Saturday, August 28, 2010


This morning the sunrise was so beautiful. Each cloud was glowing with a golden light that turned pink and then purple as the sun rose higher. This light extended to all the trees so that each branch was rose colored. Always takes my breath away when I can witness this.

Last night the sunset had the bay on fire and each boat out there ignited in a fuschia colored glow. As I looked out over that gorgeous scene I talked to Jim, told him how much I miss him and how he would not have allowed me to just sit here, not wanting to go out or really see anyone. Jim couldn't sit still like that, couldn't have just watched the sun go down ... he needed to be out in it. I told him I don't know why he had to go first, it seems to me he had so much more to offer this world then I do. He was the one that blazed through life and wanted to accomplish so many things. It makes no sense to me - not that I expect it ever will. I worry I needed Jim to keep me lusting for life and interested in it. I can sit and watch it all go by lately.

The waning moon was still pretty big and bright when I turned off my bedside lamp. I usually would go to bed before Jim but whenever the moon was reflecting it's spot light on the water, like it was last night, I would call Jim to come see it. He always would and we would stand in the window with arms around each other just soaking up the moonlight. I felt him here with me last night. Felt that he was looking at this moon with me. It was a brief sensation, but I trust it was what it was.

Many folks are saying to me "you HAVE to tell me about the sweat when you get back!" And I plan to do this. I will have my computer with me knowing that I have internet service while in Denver and with Jim's sister on the western slope, so I will be able to post the before and after thoughts, for those who want to check in.

I'm looking forward to being in the mountains again. I need space that open with that big sky and those jagged peaks. It will be very different being out there without Jim. Very, very different.

Loving you all back,

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

August 25th

Yup, today is our anniversary. I always would say "legally we've been married for 26 years, but illegally we lived together for 5 years". And Jim would laugh. I was always very proud - and amazed - at how long he and I had been together .... happily .... very much together.

It's raining here today. A much needed soaking for this little state in the Union. Seems appropriate for my mood too - a bit withdrawn, a bit gray and wet. I thought I'd try to just not acknowledge the day today, maybe it would pass silently, slither by like that little garter snake I saw in the garden the other day ... so silent and beautiful and quick to disappear. But, like my birthday, it's another difficult "first" and it's not really going to just slip easily away from me I guess.

Oh, I don't feel any big desire to do some kind of tribute - God no, that might destroy me. But I do feel a need to have a diversion. My niece, Molly, seems to be jumping in with all kinds of ideas of what she and I can do today after work. A movie might just fit the bill; big screen visuals with someone else's life playing out in front of me. She wants to see Eat, Pray, Love. I loved the book so assume I won't love the movie. I also refer to this scenario when I say "when will I get out of my fetal position and pull myself off the bathroom floor, fly off to Italy, buy a villa, pull my life together again and write a memoir that Oprah will scoop up so it becomes a best seller?"

Dream a little dream for me .....

So not only is it a gray day for me, it's actually been a very hard week. I seemed to reach down even deeper into the depths of despair and longing for this best friend of mine. "They" say it will get easier. "They" is actually several widowed friends of mine who are almost convincing me that it does soften, that I can continue in this world and find my way, just have to get through all these damn firsts I guess. Hard to believe the seconds will truly be easier.

In addition, I have to go to the dentist this morning. I'm not kidding. And I think I'll have to schedule having one of my four wisdom teeth pulled since one is beginning to really bother me. I do find this a bit humorous and probably could come up with all kinds of analogies. But I'm not going to.

I do know that Jim would have enjoyed the humor in this.

Loving you all back

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Sweat Lodge

One week from tomorrow on August 30th I will be heading west with an entourage of 5 other women. I have mixed feelings about all this, but mostly excited. If you go to the April 2010 posting and scroll down to the post titled What's Bad is Good you will read about Stanford Addison, an Arapahoe medicine man who lives outside of Lander Wyoming on the Arapahoe reservation. I have contacted Stanford and shall be journeying to do a sweat lodge with him. How this came about is pretty amazing.

If you read the post, What's Bad is Good, you will read about the Eagles that circled Jim and I one morning and how I whispered into Jim's ear to send his prayers up with those Eagles. This is a quote of Stanford's that came out of the book Broken written by Lisa Jones. After this breath-stopping experience with these circling birds I wrote to Jones a few days later. She lives not far from the town in Colorado that Jim's sister, Donna, lives in. Somehow this made Lisa more human and approachable to me since, "hey, I know where you live!" To my surprise she responded to my email that inquired whether Stanford was still alive and gave her a little information on the fact that my husband was living with brain cancer. Her response to me was "Due to your circumstance I'm going to cut the normal rigamarole I give to people who write asking about Stanford. Here's Stan's direct number. I'm going to call him and tell him you'll be calling".

WOW!!!! The next morning she emailed me again and said she had spoken to Stanford and he was expecting my call whenever I was ready. I called him that afternoon asking him if a sweat lodge would be appropriate for Jim. He confirmed that it would be very appropriate and he had run sweats for many cancer victims. We agreed that the end of the summer might be good timing and that we would talk more in a couple months.

After Jim died in May I contacted Stanford in June and told him. I added that I was still interested in heading to Lander and doing a traditional sweat with him. I now believe that perhaps this is what the Eagles saw as being needed .... and that perhaps this sweat lodge is now happening for my own healing and purification.

So, I'm going. I have arranged to do this sweat with Stanford on September 2. Jones has been wonderful in sending me lots of information on how to be a "Helpful Honkie on the Rez" as well as maps to get to the reservation from Lander and other information that assists in making this whole trip a little easier .... because so much of this is just unknown! And I am traveling with 5 other amazing, wonderful women - one of them my 21 year old niece who, I believe, is a gift that Jim left me with when he passed. My niece has not been in my life to any great extent until the hospice experience and then she waltzed in and decided she needed to be a bigger presence in my life now. She is so very right about this. And I invited her to come on this huge adventure with me ... to my delight, she accepted. The other women are some of my dear friends who have been here through thick and thin ... mostly thick.

A little history ... I know that there was a lot of press regarding the sweat lodge gone amok recently where the leader of the sweat didn't allow any of the attendee's to leave the lodge and thus ended up killing many people. This is pure stupidity. This is someone who was conducting a sweat lodge who had no business doing so. Working with Stanford Addison is working with a Native American man who has conducted countless sweat lodges for over 25 years ... all safely!! Through Lisa's web site I read where Stanford was in disbelief that someone would run a sweat and not allow anyone to leave the lodge if they felt a desire to get out of it! I may have nervous feelings about how well I can handle the heat of a sweat lodge but I have NO fear that the expertise of this medicine man who will be running this knows what he's doing and will take good care of all of us involved in his sweat.

One more thing. I'm coming up on another big first .... Jim and my anniversary is this week. This might also explain why my weekend was so hard .... surf was up and the waves hitting me were pretty big ones. I think it's good I have this trip coming up to be focused on.

Loving you all back,

Thursday, August 12, 2010


It's been four months, which doesn't sound like a long time but feels like an eternity. I'm surprised at how hard this is to accept. How sometimes it feels like this can't be me? This really can't be what has happened to Jim Daniels .... of all people!? I must be caught in someone else's bad dream. It's not possible that this is mine.

A good friend emailed me recently who understands this kind of loss. He said that he read somewhere that the brain actually becomes "wired" to another human being when we are with them for a long period of time .... like 31 years of marriage. And that when we lose that person then the brain has to actually go through a whole new re-wiring to remove this person from our brains programming.

Grief is a biological process.

This makes a lot of sense to me. This explains why Jim could frequently speak the very thoughts I might be having more often then not. And that I could channel what Jim needed to say when he had lost his ability to talk ... amazing him sometimes. We were totally wired to each other. Totally in sync. Totally in love. And I'm totally lost now.

My friend, Hannah, has been telling me that the brain needs to heal from all this trauma and that this takes time and needs lots of rest to accomplish this task. Ah, the process of re-programming my life without Jim in it. Yes, it's going to take a little time and it may explain why I can just run out of steam so fast and only want to lie down and read or close my eyes. It also explains why I get hit with the tsunami of disbelief still. Perhaps these waves must happen to rattle my brain into creating new pathways of thinking. I certainly have to find new pathways of being.

On my birthday my dearest friends were offering to take me out to dinner. I kept telling them, "I'm not into my birthday this year". They didn't listen. They were all at my house when I got home from work; Todd had the grill going, Matthew was at the stove steaming up muscles, chilled white wine was popped and Alice poured me a glass. And we had a wonderful dinner party. They were right, it was nice to celebrate and I appreciated all that they did for me that night! But when they all left I sat at the kitchen table and opened all my cards that had been mailed and a few of the gifts sent and had a complete break down. I use to think my birthday was all about me. I now know it's not. It was about JIM being with me and how he would celebrate me and adored me so much and made me feel so special. No one else can do that like he could. Rewiring .... next year will be a new program.

I went away over the past weekend up to my sister's camp 3 hours away. She and her family gather with their best friends each summer. This summer I was invited and I had a blast. WIth 5 kids ranging from ages 8-14 and all of them so much fun to be with, so open and funny and able to communicate verses shy away from the adults like we have the plague. We swam, mountain biked, fished, played board games until late into the night and laughed a lot. They completely threw my schedule off as I told them "wow, you all have breakfast at lunch time, lunch at cocktail hour and dinner at bed time!" But it was good to throw me out of my routine. Of course, I would have thoughts of Jim and would miss him horribly, but I didn't get hit by any big wave and have to leave the group in order to go dissolve in a heap somewhere. At least not until the drive home when I felt lonely and wished Jim was driving and we could relive the weekend together. But I didn't need to pull over to the side of the road. Progress, I guess.

As I re-wire my thinking and being I can be a little ADD. If I have failed to respond to an invite, an email, or a phone call then send me another one! I meant to get back to you at some point but may have just spaced it out. My brain is rewiring .... and my heart is trying to mend.

Loving you all back,

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

August 4

Today is my birthday, and I'm really not into it. My older sisters have told me "if you decide not to get any older then it means we don't either". Hmmm .... fair enough!

Don't get me wrong, I use to love my birthday. Jim would always make my birthday something to honor ... but then, we really enjoyed celebrating each other and what better day to do this then on a birthday? Last year Jim was pretty compromised. I chose not to remind him that it was my birthday and actually forgot about the day until a friend showed up with blueberries and a card for me. But Jim didn't forget ... he remembered far more then I ever could have imagined and thus made my birthday last year perhaps the most memorable one of them all.

And, believe it or not, this is not about MY birthday. It's about the birthday of a sweet little girl named Skyla Mae Walker, who was born yesterday, on August 3, 2010 ... and I was there. She is my grand-niece. I am one honored and proud auntie of her mum, Jennywren, who invited me long ago to be part of her very small birthing circle. She asked that I perform acupuncture for her as she was going o'natural and already knew and had experienced the wonderful endorphin high of acupuncture. First off, mum in the birthing pool does not make for great acupuncture access! So I say I did a teeny tiny bit of the Chinese medicine for her .... and she was just incredibly phenomenal and amazing.

This experience of being an active observant of this fundamental, but amazing, process has stirred up all kinds of emotions in me. It has not slipped my awareness that only 4 months ago in May I was intimately involved in the Hospice experience and orchestrating the atmosphere of my husbands death only to now be intimately involved in - though not controlling or orchestrating in any way - a birth. This circle of life is encircling me.

At 4:50 AM little Skya came projecting out ... and I say the midwife had to catch Skyla "on the fly" as this baby went from a bit of a crown to a WHOOSH and a SPLASH and she was in the arms of her midwife! ... but in this incredibly quick "whoosh" Skyla emerging from the water in the pool is now forever held in slow motion for me. In that moment she looked directly at me and the look on this infants face was so astonished, so wide-eyed and simply saying "WOW! WHAT THE HEY?!" before she was put into her mothers awaiting arms. Yes, I was in tears ... of joy this time. Of joy.

So, birth and death. From death springs life. All those cliches. I wish Jim was here to see this newest addition to the family. He loved children and kids flocked to him as he was the kind of adult who loved to play. He could make the most mundane become something fun and exciting. Even a 50-something birthday.

Welcome to this world Skyla Mae.

Loving you all back,