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Matt and I were together for 10 wonderful years - met in 1998, married in 2002, until his untimely death on November 15, 2008. We have two beautiful, healthy children - Jacob (born 5/04) and Sydney (born 5/07)... the most precious gifts he could have ever given me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

A great message...

One of my godmother's daughters sent me a note with a photocopied article. She said in the note, "Mom carried this in her wallet and we read it at her service."


After a while you learn the subtle
Between holding a hand and
chaining a soul,
And you learn that love doesn't
mean security,
And you begin to learn that
kisses aren't contracts
And presents aren't promises
And you begin to accept your defeats
With your head up and your eyes
With the grace of a woman, not
the grief of a child,
And you learn to build all your
On today because tomorrow's ground
Is too uncertain. And futures have
A way of falling down in mid-
After a while you learn that even
sunshine burns if you get too much.
So you plant your own garden
and decorate your own soul, instead
of waiting
For someone to bring you flowers.
And you learn that you really
can endure . . .
That you really are strong,
And you really do have worth
And you learn and learn
With every goodbye you learn.

-Veronica A. Shoftstall

Thank you so much, Lynn. All of my love to your family.....

Monday, March 21, 2011

Losing ground...

WARNING: Lots of whining and complaining contained in this post.

A decent portion of the time, I feel like I'm handling my responsibilities relatively well. It was only maybe a week and a half ago I was feeling like I was caught up with everything and maybe staying a little ahead of the game. About three days after that rare and wonderful feeling, it unravelled. Rapidly. I'm failing at everything.

My house is filthy, the dirty laundry is out of hand, dishes are piled up, I'm behind on my project for Soaring Spirits, my mail for the past month is in three messy piles on my dining room table (I can't remember the last time I saw the entire surface of that table), and I still haven't taken any steps to get my taxes done. Yet, I have managed to make an appointment to get new internet service, and I'm writing this post from my new Mac. At least I don't have the frustration of working with a computer that, even after getting the viruses cleared out, still would freeze up and worked at a snail's pace when it did decide to work.

I'm behind with everything, and I keep saying that when I'm caught up, that's when I'll sit down and update my blog. However, I have a strong feeling that if I waited for that to happen, I'd never write another post, so here I am.

It's pretty bad when your six year old son even asks when you're gonna clean the tub, or when I'm gonna do the laundry so he has some clean pajamas, or when I'm gonna do this or do that... What was my response to my sweet little boy? I told him I didn't need another husband, thankyouverymuch. Especially when my husband didn't even grill me like that (not that he had to - I kept up well with all that stuff when he was around, and what I didn't do, he did without batting an eye. I was lucky).

I actually don't mind doing everything myself. I'm kind of a control freak anyway, so it fits well with my personality I suppose. It's just that there's not enough time in a day, and not enough energy in my body. On top of that, I suspect I've started peri-menopause, which given all the symptoms I've been having, is a logical answer. Fatigue, crazy emotions, foggy-brained, hot flashes, and migraine headaches that I've been getting recently. When I looked into the headaches, the description I found for the particular migraine I've been getting fit me to a T, and the description also happened to mention that they are somewhat rare, but are more common in women going through peri-menopause. Of course, I would get even the obscure symptoms of this lovely stage of life. And, this stage can last anywhere from two to ten years before hitting full-blown menopause. My sister is on year eight - she was about my age when hers started.

It seems like I'm not the only one feeling unravelled lately... Everyone who I've talked to who I'm close to has been feeling the same way. Is it the moon? Apparently it's the first time in about 18-20 years that the combination of a full moon plus it's close proximity to the Earth has occurred. The earthquakes, tsunamis... something big is happening. Is that responsible for all the uneasy, disconnected, stressed-out, manic feelings? And WHY can't the U.S. just keep their noses out of everyone else's business and focus on taking care of the people in their OWN country?? Our system needs some major overhauling, but we're so focused on everyone else's problems that we're not taking care of our own right here.

All I know is I have to get my ass in gear and get through this pile of mail, laundry, dishes, clean out the bunny cage, call AT&T and see if they're going to install a wireless router when they come here Wednesday, call Charter to let them know I'm dumping them, call my allergist to let him know I'm not going forward with the allergy shots (after going through years and years of this in Buffalo, I just can't bring myself to start this again), make emergency earthquake kits for the kids and I, get a Microsoft Office program installed on my computer, and answer emails... This doesn't even count all the emotional shit I deal with on a daily basis (which I'd like to think I usually have a good handle on, too). Everything feels overwhelming and I can't keep up. I just want to sleep.

Oh - does anyone want a computer armoire? It's still sitting in the back of my van. It was nearly impossible to get it in there in the first place for the (cancelled) yard sale for the school, and I can't bring myself to get it back out, only to have to put it back in there again. Maybe I'll just try selling it on Craigslist again. Another thing to add to my To Do list.

I'm just overwhelmed by EVERYTHING...................................................

Sunday, March 13, 2011

The Widow Card.

I try not to use Matt's death as an excuse for too much (although I pretty much blame everything bad that happens on it). I will use it as an excuse for my own shortcomings, like being late getting the kids to school, or being late with a bill, or wasting a whole raw chicken because it sat in the fridge too long before I got around to cooking it, or any of the other countless things I screw up, although I never blame those things on his death out loud - usually only in my head.

I did get out of a speeding ticket with The Widow Card (which, in my defense, I used inadvertently), but this time, I premeditated its use.

From the beginning of Sydney's preschool year, there has been a ton of turnover with the teachers. There is usually one main teacher for the morning and early afternoon shift and one for the mid to late afternoon shift, and each of those teachers have a teacher's aide. The first main teacher that started the school year was there for one day and left. Since then, there had been about six total changes in personnel. Fortunately, Sydney is pretty easy to adjust and has done well despite the constant changes in the classroom. I'm pretty easy-going as well, and it wasn't until this latest change that was the last straw for me. The "permanent" teacher that just started in Sydney's class a few weeks ago has a very experienced teacher (Mrs. S.) helping to train her and acting as her aide. Mrs. S. is respected and adored by all of her current and former students, as well as their parents. Naturally, Sydney and I have fallen in love with her, too. So when I heard that last Thursday was supposed to be her last day in that classroom, I had enough.

I spoke with one of the parents that has been very actively involved with everything happening in that room from the beginning of the school year about the issue. As Adrian and I talked, she kept saying, "THAT's what you should say to the principal!" She had already spoken with the principal herself, but the decision still stood. So in support of this parent and speaking on behalf of the others and the children (we certainly aren't the only ones who feel that Mrs. S. should stay at least until the end of the school year), I decided to speak with the principal as well, and tell her the same things I said to Adrian.

When I first brought up the subject to the principal, she kind of cut me off to tell me she already talked to the other parent and there are simply no more funds in which to pay Mrs. S. to stay. I continued, anyway: When I dropped Sydney off the first day of school, she was so excited to be there that she never looked back at me while I was walking away ("Don't let the door hit you on the way out, Ma!"). She's not clingy, and enjoys school very much. However, lately, she's been clutching my leg and crying when I have to leave which is not like her. I blame the constant changes in the classroom for this. I didn't even know Miss Claudia left (one of the aides) until I asked Sydney where she was, and Sydney's reply to me was, "She's never coming back." When I heard her say this, lots of thoughts crossed my mind - how we (parents) had no notification of this, how utterly ridiculous the turnover has gotten, and just what is Sydney's understanding of "never coming back?" Does she think Miss Claudia died, or does she understand that she is just not working there anymore? I not only had no idea of the change, but I had no idea what, if anything, had been explained to the kids. With all this in mind, I wanted to make sure that Sydney understood that Miss Claudia didn't die (since my kids have way more personal experience with death than a lot of other kids their age), so I explained to Sydney that Miss Claudia is alive, she just isn't coming back to her job at this school.

At this point, the principal is near tears, which wasn't my intention, but at least she was listening.

I continued: Now that we have the permanent teacher and Mrs. S. in the classroom, Sydney hasn't been clinging to me as much, but I know that if there's another change - especially if Mrs. S. leaves- it's going to have another adverse effect on Sydney and I'll have to start from scratch prying her off my leg again, and I know she won't be the only one that will be affected. I understand there are budget issues, but even if Mrs. S. stays a couple of days a week, it's better than taking her away from the kids all together. At least until the end of the school year. The kids need some consistency and stability.

With all that, the principal said she would try re-working the numbers over the weekend, and lo and behold, they were able to come up with enough funds to keep Mrs. S. on three days a week!!

I only use my powers for good.

For more entertaining and inspirational posts about The Widow Card and the powers associated with it, check out this great source: Widow's Voice Blog

The Ides of March.

Again, so many thoughts... swirling around my head, multiplying... This time, they're not keeping me awake; I'm too exhausted to have anything keep me awake these days, but they do stop me in my tracks during the day and cause me to forget what I'm doing for the moment, and it takes me forever to accomplish one thing from start to finish. Well, I've had that challenge for about two and a half years...

When I was growing up, my mom always dreaded the month of March. She told me nothing good ever happens that month. It started with her grandmother's death in March, then her mother, then her mother's sister (years apart, of course).

Fortunately, I never paid much attention to that, and March wasn't tainted for me. It's only recently that I've started to realize that March does seem to have a dark cloud over it. My good friend's wife died in late March, and soon as March 1st hit, I think of him, her, and the baby she left behind, and how difficult this month is for him. Our mutual friend's husband died that very same day, leaving her behind with two young children. March 4 was the 2nd anniversary of my friend Jeff's death, and he left behind a wife and three kids.

Last week, on March 6, at the age of 72, my godmother passed away. She was my mom's best friend for 43 years, and our families grew up together. She had seven children who all now have children of their own, and even some of those kids have kids. I so wanted to go back to Buffalo for them and for my mom, but the airfare and car rental for the kids and I would have totaled $3K (and that was the best deal I could find). My heart has been on that side of the country for the past week and a half. My godmother suffered - much more than she ever lead on, I'm sure. I don't like it that she's not here anymore, but I'm glad she's not suffering anymore, either. She's reunited with her husband, and probably having a beer with mine. My mom called me from the funeral brunch, which was taking place at the same location where Matt and I had our wedding reception. For that reason alone, I'm relieved that we didn't go - I could not have handled that.

Sunday, March 6, 2011


Well, we didn't win the grant, but the reviews were so beautiful, and will certainly help others who read them to understand just how much of a positive impact this organization has.

Seeing as how I'm a week late with updating everyone on the status of the contest, your best bet for timely Soaring Spirits updates is to sign up to receive the monthly newsletter, Hope Matters, via email. Here is a brief excerpt from the most recent newsletter which was emailed March 3:

Thank YOU for your support!

Special thanks to the many friends of SSLF for your amazing support of Soaring Spirits effort to win a $5000 grant in a contest hosted by the Great Non-profits website. We are humbled by your reviews, and honored by the opportunity to be a part of your grief recovery journey.

We received over 200 reviews! Though we didn't win the grant, we did appreciate each and every effort made to help us along the way. You can read some of those reviews HERE to get a sense of how SSLF is impacting the lives of people all over the world. Thank you again for your help in our efforts!