Do You Need Anything ……

…… is a question I used to get asked at least 5 times a week.

I was watching a tv show just now and this topic came up. The fact that most men with a partner know that they call that partner on the way home to ask that question.
Without fail.
Everyone laughed and agreed.
Including me.

And then it sank in.
I mean, really sank in.
All the way into the depths of my heart.
I could literally feel it.

I used to hear that.
Probably almost every day.
For years.

And then I didn’t.
And I really haven’t given it a lot of thought for over 15 years.
I mean, I’ve wished for someone to be around to help with things.
Many times.
But I haven’t really thought about those words.
About hearing them for a long time.
And then not.

The missing of him will never stop.
The little pains that sometimes zing my heart will never end.
But the memories …… thank God for the memories.
They are a balm for the hurting heart.

Tonight, the past came rushing back.
And I smiled.

Living in Limbo ……

…… is how I feel at the moment.
I’m still in my old apartment, slowly getting things ready to move in a couple of weeks.
I took down all of my artwork and pictures so that the building manager could inspect the apartment (a pre-move out inspection, they’ll do another once everything is gone to determine if I get back my security deposit).

It doesn’t feel like home now.
And the new place certainly doesn’t feel like home.

The seller had the apartment beautifully staged.
Beautifully …… and sneakily.
When we did the walk-through just before closing I was shocked to see how much needed to be done.
Including fixing a 2 foot hole that had been cleverly hidden with a very large painting.

That was quite an unpleasant surprise.
A lot of wall damage had been cleverly hidden.
But, as the seller’s attorney told me, “When you buy a used home you buy it “as is”. It appears that “in good faith” doesn’t apply here.

So now I get to hire a contractor to come in and fix not only this but the rest of the walls, some plumbing fixtures and the bathrooms.
It’s only money.

Wednesday morning my building’s management (current building) told me that the moving company that I have contracted (and paid a deposit) is no longer allowed to move people out or into this building. Of course, they didn’t have this company listed along with the other three they have banned on the moving out instructions that they sent.
So now I get to try to get my deposit back, or fight the building.
Double ugh.

For those who have known me (or followed me) for more than a decade now (!) …… the inside of my cheek is starting to look/feel like hamburger. For the rest of you, evidently I handle stress by unknowingly chewing the hell out of my cheek. I never realize that I’m doing it, until the pain begins.
I haven’t dealt with this for many years now and the memories that come flooding back because of it are not welcome.
Triple ugh.

I’ve spent a fair amount of time at the “new” apartment this week.
I’ve taken 2 suitcase loads of framed pictures over there, with only one piece of glass breaking (and slicing my finger when I reached into the suitcase to remove it. Not fun when you’re in an empty apartment with no first aid, cotton or anything.)
I figure that if I have to go over there for whatever reason I might as well take something with me.
One less load, right?
A drop in the bucket.

The more I’m there the better I feel about living there, even with the work that has to be done. It fits me.
Of course, I don’t think it will fit all of my stuff but that’s another problem for another day.
My mom should’ve named me Scarlett.

This afternoon I went over to meet with a contractor so that he could bid on the job.
He didn’t show.
That makes the decision a bit easier.
Quadruple ugh.

But afterwards I walked around a bit and then went to meet up with a group of ladies to explore the JP Morgan Library, which isn’t far from the new place.
This is my new view when I step out of the building:

Not too shabby.

I learned that my new neighborhood is filled with modern furniture stores. I passed one, did a double take, and then had to take a picture.

Does that look like a spot in a forest to you? Or just a sofa and a few ottomans?
I really have no words.
Except these: Who buys this stuff?!!

Once I got to the Morgan Library I completely forgot about the ugly forest furniture.

Yeah, a pretty cool place.
And it’s in my neighborhood!
And …… Friday nights are free!!

I still have mixed emotions about moving (most likely one reason, out of many, for the cheek chewing), but I’m starting to feel more positive.

Now if I can just find a moving company that doesn’t charge an arm and a leg at this late date.


I’ll leave you with my last Christmas tree picture here.
Cheers and Happy New Year to each of you!

So Many ……

…… mixed feelings.

Today I close on an apartment. After 10 years (and a hurl-inducing amount of rent payments) I decided to purchase. I’ve spent months looking online and in person. It’s taken months to get to this closing. (Buying a home in NYC is NOT like buying one in Texas. It’s complicated. Very complicated.)

People keep asking me if I’m excited.
I can’t say that I am.
I have mixed feelings.
It’s bittersweet, like so much has been over the past 15 years.

I’ve been in the same building these 10 years.
I’ve made good friends.
I love the people who work here.
To say that I will miss being here, next to Central Park and across from Lincoln Center is an understatement.

I’m moving to a totally different area of the city.
At first I didn’t want that.
But then I figured that it’s time to learn a new part of the city.
And so I will.

It’s not excitement that I feel, exactly.
It’s more like hope.
Hope that I’m not making a huge mistake.
Hope that this apartment will truly feel like home to me.
Hope that interest rates will go back down and I can re-finance. 😉
Hope that nothing breaks down for a least a year.
Hope that I’m going to absolutely love living in this place.

So much hope.
That word has guided me since Jim’s death.
It’s a small world but it holds so very much.

Hope was waiting for me as I walked through the Valley of Death.
It was a long walk.
Hope helped me believe that my kids would be alright.
Beyond alright.
Hope helped me find so many wonderful friends on this same path.
Lifelong friends.

Hope brought me here to NY.
Hope helped me find new friends.
Lifelong friends.
Hope had a big part in bringing me grandchildren.
Hope is a pretty calming companion.

Hope is like a living being.
It can be very, very small and then morph into something very, very huge.
It ebbs and flows.
Sometimes it seems to disappear completely, but it doesn’t really.
It just waits for us to be ready to see it again.
It’s always there.

So, I have hope.
I also have some sadness, trepidation and melancholy.
Mixed feelings.
My life has been full of mixed feelings since Jim died.
And that’s as it should be.

15 ……

It’s  a substantial number, right?

I mean, it’s not a huge number (depending on one’s perspective) but it’s certainly a number worth celebrating.


The fifteenth year that I have blogged about this date.
The fifteenth year that the tears have come.
The fifteenth year that my children have not had their father.
The fifteenth year his friends and family have missed his presence.
The fifteenth year that I’ve lived (depending on one’s perspective) with an ache in my heart. The severity has dimmed but the ache is still there.

It’s a number that can seem like eons.
It’s a number that can be gone in a flash.
It’s a number that can seem like nothing.
It’s a number that seems unfathomable.

The number of years my children have pushed forward, even after having fallen back.
The number of years where many friends became so much more.
The number of years I’ve wandered, trying new places, people and food.
The number of years my heart has continued to grow and love new friends, who became so much more.

Yes, 15 is a substantial number.

But there are others.

The number of years it took me to remember that Jim and I had talked about moving to NY.

The number of years it took me to give up the fight and follow my heart to NY full time.

The number of years I’ve been a Gigi.

The number of sons and daughters I now have, thanks to my children.

The number of years I’ve lived in NY.

The number of years I had Jim.

The number of years (minus 3 weeks) he lived and the number of years he impacted people.

The number of years I have survived, strengthened, grown, messed up and kept going.

The number of years I’ll love him.

“If Tomorrow Never Comes ……


…… will she know how much I loved her?” – Garth Brooks

Life has been crazy, wonderful, exhausting, sad and joyful.
Pretty much like everyone else’s.

The kids are all well, the grandkids are fantastic (most of the time …. they’re mine but they’re not perfect …… all of the time.)
There are five of them: 7,5,2,2 and 4 1/2 months.

I’ve traveled a lot this year and the year’s only half over.
Thank you, Covid.
Two years of travel plans stuffed into one is exhausting.
And amazing.

Life is full.
And yet sometimes I feel that empty space.
The space that contained him.
It doesn’t happen much these days but once in a while that emptiness brings me to tears.

And then there are the times that I’m reminded of the love that’s still there.
The love that overflows from that space …… even without him.

I was listening to some Garth Brooks this afternoon.
Some of his songs became “our songs”.
And it was always Jim who made me aware of them.

“If Tomorrow Never Comes” is one of those songs.
You’ll have to go read the lyrics if you don’t know them.

One morning I woke to find a letter by my bedside.
This was decades ago. I won’t tell you exactly how long but suffice it to say that we only had three children.
It was a letter that Jim had written the night before, while he watched me sleep.
This song was in his head and he wanted to let me know.

He told me what I already knew, but it’s always nice to be told anyway.
And especially to put it in writing.

If tomorrow never came, he wanted me to know how very much he loved me.
He wanted to make sure that I knew, beyond a shadow of a doubt, how much I meant to him.

“And if my time on earth were through
And she must face the world without me
Is the love I gave her in the past
Gonna be enough to last
If tomorrow never comes?”

I didn’t know that just about 17 years later …… tomorrow wouldn’t come.
But I did know one thing:
I was loved beyond measure.
And his love is indeed enough to last.

“So, tell that someone that you love
Just what you’re thinkin’ of
If tomorrow never comes.”

And Just Like That ……

…… it’s year 14.

That’s 168 in dog years.
Which totally feels appropriate some days.

But this year ……
This year was different (and yes, I realize what an understatement that is for the entire world but I’m not talking about Covid).

This year, for the first time in 168 dog years ……
I forgot.
Didn’t see it coming.
Even though I know the date.
Even though …… even though …… everything.

The picture above is my calendar.
The calendar that I change every day.

As I was on my way to bed on Dec 16th I switched the date on the calendar to the 17th.
And never thought about it.

I went through the entire day not thinking about it.
I looked at that date more than once.
And the only thing I thought was, “I need to make three phone calls tomorrow.” because the 18th happens to be the birthday of my sister, my brother and my step-dad.
That’s all I thought.

Then last night I received a text from a loving friend, saying that she’s thinking of me and of Jim (even though she never met him …… I love friends like that).
And just like that ……
I remembered.

I sat on my sofa, stunned. My brain turned to a kind of spider web of mush and I really couldn’t think. I was just …… stunned.
And then I said two words, aloud.
“Holy shit”
That’s all.

I’m still stunned …… 18 hours later.
My brain still doesn’t know what to think.
I “know” it’s a good thing.
My mind knows that, even in its state of shock.
But my heart.
My heart feels sad that I forgot.
It’s a strange kind of limbo.

I have no plans for today.
Which is probably good because I feel like I just need to sit with this.
Well, sit with it and watch the new Sex in the City episodes.
Which I already did.
And yes, I cried. But it wasn’t a “bad” cry.
It was more of an “I get it” cry.
Not “I get it but I wish I didn’t”.
Not “I can’t believe this is my life”.
Not “I will never survive this”.
Just …… “I get it.”

I’ve missed him a lot lately.
I missed him at OSU’s Homecoming.

I missed him when our granddaughter played in front of his picture so that he could watch her play.

I missed him at my niece’s wedding, especially as I watched my brother dance with his daughter.

I missed him at Thanksgiving when all of the grands were around.

I missed him on birthdays, anniversaries, days in Texas, days in NY, when I see my children, etc.
You get the picture, right?
I miss him still.

But for the first time.
The very first time.
I forgot.
Just like that.

What Lies Beneath……

…… sometimes never surfaces.

This is a post that has been ruminating for a long time.

But I need to preface it with this:

I’m not asking for sympathy or pity.

I’m not complaining.

I’m not asking you to feel sorry for me.

I’m just being open and honest.

I don’t expect you to get it if you haven’t experienced great loss.

I don’t think that makes you “less than”.

I’m just saying I understand.

This post is mostly for those who grieve,

And the people who love them.

Grief never ends.

The degree to which it washes over you varies, but it never ends.

That’s the first thing that everyone needs to know.


Jim has been dead for over 13 1/2 years.

A lot has happened in those years.

Some bad.

More good.

I can’t complain.

But you see …… that’s the thing.

I can’t complain.

I shouldn’t complain.

I don’t want to complain.

I know I am in a wonderful position.

Jim planned for the unimaginable.

And my life is full because of that planning.

Well, almost full.

I travel.

I live in the greatest city in the world.

I have 6 amazing kids; 3 wonderful bonus kids; 4 terrific grands; loving and living parents; great siblings and in-law siblings; the best group of college friends that anyone could ask for; many, many women New Yorkers that I’ve known both known for years and met recently and loved instantly (shout-out to you, NY Woolfers!).

My life is good.

And yet.

This is not the life I wanted.

Not at this age.

Hell, not at any age.

I wanted him.

For longer than I had him.

But life moves on.

Kids grow up.

Grandchildren fill out the family.

People move.

In and out and all around.

Life continues.

My life is full.

I am happy.


And that’s the point.

I am happy.

But it’s a different happy.

It’s not the happy of “before”.

The light happiness that comes with unconditional love, security and a sense of belonging.

The happiness of naively thinking all of that would never end.

At least not for 50 years.

But it did end.

With the death of Jim came the death of unconditional love, security and belonging.

And the end of that light happiness.

Now my happiness is different.

It’s like taking a balloon that was nearly bursting with helium and replacing that gas with air.

It’s still a full balloon.

It’s just a little …… flat.

That’s how grief feels …… for me …… after all this time.

I’m full, but flat.

That has nothing to do with “not moving on”.

It has nothing to do with not accepting what is.

Nor does it have anything to do with “getting over it”.

Because frankly, that’s not possible so please don’t ever be an A-hole and say that to anyone who’s lost someone.

My life is good.

I know how blessed/privileged/lucky I was to have him, and to now have this life.

Believe me …… I know.

It’s just …… not the life I wanted.

Tentatively ……

…… planning as life returns to a new normal.
I’m happy to be planning things again but I also feel very tentative about it.
Like I’m waiting for the other shoe to drop.
Anyone else feel like that?

I don’t think life will ever return to the “normal” that we knew a year and a half ago.
But it will come close.
And I know we all can’t wait.

I once again have trips planned.
Trips that have been postponed at least once.
Or three times.
The first one is in August.
We’ll see if it really happens.

While I’m excited about being able to travel again, the #1 thing that I canNOT wait for is Broadway opening up.

The day that it was announced that shows will start back up Sept 14th I was on the computer looking for tickets.
They were very hard to come by.
But I scored 2 for The Lion King.
I’m taking Son #3 on Day 2 of the re-opening.
Yes, I’ve seen this show before and I loved it.
But even if I didn’t …… I just want to be sitting in a theatre as soon as I can.
No matter what show it is.
And supporting Broadway.

New York is really coming back to life.
The things that used to make most New Yorkers complain are now making us smile.
The crowds, the lines, the waits.
The tourists.
But now we’re smiling about them and loving them.
I’m giving this “honeymoon period” another week or so.
At the most.

I’m heading back to Texas this weekend to spend the month of June.
I get to spend time with the Littles.
I also get to have some serious dental work done.
And yes, I’m going back to Texas to go to my dentist.
Because serious dental work is much cheaper in Waco.
Even when you count airline tickets.

In July all of the Littles (and their parents) are coming to NY!
My apartment will be full.
To the brim.
I can’t wait.
I’m especially excited to have the two oldest here since they really love it and get excited about being here.
It’s so fun to see things through the eyes of children.

So anyway …… those are all the things I’m tentatively planning.
Hopefully Covid, or some form of it, won’t rear its ugly head at us again.
If it does, then I’m thinking that a colony on Mars is sounding pretty good.

38 ……

…… years.

That’s how long we should’ve been married, as of yesterday.
It’s a long time.

One that I didn’t get.

It’s been 13 years, 5 months and 10 days.
That he didn’t get.

One hundred and sixty one months and 10 days.

Four thousand, nine hundred and ten days.

But who’s counting?

Me, that’s who.

Our anniversary date has come and gone for the last few years without much pain.
In fact, I almost forgot it last year.

But this year …… this year May 28th and I stared each other down as it approached.
We stared hard.
I have no idea why this year was different.
Or why I’ve been missing him more than usual lately.

I know I’ve written about this before, but it’s curious how the body grieves without the mind sometimes.
I wonder if anyone’s actually studied that?
My body, which includes my heart, grieves for him even when I’m not aware there’s a reason.
A specific reason, I mean.
Of course him just being dead is reason enough, is it not?

My heart has been grieving him especially hard this spring.
So yesterday was …… sad.

I miss him.
A lot.
After 117,840 hours, give or take, I still cry when I type those three words.

I have a friend from high school who was married on that same day.
She’s been married all of the time that I haven’t.
I envy her.

She takes time every year to send me a note to tell me that she’s thinking of me on May 28th.
I love her for that.
She’ll probably never know how much I love it.
And how much I need it.

It’s nice to be thought of.
It’s nice to be remembered.
And it’s wonderful when Jim is remembered.

It’s the best gift I could receive.
Especially after 701 weeks and three days.

Change is Good ……


…… except when it’s not.

Since many of you who read this blog are also widowed, I know that you get the latter part of that sentence.

My family had a change a couple of weeks ago that was not good.
It was heart breaking.
About a month ago Daughter #2 called to tell me that the little boy whom we all thought would one day join our family permanently, was going to be placed elsewhere. She had found out quite suddenly and since everyone involved in his case had been asking her from Day 1 if she’d be willing to adopt him, it was also quite unexpected.
She told me that it would be happening within the next week of so, so if I wanted to spend any time with him I should come to Texas asap.

Two days later I was there.
I wanted to spend as much time with him as possible and I also wanted to be there to support my daughter.
We enjoyed him, cuddled him, held him, played with him and just spent time with him.
We talked about the day that he’d be leaving (having no idea when it would actually arrive) and we managed to not cry every time we did.

But when that evening did arrive, the pain and grief were almost unbearable.
The boys took it very well. My daughter has done a great job of explaining fostering to them and so they know that kids will come and go. They’ve seen them come and go.
D2 never told them that the baby would be there forever …… she’s always very cautious around that subject.
For good reason.

But she and I were a mess that night.
The tears flow as I write this because I still (and will always) miss that sweet child.
I pray for him and for his family. I prayed over him that night, asking God to please bless him and them, to keep him strong and healthy and for him to have a good life.
It was the only thing that I could do for him.
And it didn’t feel like it was enough.

He has gone to live with his siblings and a grandparent.
I’m thrilled for them and for the joy that they’ll have with him in their lives.
I pray that he experiences just as much joy with them.

But my heart breaks for him and the way this was handled.
He has lived with D2 and the boys for more than half of his short life.
He loves and adores them.
And I know he loves me.

I wish that this sudden move had been more of a slow transition so that he could get to know the family with whom he’d be living.
I wish that the people who were supposed to be looking out for him had actually done that.
I wish that someone had taken into account how his tiny but big heart would feel to be suddenly taken from the mama he’d come to know and love.

So yes, my heart hurts for him mostly.
I know he’s only a baby, but babies are not immune to feelings of abandonment.
And we’ve learned that they don’t just “get over” loss
But I pray that he’ll experience so much love and joy in his new home that he will heal from this loss.
Please join me in that prayer.

In other news of change …… Son #3 moved to NYC this past weekend.
And that’s a good change.
I came home Sunday afternoon and he met me for dinner and then a tour of his apartment, which is on the opposite side of the Park from mine.

We had a good time together and he is very, very happy.
That does a mom’s heart good.
A lot of good.
I think it will be fun to have him here and I look forward to being able to spend time with him.
(For you long time followers …… who’d a thunk?!)

Other news: my father was hospitalized with Covid for three weeks. Almost two of those were in ICU.
He then spent another two weeks in a nursing home.
He’s home now and doing better, but it’s still a very long road.
He’s still on oxygen and has a hard time exerting himself.
Baby steps, though.
Huge baby steps.

The next time I hear someone say that this virus is made up, I may just have to slap them.

Oh, while I was in Waco I got my vaccine! Such a huge relief. It was the J&J shot so it’s one and done.
While that’s great, let me just tell you that that vaccine hurt like a SOB!
So it’s probably a good thing that it’s only one injection.

The day before I came back to NY we celebrated Grandson #3’s first birthday.
It was wonderful to spend some time with him and with his parents.
It’s hard to believe that both new grandchildren are now 1.
I hope that I get to see more of them this year than I did in the last.
Covid sucks.

That’s it for now.
I’m very happy to be back home.
I miss the boys but NY will always have a hold on me.
One to which I gladly give in.

Hug your people.
If you can’t hug them (yet) then call them and tell them that you love them.
And then hug them as soon as you can.