Category Archives: Moving Forward

Dreams ……

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(photo credit)

…… are just so …… so very weird.

When Jim first died I was disappointed that I didn’t dream about him.  The first dream that I had of him came a few months after he died.  And it was very comforting.
But later dreams were not.

I still have a vivid memory of the first dream that left me reeling.
It was the first dream that I had where he was back and he wasn’t dead.
Actually, he had never died. In that dream.
I had just dreamed that he died. Like when Bobby Ewing spent an entire season being dead on the show “Dallas”, and then on the first show of the next season we found out that his wife, Pam, had just dreamed the entire thing. He never really died.
He was just in the shower.
Yeah. It was stupid then, too.

Anyway, it was the first of many “not dead” dreams. And when I first woke up, I still thought it was real.
And then reality set it …… and knocked the breath out of me.
Again.

So yeah, I’ve had many, MANY “not dead” dreams.
In the first few years they were pleasant. I’d wake up and re-hash them in my mind.
In those dreams, for some odd reason (and always a different one), Jim would just reappear, out of nowhere, and be home. I was always a bit miffed at him for being gone but only for a few seconds. Then I was ecstatic that he was alive.

Over the years those dreams have changed from pleasant to downright disturbing.
He still comes back, but I’m less than thrilled to have him back.
In most of them he left/pretended to be dead because he was with another woman. And he comes back for various reasons.
When I wake up from those dreams it takes me a moment to realize that it’s not real.
And that he’s still dead.
Which, as horrific as this may sound …… is a relief.
It’s a relief to remember that I actually saw his body …… and that he did not cheat on me.
Wickedly disturbing, I know.

A couple of weeks ago I had a dream that really made me think …… about how much has changed.
Jim came back.
Again.
He had left with another woman.
Again.
But he decided, 11 1/2 years later, that he wanted to come back to his “before” life. With me.
In Texas.
Right where he left off.

I was less than thrilled.
I mean, I was happy (sort of) that he was alive but also really upset that he’d left me in the first place. With her.
Whoever she was.

And, I had just moved to NY.
I explained to him that I had moved and that I was happy living in NY.
He said that we could keep the apartment but we’d have to live fulltime in Texas.
Back where we lived 12 years ago.
Where I’m no longer friends with some of the people who used to be quite close.
Where I still have friends but where life has changed.
Where I don’t really want to live again.

Because really, you can’t go back.
Things are never the same.
Nor should they be.
Life moves on.
Even if you don’t.
Or pretend to be dead for 11 1/2 years.

The worst part of the dream was having to move back from NY.
Yep, even worse than the slut he ran away with.
Whoever she was.

I think I woke up soon after that discussion.
And again, it took me a moment to land back in reality.
And remember that I really did see his body.
And that I’m still in NY.

The relief that filled me is hard to describe.
Probably because it sounds terrible to most people.
People who think they’d welcome back their loved one no matter what.
People who haven’t walked this road for almost 12 years.
People who don’t …… can’t …… get it.

I love my life.
I love my home.
I love my city.
And I still will always love Jim.
I will always wish that he never died.
But he did.
And life, and I, have moved forward.

It took me a long time to be here.
I never thought I’d be happy again.
It’s a different happy, but it’s happy nonetheless.
And it’s my happy.
I think I’ll keep it.

And continue to feel relieved when I wake up.

The Calm ……

…… after the storm.
Ahhhhhhh. (Insert long, peaceful sigh.)

The kids are back in Texas.
It was a great week.
It was a loud week.

The boys are wonderful and wild.
Invigorating and exhausting.
Hilarious and frustrating.

Exactly how they should be.

It’s always great to spend time with my kids. I loved having two of the daughters here to hang with for a short time. Daughter #3 FaceTimed in so that she didn’t totally miss out.

Soon-to-be-Grandson #2 turned two while he was here. We went to the zoo that day. We watched them feed the penguins, which he seemed to find a bit dull. We watched them feed and show off the sea lions, which he loved. And he got to feed several goats, sheep and an alpaca (I think. I thought it was a llama. All I know is that it didn’t spit at us so that’s a win.)

Grandson #1 is hilarious. Most of the time.
Walking through the city with him is …… interesting.
He’s always loved cars, trucks, buses …… pretty much all the wheels.
But now he’s going through this phase in which he points at every truck/bus/van/etc. that’s going by and shouts (he almost always shouts) “I LOVE that truck/bus/van/etc!”
Every.
Freakin’.
One.

And not only does he shout that out, but he then expects you to answer his shout of glee with an appropriate confirmation. Or he shouts it again. And again. And again. Getting louder with each shout.
Do you know how many trucks/buses/vans/etc. pass by in NYC every minute?
A lot.
A whole lot.
So what starts out as cute and endearing suddenly turns into something that makes you want to shout, “Yes! I see ALL the trucks/buses/vans/etc.! I see ALL THE WHEELS!”
But here’s the thing: even if you do shout that out (not that I would EVER do that … ?) it doesn’t stop him from shouting at the sight of the very next one.
He’s a man on a mission.

Grandson #2 just kind of goes with the flow.
Until he doesn’t.
Which is basically the way most 2 year olds operate.
He still loves to cuddle, give kisses and be held (most of the time).
He’s absolutely fearless.
Which doesn’t bode well for Daughter #2’s future.
(snicker)

I’ll be flying to Waco in 10 days to stay with the boys while she goes to a conference out of town.
Before they got here I told a friend that I plan to keep them out of daycare that week so that we can just hang out, do things and have an all around fun time.

Bwah ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha ha!

I think I changed that plan before the end of the day they arrived.
What can I say? I’m weak.
And old.
And can only take so much conversation that contains the words poop, poopy head, poopy butt, butt cheek, pee and pee butt.
Boys ……
‘Nuff said.

Speaking of boys, Son #2 and his lovely girlfriend arrive tomorrow. I’m excited to see them.
He won’t care about the passing trucks.
Hopefully.

Have a great weekend.
You poopy heads.
🙂

It’s About Time ……

 

…… that I wrote another blog post.
I’m hoping to get back into this and to do better with keeping it up.
(If I had a dollar for every time I’ve written/said that …… I’d have a whole lotta dollars.)

So I’m going to post some pics to help catch you up with what I’ve been doing for the last month since I moved back up here.
And I’ll also catch you up with the fam.

The kids are all doing well. In three days (WHOOP!) Daughter #2 will be here with a friend, and with Grandson #1 and soon-to-be Grandson #2. Yep, we’re in the last stretch of him becoming a permanent part of our family.
T.A.N.W.

Daughter #1 and K will be here this weekend, too. I can’t wait. I haven’t seen them since Christmas. It’s about time.

Then, after a week when D#2 and her entourage leave, Son #2 and his girlfriend H will arrive for a week. It’ll be good to see them, too.
It’s going to be a fun two weeks.

Son #3 just finished his first year of law school. For those of you who’ve been around since the very beginning of my blogging …… you know how huge that is.
And how proud I am of him.

At the end of their visit I’ll be returning to Texas for a week. D#2 has a conference to go to for a week so I’ll be pulling Gigi duty. And I’m looking forward to it.
Ask me how I’m doing on Day 2.

So, as far as what I’ve been up to …… I’m still playing tennis every week (mostly), I’m now playing Mah Jongg at least once a week, sometimes twice.
I’ve joined a few Meetup groups, re-joined a book club, made new friends, applied to be a CASA here in NYC (a very daunting prospect), taken a few walking tours, seen some shows and a few movies.

I think I need a nap now.

But first I’ll post some pics.
You’re welcome.

These are my celebrity sightings in the last few weeks.

As I was walking to the subway a couple of weeks ago, Geoffrey Rush walked past me. Pretty cool.
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Then, a few nights ago I was at a show. I don’t usually pay attention to the people around me, like …… anywhere, so I’m always surprised when I see a celebrity. I had been looking through my Playbill and then decided to look around, just in case I might see someone. And low and behold …… Hilary Farr, from the HGTV show “Love It or List It” was in front of me.
I refrained from leaning over and saying, “I’ve decided to love it.”
She’s welcome.
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Here are a few shows that I’ve seen:


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Gracie and I continue to visit Central Park on a regular basis so that she can fulfill her duties as Ambassador of NYC.

Here are some places I visited:

A cool exhibit at the MET:
(And yes, that’s Prince’s guitar.  One of a few that were there.  This is a great exhibit, in case you’ll be in NYC over the summer.)

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The Frick (a truly wonderful museum that you can see in a couple of hours, unlike the MET, which you could live in for a month and probably not see it all):

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A walking tour around Gramercy Park:

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Another walking tour on the Upper West Side:

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Lunch and a tour of the UN …… it was amazing!:

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Our street was named Sesame Street, since it never really had a home before.  Now I live on Sesame Street.  Not bad.

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This young man dropped his phone on the track as he was getting on the subway.  After the train left he jumped down on the tracks to retrieve it.  The next train was less than three minutes behind that one.  And he struggled a bit trying to climb back up.
I think I aged a few years.

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I went to a friend’s lakehouse for Memorial Day weekend.  We had a great time.  It was beautiful and it brought back a lot of memories of time spent at our lakehouse:

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Yesterday we hung out on a lobster boat/shack.  We had lunch on it and sailed out for a bit.  It was fun.

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A few weeks ago I went to a lecture at the Hayden Planetarium (at the American Museum of Natural History, aka, the place where Night at the Museum was filmed) and tonight I went to another one.  It’s such a cool experience.

This was on my walk home.  I love walking in the evening, when the sun is setting.
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So that’s what I’ve been doing.
My house in Waco is still on the market (sigh).
But I’m definitely enjoying city life.
I’m in my happy place.

I’ll leave you with this picture.
I found this piece of paper when I was unpacking. It’s a pro/con list of moving to NY that I made several years ago.
I’m glad that I decided to follow the pros.

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I Seem to Have a Love/Hate Relationship……

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…… with a freakin’ tv show.

Give me a break.

In case you haven’t seen this new series on NBC, it’s about a group of passengers whose plane disappeared for 5 1/2 years and then suddenly returned. Out of nowhere. But here’s the kicker: the passengers think they were gone 3 hours. They didn’t change, age, notice anything different (other than some crazy turbulence). They felt and thought that they were landing on time and in the right place. Back to their normal.
But what they came back to is a world that has aged 5 years. A twin who was 8 when he left and came back now has a twin who’s almost 14. Talk about weird.

So anyway, that’s all I’m going to give you.
Now on with my point.
Maybe.

This show reminds me of some dreams I’ve had over the past 10 years. Dreams where Jim comes back. Sometimes, most times, he acts like nothing’s happened. And I’m torn between screaming for joy, love, relief, etc. and screaming because I am beyond pissed at him. Kind of like those feelings you get when you find your lost child who had wandered away and hid.

I don’t enjoy those dreams. Of course I always get past the being pissed part.
But still.

Back to the show ……
I think I like it because it hits so close to home. The pain that that passengers feel when they realize that life has moved forward 5 years, without them.
The joy of their family and friends when they discover their loved one(s) has come back from the dead.
And the frustration, confusion and problems that follow.

I hate this show because I wish that it could be a true story. I hate that these people get to have their loved ones back.
And I don’t.
Even if it took over 5 years.
In spite of all of the problems that would follow.
Mostly.

This is the part I hate most ……
Part of me (a very small part, but still ……) wonders if I’d really want him to come back after all this time.
I’m crying as I’m writing this because it’s difficult to admit.

It’s not that I love someone else.
It’s not that I’ve become a terrible person.
It’s not that I don’t love him anymore.

I guess it’s mostly just that life has gone on.
And nothing would be the same.

Our world is different.
Our country is (too) different.
Our family is different. Hugely different.
I’m different.

I don’t write this flippantly.
I apologize to any of you who are in the club and can’t even fathom what I’m saying.
Those of you who’d want them back this instant.
I’m sorry if reading this causes you pain.

Of course I’d love to have him back.
Wouldn’t I?
Maybe my tears mean …… “mostly”.

Life Is Good ……

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….. right?

I mean, it’s mostly good.
And I try to focus on that.

So why am I sitting here, crying because I miss him?
Again.

I hate this.
I really, really hate this.

This shitty wave that comes out of the blue and smacks me upside the head, knocking me to my knees.
Again.

It’s been ten damn years.
There should be no more waves.
Right?

Ten. Freakin’. Years.

I just got back from a trip to Hawaii with Son #1, Daughter #2 and grandsons 1 and 2 (2 is a foster grandson but I love him all the same).
We had a great trip.
It was kind of exhausting, but it was good.

I have a great life.
But in the midst of this great life there is a shadow that seems to hang just behind me, over my right shoulder.
Where he should be, I guess.

That shadow is always there.
Always.
I don’t always acknowledge it.
Or actively look for it.
Or even see it …… sometimes.
But it’s there.

But every once in a while …… it comes over me …… and reminds me of the life I had.
And of the life I should be having.
And of the life I’m missing.
The man I’m missing.

Damnit to hell.

“So …… are you ……

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…… dating anyone?”

No. No, I am not.

“Are you dating at all?”

Nope. Not dating. At all.

“Why?!” (That’s the word that is spoken, but it sounds more like, “What’s wrong with you?!”)

There’s only one reason that I’m not dating: I don’t want to.

And no, that doesn’t mean that I’m stuck in my grief.
No, it doesn’t mean that I’m not living life fully.
No, it doesn’t mean that I’m afraid to put myself out there.
No, it doesn’t mean that I’m afraid to love again.
No, it doesn’t mean that I’m afraid of losing another love to death.

And no, it does NOT mean that I’m …… less than.

Of course no one says any of those things.
At least not to my face.
But hints are given.
Blogs are written.
Facebook posts are written …… even by widowed friends.

Sometimes those who have found love become “love pushers”.
They like to preach about how wonderful it is and how we (all us widowed people) should take that step. We should want to find love again. We shouldn’t be stuck in our past. We can’t really move forward and become whole until we take that step.

I know they don’t mean to say that. And I know that they’d deny putting that message out there.
But sometimes you don’t really get a message …… when you’re not its subject.
Sometimes your blissful happiness can cause you to want everyone you know to be blissful. And happy.
I get that.

But here’s the thing: I am happy. I am happily single. I am not looking for love. That’s because I don’t want a relationship.
I may not be blissful, but I’m really ok with that.
My life is full.
My life is good.
I had one hell of a terrific love.
And I’m good.

I didn’t have a perfect marriage.
Jim wasn’t a perfect man.
But it was a good marriage.
And he was a good man.
I always felt blessed beyond measure to have him.
And I still do.

Would it be nice to have that again?
Well, of course it would.
But do I need to have it again?
No. No, I don’t.
Again, I’m good.

I’m starting to feel a bit resentful for being put on the spot sometimes.
I don’t think I should have to explain myself.
I don’t think I should have to give any reasons for not wanting another relationship.
And I sure as hell don’t need people pointing out some false statistic that people who had good marriages will want to find love again.
I think that’s crap.

We can’t all be lumped together.
For anything.
“All millennials are like this …”
“All white women are like this …”
“All Christians are like this …”
“All liberals are like this …”
“All conservatives are like this …”

I’m sick to death of this crap.
I’m angry about the divisiveness that has clutched this country in the last year and a half.
And I’m fed up with feeling that I’m thought of as “not whole” if I don’t want a man in my life.

I’ve had two relationships since Jim died.
Neither worked out.
Thankfully.
I should’ve known that I wasn’t meant to be with someone when, upon learning that one of these men shoved wedding cake into his first bride’s face, I knew he was not the man for me. That was the beginning of the end.*
Some would say that’s a stupid reason to not want a man.
Maybe.
Maybe not.
I don’t think we can help what we feel.

But I digress.
I have dated.
I no longer do.
I haven’t had a date in several years.
And I’m happy with that.

The thought of being in a relationship makes my blood pressure go up.
I just don’t want it.
I like living alone.
For the most part.
I like traveling on a whim.
I like having all of the closet space.
Selfish?
Probably.
But true.

So, for all of you widowed peeps who are remarried, or in love …… I’m thrilled for you.
Truly.
I’m happy for your happiness.
I hope that you have very long relationships and that you’re the first to go.

And for all of you who aren’t widowed, but are happily in love …… I’m equally happy for you.
And I hope you go first.

But please know that, just as everyone is not meant to be an accountant, or an actor, or a teacher …… not all of us are meant to be with someone. And it’s possible to be happy …… and single.

I love my life.
Just as it is.
(I think it goes without saying that I would prefer Jim to be alive and here, but that’s not a choice.)
I have learned to never say never.

But right now …… in this part of my life …… I’m happy with all of the closet space.

*If you or your spouse shoved cake into each other’s face and are happy with that then yay for you.  I don’t think less of you.  It’s just not my thing.

Choosing ……

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…… to not be sad.

Is that possible?  I used to think, “Of course it is!”
You know …… back in my “before”.
I had no idea that sometimes …… you just can’t choose.
Until I couldn’t.

It seemed to last forever …… the days that I couldn’t choose.
It felt like forever.
A long, dark, cold forever.

But gradually the days became lighter and warmer and I found that I could decide.
Sometimes.
Sometimes turned into most times and most times is where I reside now.

I am able to choose to not be sad.

Which brings me to today.
New Year’s Eve.
I’ve hated New Year’s Eve/New Year’s Day for ten years.
For me, it’s worse than the dreaded Valentine’s Day that widowed people abhor so much.
It’s an evening/day when you can feel like such a loser because you’re alone.
It’s an evening/day when loneliness feels magnified.
And trust me …… something as sucky as loneliness shouldn’t be magnified.

Christmas was great.
The apartment was full …… of people and noise.
Lots and lots of noise.
And fun.

But like every year, my children have returned to their homes and their lives.
As they should.
The silence is deafening.
On this night.

I know that for many people, the silence and loneliness on Christmas is worse.
And I know that I’m blessed each year to have most of my children with me for that week.
So I try to be mindful of that.
And thankful.

This year feels no different.
It’s New Year’s Eve and it’s quiet.
And a bit lonely.
I still hate it.

I wish he were here.

In spite of all that, I’m choosing to not be sad.
I’m choosing to be thankful.
Thankful for my children.
And their children.
Thankful for the love in my life.
For the friendships and the family.

Thankful that even though he’s not here …… he was.

But most of all …… I’m thankful that I can choose to not be sad.

Most of the time.

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New Year’s Eve 2006 — our last one