Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Still Here

I've been a little quiet lately on this blog. Afraid to write the same old, same old I guess. Although, with that said, I do feel things have shifted a little bit; there are fewer tsunami waves crashing me to my knees, there is a bit more acceptance of the fact that he's truly gone. I think the sweat lodge I did in September may have done some bigger healings for me then I could imagine then ... or perhaps even now ... but perhaps it helped to catapult me a little further down this rocky road. I don't know.

Nights are still difficult. Sometimes I'll watch t.v. until I fall asleep in front of it just to prolong the act of going to bed ... because that is when all the demons show up. I take a homeopathic medicine to help calm them down to size and sometimes it helps.

There is so much to do around this house - piles of things that accumulated over the 2 years of Jim's illness that truly need to be gone through, or just tossed. I get overwhelmed so easily still. I attack something believing I have the energy for it and I just burn out too quickly. So I make a new pile from the old pile, or move the old pile to a new location - not accomplishing anything really, and then have to go lie down, or go outside where I get more energy. I can move wood or chop kindling easier then file papers. But I can't seem to get into the garden and do what needs to be done this fall. I use to love it when Jim and I would go out there together and rake leaves, cut down the old plants, get the yard looking right before the snow. Doing it alone just has me realize how fall is the season of things dying.

Yes, I'm still here and sometimes I can't understand why. Sometimes I just have to wonder, why him? Why not me? What is it that I must still accomplish? I can't imagine as I seem to not be able to accomplish much at all these days.

I went to hear Greg Mortenson, the author of the book Three Cups of Tea, speak at USM last night. This man has been building schools for girls in Taliban controlled territory. Inspirational almost comes close to how this man effects others. And as I looked at the pictures and heard the stories all I could think was how this was the kind of work Jim would document, this was the kind of good that Jim was called to do, and did so well.

I can't imagine why Jim is not here doing his work that the world needs right now. So I stop since I never will understand this.

I hear my crows on this gray, wet morning. I know they see me sitting here and I know they wait patiently for me to step outside to feed them. My little family of black birds.

Yes, I'm still here.

Loving you all back

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Dance Like No One Is Watching

I was getting some of the pictures off the Lotsa Helping Hands sight as there are some really good ones on there and I don't want to lose them. I was surprised at my ability to look at the images of Jim since I haven't been able to do this for 6 months. The pictures of the last fundraiser when Jim danced all night ... literally ... even brought a smile to my face. I love it when people say "I can't dance", or "I'm the worst dancer on earth". That night while Jim was dancing and doing these amazing deep knee bends for the oddest reason, EVERYONE was able to dance like no one was looking - Jim gave us all permission to do this. To just move, to dance and laugh and throw all our egos out the window and dance with true abandon. Not a bad memory to have.

And now, in this house by myself, I can dance and sing into my hairbrush all I want ... because no one is watching. Well, truth be told, I could do this kind of thing even when Jim was watching since he loved me no matter how ridiculous I could be, but it's different now. What other things do I do, now that there is no one to share this space?

I have found that I don't close the bathroom door these days. It's not a good habit because I was at my office, where the restroom is right off the waiting room, and I went into the restroom and almost forgot to close the door. Luckily there was no one in the waiting room but I thought to myself, "ye-gads girl, you better focus!". I remember when my good friend, NTM, was sharing this office space with me and she told me once how she did the same thing after being divorced for so many years. I laughed with her but thought "really? How could you forget to do that?" .... well, look whose laughing now.

Mornings are very different these days. When I'm not striking out in the pitch black at 6:00 a.m. to meet up with 2 friends who live in my hood to go for a run I find it hugely decadent to get my first cup of coffee, grab the computer and crawl back into bed with Ella lying on my feet, the computer or my book in my lap, the light on and just write or read until the sun comes up, or my crows begin to talk to me, before I crawl out from under the comforter and get on with the day. This is a totally new behavior for me ... and I enjoy this one.

The other thing about these early mornings - I can turn as many lights on as I want in the wee hours and I'm not bothering anyone. This has taken a bit of time for me to get use to. Before Jim's sickness he would ask me to turn off the closet light, or the bathroom light or the ...... and I would. When he became so sick I would tip-toe around to ensure that he got the sleep he needed without my interruptions ... and thus, this is a new kind of freedom for me.

I can also play all my old retro music as loud as I want and whenever I want. Lately I've been listening to a "classic rock" station that plays all the 70's tunes that I grew up with. The thing I love most about this music is that a lot of the tunes have memories from a time before Jim, and these old tunes are tapped into these times. So the memories they conjure up are not always related to Jim ... but to an even more distant past. This feels very healing as this music makes me smile and has me singing along in grand style!

And these tunes get me dancing ... and I will dance with abandon because no one is watching. The best thing that the 60's and 70's era offered was a new style of dancing ... no need to actually have a partner.

And I don't .... have a partner anymore. But I do ... dance with abandon now and remember the twinkle in Jim's eye that always said "let's GO!" be it running the beach in a Nor'easter storm, heading down a steep and rocky trail on his mountain bike ... or dancing with abandon.

I do and will always love you Jim and your wild spirit.

Loving you all back,

Sunday, October 10, 2010

Spirit talk?

There was an interesting phenomena that happened over the weekend on Little Cranberry. While we were waiting for the ferry in Northeast Harbor Donna and Stacie went to check out some of the shops. I didn't know this at the time but Donna's cell phone rang and the caller I.D. said "Jim Daniels", with his old cell phone number. There was no one there when she answered.

That first night I was getting dinner going and the 3 of us were enjoying a cocktail. Donna came into the kitchen and was just about to tell me of this odd phone call in NE Harbor when her phone rang again. She brought it over for me to see the caller I.D. ... "Jim Daniels"! She answered it with a "Hi Jim" ... and then she started to talk to someone! I almost fainted!!! Turns out it was some kid in the popular Old Orchard Beach summer resort in southern Maine looking for Kristen.

"Sorry, wrong number".

But here's the thing, this kid was calling from Jim's canceled cell phone number? AND he had called a Colorado cell phone number ... COLORADO!!! How could this be?

Several folks have tried to explain how this might have happened but Jim's two sisters and I look at each other and laugh and say, "nope, it was Jim."
He never wanted to be left out of a good time and certainly wanting his three most loved women to know that he was with us ... yup, it was Jim.

Loving you all back,

Friday, October 8, 2010


I spent the weekend out on the island of Islesford, also known as Little Cranberry, that sits just off Mount Desert where Acadia National Park is. The first weekend in October, it was beautiful out there, quiet with all the summer folk gone. Donna and Stacie had come back for a long weekend in order to make this trip with me. In September of 2008, while Jim still seemed OK but probably had tumors growing in his beautiful head, we all had gone out to Islesford for five days and stayed in the house owned by our good friends. The cabin sits right on the rocky beach where the surf rolls in and tumbles the granite and feldspar rocks to smooth, round gems. All day and night the rythmic symphony of these rocks rolling against each other with each wave is heard. Such a soothing and wonderful song.

We arrived in the fog and therefore unable to see much beyond the bow of the ferry. A friend of mine recently reminded me that I once told her, while she and I walked on a beach in a dense fog, how much I love being in fog because it forces you to be so present since you can't see much beyond where you are right now, no images of the beach in front of you or what is behind you. No future to contemplate, no past either really. I thought of this as the ferry powered out to the island, tried to get philosophical about life, tried to stay very present and not think or worry about my future ... though I can't let go of my past.

The three of us this year were taking the remainder of Jim's ashes out to that rocky beach and, together, would spread the last of Jim's earthly remains into the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of our beloved Maine. I had also spread some of his ashes at almost 13,000 feet when I did the long hike in Telluride, Colorado. It seems right that Jim is now part of the carbon cycle in the rocky mountains and the rocky beach of Maine.

"Ashes to ashes and dust to dust" .... that bag of ashes was odd. I got thinking how all of Jim's molecules were in there, all his bones, his gorgeous muscles, his beautiful blue eyes and "Irish mug" of a nose, even his brain - all carbon compost now. But what of his mind? Ah, his mind is not carbon now. I've been contemplating this concept of the 'mind' and would love to hear ideas any of you may have and would like to share with me. Is the "mind" the soul? Is the "mind" our very essence? Jim's wonderful "mind" is how I remember him; his intelligence, his sensitivity and love of the world and all that is in it. Just a few thoughts this gorgeous October morning.

Bittersweet. It was. The three of us, Donna, Stacie and I, had a very relaxing and wonderful stay out there though we all felt the absence of Jim very deeply and profoundly. Jim was the extrovert and would always be sharing his ideas or be spontaneous and fun and could get us all laughing until tears streamed down our cheeks. There was a lot more silence this trip, a lot more just starring out to sea, a lot more solo walks on the beach. This was all very good for each of us ... it was a sweet time out there this year, laced with the bitterness of our loss.

"I'm looking way out to the ocean
Love to watch that green water in motion ...

I will always love you
Hands alike
Magnet and Iron
The souls."

Joni Mitchell

Loving you all back,