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Saturday, November 28, 2015

First Thanksgiving Without Bob

So I survived the first Thanksgiving without him.  Not that Bob and I ever really did much for Thanksgiving, especially after the stroke. Before that, we usually put up our Christmas decorations on Thanksgiving Day and I would make a ham (both of us didn't care for turkey.) After the stroke, he couldn't eat, but I still decorated the Christmas tree.  And we did have each other. And that's what always mattered.

This year, I invited a widow over from the first grief group I attended. She, too, had no plans as her grandchildren were going to be out of town visiting other relatives.

I made shrimp! Call it "Turkey of the Sea". Shrimp sautéed in real butter and minced garlic, and sprinkled with dried red pepper. Served it over alfredo pasta with garlic/cheese bread on the side. She brought wine and we sat on our porch and drank wine and talked about our dead husbands and ghosts and whether or not we believed in the afterlife and other stuff and, actually, we had a very nice day. The weather was beautiful.

I had invited Chris but she ditched out on me at the last minute, going instead to visit her daughter and leaving me to take care of her dogs. As Bob would say, "oh well".  She missed out on a really good meal.

Oh, and chocolate cheesecake for dessert!

And I only cried twice....

Not sure what Christmas will bring. Char (the widow from grief group) will have plans with her grandchildren. Not sure I want to decorate at all for Christmas. Not sure if I'll even send out cards. The x-mas spirit is just not here this year.

One day at a time...

PS: After I posted this, I realized today is the 6 month anniversary of Bob's death.  I have been crying all afternoon... Can't believe six months have already passed, seems like yesterday.

Wednesday, November 18, 2015


Folks have been asking how am I doing? And my normal response is "hanging in there", though some days I don't seem to be doing even that (hanging) to well...

This blog has turned into a "dog blog" because Kona is the only positive thing in my life at the moment.

I am still deep in an ocean of grief. Truth be told, I am not doing so well. Physically, I am visibly trembling. Often nauseous. Still vomiting some mornings. Emotionally, I am afraid -- of what? everything, it seems.  Driving is a big one. Shopping, too, has triggered huge panic attacks for me. Even afraid to write, to spill out my heart and soul. I feel so emotionally paralyzed. It's hard to describe, but some days I am afraid to even pick up the phone. And I still haven't called any of the nursing homes to schedule a visit with Kona...

Most days, I hide in the house. Keep the shades pulled down.

This is so unlike me -- the former me, who used to be so outgoing, that me seems to have disappeared into the vast beyond along with Bob. I do not recognize this person I've become.

Grief groups have come to a halt, though five us meet for lunch now, but unfortunately the talk often revolves around things like hearing aids! ha! and I feel so young compared to these other widows...

I am seeing a grief counselor, one on one, through Hospice. I'm not sure if it's helping much. She (the therapist) thinks I should see an actual psychiatrist (who can prescribe meds, etc.) so I did call around and booked an appointment, but no one has openings until January ....

I am going to ask Kona's dog trainer if there is something we can teach Kona to do, to calm my nerves when I get this way... make her into an actual "psychological support dog" for me.

Meanwhile, one day at a time...

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Project PUP

Yesterday, I took Kona to a screening/evaluation with Project PUP. This is a local organization of therapy dogs and other animals (they actually have some llamas!), PUP stands for Pets Uplifting People. 

The screening took place at an actual nursing home and part of the process was to meet a few residents. The screener took us through a hallway where we met a Project PUP volunteer in a wheelchair and also another volunteer with a walker (thank goodness there was no tennis balls on that walker -- had my fears with Kona's tennis ball fetish).

Then we met two elderly residents.

I'm happy to report that Kona passed with (almost) flying colors.  Her biggest problem was she kept heading for the door! I don't think she knew what was going on with all the other dogs and people all about... Second problem was that she Velcroed herself to my leg and I had some trouble getting her close enough for the residents to reach her. But she did pass in both performance and temperament categories.

Anyway, she is now officially "certified" as a therapy dog with Project PUP.  I have a list of places requesting therapy dog services so will be making calls next week to set up some appointments.

Dog tired after the screening/evaluation & sporting her new Project PUP bandana

Monday, November 9, 2015

Kona's First "Beach Day"

This morning, Hillary (our vet) invited Kona and me to go the dog beach on the Gulf of Mexico. It was Kona's first experience (that I know of) at the beach. She absolutely loved it. Though she would not venture in for a swim, she loved romping on the shoreline.

Of course, she immediately found a stray tennis ball.... she loves tennis balls!

So we had to play fetch the tennis ball -- here is she looking for the tennis ball in the waves!

Here she comes! Tennis ball in mouth!

One happy, happy dog!

Hillary with her dog, Genie, and Kona

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

First Day Service Dog Training

Kona's New Outfit

Taking a bathroom break with her trainer, outside of Target

Heeling down the aisles...

Then we hit the grocery store (lots of good smells in this place!)

And the office supply store.

All in all, a good first day of training. And I'm one proud mom.

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Birthday Blues

So Sunday was my 55th birthday -- yup, I hit that over 55 mark, and had to do it without Bob's love and support (at least not here, in the visible world).

I did ask Bob for a birthday sign that morning....

And an hour later a huge tree branch (and I mean HUGE) suddenly crashed to the ground from one of the trees in our back yard.  The thing was at least 20 feet long and scared the living the daylights out of me (I was sitting on the porch, reading, with Kona just a few feet away).  Luckily, no one was hurt, no damage done.

(Did get a tree guy out here yesterday, who said that squirrels are gnawing on the bark, weakening limbs --- )

Anyway, I spent the rest of the day quietly, talking on the phone first to a friend from up north who thank goodness called, then my mom and dad (who call every day), and then watched the movie The Dead Poet's Society (always one of my favorites) and cried...  a lot... and was alone and feeling so very lonely ---

Then around supper time, I called Chris and asked if she and her dogs would join Kona and I for a "pizza party" on the back porch. Which we did.  I ordered pizzas. Everyone got their own plates -- including dogs -- (though Ripley stayed inside with his). Kona growled a lot.  She doesn't seem to take well to other dogs invading "her territory"....

Then later that night, I was talking on the phone to another friend (the second who called) with birthday wishes, when one of the brass posts on our antique brass bed crashed to the ground without warning or reason....

And I'm thinking, OK, Bob, you can stop now!

So, I got through the day.  Managed to stay alive... which is saying something, but basically it sucked as far as birthdays go -- then what do I expect? I miss him so very much... and nothing will ever be the same or as good --- again... and I do wonder why I even continue to breathe ...

One day at a time....