdoor farmer’s markets, the Jersey shore, and most of all flip flops!

However, in the past 5 or 6 years,  I’ve noticed an increase in my asthma and allergy symptoms starting in late June and not ending until mid-August.

At the end of June, I went to my doctor. Her diagnosis was “Upper Airway Cough Syndrome and Asthmatic Bronchitis” brought on by allergens and environment.

What does that actually mean? It means that I have Post Nasal Drip with a nasty, hacking cough that sounds like the plague.

Her treatment was a new antihistamine, cough medication (the GOOD kind) and an additional bronchodilator. I’m always told, “This will clear up with these medications in a couple of weeks.” Realistically, it’s going to be a solid 6-8 weeks of hacking up a lung and avoiding (quiet) public places.

Last summer, the ENT specialist told me that this environment is not good for asthmatics. My pulmonologist told me that very same thing for a good 15 years. He actually went as far as saying that much cooler, dryer air would be a better environment for me.

Well, here’s the conundrum: I don’t like cooler air. And I definitely don’t like cold weather. Things associated with cold weather like snow, ice, sleet, snow shovels, etc. make me downright depressed and lethargic.

So according the those in the medical profession, I should NOT be living in NJ. I already knew that. Besides, it’s way too damn expensive to live here. Every winter I want to fly south with the birds. Yet, moving to a place like the Carolinas or Florida would not be great for me either because of the environment: ie: humidity and allergens.

Here’s Culprit #1: Unhealthy Air quality Index


Here’s Culprit #2: High Concentration of Mold Spores


Above are the reasons that I suffer every year. I am allergic to Earth. Maybe I am really an alien, and I somehow got transported here. It’s apparent that my lungs can’t handle our air. Sigh. I need to move. I’m thinking Mercury or Venus.








Bye January and good riddance!

February 1, 2016 Leave a comment


January is not my best month. Never has been.  I’ve always felt that it was a gloomy month.  It’s cold and wintery.  The days are still short and spring is still weeks and weeks away. The holidays are over.

Then in 2000, my mom passed away.  That just added to the gloom of the month. A sadness that has not gone away in 16 years.

January was also the month that my divorce from Bob was finalized. And the month that I sold my first home. 

Then in 2013, Mark passed away.  Didn’t that just add more gloom to an already long month?

So many people I know like January for the new beginnings and the resolutions.  Not me.  Spring is for new beginnings.  Buds on trees,  flowers popping out of the grass,  the birds and small wildlife procreate and little birds and animals brighten the world.

I think I was supposed to be a hibernating creature.  Winter and cold is so not for me.  Wake me in April when the days are longer, the world has woken and the nights are just chilly (and not frigid).

I’d  even be willing to skip Valentine’s Day and my Birthday.  Wake me in time for Easter.  I could use a REALLY long slumber. 

And this year we were lucky enough to get a blizzard in January. Two feet of white shit dumped on us in 24 hours. Friggin’ yay.

But January is now over. Not a moment too soon. A month closer to spring! And the month of sadness behind me.

February is not the greatest month but at least it’s short, it has Valentine’s Day and my birthday!

Woo hoo! Let’s hope for a good month!

Categories: Life as a Widow

Three years.

January 18, 2016 Leave a comment


That’s how long it’s been since Mark passed away. 1095 days.

So much has happened since that night. Nothing ever prepares you for the death of a spouse. Nothing. Even though he was sick for years before he passed, it didn’t make it easier.

And now it’s three years later. So much has changed. I look around my home, and realize that time has kept marching on. Gone is the color brown. A lighter and brighter me has emerged.

Gone is the deep pain, but what remains are the memories of the 13 years we were together. Some bad. Some indifferent. But mostly good. I used to remember and it cut like a knife. Now I remember and I smile. Yes, sometimes I still cry, but it’s not like it was the first year after Mark passed.

I didn’t think life could or would go on. But it did, and I can honestly say I’m happy. Sure, there is always room for improvement, but on a personal level, life is good.

I don’t think this date will EVER be a happy one for me, but it will hopefully never be one of doom and gloom.

I made it through these three years because of the love of friends and family, but also because I found strength that I never knew that I possessed. I always considered myself a weeny. I never thought I was equipped to handle the cruel world we live in. Mark used to tell me that I was too sensitive and emotional. He said I needed to be tougher and more assertive. That’s never worked for me. It’s not who I am. I haven’t changed in three years. I still possess my “weeny tendencies” but who I am is what made me the person I am today.

I have learned a lot since Mark passed away. I now know that I can function quite well on my own. I admit that I prefer not to because I love having someone around to share life with on a daily basis. I learned that life is short, and money is not everything. It definitely makes life easier when you have it. But it won’t buy you love. That comes from within.

A lot of the things that I learned are deep and very personal. Even I won’t share them with anyone, but the important thing is that I learned.


As I start my fourth year without Mark, I am grateful for our years together. I think about him often. I miss him more than I admit. And a part of me will always love him.

Having said that, I know that he’d be proud of me, and I know that he’s glad that I listened to him. He always told me if he should pass away, I should find love and happiness again. I can be stubborn, but I took his advice and honored his wishes.

I know he’s looking down on me, and I know he approves.

24/7… Outsourcing…You get what you pay for!

January 14, 2016 Leave a comment
You-Get-What-You-Pay-ForA typical case of “You Get What You Pay For”….. I joined AARP Roadside Assistance in November. For under $80, I got the Premium Road and Tow Service for myself and George. The new member materials arrived promptly. The package offered 24 hour road and tow service for up to 100 miles, tire change for a flat tire, a jump start for a dead battery, fuel delivery, winching if the car gets stuck, and up to  $120 for lockout service. I was quite pleased, and thought that I had made a good decision.
It was a good decision until George had to use it last night. He got a person on the phone who barely understood English and had an incredibly thick accent. The guy couldn’t seem to understand the information even after George repeated it over and over. He finally got it after it was repeated to him MANY times. George told the man exactly where he was, but the guy on the phone kept asking if he was near Perth Amboy because that was the town that the map showed. He then told George that he didn’t know if he had anyone available at that time of night, but he would call George back. George NEVER got a call back. He finally called 911 who got a local tow truck who was able to help. It was well after 2:00 in the morning when he got home.
Today I called AARP Roadside Assistance. I wanted to get reimbursed for the Tow Truck services and then cancel my membership because I refuse to deal with that kind of poor customer service. I mean, what part of 24 Hour Roadside Assistance did they not get? And to not even call George back is COMPLETELY and TOTALLY unacceptable.
I started off my conversation by being sweet and courteous. The woman on the phone had such a thick accent that I kept having to ask her to repeat herself. I told her that I could not understand her, and asked to speak to her supervisor. She put me on hold… for eight minutes.
Her supervisor got on the phone and introduced himself as “Peter”. His accent was very thick but understandable, but I knew his real name was NOT Peter. I explained what had happened last night, giving all the details that I had, and he said he would look at my account. He said he had NO record of George ever calling their service center. At this point, I was livid. I told him that I wanted to cancel my account and get a full refund. He said that I ordered my membership in November, and he would have to pro-rate my return. Wrong answer!! I demanded that he reimburse me for the FULL amount of my membership plus the cost of the tow truck last night. He told me that he couldn’t do that and he needed to speak to a supervisor. When I said that I thought he was a supervisor, he put me on hold. I held for another 11 minutes until Roger got on the line saying he was a supervisor who was authorized to help me.
I had to explain my story for the THIRD time. He too looked at my account, and he said he had no record of a call from George last night or anytime. He said since he had no record he could not reimburse me for our tow truck services, but he would refund my entire membership. I asked him how it is possible for a member to call in to their roadside number and there be no record of it. He fumbled for an answer mumbling something about linking issues. I asked him outright if the call center was even located in the United States. He said that most of the calls were outsourced. I told him that was the problem right there. How did AARP Roadside Assistance expect someone in another country to help me? I mean, there are towns in New Jersey that I have never heard of, and I have lived here all of my life. How can you expect someone in another country to have ANY clue at all about a small town in central New Jersey?
AAARoadsideAt this point, I just accepted my full refund. I was lucky to get that. I will now go with the choice I should have made. I will sign up for a membership with AAA. I know that they are more expensive, but I want to know that if George or I ever need roadside assistance, it will be there for us — unlike AARP Roadside Assistance who failed miserably.
I have been a member of AAA in the past, but canceled it when my Mitsubishi came with its own Roadside Assistance Plan. I’ve had to use AAA when I was a member, and I was always pleased with their services. I thought that AARP’s program would be a good one. But, as I learned, you get what you pay for.
AAA, here I come.

The circle of life… a Space Oddity!

January 11, 2016 Leave a comment


Today I woke up to several news alerts on my cell phone telling me that David Bowie had passed away after an 18-month battle with cancer.

I was stunned, because like so many people, I had no idea that he was even ill. He was 69 years old, and in this day and age that’s not old at all.

I liked his music. He had a very eclectic sound, he was ahead of his time, and he was paired with some of the greatest singers of all time. His duets with Mick Jagger, Freddie Mercury, and Bing Crosby were just some of the classics.

He was married for many years to his wife, supermodel Iman. They shared a very touching love story that I only read about today.

The legend of David Bowie will live on forever through his music. While I didn’t know all that much about his life, I still find it sad that he passed away. It’s just another harsh reality that no matter how much money you have or who you know or how famous you are, when your time is up, it’s up.

The circle of life means many things to many people. To me, it’s birth, it’s living, and it’s dying. No one is immune. You can’t beg or plead for more time. All you can do is live each day to its fullest because tomorrow is not guaranteed.

Rest in peace David Bowie. You were a man, a genius, a father, a husband, a legend.


To Ziggy Stardust, in your memory, I say,”Let’s Dance!” I think it’s what you would have wanted!

My Friend’s Husband passed away at age 42.

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment


Ack! Had I not decided to write tonight, I never would have noticed that this post has been in draft mode for over 6 months. I remember this being a very hard post to write. It ripped up my heart in ways I didn’t think was possible. I should have pushed through the pain and written this back in July. However I’m only human…

Actually this post is almost as hard as writing the one right after Mark passed away almost 3 years ago. I never met my friend’s husband but I knew a lot about him. You should also know that I have never met my friend either. We have been friends for about 4-5 years now (that’s my best guess), and we were brought together by the sad fact that both of our husbands were dialysis patients. The understanding of what life was like as the spouse of a (stubborn) dialysis patient was the basis for our friendship. Over the years, we have followed each other’s lives through email and Facebook.

When she messaged me in July to tell me that her husband had passed away, it felt like I was stabbed in the chest with a knife. I was so sad for her because I know just how difficult this is going to be for her and her young daughter.

She wrote to me during the week, and she told me that she was in a fog and she had conflicting emotions. Boy can I understand that in a way that many people experiencing the death of a love one do not understand.

I won’t attempt to guess at what she is feeling, but if it is anything like what I went through after Mark died, it’s a whole plethora of emotions that just don’t stop. My mind was a complete jumble of thoughts, fears, hopes, sadness, and sheer terror. Some of the things I felt during the first week were startling to me.

  • I felt numb. What the hell had just happened?
  • I felt sadness. I had just lost my husband who I had been with for nearly 14 years.
  • I felt anger. Why didn’t he just listen to the doctors and do what he needed to do?
  • I felt alone. When was the last time I was really alone? (other than when he was in the hospital).
  • I felt fear. What was I supposed to do without him?
  • I felt confusion. What are you supposed to do after your husband dies?
  • I felt overwhelmed. Details. Arrangements. Notifications. Phone calls.
  • I felt tired. Lack of sleep. Incessantly repeating the story over and over.

And those were just the things I felt in the first few days.

As the days became weeks, I felt a ton of new and rather startling feelings. I began to feel some relief mixed in with the sadness. As bad as it sounds, it was relieving to not have to be surrounded with doctor appointments, dialysis fatigue, short tempers due to illness, and the never ending fear of “what if”.

After the sadness, the guilt was the worst part of it all. A lot of the things I was thinking made me feel like I was a horrible person. At times, I was glad that I didn’t have to deal with the daily routine of being a caregiver. I didn’t miss being snapped at or being made to feel like I was not being supportive. I liked the freedom from the dialysis routine.

At the same time, I felt like I had failed Mark. I wondered if I could have been more understanding of his fatigue, if I could have been more supportive when he was not feeling well, if I could have tried to control my anger better when he snapped at me, and if I could have been less selfish. I’m 100% sure my friend has felt this very same things.

The hardest part is the “Year of Firsts” which is the first time you must “celebrate” a holiday without your loved one: the first Christmas, the first New Years, the first Valentine’s day, the first birthdays (his and mine), the first Memorial Day, 4th of July, and Labor Day, the first Halloween, the first Thanksgiving…

As I learned there are 365 firsts, and each one is just as painful as the previous. She must go through them and deal with them in her own way. There are no easy answers or quick solutions. It is a painful and very sad process.

My heart hurts for my friend as I know what she must go through. All I can do is be there for her to listen to her. I can’t make it easier for her nor can I take away her pain. The grieving process is a personal one, and each person must deal with it in his or her own way.

May she someday find peace and understanding. I hope that her sorrows are short but her memories last a lifetime.