Monthly Archives: March 2015

Here’s What I’ve Realized ……

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…… in the past two days.
Everybody …… absolutely every single person on this earth …… needs to know that they have been missed.
Because being missed means that you matter.
To someone.

Yes, I realize that this seems like a basic piece of knowledge, or maybe it should be. But I’ve found that it’s not really. We all need to be told that we are missed …… and we all need to tell people who matter to us that we miss them.
This is not one of those pieces of information that you can take for granted …… but we do.

Sure, you think that your loved ones know you miss them.
So why bother to get all mushy and tell them, right?
After all, they know.

No. That’s not right.
We are human beings, and as such, we can be very fragile, no matter how hard we pretend that we aren’t. Because being fragile is negative, isn’t it? We should be strong. Who cares if we’re missed or not missed? We can do just fine on our own, thank you very much.
We just slip on one of the many masks we keep hidden in our closet and voila! No one knows what we look like beneath the mask. No one can see the tears, thankfully.
No one can see that we’re …… God forbid …… human.

And so we help to perpetuate the myth that all is well. We’re all strong. We’re all just fine, thank you very much.
If we’re missed, great. If we’re not, no problem.
If we’re loved, nice. If we’re not, it’s your loss, not ours.

What a load of crap.

I’m just as guilty as anyone else in this category. I miss so very many people. On a daily basis.
Hell, on a second to second basis.
But I rarely tell all of those people how much I miss them.
First of all, it would take all day.
Second of all, what if they don’t miss me back?

I have deeply missed the people at my “old” church. And the responses and comments that I received telling me the same (from my previous post) made me cry.
I didn’t realize until then how much I need to feel missed.
How much I need to feel loved.

There are people in my life who tell me this on a regular basis, as I do them.
I’d say that 99.9% of them are widowed. Or have experienced a profound loss, too.
Once that changes your life forever, you can’t help but love people fiercely and tell them so.

It’s the people in your “before” life that fall into the cracks. There’s no finger of blame to point, I can’t come up with a reason why, it just happens. On both sides.
And that’s a shame.

I need my “before” people in my life.
I need people who knew Jim.
Who knew Jim and Janine.

Yes, it can be a huge relief to have people in my life who only know the “after Janine”, as I’m sure any widowed person feels.
But I think we still need those who knew and loved the “before us”.

I think I’ve been pondering this more lately because my heart has been hurting so much for my sweet friend whose son died recently.
I’ve never experienced the death of a child. And yet, the two of us are connecting with the grief our hearts hold. I’m not sure if it’s because I loved her “before”, or because she’s a single parent and so she’s going through this loss alone. I think it’s probably both.
Her heart not only breaks for the future her son will never have, but for the future she’ll never have with a partner. Both losses are slamming into her on a constant basis.

I always thought that if one of our children died, Jim and I would get through it together. The loss of him was greater than the potential loss of one of our children.
But now, with him gone, the loss of one of my children would …… I can’t even go there.

Yet my friend wakes up there every single day. I want to take her pain away. But I know I can’t.
I want to tell her that things will get better soon. But we both know they won’t.
All I can do is be there for her. Sit with her, listen to her, cry with her.
But she needs more than just me. She needs a boatload of people who can, and will, do this with her.

Grief is exhausting.
And hard to carry alone.
If you know someone who’s carrying it, please help them.
Just offer to sit with them.
Tell them that you love them.
Tell them that you miss them.
Tell them, above all, that you miss their loved one.
Because that matters.

You matter.
Your words matter.
Your feelings matter.
So share them.

And help someone know that they matter.

Life is too precious to do alone.

Sometimes a Building ……


…… is so much more than walls, ceilings, stone, wood and paint.

Sometimes buildings are living, breathing things.
Or so they seem.
So very much.

I was up quite early this morning and I decided that I would visit my old church today for the Sunday service. Just as I was looking its service times up on the internet, one of my best friends texted me and asked if I’d like to attend with her.
Coincidence? I think not.
So I said yes, and proceeded to get ready.

I haven’t been to this exact church in many, many, many months.
I’ve visited a few churches all across our area, and have enjoyed a couple of them, but nothing has clicked in with that feeling of, dare I say it …… home.

In fact, as I was getting ready I thought, briefly, “I wonder if it will feel like home?”, thinking that it probably would not.
But I wanted to give it one last try.
I don’t say goodbye easily, you see.

This church is so much more to me than a church…… more than a building that holds a church.
It’s a living, breathing organism that holds so much of Jim in it. It also holds emotions that I poured into it, or had them ripped from me there.

And then there are the memories.
The memory of our first visit back when we were a young family of six (4 small children, 2 parents). Then Son #2 came along and was baptized there, as was Son #3. All 6 of our children were confirmed there, deep friendships were created there, faith-growing happened there and bold decisions were made there.

Jim is all over that building. He was the President of our congregation when we purchased the land next to ours so that we could create a larger sanctuary. He was a huge part of our church, both the new and the old.

So I feel him every time I step into that building. Not only him, but the huge, gaping loss of him. His absence is, for me, nowhere greater than in that building.
I feel the huge emptiness of him there.
I feel the pain and anguish and icy darkness I felt there after his death.
I feel the pain of “friends”, who, I’m choosing to believe had no idea what they were doing, said terribly hurtful things, or stood with those who did.
When you add all that pain up it creates one very large barrier for a building.

Not that everything and everyone was all negative, because that’s not true. There was a lot of love in that building, too, but the love couldn’t over compensate for the pain, hurt and darkness.

But every time I return to Texas I argue with myself about visiting “our” church again. This was the first Sunday that part of me won that argument. So I decided to not give it much thought, but to just hurry and get ready and go before I could change my mind.

As I drove to the church, I again wondered, “Will it feel like home?”, thinking the chances were low.
My heart rate sped up pretty quickly and my breathing quickened as I walked from the parking lot to the doors. I tried to keep my eyes averted so that I didn’t appear to look like a “deer in the headlights” to anyone. But soon a long-time friend saw me and came over for a quick hug and said that it was good to see me. I said the same.
I was still trying not to hyperventilate as I looked around, when suddenly my dear, sweet friend Janet walked straight up to me and wrapped me in the strongest, longest hug I’ve had in months and months and months. I didn’t want her to let go. But she eventually did. And when she did, she held my hand warmly and firmly in hers, caught my eyes and said, as sincerely and warmly as possible, “Welcome Home. It’s good to have you.”
It was all I could do to not cry. To not ugly cry.
You see, that’s all I wanted, though I didn’t clearly realize it …… to be made to feel at home. And she blessed me hugely with her touch and her words……with her love.
I thanked her and told her that her words meant very much to me. She said, “I know.”
I totally love that woman and wish that I could travel the world with her. Or at least parts of Texas.
She helped me realize that I could go in and actually sit through the service, which I did, with my friend next to me for support.

I have to admit that I almost hyperventilated for the first 10 minutes or so. Tears were streaming down my cheeks. I felt very overwhelmed with the rush of feelings, memories, pain, good times, etc. that came charging at me all at once. I wasn’t sure I’d be able to stay. But I chose to just breathe.
That’s all.
To concentrate on breathing in …… and then out.
As long as I could focus on that job, I could keep the emotions under control.
And it became easier and easier.

So maybe this was a first tiny step to coming back home.

I feel blessed to have two churches where I can feel home now. One here, one in NY.
They have common themes, goals, and plans. And yet they have different ways of carrying out those things. They’ll all get done, each in their own way, which will make them all the more remarkable.
I am blessed.
Even on those days when I feel too overwhelmed to walk inside, I’m blessed when I enter anyway.

I will always be overwhelmed with the sense of Jim in that building. I’m sure there will always be moments, songs, prayers that will bring tears from memories.
And that’s ok.

Sometimes home can be very overwhelming.
And I’ve learned …… that doesn’t have to be a bad thing.

Three Things ……

…… to help make your day a little bit brighter.

1. I’m going to survive.
True, I don’t really know if that will brighten your day, but I’m going to pretend that it will.
It may also be the fever talking.
But it’s a way lower fever than it has been, so I’m going to let it talk.

2. This series is hilarious.
Unless you don’t enjoy Tina Fey. And if you don’t, why are you reading this? We have nothing in common and we wouldn’t be friends.
Go re-evaluate your life.

For the rest of you …… go start binge watching this on NetFlix today.
Here’s the trailer, in case you’re still debating.
And if you are, really?!!

3. This company professes to have the most comfortable underwear, hands down.
So you know me …… always up for a challenge. Especially if it’s an easy one.
They are absolutely right.
If you don’t believe me, just go to and order your own pair. And then let me know what you think.
And no, they aren’t paying me to write this.
I wish!

So there you go.
Three things to brighten your day.
Or maybe two.
If it’s less than that then you really do need to re-evaluate.


So, You Know ……

…… what it’s like when you have small children who get sick and run a fever? You call the doctor’s office and get an appointment for the next day, or for that afternoon if you happen to hit winning jackpots.
(For those of you who don’t have children …… this scenario also works with cars that get sick and have to be taken in to the shop.)
Something magical happens during that brief window of time when your child/car is being examined and their fever completely disappears.
Making you, as a parent/car owner, feel like a complete moron.

Well, that happened to me today.
In a backwards, sort of inside-out kind of way.

As I told you yesterday, I had an appointment this morning for a checkup. Which happened to be nice timing since I inadvertently picked up a Spanish bug/Ebola the day before I returned to the States.
(Doesn’t that sound SO “continental”? The “States”. That’s me. Full of continent.)
I’ve had an obnoxious, sleep-stealing cough since Saturday. But other than the stupid cough, I haven’t felt really bad. And I haven’t run a fever.

At approximately 10:30 a.m. today I had my temperature taken at my doctor’s office. It was 98.8. Still no fever. And when I told them about the cough, which they could hear for themselves, they asked if I had been running a fever. I said no.
During my exam my PA said that my nose was red and inflamed, and she could hear a little bit of noise in the lower part of my lungs, but nothing to be concerned about.
She decided to give me a prescription for a Z pack and told me to get it filled if I didn’t feel better in the next 48 hours. She suspected what I have is viral, but wanted to cover her bases just in case.

I left the office and ran a few errands before getting home around 12:30.
By the time I hauled my groceries into the house I felt like I’d been hit by a truck.
And I also felt like I had a fever.

I put up the groceries, started laundry, ate some lunch and went through all of my mail. At around 2:00 or so I decided to take my temperature. I think it took me at least 30 minutes to find a thermometer …… and the two that I finally found are the old-fashioned kind with mercury in them. Yes, I realize that we’re supposed to throw those things out, but if I had done that I’d never know if I had a fever!
Don’t judge.

So, yeah …… I have a temperature of almost 101.
I’ve had it all afternoon.
God has SUCH a sense of humor.

I’m guessing that I’ll be starting a Z pack tomorrow.

And maybe researching a little bit more about Ebola.


P.S. Hi, Aunt Cathy. Just so you know, Gracie did NOT sleep in the laundry room last night (nor was she ever going to). She slept curled up right against me, where she always sleeps when we’re together.
Oh, and she also spent a fair amount of time on the plane in my lap. Granted, she was in her crate, but her crate was on my lap during a large portion of the flight.
My bark is worse than my bite.

My Utmost ……

…… and sincerest apologies.
I seem to be the worst blog writer ever.
And I can’t even tell you why.

Well, I mean, I could say that I’ve been busy …… but that’s not a great excuse. I haven’t been all that busy.
If you don’t count traveling.

I did go to Spain last week.

Do you like how I just dropped that like it was a trip to the supermarket?
It was kind of like name-dropping, wasn’t it?
I’m sorry.
Kind of.

Son #1 asked me if I wanted to go to Spain with him for his vacation …… and of course I said, “Of course.”
We had a great time.
Even if he was ultimately trying to kill me.
We traveled all over the country almost every single day.
By train.
I think I may be “traveled out” for a while.
Of course it didn’t help that we flew back to New York yesterday.
And this afternoon I got on another plane and flew to Texas.
Ummmmmmm, yeah …… I have no idea what I was thinking when I planned that one.
Except that I needed to spend more time in Texas.

Gracie and I got home at around 6:30 tonight.
For a dog who didn’t go to Spain, she certainly didn’t have one of her best travel days.
She whined and yelped and cried for the entire trip. Not constantly, but enough that I was pretty tense for 3 and a half hours.
She didn’t sleep at all. She’d sometimes be quiet for maybe 15 minutes, and then she’d let out a high-pitched cry. From under the seat in front of me.
Fortunately the woman who had the middle seat was very kind and didn’t seem to be bothered by her.
And to be fair, she wasn’t all that horrible. I think it’s like when you have a baby on a plane and are tensed by every little cry, thinking everyone around you is hearing the cries and getting fed up.
Or maybe that was just me.

Suffice it to say that she’s not my favorite companion today.
But that’s also because every thirty minutes or so she starts growling and barking at the front door …… like someone’s trying to break in.
It’s very nerve-wracking.
And a wee bit unsettling.
She may be sleeping in the laundry room tonight.

Anyway, my bags are in my room …… still fully packed.
My mailbox is also still fully packed. That’s because it’s been raining non-stop and I haven’t been motivated to go empty it.
I’m also pooped.

Jet leg, plus the time change, plus a nasty cough that has kept me from sleeping soundly over the past two days equals a pooped me.
Fortunately I have a checkup tomorrow so maybe I can get some good cough medicine. You know, the stuff that knocks you out long enough to sleep.
By the way, I picked this cough up in Spain.
Is a cough one of the signs of Ebola?

Hopefully I’ll get caught up on laundry, groceries, mail, etc. tomorrow so that I can also post some pictures from the trip.

Unless of course I have Ebola.
Although if I have to spend 21 days in quarantine then I guess I’ll have plenty of time to post pics.
Always a silver lining.