Saturday, April 22, 2017

wooing a girl

He knew how to woo a girl.  A composer and a musician, he wrote me songs and played them for me. In front of our family and friends, while I could barely speak because I was overcome with emotion, this man played his guitar and sang me a song during our wedding ceremony. He also was a cook, a handy dandy fix it man, he cleaned and changed diapers. He fiercely loved his parents, his siblings and his children. He loved the island that he grew up on and had first hand knowledge of all the crooks and crannies and together we would go on wild adventures on mountaintops or sometimes on water.  He would try anything and convince you he knew what he was doing.  He built our first home; he had never built a house before.  Without the ease of electricity, he built it by himself with hand tools.  We were into smaller homes without a mortgage before it was a fashionable thing to do.

Today, I treated myself to a pedicure.  As the attendant was applying lotion and massaging my feet, I choked back tears.  My husband gave me regular foot massages.  Some may characterize me as demanding, but my sweet husband never denied me a foot massage.  Never. Since his passing, it is the daily human touch that I miss most. I am accustomed to daily hugs and kisses.  Now, instead I get morning kisses from my dog Rex and nudges from my sweet cat Charlie, but it isn't the same.

For 37 years I was with a man who woke me with kisses and a variation of,
"Good morning Beautiful.  I love you."  How fortunate that we were partners in this life.  And I was so well loved.

I believe that he continues to love me for how else could I manage?

Friday, April 21, 2017

what's a girl to do?

No wonder I know nothing about it.  When my mother was trying to explain in the middle of Grant's Department store, I slunk away.  Embarrassed that I would see a girl in my class or worse, a boy.

Within the last year, my husband helped me loop string around myself. We carefully cut the string and measured it using a yard stick.  He explained it all to me, but I still don't get it.  Maybe I still didn't care.  I had him; he understood; that was all that mattered, at the time.

"What size am I again?" I asked him as we both looked through the bras at TJ Maxx.

Honestly, I could care less about bras; for years opting for the one size fits all variety that has little charm or appeal, but does the job.

"How do you know all this?" I asked as I searched for the appropriate size as determined by my husband.  

"I dated a lot of girls before I met you," he replied.

Still this gave me little understanding of how he knew this.  Did he talk about bras over jello for dessert (his dessert specialty while we were dating)?  Certainly, this never came up in our conversations.  The truth is I will never know, since I didn't press him further.

Now, I wear bras that my husband chose for me.  Every morning I chuckle to think of the irony of it all.  He had good taste and he knew a thing about comfortable fitting bras that look pretty darn nice. They make me feel beautiful.  I wonder, now what am I going to do without him. 

Thursday, April 20, 2017


This morning I spent hours and hours looking for something.  I didn't find it.  The problem is that I have absolutely no recollection of what I did with it. I can't find the list of people I wanted to send thank you notes to either.  Full admission here, I also lost things before, but a brain operating under the weight of loss gets little relief.  If I didn't read the literature about grief and talk to others who are widows and widowers, I would think that I am ready to convalesce with someone to assist me with functional living.  The upside is that I found an art journal text that I was looking for and I located a sweater (a favorite) that I forgot I had.

Despite my frustration, I am told I am doing well.  It is important that I put things into perspective. I can now carry on a conversation and speak in full sentences.  Most nights, I sleep through the night.  I can now take naps, whereas before I was too agitated and restless. I am now able to read whole books and sit and write for hours at a time. Financially, I am holding my head above water by myself.  I am able to hold a job and get up each morning.  I am a single mother and I am able to feed, shelter and clothe my youngest who is still at home.  Asking for help and delegating responsibility has never been a problem for me.  I am able to hold onto a few dreams that my husband and I had together.  I guess all this is progress.  I am grateful for all the loving thoughts coming my way.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

is there presence in absence?

Her absence is the sky, spread over everything. -CS Lewis

We didn't have long to get use to the brevity of Jerry's life.  A week maybe.  Even then, we all thought that the "ox of a man" that he was would somehow pull through.

Still through the news, I tried hard to stay positive and in the present.  Now and again, while still in Boston, I would wonder through our house in my head, anticipating the emptiness, the pain.  I could not bear to dwell there for long.

It is true that I feel the absence of my husband in the home that he built and the house we raised our children.  Yet, I also feel peace.  I am drawn here.   It is familiar.  It represents my life.

Like Lewis felt his wife's absence in everything and everywhere, I feel Jerry's absence where ever I am. I carry it with me whether I am in the car, roaming the halls of the high school or running into the grocery store for fruit and milk.  His absence presents itself as a nagging, constant dull ache in the center of my heart.  I am reminded of him while I am cutting fruit, baking bread or making the morning coffee.  He is constantly on my mind whether I am brushing my teeth, putting on make-up or sweeping the floor.

I feel his absence all the time.  Does this pain I carry thwart my ability to feel his presence? Or do I feel his presence in his absence?

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Time Stood Still

He opened the choke, pulled the cord
it took a few times
before we were headed down
the pond
he trolled for fish
through the no-wake zone.

The stern
was loaded with gear,
fishing poles,
tackle boxes
with sinkers, bobbers
and the latest and greatest
the bow was weighted down
with a canvas bag loaded with
books, magazines
a journal,
sunscreen and natural bug repellent-
ready for the long haul.

Once in the open water
the boat sped passed
rounded mountains ahead
evergreens shadowed,
we motored along
the outboard robbing
our sense of hearing,
sights heightened
thick trees as far as we could see
on either side of the water.

We headed in the direction of the beach
mounded with bits of pink granite,
he killed the engine in a cove across the way,
water lilies dotted the area
a warm breeze lifted the sweet scent,
he dressed his line with a worm,
flicked the pole,
the line reaching,
the boat drifted
and he paddled us
into the perfect position
where he swore he was going to
catch a fish,
while I snapped photos of the lilies,
read, journaled
leaned my back against the bow,
watching my husband
so happy
the sun shining on us,
as time
stood still.

Monday, April 17, 2017


Winter clothes crowd my suit case,
I fully expected to walk along the beach
scarf wrapped
my boots sinking
deep into the sand,
I walked barefooted,
closing my eyes
pretending it was summer.

Whenever I visit home
I walk the beaches
where as a kid
I dug deep holes
until they pooled with water,
collected shells and sand dollars,
the expanse of ocean stretching to the
thin horizon line,
I imagined
floating out
to sea.

I am drawn to the sea.
Here I am home.

Sunday, April 16, 2017


He was a drunk.

I know the facts,
I know.
He was always
striving for perfection
as an imperfect human,
an internal storm
spewed sadness and anger.

How do you tell someone
that he was so much more?
When I was little he liked
to hold me in his lap,
and later during my teen years
we went to Fenway together.
He made the best fish chowder,
he liked his coffee black
and he had an infinity for
fluff or whipped cream and fruit
on his pancakes.
He loved to travel now and again,
He loved family weddings
and he was drawn to the work of
Andrew Wyeth,
And in the last few decades of his life
he gave up drinking,
he softened.

The word
assaulted me,
saddened me,
how can
one word
a person?
I prefer