Friday, December 20, 2013

December 20

One year and five months. Today. December 20th. That's all its been.
So I'm giving myself a break from my own judgement about how I am doing. I am against feeling or acting like a victim, though I have to admit with embarrassment, that sometimes I feel I deserve niceness just because I am a widow. I cringe as I type that!
I work so hard in a way that I never knew existed. The strong performance I put up to some people. My quiet and sad honesty with others. On occasion, the comfort I reach out for and beautifully find.
My times when I want to do more than hide and the times when I want to race and succeed
with this living business. Sometimes, (all the time actually) I am in public places with a constant voice in my head saying Oh my God Oh my God, I'm going to cry. I truly am taking it moment by moment. You just have to. Anything feels like a mild success because I get through the day.
I wanted to post today, to say how much I miss loving David and how aware I am that the loving continues.
How much I wonder if I am doing OK or not.
How much I judge myself harshly when thinking of things I should have done. Should/Could/Would be doing now.
It's a tornado of emotions, every day.
A surreal time when you are proud of yourself for finishing the payment plan on your husbands grave stone.
Instead of spending the money on a cheap flight to Vegas where you plan to get drunk and fall down before you yell "Happy New Year."
As I move into the holiday season, I am petrified - and perhaps if i can do this, I can (and maybe will) be able to do anything.
Just sharing.

Monday, December 16, 2013

Theater and Toast

Today, December 16th, was a tough day. Twenty years ago my Dad passed away from cancer. Twenty years!!
The anniversary always touches my heart, and today it was the number twenty that seemed to hold me in a muddied and gritty blur.
So much has happened and yet so very little. Tremendous changes and yet nothing.
It is incredibly selfish/boring/pointless/self indulgent of me to say how much I looked at my life today and noticed how many things I have left behind and some of which I miss. How I now compare my own widowhood to my Mums. How much I feel I have let my family down, when I think of all the things I wanted to give to them. The ache of his loss hit hard today.

Then tonight I realized the two things that still remain that my Dad gave to me - The Theater and Toast.
My brother and I grew up going to the theater with Mum and Dad. They were called shows then, just the same as dinner happened at lunchtime and policemen were really older.  I would give anything to have those trips back when we all dressed beautifully, drove into London in that white Mercedes and saw everything from slamming doors, kissing lovers, comedic neighbors, aching hearts and tapping shoes. Elaborate sets, large orchestras, red velvet curtains or simple wide open spaces - oh it was all wonderful, even if we didn't understand it. Even if on the odd occasion we would leave during the interval - that meant really bad language and someone being naked!
Then we would get home, and no matter the time or mood, the kettle would be switched on and  bread placed into the toaster. The make believe world melting with the butter.

So tonight I came home from my playwriting class and I remembered all of this while waiting for the kettle to boil and the bread to pop up warm and ready. And there was Dad saying do that Jayne. Stay with the the theater and eating the toast! Just do it.

Thank you Dad. I miss you.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

PHD for the young

I got out of bed to write this, so good luck everyone!

Recently I have been spending time with younger people, who at some point in the conversation will put themselves down. Now, everyone who knows me is aware that I invented the self put down. I have a PHD in it - Personal Hello Downers. The stuff that builds layers of protection around you, (or so you think) that eats you from the inside in order for others to stop attacking the outside. Spoiler alert - it does not work!

Anyway - the point of this blog is to remark how much my experience of loss, is changing my attitude. When I feel strong and determined, I am aware of soul and not physicality. It is when I see a photograph and I reach out, that the physical loss hits me, because the feeling of love still continues. Like a perfume, it lingers. That warm, fond memory that will always make you smile. My experience of loving is still there. In fact I said to a dear friend recently that I miss saying the words "I love you" out loud. So my question is, why would I stop?

What if we paid as much attention to our heart, as we do to our bodies? What if we serviced that sad ache, or that burst of joy - with the same energy as we visit a store to buy a new pair of shoes, or an exercise machine, or a salad, or whatever satisfies that physical need. What if we engaged in loving ourselves and our family and friends, with as much intent as we do toward a spouse or partner?
What if Match dot com sent you a profile that was your perfect soul mate and it were you?  Bonus - no more concern about going halves over dinner!

I see so many people running around from a place of fear. And fear of what? Really? Oh and again, I can only recognize this, because I invented that one too. I have the PHD  - Painful Head Drowning.
Constantly searching for resolutions and answers, while wearing a blindfold. When do we allow ourselves time to respect our own intelligence? What if we actually succeeded at whatever was so important that day?

No wonder we share pictures of puppies and cats on facebook, and press "like" as often as we can, because we are starving ourselves of healthy thoughts and actions. So much of what brings us real pleasure is not tangible - taste, smell, sensation. Think about the action of winning; is the joy when you cross the finish line or when you hold the medal?

I am now studying for a new PHD - Pleasurable Happiness Developing. It's a challenging course - worth trying though - right?



Thursday, November 7, 2013

It's been awhile

Forgive me Blog Universe - it has been one month and six days since my last post!
I have not committed any writing since then, and for that I am truly sorry. I firmly resolve, that with the help of inspiration, cake and a dictionary that I will write more, and avoid the near occasions of losing my blog access. (I now make the sign of typing at a laptop.) Peace be with you and also with any publishers and or agents. Ah to lots of men. 

Where have I been?
A mixture of hiding, perhaps re-fueling, perhaps resting.
I was under a rock for a while, and then found it started to lift, which gave me the strength to push it away.
I don't want to stay hiding from life or running away from the possibilities of being all that I can.
It's just so odd to be doing it to a whole new audience.
Max The Cat lays by my side, he sometimes looks interested in what I'm saying.
Anyway - I just wanted to blog this evening to say out loud, that I am doing OK. I talk to David. A lot.
I catch my breath at least five times a day when I see his face in my mind and realize, yet again, that he isn't physically here. He isn't the type of personality that you imagine not being around. Vibrant, energetic, busy, loud, funny. He tells me to get a move on - and so I am.
Easing away from the comfort zone, necessity is partly (and rudely at times) shoving me, yet I'm trying to look at that as a positive thing.
When you decide to lose weight, you go on a diet. You have to stop eating sugar and enjoy lettuce.
Living successfully requires the same daft commitment. You have to stop accepting the pain. You have to physically make the effort to turn thoughts around. I have to learn that part of me is missing. That a chapter in my story is about loving and hurting and saying goodbye and the gain and loss of all of that. That my soul feels it will never trust in life (though did it ever fully?) I find myself clutching inwardly with a voice screaming "I'm a widow, I don't want to be here, I can't do this." Every day I staple on courage with a glue gun and a smile - mind you, on the other hand, I experience the joy of when my smile is genuine. It kisses me like a rare feather grazing on a beach. I guess it's like receiving the real thing instead of the text version :))

Perhaps it all gets better from now on. At least today I am willing to find out, with honesty, integrity, respect and love, and that is a far bolder place that I stand at, than others will ever know.

Monday, September 30, 2013

Jen, Ugly Dog Books and A Card

I have a special friend called Jen Smith. She is not imaginary, she does exist.
Our friendship, perhaps eight years long now, has been quite the adventure of books, cake, words, work and life. Jen was the one person that David trusted inside our house toward the end of his illness. They prepared chocolate covered strawberries and fruit salad together. Jen pretended that the care giver we tried to introduce was her new boyfriend!!! David called Jen his laughter lady.

We finally got together today for a long over due coffee and visit to a book store. Jen had found The Ugly Dog Books in Attleboro on line.   http://www.uglydogbooks.com/index.htm

It is delightful. A great joy of a place, much like opening a brand new book, where you walk in with eyes widening at new treasures alongside old favorites. The owner, Kim, there in person, has a passion for books, obviously, and includes a writers room and open events for book lovers and writers alike. She has a room dedicated to her father, there is chocolate in the writers room, a stone with the word HOPE carved into it -  this is one special store.

David and I loved going to book stores. In fact we often would with Jen.
So of course, today, I think of David and ask him to show me to a book that I should buy.
Immediately I pull out a blue covered book - Skywriting by Jane Pauley. I smile because somewhere in my memory is us looking at this book when it was first published. I open the front cover and find inside a new, unwritten birthday card that says "To My Wife".

There are no words.........and then there are.



 THANK YOU. Always with love.



Off Course and Television

You know when you are off course (and addicted to television) when......................

1) you watch the pilot of Breaking Bad to cheer yourself up
2) you watch the pilot of Breaking Bad, when everyone else is mourning the final episode
3) you consider priniting a tshirt that says - Breaking Bad Virgin - Dont Tell Me!
4) watching Breaking Bad, it completely makes sense as a possiblity to your next step in life
5) after watching breaking Bad, you need to cook something and boil up a ton of pasta
6) you are over excited to see re runs of shows on Saturday night (yes people actually watch television on a Saturday night)
7) your whole Sunday is wrapped around the start of The Amazing Race
8) you fall asleep during The Amazing Race
9) you notice television is becoming your life raft
10) you look at a job posting and think BS as a requirement means bullshit required and you actually wonder if that's what it really means and that the company has a great sense of humor

Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Harry Taylor

Eighteen years ago today, September 5th, I received a phone call from my dear friend David Taylor who simply said "It's a boy!" and so was born my Godson, who today celebrates his eighteenth birthday.
His Mum Lorna and I have been friends for well over twenty-five years, having met on the hallowed grounds of the Warner Brothers studios when we were young London starlets!!!
That's another story - This however is about HARRY.

Happy Birthday Harry.
You know that I have always said that I am not around enough, even more so since I emigrated.
I doubt that you know how much I admire you and think of you. Remembering back to times you would not remember and perhaps those that you do. Various adventures, dinners at your house, board games, walks, our amazing trip in America and last year laughing at Comic Relief in London at all the parts we should not have been laughing at!!

Anyway - here is the important part. I have not meant much to many people, nor it seems to have a significant impact on anyone young in my life. So, my dear Harry - it's all down to you to listen to your Godmum and take her advice.

Go the extra, extra, extra mile for every single thing you want. Work harder than everyone you know.
Go for the largest of your dreams. Find mentors. Choose friends wisely and have plenty of them.
I know you are ambitious and that is wonderful. It is also not to be taken for granted and please know, people will want to change this in you. Do not let them. Listen, nod your head and walk on to discover all the people who will truly listen and tell you what to do next. Always love. Always respect. Always have a sense of humor. Waste nothing. There are so many things that will distract you, please ask when you wonder if some of those things are worth it or not.
Today I can't give you money, a home or a new car. (Your birthday card is even late!!!)
I can, and will always, give you the truth. I can give you support. I can give you guidance. I might of course answer "I don't know" because I'm still learning - however Harry - you are my Godson and for that I am totally, amazingly proud and fortunate.
HAPPY 18th BIRTHDAY HARRY TAYLOR.

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Widow Talk - Touch of bitter with that axe?

Tonight I used my scrubbing steamer mop. Why the big deal?
Because my David loved using this machine and I have not been able to use it in well over a year, for knowing that his hands held that handle. He loved the noise, and the steam, and the way he could move it so easily. I loved watching him use it.

See, that's the thing, each thing can be a big thing. Some of them you avoid, some hit you in the face with a hot nail load of emotions and some things you just notice you are doing again. Like, I swam in a pool when I got hot, like David did. I thought, wow, you are right - it is refreshing to cool off. Stupid little things, internal conversations that go on and on.

This post is not a complaint, I'm just pointing something out, and trying to make myself realize that this widow malarkey, still takes it's boring toll on me. I keep saying, come on Jayne, its over a year now. It can't still be difficult to drive down to Dartmouth can it? Yet here is my statement. I lost my husband, my home, the garden, the neighbor, the location, the second car and the whole reason I emigrated. I chose to give up my job. I lost my belief system that said if you love enough you will gain the strength and all the answers. You'll even discover a twist of magic within the folds of love. I believed in it all.

This time last year, a month into my loss, I was beginning to think of having to move. My home, was no longer my house. This time a year later, I am having to do the same, because I don't think I can afford the rent here in my apartment. Instead of fear I feel bitterness - and boy do I dislike that! For those of you who do not know me, I am actually a happy person! Remaining foul, does not sit easily with me.
I recognize there are far, far worse off than me, in far, far harder situations - I just get jaded as I put on lipstick and tell myself that it will work out - when I just lived through ten years of nothing working out that quite frankly I poured blood over. All that hard work, and for what?

I share these thoughts in the hope that others who feel the same will rest a little better knowing that the vagueness of new is like walking into a casino and saying I have $5 to spend, where do I start?
You have the right to say "what????"
It's not the same as when you start college, or just get married, or start your dream job - because of one huge factor - half of you (dare I admit on some days 100 % of me) will say what is the point?
Because it all ends anyway.
Damn straight I intend to lose this big ugly lemon, as it does not serve me. However, I also need to squeeze it and try and get the pain out.

So yes dear fellow widows, add sarcasm here, grab your black heels and get over it, and move forward, in our own time of course, yet following what is comfortable for others. For those jolly folk who give us that advice, I send an axe and hover over their legs, and let them choose which leg - because, it is just a choice - right or left and then move on! Right?  Oooops, there you go - they just said right!


Monday, August 19, 2013

loved with boldness

She loved with a boldness that was invented only by her.
He remembered it, in a whisper from another
Or the flick of auborn hair
A voice, like hers, but not.
He would turn and again be disappointed to find
She was not there.
For love is so rare, that in a beat it is everlasting
Or gone.
A womans hand is poised, placed downward
He knew it wasnt hers
For hers was always open
Waiting for another.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Nearly

I'm either on the brink of a break through or a break down!
I guess my awareness of that fact, eliminates the going mad factor. After all, the lunatic being dragged off never questioned their sanity. They knew they were sane as they screamed "I am the Queen of England and also a rabbit!" Hence, I should relax and look forward to the break through.

It is so tiring being up and positive and strong. Or at least it is, when it feels so little that returns. The IRS check to %Jayne continues its weirdness, as all my paperwork was returned yesterday, as return to sender. Return to sender from the IRS address, in their envelope!!! I phoned them, and was on hold for 38 minutes when the phone went dead.

I keep working, keep plugging away. Searching for opportunities, or letting go and just trusting that things will arrive. My eyes are open for things I may enjoy. I loved seeing a man driving his duck boat today in Boston. I presume, going back to the depot, that huge orange vehicle all to himself and he was singing away, I hope with the microphone on. I loved driving along 95, with all my windows down and told myself I will drive to Sedona again this year, even though I have no right to do so. (By right I mean time & money). I loved hearing adults play like children today and then work like the most gifted engineers around.
I don't know, what is the point of this ramble? Somehow to send out the wish to give me a break. Show me the way, just a little. I keep paying off my Davids head stone, as though it were a piece of furniture. I nearly went for broke and flew to Spain to see my brother. I nearly went to the dentist. I nearly gave my number to a stranger. I imagine running away. Often. Hawaii. Mexico became a possibility for two minutes over toast this morning. Is running away, running toward? If I were famous, this would be interesting!
That's a great title. What did you nearly do? Any regrets that you didn't? Any regrets that you did?



Monday, August 12, 2013

Penny Saving Moves

OK everyone you like it when I'm honest - so here it is - get ready.

In my new life,  I am spending way too much time and money on my constant need and lust for sparkling water. I just can not get enough of it. I am satisfied, only to turn over and need another bottle. How will I ever afford my plane ticket to Hawaii?
So, it has been remarked that you can get contraptions that will fizz your own waters. No need for the midnight run to CVS for a cold sparkling one. When you can just do it yourself from the tap. No conversation required, no money, just press and bing-bong, hello to the savor of a thirst!
So today was the day and with the many vouchers and Kohls coupons that have mated in the bottom of my bag - I bought my very own shiny Soda Stream. (Someone famous should/could/would name their baby Soda, it's pretty cute when you think of it.)

Now please know I work hard to live with my fear of electricity, gas and explosions. I think it may have something to do with a gas explosion that happened at the bottom of our road when I was a kid. Anyway - the fact that tonight I needed to push a gas container into anything horrified me.
Then that I am pushing down on the whole thing, and there is water and glass involved, while I'm standing in a hot kitchen. Oh my, I swore and sweated unnecessarily, lets just say that. Anyway, I have now had the maiden voyage and I understand that the first time is not the best. I think I tasted plastic, sorry! We all, however, survived and I have officially named him Soda SamStream. For awhile we will just go steady and later I may add a few flavors as my experience grows.

I trust my ROI on this purchase will be quick, because with that saving and my at home self manicures - I want to get to Hawaii before the year is through. 
PS the benefit of my at home self manicures is three fold; I know for sure that I am talking about me, I can only pick one color and I do not tip myself. Even when I'm happy!

Monday, August 5, 2013

Widow Talk - Straight from The Gut

There are many things (including absolutely everything) that I hate about being a widow.
Here is one, that I have read and heard said about other widows and widowers. I admit, it has now been said about me.

If you happen to go on a date - a remark you may hear is: "Wow, she didn't waste much time."

Yeah, being a widow is real easy when your body is surprisingly and annoyingly craving touch because the person who has slept to your left or right for the last number of years has now gone, forever. Not because they divorced you, dumped you, are on vacation, or a business trip - that familiar touch will never be returned because they are dead and that is forever. I can spout about eternal love, and yeah, I believe in it. Though right now, I will pay you with blood and cake in exchange for ten more years of physical time, rather than the mystical, gazing at stars, begging for answers love, that I am left with.

You are craving touch, yet your heart is wanting the accustomed love that you so desperately adored. You finally reach out for touch, only to feel disgusted with yourself, racked with guilt and loss, and/or, feeling joy followed by bewilderment because is it possible to feel such emotions with another human being while you remain in love with your husband?

Along with that - the concerns over sexual health, trust, your wedding ring, the beloved photo at the side of the bed. What if you think of your husband? What if you don't? What if it makes you grieve even more? How does it all work these days? What on earth is the other person thinking? All I really want to do is jump from a cliff, however I will take a hug first. Oh and now let me consider a persons lack of education/support/grace/humanity as they consider the widow should be in quarantine for a thousand years. I imagine this is the same type of person who looks for a new chastity belt in CVS.

Didn't waste much time? Let me ask you this. When did the spouse die? Because the only person who knows, to the very heart and soul beat of a second, is the widow you are berating.

I have no reason to plan anything anymore. Can you imagine how empty that is for me? Me, who adores being generous with ideas, time and special experiences? Me, who actually LOVES to do things, or values doing nothing, just being together? Oh, my, the confusion it brings if there is a mere hint of a future smile!  Do you know how difficult it is to stop myself from sharing and caring - when I have cared innately and shared everything? Do you know that one of the things I truly miss, is whispering good morning and good night to another person next to me, while holding their hand and their gaze?

AND - I was only married for ten years and have nothing that says we were together. So, lord knows how tough this stuff must be for those that have children, homes, history, businesses; a life together.

Putting my pile of lemons to one side, let me sing it loud and clear to everyone. That life is about loving. We are so rarely able to embrace a true, tender, wondrous moment of love - that anyone bold enough to try it, deserves the loudest round of blessed applause. A widow trying to feel connection, has more internal barriers to get through than a city subway station - and for them to be judged, says so much more about the smallness of some peoples hearts against the wild wonderful depth of others.
To know death is to embrace life,
    And to know life is to embrace love. 



Saturday, August 3, 2013

Fat Burning Hack

My Tweeter account just got hacked and sent out a tweet from me, sharing information on my fat burning secrets.
I laughed for about an hour (well half a second, in fact it was a scoff, not a laugh) because........

1) Just call me Gwyneth Paltrow!
2) Me on a diet is like the Pope bringing back "I loved the Breasts in Brazil" t Shirt.
3) Yesterday I was given a Taiwan Cucumber to eat. I promise you, it was a cucumber, not some type of vegetarian happy ending accident.
4) Me sending a tweet, because I have not done that for at least a year, and now I wonder if
hacking me, wasn't just Tweeter, to get me to sign back on again and consider Tweeting again.
5) Fat burning - ha! The only fat burning I do is to light a candle.
6) I take laxatives, so that I have something to do the next day, not to lose weight.
7) My real secret to losing weight this summer, is all the mosquito bites that I am collecting. At one point, the bites were looking like a dot to dot puzzle, and I swear I could see the face of an itchy Jesus on my arm.
8) My stomach fat is migrating to my thighs and knees.
9)I have nothing else to say and a job I have to get to!!!!
10) I still believe one day that I will have those flawless, golden legs with the bulge of muscle that says "I work out". I will Tweet you, if I do. In the meantime, if I do, you know I have been Gene Hack-maned again!

Thursday, August 1, 2013

It's August

There is a part in the movie Ghostbusters, where the men are crouching on the roof-deck waiting for the big ghost or ghoul to arrive, when they remember that it can be created into whatever form they desire. The only restriction being that it is their first thought. Hence a giant Mr Marshmallow sailor waddles around the corner.

What if every month, your thirty or thirty one days were designed around the first thought you had as you awoke on that morning of each first?
Think on today, your own morning. August 1st. Was it a good moment, thus becoming a good month? Hopeful? Funny? Full of stress, worry? Relaxed, languid, pondering? Smiling, frowning?

How sweet, private and intelligent are those first thoughts. How often do you pay attention to them? Yet, perhaps they hold a magic that guides your day. Or educates you on what would be healthy for you. Telling you what you need rather than what you think you want. Full of true wisdom before the brain translates. Is a sad mood, perhaps just an indication to slow down? A buoyant one, celebrating your gifts?

In my last months with David at home, I would have told you that my waking thoughts were heavy. They were not, as my very first thoughts were always of love. It was the stress talk that threw me into the massive to do list. What I am referring to, are those tiny thoughts that occur BEFORE we allow the life we have titled, to pull open our eyelids.

Our own thoughts are all that we truly have, yet we rarely pay enough attention to them. How easy it is to jump on the habit talk of: I'm stressed, I hate my life, I'm fat, I can't do this. Rather than the dream talk that will sometimes elevate you to Heidi Klume status, where you can fly, or sing or meet those you love who are far, far away.

One of my places of work, has a regular customer survey, the results of which are internally shared. I know that the positive feedback I have received, has not been shared. It's a managers choice to focus (or hunt for) a negative. How quick we are to do that to ourselves and to others. Life constantly throws its Michael Caine arrows. It is our choice to dodge them or take a few in the leg, and occasionally the heart.

I chose August to be a month where I listen for my own feedback. I share compliments extremely easily and honestly, it's a honor to do that, a simple joy. Just this week I caught myself desperately (in bold letters) needing a compliment from another person. To prove what? To show me that they could say something about me that I may not believe anyway? If this person is unable to share a compliment, isn't that saying more about them than it is about me? (Am I looking like Carrie from Sex in the City as I type this?) If for whatever reason, a positive communication can not be verbal, aren't I in control of how long I hang around waiting for one? Or to the extent that I recognize other signs?

All I really need to do, is know myself. So, that's what I woke up thinking about this August 1st.
Get to know myself.
That and Cheerios and nail colors.
You?




Saturday, July 20, 2013

My David at One Year

I need to believe today that there is a reason for everything.
I need to believe that there are no end dates.
So here are your own words today, my dearest David, from April 27 2001.

A true relationship that holds love abiding means that you can love each other
knowing the beauty and the blemishes. Each others laughter and tears.
Each others calm and anger. To see one another whole, and love regardless.
It is a place where there is plenty of talk, and no talk at times because things
are so well understood. It is not a guest book. It does not take place of the need
sometimes for solitude. It is a messy and dance filled place, and a quiet
reading books with legs touching place. It is like home in the best
of all thought and senses.


We did all that my love. We did.


Always with love.
Always.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Hour Glass Life


It stuns me, at 4am on a Thursday morning, how much I have already forgotten (or buried) of the turmoil that was accepted as a wife caring for a young Alzheimer's husband. For perhaps six years, it grew steadily in its tornado strength and destruction, with two years of cancer before that.

The ache and bewilderment of being a widow is absolutely nothing compared to what a care giver endures, as they witness and support their loved one dissolve before their eyes. The blankness, the aggression, the hours of sleeplessness, the following, the cleaning, the crying, the banality, the accusations - well I need not go on, they are all titles of television dramas starring Kevin Bacon, or just a melting moment for people dealing with this disease.

It continues to take my body, mind, heart and very soul, time to recover from the physical and mental effect of being the main care giver. I know I am still healing, and I am not referring to the widow side of it. My desire for a vacation, change of scenery, has never been for the tan!

I was in a constant tug of war, playing on both sides. Everything and I mean everything, became a challenge. My discovery of an attitude or word that would be effective one day would be fruitless the next. Invitations were a welcome agony. Advice from others would perhaps help or be pointless puffs of wind. I would feel trapped and reluctant to share.
Did I mention my guilt? When I would long for time alone, the time that I have now, and then scream with frustration, because what I wanted was time with health, not the disease. When I wanted my husband, not the Alzheimer's patient. I would want respite, yet time away from my piece of dynamite was agony because I knew a silence would come one day. It was like living in an hour glass that kept tipping.

How on earth did I manage?
How on earth do the brave (and scared) care givers manage?
Those who juggle life on top of being the partner, the second hand, the second functioning half of the brain, while remaining your own entire brain.
"Trouble with you, is that you are not taking care of yourself. When did you last exercise?" OH I LOVED that piece of advice. Yes, let me just go for an hours jog while I continue to care, clean, repeat, feed, dress, listen, repeat, hold, shop, drive, cook, work, pay bills, smile, and repeat all steps, handle with care, on the hour, every hour.
Man, does it take it's toll. Eleven months after and I still catch myself opening the car door for someone and begin to put their seat belt on for them. I still find wet wipes in my pockets. I still go to serve food in bowls not plates. I speak in shorter sentences. Think in shorter sentences.

No amount of moisturizer will give my skin back the emotional, additional ten years that it aged. Nor the skin around my heart. I look and feel older than forty seven for a reason. 

Someone said to me at the recent unveiling of my husbands head stone: "Wow you've lost weight and look good, that's wonderful, how did you do it?"
My reply was silence. My inner voice was saying:  "After a very long time, my very sick husband died and took all my responsibilities, fears, life, focus, purpose, love and pain with him, you weight obsessed idiot." 

It is extraordinary what us ordinary folk can do and become, and simply take it all for granted. In fact, we do not recognize that these are the titles and experiences that deserve respect and honor.
I see myself as a failure because I never became the actress or writer that I wanted to be. Well perhaps I achieved something greater than that?

I send my admiration and strength out to every wife/husband/partner care giver who is right now, wide awake in exhaustion, night and day, listening out for their loved ones breath.

You either know it or you don't - and nothing will ever compare to that experience. It was the honor and horrific success of my life.


Saturday, June 29, 2013

Just Words


Just Words


I miss the cook books we had on the shelf
The crazy colors in the hall
The two doors to the bathroom
The smell of the wood in the summer.
Our deckchairs in the car.
A captured, tiny time
When things were forest green.

You took my hand today while I was driving
And said where you are, was so incredibly beautiful.
That everything now made sense
That you were happier
Happier than you had ever been.
You liked my new home
Knew how hard I was trying
The hours I worked.
The strength of my longing.
How my fears had changed
How life had changed.

What should I do I asked
When I knew you were truly there
You said I need to be happier.
Nothing more.
A simple step, perhaps -
Just happier.
It all has a place and a time
And things can and will be a different green.
If I allow.
It all makes sense in the end.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Eleven Months without David

Dear David

Couldn't write until now, two days after the 20th.
Struggling to know what to say, what to feel, what to do. Who knows?
We all make everything up as we go along.

A man came into the store today who looked like you, just a touch. Could have been dressed by you and had your manners and charm. Susan spoke to him, I couldn't, though later I told her why and proudly showed off a photograph of you I keep with me. Later, while sitting on my balcony, your car, well not your car, came around the corner and instantly I am full yet again of the "David Died" parade. It hits me at least ten times a day and yet still catches me off guard. Yet, I smile, call it a headache, a passing thought while my heart shakes itself to see if it still pumps.

The depth of this grief has truly surprised me. It's like discovering that the ice cream well is bottomless - except half way down you realize it's not ice cream.

As I keep saying, I miss you and I miss all the things that I imagine we would have had if circumstance and illness had not interfered. I lost myself within everything that chewed us up. I am the bit that survived in order to be spat out. I guess I was a tied up package before my plane had even landed, and I am so sorry for that. So sorry that my self esteem ran off with my intelligence. Wasn't I originally the woman who could have made a real difference and given you an even better life, than the tiny one I battled for?

Again, another post I will not put on Facebook, as I know these are the ones people rarely read, yet I feel I need to publish in a desperate attempt to heal. My goodness, you and I were so similar. I wish with all my heart that we could sit and talk. That I could learn whatever the hell I'm meant to learn and get on with it.

Eleven months, without a husband, a purpose, a role. It's all gone. All my energy, pointless, unrewarded, unrequited (yep I said it). No medals, gold watch or even a really good wedding photograph. There a big holes in the circle of life. And as you used to say: whoopdi-dam-do!

Please know I tried.
I love you.
Jayne 




Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Four I Wonders for a Tuesday

I wonder if I am the only person who cannot wear thong sandals?
Who the hell invented those?
There are tons of lovely looking sandals out at the moment, with gems, small heels or flats, great colors, simple or creative and they all end in the torture chamber of the toe being seperated.
Not only is the seperation a racial slur against your own toes, it is a dumb example of putting too much pressure on one area.
It hurts. I try it, and it hurts. If Jesus had those sandals, they would not have needed to nail him to the cross.
How do you do it? Is it a virginity thing? Did I skip a special class? Am I too late to register?
Will someone please try to make a sandal look attractive for people who wish to keep their toes together!

I wonder where the mouse has gone that has been running around Max The Cat for a week?
Being far too tired to do anything about the squeals coming from both animals, I simply turned over and let them at it. This continued for four nights and now nothing.
I await to find a mouses head chewed off in the fridge or bathroom cabinet. Touch of The Godfather Disney style in my bed. Max The Cat is fine and he is not licking his lips with satisfaction, so I'm guessing that the mouse got out somehow. Replace guessing with truly hoping. It is a pretty clever mouse and actually stands on its hind legs to face Max The Cat and has also played dead, tricking even me. They obviously come with intelligence in Rhode Island.

I wonder sometimes if my David is sitting near me, looking out after me. Like Ghost.

I wonder when television viewers will stop watching 'Love it or List it.' Every single episode she promises to do "something in the basement" and something happens where that is no longer possible and the home owner walks off crying saying; "this is turning into a nightmare."
Every week she under estimates the budget - she needs to be fired as she is so bad at her job!

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Swinging Back & Forth

Last couple of days have been tough. Full of churning memories from last year. I have felt sick with sadness and the anger I so like to deny. Remembering the hospital corridors, the deceiving beauty of the outside, that elevator, the wait by the locked door.

David and I both individually and as a couple loved being outside. As soon as snow had melted we would be packing the deckchairs ready for the beach. Nobody could tan like David, and he used to say: "Well I gotta be good at something."

It is literally ripping my heart at the seams to think that the last two months of his life were spent inside. I hate this. I keep telling myself that there is no point in going over last year, yet how do I let go of this pain?

Trying to be busy, yes, I am doing that. Tons of work, an innate ability to go places alone, great, yep, I'm doing that, Advil PM, Bowie playing loud in the car with all the windows down, yep, got it covered, and yet, I cannot reach peace or even a second where my heart will settle long enough to release.
This is grief. Endlessly questioning yourself, in the past and the now. Swinging back and forth. Have another cup of tea. Smile at a stranger. Long just to rest your head against someones shoulder and hear them say, its going to get easier - because dear God, if this doesn't get easier, I don't want to play anymore. At times it isn't even about the person you have lost - its about the emptiness you have gained. The medal you feel you have earned. You even want someone to congratulate you, throw a fucking party, anything, just not the silence and the distance you feel within yourself because you are freezing your soul from being hurt further.

I'm writing this, with the pressure of hope, that it help. Let me see something new that I did not create myself. Not to erase, that's not possible. Just, let there be another layer that is not as harsh as this one. A time when I can enjoy the sun without thinking of last year. A moment that will prove me wrong and take my breath away again. Something that lasts longer than a moment, so that I can hold on with a better grasp and not let go. How ironic that we (it can't just be me) need to let go and yet here I am talking of longing to hold onto something new. Perhaps we are always trying to chase the parents hand we wanted to hold onto - or to feel that security we once had, if you were fortunate to.

Monday, May 20, 2013

My David at Ten Months

Wow, ten months ago today. I remember the day perfectly, and it seems, both a lifetime and a second just past.

It's been a month of regular heart beats. Tons of work of the new simplistic form that I have been fortunate enough to find. The arrival of a brand new grand child, with the sweetest of hopeful smiles. Some grueling moments and some absolutely, delightfully surprising ones. Faces that are loving enough to comfort me and new ones who never saw the pain of the last few years, yet have the intelligence to accept a quietness or occasionally a hesitation of thought.

I realize how badly my confidence has been knocked and how poorly I have taken care of myself, both physically and that of my spirit. It is simply a splendid joy when I connect to that true and tender part of me and how lucky I feel when those times arrive. Coffee with old, wine with new, either, I am thrilled.

Flying to be with Mum while she underwent medical tests was a twist of emotions for me. I could see my David in all of the hospital corridors. I could see his anxiety in all the faces of those leaving or going in for appointments. I hate hospitals. Naturally I was there in full support of Mum, and I found myself thinking exactly the same as I did whenever David had anything done - how I wished I could swap and be the person there instead of seeing them go through pain. I guess loving is believing that you would endure anything for that person. And I would.

Bitterness and anger have never shadowed me so aggressively until this time, and I work at releasing that while listening to what it can teach me. I am slowly moving forward and remain aware of how tired I still am and that I could be OK to slow down on some days. I long for a couple of days of simply nothing on a beach. And that's an alright thing to wish. Refueling is required could be written on the back of everyone.

I accept now that I'm a widow. That a part of me will never be the same. I watch how people take so much for granted, not appreciating the smallest to the widest of opportunities to connect, to smile, to say thank you, to say I love you. I understand that just because I know this, doesn't mean that others around me will get it! I don't want to waste time. I want to learn and grow. I want me back and even more. I want the forty seven years and all of my experiences to show me how to live with open arms while the fear has been noted and planted somewhere else where it's roots never spread.

After David died at 4pm, I got home and sat on my bed while Jen made some tea. I wondered exactly what I would think or feel - and suddenly a sports car roared down our little road and I heard a male voice singing opera. It's not often you hear that. I smiled. It was or I imagined it was David flying by, reminding me to race around with the top down, singing with grace and passion as loud as you want to.
He never did and so, perhaps, its down to me.


Saturday, May 4, 2013

Love from Jayne

Dear Sleep -
I am so sorry that we broke up. I understand you want to see other pillows, though my laundry skills are truly at their best and my linens actually match now, so how picky can you be?
You said it wasn't me - that it was you.
Well, OK I get that and its not that I need sleep, who needs sleep!
I just wouldn't mind spending a night or two with you again, because without you, baby, I'm a mess.
My shadowed eyes are making me look like Zorro, and that would be OK if I had a horse, but I don't.
Though yawning is handy for throwing food inside, its not that polite while trying to work.
So, would you, could you? You know I rarely ask and it doesn't take much - just a couple of hours.
What do you think?Just another Saturday night for old times sake!
Love from Jayne


To whom it may concern -
For the wonderful people who sent my tax return, thank you, I'm really pleased.
Without being fussy though, couldn't you have written my full name on the check?
I know you know me well, the banks do not care for that though and when I told them that perhaps I am famous and only need to go by JAYNE, they were not impressed.
Perhaps a check like this is why Prince became a symbol and Madonna became British. I will take it as a positive sign that better days are ahead. Though just for now, cashing a check written to JAYNE is taking a little longer!
Love from Jayne





Saturday, April 20, 2013

David at Nine Months

You know when something is troubling you, and it isn't the thing that is really troubling you? Like when you imagine punching the stranger who stands too close to you in a line? It's not them that you really want to punch. It's the idiot spouse/boss/parent/friend who let you down, lied, tore your shirt - whatever - you know what I mean.

Well recently I have been finding myself more vulnerable over the smallest of things and tonight I just asked myself; am I really this upset (and I mean snot and tears and no sleep despite sleeping pills) just because of something someone said?
No - here is what I am really upset about....and this takes courage for me to share.

It's nine months today that David died and I can't stand the traumatic happenings of last year that lead to his death. I cant stand myself for letting him stay in the absurd and atrocious McLean Hospital. That I was bullied by the staff and other people into agreeing that David stay there and receive barbaric treatment from people who have no understanding of the complexity of Alzheimer's Disease.
That I was continually lied to and I allowed it to happen.

Yes yes we can all say, he was sick and eventually would have died. It would have got worse. Yeah we can all say that. Me saying that, however, is not releasing me from the pain, the guilt and the vivid memories that haunt me. Anytime I see an ambulance, anytime I recognize the symptoms on a person who appears healthy, anytime that I see the word Alzheimer's or Cancer, my heart pumps as though it needs to explode.

I watched those nurses continually overdose David. I sat with him while he was tied to a chair, or placed in a padded room, or the awful July 4th visit where the silence from all of the patients made me realize that medication time had been doubled for an easier day.  When they reported lies about how he had been, for example: "he raced down the corridor to strangle his wife." I asked them how could he have run when he could no longer walk? The delightful moment when the Doctor threatened me by suggesting I required treatment myself because I kept questioning their method. When I sat on the floor with David slumped in my arms just staring at me, and I was too scared to ask for help because the nurses said I got in their way.

I let my husband stay there through fear.
And again, we get back to the original lesson of life. It is our duty to love and honor ourselves and truly trust your own instincts. If I had done that - I would not be sitting here in a rented apartment, wondering how to pay for half a tombstone and crying because this time last year I was about to make the biggest mistake of my life.

Davids actual Alzheimer's Doctor - who I begged to help me - told me afterwards that he had let David and I down. Yes, Dr.Dickerson you did,  not as much as I let us down though. Because I knew from that first visit that McLean Hospital was the very worse place that David could go to.

If one care giver decides against bad advice to permit a loved one with Alzheimer's to McLean, because they read this, then I sing with joy. If one person from Alzheimer's Association decides to finally explore the so called methods of McLean Hospital, then I can say - at last!
If one person finally sits down and considers if a care giver is overwhelmed because they are loving and not just a "tired, old lazy lump" then perhaps my bad experience could help another.
If in printing this post, I could release a tiny bit of the pain I am holding, then blogging is worth it.

Being a widow sucks. There is nothing redeemable about this situation. I am exhausted in pretending that it is OK. The range of emotions are too varied to cope with. It's like expecting a one year old to successfully manage an existing company.  I know this month I have experienced strength and wisdom. I know when my smile has been genuine.  I know when I have enjoyed a good glass of wine compared to a warm house special!
All I continue to ask for is an easy lightness to support me through the next three months. I'm living with death and that should actually count for something.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

When eyes connect

Along with millions of others, I was deeply saddened yesterday upon hearing the news of three bombs during the Boston marathon. This evening, through Facebook, I saw the photograph of Martin Richard holding a handwritten sign that states: "No more hurting people. Peace."
He was the eight year old victim who was waiting for his Dad to pass that finish line.
I am stunned when I read things like this. My heart sank and then I felt it open even wider.

At the time of the first explosion, 2:50pm, I had sent an email to a friend. I had in fact titled it 2:50pm.
Life is that small. Yet actions are so incredibly wide and varied.
At 2:50pm you have my tiny act of friendship and at the same time a heartless act of terrorism.

We have no control over one another nor indeed any thing. Health permitting, we have every control over our own actions, and all I know from this much grief, is that I choose to care deeply about the humanity that crosses my very small path. That if I hear a heart open and tell me that everything is going be alright despite the current pain, then there is a reason for me to make that connection.
(Yes Betty, I mean you.)

Some pairs of eyes are meant to shine toward one another and there is a joy and a mystery to that.
Despite my rare, pointless moments of longing to jump away from this life, I am reminded to be bold and brave. To continue to reach out with curiosity for connection. To see where that takes us and if it all makes sense in the end. 

There is a reason why our hands eventually open. I hope that our hearts will always have the strength to do the same. Perhaps it is our duty to try.

Sending love,
Jayne



Monday, April 1, 2013

Dear Charlotte

Dearest Baby Girl
Welcome to April. A month where it may shower with pretty rain or warm your arms in the sunshine, or both.
No matter how many weeds in the earth or negative weeds of words, you will always find bursts of color reaching out from the ground. It's your month of cozy blankets, miniture hats, overwelming smiles and brand new fingers to curl around.
Thank You my dear soul for bringing a joy to many hearts and that's just the beginning.

I will be here, your Nana Hannah, to always suggest fun, laughter and apologies to your parents that I may have recommended too much sugar!
I will show you how to dance, even though you already know. How to color outside of the lines, how to create your own stories to pictures and how to run toward the sun. How to bake bad cakes because it does not matter and how to listen, and then choose not to remember.
I will keep moving, so that you will always have an interesting place to visit.
I will keep growing, so that you always remain fearless of age.
I will keep reaching, because you give me reason to.
And...............................................
I tell you a secret, sweet child, that you have angels around whispering their love, joy and support in all you do.
In particular, you have a dear special handsome one who will always suggest singing, or seeing a movie, or running straight into the ocean quickly. He will sing opera to you as well as country songs, teach you impressions and occasionally show you how to wear a laundry basket as a hat. That's your Grandfather David. I bet you've already met.
Love, love, love we hear him saying.

Welcome to your first April my lovely.

Love always -
Nana Hannah  - wearing purple and her hair in a special way.


Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Eight Months of Widow Time

At eight months without David -

I watch couples holding hands with anticipation on their faces while they wait for whatever is next.
I smile for them. I love that expression. I enjoy beginnings. I adore Spring.

My body keeps holding itself tight, keeping everything in place and perhaps protected. I ache all the time and occasionally wonder if I will truly relax again.

I am often asked if I am over it yet. That is such a crap question. Are you over being ten years of age? Are you over the first time you drove a car? Are you over the first time you got really drunk and woke up next to a stranger? All of these things make a life. The good the bad and the ugly is a true story. It all makes you who you are.

I know I am growing. I know the moments I enjoy more than the times that suffocate. There are things I am holding onto and so much that I am releasing. My awareness of when fear gets in my way, needs to change to action. Its OK knowing this stuff, its what you do with it that counts.

Every day I say goodbye and cannot pretend that it gets easier. I am incredibly fortunate to be a hard worker in anything I do, including grieving! So I have drunk wine, painted a dresser, bought a coat, smiled when I wanted to punch, laughed, felt longing, felt bold, felt small.

I love the word adventure and use it a lot these days, perhaps a little quieter than ten years ago, and that's OK. Daffodils do not make noise either.


Friday, March 1, 2013

Possiblities

While David had Alzheimer's, we would experience many changes throughout the day.
Happiness, fear, laughter, anger, wonder. Sheer terror at times. The comfort of the sand as it turned upside down to cold suspicion. Man, did he and I fight together to remain healthy. We clung to that cliff.  I can only accept his death in knowing that his sweetest nature is now peaceful.

It is incredible that the illness convinces the mind to see so many options in one single thing.
The possibilities were huge.

I am amazed that today I sit here feeling complete. As though this quilt has sewn it's final square. I now have the ability of seeing it as a whole and choosing which squares benefit and fulfill me. The ones that I treasure and value. The ones that have taught through sadness, sometimes pain and those that are so wonderful they light me up with their large, hopeful and bright stitches. This is my time where I get to choose.

This week I have been with people who actually like me. I am the same person that I was last year and the year before that. Yet these people like me. There is no judgement, no question, in fact quite the opposite. Last week I received flowers. I received invitations. This week I was sent such a great card, that upon opening it my face were a Hallmark advertisement.
Last Sunday I walked nervously into a celebration and was greeted by the best genuine hugs and words of care and love. It literally took my breathe away.
So much better than "get me a coffee" and "you cleaned the house then" which were two comments I received during Shiva at my home. 

This week a dear friend asked advice and acted upon it, while on another day she handed me a glass of wine and simply said "sit down and drink that." A group of strangers at a radio station sent me positive wishes on Wednesday evening while I sat outside a closed Ice Cream store in the rain with a blown out tire. (If I were a country singer I would perform that!)

My point is, I always had that choice, I just couldn't see it. Other peoples views, the wrong people, were projected far too often in my path. In our stress that light at the end of the tunnel is sometimes far too bright. It gets better as you take control of your own glasses. Find your own place to view the sights. With others or alone - as long as it's you.

Wow, do I appreciate being able to recognize that today, Friday, on the first of a brand new month. The possibilities are huge.



Monday, February 25, 2013

The Oscars?

Movies focused on strength, truth, bravery, commitment to a solution that may not be possible.
Characters from fiction and those of a fearless life, who risk in order for others to live.
Power, beauty, the fight, determination and glory. Love where love has always been and love where it has never been.
These are the movies that were all nominated in the best movie category.

An Oscar is a tribute, is it not?

So, for Seth MacFarlane to include a song about boobs is pointless and cheap.
You all know me. I am not prudish. I love humor. However - This is the lack of class and respect that is being accepted as an outlook on life. And the winner is - Uninspired Trite.

It is downgrading our ability to live with eyes wide open. Would you laugh if a surgeon came from the operating room saying I saved his life, and guess what? I saw his dick.

If you have the qualities of voice, presence and natural charm, why would you get drunk and sing in the street while pissing on a Mercedes? Wouldn't you want to be the very best that you can? Don't we?  It's like putting a McDonalds inside a French restaurant and saying a burger is a steak.
No they are not the same thing and there is a time and a place.

Why do we need suffer a long opening of questionable comedy to then rush through the pleasure and honor of awarding people who have worked incredibly hard to reach such a stage of achievement.
For those who love movies to those who are passionate to story tell, a return to respect and appreciation might be a theme idea for the 86th Oscars ceremony.

Enough with this search for banal comments to put us down and make commentary from what is basically school kid bullying. When pretending to laugh at your own jokes, in order for the auto cue to groan on; isn't there a moment when you question how much you spent on your clothing, compared to how much you share reverence?
 Mr.Mayer did not imagine this.

Yesterday was a wasted opportunity, for pride and worthy congratulations. Why miss those rare occasions? Otherwise what is the point of it all?




Wednesday, February 20, 2013

My David at Seven Months

I now begin my seventh month of being a widow.
Each day I awake believing that something different will occur that will enable me to make sense of everything. The final chapter that explains what on earth the rest of the book was about. When you can say, well I got a bit bored, though I'm glad I finished it.

The focus of my sixth month was moving home. Not my choice. The preparation, going through every belonging, taping up boxes, crying over each piece of clothing, daily visits to donation drop offs and then the actual day. Three young men striding through your home removing furniture quickly from the places that had taken so long to choose.

The day I moved was the hardest day I have experienced. Ever in my life. Far, far harder than the time of passing or the funeral - which many people say is handled by the outer and/or inner spirits protecting you from the truth.

My love, my purpose, my safety, my protection was ripped out of me. I felt as though dreams, tears and laughter that were ours, were being slammed with a sledge hammer and thrown out onto a pile of rejected dung. "You do not matter" - was constantly ringing in my ears. Moving this soon, is forcing me away too quickly from the things and importantly memories that make this widow stuff feel manageable. It has considerably added to my vulnerability. Decisions, to do lists and understanding instructions from the DMV, run around in my head like a circus.

I can't visualize David here because he hasn't been here. One day I actually showed him around and danced with him in the kitchen, like we often did.Trying to create a sense of protection.
Are you surprised to hear that I cry a lot? That I feel as though I have gone back in my grief to month one? That a day doing things can then equal a day where you wonder where you are.

Being a widow is like acting in a play. You forget your lines. You forget which role you are playing. Bright lights confuse you. Other characters get their lines wrong and blame you. Your wardrobe doesn't fit. You do not recognize the set. Sometimes you want all the lines while at others you are relieved that you have only one. Where is the exit?  What was that cue? Voices are muffled (it is actually true that your hearing and sight are temporarily effected by grief) Sometimes you are in a comedy while others it is a classical piece with a language of its own. It is totally exhausting. Tension has seeped into every pore of your being and you never see the directors face who sits at the back and doesn't know your name.

Can you really now say "I know how you feel. I'm the same," when you are, for example; wealthy, still married, have a family, two homes, security, money, protection and sadness?

Widows need in the tricky six to seven month period things to refuel them. Times that bring inspiration and a reason to smile. I welcome those. Even a warm text message is received as a bouquet of flowers.
I will grow when I am ready and water and sunlight is necessary. It cannot be pushed, I know because I do push.
I walk with an invisible sign that states "Be gentle and kind please. I'm learning to grow again."





Saturday, February 16, 2013

Four times of February 16

February 16th 1933
Charles Evans was born, my Dad. He could have been eighty today. I imagine he would have taken Mum to Portugal. They would have bought his favorite palmier pastry for breakfast and then walked to a store to buy something, anything, just to celebrate.
He loved the sun, to sit somewhere warm, to wander through markets and to see his family happy.
If men are to protect, provide and profess, he did all three without loud acclaim.
He was the man who taught me through action, the most about the social classes. He gave me the admiration and respect that I have for hard work. He gave me the ability to laugh and inspired the joy I have for the theater. He gave me long dresses to wear for special occasions and was my very first dance partner.
I felt like a princess sometimes.

February 16th 1973
My family moved from Poplar, East London to Blackheath, South East London. Huge difference, though only 4 miles apart, according to Google. Those two towns are like unsuccessfully spreading old tar onto freshly baked bread. Poplar was cement while Blackheath breathed green.
On the day I was at a friends house, while Dad went with the movers and Mum waited at the old house. All she had with her, was my brother, a step ladder, a decanter of brandy (which is funny because my parents never drank) and a jar of pickled onions. The moving van broke down and Dad helped to push it across the heath which is no mean feat on a cold day. As Dads return was delayed and Mum had no idea why - she admits to having a swig from the decanter and a couple of pickled onions! When we were all eventually inside our new home, no doubt Mum and Dad pretty worn out, my brother and I promptly flooded the bathroom which we treated as a swimming pool because we had never seen a real bathroom before. That went down well! Nothing though could alter our wonder of that home. I remember smelling velvet curtains for the first time, looking at glass doors that folded and gazing at a jeweled magical beauty that I would learn was called a chandelier.
I felt like a princess.

February 16th 2002
I held back tears as I hugged Mum and took my emigration flight to the USA. It felt, actually it was, incredibly bold, brave and intensely romantic. Heading to a country I had always loved, moving to a man that became the love of my life and a land where I would automatically gain blond shining hair, athletic legs and good teeth. It still surprises me that doesn't happen automatically.
To avoid a public goodbye, I had ordered a taxi to the airport. I remember waving at my Mum on her tiny doorstep and my dear friend Lorna, and my Godson standing next to her. I was nervous, sad, hopeful, excited. A kaleidoscope of thoughts.
There had been an accident on the motorway and the journey took an extra two hours. Eventually, looking at the departure boards, I realized I had been dropped at the wrong terminal. If you have been to Heathrow, you know being in the right terminal equals a mini marathon to get to your boarding gate. Usually I had three hours to perform the airport shuffle, now I had forty minutes.
Towing suitcases and running in gorgeous high heeled boots (I wanted the full cinema arrival at Boston Logan) an airport official came to my rescue. I was swiftly upgraded to first class and was soon sitting UPSTAIRS on a plane with a glass of champagne and my coat hanging up.
I felt like a queen.

February 16th 2013
I smile at all of those memories, and the ones I have forgotten that occurred on this special date.
Today I am in my new apartment for one, surrounded by things that are familiar and things that a price tag still hangs upon. Some boxes remain unpacked, just like all that is ahead of me. With snow falling outside, I appreciate my view of trees, nature, reminders of renewal and life. This morning, I had connected my home phone and actually spoken to my Mum rather than email alone. I enjoyed laughing with her as she reminded me of the pickled onion story. My dear friend Sheryl has sent a surprise package of food for my freezer and my adorable cat Max, became stuck between the wall and the washing machine. I retrieved him with a doormat, which his claws clung to as I pulled him out. Genius.
Tomorrow I have plans which include another dear friend and theater. My passion - the theater.
So all is tender yet well for me this February 16th. New beginnings, a step forward even if it's slight, even when it's reluctant or sad.
I am learning to look at it, as not leaving behind, because you are always moving forward.
I am a queen in training.




Tuesday, February 12, 2013

I will surprise

I Will Surprise. Thank You Gloria Gaynor 

At first I was afraid. I was petrified.
Kept thinking, I have just moved in and now the power’s died.
But then I spent the night unpacking, eating cold egg foo wong
And I grew strong, and wrote a red wine drinking song.

And now it’s back, the power’s back
I just woke up to find the lights are on and the heat is blasting hot
I should have brought my only shovel, where did I leave my key?
My car is buried neath the snow and a plowman is helping me!

Go on now, come, walk through my door, don’t turn around now
Cause all are welcome evermore.
Aren't I the one who says I’ll bake that apple pie
Did you think my cookies crumble? Did you think they’d be that dry?

Oh yes I am. I am Rhode Island.
Oh, as long as I can find a glass, there’ll always be some wine
Rhode Island is where I live, I've got all my love to give
And I'll surprise, I will surprise! (hey hey)

It took all the strength I had not to fall apart
Kept trying hard to swallow pieces of a moldy spinach tart
And I spent, oh, so many nights just longing for TV
I used to moan and now Verizon connected thee.

And you see me, somebody new
I'm not that bloated little shy thing
Who’s afraid of you.
And so you felt like dropping in and just expect me to be here
Well you’re right, I will be hostess of the year!

Oh yes I am. I am Rhode Island.
Oh, as long as I can find a glass, there’ll always be some wine
Rhode Island is where I live, I've got all my love to give
And I'll surprise. I will surprise, hey, hey!

Sunday, February 3, 2013

A poem for the day


You Know Who You Are .
I am bitter
Sad
Cold
Tired
Scared
Reluctant
Used
Hurt
Devastated
Angry.
Clearly seeing everything that you all are.
Clearly feeling everything that I am.
Your poison blood that offers silence
My beating, open heart of love.
The beauty of my spirit that your feet stamp on with disrespect
Will one day hold the mirror so close
That your own reflection will vomit and spit
And then I will be free. Be warned
While you know who you are
I will be free.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Getting Older?

You know you are getting older when:

1) You wonder why young people always poke their tongues out in photos.
2) You realize that you mean twenty year olds when you say young people.
3) You need to go to the bathroom, yet you can't be asked to get up.
4) You are reluctant to call the help desk for anything connected to cell phones, because you know you won't understand the terminology.
5) You know you could understand the terminology if only you could hear it.
6) You kind of wish the TV, phone and internet were not bundled, because it means coping with three confusing things at once.
7) You scroll for longer when adding the year you were born.
8) You look at all the names of people who liked something you put on Facebook.
9) You think you are doing great because you are on Facebook.
10) You find old checks you wrote and exclaim; "And you thought that was expensive!"
11) You find old checks that you wrote, because those were the days when your old checks were sent back to you every month.
12) Paperless billing? Can't be trusted!

Note 1 for younger people) Checks were things you wrote when cards were just greeting cards.

The font size is larger on purpose to assist the readers this post is intended for.
And now it is time for bed.........have I taken my pills today? Where are my pills?


Sunday, January 20, 2013

My David at Six Months

Six months ago today, my David passed away from Early on Set Alzheimer's Disease. He was as bold and determined in his illness as he tried to be in his life. He was only 58 and I miss him even more now that the reality has truly hit me. He is not coming back.

Love is a funny thing for me and he was the love of my life, even though we did not have the chocolate box romance that both of us imagined we would have.

Most days I feel exhausted and fight giving in to that, though on unimportant days I walk with the emotional strain clearly showing on my face, in my hair and on the choice of clothing.

I think far too much. Do not really sleep that well. Feel bitter, sad, disappointed, occasionally optimistic and so relieved when I imagine David spinning around feeling healthy again and doing everything that he always wanted to. I hope.

Being a widow teaches you so much, yet it's like taking the best educational course you have ever had while not being able to type up the notes or read a word from the text. I just can't take it all in right now.

I am going to make some tea and hire Adele to write a song for me. This blog entry isn't that good and that's how I feel today. Here is the lesson: Six months is taking me further from what was my normal and all I want is to go back. I can spend time focusing on other things which deem to be important until I realize that I am putting energy there, rather than admitting how painful this sixth month has been.

When I'm strong, I will use this. All of this. My anger, my hope, my love and my spirit - till then........