Tuesday, June 30, 2009


Hey there-

Mike's dad died on Thursday, June 25th.

Arthur was playing in the front yard with a tennis ball and a baseball glove when I told him that I had to go to the hospital because Mike's dad was going to die.

He looked up at me with those sensitive blue eyes of his, eyebrows crinkled, and I thought he might cry.

"Mike's dad is going to die?" he asked.

"Yes," I responded simply, trying to meet his open gaze.

"....My dad died too. .......That is sad," he said wistfully, as if he were harking back to the days of yore when his own dad died. "Mike will need a hug when he gets home."

Then he promptly went back to his tennis ball and continued with whatever game he had invented that day.

Mike's dad would have been 80 in December, Arthur's dad died 4 days before his 40th birthday. Mike is 46, Arthur was 5 months. Two completely different situations but a common bond all the same, losing a father.

I was recently invited to a dinner for a group of widows here in my neighborhood. This group has been meeting for a couple of years and I am honored to be included. I was telling a friend (non-widow) about the group and how excited I was to be asked, especially since I am not officially a widow anymore.

She thought that being a widow was something like being a veteran, we may not be fighting the same war any longer, but we still have a common bond, just like Arthur and Mike.

All loss is different and nobody grieves the same way, but there are similarities. Anyone who lives long enough will be a veteran of the grieving war. No matter who you lose or when it happens there is a common thread, the finality of death.

I think Arthur said it best.........it is sad, and everyone should get a hug.

Thanks for checking in-


Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Walk It Out Reminder

Hey there walkers!

A reminder that Walk It Out is happening this Saturday June 27th at 9:30am.

I look forward to seeing you all at the Hart Park Senior Center parking lot.

Should be a nice day! Yea!

Thanks for checking in-


Tuesday, June 23, 2009

The Hawk

Hey there-

I saw Bob the other day.

No, that is not a typo, I saw Bob.

Our neighbor started a mountain bike club with a group of kids from our block. The first night the Woodchuckers were to meet I was lingering in the front yard chatting with the gals when Henry slowly rolled down the driveway and appeared from behind the neighbors SUV. He had on his new blue helmet, a pair of riding gloves and was riding a borrowed bike with gears.

And there, for just an instant, was Bob. Perched high and proud on his bike and decked out in his riding garb, a gentle smile on his lips. My heart jumped to my throat.

And then Henry was back, trying, for all the world, to look like he didn’t think he was cool.

Stunned into silence by my vision I eventually spit out; “I wish your dad could see you right now.”

Trying to regain my composure I watched as the group rode down the sidewalk and turned towards the park. They all looked a bit blurry from the tears brimming in my eyes.

It was then I heard my neighbor tell her young son to look up, look up above the trees. There was a hawk slowly gliding in a big lazy circle above our street.

“I knew it was you,” I thought to myself as I squinted at the lone bird. “Good, so you do get to see Henry tonight.”

Many of you may know that I believe Bob visits me as a hawk. Bob loved hawks and always pointed them out to me when he spotted one. Soon after he died I started spotting hawks myself. They would appear just when I needed to talk to Bob about something or was hoping for an answer to a question, or needed a little extra help to get through a particularly difficult moment.

These sightings always leave me with a feeling of calm and confidence, the same kind of grounded feeling that Bob provided me when he was walking beside me here on earth.

Bob can’t stand beside me anymore, we can no longer lean against each other and stare in awe and wonder at the beautiful boy we created, marveling at him all geared up for his first mountain bike outing. But he still offers me support and comfort, silently gliding above us, wings outstretched.

Thanks for checking in-


Thursday, June 11, 2009


Things were not going according to plan. The stem cell transplant was the new plan, and it wasn’t the first revision to the original plan. We were only four months into this cancer thing and I was exhausted already.

We had about three, maybe six, good weeks following his initial diagnosis on March 21, 2003. All the tumors went away. Bob was pain free and his energy was better than it had been in months. He had a little spring in his step again, nothing short of miraculous.

“I feel like we have gotten off easy,” Bob said one night as we were turning out the lights.

“Shhhhh, don’t say that, you will tempt the fates,” I replied quickly, shuddering as I felt the secret whisper to me again.

“Not so quickly,” it said chillingly.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009


Hey there-

I was so annoyed yesterday I thought I might spontaneously combust right in my car while I was driving Henry to his soccer game.

It all started when I was summoned out of bed by my five year old, Arthur, yelling “Mom!” repeatedly from his bedroom. By his calls I imagined something involving either blood or vomit but what I found was his brother Henry “annoying him” by staring at him over the boards of his bunk bed.

Apparently Henry had been thrown off when he went out to have his breakfast cereal and found someone he didn’t know sitting in HIS seat at the dining room table (step-sister, Aubrey, had a friend spend the night) and his solution to this was to wake Arthur up and proceed to stare at him. According to Henry it is more embarrassing to introduce himself to the “stranger” and ask her name than to cause a scene by annoying everyone in the house at 7:30 on a Sunday morning.

The day quickly deteriorated from there when I had a cold shower due to the fact that I had to switch a load of laundry which put me in line for the shower behind my step daughter, Natalie, who takes the longest showers known to man.

After my extremely brief shower, where I only performed the bare minimum in hygiene maintenance, I began to pack for a two day business trip when Henry appeared at my bedroom grief stricken.

“Mom, I’ve got my cleats and my shin guards and my water bottle and my ball but I bet you didn’t clean my soccer uniform from yesterday, did you? I don’t want to wear the same one from yesterday, that’s gross,” he announced mortified and dejected at the same time.

“Excuse me?” I retorted. “Excuse me!?!?!? Of course I took the time to wash your soccer uniform last night after we got back from your Aunt Jane’s birthday party, thank you very much. And I had a cold shower this morning just so it would be dry!”

What kind of eight year old boy cares about wearing a dirty soccer uniform anyway?

After all this I was quite proud of myself that we were actually getting in the car early enough to drop Natalie off at her friend’s house before the game , AND stop at the library to return the movies that were due the next day, when I discovered I was missing something……..Arthur.

Where the hell was Arthur?

Henry and Sam thought maybe in the ravine behind our house. Nope. Our neighbor thought maybe he and his son were together in the ravine down the block. Nope. Maybe the basement? Nope. Maybe the new neighbor’s yard? (after all they do have Battter, Batter Baseball) Nope.

The two hooligans were finally located, after much yelling up and down the block, in the backyard of another neighbor, who weren’t even home at the time.

Evidently when Arthur is told we are leaving in five minutes he takes that to mean it is time to go play in the neighbors sand box.

“Well, I didn’t know how long five minutes was, Mom, sometimes it can seem pretty long,” he told me, completely unfazed by the now apoplectic brother and mother who are crazy people when it comes to being prompt.

From now on I will be more specific with my instructions when I give the five minute warning.

“Don’t leave this property!” should suffice.

We were on track to be only a few minutes late until I missed the street for Natalie’s friend’s house due to construction. It appears that when there is construction in this town they remove any and all identifying street signs and just make people guess where they are amidst the rubble, orange cones and yellow construction tape.

After realizing I had gone too far I totally freaked Henry out by pulling a U-turn.

“Mom, why did you just turn around in the middle of the street?” (It was completely legal I assure you)

At this point I was taking deep breaths and doing self talk, trying to remind myself this is just a soccer game after all, it isn’t as if I was going to be late for brain surgery. My finger drumming on the steering wheel gave away my attempt at a calm demeanor.

I slowed down the car in the middle of the construction site to let Natalie jump out of the car and pulled another U-turn (again, perfectly legal) to high tail it back to the soccer field.

At this point Henry was lecturing Arthur about the importance of being timely and if he would just listen when mom said it was time to go then mom wouldn’t have to be driving illegally and probably get arrested.

“Do you want Mom to be arrested, Arthur?” (I am telling you those U-turns were SO legal!)

We made it to the soccer game just as the game was starting. (they lost horribly, probably because their "star" goalie was all discombobulated by the late arrival)

We got back home and I got on the road, where I had four hours in a car by myself to think about all the antics of the day. (never a good thing)

Driving by some rocky cliffs surrounded by bushy green trees I was reminded of living in Oregon and Bob and I driving through the Columbia River Gorge for the first time. I had a pang of longing for those early years when Bob and I had all that freedom and adventure, our calender was not set to soccer games and other peoples social lives.

On occasion, I even miss the days when Bob was dying and the days and months after he died.

I miss the clarity that grief affords you, your priorities are so clear; there is no time for petty grievances when you are dealing with the biggest grievance of them all.

Annoying siblings, cold showers, dirty soccer uniforms, running late?

Who cares? My husband just died.

Soon after Bob died I began what I called a success journal. Every night after the boys were asleep I sat down and wrote a list of all the events I considered a success that day. The first few entries were rather slim, consisting of the bare minimum of existence, the boys were alive and safe in their beds and I had fed them.

We are all so busy, rushing off to somewhere to accomplish something.

What does it all boil down to at the end of the day?

Are we fed and safe in our beds? The rest is just gravy.

Thanks for checking in-