Thursday, July 20, 2017

Ask the question!

Warning...description of death.  Not gory, but death nonetheless.

I am sure that we all are aware that not knowing is worse than knowing.  Even if knowing something is not good, at least we can now start to deal with whatever the news is.  Not knowing, at least for me, leaves you in limbo.  Too many "what if's", too much time worrying and fretting, not enough time spent on the present and moving forward.

I asked the question.  Actually, there was probably more than one question, but the big one had to do with Donny opening his eyes in his last moments here.  I was there and I can tell you it gave me pause and made me wonder if I had made the right choice to let him go.  The doctors had been clear that he was not going to recover and would likely pass quickly without intervention.  I listened to all they told me and knew that the scenario they put in front of me was not what my sweet husband would have ever wanted.  They could have kept him alive, but it was not living, but existing.  No, that was not what he would have wanted at all.  Still when he opened his eyes just as he was passing, I had second thoughts.  I could have asked right then.  There were medical personnel close by and his sister, an RN, was right there.  He died so quickly after that moment and things just kept happening that needed my attention.

It was several days later that I began to fret about not knowing what he knew in that moment.  Was he aware he that he was about to die?  Was he scared?  I kept thinking about those questions and rolling them over in my mind...for months.

I was sad that he was gone.  I was scared to be living my life without him.  We had all sorts of plans that now were never going to happen.  I had a house, animals, a job and myself to take care of.  I kept putting one foot in front of the other, but the whole time those questions played in my mind as if on a looped tape recorder.

I sought help for grief.  I found some, but I kept coming back to those questions.  I read a lot, talked to people who had been in my shoes, wrote here and to Donny...and still there was no peace.

One evening I decided to call Donny's sister.  I told her I was not really sure I wanted to know the answers to my questions, but I had to ask.  From the perspective of a medical professional she told me what she knew.  We cried, we laughed and she said something to me that I still carry with me.  She told me that Donny had made decisions that took him to that day when he died and I needed to not feel guilty.  I had felt guilty.  Did I do enough?  I didn't want to mother my husband, but I wanted him around.  I told him sometime in the last year of his life that I had come to a decision.  I was no longer going to nag at him about his health.  No more questions about his diet, did he take his meds, when was his next doctors appointment...nothing.  It was hard to follow through, but I told him I wanted to be married to him and to enjoy our time together.  I am so glad I made that choice.  It was hard at first to break the pattern, but it was so good for our relationship.  And you know what?  He did better about his diet, his meds, his appointments...all without me nagging at him!

The morning after that phone call to Donny's sister I woke up with a huge weight lifted off of my life.  I hadn't realized what an affect not knowing was having on me!

Within a few days people started noticing a change in me.  My boss commented that I was singing again!  I'm not sure if he was happy or not, but I realized I was finding my joy again.  I smiled more, even laughed and the good things in life just seemed more apparent.

So, I will tell you, no matter your circumstance, ask the question!  You can do it and I hope it is better for you like it was for me.

Since that day I keep moving forward, not on, just forward.  Moving on means leaving Donny in the past.  He will always be in my heart and in my head, no matter what comes next for me.  I am ready for next.  I am ready for joy.  Aren't you?

The Hopeful Romantic

Tuesday, May 2, 2017


I was unloading the dishwasher a bit ago and thought again that not all of the dishes are completely dry in spite of the "dry" function being turned on.  In the past I was have asked Donny to figure this out.  Now I try to deal with this sort of thing myself.  The dishes have not been getting totally dry for more than a month now.  I think about this while I hand dry several things before putting them away, but when the task is done the thought is gone.  Until the next time I unload the dishwasher!

I tell myself this is because finding the cause and fixing it are "low on my list."  Taking care of myself, my animals and my house as best I can takes a lot.  I will get to the low things on the list.  Someday.

Late last week I was thinking about organizing my life so I will be less overwhelmed.  I decided that wading through some of the paperwork that is piling up should be part of my weekend.  Oh, be still my beating heart!  Such exciting weekend plans!  Actually, it was good.  I got through a couple of major piles and it felt good to know where some things were and to have a feeling of peace instead of being overwhelmed.

I am still working on my "new normal."  Little by little, things become easier and other things fall into place.  I relish those times.  I am capable.  I have been single before and took care of myself quite well.  This is just different.  I am doing what Donny and I did together.  Alone.  Without Donny.

As with other posts, the idea I sat down to write about morphed into something other than I had imagined.  I sat down with the idea of things that were different.  What I finish with is the thought of being gentler with myself.  All things in good time.  I am moving forward.  No need to think less of myself.  Gentler right?  So, under the heading of Changes I will make a note to be kinder to myself. I saw this on Facebook recently...

So far you've survived 100% of your worst days.  You're doing great.

Yup, I have survived and I will keep surviving until I feel like I'm doing great.

Thank you,
The Hopeful Romantic

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

6 Months

For the past week I have been telling myself that tomorrow is just another day on the calendar.  Tomorrow is 6 months since I lost Donny.  Oddly, it is also a Thursday, the same day of the week as that day 6 months ago.  There is not really any significance there, but I keep looking for something that will get me through.

Don has been gone every day of these last 6 months, so why should tomorrow feel any different?  One more day of getting up, getting dressed and going to work.  There will still be chores at home that need doing and my animals will still need my care and attention.  With all of that in mind I am feeling numb for the first time in quite a while.  I am more focused on that coming date that most everything else.  I am on auto pilot.

I know that everyone grieves in a different way.  For me I fell apart in those first few weeks.  That is not new for me.  In my journey on this planet I have learned that I fall apart in the beginning and then I get my feet under me and move forward.  The severity of what knocked me down dictates how long I fall apart.  Losing Donny really knocked me down.  You knew that, right?  I get back up, carry on and then get knocked down again...and again.  The times on my feet seem to be growing in duration. Except for the past week or so.  I have felt like my heart is heavier, that my feet are leaden and that I wear of a cloak of sadness.  I keep trying the things that I know work for me.  I love to sing along with the radio, but not so much right now.  The songs all seem sad.  Funny cat videos on Facebook (yup, I love them!) can draw me in.  Funny shows on TV barely draw a smile from me.  I have had a hard time approaching this milestone.

Maybe that is why I am struggling.  One more marker of my life without my best guy.  Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, his birthday, Valentines Day and now 6 months.  My body aches.  There are tears right behind my eyes more often than not recenly.  I have to tell you I still can't believe his is gone.  Gone and not coming back.  No growing old together.  No nothing for us.  Our time is in the past. Now it is just me.

I have a life to live and I am living that life.  I am getting through.

Thank goodness tomorrow is a work day for me.  8 hours of taking care of other peoples problems will help to distract me from the day on that calendar.  Dinner after work with friends will be part of the balm that my broken heart needs.  

Tomorrow is just one more day on the calendar.  One more day that Donny will still be gone and one more day that I will still miss him.

The Hopeful Romantic

Monday, April 17, 2017


Sometimes I can be clear-headed and know that this is my life now...without Donny.
Sometimes I want him back so badly that I can't think of anything else.

Sometimes I go through my day with him tucked into my heart, not far from the forefront of my mind, but manage as if he would still be waiting for me when I got home.
Sometimes I have a hard time focusing on the task at hand.  Then, too, he is tucked into my heart and not far from the forefront of my mind.

Sometimes I can talk about him and smile, maybe even laugh.
Sometimes I can barely get a word out about him without tears streaming down my face.

Sometimes I grab a spoon to give him a taste of what I am cooking only to more tastes for him.
Sometimes I eat at the sink and think of how he would laugh if he were here to see me without proper utensils, a plate and maybe even a napkin.  (I would always laughingly tell him when he would bring napkins to the already set table, "I have sleeves.")

Sometimes I can find joy in some of the little things of my day.
Sometimes my heart feels so heavy.  Really.

Sometimes I get scared that I will cry in public, by myself, with no one there to shield me.
Sometimes I remember one of the things he told me he loved most about me was my confidence.  Those times I stand a little straighter, walk with more determination, all while wearing his love and letting it be my shield.

Sometimes I think we didn't have nearly enough time together and I am sad.
Sometimes I am glad for all the time we did have together and I smile at the memories.

Sometimes I write letters to him to share my day.
Sometimes I write posts here to tell you about this man I love.

Sometimes is not a word for how I love him.  That  is a constant.

The Hopeful Romantic

Sunday, April 9, 2017

A Jumble of Emotions

Normally when I sit down to write a new post for this blog I have an idea of what I want to talk about.  The post title comes easily and then I just type.  It is rather like a stream of consciousness, only I edit it before clicking the 'publish' button.  What makes sense to me might be a little hard to follow, you know?

Normally is not the way today is going.  Or the last few days for that matter.  I have cried more in the past three days than I have in weeks.  I wish I could say I understood exactly what this is, but I can't.  I am a jumble of emotions, one on top of another, all fighting to be the dominant one and not a one of them a 'good' emotion.

I suppose that all emotions are 'good' for me as I go through this journey of grief.  Everyone tells me that I need to let it come.  Give myself time.  Go easy on myself.  I think of one of those word clouds where all the words associated with something are crowded into a space, the words going every which way.  Here is one I just made.  You will notice that some of the words are upside down and backwards.  This fits the way I am feeling.

I would have sworn that I was past the crying jags, the hopelessness taking up residence in my soul.  Well, I am learning about grief.  No rule book, no how-to's, no easy to follow steps to get you through.  Just wing it.  Go with the flow.  Yup, that is what I have been doing  I probably told you that I was living with the idea of "do it if it feels right."  This notion came to me pretty early on and has served me well.  

Leave our bedroom and sleep in another room? Do it.
Bring the dog in the bedroom instead of putting her in her kennel at night? Do it.
Rearrange the dining room to make it your new living room? Do it.
These are just a sampling of things that changed because "it feels right."

Unfortunately, the last few days not much has felt right.  I wander around the house trying to figure out what to do.  There is so much to do, but I am overwhelmed.  So nothing gets done.  Well, almost nothing.  Just the basics.  Laundry to see me through my work week, meals when I feel like eating, caring for my animals. paying bills.

I know I will get to a place of more peace, of joy even.  But, for now, I will do my best to remain standing as these waves of grief roll over me.  I will remember the good times with Donny.  There were so many.  It may be odd, but thinking about Donny helps me.  I was happy and I will be happy again.  Just not today.

The Hopeful Romantic

Saturday, April 8, 2017

My Lonely Times

I almost changed this post title to My Lonely Places, but My Lonely Times seems more correct.  You see, being alone in my home (our home) isn't always lonely.  Sometimes I am so busy or I have company or I am just at peace being by myself: sometimes this house seems big, cavernous big, and quiet and lonely.

My house is not big, far from cavernous, but my lonely times visit me there more than almost any other place.  Donny was a quiet man, but he was a presence.  I could usually find him in one of three places - at the dining room table in front of his laptop, in his basement office in front of his desk top computer or in the garage tinkering with whatever he was fixing.

He was quiet, but his space was not.  Music almost always accompanied him.  He was a true audiophile.  It wasn't just a song that he liked, but the quality of the sound, too.  No matter which computer he was using there would be music, loud music.  When he was in the basement I had no trouble knowing what he was listening to.  Sometimes the sound was so loud I could feel the reverberations in the hardwood floors.   At his laptop there was music and usually some radio talk show.  When working in the garage he would have earbuds in so he could still listen to his music while working with power tools.

Those sounds, the music and the power tools, were the soundtrack of my husband.  Now I hear every little noise.  I keep the radio on, but that is not new.  There is still the quiet.

My other lonely time is driving.  Normally my longest trips are to and from work.  I am OK without the radio or I was.  Now the radio has to be on.  I need the music or the stories to crowd out the thoughts of Donny and the loneliness.  I need to crowd out the loneliness because often that feeling leads to tears.  Tears and driving don't mix.  After having to pull over so I could cry and then continue my drive I realized the quiet was a trigger.  I am learning how to deal with triggers.  When I am alone I am less vigilant about avoiding triggers.  I can cry.  I am learning how to take care of me, without my best guy.  It is not easy, but I am doing my best.

I miss that quiet man and the sounds of him.

The Hopeful Romantic

Thursday, April 6, 2017

Moving Forward

Honestly the list of things I miss now that Donny is gone could stretch on forever.  This is just something I was thinking of today.  A couple of months ago thinking this would have made me sad. Now I feel glad to add to the list.  One of the things I thought of today was that Donny and I used to text each other.  Probably a lot of couples do.  Sometimes sweet and mushy and sometimes just a reminder of what was needed from the grocery store.  I still find myself reaching for my phone in anticipation of a text from him.  So you can probably understand why I still have all of his texts to me saved.  His phone is gone, but I have our conversations on my phone.  They help me through this grief of mine.

Did I tell you before that I read the list of the stages of grief?  I thought it would be a guide to what was going to happen.  Nope, not for me, it wasn't.  After reading the list I found that I was trying to pinpoint what stage I was experiencing and what was next.  Yeah, well it doesn't work that way, not for me anyway.  There is no this step, now that step.  It is more like this step, that step, back to the previous step and so on.  I found I was putting more thought into what phase I was in instead of actually dealing with the greif.  A sort of defensive mechanism.  I was so busy sorting out stages I wasn't grieving.

Not grieving sounds lovely, but it is important.  Gotta do it, it is just that simple.  Grieving, for me, isn't just crying although that is certainly part of the process.  Grieving was thinking about Donny and my life with him and how I was now that he is not here.  I say "was" because that was grieving not so long ago.  Now my grieving is different.  I still cry, not as much as I did, but I am finding my feet under me more and more.  I am still wobbly at times.  I will go through a day or days of feeling like I can stand and breathe and then a wave of emotion will wash over me.  Sometimes I tear up and sometimes I dissolve into tears.  I was trying to predict what would trigger those waves, but I found that just going with the flow was better.

I am finding my new new routines of life.  I find solace in the things it takes to get me through my days.  Little things.  Things like using my GPS app on my phone to get someplace I know how to get to.  The new routes build on this life I live now that I have lost my best guy.  Doing the same things I have always done made my sorrow so much more profound.  It seemed that the only thing different was that Donny wasn't here.

I am learning I am different, for good and bad.  The bad is obvious.  The good is getting to know myself more fully.  I listen to myself and keep moving to what feels right.  Just because I have 'always' done something in a certain way doesn't mean I need to continue that.  I am trying to be open to what the world has in store for me.  I am moving forward.  Moving on would mean leaving Donny behind.  He will be with me always, so I move forward, not on.  Part of this feeling 'right' was that Donny told me one of the things he loved most about me was my confidence.  Remembering that helps, especially when I am feeling scared, sad or lonely.  Donny once told me that our love would gone on until the end of time.  Yup, he was right.  Thank you Donny.

Thanks for reading,
The Hopeful Romantic