Tuesday, January 25, 2011

"Me, Myself and I"

I'm struggling with using the singular term for my life these days. Meeting a stranger who fell in love with Ella we got talking about Golden Retrievers and I said "this is our third Golden" ... I could not bring myself to say "my" third Golden. Jim had researched and found the litter that Ella was part of, he was the one who picked her out. He was the one who insisted on this breed as he's always loved the qualities found in the Golden Retriever ... if you are careful with the breeder you choose that is. And he was always careful. After all he had picked out two fabulous Goldens prior to Ella to be part of our family so I was happy to go with his decision.

She's still "our dog" ... not just mine.

I went to the local pub with a couple friends to watch the Patriots completely ruin their entire season in the playoffs. Lousy timing for that team to have a bad day. There were a lot of people sitting at the bar and since I was pushed practically into the lap of a chap I was sitting next to I decided to introduce myself. He was a good kid and told me his name, then jokingly asked if I was married as he looked to my left ring finger ... where my wedding band still sits. I told him "Well, I'm widowed", his face dropped and he just said "oh damn, I'm so sorry."

My friend told me that was mean to say. But I couldn't bring myself to say "no" ... as I do still feel married I guess. But I also couldn't say "yes" .... as it's just not true. So, I went the "mean" route, and spoke my truth ... and it is sad and it's OK with me if he felt sorry about it. I feel pretty damn sorry about it myself.

Sometimes I will correct what I've said and use the singular, but not very often. It sounds incredibly foreign to me, so I'm practicing. Be patient with me if I correct myself when I say "we" or "our" and you hear me mumble under my breath "Me ... myself ... I".

Loving you all back,

Tuesday, January 18, 2011


Yesterday was another Snow day for the coast of Maine. A rare thing actually. That big body of water out there can keep things along it's shores warm enough for storms to bring rain verses snow. But this was our second (or third?) big dump of the most beautiful light snow. And in order for the snow to stay light and fluffy it must stay cold and dry. Which it has been .. very cold and dry. The XC skiing has been grand. But this extremely cold temperature turns packed snow into something hard and squeaky. As a good friend said this past weekend, when she and I ventured out in 5 degree weather, "it's like skiing on styrofoam". This was a perfect description!

There are some amazing places to go to ski within a couple miles from my house when the snow is like this. The ski mobile trails in Maine are actually a huge system that, if you have the gas and the time, could probably get you from southern Maine to the furthest townships up north. And those trails are easily accessed from my house. There's also golf courses that don't mind having kids sledding and skiers gliding over their hills and dales. A lot of options for getting out there and disappearing if I want to go.

Yesterday morning I wanted to go. Before the snow got too heavy and the roads too treacherous, I rallied with Ella (my little 4-legged pal) and went out to ski through the woods to the local golf course where there are ski mobile trails that make it easier for my little 10-year old girl to run along instead of porpoise through deep snow. It was beautiful out there. I've mentioned many times the pewter gray of sky and sea that simply intrigues and delights me. I love vibrant, golden sunsets and astounding fuchia sunrises too; but the steel gray of the sky and a landscape that is pristine and white is so stark, so clean in it's dichromatic display that I find myself just stopping and breathing it all in.

I was the only one out there in the storm. All alone as the snow fell and covered my tracks. All alone with just my thoughts which of course were with Jim. He would have been out there with me, delighting in the falling snow and the joy of his body working to push the skis through the trail. Over the years there were so many countless moments of he and I out there loving what we were doing for ourselves and with each other. Two people so in synch, the best of friends to each other and deeply in love.

All alone is too complete these days; too deep and stark. Too monochromatic .... gray.

Later in the afternoon I walked down to the end of the street and the town landing dock. My footprints were the only ones out there as the snow continued to fall. Street lights were just starting to come on in the crepuscular dimness. At the end of the dock I could look straight down into the undulating green-gray waters and see each individual snowflake falling. I could hear a few ducks on the shore babbling with each other and a bell buoy in the distance softly ringing as it swayed back and forth with the ocean's swells. I added a few salty tears to that vast ocean and wished Jim well before I trudged back up the hill to my cozy little home.

Loving you all back,

Tuesday, January 11, 2011


I cut my hair. It's the shortest it's ever been since before I was 10 and my mother would insist on cutting my hair ... even through my wailings. If you could have seen how my mother cut hair, bangs especially, you'd understand why I wailed. Her bang-cut had a tendency to be one length on one side of the face and then become shorter towards the other side. I always felt I looked like a xylophone.

This recent cut was done professionally. My new stylist had been going shorter and shorter with my hair even though I kept saying to her longer and longer ... a bit of a deja vu with my mother. I finally asked her why she was insisting on giving me short hair? Her response was "Mary, I think you've had the same hair style for a very long time and I'd just like to see you go with something different." This was a pretty good answer, she was right.

Jim loved my long hair. Whenever I would tell him I'd be going to get my hair done he would say "she's not going to cut it too short is she?" And when I would return he would check first for the length. I was OK with this, I'm a long haired kind of gal. Plus I wanted to be attractive to the most important person in my life, so I made sure to keep all styles on the longer side.

Now, there is no one at home to critique this cut. No one to bemoan this new, short, spiky hair. I feel I've stepped into a bit of a transformation by doing this. Split the chrysalis down the back and started a tiny bit of shedding. An act of defiance as well as independence. The great thing is, and maybe this just comes with age, but I forget about the hair. I don't see the world any differently so I forget that others see me looking differently now. "Wow! You cut your hair!" Oh right, yup, I did. I remember a time when my hair and how it looked could be incredibly traumatic; running into the bedroom after my first perm unable to show myself in public for several hours.

Buddhist nuns shave their heads. Female friends of ours challenged this practice years ago when they were going on a retreat. They were told that too much ego is wrapped up in the hair and thus everyone attending the retreat, including the women, needed to shave their heads. I think about that a lot. It's true, there is a great deal of ego wrapped up in how our hair looks, for most women anyway. We can spend a great deal of time in front of a mirror getting the hair to look just right. Well, mine doesn't take much time now and looks pretty different to me. Although I'm not wild about it, I like the act I took for this change. But, I admit, it's taking some getting use to.

I think I'm already in the process of growing it out ....

Loving you all back,


I've been in a bit of a funk ever since Jim's birth-date. Got hit by another tsunami the afternoon of 1/3. It feels like these waves just keep rolling me around in the surf; I'm unable to find my footing again as easily as before.

I'm told that this is what grief is and how it behaves, you think you're doing OK and then you get hit by an anniversary of whatever. Slowly I'm rebuilding my canoe so that I can ride these waves again.

I had a dream about Jim last night, it was actually one of the first ones I've had that was this clear of him. He was in a Bank with me helping me navigate some financial stuff. It was a party-type atmosphere because Jim was there and had everyone laughing and enjoying even this mundane task of banking. At one point in my dream I looked over at Jim and stared at his profile and I thought - but somehow knew he could hear me - "I know you're not really here, but I love looking at you and I'm so glad you've shown up to be with me like this". It was a good dream. A wonderful visitation.

I got together with dear friends this past week .... B. and Jim had birthdays 2 days (and 10 years) apart, so we would always do something together during that first week in January. I went to dinner with B and her husband D, who was one of Jim's very best friends. At one point in the dinner D looked at me and said "I miss Jim more and more as time goes on. I do things with people and have fun but I find myself thinking 'if Jim were here this would be a blast' simply because Jim could make everything so much fun".

Yup. That was Jim.

As this last wave recedes and I find myself, once again, stranded on the beach with all my detritus I ask myself ... am I having fun yet? I still go off and do really fun things and have some of the greatest friends on the planet who pull me out, take me out, get me laughing ... but life has definitely lost some of it's glitter for me.

A few more moons, a few more tides and perhaps some new treasures will wash up on my beach. Just need to let this tide keep rolling in and out; rekindle my sparkle, rebuild this canoe and begin to find my way with it, on my own, again.

Loving you all back,

Monday, January 3, 2011

January 3

January 3, 1951. Jim's birthday. He would have been 60 years old today. Damn, this whole time of year just doesn't get any easier for me. People would say .. I bet your glad the holidays are over ... and then we have today.

I can't even remember what we did last year to celebrate. I think Donna must have been back in Maine with us as she had flown home to help me with Jim when we returned from our Colorado Christmas. We probably had a dinner party of some kind for Jim ... and celebrated the day he was born. Which I would tell him I celebrated every day! How lucky I was that his spirit was put on this earth at the same time and place as mine. And, as sappy as it sounds, how lucky I was that I found him ... and he fell in love with me. He was an incredible gift to me.

This just isn't getting any easier. Wasn't I told it would get easier?! How does one mend a broken heart?

He was the youngest 50-something year old imaginable. When people would find out how old Jim was they were incredulous. He could cycle and trail run as fast and hard as any guy 10-15 years younger. He was only starting to get a few gray hairs and wonderful wrinkles around his eyes that only made him more handsome. He was fit, strong, funny as hell and just the most joyful person to be around ....

... and I miss him horribly.

I thought I had a lot to say today ... but I'm struggling to breathe right now.

Loving you all back,