The good insomniacs…

January 4, 2016 Leave a comment

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Some people are good insomniacs. I’m the kind of insomniac that you want to share a bed with. With over 25 years of insomnia under my belt, I should be really good at it.

When I can’t sleep, I will usually read a good book until either the Sun comes up or my mind and body give out. I don’t use a light nor do I read with any kind of sound or music.

If I’m restless, I will take walk with Belle and get some fresh air. Most likely that will not help me sleep, but it will take the edge off that nudgy feeling that I often get.

I don’t eat when I can’t sleep, nor will I make tea or warm milk or use any appliance that might disturb others. After so many years of dealing with insomnia, I’ve learned that few things will cure it.

I can take a benadryl, but if I do I will have brain fog in the morning. I can take a xanax, and in most cases, that will put me out within 30 to 45 minutes. It doesn’t give me brain fog in the morning, but with the amount of insomnia I get, I definitely would run the risk of addiction. Over the years I’ve tried warm milk, turkey (for the tryptophan), chamomile tea, melatonin, and countless other insomnia fixes. Few work for me for more than a night or two, and I’ve learned that insomnia is simply something I must deal with.

In the big scope of things, insomnia is not the worst thing that I can have. My schedule affords me the chance to nap if I really need it. I do prefer not to nap, because that just perpetuates the cycle of insomnia . I’ve also learned that I can function quite well on less than 4-5 hours of sleep.

So, after all these years why am I writing about insomnia? Well I’m going to tell you.

My boyfriend George is the worst insomniac you would ever want to meet. When he can’t sleep, no one can. He starts off quietly playing games on the iPad, but eventually as sleep evades him, he will toss and turn, walk around, talk to the dog, feed the dog, and attempt to talk to me while I’m sleeping.

In all fairness, he’s not the first man that I’ve been with who is a bad insomniac. Are men just bigger babies? Are they needier than women?

If men can’t handle a night of insomnia, I can’t imagine that they would handle childbirth very well. So I must ask, are women the stronger sex?

My Friend’s Husband passed away at age 42.

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment

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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.

Unmotivated babbling from a seasoned procrastinator!

December 28, 2015 Leave a comment

I haven’t written a long time, and again I find another year has gone by. My great talent of procrastination rears its ugly head again. As someone who loves to write,  I’m embarrassed that it’s been so long since my last post.  I have no excuses except that I’ve been lackadaisical with my writing. No excuses, only solutions.

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As we approach 2016, I realize that life changes but yet it remains very much the same in many ways.

Life is really a series of ups and downs, good and bad. 2015 was not great but it certainly was not horrible. It had its ups and it had its downs. It had its good and it had its bad.

There are a few things that I wanted to address for some time now. When Mark passed away in January of 2013, I found ways to cope and one of those ways was following a blog of a woman whose husband had passed away 6 months prior to Mark. I still read her blog today, and it makes me realize how people deal with grief differently. While I still miss Mark, and I do think about him on a regular basis, I have learned to put the past in perspective and move forward with my life. Mark always told me that should he pass away, he wanted me to go on with life, find someone to love, and to be happy. I did just that because not only did he ask me to but because I needed to.

This woman whose blog I read still seems to hold so much love for her deceased husband and every blog post tells her deep love for him. There are sometimes that I feel she can’t let go and that might not be healthy, but at the same time it makes me think that I might have let go too soon. I don’t know if that makes any sense, but I do wonder where to draw the line.

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Is it healthy to hold on so tightly to someone who passed? She seems to find comfort in writing about how much she misses him and how she has trouble coping without him. Sometimes I wonder if her way of coping is better than mine was. Is she holding on too long and too tightly? Did I let go too soon? Is her love for him impeding her ability to move forward? Did I do an injustice to Mark by moving forward with my life as he wanted me to?

I was told by many people, on many different occasions, that I was getting into a relationship too quickly. After over two and a half years George and I are still together, quite happy, and planning a future. I don’t know where I would be had I listened to all the naysayers who told me to grieve for Mark for at least 2 years before getting into a new relationship. It’s like that old saying, ” if you fall off the horse, get right back on.” I wonder if I had waited, and remained alone for that 2 year period, would I have been afraid to start over again? Would I have been too set in my ways to share my life with someone? Would my heart have hardened to the point that I liked being alone?

Life isn’t easy. Losing a spouse is probably one of the hardest things that someone must go through. Although deep inside I knew that Mark would pass away way too soon, it did not make the situation any easier.

I still think of him on a regular basis. I don’t think that this negates my love for George. It’s just a part of my life that was but is no more. The holidays seem to remind me of Mark much more than any other time of year. He loved Christmas and he loved to decorate the house. He loved to buy presents for everyone. He would often spend more than he should on presents for family, friends, and of course, me. He loved to cook large meals for his friends, and he loved to entertain at home with a large holiday party every year.

When I drive around, and I see the Christmas decorations, or when I step into a store, and I see all of the stores all decked out for the holidays, it makes me a little sad for all of the good times that we had. I haven’t put up a Christmas tree since Mark passed away. This is partially due to fact that George is not big in to the holidays, we live in a small condo that really has no room for a tree, and because Christmas decorations sometimes make me sad. I should also mention that my lack of a Christmas tree is also due to laziness.

The New Year brings hope to many including myself, but at the same time it’s that time of year that also brings me great sadness as it marks the anniversary of my mom’s passing as well as Mark’s. Do you ever really get over the death of someone you loved?

My mom passed away in January of 2000, and I still think about her nearly every day. So I guess I just answered my own question, and no, you never really get over the death of someone you loved.

I think that we simply learn to cope with the fact that our loved one is gone. We learn to move on, go forward, and live life each day.

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I’m sort of all over the place with my thoughts today. I have a general idea of what I want to say, but it seems to be all jumbled inside my head. I think when I write regularly, my thoughts are more coherent and on point. When I don’t write on a regular basis my brain has so many ideas and thoughts that it makes it difficult to put it all into one post in a way that people can understand.

I always say that I need to write regularly, but for some reason, I never take the time to sit down and write. Although it’s one of the things that I enjoy doing, there never seems to be enough time. Actually it’s not my lack of time, but my lack of motivation and enthusiasm.

Maybe 2016 needs to be the year of the writer. I must make the time, find the motivation, and get enthusiastic about sharing my thoughts again. It’s not like I don’t have the time because with Georgie back to work, I have enough quiet time to write several times a week. It’s like anything else, once you start doing it, it becomes a habit. Writing is therapeutic to me, so this would be a really good and healthy habit for me.

I’m not entirely sure that this blog post is coherent nor am I sure that it makes a point. However, it is a definite start toward a good habit for the upcoming New Year.

With that thought I wish everyone a very happy, healthy, and peaceful 2016.

June 21st 2015 is a Triple Whammy!

June 19, 2015 Leave a comment

summerJune 21, 2015 has a very bright spot! The summer begins with the solstice at 12:38 P.M. EDT and it is the longest day of the year: having the most sunlight. Summer is my favorite season. It means hot weather and sunshine. It has always signified barbecues, the shore, vacations, and fun. Nothing will change that.

I love waking up in the morning with sunshine. I love being able to go outside in the evening, and it’s still light out. I love the sounds of summer. There’s nothing like the sound of the Boardwalk on a busy Saturday night or the sound of the Ice Cream Truck playing the same song as it trolls through the neighborhood. I love the sound of fireworks and the “ooh and ahh” of the spectators. Few things say summer like the smell of suntan lotion, hamburgers cooking on a grill, and freshly popped popcorn at a local carnival! But nothing lasts forever, and sadly, the first day of summer also means that the days will begin to get shorter by one minute per day.

happy-fathers-dayOn another note, this June 21st is Father’s Day. Father’s Day is a celebration honoring fathers and celebrating fatherhood, paternal bonds, and the influence of fathers on our society. It’s been a bittersweet day for me since my Dad passed away in October of 2008. Over the years, I’ve had two father-in-law’s but I have not maintained relationships with either of them. Tony was my first father-in-law. I really liked him. He was a generous man who was always there to lend a helping hand. His Portuguese heritage introduced me to many seafood dishes that I would never have thought to try. Unfortunately, when his stepson and I divorced, I lost contact with him (and the entire family).

My second father-in-law, Lawrence, was completely different from my first. He was a quiet man who rarely spoke. I understand that he had his issues in the past, but he never did anything to me to make me think less of him. I kept an open mind and remained non-judgmental no matter what Mark told me about him. I was a good daughter-in-law to him (and his wife). I tried to maintain a relationship with him after Mark died, but apparently he didn’t want one. He never told me why, but I truly believe that he felt I disrespected him by honoring Mark’s final wishes. I know that Mark’s parents wanted a wake and church service, and a burial in a cemetery. That is not what Mark wanted, and he told them that on several occasions. When I honored Mark’s final wishes of being cremated and having a memorial service catered by his favorite Italian restaurant, it created a huge riff between myself and Mark’s family. Although I tried several times to reach out to him, he never responded, and I stopped trying.

Father’s Day is tough for those of us without Dads. It’s a reminder of what you had but no longer have. I now find the day to be bittersweet with fond memories of the many years with Dad. At the same time, it is a sad remembrance that he is no longer with me in this world.

But the zinger this year is that my wedding anniversary to Mark also falls on June 21st. It would have been 12 years since we got married on the cruise ship Zenith with our friends and family in attendance. After the wedding, I went on my first cruise to Bermuda and truly had the time of my life. In actuality, my true wedding date is September 28, 2002 when Mark and I eloped in Las Vegas, but it was a secret that we kept from people until we could have a real wedding. It’s hard to believe it’s been two and a half years since Mark passed away. Time. It can be measured on a clock in hours, minutes, and seconds. It can be measured on a calendar in days, weeks, months, and years. Yet I’ve never really felt it could be measured in one’s mind. It seems to get all jumbled into past, present and future.

So as this Whammy of a Day approaches, I will press forward, smile sweetly, love always, and live fully, and before I realize it, the day will be but a memory; like so many other days.

With that…

Happy Summer Solstice! Happy Father’s Day!

And…. even though I have set fire to my broken pieces and started anew,
memories and feelings never fade. With that…a silent thought…

Happy 12th Anniversary Mark!Bonni-and-Mark

Death, a Reality Check and Reminder

May 9, 2015 Leave a comment

restinpeacefriendToday I learned that a friend of mine from High School passed away from lung cancer. I was shocked and so saddened. He was always a friendly man with a great sense of humor. I didn’t keep in touch with him after High School, but we became friends on Facebook. I was able to follow his life and I saw how blessed he was. He met and married a beautiful woman who made him SO happy. It was evident that they were meant to be together.

His passing made me sad on many different levels. The obvious was that a man that I knew in my youth had passed away. It made me hurt for his wife and his family. His friends and co-workers and all those who knew him now must deal with the fact that he is gone.

It made me sad because as I wrote a letter of condolence to his wife, I was reminded of what was ahead for her. It reminded me of the deep pain and despair that I felt when Mark passed away, and I knew that, no matter what people said to console her, it as going to be a long and painful road. She will need to put the pieces of her life back together, and try to find some semblance of normalcy. I know it’s not easy, but it can be done.

My friend’s passing also reminded me that life is short and tomorrow is not guaranteed. What you have today can be taken away in a split second, and then everything in your life changes. We spend so much time doing the things that we think are important, but it turns out that the important things in life are the ones that are simple.

So today I remind myself that it’s not how much money you make. It’s not about working long hours to bring home a few extra dollars. It’s not about having a fancy car with all the bells and whistles. It’s not about having a huge house in the suburbs. It’s not about designer brand clothes. It’s not about buying “stuff” to make yourself look good to others.

Do you want to know what it is about? It’s about spending quality time with those people that you love. It’s about doing things that make you happy. It’s about being with family and friends. I’m not saying that you shouldn’t earn a living, buy a new car or a large house, but those things mean very little if you don’t have close people with whom you can enjoy it.

Balance. That is the key. Balance work with home responsibilities. Balance spending with what you make. Balance the time you spend with loved ones with the time that you spend doing other things that you feel are important

So today, I ask that you show someone special that you care. Show that special person that he/she is important enough that you have chosen — out of all the things to do on your busy schedule — to find the time for them. You may not get the chance to do it tomorrow.

RIP Steve.

Jealousy or Judgment?

February 5, 2015 5 comments

Are you judging me for the choices that I have made in my life simply because you do not agree with them? Or are you jealous because I managed to pick up the shattered pieces of my life and move forward?

cards-on-tableWe were both dealt some bad cards. I threw all my cards on the table, and I got myself a new hand. This was MY choice. You were also dealt a new hand of cards, but you chose a different path in life. This was your choice. Neither choice is wrong or right. It was simply the choices we made that fit our own particular needs and desires.

You have chosen to remain single. I have chosen to find a partner. These are the choices that we have made in our life. Personally, I would not want to spend years and years alone. It’s not my personality. I like being in a relationship, and I love the whole concept of marriage. Apparently you prefer to be single and have chosen to remain alone. This does not make you a bad person. But in the same token, my choice to be in a relationship with someone does not make me a bad person.

I have no idea (not even an inkling) why you dislike my boyfriend so much or why you express such sarcasm and bad feelings toward him. He’s never done anything to you. In fact you barely know him. Even if there were something about him that you do/did not like, you do not have to spend time with him and you rarely see him. If nothing else, I would think you would accept him as a part of my life simply for the fact that he makes me happy.

TomorrowisntguaranteedMaybe that’s it. Maybe you are unhappy with your own life, and you dislike seeing me happy and content. Maybe you thought that when Mark passed away, I would crumble and walk around with a “poor, poor pitiful me” attitude. That’s not me, and if you thought that it was, then you do not know me at all. Mark’s death made me realize that life is short, and no one is guaranteed tomorrow.

Maybe you think that I started dating too soon after Mark passed away. In fact I know that you thought I did. It’s okay. You were not the only one who felt that way. Several of my friends felt that I was setting myself up for hurt.  Yet I would have figured after a year and a half of sharing my life with my boyfriend, you would realize and understand that what I have developed with George is something serious. It’s not a rebound relationship. It’s not a fling nor was it ever a one night stand.

I don’t need to explain my time line for dating. Everyone deals with grief in his/her own way. I dealt with mine. That is not to say that I don’t miss Mark. I will be honest, there is not a day that goes by that I do not think of him in some capacity. However, he is gone. He’s been gone for over two years, and he is not coming back.

After this last incident with you, I was told I was overreacting to the situation. I beg to differ. Had this been an isolated incident, I could concur that my reaction was over the top. However I have been subjected to snide comments from you for well over a year and a half. I am a very peaceful person. I rarely lose my temper. But when I am subjected to repeated comments about things that are no one’s business but MINE, I can snap and lash out. It’s not pretty, is it?

A friend told me that I should take you aside and tell you that your comments about me and my relationship are hurtful. At first I thought this might be a good idea. But then I realized that your comments don’t hurt me. I haven’t done anything wrong, nor has my boyfriend. I have no regrets about how I have lived my life since Mark passed away.

finishlineInstead I realized that your comments PISS ME off. Your inconsiderate comments are not hurting me, but they are hurting our friendship. After writing this (which is my way of venting and putting things into perspective), I am putting this incident behind me. I have brushed this off my back once again. I have a feeling it won’t be the last time that will do this. But there WILL be a last time. There will be a time when I am just too tired to care any more. And I will be done. Finish line reached.

You never get over the loss of a Mother

January 22, 2015 Leave a comment

momMy mom was a very brave woman. I can’t hold a candle to her and the obstacles that she endured and overcame in her life.

My mom became an orphan at a very young age and was put into a “home” (I think orphanage) with her two older sisters. If I recall, her older brother went to live with relatives (although after all these years, it is possible that I remember the story wrong).

Mom went to Nursing school, and she married my dad (My mom’s older sister Sarah’s husband Ed worked with the man who became her husband). After 14 years of trying to have children, they found that they were unable to conceive. They decided to adopt. Sarah knew a young woman who was pregnant (my biological mother), and a private adoption was arranged. As it turned out, my mother was able to get pregnant, and my brother was born before I was two years old.

When I was a young child, my mom developed Breast Cancer. She had a mastectomy. Not long after, she developed Breast Cancer in her remaining breast and again had a mastectomy. My mother developed cancer a third time and was forced to have a hysterectomy. She fought hard to become healthy, and lived quite a few healthy years.

In 1986 my parents retired to Florida, and only a few years later my mother developed more health issues. She had a seizure in a supermarket, and it was determined that she had a brain tumor, and she had fractured a vertebrae in her spine. She had surgery for the broken vertebrae and with the help of titanium rods, she was able to get around again. However, the brain tumor was worrisome. She did have an operation to remove it, but ultimately it came back. Radiation treatments helped but in the end, after a 10 year battle, my mother succumbed to Cancer of the Brain. It was an ugly illness. It left her unable to speak, see, hear, or move. Hospice was needed for the last few weeks of a life that was cut short by cancer.

Through everything that she battled in her life, I never once remember hearing her complain. I am sure she had struggles that I never knew. The last ten years of her life were difficult, but she endured it with grace and dignity.

I was 37 when she died. I’m going to be 52, It’s been 15 years since my mom passed away. Sometimes the timeline seems right, but other times I have a hard time believing she has been gone for such a long period of time.

I miss her. I can’t remember a day when I did not think of her. What I wouldn’t give to spend a day with that amazing woman I called MOM!!

RIP Mommy ; January 23, 1926 – January 22, 1990