The Expense of Joy

Aug 8, 2011 by

There ought to be some joy in all this. Dating in middle adulthood is all confusion.  Everyone I meet has been wounded, one way or another.  The formerly married endured divorce, the never married endured someone who left or whom they had to leave.  Everyone fears vulnerability.  They question whether the benefits of partnership are worth the potential expense. I’m not saying dating in young adulthood is any kind of picnic by comparison.  I remember it as an anxious, stressful endeavor; the part of my life that causes me to say things like, “Every boyfriend I ever had, except for my late husband, made me miserable”.  I did, in fact, marry Dave because he didn’t drive me crazy.  He made me calmer.  I saw this when I picked up a journal I’d written in...

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Living a Dangerous Life

Apr 20, 2011 by

Everyone knows it’s dangerous to, say, ride a motorcycle or eat saturated fat, but somehow we miss the inherent danger of being alive. My husband died of acute leukemia.  In June of 2008, we were living ordinary lives.  In July, I took Dave to the doctor for what we thought was diverticulitis, common to 45 year old men and easy to cure.  In August, he was trapped in the hospital on chemotherapy and by the end of September, he was gone.  The whole hospital episode, from diagnosis to death, took six weeks. Is it any wonder it seems to me that we barely control anything in our lives?  Trouble will find you, even if you’re perfectly still.  What kind of world is this?  The raw truth is that it’s a world where the person...

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Do Love Triangles Really Exist?...

Apr 5, 2011 by

I spent the weekend watching videos of Princess Diana and Prince Charles.  For my trouble, I ended up with a monstrous migraine. Their story reminded me once again that people love for reasons that have nothing to do with beauty, glamour, power or success.  The world may perceive you as the ugliest duckling ever.  Yet, in the eyes of the right man, you are beautiful and fascinating beyond belief.  By the same token, you can be Miss Universe and Albert Einstein rolled into one but, with the wrong man, you’re just another annoying chit. More than that, though, their story reminded me of how judgmental we can be of others and of issues that we know nothing about. Maybe I’m naïve but I don’t think anyone sets out to be a cheating husband, scorned...

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A Soul in Cat’s Clothing

Mar 24, 2011 by

Spot the Cat is not doing well.  Spot is one of three cats who made the journey across the country with me after my husband died.  I call our little family “Bonnie and the Traveling Cats” because we all had to go.  We all had to change. Did you know cats can get heart disease?  Spot has it and it makes his little chest fill up with fluid.  He can’t breathe well.  I watch him try to carry on his normal feline activities while his chest heaves, trying to bring in enough air.  He is uncomfortable.  I can take him to the veterinary internal medicine specialist to have the fluid drained, but it scares him half to death and his chest fills right back up.  He is not getting better. How do I know...

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Two Widows .. Now Equals

Mar 14, 2011 by

I sat by the stack of RSVP’s for the wedding in June that would not take place. I stared at them a good long while before I picked them up and brought them over to the couch and began to alphabetize them. Normally I am not this anal retentive but, I thought it’d be easier to find their phone numbers and email addresses in my address book. Slowly but surely I was done. Each card had a corresponding number or email address so I could begin contacting the folks who were kind enough to have responded early to the Save The Date and wedding invitations in the morning. Surprisingly a good number of them were from friends that lived out of town. I crashed on the couch embraced by the scent of him. I...

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Ni Hao, Hello My Friends

Mar 7, 2011 by

A few hours later, it had to be just a tad after 8am, the phone rang, being awakened by a phone during an early morning on the weekends when most of the world is in a state of slumber is well, un-nerving.  At this moment, it was completely inappropriate and I was NOT going to answer. We, he and I, never answered the phone and preferred to let the machine (that was older than Methuselah) do the answering for us and we screened our calls. I thought to myself just one more ring and I can see who it is before I decide to pick up the phone – and then the beeeeeeep! I had to listen carefully because the voice sounded weak, like that of a child, almost meek and shy and slowly...

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Trading Nightmares For Dreams

Mar 4, 2011 by

I’m sitting on the couch on Friday morning.  A train whistles, telling tales of its journeys to places I’ve never been.  Mornings like this, Colorado reminds me of W. Virginia. Snow-clouds hang heavy over the city, obscuring the ever-present mountains. I must simply have faith that they are still there, still standing over us, watching and waiting forever.  I cannot see them now, but then that’s the nature of faith, isn’t it? I love this place.  I love that I can see the constellation of city lights from my kitchen windows.  I love how the steam from the nearby power plant clings together and stays close to home when the temperature dips below zero.  Sometimes that steam even turns to snow and falls right back down on us, as if to say, “Good or bad,...

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Waking Up On The Black Couch

Feb 27, 2011 by

Returning home, the day’s events washed over me like a proper London rain. I was completely soaked in the wet energy of others, their grief and that of my own and could barely walk up the steps to our front door. Throughout the last hours I kept thinking to myself, ‘I have to get through this day, they have to know that they can count on me, be the rock, be the foundation, get this done.’ Upon entering our home, there was a deafening silence. It was so very quiet, void of all of the laughter and filled with the remnants of my rapid departure to the hospital the morning he had slipped from a coma into the beyond. In my haste to find a black outfit, that wasn’t a little black dress, but...

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My Spirit Was Broken But My Heart Was Singing...

Feb 19, 2011 by

George’s mother was a complete wreck as the funeral continued her wails and sobs at the loss of her youngest of 7 children, her ‘happy accident’ as she called him because he was born in her early forties when women of her time were simply not able to have kids, was being laid to rest. She had buried the eldest of her children a boyish man when he was 17 when George was a mere toddler and her husband 3 years prior of the same cancer. I had the idea to play some of George’s favourite music gently in the background so that when people approached the casket that did not hear church music. Portishead and Massive Attack played as softly as trip-hop could possibly. As her screams and cries echoed in the packed...

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Kiss Me Like A Stranger

Feb 14, 2011 by

George – Chapter 1: That this will be read by complete strangers, people who I have not yet met or never, makes this missive seem almost therapeutic. I had come to Atlanta in 1992 to work as interpreter for an international law firm with a large Japanese client.  The assignment soon went from 3 weeks to almost 4 months. Over time I grew weary of law firm take-out food. While I was not vociferous, a young law student and runner for the firm took pity on the quiet French-Italian girl and directed me to the nearest French Bistro. It was a quaint place, small table, pseudo-bohemian students with a portrait of Miles Davis that nearly eclipsed a wall separating the bar from the main dining room. I sat facing it the right side of...

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