Archives

Widowhood–Navigating the emotional minefield on Valentine’s Day

BLOG-COVER

After my beloved husband died in 2018, I knew that the days ahead, navigating through this new life I never wanted, would be challenging.

Inevitably I encountered emotional landmines, especially during the holidays, riding a roller coaster of triggered anxiety and depression. Even something simple as grocery shopping and spotting a carton of orange sherbet—his favourite dessert—swallowed me whole with a fresh wave of grief.

Now that the bright lights of Christmas and New Year’s are behind us, a new landmine blasts at every turn complete with hearts, flowers, chocolates and advertisements for dinner for two–and when you’re suffering heartache as a widow or widower on Valentine’s Day, they seem to pop up everywhere.

 

Image result for nostalgic kids valentine's cards

 

My husband and I didn’t celebrate Valentine’s Day with a lot of fanfare, as he was a “here’s-a-gift-for-no-reason” type of guy, however, we did mark the day in our own way.

He’d kick off the morning by serving me tea and toast, using peanut butter to draw a heart on the toast. I  would buy him a card—the kind we used to give as kids at school–of course, there wasn’t anything childlike in the note I’d writtem inside the card. wink

 

cardHe’d also give me a card—the traditional “for all occasions card.”

Twenty-years ago, my husband gave me a card for my birthday–the card looked oddly familiar, and then when I opened the card I knew why it looked familiar. He had given me that card on our anniversary with a sticky note inside with his endearment—here it was again for my birthday, with a different note inside.

It was a running joke that I treasured all these years, as he said it saved him from never forgetting a card for any occasion, he’d just recycle the card and just change the sticky note to suit the occasion.

ROSESInstead of buying me a bouquet of roses or flowers for Valentine’s Day, he’d plant roses and beautiful flowers—perennial wild flowers and annuals in the garden.

I have a black thumb, so my contribution was providing cold lemonade and exchange witty innuendos about gardening with him. I loved sitting in the garden and watching him (great view for me 🙂 ) work his magic with the flowers and vegetable garden he lovingly nurtured.

As I said earlier, he loved giving gifts for no reason, and about six months after he died, I finally went through a few of his things in his man cave area, and discovered a binder filled with vintage Beatles cards.

beatlesI figured out that he had been collecting them to surprise me with them at some point, but with chemotherapy and in his weakened state, he hadn’t spend much downtime in his man cave, and I am guessing he forgot about that binder with all that was going on.

It was a bittersweet moment, and I remember having to spend a day in bed after finding the cards—the heart ache was so intense. I then shook myself out of my despair and with tears in my eyes, felt joy for his thoughtfulness. I forced myself to go to MICHAEL’s and purchased a frame. Some of the cards hang in my office where I can enjoy them.

 

Image result for heart emoji

This Valentine’s Day I will make myself toast and use peanut butter to draw a heart on it; I will hold the for-every-occasion-card close to my heart; I will look out into the garden and take in the tall oak tree, and remember the day twenty-eight-years ago when we planted the acorn together on the first day we moved into our home.

I will open the treasure trove of memories my husband left me from the beautiful life he lovingly gifted me every single day of our marriage, remember his deep love, his smile, his wit, his great sense of humour, and how passionate he was about our family, and although it will be another heart-wrenching reminder of all that I’ve lost, I will force myself to smile through the tears and continue to be grateful for the everlasting love we share.

As I do every night, I will close my eyes, remember his soft kisses and say, “I’ll see you on the other side of the stars, my love.”

Heart, Moon, Night Sky, Love, Thoughts, Happy, Luck

We Relate. We Understand.
We Listen. We Care.

I asked my friends; sisters and brothers in shared grief how they will mark Valentine’s day without the love of their lives and they generously agreed to submit their thoughts.

We all hope that by sharing we will help others who are painstakingly navigating a new life without their life partners to see they are not alone in their grief, and to also help family members understand what their loved one may be feeling during this time.

 

Image result for heart emoji

This year I will be in Vegas celebrating my birthday just a little late. But I’ve always liked Valentine’s Day. Mike and I were both romantic and enjoyed holidays, so when he was alive we always went out for a nice dinner, and he got me roses and chocolate. The way I will celebrate this year is to post a picture on Facebook, saluting the man who will always be my Valentine. Blythe Pulsipher Smith 

Image result for heart emoji

It will just be another day for me. Pen Women meeting and book club. We have one other widow in book club so she might surprise us with some Valentine cookies but I’m not betting on it, nor do I plan to do anything myself. In the evening we have a blue grass gig at our local Black Rose acoustic group. Nothing special. I would like to be pleasantly surprised. Diane Hoover

Image result for heart emoji

Flowers would appear, seemingly out of nowhere, for me on Valentines Day when my husband was alive. Even when we were living together in a small RV after Hurricane Katrina, for four years flowers would appear in the morning and I have no idea where he hid them because there’s no place to hide anything in a tiny RV housing three dogs and two people. He didn’t just buy me flowers because it was Valentine’s Day. He bought them for me because I like flowers. A lot. On Valentine’s Day now, I buy myself flowers. In memory for my love. Therra Cat Jaramillo

Image result for heart emoji

Going to lunch with my sister and Dad and dad’s friends from the Senior Center ! Then off for a meeting with my financial man !! Just another day in the life of a widow! Susie Park Welch

Image result for heart emoji

I took the day off work. Decided I’d rather work around the house than think about it (Lori passed away on Feb 18, 2014 so our last Valentine’s Day was one where she was in a coma in the hospital and I was sitting bedside).  Paul M. Carhart

Image result for heart emoji

We did not celebrate and I’m okay with that. Walt was weird about holidays. Birthday sure, tho he did not like being reminded of his own LOL. But he hated the commercialization of Christmas and Valentine’s and rebelled against the social pressure. He was more about doing random things for absolutely no reason but that he loved me. So, Valentine’s is just another day and afterward candy is on sale. 😊 Mica Stone

Image result for heart emoji

I’ve escaped to California to visit my brother and sis in law. We’re going to a winery for a tasting and then he’s cooking us a special dinner. It’s peaceful here and I didn’t want to be alone in the house Joe and I created together. Susan Ricci 

Image result for heart emoji

Who says you can’t meet the love of your life in a bar. It was a very special day for us. We met on Valentines day- 1979. I was going out with a buddy to a popular bar where we were meeting friends from work. I armed myself with three dozen roses and headed out. Over the next couple of hours, I gave out all my roses and spent all my money. I ended up at the bar with my buddy at the end of the night.

(That sounds kind of sad when I say it out loud) 🙂 I did not however feel lonely or disappointed. It had been a fun evening. While I was sitting there at the bar, a gorgeous woman sat down next to me. She bought Me a beer. Did I mention that I had spent all my money? 🙂 We talked until the bar closed and parted ways, exchanging phone numbers. I knew at that point that something was different. Something was special. We began dating the next weekend and moved forward from there for the next 37 years.

Tough day. Usually a toast. I don’t need much to remember it by. It is seared in my memory as one of the best days of my life and changed forever. As with most of the memories, I feel that warmer fondness these days and at those times and try to focus on. that as I blow a delicate kiss to her place in the Universe and feel her spirit with me.
Jeff Ashmun

Image result for heart emoji

It’s going to be a day like any other day of the week. I have had a lot of single friends through the years and figure if they go through this couple’s celebration every year, then I can, too. Its all the hype around it that drives me a little crazy. If I find myself getting upset I quickly push myself through it. Not much different than the Xmas décor starting in October. After losing Don on Christmas Eve, I couldn’t deal with the reminders of the season. Last year wasn’t as bad so I know I’m moving forward. Sue Phillips

Image result for heart emoji

Going to a play at the community theater, “Murder on the Orient Express.” I got the very last ticket for the performance. Someone had to buy that ticket, and that person was me. Susan Matley

Image result for heart emoji

I like yellow roses, his preference was red. So if he purchased a dozen roses for me they would be 11 yellow and 1 red. And vice versa if I bought them for him. I think tomorrow I’ll just go buy one of each color. Jan Hayne

 

 

 

10 Inspirational Grieving Quotes to Comfort You #grief #grieving #inspirationalquotes

 

 

 

What’s on your bucket list?

Brittany Maynard shared her heartbreaking journey with us all through articles and social media, and this morning I heard the news that she chose to end her life this past weekend.

May Brittany fly on the wings of an Angel to everlasting peace. Condolences and prayers to her family and friends. I hope the wonderful memories they created together will help them all heal as they move forward.

From the articles I read, Brittany shared a list of things she wanted to do and places she wanted to visit with her husband and parents before she became too sick to travel. It was heartwarming to read that Brittany did in fact experience some of her adventures she had written on her bucket list with her family.

Which reminded me–like many of you–I have a bucket list, but tend to forget about it at times.

I think it’s important to remind ourselves of the things we want to do, see and experience.

What is on your bucket list?

I’m sharing some of the things on my bucket list.

Write my parents story, from the time they met to their journey from Italy to Canada.

Both my parents were orphaned at a young age. My mom was raised in a convent and was going to become a nun, until she met a young man on a motorcycle (an agnostic who loved leather jackets no less), and the rest as it is said is history. My mother the rebel nun. Of course she used to say that he hypnotized her and she lost her mind, because nice girls do not leave the convent and elope. (That was her story and she stuck to it) She used to feel that any time she overcooked lasagna noodles it was her penance for leaving the convent. A quiet (unlike her daughter) woman, my mother did not seem the type to want to run away and get married, which makes their story all that more intriguing (and comical at times).

5

I admired Audrey Hepburn and one of my all time favorite movies is Breakfast at Tiffany’s.

4

I have paid for a stranger’s coffee, soft drink while waiting in line, but paying for a whole meal would be such fun, and then walking away without them knowing who did it.

One Valentine’s Day, my in-laws who were renovating their house at the time and just having a busy week with things going wrong with the renovations, went out to dinner. When it came time to pay their bill, they were told it was all ready taken care of. They never found out who paid it (I think I know, but I’m not 100% sure), but it made their day. They paid it forward many times, so it’s something that I would love to do for another couple.

3

This would be spectacular!

1

This is right up my alley.

2

I grew up reading Anne of Green Gables. Anne Shirley actually was a huge inspiration for Maddie (heroine in What A Girl Wants). I always related to Anne’s quirks.

3

Another activity that is so me.

2

Visited Paris many years ago, but never added a lock. This is such a loving gesture.

1

Take another family trip to Italy.

Even though we have done this a few times, I added it to my list as our family grows and we make new memories in the mother-land.

2

Celebrate our 50th Wedding Anniversary with the man who keeps adding chapters to our love story.

3

Would love to hear what’s on your list.

Secrets of a happy life. . .

One of the secrets for a happy life is having an attitude of gratitude, remembering to be thankful for not only the big things in life, but the little things that make each moment memorable, and our daily lives that much more smile filled.

Continue reading

Nothing says I love you…like a box of rice.

With the holidays fast approaching and I’m still in Editing and Polishing Heaven, I thought I would re-post this blog. Thank you Kelly Bennett for suggesting this, so that the new followers can enjoy one of the Robins’ adventures.

Continue reading

Some people don’t have a sense of humor in Yoga class.

I was off to Yoga class armed with a fierce determination to stay focused during the whole class. I was raring to go, equipped with the mandatory (and may I add, cool) yoga kit:

A sticky pink yoga mat—sticky as in sticks to the wooden floor. Not sticky as in—when a person smuggles in a smoothie instead of water inside their water bottle and said smoothie is accidentally knocked over.

Two blocks—used to lean on, not to build a little bridge for any tiny ants that may have slipped into the room.

A bandage—don’t ask, it’s rather complicated.

A chiropractor on speed dial—–you can ask, but you won’t believe it.

My mind was in focus mode. My gear was all organized and I sat and waited for the Yogini to start the class.

I noticed Yogini got new tattoos on her arms. She now had what they called sleeves on each arm.

That must have hurt like a mother…wait, don’t let mind wander…stay focused.

 I looked out the window in front of me, instead of trying to figure out what Yogini’s new tattoos symbolized.

As everyone was getting themselves organized, Yogini looked around and commented that there were many new faces.

Yogini has great powers of observation, because I hadn’t noticed any new members, but then again, I keep to myself in these classes…being an introvert and all.

Yogini asked if anyone had any questions before we started.

As you probably have all experienced, there’s always someone in any class that takes this question literally. Their expression usually looks like a question mark at all times.

Sure enough, the lady on my left raised her hand.

Cripes, lady, we’re not in school, just ask already. I have meditating and focusing to get into.

Yogini nodded to her and Ms. Question Mark started off by gushing on how much she loved Yogini’s methods and how this was the best class and…that’s when I. Checked. Out.

I thought about what I wanted to accomplish today, mentally making a check list.

That done, I focused on Yogini’s arms and her new tattoo’s, trying to figure out what they were.

There were stars (I think), a dinosaur (I think) and an upside down cross (I think).

One thing I did know for sure was that they were all the same color in different shades.

Blue.

The thing that looked like a dinosaur was a neon blue…okay, not neon, but I’d never seen a tattoo that bright.

The color reminded me of the Smurfs.

I know what you’re thinking; how do dinosaurs and Smurfs compute?

The Yoga studio is across the street from the movie complex and through one window I could see the huge posters advertising movies.

The Smurf Movie.

This got me thinking.

Should the Smurfs be a kid’s movie?

Think about it.

There’s a village filled with boy Smurfs, baby Smurf and Papa Smurf. Then you have Smurfette.

This is where it gets dicey…who is Baby Smurf’s baby daddy?

Hollywood needs to reevaluate what is deemed appropriate for children.

Ms. Question Mark interrupted my deep thoughts, when she said, “Thanks for the explanation.”

“As I said,” Yogini answered. “It’s nothing to worry about. It’s common and in time, it will pass.”

Huh? What’s common? What will pass?

Now, I’m curious.

“I sure hope so,” the woman with the matching Lululemon yoga outfit, mat and water bottle said. “We were talking about this before class, because it also happens to me.”

Ms. Lululemon smiled at Ms. Question Mark (BFF’s for sure), proud they talked about this. Whatever the hell this was.

“It was a good question,” Yogini said, and glanced around the room. “Anyone else find this a problem?”

I looked around and it seemed everyone was nodding. 

Should I nod as well? Shit, what should I do? I’ll stand out if I don’t nod. I’ll be the only one who doesn’t find whatever the hell this is a problem if I don’t nod.

Dammit, why didn’t I pay attention? Damn Smurfs, it’s all their fault.

I don’t go in for sheep mentality, but I didn’t want Yogini to think I wasn’t paying attention. Again.

So, not only did I nod, I enthusiastically said, “Yes. It’s a real pain in the ass when that happens, isn’t it?” And smiled at Ms. Question Mark to let her know I understood her problem. (Which of course I had no frickin’ clue)

Ms. Question Mark shot me such a filthy look, that if looks could kill, I’d be crossing over toward the white light.

The Yogini said, “Oh, it’s the first time I ever heard that it caused pain.”

I kid you not; I heard a collective gasp and then more than a few people laugh.

Oh, shit, what the hell did I admit to?

Yogini then looked concerned. “We can discuss this in private after class.”

Yeah, like that’s going to happen. I’m running the hell out of here after class.

Some people were still chuckling and it was beginning to piss me off.

Well, actually, I was super pissed at myself for not having more patience to listen to Ms. Question Mark’s query.

Yogini asked us all to settle down and then started the class. “Close your eyes. Clear your mind. Inhale deeply. Hold your breath in for 60 seconds and focus your energy at the third eye and mentally chant ‘Ohmmmm.’”

What the hell is a third eye? Maybe that’s what they were asking about? How the hell do I chant Ohmmm, when I’m holding my breath for sixty seconds?

I know I live in the State of Confusion when attending these classes, but today I was residing in The Universe of Confusion.

I closed my eyes and chanted, “Ohmmmm…”

“Not out loud,” Ms. Question Mark said. “She said mentally chant.”

Then she clicked her tongue as if I was annoying her.

“Chant this.” (Did I say that out loud?)

“Take in your breaths from your core,” Yogini said. “Then slowly exhale.” 

The BBF’S were really into this.

Ms. Lululemon sounded like she was starring in a porn flick.

Ms. Question Mark was going at it so loud that I was sure she’d be needing a cigarette after class (or chocolate covered jelly beans—because you know not everyone smokes after a good…..O….Ohhhmmm).

The lady next to Ms. Lululemon, kept turning around, staring at me, looking like she had a hard time keeping a straight face.

Why? I have no clue. I swear I did not express the above mentioned thoughts about the BFF’s out loud.

Yogini then instructed us to slowly stand and turn to the left.

As I did this, Ms. Question Mark turned her head and whispered, “I was asking a serious question about flatulence. You didn’t have to be sarcastic with your pain in the ass remark.”

F-L-A-T-U-L-A-N-C-E????

That’s what she was asking about?

Okay, let me stop here for a minute.

Those of you who know me, know that I can not, will not ever; say, type or even want to read the four-letter “F” word used for flatulence (it’s one of my quirks), much less participate in a discussion about it.

O.M.G. I said it was a pain in the ass!

I did not respond to Ms. Question Mark, except to indicate that she should turn to face the wall.

We were instructed to bend over slowly and walk our hands in front and be mindful of the person in front of us.

While doing this, I remembered the tail end of the conversation and Yogini’s answer of, “This too shall pass.”

I burst out laughing. Well, not the loud burst of laughter. The quiet laugh.

“It’s not funny,” Mrs. Question Mark said.

Obviously, I failed at the quiet laugh, since she heard me.

“It happens to many of us here,” Ms. Question Mark said. “Before class we were discussing it and we wanted to know when it would stop.”

“Doesn’t happen to me,” I said.

“Aren’t you special?”

Cripes, lady, how the hell do you pass anything with that stick up there, anyway? Lighten up.

“I apologize,” I said. “I was pretending to know what you were all talking about, because I wasn’t paying attention. I had no clue what the question was.”

“Right,” she said.

Now I’m wondering why didn’t Yogini tell her to shush it, like she does to me when I accidentally hum along with the irritating, supposedly soothing music? Just so you know, I think I jazz up that annoying music so people don’t fall asleep.

“Will you stop giggling,” Ms. Question Mark said.

“I’m facing your behind for this pose and you don’t find any of this funny?”

“No,” she said. “I don’t.”

“Okay, I’ll stop,” I said. “And I really am sorry. Can I buy you a smoothie after class to make up for it?”

“No thanks, just stop laughing. It isn’t funny.”

Seriously? She doesn’t find this funny?

I’m apologizing to her butt after the question she asked, and she can’t see the humor in this?

We continued with the poses, and I really did pay attention and managed not to fall over.

We were standing, doing the eagle pose, when the air in the room changed…as in…someone needs to open a window.

And fast.

The elderly woman in front of Ms. Question Mark turned and gave us both a wide smile and said, “See, when you get to be my age, you don’t question it or give a damn. Now that I’ve cleared out your sinuses, do some yoga and stop your yammering.”

Her friend (elderly woman number two) beside her nodded in agreement.

Elderly Woman Number Two obviously didn’t give a damn either.

It was like being plunked in the middle of that scene from Blazing Saddles.

Elderly Woman Number two cranked up a smile and said, “Breathe in ladies.”

NAMASTE.

 yoga

 

Spotlight and a Giveaway!

BANNER

I’m over at Totally Booked Blog today, answering interview questions and hosting a give-away.

Totally Booked is an awesome blog for book lovers, and like me, if you are an avid reader, they will be your go-to blog for book recommendations.

Click HERE to hop on over and enter to win ONE of TWO prizes.