BLOG - june - july 2010

This blog is chronological order. Click on the links or orange bars to read more.

Also see Blog for: June-July 2010 | August 2010 | September 2010 | October 2010 | November - February 2011 | March - June 2011 | July - October 2011 | November 2011 - June 2012 | July - December 2012 | January 2013 - June 2013 | June 21 2013 - December 2015 | January 2016 - Present

  • 06/09/2010: The end. What happened.
  • 06/09/2010: Hand in clouds
  • 06/12/2010: The Memorial Service
  • 06/18/2010: Organ Donation - the gift of life and healing
  • 06/19/2010: My husband, My Hero (Our Better Nature)
  • 06/20/2010: Why Cragman - the name. Why I set up this website. How to contact me.
  • 06/20/2010: Dragonfly story - about life after death, by Doris Stickney
  • 06/22/2010: Doug and Bluebirding
  • 06/25/2010: Channeling Doug / Doing a Doug
  • 06/26/2010: Fears and Worries
  • 06/26/2010: Hypertension and Benicar
  • 06/30/2010: Friends and family cushioning the blow
  • 07/01/2010: A Gift Doug gave to my brother John
  • 07/02/2010 - - Sad Cat, Bluebirding - click to open

    Serious hangover. Doug would be proud.

    Today was the first day that Tenzing, our cat, wanted to play a bit. (At some point will I have to stop saying "our?") He and Doug used to rough-house for hours. Tenzing brought me a mouse gift that had gotten inside through the gaping holes in the backroom, and then let it go (alive) in my office.

    I needed to do some real life things, like bring piles of trash and recyclables to the landfill. One of our wonderful neighbors would have done it for me, but I need to save up my chips. Plus I had some other errands to run - including depositing Doug's last paycheck. Saw a couple of our sad friends while recycling.

    I decided I would check the nestboxes at the Smith Memorial Trail on the closed landfill. I had not looked at since this happened. The firsts are hard - first time doing that alone. We did our dump dates together.

    The bluebirds down by the "Crap Shack" had all fledged. I got a surprise up on the closed landfill - four blue pearls in what I thought was a used Tree Swallow nest I was about to clean out.

    A bright blue dragonfly whizzed in front of me. When I got to the second half of the trail, I was looking at the wildflowers, thinking about how Doug often picked some for me when we were out and about. I yanked up some Black-eyed Susan's for myself. Suddenly I felt he was near. I even looked back to see if he was trudging behind me.

    At the end of the trail, the male bluebird flew in front of me as I walked down the hill back to the truck.

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  • 07/03/2010 - Stress - click to open

    A weird itchy rash appeared and spread all over the right side of my back and neck. Thought it was poison ivy or hives, and asked Joyce to put some cortisone cream on it. She thought it looked like shingles. Apparently anyone who has had chicken pox can get shingles, especially after 50 and especially when you're under STRESS. Great! What else?

    How about how much my back aches - maybe the pain is transferring from my heart. And the fact that there are rats in the duck pen, eating the duck chow because I can't let them run free because two of them got eaten last week by a red fox.

    And the riding lawnmower wouldn't start. Dead battery. Thank goodness for Dirk. He was at the house digging up the back room to get it ready for carpenter-bro-John. He found Doug's charger (I would not have even have known what it looked like) and cleaned off the contacts. It started right up. The guy has a heart of gold and does NOT wear a dress! (He is as handy as Doug.)

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  • 07/04/10:
    • A Wonderful Life - see Meb Boden's comments about Doug on Meb's Kitchenwares
    • Wishes and regrets
    • Thoughts from friends, "We"- click to open

      From philosophical, upbeat, silly friend Dennis:

      "Bet... Bet... Bet... No need to regret... you had the coolest husband that God invented yet. Stay the course, no remorse, let the good times be your guide. Your wishes weren't misses, remember him with pride."

      Doug's cousin Ellen lost her brother Jeff several years ago. She shared something with me that really rang true.

      "The saying that 'all wounds heal' is not true. They remain forever, but the difference, I can tell you, is that the wound moves to the inside of yourself, where others no longer will see it, and you will expose it less and less as you recover yourself to live in the 'outside' world."

      Kim emailed me that she did a 15 mile hike yesterday near Banff in Canada. She got up to frozen alpine lakes and hiked along a high ridge at about 9000 feet,with snow fields and gorgeous views.She said it was like being on the roof of the world - they could see mountain peaks stretching for miles.

      "Needless to say Doug was on my mind with every step; this was his place!" When she reached the top, she put a picture of him in the snow on the edge of the cliff with spectacular views all around. Thank you Kim.

      I wonder when I will have to stop saying "we" and "ours"

      I wear my wedding and engagement ring on my finger. I noticed that Dirk's mom, Edna, still wears her wedding ring. Her husband died of a heart attack at age 59.

      I wear Doug's wedding ring on a necklace. When I miss him most, I slip my finger through it and imagine his there.

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  • 07/05/10: Stages of Grief
  • 07/06/10: Things Doug said all the time (Dougisms)
  • 07/07/10:
    • Z Flix Film Festival, movie listing
    • Busy, Company, Denial - click to open

      Fortunately I am very busy - John, Dirk, Dad Z, Mike H and Dean G are working on getting the back room off the jacks and onto the sills and starting the floor system. It's stinking hot and hard work but they have gotten a tremendous amount done. Doug would be amazed and thrilled. I had a major meltdown today, in part because it is so painful to know that Doug will never see the progress.

      I have not had to spend a single night alone here yet, nor make a meal, thanks to our awesome family, friends and neighbors.

      It's been a month, but it seems like a few days. I still can't bear to remember what happened for more than a minute or two. The rest of the time I refuse to think about reality.

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  • 07/08/10: Some of the things I miss about Doug and our life together
  • 07/09/2010 - Falling apart, Good advice - click to open

    Falling apart. Irritable with some people who are not like Doug. I can't seem to take being teased or barked at right now - things are too raw.

    Went to the first of the Z Flix film series. The films I chose match the dark place I am in. The first one was Walkabout. Children came. WTF was I thinking?

    People have been so amazing in response to my bottomless need. I feel undeserving. If it were me, I'd probably drop off a pan of brownies and ask them to call me if I could help, and then wait. These people do not wait. They are there at every turn, helping me. How will I ever be able to repay them? Here is good advice from a bluebirding friend.

    Never, and I mean never, believe anyone's acts of kindness are not sincere. Let others be kind to you, do things for you, listen to you, talk to you, be with you and not talk, break down with you, laugh with you, etc.etc.etc. Do this, not only for you, but for them as well. - Duane R.

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  • 07/10/2010: Sainthood - Not. Doug was Practically Perfect, but there were a few things about him that were frustrating or drove me crazy (or crazier.)
  • 07/11/2010 - Life is Crap - click to open
    My brother believes that Doug is now in a better place. I would like to believe that too. But wherever he is, it is NOT here, which is where I want him to be.

    The place he WAS in was already great. We were having loads of fun. We were happy. We didn't really have any problems. We were both healthy (or so I thought). And we had each other. It was a great life.

    Yes, work was stressful, but early retirement was edging closer. (It could have happened July 1, 2010 if the Union had been willing to negotiate with the Governor.) At least we didn't have to worry about whether we would have a job tomorrow.

    Yes, there was a lot to do around This Old House. But it was fun for Doug. We had a 10 year plan for getting things done, and were taking one step at a time.

    John also believes that Doug is at peace now. Honestly, I don't think Doug was on a quest for peace. He just wanted to get things done and have fun.

    I would like to believe that there was a REASON that this happened. There are probably some good consequences. Up to 50 people could benefit from the tissues he donated.
    If it turns out that the hypertension medication he was on (Benicar) was a causal or contributing factor to this tragedy, and something is learned from that, maybe others will be spared such a loss. Maybe other people Doug's age will become more aware of how short life is. As a result, they may put more effort into living their lives as well and his fully as he did. Maybe they will work to heal or improve relationships when they realize how good they can be. That would be great. But it doesn't help Doug.

    John believes in fate. That it's predetermined how long you get to live. That when your number is up, it's up. I know he might be right. Even though I can't see it that way right now, I respect his beliefs. I wish they WERE mine. It would be so much easier and convenient.

    Life is crapI talked to my sister today. She asked how I was (this is such a hard question to answer.) I I told her that I was wearing my Life is Crap shirt. (I actually saw a Golden Retriever puppy pee on his master's leg in real life once.)

    She suggested that I try to be more positive, and focus on appreciating what I have. I know, rationally, that I should be grateful for a lot of things. But sorry, I'm just not ready for that. All I really care about right now is that Doug's life is over. That sucks. It will never un-suck for him.

    Maybe at some point I will have a dry day not filled with tears and pain, but Doug will never enjoy another beautiful day on this Earth. We will never laugh together again. Go for a walk together again. Hold hands again. Never.

    So how can I be expected to be positive or truly grateful for anything right now?

    A bluebirding friend, noted that "There are many days when it is not easy to find anything positive. I find it is much easier for those who are on the outside looking in, as they don't see the daily struggles, and the love that endures."

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  • 07/11/2010:
  • 07/12/2010:
    • New video - The Shootist. Doug and caulking guns (after repairing some bluebird houses.) This performance was for my gun enthusiast brother John and his sons. Doug did five takes trying to get it right.
    • My Mountaineer - a little poem I wrote for Doug a long time ago
    • Local Heroes - first responders with Emergency Medical Services
    • Road ID - it could save your life
  • 07/12/2010 - Social Security, Schedules - click to open
    I got a letter from the Social Security Administration about a lump sum death benefit I need to apply for. It's a whopping $255. Subtract $20 for the original death certificate they require.

    I called the number listed on the letter and got disconnected. I called the main SS number and got a voice recording. It asked me 20 questions and made me spell the name of just about every person I ever knew. The machine misunderstood half of what I was saying.

    I finally got a human being who asked me the same questions all over again. They tried to connect me to the office I needed to talk to but no one answered so I had to make an appointment. Your taxpayer dollars at work.

    A friend asked if I was available to get together one night this week. I said I was pretty much free every night for the rest of my life. My schedule used to revolve around Doug. I did my utmost to plan work, volunteering, phone calls and visits with friends around times when he was at work or off climbing. I wanted to spend as much time as possible with him after waiting to be together for so long.

    I had to go to the hardware store this morning. Max asked how I was doing and I started bawling. I'm a faucet face. The Wal-mart Greeter (Jay's Golden Retriever) came up and shoved its nose up my shorts. That kind of thing hasn't happened much lately. Maybe I should go there more often.

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  • 07/13/2010 - Sad Shopping - click to open
    Last night, I had wonderful, distracting evening with friends. We reminisced a lot. That really helps. It is wonderful to be around people who loved Doug and WANT to talk about him as much as I do. I have always loved hearing Doug and climbing stories. I held it together almost the entire time. There were a lot of laughs plus delicious food in addition to the great company.

    Then I had to go grocery shopping. It was surprisingly depressing.

    Doug and I usually went shopping together. That way I could ensure that I got the right things. He would help with the lugging. Plus it was extra time together.

    It was always fun. Doug could make anything entertaining. We would go up and down the aisles and goof around about weird foods and other stupid stuff. He would tell me I was the best looking, skinniest woman in the store. We would joke about the parcheesi people who blocked the aisles (he would patiently wait for them to move along.) He would buy me flowers and then (not on purpose) then put a watermelon on top of them and smush them.

    This time, I kept seeing things that I would have gotten for him. Every time I felt a sharp pang of pain and sadness. Potato Sticks (the world's most unhealthy food, but he loved them), coffee, snacks for work, giant containers of seltzer for running etc. His favorite (Claussen) pickles were on sale. It didn't matter - they are not needed anymore.

    I cried the entire way home. Especially because Route 395 was shut down and I couldn't figure out how to get back. I can't tell my right from my left. Doug was the navigator.

    It is too hard to imagine life without him.

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  • 07/13/2010 - Wandering. Senselessness - click to open
    I find myself wandering around aimlessly. There does not seem to be much point to things these days. It is hard to care about anything besides the reality that Doug is gone. I also put things down and then get distracted and can't find them or don't remember I had them in the first place or what I was supposed to be doing.

    For example, this morning I had a letter that had to go into the mail today. I figured I would drop it in the mailbox after I fed the ducks and goat. Then I noticed that I had to clean the cat box. Then I saw that I had forgotten to water a plant on the porch. That made me thirsty, so I came inside for my ice tea. The phone rang. By the phone, I noticed a bunch of messages I had not responded to yet. After about an hour of this, I realized I still had not put the letter in the mailbox. I also had no idea where I had left it. I eventually found it on a shelf in the duck pen.

    Wasting my time trying to make sense of what happened. Like why couples who can't stand each other get to still be together, but Doug and I don't. Or why useless, lazy, selfish cranky people who contribute nothing to the world get to live a long life, and Doug did not.

    It is so much cleaner to just believe that it's fate, and has no meaning. That it just happens.

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  • 07/14/2010:
  • 07/15/2010 - Finances and Distractions - click to open
    Yesterday I had a follow-up phone appointment with a really nice, helpful guy at the local Social Security office. He clued me in on a lot of things I had never paid attention to. Much better than being stuck in Voice Jail with their automated answering system. Read more.

    My wonderful friend C and I had a really nice visit with L and J. Great conversation, stories and food. A swim in the lake that was both relaxing and invigorating in the sweltering heat. The distractions make it harder to mope.

    Then C and I had a slumber party and talked each others ears off. She is a great listener. People say they don't know what to say or do. Listening and offering another perspective is invaluable. I am so lucky to have such wonderful and caring friends, who are willing to be with me when I am not fun whatsoever.

    If they say or do something that triggers tears, they feel badly. No need. The sight of Claussen pickles on sale makes me cry. He loved Claussen pickles.

    In addition to the chores and finances I now must handle solo, I know I have to get back in the saddle sometime soon when it comes to work and volunteering. Right now, I just can't summon the energy or desire.

    So many things just don't seem to matter in comparison to the fact that Doug is gone and his life is over. I know many around me are struggling every day with their own issues and losses. Their lives go on. It's not all about me or Doug. I must work not to forget that, despite the fact I am so consumed by my own grief.

    I am still in denial. I feel like a shell is closing in over my heart, to protect it from total breakage and the new reality. It is a survival mechanism. Every once in a while, something happens and I hit the crack in the shell. Then the tears start to flow. It is kind like you bite down on a piece of silver foil on a tooth filling.

    The shell is probably easier for the people around me anyway. Getting sucked into the undertow of my raw, wailing emotions and obsessions is more than most folks can bear. That is one of the reasons I'm keeping the blog. Instead of having to listen to the response to "How are you doing," people can read about it - or not.

    I do wish I could to the "not" part myself....


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  • 07/16/2010: Bereavement Support Group - click to open
    I went to a bereavement support group at a local hospital. I really wasn't ready, but they only have it once a month until a 6 week program starts in September (which I plan to attend.)

    It was helpful to see other people experiencing much of what I am feeling. But it was also very depressing to see people 6 and 9 and 12 months out that are still so buried in grief. I guess I had an unrealistic expectation that every day it would get easier. Ain't happening.

    The facilitator (a pastor) spoke about the meaning of the word bereavement - he said it literally means robbed or ripped apart.

    I looked it up in a medical dictionary. The description was illuminating.

    Bereavement is a highly individual as well as a complex experience. It is increasingly recognized that no two people respond the same way to the losses associated with the death of a loved one. People's reactions to a death are influenced by such factors as ethnic or religious traditions; personal beliefs about life after death; the type of relationship ended by death (relative, friend, colleague, etc.); the cause of death; the person's age at death; whether the death was sudden or expected; and many others. In addition, the death of a loved one inevitably confronts adults (and older adolescents) with the fact that they too will die. As a result of this variety and emotional complexity, most doctors and other counselors advise people to trust their own feelings about bereavement, and grieve in the way that seems most helpful to them.

    They suggested some rituals to help with grief. Some are appealing, such as celebrating a birthday or holiday by making a donation of money or a gift in a loved one's name - e.g., to a scholarship fund.

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  • 07/17/2010:
  • 07/18/2010:
  • 07/18/2010 - Lawn mowing, Bubble bath, Survival - click to open
    I am surviving. Crying. Moping. Laughing. Reading. Thinking. Writing. Occasionally wondering if people will think I am crazy when they see me or read this site. (But hey, I was kind of crazy before. Why stop now? I actually believe most women are nuts, with squirrels running around in their head. Or maybe it is just the women I hang out with and I am drawn to people like me!)

    Last night I mowed our 4 acre lawn. (I do have some wildflower meadows I skip.) We used to mow the lawn together. He thought I was the best wife in the world for doing this (remember I have said he had pretty low standards.)

    Of course I got the riding mower and he got the push mower. He never went for a self-propelled mower because he said that part always broke anyway. He was so strong it didn't matter. I remember him mowing with one arm after shoulder injuries.

    I remember how Doug used to scalp it and hope it died so he could mow less often.
    Since it's been so dry, I was covered in dirt when I was done. I decided to take a bubble bath.

    It is hard to take a bath in there. Doug and I put in a reproduction slipper shaped claw foot tub. We used to take baths together. (Of course I got the end that didn't have the faucet sticking in your back.) Afterwards, I would get out and sponge and scrub him off and wash his hair with shampoo. (He usually used soap or Comet.)

    A friend had given me some soothing bath salts. While lying there soaking and moping, I looked around. Everything I saw had his mark on it. We restored that bathroom together. We picked out the sunny yellow Martha Stewart paint together (I think I went through about 12 colors first.) He made custom molding that he had to scribe to the curved plaster walls. We found heart pine flooring from a demolished house. He sanded it, routed it, lined up the nail holes, put it down and stained it. I did the varnish part because he would go so fast it bubbled. I saw the shelf I salvaged with him at the dump. (He tried to talk me out of it, but it looks pretty good.) I looked through the window we restored together. I could see the roofs of the barn and the carriage shed that he replaced.

    It made me sad but proud.

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  • 07/19/2010: Doug plays with his food (photos)
  • 07/19/2010 - An Anniversary, Missing, Wholeness & Happiness - click to open
    Went to a celebration of J and D's 35th anniversary. I don't think they expected to see me there. How could I not go? Unacceptable to miss it.

    I am so happy for them. Jealous too, I'll admit. Doug and I only knew each other for 27 years. We had our first date 20 years ago. I moved back to CT to be with him 12 years ago. We would have been married for 11 this September. Not enough time. The bereavement group counselor said it is best not to compare losses, as they are incomparable. I do think it is harder for people who spent more time together than we did.

    Unfortunately for the folks who shared my table at the party, involuntary tears kept running down my face. There was an empty chair across from me with some un-drunk champagne. I came back so exhausted I needed to lie down and sleep for a couple of hours.

    I miss Doug terribly at these things - he was so much fun at a gathering. Actually he was fun all the time, and I miss him pretty much all the time. Last night I was watching a German film called North Face (about climbing the Eiger). I missed him because he would have done a running commentary. I also missed him missing it. He would have enjoyed it much more than some of the really crummy movies I made him watch.

    At the bereavement support group, the facilitator said that initially, when you suffer a loss, it is like you are standing right up next to a giant tree. All you can see is the tree trunk in front of you. As time goes by, you move away from the tree bit by bit. You start to see the things around it. It no longer dominates your world view. It is still there, but it becomes part of a bigger picture.

    But the loss never goes away. From what I have read, it takes many surviving spouses at least 18 - 24 mos. to get to that point. I wonder if I will be able to stand that. I wonder if the people around me will be able to stand that.

    Talking with my sister (who is a bit of a Fruit Loop like me) was interesting. She noted that Doug and I shared a great deal in our life and marriage. Despite that, we were also 'whole' people apart. We have friends and careers and interests. We did not depend on each other to create a sense of self. She thinks that will help me deal with this situation in the long run.

    One of my biggest concerns is that I never knew true happiness until Doug. Now I wonder if I will ever find it again.

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  • 07/20/2010 - Believing everything happens for a reason - click to open
    A friend said yesterday that everything happens for a reason, although sometimes we don't know what it is for a long time.

    I find this quite hard to believe. I can't think of one good reason why Doug would not deserve to live a longer life. He was a good person, doing good in the world.

    I am not saying some of the consequences of such a loss might not have value.

    Up to 50 people can benefit from his donation of tissues.

    People stunned or affected deeply by his untimely death may choose to live their lives differently.

    I do know that Doug would not have done well with the physical limitations that come with aging. He was already getting bummed about problems with his shoulder and knee (his own fault) and the slower healing, aches, pains. (My mom often says "Growing old isn't for pussies.")

    When he would complain about getting older, I would remind him "Ten years from now you will never believe you were ever this young and would wish you felt this good."

    I certainly cannot imagine such an active person being trapped in a bed for years. And I'm not nurse material. I can take it for about 24 hours and then I go into "shut up and suck it up" mode. I have tremendous admiration for people who care for ailing spouses for years. I may be strong in some ways, but I don't think I have that in me.

    This friend said I will grow from this experience, and maybe that is the reason. I know that I will grow and change as a result of this - I have to do that to survive. But frankly I think I've already had more than my share of bad experiences. I'm tired of learning opportunities.

    Personally, I think that believing everything happens for a reason is just part of man's search for meaning in a senseless and chaotic world.

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  • 07/20/2010:
  • 07/21/2010: Interrupting rumination - alternative coping strategies
  • 07/22/2010 - Feeling overwhelmed - click to open
    I used to sleep until about 7:30 a.m. These days, I usually wake up at around 5. Feed the ducks and goat, put out hay, clean up the pen, change out the skank water the ducks spit up in. Empty the compost. Clean out the cat box. Drag the hose around a water the hanging plants. Wash dishes and clean up the carnage from the day before. So many things that Doug used to do for lazy me.

    Each morning I beat myself up for not getting up with Doug when he was here during the week. He fell asleep much earlier than I did (he worked harder) and had to get up at 5:45 to get ready for work and do chores. He was at his crankiest in the morning pre-coffee. But it would have been an extra hour a day with him. The evenings were so short because he didn't get home until 5:45 because of the long commute. He slept later on the weekends and I always got up with him then.

    Most days me and Mr. T went running down to greet him when he got home from work. But then he had more chores to do. He was whupped by 8. I tried not to take any phone calls at night and to avoid meetings whenever possible as our time together was so short. I had no idea how short it would be.

    A few days ago, I was rotating one of my big Tumbleweed Rotating Compost Bins and accidentally tipped it over. It is too heavy and awkward for me to stand it back up again.
    This is something I would have asked Doug for help with. I don't want to ask anyone else because I have already asked too much of my neighbors and friends. I need to figure out how to do it by myself. Or pay someone to do it. But then I remember that my income was reduced 75% overnight. I have to be frugal. Then I get overwhelmed and the tears start to flow.

    I miss him so much. I am so sad for him not getting to live his life. I really only want one thing - for him to be alive again. Why why why why why.....

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  • 07/23/2010:
  • 07/24/2010
    • "You need to keep busy."
    • 07/24/2010 - Drunkfest - click to open
      Today would be Doug's birthday. He would have been 53. Mom and DadZ and I are going going to Mohegan Sun for dinner. We always went out together to celebrate birthdays.

      This morning when I went downstairs, I walked by my digital picture frames. Photos of Doug's 50th party just happened to be up.

      More on the drunkfest held this weekend.

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    • The first birthday without him.
  • 07/25/2010. Exhausted. J lost her mom last week. At the graveside service, there were dragonflies everywhere. Three months earlier, her dad passed away, after years of languishing in a nursing home. They were in their 80's and 90's, and in ill health. It is still so hard to lose your parents. At first, J didn't realize how tough this would be. When her father passed away, she still had her mom to worry about. She is exhausted, like me.
  • 07/26/2010:
    • Butterflies as a symbol of hope and new life.
    • 07/26/2010: Doug's birthday - click to open
      • The first birthday without him. It is a beautiful day. Every beautiful day makes me angry now because Doug cannot enjoy it.
      • I went for a walk with the C family. It was relaxing and distracting.

        B found a garter snake. One day when we were out on a drive together with the C's, Doug forced us to pull over to look at a stone commemorating something, and we found a garter snake. A butterfly landed on R's sneaker, and then we saw another Swallowtail on K's butterfly bush.

        Many days I am mostly sad for myself, or for Doug's family and friends. Today I am mostly sad for Doug and all the birthdays he will never have. I cried all the way home after I left their house.

        I guess some day soon there will be a day without tears. I know I will never stop missing him though. J emailed me later about this and wrote "You can continue to love him, and miss him, and still lead a life worth living."

        When I got to my door, there was a present waiting. It was in a red box wrapped with a bow. I was afraid it was chocolate (which I eat too much of). But it was from Paula, who knows better. A beautiful, silver friends forever necklace. I am so lucky to have such friends.
      • Got this note from a friend and DEP colleague:
        He and I spoke earlier this year about the 53rd B Day—I spent mine in [Afghanistan] and we joked about being/ getting old and things shifting on us with little warning. I know I mentioned that things would get harder for a while for each of us left behind. For whatever else my opinions may carry or be worth, I believe that comment was likely true for each of us who knew Doug. Same for every major day/ holiday for some time to come. It is painful here as well, although there is no comparison in the magnitude compared to the weight you shoulder. Just need to let you know you are not alone in your thoughts or in the pain.
      • I had my first dream about Doug this morning.. I used to dream a lot. For the first month, it was all blackness at night. Last night I dreampt he was hitting a softball in front of a white stockade fence - then I woke up. In Eastern cultures, white in a dream is associated with mourning. A fence is considered an obstacle, or symbol of being prevented from going where you want to go.

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  • 07/27/2010: Happier Days
    • The Fiftieth Birthday Party (2007) - A Sampling of the Mayhem
    • What the heck is "Fluffy Bunny?"
    • 07/27/2010: Snafus - click to open
      Got a notice in the mail that a doctor's visit on 07/06 is not covered by my insurance because it was supposedly cancelled. I filled out the paperwork right after I lost Doug to keep it going. Human Resources said there is some kind of snafu. This is a problem I really didn't need right now.... It takes just about everything I've got to concentrate and be productive so I don't lose work.

      Went for a walk during lunch, as it is lovely outside. Cried nonstop for the first mile.

      I know some day there will be a day without tears. It's not today.

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  • 07/28/2010: More Snafuness, Missing the little things - click to open
    Snafus

    Doug had a small life insurance policy through the State of Connecticut. It will help pay down the mortgages. Of course on my list of "wudda cudda shuddas" I wish I had arranged for additional coverage, so I wouldn't have to worry about finances on top of all the other "stuff" on this plate of sadness. Anyway, they had told me I should get a check within a month. I called and they sent it out July 9th - to the wrong address. So now there will be more calls to bank, stop payments and reissuance delays.

    Planning a trip for work out to Washington State. Got a call from the airlines that my originally scheduled flight was cancelled, so they are putting me on an itinerary that takes 5 hours longer and arrives near midnight. See what else can go wrong.

    Work Worries

    I am worried about my performance at work on this upcoming assignment. I will have to pretend I am at 100% operating capacity when I'm not. My partner will have to pick up the slack. I may be more mellow (better) because the little things don't seem to matter anymore. Or I may be more irritable or irrational (worse) than usual. I am worried about crying in front of my colleagues. See more fears and worries.

    Loss

    L.M. said "love is always a blessing but sometimes a curse." If we love and live long enough, we WILL all lose someone we love.

    I got in the car today and George Thorogood's The Sky is Crying was playing.

    I find myself missing the little things as much as the big things. Waking up together, sitting on the porch reading the paper together or having a glass of lemonade during a work break. Holding hands. Dropping something on the floor and looking over at Doug to see if he would pick it up (he always did :-). More of what I miss.

    Since you’ve been gone
    my world is empty
    Like a desert without sand
    Like an ocean without water
    Like a country without land.

    Since you’ve been gone
    my world is empty
    My days are hard and long
    I’m like a fish out of the water
    I’m like a bird without a song
    - Mary Chancey, excerpted from a poem Since You've Been Gone

    More quotes and poems

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  • 07/28/2010: Do the departed watch over us? Signs. Legacies. What does it mean.
  • 07/29/2010: Sad Denial - click to open
    Even though it's been 7 weeks, I am still in almost total denial (which Doug always said was a river in Africa.)

    I cannot bear to think about the fact that Doug is actually gone for more than a few minutes a day. It is too painful to acknowledge that his life is over, and that we will never get to be with him again.

    It is harder to accept because he was so fully alive. So exuberant. Solid muscle. In the back of my mind, I guess I thought he was invincible.

    On the other hand, Doug felt he was starting to fall apart. He was frustrated that his shoulder and knee were not working as well as he needed them to. After a hard day's work or play, he experienced more achy-ness than before. He detested having to take prescriptions for hypertension and high cholesterol. (More than four out of every ten people in the U.S. take at least one prescription drug; one in six takes more than three. (see HMO to H2O: Drugging the Water. By the way, those are Doug's arms in the picture. He loved being included in my articles, and happily modeled for me.)

    Maybe I so wanted him to be with me forever that I blocked out the possibility of that not happening. Plus I had NO idea that there was anything wrong with him that could possibly be fatal. It was a total shock to me and everyone who knew him.

    I know that denial is a short-term survival mechanism. It is one of the widely recognized stages of grief. (I'm also spending a lot of time in the sadness stage.) It helps numb the pain that would otherwise be unbearable.

    Some people use distractions like keeping busy. I just have to block this loss out for now, as much as I possibly can. Maybe that is why I am stalling on writing all the thank you notes I owe. That will make it all the more real. I can't stand it being real.

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  • 07/31/2010: Living with Guilt and Thoughtworms
  • Blog, continued....

Also see Blog for: June-July 2010 | August 2010 | September 2010 | October 2010 | November - February 2011 | March - June 2011 | July - October 2011 | November 2011 - June 2012 | July - December 2012 | January 2013 - June 2013 | June 21 2013 - December 2015 | January 2016 - Present

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