Wednesday, October 26, 2016

"Just for Friends"

I have just spent ten days with seven people I really didn't know before.
We came together over a love of good food and quality ingredients and a love for adventure and discovery of new places and things.

Mataio and Jessica introduced us to people who educated us about what makes good quality balsamic and olive oil and wine.

We met new people who shared their passions with us and invited us into a little slice of their lives.

We met people along the way as well... from different parts of the world who have the same interests as we do.

We learned the history of the regions we visited. We interacted with artisans and craftsmen. We shopped in the villages. We practiced and learned Italian.

We were exposed to great music and lovely surroundings.

We laughed. We cried. We relaxed. We ate. And ate. And ate. And ate.

This has been an experience that I shall not forget.

To say that I'm grateful is an understatement -- but it's the only word I know to use.

Feeling full -- of heart and mind and soul and body.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Clouds and Currents Inside

It's been a while since I reviewed the stages of grief... but I'm thinkin' that ANXIETY must be one of 'em...

For the past few weeks, I have had an underlying current of anxiety...about things that might seem reasonable to be anxious about and about things that seem ridiculous.  In my head, I am aware that all anxiety is kinda silly 'cause -- WHY? The way it should be is that I either do something to solve whatever problem is real or imaginary or I just let it go and move on.

But anxiety is alive and well in this girl who is a control freak.

It occurred to me today that I've been kinda hopin' that immediately after the one year mark, I would feel markedly better. That I could be cheerful and not-lonely and more interested in all the fun things about life. Just to be clear, I've tried to continue to live life all of these days...but I would say that there is a "Missing Harvey and Missing Laura" cloud that follows me pretty much everywhere... And occasionally a "Missing Sarah and Hannah being at home" cloud, too.... And, in some ways the missing seems a bit more intense now that I've passed the one year mark.

And, included in that missing is an unhealthy dose of anxiety... and a full & cluttered brain.

These are the parts of grief that my little ol' heart is not loving.

I will continue to be and will forever be thankful for the gifts of Harvey and Laura... I am thankful that they no longer have to battle against the evil that is cancer... 

But I would love it so much if their healthy selves were still here.

This verse popped into my head today. Perhaps it's my new prayer....
Be anxious for nothing but in everything with prayer and supplication let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all comprehension, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus.                                             -Philippians 4:6, 7    (New American Standard Version)  

Thursday, September 1, 2016

Lessons from My Dogs

Little Clemmie has been living with us and being my youngest child since the end of March. And, she has grown up quite a bit since then... She doesn't bite my legs anymore. She understands most things like "leave it" "drop it" "off" "stay" and what I call "play school." 

I have to remind myself all the time that she's still a puppy and that someday, in the not-too-distant future, she will be calmer. But I also realize that some of her behavior is just who she is. 

She's inquisitive, curious, a thinker. She doesn't sit still very often. Even when she's tired, she has a hard time turning her brain off. "Oh! There's a toy!" "Oh! Hannah's home from work!" "There's the cat!" "That dirt needs a hole in it!"

When she's in the car, she sits up straight and looks out the back window -- and the side window -- and the front of the car. There are lots of nose prints on my windows. Occasionally, she'll "talk" to a dog or a person she sees from her spot.  

She gets excited when she meets new people and new dogs. She engages almost immediately when she enters the dog-park. She runs directly for the group of dogs who have already introduced themselves and who have been playing well with each other for a while before she got there. She approaches as if to say "Hey! I'm here! My name's Clemmie. I love to play. Who are you? Betcha can't catch me!" And then, her new friends start wrestling with her and they chase each other and she plays and plays.  

Raney, on the other hand... is a different dog. She was once a puppy, too...but she has ALWAYS enjoyed hangin' out with people more than introducing herself to and engaging with other dogs. She's not unfriendly, but she simply prefers people.  If there's a park full of dogs, she almost doesn't acknowledge the dogs; she just heads for the people to say "Hello. Please pet me. Mmmm! I think I smell a treat in your pocket. I'd love to be your friend."

She played a lot when she was younger and she pulled some shenanigans, too. And, we had to teach her that she couldn't bite us and eat our shoes and stuff... But I don't ever remember her being as "on" all the time as Clemmie. She was a bit cuddlier -- still is.  Clemmie likes to be loved, but it's hard to sit still for all that.

The other day it occurred to me that both of my sweet baby girls have something to teach me about how to approach life. Clemmie is almost always smiling -- at everything and everybody (unless I'm scolding her for doing something that she knows is wrong.)... Raney (who also knows how to smile) is calm... just kinda goes through her regular routine. She loves to walk. She loves to simply BE with her people. She doesn't really need us to do a lot with her, though she's happy if we play. 

I think there's a lesson for me in their personalities: 
- Relax and enjoy what you have in your life.
- Learn new things! SMILE! Embrace adventure!

I have some good dog-babies.

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Today's Thoughts

I've been thinkin' about Harv a fair bit lately. Most every day... All the time... But lately, I've been thinkin' about how I'm grieving.  

I think I'm figuring out that I want to grieve slowly and feel it all... And I want to hurry up and stop grieving. 

That's kind of a weird place to be.

For me, I know I "talk" in my blog about my losses, but when I'm in the thick of the emotion, I pretty much don't want to talk. For me, the grief is too sacred to discuss out loud most of the time. I don't want to talk when I'm having a special moment at the two rivers in Lytton. I won't want to talk when I go to see the graves of my parents and my sister. And, I certainly don't want to discuss my loss with the banker who is changing the signatories on our safe deposit box.

Grief is so personal and individual. It's also a day-by-day thing where one day might not look like the day before.

And, the other thing I keep thinkin' about is how having Harv here... in my life...  in this house... walkin' around in the yard... wrestling with Raney... teaching the girls different things... laughin' his laugh... playin' his guitar... bein' in his office... never bein' able to stop learning or trying new things... makin' me feel special

... that seems like a whole lifetime ago... a whole 'nother life... 

...I'm livin' a "new" life now... one where he's still here and he's also not here...

What a strange place to be.

What a gift he was to me.

What a great man.

What a great loss.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

Where Two Rivers Meet

Harvey grew up in Lytton, British Columbia, Canada.... known for being "Canada's Hot Spot" and whose motto is "Where old friends and two rivers meet." 

The two rivers are the Thompson (clear, beautiful green river) and the Fraser (silty, brown, murky river). When you are there, you can actually see the merging of the rivers. Harv rafted those rivers as a river guide and those rivers are a part of who he is. 

This weekend Sarah and I went to Lytton to see Harv's parents. While we were there, we walked down to the point where the two rivers meet and each of us released some of his ashes as close to the point where the two rivers meet as we could get... And it just so happened to be at sunset. Kind of a lovely time.

Thankful we could visit with Joe and Peggy...

Thankful we could have that moment "where the two rivers meet."

Love that man. Thankful for that man. Thankful for all that he brought to my life.

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

A year ago this week, Harv, Anthony, the girls, and I went to Kalaoch, WA on the  Olympic peninsula for our summer vacation. It's a spot that we have loved for many years. It's a wide-open beach, very few people... just big ocean and big beach. It's refreshing and lovely... All we do when we go there is hang out in the cabin and walk on the beach, take naps, build a fire in the fireplace, play some board games and eat... And then we repeat the next day.

We went to Kalaloch last summer after a series of doctor's appointments that seemed less and less hopeful and after learning about possible treatments that would be harder and harder for Harv to handle.

When we came back from Kalaloch, I told Harv that he didn't have to do any more treatments if he didn't want to. He said he didn't think he could.  And, we knew (and we didn't know) what that meant. 

Thus began the journey to our good-byes.

Every day since I lost Harv, I keep learning new things about why I miss him. You've read some of them before. You most likely knew him well enough to know some of those things for yourself. 

There aren't many men who are as kind and patient and generous as he was. I waited many, many years to meet that man...and he was worth the wait. He made me feel loved and appreciated and valued. He was my best friend.

It occurred to me recently that one of the things I've been missing is having him here to talk to. I could talk to Harv about anything. ANYTHING. And, he never stopped loving me. 

I have great friends. I have friends who I talk with about many things. I have wonderful children with whom I talk about many things. I have family with whom I talk about a wide range of topics. 

But Harv. With Harv, I could talk about EVERYTHING. I didn't have to filter things. I didn't have to worry about how I'd come across. I didn't have to worry about offending him with my opinions. I didn't have to tailor my discussions for his maturity level.  I didn't have to be careful with him because I knew he could handle whatever we talked about and I knew he loved me regardless.

That's what I'm missing these days. 

My soul mate. 

My confidant. 

My best friend. 

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

I miss Laura, too.
Way more than you would know.
Definite hole.
She should be here.

Sunday, July 10, 2016

I don't know if guilt is a part of grief or not, but I feel some. And, I don't know if my feelings of guilt are justified or not, but I still feel 'em.

I know that I wouldn't have been able to change the outcome of the lives of the people I miss, but now -- when I can't even change anything at all -- I want to go back and get a tippy-end-of-life do-over.

During the time of Harvey's illness, I chose, specifically, not to change the way I acted as his wife and as the family coordinator and planner and mother. People always say "Treasure these moments" because they go so fast. I KNOW they go fast, but I specifically chose not to act all lovey-dovey when I wasn't feelin' it 'cause that just wasn't natural.

Truth be told, there were quite a few times during the stress of Harvey's illness that I did not feel lovey-dovey. I tried. (My family members may not have been aware, but I DID try to be sweet.) But I'm just not really good at faking whatever emotions I feel. I might hold them in, but eventually those feelings -- good or bad -- come out... pretty much just like I feel 'em. 

There were many times when I just really didn't have time to "appreciate" what was around me...'cause there were appointments to get to, school events to attend, dinners to make, dog to walk, household to run. 

So even while Harvey lay in the bed at hospice house, I feel like I let some moments slip. I didn't want to...but I think I was so busy taking care of the business of his illness for so long that all I really knew how to do at that point was wait.

Thank goodness I paid attention right before (and I mean RIGHT before) he breathed his last breath.

But what I WISH had happened... what I would like to do over... is to have had even ten minutes of just me and Harv time... Ten minutes where I could say all the things that were/are in my heart. And, in a miraculous world, I would have loved to have had ten minutes where he talked back.

Harv and I were pretty good about communication throughout our relationship. We didn't hold back. And, I know that I know that I know that we both knew how much we loved each other... And, I still want a do-over.

I don't know how a person balances being real and authentic with fully appreciating every blankety-blank moment in a less-than perfect situation. But can somebody make sure he knows that he knows that he knows that he knows that I really, really, really love him? And that I'm sorry I was grumpy sometimes and inattentive sometimes and selfish and impatient? And, can you ask him to just very clearly send me a message to let me know he knows?

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

You know... I don't actually feel okay. 

I feel pretty good most days, but I don't feel whole... or healed... or together... or at peace.

I keep thinking that I need to make plans for the future. That I need to begin DOING something with this life of mine --- other than take care of dogs and college-children.  I feel somewhat guilty 'cause I don't even have the motivation to plan and prepare my own meals for my girls. I can't even cut my own grass these days. I think I need to be active in society and make some little corner of my world a better place.

I just don't have it in me right now, though. And, I think that's okay... I KNOW that I have suffered a fair number of losses (six) over the past eight years and that a person doesn't just get over those. They compound. It takes years to heal from loss...  And yet, I struggle 'cause I'm not doing anything. And, I'm trying to give myself some grace...

I was reminded tonight, though,  that Harv took good care of his family. And, while there is a definite hole in our lives, he provided for us in a way that gives me the luxury of healing for pretty much however long I need to take. Even though I wish I didn't have to heal at all, I am thankful that I can. 

Another sign of his thoughtfulness and love for his family.

Sure do wish he was here.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

For the past week or so, I've felt unsettled and "on edge"... Haven't been able to really understand exactly why, but I can't seem to relax. 

Last Thursday, I was in the garage workshop area gathering camping supplies and making a pile for what turned out to be a one day trip. (RAIN!) But, as I was gathering, I realized that it was Harv... It was Harv not being here, not packing for the trip, not making lists and organizing the camping equipment stuff... The fact that he wasn't going on this trip with us... THAT'S what was buggin' me.... Tears welled up in my eyes back there in the shop and I kinda felt a little bit of release and relief -- at least in identifying what was buggin' me.

But, I'm still unsettled and "on edge." Not totally sure why, but maybe identifying it helped but didn't actually "cure" the uneasiness. Maybe it's 'cause our sweet kitty, Andy, wandered from home and still hasn't come back yet. Maybe it's 'cause I miss Laura, too, and I don't feel like I really have had time to grieve that loss because Harv died only five months later. 

Maybe it's just 'cause I want to heal from all the loss and hurry up and get back to normal... (who knows what THAT is?!). I think I just want to stop feeling sad and lonely and grief. I just want to be better...all the way around...

I know that's not how one gets through grief. You just have to walk that whole path -- however long it takes...

But maybe that's what's buggin' me.

I don't know. 

I DO know that Harv should be here. So should Laura. 

I DO know that I was lucky to have both of those sweet people for as long as I did.

I DO know that I still have a good life...

Thankful for that.

Saturday, May 28, 2016

Some days

Sometimes I just can't get over what work it is to miss people and to try to figure out one's place in the world when so many loved ones are gone... 

Some days I pretty much breeze through the day...just doing regular things and feeling pretty good.

Some days are full of good friends and good family and moments with those good people.

Some days I think about how this life turned out this way and how, if I had been directing the play, I would've made the ending to a few parts of this story quite a bit different. 

Some days I feel very thankful for so many blessings that have come along the way.

And some days -- or even some parts of some days -- are just plain sad.

Sometimes I wish there wasn't so much silence in my mornings and evenings. 

And, sometimes I think about people who have traveled this road before me and I think about how I had no clue what they might've been feeling after their loss(es). I technically still don't really know, but I think I have an inkling now.

I wonder, sometimes, what my future looks like? Do I have 30 more years here? How do I do 30 more years without those I'm missing? Will I feel less strongly in a few years than I do now?  When do I stop feeling incapable of completing projects? When do I jump into creative things? When can I concentrate enough to finish a whole book without distractions in my brain? When do I get to the point where I am available to friends who are going through hard times? When do I stop thinking about me?

Sometimes I want to fight and yell and scream and change the story back to the way I imagined it years ago... And then I snap out of that fantasy and have to accept what is...against my will.

I don't like missing people I love. 

I just don't.

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Recently, I received an envelope full of newsletter + pamphlet on grieving from an organization that I know of and I just wanna say... 

I know that the people who send those things are trying to help me through my grief. They mean well and they want me to heal and feel better again... I totally get it and I respect their calling to help others through grief... Because grief is hard. 

But I'm just gonna say it: when I see those things -- that I KNOW are meant to help me and are sent with concern -- the first feeling I have is anger. 

I don't want to read any information about grief. I don't want to hear that anybody else has cancer. I don't want to volunteer to walk or ride or skip or jump or whatever to raise money to save lives of those with cancer... I've had enough cancer for a while...

Someday, I might want to jump back into fundraising and cancer support. Someday I may be the one who sends out the newsletter to the grieving community.

But for now... I don't want to have lessons on how to grieve better or participate in anything that relates to cancer.

I just want to get through (what seems to be interminable) grieving for all the ones I've lost over the past eight years... 

I mean no harm... but I don't want any lessons right now...

That's all... 

Saturday, May 14, 2016

I've been struggling for quite some time to try and describe what's happening inside of me. I've started THREE posts and deleted them all... It's hard to explain what's happening, but here is my attempt.

A widow's perspective so far:

I don't like the word "widow."

I don't like eating my dinners in front of the tv every night... Though I do enjoy some mindless-no-puppy-supervision-activity.

I miss having my family here even though you heard me complain for YEARS how much I love alone time. I DO love alone time...but I think I've had enough for now... until I'm ready for more.

I miss having a best friend who lives here who can listen to me wail and cry and yell and complain... and laugh and dance and be silly and eat fun food and watch tv with me...

I miss being able to discuss financial decisions (which I feel overly inadequate to handle) and house decisions and family plans with that best friend.

It is almost inconceivable that I will never again in this lifetime ever see my husband again.

And, I am SO thankful that he is no longer sick. SO thankful that he no longer has to endure pain or chemo or anything crappy at all.

I want him to meet Clementine.

I want him to rejoice at all the things his daughters are doing.

I want him to go camping with us on Father's Day this year.

I want to hear him complain about a cold or a headache that he doesn't feel like doing anything about...

I want to hear that STUPID guitar playing RIGHT IN MY EAR when I'm trying to concentrate on something else.

I want him to sit with me in the kitchen while i fix dinner.

I want him to wrestle with Raney in the family room while I'm trying to watch stupid tv.

I want to have his legs twitch in the bed while I'm trying to go to sleep..

And, I want to wake up with him next to me in the morning...

I KNOW I will get through this... I KNOW that it's "making me stronger"

But I don't actually want to be strong.

I want Harvey here...

Friday, March 25, 2016

Random Beach Thoughts

We’re at the beach. Kalaloch (pronounced “CLAY-luc”)… It’s on the Pacific coast off the Olympic Peninsula. We discovered it one time when we were driving to the Oregon coast and we’ve come many years since then. We like to get the bluff cabins so we can stare straight at the ocean. We also like coming when it’s cold and rainy and blustery. I wish you all could hear this ocean. It’s so giant and loud and powerful…  And when you’re on the beach, looking at the horizon, you have to look up a little bit…

There are logs all along the shore that have washed up… HUMONGOUS logs that would certainly injure or kill a person if they weren’t careful. Beautiful logs… red, brown, tan, gray…

When the tide is out, the beach seems vast…. When it’s in, you might better stay in your cabin or at least on the bluff.

Raney loves the beach ‘cause she can walk mostly off-leash and explore all the smells and choose from a multitude of sticks…in various shapes and sizes.

I love the beach here ‘cause it’s wide open (at low tide) and I can walk forever and ponder many deep and wondrous things. I can talk to myself or God or whoever I feel like talkin’ to…

The first time we came here, Sarah and Hannah were in the third grade.  The last time we came, Harv was about two months away from dying….  So… there’s been a lot of life lived between those times.

The beach has always caused me to think deep thoughts… God always seems so big when I’m at the beach – especially one like this one. I almost always get introspective when I come to the beach… and I know that’s okay….

I’ve found that I’m pretty possessive of the way I grieve Harv… I don’t really want to share much out loud about my grief. I know I share a lot with my writing but there are some things that I keep close to me…that I believe are pretty close to sacred in the way I feel them.

How do you let go? How do you get past the wantin’ to tell stories or share inside jokes or call when you’re on a trip? I know you don’t. I’ve known that since Mama died… but I kinda wish there was a point…. And I’m also glad there’s not gonna be…  ‘Cause it means that the ones we love are still with us…

So, I will walk on that beach and look up to see the horizon… and I will watch the sun set tonight and think of that man that I love…and others I love… and be thankful their lives intersected with mine…

And, sometimes… I’ll just go ahead and feel that hole (or those holes) more acutely than others… but I will still feel.  And I will always love.

Friday, March 4, 2016

I discovered something today...

I can only do a few things in a day.

I suppose that it's part my personality and part grief.

By most people's standards, I did almost nothing today... Saw a puppy, went to a few stores for errands, threw the ball for Raney, did a tiny bit of crafting and then I was finished.

I had other plans for the evening, but I just couldn't do 'em.

Sometimes I just reach capacity with social things pretty quickly -- even if I haven't been very social.

I also have noticed lately, that decision-making is difficult.

I do and I don't want to do most things.

I love the idea of venturing out and I take great comfort in being reclusive.

Exploring new things sounds simultaneously exciting and scary.

Sadness and resolution and happiness are often right there next to each other.

This whole thing will work itself out...

It's just another funny little stage in the journey of my life.

Love you people!

Friday, February 26, 2016

There are days I just can't get over the goodness that surrounds me.

A couple of weeks ago, a friend texted me and asked if I needed any help with house projects. Turns out I had a little project that I thought I needed help with (though later it turned out that I think I could've done it all by myself)... so I said "I would LOVE it if you could help me with..." I bought the supplies for the job and he showed up a few days later and just took care of it.

Later, I posted on FB to find out if anybody knew of somebody who could help me with what I thought was a simple thing in the office. A friend volunteered to help me, came over, saw what needed to be done and came back later to take care of it. (And in the meantime two or three other friends also volunteered to do it.) 

Two days ago, I looked out the window to find a friend gettin' ready to prune my apple trees....for the FOURTH year in a row. I didn't ask him to do it. He just showed up. 

Now, when my friend, Todd, offered to help, the verse in the Bible about helping the widows and the orphans popped into my head and all of a sudden it occurred to me that I'm one of those.... I knew it, but hadn't associated myself with needing to be taken care of... It was (and still is) an odd thing to think about. It's a very beautiful thing and very strange to be in this spot.

I am in awe of the wondrous love of friends that surrounds me.... Just can't get over it.

These days, I find myself crying more than I have before... And, as I told my friend, Laurie, I don't really mind the tears but I am often surprised when they show up... Sometimes they don't stop for a few minutes.

The times I feel them most strongly, lately, are when my children do something that I know he'd love to see... And, I often want to tell him something or ask him something. Or, go to sleep with him next to me -- rubbin' my head... Or, wake up with him next to me.

Oh... this grief thing. It is sumpthin' else!

Thank goodness for all the love around me. Thank goodness. 

Saturday, February 13, 2016

Grief is such a strange thing. I can go for weeks without many tears and then one day, they just overflow and sometimes it doesn't seem like they'll stop.

It also must induce a type of fear or something too... fear of trying new things (that could be innate in me, though), fear of moving ahead, fear of the unknown. 

I keep thinking of so many things that I think would be fun or adventurous or smart to try, but I just can't move forward. I dream of a new baby puppy, but I'm sort of scared to take that on all by myself. I dream of a part-time job, but how do I even go out and let the world know that they need me on their team? I dream of downsizing and finding a house and yard that is more compact, but how do I even begin to get this house ready to sell?

It seems like the WISE thing to do is to proceed with caution... I mean, it hasn't even been very long since Harv died.  And, in some ways it's just now hittin' me. 

In the midst of a giant life-change for her, I remember Laura telling me that someone told her not to make any big decisions for a year. That seems right to me...and yet, I kinda feel antsy and like I need to DO something.

One or more of my children have said to just make one decision and then the rest will fall into place. I'm pretty sure that's right, too.

But, I think what it kinda boils down to is that my partner isn't here to bounce ideas off... (I know, though, that he'd encourage me to do what I wanted to do) And, whatever I take on is pretty much all mine... can't share with him the way I did before.

The other day I was walking and I was thinking about new puppy and I was reminded (as if Harv was right there in my head) of a time before we got Raney and he said "There's never a convenient time to get a puppy." Which kinda made me smile. 'Cause that's true. 

Maybe Raney and I need a little levity and puppiness in our house right now.

Who knows?

Thursday, February 11, 2016


I've been thinkin' about Valentine's Day and knowin' that Harv's not gonna be here for it. I've been kinda bothered about it, but not really upset 'cause it wasn't a GIGANTIC thing for us.  We would usually go out for a nice dinner and we'd give each other cards and sometimes he'd give me flowers and chocolate. But mostly, I haven't been terribly concerned that we wouldn't celebrate together.

Last night, as I was gettin' ready for bed, I noticed the stack of things on my bedside table. It's been buggin' me for a while 'cause it was gettin' too "tall" and things weren't sittin' flat. So, I decided to straighten things up.

I found this:

It's a book Harv made for me with 100 reasons why he loves me.

Call me crazy, but he was talkin' to me last night. He was sendin' me a very clear message.

I love you, too, Harv.


Monday, February 8, 2016

Thank you...

Sometimes I think about how good our family and friends have been to us from the very beginning of Harv's illness....and I still can't get over it. People continue to be good to me... I think I've written most of my thank you notes, but sometimes I think of individual things and wonder if I properly said "thank you" to everybody. 

Cards, letters, Facebook posts, emails, meals, flowers, yardwork, dog-walkin', toilet-cleanin', sittin' with me, arranging the details of his memorial service, showin' up for his memorial service...some of you from far, far away. It really IS a big deal that you helped throughout his illness and traveled here to be with us and helped celebrate the life of my good husband and are helping even now to lighten the burden of grief. 

It just blows my mind. Still.

For all of those things -- and many, many more -- I want to say "thank you." 

What a gift you all are to me...

Lots and lots and lots of love to you all.

Monday, February 1, 2016

Miss Scaredy Pants

When Harv and I were engaged, we talked about money. He loved to save. I loved to spend. I loved to spend more money than I actually had. Thus, when we were about to get married, I had some debt. Harv, wise man that he was, didn't think it was a good idea to start our marriage with debt. So he paid mine (after I ashamedly and reluctantly admitted how much there was). 

I knew that I never wanted to disappoint him by racking up debt ever again. We had a financial plan. We stuck to it.  And, while I have always been pretty good at spending, we both made sure that we were never in debt (not counting house payments and short-term loans on cars). And we were able to save as well.  

In addition to that, I happily turned over the managing of the finances to Harv when we got married. I loved not looking at checkbooks or investments or savings accounts. "Just tell me how much I can spend and I'll behave." Harv and I had occasional "financial summits" as we called them to discuss where we wanted to give, how much to put away, what financial goals we wanted to have. I never liked those even though I appreciated that HE appreciated my input and that we jointly made household $$ decisions. But, mostly, I ignored the finances (except for my weekly budget) and let him do his thing.

When he got sick, he tried to teach me how to handle the KBoards finances. He composed an instruction booklet with all the steps and sat with me as he taught me how things should go.  It all seemed like "blah blah blah" to me. I did it a time or two. And, then... he seemed to be handling his illness pretty well and so he went back to taking care of it again.  Whew! That was close! He took care of all of the finances for KBoards through the month of August -- which is pretty good 'cause he would've had to handle it into the month of September. Good man...

So! I've done it since October. I know pretty much what to do and I do it. But I reeeeeeeaaaaaaalllllyy hate it. 

It is now time to collect all of the papers and compile them in a neat pile and take them to Mr. Tax Man ('cause I'm not EVEN gonna try to handle the tax stuff THIS year!).  

But here's the thing... every time I have to handle the finances, I have a visceral reaction that literally brings me to tears. (I don't sob and I'm not out of control, but the tears DO come.) It feels like I'm forcing myself to conquer some giant physical obstacle that is terribly frightening. You know what I mean? The kind of thing where you know you MUST jump to save your life, but you don't want to? Or, the feeling like when you're in an airplane and there's turbulence and you hate it, but you can't do anything about it?  

Today I tried to figure out why I get such a physical reaction. And, I'm wondering if it's 'cause I'm scared I'm gonna do something wrong. What if I screw it all up? What if I disappoint Harv? What if I forget something? 

In my head, I know it's irrational. Harv has taken good care of us. I have people around me to help me. And, worst case scenario, I forget something....but most likely, if I forget to pay somebody, they will let me know and I might have to pay a little bit more.

But, here I am today... procrastinating the tax paper compilation 'cause.. YUCK. 

I will conquer it, though. I will do my best to make him proud. And, I know that each time I take a step, it gets easier...and next year will be easier than this year.  

Until then, I will tell myself, "GoFightWin!, Miss Scaredy Pants. GoFightWin!"

Saturday, January 30, 2016


Here's the thing... 

I am surrounded by love. Love from family and love from friends... Love expressed a million different ways. And I am very, very thankful. I look forward to times with friends. I love getting real mail...and email...and FB messages and posts.  

And, I look forward to time all alone. I love those evenings when nothing's on the calendar or the days when I have no errands to run and it's just me and Raney at home. I love that.

But sometimes....

Sometimes I want to do nothing with nobody and still have Harv in the house.

I'd love to fix dinner and eat it in front of the tv while we each do our separate thing. I'd love to tell him goodnight ('cause I get sleepy earlier than him) and then go on up to bed knowing that he's downstairs watching the commentary for a movie we watched. Or, stayin' up to watch "Jaws" or "Rocky" 'cause nobody else wanted to watch it with him.

And, I'd kind of like to be able to fuss at him 'cause he's too wiggly when he gets in the bed after I've almost fallen asleep.

I don't mind being alone... but I would prefer to be alone with him.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

For those of you who are not on FB or Instagram, here's what I did yesterday.  Teeny weensy way to remember Harv...

Those are Harv's intials... that he wrote and tattoo artist transferred to my ankle.
My friend, Laurie, held my hand. :-)

Monday, January 18, 2016

In 2006, Harv and I celebrated our 10th anniversary in Maui. It was lovely. We stayed at a resort hotel that was right on the beach. We ate good food. We explored. We sat by the pool that looked at the ocean. Harv snorkled. I tagged along on the snorkeling boat and gave it a shot.  We saw a mama and baby whale who might've been the last to leave Maui waters before heading up to Alaska. It was lovely.

When Harv was diagnosed in 2011, we arranged a trip for early 2012 to the same place we stayed before. What's not healing about staring at the ocean? We watched for whales (and saw more this time)... we relaxed by the pool again. We ate good food. We soaked in the Hawaiian air.

We came back in 2013 and again in 2015...  And, when we were here last year, we booked the trip for this week. (You have to make plans. You just can't stop making plans.)

I can't really explain it, but I kinda think he's here with me.  He's there in each sunset. He's out there with the whales. He's with me when I watch the kayakers (He's probably one of 'em).  He's in the sound of the ocean. And, if you keep up with my Facebook posts, you know that he's somehow connected to the people who are staying next door to us -- Canadians (one of whom has colon cancer), who are familiar with Lytton, BC and the people there who love Harv... 

But this time... this time when he's here in Maui with me... This time, he's not sick.

For that, I am grateful.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Swim with those whales, my good husband.
Swim and swim and swim and swim.
I love you.

Monday, January 4, 2016


Today I made a phone call (one of many that I've already made) to request a name change on an account. It wasn't a big deal. I've done it many times. And, what they required of me was very simple and I had everything I needed to do it... But, it turned on the emotional faucets. 

It's so weird to me 'cause I have gone through all of Christmas with very few tears shed and very little sadness... but give me some financial or legal things to handle and I'm a basket case.

I think it's 'cause I need Harvey here to help me solve these things. I need a partner to bounce ideas off and think things through with.

Grief is so weird.