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Messages - RobinBlue

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Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: Robin, Lynn, Diane, Bren
« on: September 12, 2016, 08:00:35 PM »
Hi Terry (and everyone). Well, it has now been a year and half since Tom departed this mortal earth. This time last year, I was a wreck. On top of losing him, I had to deal with things that no widow should have to deal with which made things worse. In fact, I was still a wreck come his one year anniversary in February and again on his birthday in April.

I was going crazy. I was semi-retired and just didn't know what to do with myself. So I picked up my pen (really, my trusty word processing program) and I just started writing - one of my original passions. And it was like sitting down with an old friend that loves you for who you are without judging and just listens. And through the words and fictional characters, I am slowly finding my way. And I know this is something that Tom would want me to pursue. It was something that was always on the back burner throughout our marriage because, well, he wanted (and deserved) the attention. Now, I'm finding, it's time to do a few things for me.

I am far from the end of this journey - I don't think it ever really ends. I still miss him. Some days are still too long without him. I still talk to him every evening. I feel he is still with me and he's still guiding me and looking out for me. I know I'll never really be "whole" again, but I'm adjusting to the next phase of this journey, knowing when it's my time, he and I will be back together again. I am finding calm. And I am finding peace of mind. And I am finding some inner peace.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: I saw a huge Rainbow!
« on: March 15, 2016, 07:34:27 PM »
K, how blessed you are with that rainbow. I swear, I looked for rainbows that first year that Tom had died and I never saw a one. Never. I guess because I just wasn't meant to. But I have since seen a few. And spring is in the air and it reminds me that I'm about to enter another season with my buddy beside me.

K, I wish I could reach through the screen and give you a hug because that's all I could do. If I had a magic wand to wave and make things bright and beautiful, as they were, I would lend it to you. Because I kept looking for someone to lend me theirs. The hardest part for me was staying in the present...especially after planning our retirement for so many years. The big move to Montana. The gentler lifestyle. The peace. The tranquility. And us finally being able to spend time together, quality work. No nothing. And then it was snatched from our hands. And if I sit here and think about the dreams we had, I will most definitely spiral back down in the abyss. I've had to force myself to stay in the current day; the current moment.

I had a friend tell me that I needed to start dreaming again and I told him I just wasn't ready. Plain and simple.

Much love to you, K. And hold on to that rainbow. He's waiting on the other end.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: The journey continues
« on: March 15, 2016, 07:28:33 PM »
I understand it when you say the house is too quiet. I remember, when my father died, my mother had the TV on 24/7. Although I miss watching TV in the evenings with Tom, TV really wasn't my bag. So I had music going 24/7 instead...instrumentals...because, in the beginning, the words would just send me spiraling all over again. We have a beautiful back porch and it acts like a breezeway. I love windchimes. Tom couldn't stand them, especially when he was trying to sleep at night. So our compromise was that I could have the windchimes but they had to be at the opposite end of the property. Um, to alleviate the "too quiet" situation, I moved all the windchimes to the back porch and I have since added. And, for the most part, I keep the windows open when I can and the sound of the birds and the wind in the pines carry me through that silence.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: The journey continues
« on: March 08, 2016, 02:52:05 PM »
Our last Valentine's Day together, three days before he died, was the most touching and moving and it makes me cry to think about it now. We were watching TV, and he reached across the end table and took my hand in his, apologized that he hadn't had a chance to get me anything for VD...and then he asked me to be his Valentine. It was everything I could to keep from bursting out, bawling. Instead, the tears just slipped from my eyes as I promised him I would always be in his Valentine. And he held my hand so tight...and I just never wanted to let it go.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: What has happened to me
« on: March 08, 2016, 02:20:57 PM »
Hi John, after reading your last post, I am reminded where I was at 17 weeks out. And I was very much like you. I didn't get out much. I had a few people that would come by to visit or they would call or text. I couldn't think about "tomorrow" when I still didn't know where "today" was heading. Some days I just sat and did nothing. Looking back, it was a luxury but I'm glad I had that just sit. My level of concentration was nil at that point. I'm a bookkeeper by trade and in those early weeks, I just couldn't function. My brain was focused on only one thing.

Early on, some friends suggested that I go to a grief group, but that really isn't my cup of tea. And I told myself why put myself into a situation that is going to make me even more uncomfortable (believe it or not, I am a shy introvert). My doctor insisted that I meet with a grief counselor. I only had one visit. She wasn't interested in helping me further because I wasn't talking about ending it all.

The friends that are still here, a year out, have been patient. They have listened through the rants and the tears. But they've also let me share the memories...and it was the sharing of the memories that helped me through. I didn't want Tom to become a taboo subject. I didn't want his memory to die.

And, for the life of me, I couldn't think of things I wanted to do with my time. Tom and I shared everything. We were buddies. Buddies do everything together. When people would ask me, "well, what do YOU like to do?" everything I came up with was something I loved doing with Tom.

But, slowly, I have found my way back into the kitchen. I have found myself (recently) getting back into my writing. I'm taking care of the garden and watching spring begin to bloom.

At 17 weeks out, I wasn't concerned about getting better or getting over it (you never really get over it...but, at least for me, you slowly adjust). I cried, I wailed, I ranted (my poor dog got used to the mood swings). Life will never be the same again for me. I had happiness once. Will I ever be in a place of happiness again? I seriously doubt it. But what I am striving for is peace. After all the shock, the pain, the host of emotions, the crying jags at 2 in the morning, the days of walking around like a zombie, I just want to find my peace.

Be patient with yourself, John. These feelings are new and overwhelming. I have always been a soft touch emotionally, but I was totally unprepared for the magnitude of these emotions. Take each day as it comes right now...and do that for as long as you need to. Don't push yourself to please others. You don't owe anyone an explanation. Chances are, unless they've been in your shoes, they won't understand anyway. And use this forum as much as you need to. Don't feel you can only post when you're having a good day. If you need to rant, come to the forum. If you just want to sit and remember, come to the forum. We all care about you. 

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: One of those nights...
« on: March 08, 2016, 01:55:37 PM »
Hi K and Wally, it's been a little over a year for me and I still have times when I'm angry about being robbed of the moments Tom and I had planned for; and the "reason" behind his passing still hasn't been revealed and it does eat at me at times that I'm just supposed to accept it without question and carry on. Almost a year out, I'm still not sure what I want to do with myself. I'm still living day by day.

You know, the people who told me right off the bat that it was time to move on are no longer a part of my circle a year later. Either they lost patience with me or I with them. The friends I have now are the truest, most understanding. And one thing we all agree on, you can carry on with your life, such as it is...but there is really no getting over this loss, at least for me. I find myself adjusting to carry this new weight. Always adjusting. And what worked today may not work tomorrow.

I have taken to wearing Tom's Hawaiian shirts when the mood hits me. I wore one of his favorite shirts when I hosted his Celebration of Life.

On the anniversary of his passing, our plum trees showed their first blossoms. After the rains, everything is looking green and lush and I have been spending a lot of energy on polishing the home he loved so much. It's cathartic even though, when I finish a project, I cry because he's not there to hold my hand and be proud along side me. But I know he's always there. And I KNOW he's proud of everything I've done and how I've handled things.

I don't know if I'll ever move to Montana. I really don't know where I want to be yet. And, after a year out, I still wish out loud that he was still here and that this was all a bad dream.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: Happy Leap Year Birthday
« on: February 29, 2016, 03:31:44 PM »
Happy birthday to Jeff. And hugs to you K. What you wrote was beautiful.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: The journey continues
« on: February 29, 2016, 03:28:44 PM »
There is a big part of us missing. And I'm starting to understand that it's a hole you can't fill...perhaps a little, but definitely not all the way. I'm sure you've seen the poem by Henry Scott Holland on death. For me, I found a lot of solace in those words, especially in the early months (listen to me, I sound like a seasoned veteran). And, it's also true about where there is great love, there is great grief. And, I have yet to shake the feeling of being the third wheel. All my friends are married, except one and she's about 100 miles away. Everyone means well. But I miss being able to share things with my Buddy. I miss the comfort of being completely understood.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: The journey continues
« on: February 29, 2016, 08:24:58 AM »
Wally, I know that feeling all too well. There are the obvious things that can set me off. The smell of his cologne; hearing our favorite songs; looking at old photographs; rainy days. It took me a long time to get back into the kitchen other than to throw something in the microwave. I tried cooking something a few weeks after he passed...I thought I'd try a new recipe...I should have been safe with that. Wrong. It was a hollow feeling because he wasn't there to give his seal of approval. It wasn't until December when I started having friends over and entertaining that I found I could get back into the kitchen and enjoy it. But I haven't been brave enough to try any of our favorite meals yet. I've been experimenting with things that Tom wouldn't have liked (he was a meat and potatoes kind of guy).

I did have a case of weepies recently. He always had to have a jar of jelly beans sitting next to him on the couch. He might have four or five a night. Since he's been gone, I try to make sure the jar contains some jelly beans...I get into them, too. And just, for some reason, I looked at that jar and remembered our quiet evenings together in front of the TV and the way we would talk about things...and I broke down. Undone by jelly beans.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: The journey continues
« on: February 25, 2016, 07:39:32 PM »
Wally, you're right. There is no law that says we have to get rid of everything. Tom and I had planned on moving to Montana. We tried so hard to sell our home in San Diego but it just wouldn't sell. But the dream was very much alive until he was diagnosed. Well, after he passed, I originally thought of donating his clothes but it was too difficult. So I went out online and ordered a blanket chest...made in Montana (I didn't plan it that just worked out that way)...and I folded up his clothes and put them in there and closed the lid until I'm ready to let go. And if I never let go, that's fine, too. They're there for safekeeping.

To this day, it feels good to be able to put one foot in front of the other. I'm glad you had one of those days. :)

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: The journey continues
« on: February 24, 2016, 05:47:22 PM »
Hi Wally, when I first started on this journey, I would come across things of Tom's and I would wonder what to do with them. His combs (he had just gone out and bought 10 new ones before he was diagnosed because he was always losing them). Tie clips. His Leatherman. His wallet. And just a host of other things. There's no way that I could part with them (not even now). So I went to Michael's and bought some very nice, decorative storage boxes (nothing girlie...he wouldn't have approved) and as I would come across things, I would just put them in the box. That way everything is all in one place if I ever want to open up the box and touch and remember. Maybe you could do something like that with Cathy's hair cutting tools? Another box for her books and her videos? For me, it wasn't like I was packing Tom away. There are some things that I have out throughout the house. But the rest is in our closet, safe and sound.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: The journey continues
« on: February 22, 2016, 07:48:58 PM »
Hi Wally,

One thing I've learned on this journey (it's been a year and a few days since my husband, Tom, died of cancer), is that in the beginning, there is a lot of the one-step-forward-two-steps-back shuffle. On the second day of this journey, I was so overwhelmed with everything that had to be done and what I wanted to do that I promised myself that I wasn't going to try to get it done all in one day. I would pick one thing and accomplish it. And save the rest for tomorrow. I had a running list and as each day went by, I marked something of the list...usually. In those first days, weeks, months, just getting out of bed was an accomplishment.

And I rearranged furniture, too. Sometimes, the energy would come to me late in the evening but I would just go with it.

But after working with a CPA firm for 20 years, I would caution you, and all the new members that are now embarking on this journey, in the first year: don't make any major decisions (like selling a house or buying a car or change your financial strategies) unless you absolutely have to. I know we all handle grief differently...but, personally, there were times when it felt like I was being rational when I really was still being emotional. Now that I'm a year out, it's not like someone waved a magic wand and all of a sudden I feel 100% better...but I am thinking much more clearer than I was in those early days.

Another thing that helped was this website. When I felt that I was overwhelming my friends with my grief, I could come here and pour out my heart...and there are people here that understand completely where you're at. And just knowing that you're not alone is a tremendous help.

I have a feeling that your cottage garden will turn out beautiful. 

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: A New Year
« on: February 22, 2016, 07:34:30 PM »
Hi Lynne,

Well, I am finally getting myself pulled back together. Last week was emotional, as I expected it would be, but there were also moments of smiles and laughter as I allowed myself to remember good times. Sure, in the end, it made me miss Tom all over again...but at least I could embrace some special moments and remember what it felt like to be loved and to give love so deeply.

I went in for my mammogram this morning - have to do annual follow-ups since my breast cancer treatment in 2003. Today was bittersweet. See, the moment we got the diagnosis, Tom was my rock. He went to every treatment, every test, every appointment. He would hold my hand tight and say "we're in this together." Now the "we" is just "me". Last year, the exam fell one week after Tom had passed. And there was no way I could drive myself to the appointment, so one of his friends (who I have since severed ties with because all she wanted to do was help me spend money) took me. Today, I went by myself. I cried before I left the house. Then I left an hour before my appointment and got lost then had to back track (I was proud of myself for figuring my way around)...and then I got there 30 minutes early and they took me right in. I cried with the technician because, well, "he's supposed to be sitting out there, right in front of this door...and he's supposed to be there to give me a hug and a kiss when I come out...and he's not there." But I did it. And I know he was there with me.

And I felt energized when I left's the first sign of life I have felt in myself since the beginning of this month.

Right now it seems like every day is a still a challenge, it's just that some days are easier than others. At the end of the day, I make note of the things that I've accomplished...been doing that almost every day since Tom passed. I make note of every smile. Every laugh. Every tear. Everything. There is no such thing as "too small" for an accomplishment...especially when we're grieving.

I also started a blessings jar at the first of the year. And so far I've kept up on it. Every day, I write down one thing that I considered a blessing and put it in the jar. Even on the worst of the blackest days, there was always something. It's all about opening the mind and the heart and allowing beauty and blessings to be seen.

The army guy will fade from memory, just be patient with yourself and give it time. And it made me smile when you talked about seeing your old mail carrier. There are a lot of good people out there. And an unexpected hug is a blessing all of its own.

Love you,

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: Loss of My Love before Valentines...
« on: February 11, 2016, 10:04:00 PM »
Hi Kgraham,

I am so sorry for your loss. Believe me, I do know and understand your pain. I too lost my best friend, buddy, last year on 2/17. Grief is not an easy nor quick journey, as I'm finding out. It is so important in these early days to make sure you take the best care of you. If you can't sleep, rest when you can. Try to eat healthy. Drink plenty of water. And reach out to support network as much as you need to.

My thoughts and prayers will be with you on Valentine's Day. Know that Jeff would want you to be kind to yourself that day. That's what is most important. Don't put undue pressure on yourself. Take the day as it comes. Remember, every step, regardless of how big or small, is a step. We all travel this journey differently. Do what feels best for you.

Take care.

Spouse, Partner Loss / Re: A New Year
« on: February 11, 2016, 09:54:52 PM »
Hi Lynne,

It's a quiet night in what has been an emotional week. See, this was Tom's last week of life. Come the 17th, Wednesday, he transitioned to the afterlife. Time has stood still this week where, for the rest of the past year, time has flown by. It's almost as if I'm meant to relive every moment of "this time last year" until I reach the anniversary so I can properly process the emotions that I had to keep to myself while Tom was dying. Everyone had told me not to let him see my upset. They told me I had to be strong so the focus could remain 100% on him, as it should. I don't regret doing that, but at some point these emotions were meant to see the light of day. And that's what is happening this week.

But, dear lady, I wanted to jump online and let you know that the Army guy wasn't a mistake. He hurt you, yes. But Lynne, you had to try, regardless of what everyone said. Just like me, you're learning all over again. Who to trust. What to do. Where to go. What to think. Lynne, it's not stupidity. It's trying to move forward. It's growth. It's natural. We try to move forward, we stumble, we get hurt but we still have to move forward. We can't stay frozen in time. In the past year, I've watched people get married, have babies, I've watched people die. Life goes on. We have to be part of that motion.

And I know about the sadness. Today, I went to a casino. My sister-in-law said I needed to get out of the house. My neighbor told me to go do something fun in honor of Tom. So I went to a casino, played his favorite slot machine, bet the max and won some money. Not a lot but it would have been a lot to Tom and I. And while I could clearly see his smiling face, tears fell from my eyes because he wasn't there, physically, to share in the moment...although I know he was there. A few minutes later, the background music played Madonna's "I'll Remember"...and I sat there, singing the words to myself with tears now streaming from my eyes and down my cheeks and I didn't care who saw me. Then I grabbed some fish tacos and went home.

Lynne, when I first started on this grief journey, I didn't know who I could trust. Who I could believe in other than myself. I would say within the first 48 hours I had figured that I would be going this journey alone. I did some housecleaning and got rid of relationships that were harmful to me. I have said goodbye to others that just didn't have the time or patience for me. And now, a year later, I have made new friends, good friends with good energy; I have re-connected with old friends that are here for me and only me. Lynne, when this happened to us, we were blind and we were faced with a lot to learn. But, honey, we're here. We're still here. Sad. Beat up. Mangled. Hurt. Deprived. But we're still here.

Focus on that, Lynne. We're still here. Look at how far we've come when we originally couldn't see tomorrow. We couldn't see beyond the pain that was originally thrust upon us against our will. Against our wishes, our hopes and dreams. We are here.

I'm glad I've been able to help you. I have a friend that once told me, put one of your hands inside the other hand and squeeze. That's me giving your hand a squeeze.

I think between now and the 17th I'll probably be off-line...I'm just not sure how the next few days are going to treat's day by day again.

But know that you are not far from my thoughts and as soon as I get myself pulled together, I'll be back on-line.

Take care,
Love Robin

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