Thursday, December 25, 2008

Holiday Wishes

Hey there-

Happy Holidays to everyone and anything you might celebrate.

A reminder that my support group, Walk It Out, will go as scheduled even with the piles of snow we may need to navigate. December 27, 2008 at 9:30am.

Grieving is not for the faint of heart.

Thanks for checking in-


Thursday, December 18, 2008

Dead Again

Hey there-

Well, Bob died. I realize this does not come as a shock to most people.

What I mean is that Bob died in the book, finally. I am writing chronologically and it has taken me all this time to get to the point that he dies.

So, Bob died again, and you know what happened? I felt relieved.

When he died the first time I felt no relief. And I was pissed to put it mildly. At the time all I could think about was that scene from Terms of Endearment when Shirley McClain is crying at the hospital after her daughter dies and she makes some comment about how dumb she was to think she would feel relief.

I didn't feel dumb, I felt ripped off. After all we went through and how ugly things got in the end and how exhausted I was, I thought the least I deserved was a little relief.

I felt none. I was too worried to feel relief.

Afterwards people said things to me like; "At least his suffering is over" or "He is in a better place". All I could think of at the time was that I thought the better place was with me and the boys. Selfishly, I fixated on the fact that my own suffering was just beginning.

Many wonder how I can put myself through all the pain of Bob dying again. I have often wondered myself why I am choosing to relive this dark time in my life.

My goal was to tell our story. And by telling our story I hoped to help others who will walk a similar path, others who might see a glimpse of themselves in us and feel less alone, understood.

As the day of his death grew nearer in the story I found myself slowing down. The scenes felt heavy, my typing sluggish. I didn't want to lose Bob from the story. Once he was gone the story would be mine alone and I knew the reader would miss Bob. Could I carry the story without him?

These are all things I wondered at the time of his first death. I didn't want to lose him and I wondered if I could carry the family without him, carry on "our" life. What would be my story?

So, Bob is dead again, and the greatest thing about experiencing Bob's death again is that this time I felt relief. I felt lighter, less burdened. This time around I have the gift of insight, the knowledge that I carried on, the confidence that I made it through.

I still feel a "better place" would be here with me and his boys. But I do feel relief that Bob isn't suffering anymore, and selfishly, I feel relief that neither am I.

Thanks for checking in-


Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Fishing Wire

Hey there-

So, the Christmas tree went up the other day. Mike took the three boys to cut it down and after the usual confusion and antics of getting it in the house and in the stand it eventually was secured in the corner of the living room.

The preperation of the tree has never been my favorite part of the tree trimming ritual. As a child the wait was painful. We always had to start with cleaning the family room, incuding the fireplace for Santa. Then the kids had to sit around and wait with the ornament boxes overflowing next to us while my dad painstakingly placed the lights on the tree.

Now, the light hanging is really a mystery to me. It always felt like my dad took forever to get the lights on. Then Bob was very particular about the lights as well, making sure that the cords were tucked in behind the branches. And now Mike likes to carefully wind the lights around the trunk and feather out towards the edges.

Is this a guy thing? When I was on my own I simply threw some lights on the tree willy nilly, not worrying about the cord showing or if there were too many red lights in a row. I figured the point was to get some light on there and get to the real point of the tree, the ornaments.

As I sat watching Mike struggle with getting the tree straight and the lights just so I was reminded of years past when Bob would take fishing wire and secure the tree to a hook on the wall. I always thought this was a bit of overkill and chalked it up to some odd Wellenstein trait.

I said to Mike: "Now, why do you think Bob would have taken fishing wire to secure the tree, isn't that funny?"

A conversation ensued regarding children and animals and the lengths people go to so that their tree will remain standing. We mentioned how grateful we were to be past that stage. We chuckled a bit at Bob's expense regarding the fishing wire.

Later that night, after the ornaments were hung (or flung) on the tree by the children, Mike and I stood admiring the tree and plotting which ornaments we would move where once the children were in bed. That is when it happened, the tree fell right over. The two of us stood there, mouths open, unable to move as it crashed to the floor and lay in the middle of the living room with shattered ornaments everywhere.

Well, Bob certainly showed us! I guess we won't be mocking his fishing wire idea any time soon.

The tree is now firmly secured with twine to a brand new hook in the wall.

Next year, I will remember the fishing wire.

Thanks for checking in. Happy Holidays!


Tuesday, December 9, 2008


I had a premonition.

It was early in the fall, 2002.

It was before.

I was standing on the second floor landing of our big old four square house, watching Bob whisper goodnight to Henry. Bob was on his knees, leaning over Henry as he lay in his bed. I could see Henry’s eyes, concentrating on Bob. Henry looked so small in his new bed, he had just turned two.

The primary colors of the helicopters and dump trucks on Henry’s new quilt jumped out against the freshly painted blue walls. The two blonde heads touched each other lightly as they plotted the possibilities of what Henry could dream about that night.

I stood watching the scene, frozen; I was overcome. I felt like I was being spoken to by a secret.

“Remember this moment,” it whispered. “Remember right now.”

I felt it swirling around my rib cage, a long forgotten secret.

“This won’t last,” it warned.

Obeying orders I quickly made a mental picture of the two of them in the bedroom with their heads supporting each other and stored it away in my mind. Being a planner, I figured I should keep the memory safe just in case.

The secret left, as quickly as it came.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Walk It Out

Hey there,

I have started a walking support group!

I read an article about a woman running a "vertical grief support group" somewhere on the East Coast and I thought to myself; "What a fabulous idea! Perfect combination."

So I started one. The information is below.

Spread the word.

Walk It Out

Not your average support group.

Anyone who has lost a loved one and enjoys fresh air,
Come walk and talk.
Combine the health benefits of walking with the emotional benefits of talking.

Group starts in the parking lot of the Hart Park Senior Center, 7300 Chestnut, at 9:30 am on the 4th Sat of every month. We walk three miles along the Menomonee River rain or shine so dress accordingly.

Favorite book suggestions on grief are welcome.

Coordinator: Irene McGoldrick, MSW, MT

Thanks for checking in-