Everything is the Same

This past week, I was staying in Massachusetts at my parent’s house. I hadn’t been there since December, when I was there for an entire month to help my mom through her cancer surgery / hysterectomy recovery (she is totally fine and clear now), so it’s been almost 5 months since I have seen my family. Since I was born and raised in small town Massachusetts, and moved to NYC when I was 18, that family includes everyone. My parents, my brother, his wife, and their two kids (my niece and nephew), Brian and Jillian. Plus; cousins, aunts, uncles, and many, many old friends from high school or from when I was growing up. Whenever I come back here, we spend a lot of time running around visiting this one and that one, catching up with everybody, and generally just enjoying being together with the people who I started my life with – the people who were in my world the most and helped me build the foundation of who I was the first 18 years of my life.

One thing I have noticed each time that I come back “home”, to my home state, to stay with my parents – is this weird paradox of how much everything and everyone changes, yet also stays the same. My parents are no longer in the same home that they were in for 45 years of their marriage – the home me and my brother grew up in and knew our whole childhood lives. They are now in a different home, in a different small town, and have slightly different lives and patterns than in years past. They are now both almost 71 years old, so my dad moves a little slower than he once did – and my mom puts the TV at a volume that some might call “blaring”, because her hearing is perhaps more impaired than it once was. My nephew is now almost 7 years old, and looks like a little man to me some days, as he plays on his soccer team or puts on his little reading glasses and plays his Leap Frog. My niece just turned 4, and she now talks and laughs and dances all around my parent’s house, asking us to watch her do pleas like a ballerina, or sing along to the latest pop song and knowing the words way more than any of us do. My brother seems and acts much more like a real-life dad and a working husband now, than the little pain-in-the-ass kid I remember growing up with. Our friends are all aging, or changing, or switching jobs, or living dreams, trying new things, creating new milestones, buying new homes, moving to new states, surviving through loss, adding new elements and love and volumes to their lives. On the outside, it looks and might feel as if everything has changed, and continues to change.

But it hasn’t. Not really. That’s not the full story.

As much as everything and everyone has changed through the years, they have also stayed very much the same. There are certain aspects of people that will always remain the same. My mom is still one of the best cooks I know, and she still loves making her very grown up children feel loved and feel like kids again, through homemade food and precious family moments. My dad is still a big strong teddy bear who worries about his little girl, and who does whatever he can in practical ways, to make sure she is always safe. My nephew Brian still has the same big and full laugh that he had when he was just 2 years old, and my niece still makes that same quizzical face with her eyes raised that she made when she was only a few years younger. My old high school friends that I catch up with now and then, still have the same great sense of humor and wit that I remember them having all those years ago. My brother still loves his Red Sox, and still gets all worked up when I banter with him about how much better the Yankees are than his team. The small town that I grew up in still gives me that warm, familiar feeling when I drive through it – and coming home to Massachusetts and to my ever-growing and changing family, still feels like coming home.

And what about me? Sure, my husband’s sudden death has changed me forever. How could it not? It has changed me in such intense ways, it is almost impossible to put that into words. His death has made me live my life in new ways. It has made me more compassionate. It has changed my goals and dreams. It has changed how I spend my time, and what things are important to me. It has also given me more anxiety, panic, PTSD, fear, and hurt and pain than I could have ever imagined. At the same time, it has given me resilience, strength, patience (still working on that one), and open-mindedness, like I have never felt before. Yes, I am very different than I once was. The death of the person you love most in the world, changes you forever, from the inside out. It just does. But despite all of that, I am also the same. The essence of who I am is the same.

Why am I saying all of this? Well, something that I have heard often from other widowed people, is the idea that if their dead spouse or partner were to somehow return and come back and walk into their life right now, that they wouldn’t recognize that life, or that they would no longer fit into that life – that the person who has survived the trauma and lives with the loss, had changed so much, that they would no longer be compatible with the person who died. This is something that widowed people talk about with one another – this idea about how our dead loved ones would fit into our lives today – or if they would fit at all. It seems to be of popular opinion for many, that their person would no longer fit into their “new life” – the one they were forced to create when their person died. The one that took years and years to create, and that stole pieces of their soul as they created it. Not everyone feels this way, of course, but I’ve heard many widowed friends say that their deceased partner might not even recognize them, or that the person they have now become, would probably not be with the person who had died. And it isnt even really about the fact that some widowed people have gotten re-married or re-partnered. Its more about the fact that some widowed people feel that they have, in a sense, grown out of the life they had with the person who died. They feel that the person they are now, is SO drastically different than who they were in that life, that the pieces would no longer fit.

Now, normally, I don’t even like to go down these types of roads, these types of; “what if they could come back? What if you had to choose between the life you have now or the life you had with them?” questions. Why? Because it makes zero sense to do this. You can talk about this all day until you’re blue in the face, and you can tell yourself that you would go back to them in a second and all of that great stuff, but guess what? IT”S NEVER GOING TO HAPPEN!!!! NOBODY IS EVER GOING TO PRESENT YOU WITH THAT CHOICE! NEVER! So why pain yourself even further by making hypothetical decisions about something that has ZERO chance of happening in real life? I don’t see the point in that. However, with this idea of “growing out of” the person I love who died – or changing so much that they wouldnt recognize me anymore, I felt the need to address it here in my blog. Because I strongly disagree with it. I have thought about this a lot over the past almost 5 years, and I have come to the realization that this assessment is simply not true. Not for me.

The best way for me to try and describe how I feel about my beautiful husband Don fitting into my life today, is to tell you about the first time that we met. We had been talking online and on the phone , for just under three years. I was not ready emotionally to meet him in person for a very long time, due to some trauma in my own life that had severely damaged my heart and turned me into someone who no longer believed in love or good things happening for me. But the frightening and sobering events of 9/11 made us both realize how insanely short life is, and how it was absolutely worth it to take a risk on love – and so I finally agreed to meet my beautiful Don, in the fall of 2002.

He lived in Florida at the time, and me in New Jersey. So he flew from Florida into Newark airport, where I met him, and where we spent the next week slowly and very quickly falling in love with each other. That moment I finally saw Don walking toward me at the airport – after three years of foreplay and anxiousness through phone calls and words – my palms were sweating, my heart was shaking, my soul was awakened. When he was standing in front of me for the first time ever, after three years of talking only with typing and voices, it was terrifying. We looked at each other quizzically, as if trying to figure out a new puzzle, or something we had not yet seen before. For the first twenty minutes or so of us being together in person, it was a matter of trying to re-familiarize ourselves with what was somehow already familiar. We had already known each other, but this was new. This “looking into each other’s eyes” part of things was scary and strange. But by the time we collected his luggage and were sitting on the bus together back to my Jersey apartment, his hand found its way into mine – and everything that was strange or foreign about him only a few minutes ago, suddenly felt familiar again. It was as if we just looked at one another and collectively thought: “Oh. It’s YOU!”

That is how I picture it being, if the impossible were to happen, and my beautiful husband could somehow waltz back into my life today. If he walked into the living room of my parent’s house, which is no longer the house he knew. Sure, my hair might be a little longer or I may have gained or lost some weight again. He might be surprised by how I’ve learned to be more patient like him, or by all the many things that have taken place in my life since he died. He might have to re-adjust himself to my new world, and meet all the new people I have met in the time since he has gone from earth. He would be ecstatic beyond words that I have connected on levels we never expected or saw coming with his adult nephew, his half-sister Cynthia, and his friend and fellow co-worker back in Florida. The new people I have met because of his death and because of what I have tried to do in the life after it – his heart would be full beyond words.

In those first few moments of seeing each other again, we might look at each other and, at first, see only unfamiliar and fear. But then, after a few minutes or so, his hand would find it’s way to my hand, and everything that once was about us, would simply return, or remain in place just where it always had been sitting. My husband would look around my parent’s new home, see our nephew, meet our niece for the first time, and then go out and have a game of catch with my brother, or talk with my dad about cars and baseball, just like they always did. And when I went to hug him again for the first time, I would find that his hugs are still the same best hugs in the world that they have always been. He would still make me feel like everything is okay forever, and like I’m always safe and protected when I’m in his arms. He would still smell like fresh laundry, and his eyes would still be that gorgeous blue like the sky, and his soul and heart would be the same one I fell in love with, all those years ago.

Sure, things would be different. But more importantly, everything would be the same. We would look at one another, and in ourselves, we would re-discover what was already there. In each other, it would still be Home. My husband would look at me, pause for a second , and then say, as if it were obvious from the first moment:

“Oh. It’s you. ”

And I would say back:

“Welcome home, Boo. You have no idea how much I’ve missed you.”

The 5-Year Itch

This July 13th will be the 5-Year mark. 5 years since my beautiful husband Don, left for work, and never came home. 5 years since I got that terrible bone-chilling phone call that jarred me awake at 6:30 am, and changed my life forever. 5 years that I have been a widow. In addition to this being my fifth year of widowhood, it also brings with it some other heavy milestones.

The 5-year death anniversary day will actually fall on a Wednesday for the first time – which is, of course, the day of the week that he died. And as of April 13th, just a few weeks ago, I have now been a widow for longer than I was married. On April 13th, Don had been dead 4 years and 9 months, and I was married exactly 4 years and 9 months. That reality felt and continues to feel so incredibly sad to me.

Also, this coming October, will be the “would have been 10 years” wedding anniversary. I can already feel that one churning my insides and hurting like hell. So, this whole “5 Years” thing feels like a pretty big deal. It just FEELS big in every single way. It feels emotional on so many levels. It feels like a giant shift in something, or like it should be a giant shift in something. Im feeling a lot of push and pull – old life, new life. That life, this life. This 5-year thing is really doing a number on my brain cells. I feel exhausted just from thinking so deeply about how much being widowed for 5 years has affected my entire being. Here are just a few of the things that I’m feeling as this 5-year mark approaches. Maybe some of you who are here now or who have already been here, can relate. I call it the 5-Year Itch ……

1. RESTLESSNESS. I feel restless. Like every single thing in my life is suddenly up in the air, and I’m completely unsure about everything. I am questioning everything this year. My current job situation, my living situation, even considering leaving NYC for good, which I always said I could never ever do, but everything feels like it’s time for a change, but a change to WHAT, I have no idea. I’m restless and bored and sort of walking away from things that don’t feel like they are feeding my soul or challenging me anymore. I have this need to live a life with more meaning, and I no longer feel ties to anywhere that I am. It is a very odd feeling. I have trouble sitting still lately, but when I get up to move, I don’t seem to know what to do with myself. I find myself just wandering from room to room, day to day, and week to week, searching for something that seems to be forever invisible. What the hell am I looking for???

2. PROFOUND. My relationship with my dead husband feels different. It has for awhile now, but this year especially. This year, I feel like I can actually really feel him around me … his energy, helping me, guiding me, sending me signs and putting people into my path to help me live, and just this strong feeling that we are still a team and always will be. He is still my teammate, but now he’s more like a life coach who just keeps attempting to show me the way. When I miss him, which is all the time of course, even that feels different. Our whole relationship feels more profound.

3. CONNECTED. I feel connected to everything in a way I never have before, like this huge realization over and over that we are all somehow connected in the universe – and yet – a lot of the very early feelings of grief from YEAR ONE are sneaking up on me again, out of nowhere, or when I feel like Ive just “lost” someone or something.

4. CHANGES. I keep having this feeling , like, SOMETHING NEEDS TO HAPPEN, or I need to make something happen. Something different. Something big. I can’t even explain it. Just this weirdly intense urge to kick things up a notch.

5. LETTING GO OF UNHELPFUL PEOPLE. I’m letting people and things fade out of my life, that no longer fit into my life. I no longer care nearly as much what other people think about how I cope or grieve, and I have no problem letting you go if I don’t feel like you’re someone who is helpful in my life. This is REALLY weird for me, because I’ve never been that way before, but this year, I am.

6. ITS NO LONGER OKAY WITH ME THAT I COULD BE ALONE FOREVER. I am more saddened and terrified at the idea of “being alone for the rest of my life” than I ever have been before. For 4 years after Don’s death, I told myself and convinced myself that I no longer needed love in my life anymore, and that my time for that was up. In year 5, the lonely factor has been kicked up big-time. Maybe its because I went 4 years with nothing, in terms of dating and relationships. Maybe its because Im just getting older and thinking about this kind of stuff. Or maybe after 4 years of sitting home alone on Saturday nights with my cats, Im just over it. But for whatever reason, I do NOT want to be alone anymore. Especially when I’m old. I do not want to live the rest of my life ALONE. I want a partner to go through the horrible scary painful stuff with, and to create new moments with. Spending the rest of my days alone is no longer acceptable in my heart, and I know my husband doesnt want me to be all alone with nobody to protect me, keep me safe, and help me through life. I know how to be alone. I did it for years before I met Don, and Ive done it for the past almost 5 years without him. I dont want to do it anymore. It scares me just thinking about it.

7 OPENNESS. I am SO much more open to new things, new types of people, new plans, NO plans, just trying something, seeing how it feels, whatever. I find that I no longer have any expectations about most things, good or bad, and I just sort of take things day by day with no real idea of whats coming next. This is terrifying and not at all natural for me, but also just the way it is.

8. LOSING PIECES. I feel like there are now more things in my life that are NOT connected to Don, than things that ARE connected to Don. This scares me. I hate it. It saddens me. I fear that I will keep losing pieces of him as the years go on. I find that I continue to look for things , people, and ways of staying connected to him always. Anyone who is connected to him in some way, I automatically feel a connection TO. I want to live life now much more than I want to die, but I want Don to come with me, and I always feel like he is slowly fading into the background, just out of reach. I don’t want that to ever happen, but I fear it every day.

These are just some of the strange emotions I have been having during year 5 of this weird new life. Im not sure what any of it means, or if it means anything at all. All I know is that this 5th year feels different and strange and surreal, in every single way imaginable. I will say that I do feel a lot of growth, a lot of healing, and a lot of changes within me, for the better. I am much more able to focus on the love, and have mostly started to let go of the guilt, the anger, and the intense pain that comes from holding on to all of those things. These days, I just miss him with the fierceness of a billion suns, and I know I always will. But I also know now, that he comes alive and stays alive within me and in the universe, each and every time that I say YES to more life.

The Champ

So let’s get right to it. For the first 3.5 years after my beautiful husband died, the very idea of dating or “someone else”, literally made me sick to my stomach. It made me feel physically ill, and I couldn’t even discuss it without having a slight panic attack. The idea of someone else talking to me, touching me, or being anywhere near me, made me want to vomit. That’s just the way it was, and I didn’t spend much time thinking about it. I was in way too much grief to even come around to THINKING about how freakin’ lonely I was.

Then, around the beginning of year 4, there was a slight shift inside me, for no reason whatsoever, or because it was finally time for that shift to happen, that went from feeling physically ill – to feeling sort of “okay” with the idea, but still not willing to actively pursue anyone. Then, about 10 months ago, someone appeared out of the blue. This person was not pursuing me, and I was not pursuing them. But they appeared in such a way and at such a time that it felt like it was meant to happen. This person was not only a fellow widow(er), but also knew my husband. We started talking, and over time, building a budding and wonderful friendship. We met in person in March, and our connection felt more real, because now I could touch it. I could look into this person’s face, and in it, I saw not only kindness and a beautiful soul, but also being around this person face to face gave me this overwhelming feeling of protection and safety – like Don had specifically chosen this man to protect me, because he could no longer do it himself. The details of why I feel this way don’t matter here, because I want to protect this person’s privacy, but the time we spent together over those few days was meaningful, beautiful, and the perfect mix of familiar and brand new, all in the same moment.

When I returned home, I was very excited about this connection. Several people, even total strangers, told me over and over again that I was glowing, asking me point blank: “Have you met someone?” I thought the answer was yes, because when I left this person, we seemed to be on the same page as far as continuing things at a turtle’s pace – but as it turns out, this person is nowhere near ready for a relationship or commitment of any kind. This person is not in a place, emotionally, to move forward with me. He is very aware of how I feel, and he agrees that there is something between us, but now is not the right time. So, we continue to be wonderful friends, and I have chosen to trust in the outcome, and to have faith in the possibilities and potential of what we might become. I’m kind of a romantic like that. Plus, I really do feel this is coming from my husband Don, and he would never steer me wrong. He has sent me sign after sign after sign, that this is him who sent me this person. And I am listening.

Meanwhile, the act of spending time with this person and going out with them to dinner and breakfast and many other things and places – it gave me just a tiny taste of remembering what it’s like to have that special person in your life again. It reminded me what it’s like to spend time with someone who thinks you are special or pretty or who holds the door open for you or kisses your hand and forehead. (Seriously – who does that??? This amazing guy, that’s who.) When I got back home, I started to think to myself just how much I MISS all of that in my life. Having someone to do things with on weekends. Go to dinner with. See a movie with. Holding hands. All of it. So, in a conversation with my incredibly smart friend, she suggested that while this person that I very much care about can only be my friend right now and nothing more, that perhaps I would be a better friend to HIM, if I were getting my own needs met elsewhere; i.e; going out on a casual date now and then. Perhaps if I could have that back in my life again here and there, I would be more content, and therefore, not be pushing my friend to go places he isn’t ready to go right now. This seemed like the most insane idea in the world to me when she suggested it, but the next day, I got an email from a popular dating site, offering one month free membership. Next thing I knew, I was creating a profile and putting up my pictures. That was about 4 weeks ago.

And let me tell you, the past four weeks have been a complete shit-show. (one of my dead husband’s favorite terms, so I figured it was appropriate here.)

Here is what I have learned in four weeks:

Dating sucks. Dating on dating sites sucks even more. The last time I “dated” was decades ago. As in, the mid 1990’s. NOTHING is anywhere near close to the same anymore. First of all, nobody speaks to one another. Nobody knows how to have a conversation. People no longer talk on the telephone. They text. As in, right away. And if you ask them to speak on the phone, they type back in a little box that they “dont have time for all that.” Really? But you have time to sit here and type back and forth like robots? The way this particular site works is that it shows you pictures and profile info about a member, then you click YES or NO on if you’d like to chat with them further. If the feeling is mutual and you both want to talk, the chat box opens up and you can type back and forth. The purpose of this is to keep everything anonymous and safe at first, so you can chat within the confines of the site without giving out phone numbers or even names until you are more comfortable. (most members use a screenname instead of their actual name.)

At first, only seconds after I joined, I was feeling a bit cocky and good about myself, because I was getting a BOATLOAD of chat requests. “Well this isn’t so bad”, I naively thought to myself. Then I started clicking on them. This is when I quickly realized that this was going to be a train-wreck of epic proportions. Here is just a short sample of a few of my first day chat conversations. And no, I am NOT exagerrating or joking. These are 100% real. Names have been changed, obviously. Everything else, real:

John: Hey gorgeous

Me: Hi there, how are you doing today?

John: I’ll be better when you’re pressing those titties on my face.


Greg: Hey Darlin … sup???

Me: Doing okay tonight, how about yourself?

Greg: I don’t have time to talk on here. Here’s my digits. Hit me up right now 714-6**-****. Ill be waiting.

END CHAT. (this was 90% of the chats. They DEMAND your number or demand to give you theirs IMMEDIATELY.)

Carlos: Hey baby, I love brunettes. You got nice curves too. Any chance you are kind of bossy and could boss me around and tell me what to do, insult me a little?


Carlos: Oh yeah, that’s so hot …..


Tom: Hey Sweetie. Love your long hair. I hope you don’t have any of that going on below though. I like my women to be nice and clean , totally shaven. Hit me up (phone #)


Yeah. WOW.

That is just a small sample of the moronic crap I’ve been dealing with the past few weeks. Most of these people, as you can see, just want something sexual, with someone they don’t even know at all. Then there is the category of men who chat with you, call you on the phone, have a number of nice conversations with you, and then completely disappear forever with zero explanation. This happened to me with 3 different people I was talking to.I am told by others that all of this is “normal”, and that you have to weed through all the crap in order to get to the good and decent guys that are supposedly on these things. It’s sort of like shopping at Marshall’s or TJ Maxx. You gotta spend 3 hours rummaging through 18 racks of awful clothes to find one pretty good pair of jeans.

There are no manners in today’s dating world. No class. No sense of building a foundation of some kind. No courtship of any kind, which is disappointing, because I really do love romance and courtship. The person I met a couple months ago is such a true gentleman, and I absolutely love that. He doesn’t realize just how rare and special he is, but I do, especially now. Today’s dating world is thoughtless. Just mindless and pointless texting that leads to more nothingness. The whole thing is extremely depressing. And just when you think you MAY have found a decent one, you still haven’t. There was one guy who seemed normal, sweet, and we had a nice long chat online. He gave me his number and I called him, and we had a nice phone call too. Our phone call was not sexual in nature by any means, but after we hung up, he sent me a text telling me how sexy my phone voice is. I said thank you and left it alone. Then, two minutes later, he sent me a long-winded voicemail where he basically “got himself off” while describing all the things he would do to me. I WASN”T EVEN ON THE OTHER END OF THE PHONE!!! Later, he left another one. In this one, he referred to his penis, several times, as “The Champ.” As in, “The Champ is so ready and big for you right now. The Champ is monstrous. The Champ is standing at attention.” Finally, I texted him back and told him that “The Champ” would be getting a call from the police soon, if he didn’t stop leaving me these sick voicemails. He stopped. “The Champ” finally threw in the towel.

And then there was my first date. An actual human male that I met for drinks and dinner in person, a couple of weeks ago. We had talked in the mindless chat box, then on the phone twice, and he lives local-ish, so we agreed to meet up in the city at a Cuban restaurant. The evening was nice, but there was no spark between us. It had a friendship vibe, but we laughed and talked and had a seemingly nice time. I would give it around a B- if I had to rate it. At the end, we hugged each other goodbye, and I got back on the subway to come home. In that moment, all I could think about was how if this was my friend that I met in March, he would have been a gentleman and made sure he put me in a cab home, would have made damn sure I got home safely. This guy held the doors open for me at the restaurant, but it didn’t feel genuine. It felt like he was showing off. By the end of the night, once he realized in his own head that he wasn’t into me or that he wasn’t “getting any” or whatever, all the “gentleman-like” behavior stopped. By the end of the night, he was over it.

The next morning, I woke up, and I decided to leave him a message on the site just thanking him for the date and saying I had a nice time, and maybe we will do it again some time. You know, because that is what a polite person does. A few minutes later, I received this message response:

“I will not be seeing you again. I do not date fat girls. You do not look fat in your pictures on the site, but you are fat in person. And I don’t go out with fat girls. Bye.” When I tried to respond back, he had made his account so that I could no longer reach him. He had disappeared with no explanation, as these men seem to like to do.

I was crushed. Not because I give a shit what he thinks – I didn’t really even like him. I was crushed because this is what is out there for me. Crushed because some men are so shallow and mean. Crushed because I didn’t want to do this in the first place, and it was supposed to be fun, and I was supposed to have a lighthearted and fun time with it. Crushed because talking to these idiots and trying to navigate these stupid conversations and figure out what their agenda is and who is being honest and who is going to disappear after a really nice conversation – is really exhausting and not what I want to be doing with my time. Crushed because I’m 44 years old, and I am so tired of being alone. Crushed because NONE of this would be happening, if my husband wasn’t forever and always DEAD.

On my drive to work that morning, just an hour or so after this had happened, I spoke to my friend on the phone. I had to pull over to talk to him because I was sobbing and felt like I was having a panic-attack. I told him what had happened, and told him about why I’ve been doing the dating site thing, and how none of these clowns even come close to the true gentlemen and beautiful soul that he is – and he listened and he said all the right and supportive and lovely things that a good friend should say. And it was the most real and meaningful conversation I have had in weeks – just sitting there pulled over in the car, talking with my beautiful friend – which is right where I wanted to be in the first place.

Love after loss is not for the weak of heart, folks.

Strap yourselves in. It’s going to get extremely bumpy.


Slight update: Since that awful first date experience, I have talked with and met one really nice guy through this dating site stuff, and we had a really nice time together and will probably hang out again at some point. I have also been talking with a couple others that are very nice people, and it’s been interesting, to say the least. My friends and family keep saying how “proud” of me they are, for “getting out there again”, for trying this, for daring to open my heart again, and for not waiting around for someone who isn’t ready, and instead, putting myself first and getting this dating thing out of my system.

But the truth is, its extremely exhausting. The truth is, I’d rather be talking to my friend on the phone, than going out with most of these people, or spending time trying to navigate all of this. I’m not sure how much more energy or time I really want to devote to this little project. It was supposed to be fun – a way to just be part of the social dating world again for awhile and feel human again and loved again, because I’m finally ready for that and longing for that. And because the person that I want those things WITH isn’t in a place to be able to do that with me, so I’ve been trying to find pieces of that magic in other places. But the truth is, you can’t re-create magic. What I have with this person, is special between US, and will remain between us. I won’t find pieces of that by looking for it somewhere else. So I’ll just have to hold onto it and keep on keeping the faith that one day this person, who is most likely reading this right now, will realize that I AM FUCKING AWESOME, and he should just be with me already because life is really fucking short and why not help each other through it and have some joy within our pain. In the meantime, this dating stuff is starting to feel like work, and I’m not even getting paid for it. It really is like shopping at a flea market or yard sale, and I always hated yard sales. Too much junk.

All I wanted was to go out now and then on a Saturday night, and have a date and be treated nicely and have that feeling of slight euphoria when you come home, at the thought of something new. It doesn’t have to mean anything or go anywhere, except just two people who are hanging out together, because they are tired of sitting home alone with their cat. Is that really too much to ask for? Apparently, it just might be. I wanted this to be SIMPLE. But nothing about dating in today’s world is simple. It is cruel, dismissive, and thoughtless.

And people wonder why so many people drink. Or eat cake.

I’m gonna need a lot of cake to deal with these clowns.

Tribute to My Mom on Mother’s Day …

When you are a little girl, and if you are lucky enough to have the kind of mom that I have, your mom is your protector. You look to her for support and comfort and answers. You watch what she does and how she does it, and you want to be like her. If you have the kind of mom that I have, she encourages you to be like yourself, and to be who you are.

When you are a little older, in your teenage years, you suddenly find yourself pushing away from your mom. Something inside of that adolescent and rebellious body wants to yank that mom away, because you are striving to be independent, and you don’t want to feel like you need her. You watch what she does and how she does it, and you do the opposite. If you have the kind of mom that I have, she is hurt by this, but she understands that it is necessary in order for you to become who you truly are. So she steps back, and waits.

mom seventies

When you are old enough and you decide to leave your small town life and attend college for theatre and live in NYC, she is sad that you are leaving and that you will now live 4 hours away. But this is not what she focuses on. Instead, she takes you on a trip to NYC to look at colleges, and to make sure that this is really something you want and something you can handle. She comes to all of your plays and visits often. She encourages you to live your dreams, and tells you she is proud of who you have become.

When you are 35, and you have fallen in love and decide to marry the man that you plan on sharing the rest of your life with, your mom supports your choice to have the wedding in New York, and she co-officiates it, and finds a seamstress friend of hers to make your original “Christmas, silver-toned” wedding gown. She fixes your veil about 45 times in a row, when it keeps falling off in the wind, and she doesn’t mind at all when you finally say that you hate the veil and don’t want to wear it anymore. She takes in your husband like a second son, and makes him part of the family – the kind of family that he never got to have growing up. She makes him his favorite meals on his birthday, and wraps up gifts in a stocking for him on his first Christmas with you, and dances the “mother-son” dance with him on his wedding day, because his own mother is too dysfunctional to attend. She spends the next four and a half years loving you, as she always did – and loving your husband, as if she always had.

mom shower carmines

When you are 39, and you wake up one horrific morning to find that you are suddenly widowed, your mom is your rock. Your breath. Your sanity. She is the first phone call you make, when the nurses hand you the phone in that tiny, private room where your world changed forever. She is stunned into silence, and she is in her car immediately, driving the 4 hours to get to you, so that you don’t have to be alone for any longer than a person should be. She holds down the fort at your apartment, and handles the chaos and the fog of friends and people that fill the living room, not knowing what to say or do. She becomes the buffer that they talk to while you run into the bathroom, run the shower water, and sob. She stays with you in your apartment, so that you don’t have to face that first – or second – or third night, alone, with the knowledge that he is not coming home. She puts aside her own pain in order to let you feel yours. She is your protector. You don’t know how to walk or breathe or speak anymore, and so , just like when you were a little girl, she shows you. She allows you to become who you are, all over again.


In the coming weeks and months and years after the death that rocked your universe, she helps you put the pieces of your life back together. She tells you over and over that you always have a home there in Massachusetts, with them. When you tell her that you NEED to stay in New York and pursue your dreams, now more than ever, she supports you and worries about you and tells you she is proud. She never tells you how to feel, and never tells you to “get over it” or that it’s “time to move on.” In fact, she often says: “I cannot imagine how you feel.” She reads everything that you write so that she can attempt to understand better how you might feel. She thanks the friends and family that have stuck by you, and comes to your defense against those that haven’t. She never judges you, or tries to change your mind or heart on how you need to process and feel. She doesn’t take it personally when you decide it is too painful to spend your first, or second, Christmas with the family – the way you had done for years. She is probably hurt by this, but she understands that this is necessary in order for you to become who you are now – and she comprehends that you will never be the same person that you were, before you lost “your person”, to death. She does whatever she can to help you, and she understands that sometimes, she simply cannot help you.

I am writing this today, not only to let you know how much I love you and how aware I am of what a beautiful mom I have, but also to show you how much you HAVE helped me. Thank you for being the kind of mom that promotes these kinds of words. Thank you for always supporting me in becoming the person that I needed to become, and then become again.