The first thing I did today could well be the most important thing I've done or will do in a long time. I read another chapter of Joan Didion's poignant memoir, The Year of Magical Thinking. This is what she writes about the time period roughly 7 months after her husband's death:
I did not yet have the concentration to work but I could straighten my house, I could get on top of things, I could deal with unopened mail.
That I was only now beginning the process of mourning did not occur to me.
Until now I had been able only to grieve, not mourn. Grief was passive. Grief happened. Mourning, the act of dealing with grief required attention.

I believe that is why I have hit this roadblock with MB. He and I began chatting about 8 months after Nick died, 7 months after his DW died. We both knew it was "too soon," but it was also too wonderful to ignore: It was a beam of light and hope that neither of us had ever expected to see. The grief monster would sneak up on one or the other of us at different times; in fact we shed many healing tears in each other's arms. I can speak only for myself, but I know that I did not "attend" to the grief, I did not "deal with it." I would wait for it to subside, to move on. Perhaps that is all I was capable of doing at the time; perhaps it was a subconscious choice because I much preferred the delight of feeling love and happiness and hope.

Regardless, the passage this morning was like a bolt of lightning. It flashed through a dark sky and illuminated the landscape for a brief moment. I don't know where the WidowRoad will lead me, but I have a sense of the contours of the road immediately ahead. I am not sure what "mourning" will look like for me, but I enter the mysteries of Great Lent with a more peaceful heart than I have had in a while. And I know that a few tangible tasks await me, things I have avoided doing, which will surely be part of my acts of mourning.

On the more mundane level, my day looks like this:

1. Clean the powder room.
2. Vacuum the stairs.
3. Clean Rock's room.
4. Vacuum Rock's room.
5. Ellipticise!

Wish me well on this new day. TTYL.

Updated, 9:37 p.m. -- Go, me! I got everything done. Except exercise. I even vacuumed my bedroom. And scrubbed the downstairs hall. And straightened up the family room -- yeah, yeah, Why Bother?

As for the rest of it, I have been told that I have "grief issues." Go figure. I know that I do. And I am struggling so hard. I love MB so much, I really really do love that man. "It's too much to expect..."

Monday, Monday

This is going to be a hard day for me to motivate. I am so sad about things ending with MB; I want to believe that we can find our way back to each other. I really want to believe that.

So far today, I have
  1. Cried a little
  2. Gotten the boys to school
  3. IMd with a dear widow and cried a lot
  4. Volunteered in N's classroom
  5. Gone to the grocery store
  6. Sat in a stupor reading the same board posts over and over again
I really need to
  1. Vacuum the family room
  2. Clean the laundry room
  3. Clean the kitchen
  4. Ellipticise
Well, as usual, the first thing to fall off the list was exercise. Not good, I know. But I got everything else done. Along with a fair bit of brooding and mourning this new loss.


Thursday morning, I said to myself, "I'm not a mess anymore."
Friday morning, I said to myself, "I'm still in love with Nick. I want to grow old with a dead man."
Yesterday, I said to myself, "Move gently. Breathe deeply."
Today, I totally lost it in church, missing Nick more than I have allowed myself to in ages.

Me? A mess? Naaaaaaahhhh.

I posted this little story on the widows board, but I should throw it into today's entry, as well:

I do NOT believe in signs. I was busy getting everyone ready for church (for the first time since before Christmas [Roll Eyes] ). I had just thrown a clean (but unmatched) sock onto my dresser, when I turned and saw a bubble floating in the middle of the bedroom. A perfectly clear bubble about the size of one of my fingernails. I had not just washed my hands or the dishes. I had not been anywhere near water in 30-40 minutes. The boys were downstairs in the family room.

I stretched out my finger to reach for it, expecting it to pop at any moment. It landed on my finger and sat there, not losing shape. After a long moment I closed a second finger against it, but it didn't *pop* right away. It was more like it broke. And there was no residue of any kind left on my finger... no smell or anything.

I do NOT believe in signs. Like every other person on earth, I utterly reject anything that does not fit in with my worldview or my theology. So, where the heck did that bubble come from?

Updated, 9:15 p.m. -- I guess I can't blame him. MB has said we need to pull back 100 yards. A reasonable response to being told that I'm still in love with Nick. There's so much more I could say, but it doesn't belong here.

On the other hand, I did make this post to the collaborative blog...
I'm going to lay low today, because I'm still suffering the after-effects of not getting enough sleep on Thursday night. Aside from the daily household chores, the only thing I must do is ellipticise. I can't tell you what a difference that makes for me.

I'm rather annoyed with myself because I forgot to talk with Fr. Andrew about my role in N's anger. I guess I can save that for the counselor, but it would have been good to get his perspective on it.

Great Lent starts tomorrow. I'll be going back to church for the first time since before Christmas. Needless to say I have all kinds of mixed feelings about that. And I have to go to the cemetery as well; I can't NOT be with him on Forgiveness Sunday. *** sigh *** Lots to think and write and pray about.

Wishing you all a measure of peace today....

Four Hours' Sleep

Ugh. The boys are in school; I'm going back to bed.

Love 'em, hate 'em

Computers and kids... gotta love 'em, gotta hate 'em.

So far today, I have
  1. Spent innumerable minutes (feels like hours) fiddling with my blog template trying to get the text in the left sidebar to be in the left sidebar. Maybe it's working for other people, but not for me!
  2. Reorganized the cupboard above the refrigerator, so that my 3YO doesn't have such easy access to the candy and cookies... The sweets are already above the fridge, but I've had to move them to the top shelf, because the little monkey just climbs up gets what he wants
  3. Thrown out 25 pounds of dried-out playdoh -- okay, that's an exaggeration, but I did throw out 3 brand new cans that sat out all night
  4. Enjoyed my coffee and comics
  5. Had a nice conversation with my sister ... but learned that my mother has glaucoma.
  6. Had a few friendly IMs with my widder friends
  7. Taken the Christmas wreath off the front porch (it was finally starting to turn brown)
I have a lot of little things on my to-do list, which I keep forgetting about, as well as important things that I must do:
  1. Reschedule my dentist appointment
  2. Try to find a sitter for Saturday night (eek!)
  3. Schedule an appointment with my spiritual director
  4. Schedule the installation of my storm door (one of Nick's colleagues has agreed to do this)
  5. Take S to the playground, even though it's going to be wet and muddy
  6. Scrub the boys' bathroom
  7. Fold and put away the rest of the laundry
  8. Ellipticise
  9. Spend 15 minutes on "the back room"
  10. Email birthday photos to my family
  11. Clear off my desk ... trash, recycle, file stuff
Looking back at some of my previous entries, I see that there are many ideas that I want to flesh out a bit. I need to find a time and way to do that. TTYL.

Updated, 11:05 p.m. -- Ugh. A rough night with the boys. N's anger is really coming to the surface these days. I have to believe it's a good thing, but it is so very hard. I realized that he's reflecting a lot of my anger. I get so angry so easily with the boys, and I'm not sure why. Gotta work with that a bit, I think. Good thing I'll see Fr. Andrew tomorrow.

Meanwhile, my to-do list ...
  1. Reschedule my dentist appointment -- DONE
  2. Try to find a sitter for Saturday night (eek!) -- DONE
  3. Schedule an appointment with my spiritual director -- DONE
  4. Schedule the installation of my storm door (one of Nick's colleagues has agreed to do this) -- DONE
  5. Scrub the boys' bathroom -- DONE
  6. Email birthday photos to my family -- DONE
And not done...
  1. Take S to the playground (the rain got here before we got there)
  2. Fold and put away the rest of the laundry
  3. Ellipticise
  4. Spend 15 minutes on "the back room"
  5. Clear off my desk ... trash, recycle, file stuff
It's late; I'm tired. Good night.

Caminante, no hay camino

So far today I have
  1. Fed, clothed, and gotten the boys to school
  2. Greeted the snowfall with gentle happiness
  3. Mourned my beloved Nick with tender sadness
Nick loved the snow as much as I do. We would stand in the window and share in the delight. Snowfall was the one thing that was guaranteed to make Nick positively romantic. I miss him so.

I've got to get my motivation back in gear -- if you're reading this, post me an encouraging word or a kick in the pants.

I must
  1. Volunteer in N's classroom
  2. Go to the grocery store
  3. Ellipticise
  4. Scrub my bathroom
  5. Fold some laundry
It would be nice to
  1. Scrub the boys' bathroom
  2. Fold ALL the laundry
  3. Clear the mess out of the family room
  4. Clear the mess out of the back room (S undid all the hard work I'd done there) Grrrrr.
I also want to find something I posted on the widow board last year, about our spouses missing us. There's a current thread about that topic, and I'd like to revisit what I wrote. I remember it brought me such comfort then; I wonder if it still would, or if being further down the widowroad has changed the things that can bring me peace and hope.

Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar...


I interrupt this blog because I am SO excited!!!

I have decided to create a companion blog. In it I will be gathering selected writings that I have posted to the widders board. Maybe it's just my ego at work, but I think I've written some good things, and I want to pull them into one place. (I've added a link to it on the side, so you'll always be able to find it.)

Back to my regularly scheduled duties... and yes, I am procrastinating. But I have gone to N's school, and I have gone to the grocery store. So there! TTYL.

Updated 9:38 p.m. -- I feel like I had a productive day, but I have one question: Why am I always three times as tired after I get the boys to sleep than I was before I started the bedtime routine? And why are they never asleep when I'm four times as tired as I was? Okay, that was two questions, but you get the general idea...

In addition to volunteering at N's school and going to the grocery store -- AND launch my new companion blog -- I managed to
  1. Ellipticise
  2. Undo the damage S had done in the back room (still a lot to do there though)
  3. Find the post I was looking for, about our spouse's missing us ... feeling good about that post is what gave me the impetus to start the new blog
  4. Scrub my bathroom
  5. Fold some laundry
  6. Change the lightbulbs in the garage
  7. Replace the battery in the garage door opener AND reprogram it
  8. Make a nice fettucine dinner for the boys
  9. Restrain myself from killing the boys for complaining that it wasn't spaghetti
  10. Clean all the dishes and pans, including the ice tea pitcher that's been sitting on the counter for a few days
  11. Take all the garbage and recycling to the curb
AND I've adopted a new motto: Caminante, no hay camino. Se hace camino al andar... Traveler, there is no road. You make the road as you travel.

I walk the WidowRoad, finding my own way, as each of us must. We have one another for companions, we walk together, but the road is different for all of us. We offer one another light and hope, but we must each find our own light, our own path to hope.

Golpe a golpe; verso a verso... Blow by blow; turn by turn.


The party was a great success! And it's also the last time N gets to invite one friend for each year of his age. Nine 8YOs and two 3 or 4YOs (S and a friend) was just too much.

MB left 15 minutes ago; I miss him already. He took N to school this morning, and N said, "I'm going to miss you." Wow. Do we have a future together? Who knows. Sometimes I think we do; other times...

Lots of cleanup to do today:
  1. Laundry ... lots and lots of laundry
  2. My desk ... lots of papers to sort and toss
  3. Scattered new-toy boxes to collect and toss
  4. Bathrooms ... they never did get cleaned last week -- yuk

Updated, 8:15 p.m. -- Well, I guess I was in a post-party funk today. I got the laundry washed (but not folded and certainly not put away). And I changed all the sheets on all the beds. But that's about it.

Today's the big day

HardPlace is 8 years old. Which means that in a few short hours, he will have 8 friends over for a few hours of madness and mayhem. Needless to say, I have a boatload of things to do before then!
  1. Make sure I have enough cups, plates, and forks for the party.
  2. Go to the store for balloons, ice cream, and fruit for the cake.
  3. Decorate the cake, with HardPlace's requested design of the American flag -- after HardPlace decides if the cake should have one layer or two.
  4. Final pickup of the living room and family room.
  5. Forced pickup of HardPlace's room.
  6. Create 25-30 questions for 8-year-olds to answer.
  7. Keep S out of trouble ... riiiiiiiiiiiight.
  8. Sweep and Swiffer the kitchen floor. (I know, I know: Why bother?)
I'm glad Ron is here to help out with things. But I sure do miss Nick.
"Mommy, our sweet little boy is 8 years old!"
"I know, Daddy, I know. How can that be?"
"Remember when we brought him home?"
Yes, Nick, I remember. I remember.

Updated to show the cake of an 8-year-old's dreams:


So Wednesday, in spite of protestations to the contrary, I
  • Had a wonderful lunch at Balduccis with my good friend L
  • Bought birthday presents for HardPlace
  • Spent an hour and a half in the dentist's chair -- 2 fillings ***sigh***
  • Cleaned the guest bathroom
  • Cleaned the family room (AGAIN)
  • Put all the toys away (AGAIN)
  • Put away the last of the Christmas decorations (almost)
  • Cooked a nice dinner for my family (and MB)
Yesterday, I
  • Took the VW to the shop ($1300! Ouch)
  • Enjoyed MB's company
  • Went to the grocery store
  • Mailed a housewarming gift to my mom
  • Cooked a nice dinner for my family
Today, I will
  • Continue to enjoy MB's presence ... he hates being called "company," and in truth, he doesn't feel like company
  • Feed, dress, and schlep the boys to school
  • Go back to the toy store because I seem to have left some of my purchases behind. I hope they believe me.
  • Go back to Balducci's because L ordered a case of imported beer for her daughter
  • Take HardPlace to the counselor... he's so mad about that
  • Start getting ready for our little trip to the widder dinner tomorrow -- it will be good to see dear friends again, and meet some folks face to face for the first time

So there!

I've got a lot to do today. But I'm not going to do any of it. And you can't make me.


Where does a 500-pound gorilla sit?

Valentine's Day isn't supposed to be so bad this year...

After all, it's my second one without Nick. It should be easier now. The first one was the hardest, right? That's what they say, anyway. Shows how much "they" know.

In truth, we never did much for Valentine's Day anyway; Nick never bought me flowers or candy, much to my chagrine. But we were together, and that was what counted. And since we treated Valentine's Day pretty much like any other day, today should be just like any other day. But the symbolism is there, like the proverbial 500-pound gorilla.

Besides, I do have a Valentine this year. MB is 800 miles away, but he started my day with a phone call. And this time tomorrow, he'll be on his way here -- we'll both spend the day with huge grins on our faces, thinking about how nice it will be to see each other again. But a 500-pound gorilla is blocking the door to tomorrow.

My to-do list for the day is pretty short, because I need to be gentle with my back. The only thing I need to get done in addition to regular household maintenance is clean the boy's bathroom and the guest bathroom. TTYL.

Updated, 6:45 p.m. -- The answer to the question is "Anywhere it effing wants!" Today, it squashed my spirit. And I feel like a fraud.

My in-laws sent me a dozen red roses. My best friend brought over chocolate truffles. MB arrives tomorrow afternoon. I'm not alone or forgotten or unloved today, so I've got no business moping around. But that effing gorilla just sits there and grins at me. And the bathrooms are still dirty.

Snow is one thing; ice is another

I started the day by cutting my hand open on the ice. Sliced by the ice. I was walking inside with the newspaper and slipped on an ice river (which I had deftly stepped over on the way TO the paper). Legs went up, hands went down, and bam. Ouch. It's just a little cut; doesn't even need a bandaid, but but but but

Both boys are home from school today. I could have taken S, because his school is open, but it didn't seem worth the effort. On my to-do list for the day:
  1. Build a snowman with the boys
  2. Build a snow fort
  3. Throw snow balls
  4. Drink hot cocoa
  5. Go to the grocery store
  6. Clean the guest bathroom
  7. Vacuum the family room
But first, the comics!

By the time I was done vacuuming the family room AND up the stairs to the third floor AND Swiffering down the stairs back to the first floor -- my back was killing me again. I guess I really hurt it while shoveling yesterday. *** Sigh *** I couldn't go play in the snow with the boys because it hurt so badly. I did make it to the grocery store, and the boys have been fed, and the kitchen is clean. The guest bath is not.

That's what tomorrow is for.

Snow! Glorious snow! I love the snow!

I spent 2 hours shoveling more than a foot of snow off the garage deck. I lived in Chicago long enough to know that you don't leave that much snow on a flat roof.

Then I made pancakes and mopped the downstairs hall... The boys left snowy footprints running the full length of the hall. But they had a wonderful time in the snow! S is finally big enough that he can get up when he falls down in it. N made a sled run down the front steps! Yowza!

I'm going to take it easy on myself -- and my aching back -- today. If I simply do the regular daily chores and keep the house looking civilized, I will be content.

Updated, 8:35 p.m. -- Well, aside from building blocks strewn across the family room floor, I succeeded in keeping the house "civilized." I even folded all the laundry. Go, me!


3:30 p.m., and I finally have a chance to make my to-do list for the day!

It's been busy; both boys had friends over, so for the past 4 hours, I had two 4YOs (ok, S is only 3-1/2) and two 8YOs in control of the house. But here's what I accomplished today:
  1. Both boys fed and dressed before friends arrived
  2. Playroom immaculate before friends arrived (as MB asked, "Why bother?")
  3. Family room clean before friends arrived ("Why bother?")
  4. Dishes washed, kitchen counters clean before friends arrived
  5. Peace maintained during the visit
  6. Two loads of laundry washed
  7. Latest batch of receipts entered into Quicken
  8. Four boys fed lunch (thanks, Dr. J!)
  9. Dining room cleaned up afterwards
  10. Kitchen cleaned up afterwards
  11. Playroom cleaned up afterwards
  12. Family room ... oh well... nothing is perfect!
Still to do today:
  1. Balance credit card and bank statements
  2. Schedule bill payments (I love online banking!)
  3. Fold a mountain of laundry
  4. Put laundry away (N is getting VERY annoyed that his pants drawer remains empty)
  5. Watch the snow fall
  6. Make hot cocoa and popcorn

Updated, 11:36 p.m. -- Well, I never did get to that laundry. N is just going to have to deal with it. I did get all the bills paid, however, and everything is properly even filed away (and key remnants are shredded and the 2005 documents are bound and put away -- Nick would be pleased).

I also watched the snow continue to fall ... except my beverage is B&B, not hot cocoa, and I skipped the popcorn. It's lovely, truly lovely.

"You can't fix everybody"

I was told that a few nights ago, when I was anxious about a weeping widow who had many of us concerned that she might take her own life. I know that is true, but sometimes it is so hard not to try! I had IMd a few times with this particular woman, so I felt a certain connection and -- yes -- responsibility.

I saw BF online again last night, and I was so relieved. I pinged a quick greeting to her; five minutes later, a response came back that it was her stepdaughter. I spent the next hour and a half IMing with the stepdaughter, expressing concern about BF. I sent her the posting that had so many people worried, as well as the transcript from my IM exchange with BF. The good news is that people around her are aware of BF's state; the stepdaughter has asked the police to keep an eye on her, and she is accompanying BF to her therapist today. She will give the therapist the documents I sent.

The bad news is that the stepdaughter and others around her have totally unreasonable expectations of BF. They think that after 6 months BF should be moving on, even dating again. I worked very hard last night to explain to the stepdaughter that this just wasn't the case. I spent an hour countering all those classic comments we widders hear so regularly:
  • She has to realize that life as she knows it is over; she has to adjust. (She KNOWS that the life she knew and loved is over! And it's going to take more than 6 months to adjust to that terrible loss.)
  • She needs to be thankful for the years she had and not think about the ones she won't have. (Until you have lost your soulmate, you have no idea what she is going through.)
  • She has to start dating and pray that she will marry again. (At 6 months????)
  • She still marks married on everything and wears her wedding rings. (I still wear my rings at 18 months, and I know remarried widows who still wear the rings from their first marriages.)
  • She will never get over him until she finds someone new to love. (She will NEVER get over losing the man with whom God joined her to create one flesh. She will move through the loss, and only then will she be able to love another.)
  • My mom says the divorce was sad, but once she moved on, she was happy again. (You can't compare divorce and death, because by the time the divorce happens, the relationship is already dead.)
  • She knew he was dying, but she still invested every part of herself in taking care of him. (Ummm... that's what Love DOES.)
  • She'll be okay. She's strong; she took care of my dad while he was so sick. She's stronger than she knows. (And maybe she's at the end of her rope? Maybe now that she doesn't have to be strong for him, she has no strength left for herself?)
  • She's not the easiest person to be around right now (DUHH!! How many of us widders are good company around the 6-month mark?)
  • She has to CHANGE or she's going to lose me and her granddaughter (She can't "change"; grief runs its course, and everybody moves through it differently.)
I couldn't believe I got ALL those comments in the space of an hour. I did my best to respond to them. I can only hope that the stepdaughter heard me, that I was able help her understand BF a little more. I think she may have, because she was silent to many of my replies, as though she was thinking about them, seeing things in a different light. I couldn't help BF directly, but maybe last night's chat with her step was the best possible help I could give her.

I was emotionally exhausted when I was done, and totally WIRED. Unfortunately, MB wasn't available for me to talk to about it, to de-stress from it all. Good thing there were a few other widders around for me to talk to, people who'd been equally concerned about BF and wanted to know what was going on.

Anyway, after another night of short sleep, the only major task I set for myself today is cleaning the playroom. I also need to ellipticise and take a good nap. TTYL.

And so the storm passes

After a relatively sleepless night, I woke up surprisingly calm. It's just another day in the life of a widow.

Household duties got a bit out of control while I was sick (big surprise there!). So I have some serious maintenance work to do:
  1. The playroom is a disaster.
  2. The family room is in upheaval.
  3. I think I have a desk under there somewhere.
  4. A mountain of laundry needs folding and putting away.
  5. And of course, the daily duties of dishes and sweeping await me.
But first, Coffee! and the Comics!

Updated, 8:00 p.m. -- Not the most productive day of my life... The family room is done, and the kitchen is clean. But that's about it as far as household tasks go. On the other hand, I did make it to both the bank and the grocery store, and I made a yummy chicken-broccoli stir-fry. And I played dinosaurs with S and met the mom of N's new best friend. So the day wasn't a total waste!

"Hey, pay attention!"

"The great life we made is still here. Enjoy it for both of us."

That line is taped under the window over my kitchen sink, ever calling me to be grateful for what I have, rather than dwell on what I have lost.

Nick died 18 months ago today.

After taking the garbage and recycling to the curb, I went upstairs to give S one last kiss goodnight. I'd promised to do that, but he wasn't in his bed; I assumed he was in mine. No; he was snuggled in with N. Two darling boys -- one small for an 8-year-old, the other large for a 3-year-old -- squooshed into a twin bed. Enough to melt a tired heart and bring a smile.

I went from N's room to the kitchen to wash the dinner dishes, and I saw those words: Enjoy it for both of us. And all I could do was sob uncontrollably. How can I enjoy it for both of us? YOU SHOULD BE HERE! You should be looking with love and tenderness at those sweet guys who need you so much. Damn it, Nick! How am I supposed to enjoy any of this without you?

Are you listening? Do you know how much we miss you? How much your sons need you? Hey! Pay attention!

Silver Lining?

One perk of being sick is that I don't have to make a list for myself. I do what I can and feel extraordinarily proud of everything I've done. So there! TTYL

Updated, 7:42 p.m.
  1. I got the boys to school, fed, dressed, and with brushed hair -- the last one often escapes me.
  2. I went to the grocery store to pick up a prescription and some milk, as well as a few other things. I got home and didn't have the Rx, so I had to go back to the store. I had left it in the basket, sigh.
  3. I volunteered in N's classroom; it really is a delight to be hugged by 2nd-grade girls and appreciated by another adult.
  4. I came home and crashed. Took a long nap, only to have it interrupted by one of S's teachers: He had a slight fever, and would I please come pick him up.
  5. N came home, and we ripped through his homework before going to get S.
  6. Then we invited one of N's friends over for a playdate. My job was to keep S out of the big boys' hair.
  7. I cleared most of the paperwork off my desk,
  8. I made a yummy spaghetti dinner. And cleaned SOME of the dishes... left the pots and pans until tomorrow.
No great thoughts. Just relief that I'm feeling a bit better and hoping that S doesn't get really sick.

Ugh. Sick again

I hate this. I hate having to take care of the house and the kids, when all I really want is for someone to take care of me. I really hate this.

The "New Normal"

None of us widders wants a "New Normal." We all want our Old Normal back, but that won't happen. One day we wake up and find that, like it or not, the New Normal has crept into our lives. At first I raged against the New Normal, but now I find something comforting in it -- an assurance that I'm able to provide a semblance of stability to my boys, that maybe they'll be okay after all.

My New Normal on a Saturday morning:
  • I'm enjoying my coffee
  • Sitting at the computer, getting ready to read the paper
  • The boys are bickering in front of the tv
  • N is complaining that he's bored (at 8:00 a.m.! jeesh)
  • S is demanding that I make pancakes
  • I'm doing my best to ignore them both (such a good mom)
  • We're all in our PJs, glad that we don't have to be bustling out the door
  • S decides he wants candy instead of pancakes (I don't THINK so!)
  • I decide I'd better get my day going and pay attention to these sweet guys
My to-do list for the day is a pretty easy one:
  1. Make pancakes!
  2. Clear off the junk that's accumulated on my dressers (yup, it's still there)
  3. Put away all the clothes that are piled on my bedroom chair (my room is messier than the boys')
  4. Add water to the fish tank
  5. Pull out some of the string algae
  6. Take the boys to a movie -- haven't decided which one yet
  7. Savor quality time with them
  8. Ellipticise (yes, I did that yesterday AND I spent 15 minutes cleaning up the back room)
The New Normal... it really isn't so bad. TTYL.

Updated, 6:55 p.m. -- The pancakes were yummy! and I even scrubbed the pan in time to make grilled cheese sandwiches for lunch.

Accomplished today:
  1. Made pancakes and cleaned up after myself AND scrubbed the broiler pan from Thursday's pork chopsAND scrubbed the dish drainer and the counter under it
  2. Cleared off the junk from my dressers AND dusted everything
  3. Put away the clothes on the chair AND next to the chair AND behind the chair AND on the dresser AND by the bed -- full disclosure: I have NEVER been very good about putting away my clothes
  4. Ellipticised
  5. Spent 10 minutes on the back room
  6. Enjoyed quality time with the boys
  7. Had some good IM chats with my widder friends and nice phone calls with my mom and MB

I didn't manage to tend to the fish tank; we looked for a good movie, but there wasn't anything I was willing to take the boys to. I think some new ones open next week. So I pulled out Bambi instead; S and I enjoyed it, but N was too bored by it. Too bad for him.

Things undone, things unsaid

Leftover to do from yesterday:
  1. Put away things accumulated on my bedroom dressers
  2. Ellipticise
  3. 15-20 minutes on the back room
I'm in one of those moods that well up in a widow, when the loss and sadness fill you as surely as the ocean fills a hole dug in the sand. The edges crumble into the water, until the hole collapses and there's just an indentation on the beach that the next good wave will sweep away. Am I the hole or the sand? I don't know... but the inevitability of the ocean surrounds me right now.

It's probably just because I didn't sleep well last night. Or because N and I had an ugly exchange at bedtime last night. Or because I don't have clarity with MB. Or because my BIL is pushing me about church. Or because I'm tired of being a widow.

I called today's entry Things Undone, Things Unsaid.

I'm not really sure what I was thinking at the time. But the truth is there is so much truth in that title. So many things in my little world came undone when Nick died. I have been picking up pieces and trying to rebuild as best I can. In some ways, I think that what I am rebuilding is better than it was before. But other facets of my life are, of course, irreparably damaged.

I worry so much about N. His father was everything to him, and I really don't know if he'll ever recover. S is all about me, Mom. N was Nick's son through and through. His world has come undone and it's beyond my power to put it back together again. The most I can do is build a new life for myself, for myself and the boys, and give N all the love and protection and courage that I can. I can only hope it's enough.

And the things unsaid? I think Nick and I were pretty good about saying the things we needed to. I know now that you can never tell your beloved often enough how much your life together means; I would give anything to hear Nick's words of love one more time, to tell him one more time what he was to me.

The things unsaid are mere whispers in my heart, whispers of pain and fear, of anger and doubt, and even of tenderness and compassion. Murmurs that I dare not listen to, cannot bear to hear, yet cannot ignore or silence. Let the water fill the hole; let the sand crumble; let the ocean be.

All is as it ever has been and ever shall be.


Two weeks after starting this blog, I actually feel like the housework is under control. Bathrooms are clean; floors are clean; laundry is folded and put away; messes are under control. Wow! Accountability -- even to nobody, since nobody is reading this darn thing -- works.

So far today, I've
  1. Gotten N to school
  2. Broken down 6 or 7 boxes in the garage for recycling
  3. Taken the trash out
  4. Taken the recycling to the curb
  5. Enjoyed my newspaper and coffee
  6. Made my grocery list
Yet to do:
  1. Grocery shopping
  2. Empty (and refill) the dishwasher
  3. Dust the living room and dining room
  4. Put away things accumulated on my bedroom dressers
  5. Ellipticise
  6. 15-20 minutes on the back room

A Day Without a List

can go wildly astray!

I had the best of intentions. I was going to get the boys to school, do X, Y, and Z, and post a triumphant midafternoon declaration of accomplishments.

But first I went for my first Jin Shin appointment in months. I totally blissed out and then sat and visited with my practioner/good friend for an hour. I went home and was "just getting ready to get to work" -- riiiiiight -- when the phone rang. My friend BB was going to be driving by, and could she stop over? Of course! We hadn't seen each other since before Thanksgiving, and I still had her Christmas presents sitting on my desk. I fed her pot roast, gave her a glass of wine, showed off my new family room, and listened to her plans for moving to Bosnia.

Finally, at 2:00, I got to work. And I accomplished the following:
  1. Folded the laundry I'd left in the dryer yesterday.
  2. Cleaned the kitchen and ran the dishwasher.
  3. Ellipticised for 30 minutes.
  4. Spent 20 minutes working on the back room.
  5. Dragged N through his homework.
  6. Took the boys shopping for new shoes (successful for S, not for N).
  7. Endured dinner at the mall's food court.
  8. Decided I wasn't going to wait 25 minutes to get their haircut at Cartoon Cuts.
Not bad, if I do say so myself.