Day 66: cheer up charlie

Some days a random memory will pop into my head and completely catch me off guard with a gut punch of how much I miss my husband. Today, I was having a hard day already for no particular reason. I just felt really down. I suddenly remembered when I was sad my husband would sing in a goofy off key voice “Cheer up Charlie”, but just that line. So, I searched out the full song and I can see why he picked that one to sing whenever I was sad.

I am in a funk I need to either wallow in until its completion or pull myself out of… I don’t know which I will do.

Good thing for today: My body pillow came in and it is amazing. It also has a fun name- a snoogle. I’m going to go snuggle my snoogle now.

Day 65: back scratchers and body pillows


Meet The Claw, my new best friend. I have a notoriously itchy back and my husband used to scratch it for me for 15 minutes at a time. My back has been making me insane the last couple months so I finally dished out the $2.09 and got a back scratcher. Oh, the bliss. This got me thinking about other objects that would help me out. No, not THOSE kind of objects. Any post covering such a subject would probably require much more pink champagne than I would dare to drink. I ordered and am waiting for a body pillow to arrive. Behold!

3144JRA7NJL._SY450_Do I care that it is a best seller in maternity? Heck no. After all, a lot of the stuff I eat these days certainly sound like pregnancy cravings, I may as well just give in and buy a pillow meant for them as well.

Good thing for today: I was reminded that I have a lot to offer, which is always good to know when you feel like you have nothing.

Day 64: driving

I live 55 miles from work. It is a really long commute but there is one part of the drive that is just excruciating. If I work my normal schedule, the hour and ten minute commute each way converts to over 2 hours each way. My savior from this rush hour hell was that my husband and I got to carpool. Every day as we would fly past the thick scores of red brake lights to the right, one of us would say “Thank god for carpooling!” I have only been back to the office once. The rush hour drive in was excruciating.

I don’t know what it is about the car because I know I am perfectly visible to other drivers because I’m surrounded by glass, but I always cry in the car. I also scream. One would think seeing me do that would be enough to have other cars part like the red sea to escape my crazy, but no one ever seems to notice as we all stare straight ahead at the car in front of us, willing it to just freaking move already. I have made the dark joke of if I strapped his urn holding his cremains in the passenger seat, could I still use the carpool lane? People never know how to react to these kind of jokes, which is probably why I enjoy saying them so much. A perceived tasteless joke that makes people uncomfortable reminds people of my reality that no one likes to think about.

People feel better about themselves if they can believe I am doing okay. I think this is the real reason people say things to me that I don’t really believe like how strong I am or how time heals. I don’t feel strong and time just lets more of the bandaid get ripped off. For now, things are getting harder. My tears are getting harder to control. I hate it. I do believe things will get easier in time and I will find meaning, but I do not believe I will ever actually heal. If I do, my soul will be a gnarled scar as I live every single day wondering what my life would be like if he was still here. A piece of me will always be staring ahead, waiting for that car ahead of me to just freaking move already.

Good stuff: I had an actual good time last night with my friend and his wife. I only cried twice in a public place, which is pretty good for me these days.

Day 63: problems

I have been slacking on handling the things I need to handle when it comes to establishing and managing my husband’s estate. As a result, I lack any sort of plan of how to move forward and that is just one more layer of stress. I would love to just be left alone to process my loss and honestly, anything beyond that task just feels like too much.

Arizona is a community property state. This means that I share in half of my husband’s assets and debts. Well, the house is the only “asset” and I don’t think it really is an asset since it is still upside down despite being here seven years. At the time we bought, the home was already half of what it was at it’s peak value. We thought maybe it would go a little lower, but it would come back. It’s value was cut more in more than half again. We didn’t see that coming. It has slowly been crawling back up, but not as quickly as it fell. Since it was in his name only, I am hopeful there is some way I can avoid getting the house so I can start over in a new place, but having put off consulting an attorney this is still up in the air. It will be heartbreaking to leave our home, but the truth is my income was cut in much more than half with no warning and I simply cannot afford it. So I will have to leave it, the question is will I leave it scott free or will I leave it with a devastating blow against my credit? I don’t know. I wish I was not in a community property state so I could simply throw away the bills as they came, but that’s not my reality so into a binder of the future’s problems they go.

The other issue is there is not a lot of life insurance. I know that it is fortunate he had any, but I wish he would have taken out the amount I had on myself like I had asked him to do. It is really neither here nor there because I cannot get the life insurance benefit until I have an actual cause of death, which I do not right now. I don’t really know what will happen if the tests I am waiting for are inconclusive. It feels sort of sick that there is some company out there waiting to hear what killed my husband so they can decide whether or not to pay out the benefit. Also, it is amazing how many times a widow is made to feel like some criminal trying to fleece the system. I am not a criminal, I just need some damn help.

So, those are the main logistical nightmares. I think even without being crushed under the weight of incomparable grief, this stuff would be hard, but with all of my focus consumed on trying to find reasons to keep on going, it feels impossible. I am scared on so many levels.

I am scared about being homeless.

I am scared about having to go through his belongings sooner than I am ready to and making bad choices.

I am scared I won’t find a place that will let me bring my four dogs with me.

I am scared I am making bad choices.

I am scared to live my life without him.

I am scared I won’t find purpose like I had with him.

I am scared I will never be able to consistently sleep in a bed again.

I am scared of life.

I am scared of death.

I am scared of really understanding he is gone.

Good thing for today: A friend from work and his wife are coming out to hang with me for a while. It even requires that I put on “going outside pants”.

Day 62: two months


I went to type and my puppy pranced across the keyboard. Somehow, she managed to sum up my feelings today better than I could.I’ve been a jumble of nervousness, sadness, anger, fear, numbness, and even a little bit of hopefulness. Experiencing all of those feelings multiple times in one day is frankly exhausting. I considered skipping posting tonight since my mental acuity has slipped as the day wore on, but I couldn’t let today pass without acknowledging it here. Instead, I will keep it short and say good night.

Good thing for today: Dragged my parents to a movie to have a mental break. It worked occasionally.

Day 61: puppy love


Just before midnight on July 25th, my husband had a sudden seizure. He was officially declared dead at 12:55am, though his heart had stopped approximately 30 minutes early. On July 24th, we got a new two month old puppy.

My husband had been extra stressed that week. He’d had a setback at work which added a little weight onto his shoulders, but the boulder he was crushed under was his mother’s move from Arizona to Pennsylvania. She is an emotional woman that is often myopic, and she had said some cruel things in the month leading up to her move. About a week before the move, they had a huge fight because once again, she was asking him for money. This time, $2000. He said no and things blew up. It was as though by not giving her that large chunk of money, he was a selfish, horrible son, or at least that was how she did her best to make him feel in order to manipulate our savings from him. Obviously, the money was to fund her cross country move. Since she didn’t get the money, she decided to move without it. To keep the peace, when we had a goodbye dinner with her and her husband, I had him give her $200 to give him peace of mind. However, on the first day their vehicle broke down and he kept being contacted about her being stranded. I have seen him stressed out, but never so stressed out as he was because of her. It was so bad that I suspect it contributed to or even caused his fatal seizure. And yes, this is the same woman I mentioned a few days ago that stole from me.

It was unusual that week that we had taken off that Thursday and Friday. On Thursday, we decided to go to the mall just to get out of the house. We then walked by the pet store, which in Phoenix at the malls was not really a pet store. Instead, the pet stores are now run by the ASPCA and just have shelter dogs. As a couple with three dogs, we knew better than to walk into that store. Against our better judgement, we decided to “just look”. Then it happened. We saw the cutest little puppy prancing around. My husband got the bowled-over-by-cute look on his face and put his hand on the glass. The puppy walked up to him and put her paw on the glass right where his hand was. Right then, I knew I was screwed.

I managed to get him out of there and we went to lunch in the mall. Over lunch, we talked about the puppy. I knew there was no way I could say no to him after seeing his face and her tricky maneuver of putting her paw on his hand through the glass, so I decided to put the decision completely in his hands. Despite his protests, I refused to give an opinion because I would not break his heart. Yes, I am a huge sucker. Finally, he took a deep breath and said “Let’s go get a puppy!” And so we did. I figured as long as we didn’t have more dogs than hands, we would be okay.

He spent the last day and a half of his life completely adoring that little puppy. He took picture after picture. When I teased him about it, he said “She won’t be this little forever, we must document her!” He uploaded a slew of pictures to Facebook with a post that said something like “Everyone is just going to have to deal with a continuous onslaught of cute for a while.” I took a video of him that afternoon letting her attack his face as he is laying down on the carpet. At one point, the puppy burps and he gets so excited, hugs her and says “That’s a doggy after my own heart!” Her burps still make cry, which is probably one of the weirdest triggers on the planet for sobs. I have watched that video so many times looking for some hint of the horror to come, but have come up empty. He was happy and laughing. He was himself.

That night, he had decided to sleep downstairs to be near the puppy cage because he was so thrilled with her. That was why I had to run downstairs when I heard the sounds of his seizure. Maybe that is part of why almost two months later I still sleep downstairs, I don’t know.

In the days that followed my husband’s death, there was a revolving door of people. When someone was having a hard time, I handed them the puppy and there was no way they couldn’t smile. My husband was a huge believer in therapy dogs, so in a way it is fitting that he picked out and made the decision to get this scruffy little distraction. I do the best I can to get her trained, but truthfully I feel like I’m doing a horrible job. If I could afford obedience classes, I’d be all over it, especially since she has now learned how to jump onto the couch and thinks my face is a dance floor when I am sleeping.

Overall, she is incredibly special.

Good thing for today: I successfully solved a problem with my scanner. I had always let that sort of thing be my husband’s responsibility because he seemed to enjoy it. I felt pretty proud of myself to handle it myself.

Day 60: a glimmer

I’ve felt pretty hopeless lately. The feeling is that no matter what one does, good or bad, there is no point because we all end up as worm food eventually. It is more than a feeling. It has been an all encompassing life directive. Today, driving home from my parents’ house, I had a realization. I am not hopeless. I have some hopes that are the only reason I get up out of bed…er…couch each morning. I hope some day to have meaning again. I hope to have a satisfying life. I hope to kick life’s ass! I hope that should I some day if I am reunited with my husband that his first words to me are “I am so proud of you.”

I hope.

Today’s good thing: I don’t think it is such a bad thing that I am still here tonight.

Day 59: about a boy

My husband has been everywhere in my brain for the past few days. He always is, but typically it is in a more foggy, vague sort of way. Lately, it has been different. It started when I saw a picture of him and the illogical thought that popped into my head was “That looks so much like him.” I don’t even know what the hell that means. Maybe it was his expression, maybe it was his hair being the same as it was when he passed, maybe I’m just a nutjob. Whatever it was, that picture brought on a giant flood of emotions.

My husband was a complicated man. He was genuine, loving, and saw the best in people. He would give an acquaintance the shirt off of his back if they needed it, even if they were afraid to ask him for it. He was also very unsure of himself and needed a lot of pep talks. He had a lot of stress due to his job and often let that stress take him over making it hard for him to sleep. Much of my life was dedicated to giving him reasons to smile, laugh, and make this excited little “squeeeeee!!!” noise when he was excited. It isn’t right to say he was my project, but rather he was my purpose for being. I know that sounds horribly codependent, but he was worth every single second I put into our marriage. He was more worthy of love than anyone I ever met, but had so much trouble finding it which is yet another reason why the world was unfair. I think a lot about his struggles with stress and what I could have done to make things better for him, but I come up empty other than maybe not sweating some of the small stuff so much.

Despite this stress, he loved fun and surprises. He was such a big kid when it came to his birthday or vacations. He wanted to experience everything and soak up the world like a sponge. He was a serial hobbyist, flitting from one passion to another, but a few stuck. My favorite passion of his was photography. He had such a good eye. Although he was nervous about it, I talked him into taking a photography class and he really got geeked out with his cameras. Our house is covered with his favorite pictures, proudly framed. On occasion, people have thought some of his pictures were actually purchased. He loved when that happened.

Most of all, he was an amazing husband. He made me feel loved every single day. I never even entertained the idea of separating or life without him. He did little things like letting me take extra time to get ready in the morning and making my travel cup of coffee. He made great coffee. I can’t seem to get his magic ratio of cream and sugar right. I miss his coffee. When I was exhausted when we would get home from work, he would run upstairs and bring me what he called my “comfort package”. It included my pajamas and a couple pillows. When he went on a trip, he’d always make sure to bring me a souvenir and would fret over finding me the perfect one. When tragedy would strike, he’d make up a special batch of his bacon mac and cheese- the best comfort food on Earth. I keep getting stuck on the fact I will never eat it again.

I have heard so many stories about my husband that I never knew in the last several weeks. So many of them were about how much his life changed for the better when he met me. This means a lot to me, but I still carry around guilt that I missed something and screwed up and thus failed everyone that loved him by not being good enough for this wonderful man. Then I tell myself that if he didn’t feel how loved he was he wouldn’t have made such an effort to do all the little things for me to make my life better and to make sure I was happy. I can honestly say each other’s happiness was the number one priority in our marriage. Sometimes we got our wires crossed like any couple, but more often than not we did pretty damn good together. It is hard not to have anyone looking out for me the way he did, but I think it is harder to be missing the purpose my life had in making him happy.

I miss my best friend.

Good thing for today: For my birthday, a friend had done a pencil drawing of my husband based off of a picture I took of him on our trip to Alaska. Tonight he dropped it off all framed and matted. It is wonderful!

Day 58: memory

I have come to despise the words “memory” and “memories”. I cannot stand when other people talk to me about honoring my husband’s memory or are telling me to think back at all the wonderful memories of him. Put simply, my husband should not be a memory. I should be able to cling to him as I fight to catch my breath from another damn panic attack, not cling to memories of him. I know that it is good to have memories and makes me feel better when I do anything to honor his memory that he would be proud of, but the fact that there are no more memories to make is just so hard to swallow.

I know the me I used to be is a memory as well. That is also hard to accept because I worked pretty hard to become someone I liked to be. Now, she is dead, gone, but hey, at least I have memories of her? I have no idea how to go about rebuilding myself into someone I like again. Right now, I am hugely difficult to be around. It’s not that I am demanding or anything, but instead I feel acutely aware that I am practically a medical marvel. I have no heart, no stomach, and half a brain. I shouldn’t even be upright but here I am, reminding people through my broken spirit of their own grief as they are moving beyond it, folding it up, and putting it safely away in a dusty attic chest. Sadly, I don’t fit so neatly into that chest.

Good thing for today: I cooked myself brunch. It was delicious and I immediately washed all of the dishes so there’s no clean up waiting for me.

Day 57: blank

The last two days were the first days since starting this blog that I didn’t make a post. I intended to. Both days I sat down and stared at the intimidating blank white box that was coaxing me with the subtlety of a sledge hammer to go ahead and pour all of my pain into it. Friday, I fell asleep staring at the box. Yesterday, every time I went to type it was like my fingers were filled with lead and lifting them to make the words come was just too hard. I would say I hit an emotional wall, but it was more like I simply didn’t have the strength to keep clawing my way out of the hole of grief and let my arms go limp so I could slide down the side and just be. No fighting, no struggling, no reflecting, and no thinking. I can’t say it helped because I don’t feel any better, but it was what I needed. Today, I am back to clawing, but I just miss my husband so much. This new life is shit.

Good thing of the weekend: My husband’s boss and his family came over and did yard work that was a bit neglected even when my husband was still here. It looks a lot better and should stop the HOA from breathing down my neck.