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Saturday, November 4, 2017

EFT

I hate to say it's been a very stressful week for me with Halloween and my birthday and throw some other emotional junk on top of that and add another "dissociative episode" that left me pretty shook up.  At my Thursday therapy session, we started, as always, just reviewing my week and I told her about my week including the derealization episode and she asked me to describe exactly how I 'feel' when this happens to me.

It's hard to put into words.  But it's sort like I'm stepping out of myself, or behind myself, and wondering where I am and how I got there -- this was in the middle of an afternoon matinee concert -- and I start thinking who are all these people? and I don't belong here, and this isn't real as if I've stepped into someone else's life or a scene in a movie --then I start shaking uncontrollably and have the sudden urge to flee. It's really an awful feeling sort of like falling into a parallel universe and I am frantic to find my way to the "real universe" where Bob is waiting for me.  I really had to flee  -- leaving at intermission.  I couldn't calm down until I got home and hugged Kona.  Anyway, because I was still pretty shook up from the event, instead of doing EMDR, my therapist suggested we try EFT to calm my nerves.

EFT stands for Emotional Freedom Tapping, though some call it Emotional Finger Tapping. It's quite interesting and if you never heard of it, here's a brief video explaining how it works:



So we did EFT using the phrase "Even though I feel stressed and anxious, I know that I am OK and nothing bad will happen."  The therapist would say the sentence and have me repeat it after her as she tapped on her pressure points and I tapped on mine. She changed it up a few times to "Even though I feel shaky and my heart is racing etc." or "even though my palms are sweaty and chest feels tight" and after repeating this exercise about four times, I was surprised to find tears running down my cheeks.

And I said, "I don't even know why I'm crying."

She said, "It's one way your body relieves stress."

And I did feel calmer afterwards.

Tuesday, October 31, 2017

First Halloween Alone

Been dreading this day, I used to love Halloween -- in those golden years, Bob and I would sit on the front porch and hand out candy, we barely got a handful of kids but we still loved doing it and Bob loved decorating the house.  However this neighborhood goes "crazy" on Halloween. I mean last year we had around 400 trick-or-treaters, I did you not (they actually "bus them in") and it's really hard to handle alone.

Last year, I invited a neighbor to help out, and we sat on porch, drinking beer, handing out treats.  It was a lot of fun. There were so many kids, they keep coming -- and without help, there's no time for even a bathroom break! Unfortunately, that neighbor has since moved to Orlando.

The year before, Chris helped out. And of course, now she's gone....

I just can't imagine doing this all by myself.

So, I'm locking gate. Turning off the lights. Pulling down the shades. And trying ignore the whole thing..... kind of sad, but as Bob would've said "oh well".

Tomorrow is my birthday and for the first time ever, I will be older than him. Hard to put my head around that... doesn't seem right.

Anyway, Happy Halloween everyone!

Thursday, October 26, 2017

My Guest Post now "Live"

You can now read my guest post published by My Therapy (website is "mytherapyapp.com") Just click on the following link: https://www.mytherapyapp.com/blog/world-stroke-day-caregiving !

Tuesday, October 24, 2017

World Stroke Day is Oct. 29th

Sorry, my blog has been quiet as I have been busy writing a "guest post" for an international website for World Stroke Day.

It is quite an honor to be asked to share my insights on at-home caregiving for a stroke survivor. Also surprising to be contacted by a man in Munich Germany, who had found my blog and called it "touching" and a "beautiful tribute" to Bob.

It was a good project for me, to sit down (with a deadline) and do some serious writing. Also brought up some painful memories, along with some wonderful memories, and the process sort sent me into an emotional spin down memory lane and once again, missing Bob so very much.

I will definitely keep you all posted -- and as soon as my guest post is published, will include a link here for my readers.

Meanwhile, I am still doing the EMDR therapy and trying my best to get through this long grief journey.

Thanks for understanding the silence....


Monday, September 25, 2017

Signs

So, on September 16th, our wedding anniversary, I had originally planned to attend a birthday party for my friend Hillary (whose birthday is Sept. 16th) and thought had myself "covered" with a plan for the day.  Then two days before the 16th, I get a call and Hillary's party is cancelled.  Shoot.

So that led me scrambling to make a new plan and I called two of my grief support group friends, fellow widows Linda and Candy who both said they would "be there for me" -- thank god! And also told me we could do "anything" I wanted to do that day.

Well, you know I broke the Buddha statue that I had purchased as memorial for Bob while preparing for Hurricane Irma. I broke it while taking into the garage for "safe keeping" but weirdly, as I was carrying the heavy concrete statue I turned the corner and saw the automatic garage door going down -- which was odd to say the least. So I had to set the Buddha on the ground, click the button to open the garage, and as I picked up the Buddha I panicked worrying the door might come back down on me, so sort of sprinted into the garage (too fast) tripped and fell.  I didn't hurt myself. Buddha broke my fall. But the statue was smashed into a million pieces..... aargh

So I told my friends I wanted to go out and find another Buddha.

On the morning of Sept. 16th, I woke up early (or was it just a dream) but I woke up because I felt pressure around my shoulders and waist. I was lying on my side and looked down and saw (I swear) Bob's arms (complete with his watch) hugging me from behind and I heard him whisper in my ear, "Happy Anniversary, Sweets." I turned, so I could see his face, but he was gone. Disappeared. I sat up in bed. The clock read 6:00 a.m., the radio was on, the dog curled up at the bottom of the bed, and thought "am I dreaming this?" or "did this really happen?" but if it was just a dream, I certainly wanted to go back to it, so I closed my eyes and fell into a deep sleep not waking until 9:00 a.m.

Then when I went into the living room, where I have Bob's ashes and also his photo with his watch draped over the side, the photo was lying flat down, face up... and I could see no way that just this photo was disturbed and nothing on the table. Odd that.

Well, we went on the Buddha hunt and went to the place I bought the original Buddha -- but he had every single imaginable Buddha except, of course, the one I wanted which he had just sold that  morning at 8:30 a.m.  But the shop owner told me he could order me one and wrote down all the info he would need to order it on a business card, because I had told him that I had seen another Buddha at an antique mall and was going to check there first to see if it was still available.

So off we go the to antique mall, which is one of those huge antique malls, with winding aisles and little rooms to the sides and very easy to get lost in. No luck on the Buddha, but Candy had seen a couple tables she might be interested in for her new condo, so I was keeping my eye out for not only a Buddha but a small table and then I lost the girls -- and when I found them, they were talking with another customer, a man, who asking them questions that neither Candy or Linda could answer (not being antique collectors themselves) but me -- this is my field of expertise, so I asked him what he needed and basically he wanted to know if prices were "fixed" or you can make offer and I explained how antique malls work and being a former dealer myself, explained it would depend on some factors (like how long the dealer had the item, how much money that person made that month, etc. but also most dealers mark the prices a bit higher than they really want just to have some "haggling room"). I also explained he needed to get the Dealer code off the price tag as each little room, little area, was rented by a different dealer and he could take that info to the main desk and they could call the dealer from there to see if his offer was acceptable or not or countered.

Anyway, the customer then said he wasn't even sure if the piece was worth what he thought of offering and I said, "show me, I know thing or two about antiques" so I followed him to a drop front desk with a cabinet on top of it, but the bottom half had a different finish than the top so it looked like either someone stuck two pieces together that didn't originally go together -- that or someone started refinishing the piece and stopped for some reason.  Told him I wouldn't buy it and he said he had another in mind and I followed him the next piece, similar to the first one, drop front desk with a cabinet but this was a reproduction. So I asked him if he wanted a real "antique" or not, because it was nice piece furniture and the price wasn't bad, but it was a reproduction. He explained that his wife loved antiques, he didn't care that much, but didn't want to disappoint her and then asked me how I knew it was a repro -- so I started opening doors, pointing out modern screws, pulled out drawers and pointed out particle board bottoms, etc.

So he had another yet in mind, and as I was following him to the next desk I passed a locked glass display cabinet in which were, among other things, two antique telephones from the 1920's, you know the heavy black desk phones, one of which looked a lot like the one Bob & I had and when I passed that display case, I swear I'm not making this up, one of the phones rang. And I stopped dead in my tracks.

My first thought was "that's an odd place to have a phone hooked up" -- then "maybe I just heard an echo from the front desk", or "maybe someone has a cell phone with an old fashion ring tone" (you know the ding-a-ling) and looked around but no one was near me. Then the phone rang again. The sound definitely coming from the display case. I looked closer and could see the wires for the  phones were not hooked to anything. And, then, a pause, and it rang a third time, while I stood there dumbfounded. And then it stopped when the guy I was following came back to find me -- and I asked him if he had a heard a phone ring and he shook his head and looked at me like I was crazy. ha! But I'm not crazy, I heard that phone and that was Bob calling -- I only wish the cabinet hadn't been locked because I would have picked up the phone and answered it. But definitely, Bob was giving me a thumbs up from above, because you know antique shopping was something we would have done on our wedding anniversary....

Anyway, long story short (though this is quite a long post already), the customer showed me the last desk which was the real deal, ca 1900-1915, mission style quarter sawn oak, beautiful piece and I thought a good price esp. since that dealer was having a 30% off sale.  But he was worried it might be "too small" for the space in his house so I gave him directions to a couple of antique malls that he might check out.

You know, I felt pretty proud of myself after that experience, because normally I would not have struck up a conversation with a total stranger and then proceed to follow him around sharing my antique knowledge....  I felt like myself again.  Something I haven't felt like in a long time since Bob died....

So after stopping at a few more stores, not finding a Buddha, but having good friends with me and having a nice dinner afterwards, it turned out to be a good day all around.  (And I ordered the Buddha -- should be here in a few weeks....)

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Surviving Irma

Well, survived the big storm with only a lot of branches down, two broken attic windows, one broken Buddha statue and scratches down the side of the car.  The latter two being my fault. I dropped the Buddha while moving it into the garage, I tripped, holding the buddha and fell on top of it -- so the the Buddha broke my fall and I wasn't hurt, much, just skinned my knees. Buddha though smashed to pieces -- Then I scraped the car trying to back it out of the garage -- the garage being small (one car, old fashion) and stuffed with patio furniture etc., as I was backing up something fell against the side of the car -- shoot. I felt like an idiot.... took me 30 minutes just to back that car out of the garage... though it was the first time I ever put the car in the garage -- anyhoo

Spent the storm with a good friend, Candy, a fellow widow who I met through Grief Support Group.  I had noticed, before the storm, but after the guys had boarded me up and left, that they didn't board up the attic windows.  Candy & I went up into the attic to see what we could do to secure at least the largest one, and lo and behold, right next to the window was an antique hurricane shutter and an antique hand drill.  Candy had a cordless drill with her, but decided to try out the antique one to drill holes into the old shutter. She thought it was "fun" and "great exercise" ha!  She drilled holes and I screwed in the screws and we managed to board it up from the inside, which was good esp. since that is one of the windows broken during the storm.

We lost power at 10 p.m. the night of the storm and my "battery operated" radio (which I checked the week before and was working perfectly) decided not to work at all, so we were totally in the dark (literally) but also having no clue where the storm was going/heading etc.  I had bought a plug in landline phone and plugged that in, and when a friend from Oklahoma called to check on us, I asked her to check the weather channel and she became our "unofficial weather girl" for the rest of the night, calling in updates every 30 minutes.  Thank you, Delana from OK!  It was a long scary sleepless night, wind howling outside. Irma was fortunately not a direct hit on us and downgraded to a Cat 2 by then. But scary enough. Candy, me, two dogs and three cats hunkered down together. Fortunately, we had power back on about 19 hours later, and we uncorked a bottle of champagne to celebrate.

After the storm passed, the guys who were due to un-board called and said they would be by after they removed a large tree branch that had fallen on one of their roofs. Then, two of the fellows injured themselves, one ending up in the hospital...

So Candy and I managed to un-board the windows we could reach using my 6 foot ladder -- just to get some light into the house (as the power was still out) and open the front door.  I didn't realize that Candy had never used the cordless drill (it belonged to her late husband) and she didn't even know how to put a drill bit into it, so I showed her how it worked and, my gosh, the woman had tears in her eyes when we got the boards down. One empowering moment for her.  (Later, I gave her the antique hand drill as a memento -- with a card reminding her that "we girls can do anything!")

Finally, house was totally un-boarded on Friday. It was good to "let the light shine in", felt like living in a cave with the boards on.  Still working on clean-up in the yard. Finally can use the pool again. I tell you, a stressful time here at The Pink House.... but I am counting my blessings as it could've been a lot worse...

And Thank God for good friends!

Friday, September 15, 2017

Tomorrow

Tomorrow, Sept 16th, is/was/will always be our wedding anniversary.

I was going to post
about surviving Hurricane Irma  -- and I do have some stories there to tell --but was without power for some time, stressed, frightened, etc.--  then busy cleaning up, after the storm,  ... however -- tomorrow is Sept. 16th

Happy anniversary, sweetheart. 23 years ago we were married.

And Bob, I will always love you.

Saturday, September 9, 2017

Boarded Up

And hunkering down.... looks Irma is heading straight for us!



Wednesday, September 6, 2017

Nervously Watching Irma

We are in (what Bob would call) "The Cone of Doom" for Hurricane Irma. It's actually called the Cone of Uncertainty -- so thanks, Bob, for this memory.

Yesterday, Kona and I went to the store to stock up on supplies. Managed to find some water at a Walgreens. Many grocery store shelves were bare, no water, no tuna... But managed to get the basic necessities, ie. dog food, cat food, Vodka...  Took 2 1/2 hours for this shopping trip, as so many people in the stores, crowded aisles, long lines at the checkouts.

I am a bit of a nervous wreck...

And I know this blog has been quiet -- I have been in a dark place, deep grief triggered by dying fish which sounds really stupid, but as my therapist said, it wasn't the fish but what the fish symbolized --

And now this....




Wednesday, August 9, 2017

And The Other One Bites The Dust...

This morning found Two Fish dead -- the last of Chris' fish. Buried him in the back yard near Boomer, Zenith and One Fish...

Oh for crying out loud. I am sick of death.

Been freaking out for days on a "death watch" as I could tell Two Fish was not well -- also giving fish meds and then finding him dead, crying, had a major panic attack at the grocery store today -- all over a silly fish.... that I never wanted to begin with....

Strangely, when I got out of the grocery store and turned on the car, our song (I'll Stop The World and Melt with You by Modern English) began playing on the radio from the very beginning. I sat in the parking lot and cried. And the next song was "Let it Be" by John Lennon -- Bob's messages coming through loud and clear.  Thank you, sweetheart.

I am giving the aquariums, supplies, food, etc. to a friend of Hillary's who teaches special needs children and has aquariums in her classroom for the kids to take care of fish and to learn and relax them -- so it's a good cause.

Otherwise, missed the last EMDR session as Tropical Storm Emily sent a lightening bolt that hit my therapist's office and totally fried the AC system.

On a lighter note, I was very stressed so we skipped EMDR at my last session two weeks ago and did the Reiki instead. I close my eyes during these sessions but near the end I could hear my therapist trying to stifle a giggle and had to look -- and lo and behold, Kona had put her paw on top of my therapist's hand and Kona's nose was nose-to-nose with the therapist -- so I guess Kona is learning to become a Reiki Master!

Therapy tomorrow ---will do the EMDR again....

Friday, July 28, 2017

Midnight Swim

 Some nights, I just dive into the pool after midnight. It is quiet and I turn the pool light on, also the solar lights are shining in the garden and the pool light makes the water glow... it's beautiful.

And the neighborhood is quiet.

And it's just me and the water.  I just dive and swim and dive and swim and dive and swim, over and over and look up at the stars and see the whole universe up there in the stars and know that Bob is "up there" somewhere
and somehow hope to be reborn.... and find him...

and I keep diving and swimming...

and this is grief in action



Sunday, July 23, 2017

Eyes

Each of my EMDR sessions begins with the therapist reading this:

"Old disturbing memories can be stored in the brain in isolation, they get locked into the nervous system with the original images, sounds, thoughts and feelings involved. The old distressing material just keeps getting triggered over and over again. This prevents learning/healing from taking place. In another part of your brain, you already have most of the information you need to resolve this problem, the two just cannot connect. Once EMDR starts, a linking takes place. New information can come to mind and resolve the old problems. This may be what happens spontaneously in REM or dream sleep when eye movements help to process unconscious material"

Then our session starts, the therapist tells me to "step back" and envision the scene of finding Bob on the morning of May 28th. To watch this "scene" as a spectator instead of a participant. Which is often hard to do -- then she stops me or I stop her, and we discuss what's going through my mind.

This last session was especially hard because everything came up, starting with the "men in black" from the funeral home who were cold and impersonal, just, you know doing their jobs, and left Bob's wedding ring and watch on the nightstand without telling me, and I would find them after they took Bob away.

And that led to the very sympathetic people who picked up Boomer after he died, who actually hugged me, asked me if I wanted Boomer's collar and called the next day asking me if I needed support through one of their "pet grief" counselors...

And that led me to talking about Zenith's death, then Chris...

And we started EMDR again and all I could see were eyes.

Bob's beautiful blue eyes, wide open, staring blankly at the ceiling on that horrible morning.
Boomer's deep brown eyes rimmed in black and staring blankly at me as they carried him off in a cart.
Zenith's blue eyes, scared, staring at me, still alive, when I left her at the vet hospital and told her, "don't worry, Mommy will come back for you" but where she would later die.
Chris' unopened eyes -- in a coma when I last saw her.
Even One Fish -- one dead fish eye staring sideways at me.

Dead eyes.
Moving like a slideshow.
One after another after another after another... to the tune of the therapist's finger movements.

Bob's eyes, Boomer's, Zenith's, Chris', the fish.... over and over and over and over again and again...

I had to stop session.

And my therapist said it would be good to write about the eyes.... So here I am.

They say the eyes are the window of the soul. When I think of these eyes, I know, I know that it is the truth....

Then, the strangest thing happened, when I took out my checkbook at the end of my session to write a check for my session, I found a blue pen in my purse which I did not recognize, so I looked at it and saw the name of the funeral parlor on the pen which cremated Bob, Zenith and Boomer --- and my therapist looked at me and said, "What's wrong?" and I showed her the pen and she said, "Well, that's definitely a sign that someone is watching over you."

Still not sure how that pen got into my purse.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

One Fish -- RIP

When Chris went into the hospital in Dec. 2015, she asked me to take care of her two Betta fish. I am not a "fish person" but agreed thinking it was a temporary situation, and didn't know the names of the fish so I called them "One Fish" and "Two Fish" after, you know, Dr. Seuss One fish, two fish, red fish, blue fish. As one was red (on the fins) and the other bluish green....

Anyway, you know Chris died a year ago in June.

I have had One Fish and Two Fish since --- and they became a part of my little family. Daily rituals. Feed Kona, feed Ripley, feed fish... you know routine.

This a.m. found One Fish dead..... waited awhile to make sure... by afternoon still not moving, sort curled on the bottom on the aquarium -- gently scooped him/her up -- no movement, no response, so after making sure --- buried him/her by Zenith and Boomer's ashes in the back yard.

This shouldn't bother me so much, but I have been in and out of tears all afternoon -- I mean, jeepers, it's just a fish -- and I am not even a "fish person"....

But part of Chris went with that fish.

Now I am worried about "Two Fish", who is acting strangely out of character -- do fish grieve? They were not in the same aquarium as you can't put two Bettas together as they will fight. But they did live next door to each other....

And I am just rambling about silly fish... No not "silly" fish --  Chris's fish... which I weirdly gotten attached too...

Tomorrow another EMDR therapy appointment -- don't know if I am ready.....

Friday, July 14, 2017

One Stressful Week

So this week ends with a bang -- my computer was hacked! I don't know how it happened, but on and off all week when I tried to send an e-mail or post something, my computer would redirect to strange websites telling me that my Mac was infected and to call 1-888 numbers to talk to "an expert" at Apple Support but the phone numbers did not match the phone that I have for Apple Support and first I just ignored it as some phishing type of scam until yesterday I couldn't access anything on my computer at all! And finally called the "real" Apple Support phone number and ended up on the phone with the "real" Tech, who told me that yes, indeed, these "pop up" windows were a scam.

After about an hour of doing this and that, with the Tech "sharing" my screen and finding strange things like "wormhole" and "Megabug" on my "activities pages", and trying to delete them, some successfully, some which would not budge, the Support Tech suggested downloading a software program that took nearly five hours to download, and while that was downloading, he told me there was a concern that I might lose everything on my computer.

Jeepers!

So here I am frantically trying to move documents and photos onto flash drives and I am up until 3 a.m. last night....

I was going to blog about having Reiki therapy yesterday, which my therapist suggested instead of another EMDR session. She suggested this because I was pretty much a nervous wreck when I walked in -- having had a bad week with Kona being sick (she is better now) and experiencing a couple of dissociative incidents, plumbing issues and going through a really severe thunderstorm Wednesday evening that left me shaking and crying as thunder and lightening boomed and flashed around the house, and me alone hugging the cat and dog, missing Bob so much -- and well, just being stressed and sad and grief stricken...

Now, I've heard of Reiki but never had done it or even seen it done, but was ready try anything. The experience was interesting, the therapist holds her hands over and sometimes on different parts of your body, starting at your head and working down ending with your feet, the idea is to transfer "positive energy" and remove "negative energy" and while doing this, the lights are turned down and very relaxing music is playing the background. I found myself feeling quite calm and relaxed after the therapy.

Then I come home to blog and nothing is working on my computer! aargh! So much for "calm and relaxation". I was up all night waiting for new software to install. At midnight, when the thing was reading it had one more hour to go, I decided to go for a midnight swim.

And am so relieved that my computer is working perfectly this morning and I have not lost any files... phew!

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Kona's Birthday - 6 years old!

I fostered/adopted her 6/25/15 and this picture is of her with her former owner -- she was almost 4 years old,  91 lbs and look at those nails! She was used as a breeding dog, for a "backyard puppy mill" and got no exercise and didn't even know "sit" --


Her first day home with me  ---
Then training, exercise, proper diet, down to 75 lbs. where she should be --

Now one happy damn dog!
I "rescued" her from
the FL Labrador Retriever Rescue Society --- but I must ask, truthfully, who rescued who?
Don't know how I could have made it without her -- she is now certified/licensed/registered service dog -- for me
Happy Birthday, Kona!
And yes, she got a Doggie Ice Cream Sunday at the Dairy Inn and lots of tennis balls and treats!

Friday, June 16, 2017

Good Grief & U2

I have been reading Theresa Caputo's new book Good Grief -- you may know the author as The Long Island Medium. The cover of the book states Heal Your Soul, Honor Your Loved Ones and Learn to Live Again. I highly recommend it to anyone going through the grieving process.

I purchased the book "pre-publication" online as I had seen her on a talk show promoting the book, so really didn't know what to expect. But I am a big fan of her show. And got a discount purchasing it pre-publication.

When I first got the book, and got to the end of the first chapter -- there was an "exercise".  I hate exercises in books and usually skip them, but this exercise (which she calls "healing moments") started out Even if you don't change out of your plaid pajamas, you are going shopping today. Then she went on to pretty much demand the reader to go the nearest bookstore immediately and buy a journal that you really like the looks of because I (the reader) would need this to write in for further exercises. hmmmm

I read this sitting on the back porch with Kona having just gotten out of the pool and it was 4:00 p.m. and believe me, I never leave the house to go shopping at 4:00 p.m. but you know what -- I got up, got changed, grabbed Kona and headed to the nearest bookstore.  Man, that Long Island Medium can be persuasive....

So I bought the journal, a beautiful one.
My Journal
So fast forward to the present:

In Chapter 11, the exercise is to find an activity that your loved one couldn't resist. Then invite their spirit to join you in this activity.  And know that if you felt Spirit's presence at any point, it was real....

I had thought about that one for a long time. I don't necessarily do the "exercises" in order, and sometimes think about them for awhile. One of the exercises had been to "share" something your loved one enjoyed (food, drink, whatever) and also share a story and I did that on May 28th with our little Celebration of Bob's Life.

Anyway, so this week my friend Hillary and I went to the U2 concert, and I thought perfect! I will invite Bob (in spirit) to join us as he also loved U2. I didn't tell Hillary this, because I didn't want her to freak out thinking a ghost might be traveling with us in her back seat. Or worse, think I had completely fallen off my rocker.  I did wear one of Bob's favorite shirts and it felt so much like he was with me, hugging me through that shirt.

The concert was held in a outdoor stadium-- and it rained pretty miserably through the first act (One Revolution) and then just before U2 came on stage I looked up in the sky, the rain had stopped, and there was this incredible double rainbow that extended from one end of the stadium to the other and was directly across from where we were seated (so folks on the other side of stadium didn't see it at all).


And I tapped Hillary on the shoulder and said, "Look! A rainbow!" and she looked up and said "Can't you just imagine Bob sitting on top of that rainbow."

Which gave me a shiver. And as Theresa Caputo says "know... it was real." Hillary snapped the picture above, it doesn't do it justice --this double rainbow was huge, flawless, bright and incredibly beautiful. And I do believe, a sign that Bob was there with us....

And by the way, the concert was fabulous!

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

EMDR Dreams & Emotions

Since doing EMDR, my dreams have changed. Before, when I dreamt of Bob, the dreams were always about "losing" him -- i.e., I'd see him, then he'd disappear and I would be frantically searching for him meanwhile something like a hurricane or flood is happening at the same time. Frantic dreams. Anxiety dreams. Awful nightmares.

The other night, I dreamt of Bob and he scooped me up in his arms then suddenly we were flying, floating in a starry night sky and I felt so deeply his love and I thought, this is heaven, I was in heaven with him...

Then another dream, instead of "losing" Bob, I 'found' him at a flea market -- and I said, "There you are!" and he explained that he hadn't died, but been kidnapped and forced to divorce me by his ex-wife -- and then we grabbed hands, and ran toward the exit and I kept thinking if I can only get him to the car... and then, as they say, I woke up.

My therapist says these "dream changes" are a good sign that the therapy is working. Though, to me, the first dream felt more like an actual visitation instead of a dream.

My last session was especially hard -- a lot of emotions/memories came through that I wasn't expecting. Especially rage. Rage at Bob's family, the way they treated him in life and the way they totally disrespected him (and our marriage) after his death...  I wasn't prepared to feel any of this, pretty much thought I'd gotten over it -- but guess it was all just buried inside and came spewing out like so much vomit.

I am skipping this week's session as Hillary and I are going to a U2 concert (my all time favorite band) -- and hoping this will keep me feeling a bit "high" this week, and not wanting to break that spell.


Tuesday, June 6, 2017

EMDR

So I got through my first two sessions of EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing) therapy, and I can tell you this is not a therapy for the faint hearted.

For those who are unfamiliar with this process (as I was) it works like this:

The therapist sits very close to the patient, and I mean close, almost knee-to-knee. She then moves her hand back and forth in front of the patient's eyes. Some therapists hold an object in their hand, others (like mine) just use two fingers close together.  The back and forth movement is quite rapid and sweeping from far left to right. I (the patient) am to follow the movement with only my eyes, keeping my head still and sitting still. While doing this (the first time) we talk about the traumatic experience, in subsequent sessions I only have to visual it.

Walking into my first session, I had known that we would be using May 28th as the trauma we would be focusing on, but I was thinking we'd be using the events of the entire day, i.e. my finding Bob dead in his bed, calling 911, paramedics, police, the men in black, etc. etc. but no this was not to be. Our focus has been simply on the most traumatic part of the day, which was me, waking up, finding him dead.

So the visual is this -- I wake up, am startled because the sun is shining and Bob didn't wake me up with his usual "Good morning! The sun is shining!" and so I call out to him, receive no answer, run to his bedside, find him on his back, eyes wide open staring at the ceiling, and me screaming his name, trying to shake him awake and screaming No No No! over and over and over again.

And as the therapist moves her hand back and forth, we go through this scene, reliving it, over and over and over, sometimes 15-20 times during our one hour session.

Oh. My. God.

Of course, there are breaks in-between where she asks me how I'm feeling both physically and emotionally, she writes down my reaction, asks if I want to continue or visualize my "safe" place for a moment, take deep breaths etc.  Then after the one hour session ends, we talk about how I am feeling once again and compare that to how I was feeling at the beginning of the session. It's quite amazing the emotions that break through, some like anger, I did not expect. And this anger was directed at Bob, like "After all I did for you, this is how you pay me back, you bastard!" Whoa. I was so pissed I wanted to kill him, but couldn't because he's already dead. ha!

The only light-hearted part of the session was Kona, who usually lies by my feet during therapy, but could not do this because the therapist was sitting so close to me and so I had put Kona to the side and told her to "stay".  Unfortunately that day, my therapist was wearing a skirt, and, unknown to us, part way through the session, Kona somehow wiggled her way between us and suddenly up popped Kona's head from underneath the therapist's skirt! Oops! (I noticed at the next session, my therapist was wearing pants -- lesson learned.)

Anyway, I can't even tell you how shaken up I was after the first session. I almost puked on my therapist. She's lucky I didn't. I went home exhausted, both physically and mentally.  I slept 13 hours straight that night (I have had been trouble sleeping).

Yesterday I saw my shrinkologist (you know psychologist or psychiatrist -- whatever she is, I always forget, so I just call her my shrinkologist) and told her I was doing EMDR with my grief therapist and she told me that she was proud of me for taking this step. That the unexpected emotions (like anger and guilt) are things I've been holding inside and need to get out in the open and release them in order to heal. She also said it will be a long process, sort of like digging a swimming pool in your backyard with only one shovel as a tool.  And just like digging a swimming pool with a shovel, I will be exhausted.

It's hard work. My next session is Thursday. I'm not sure how well it's working, too early to tell, but I'm not giving up yet.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

May 28th -- Bob's "Memorial Celebration"

I did have friends over on the 28th, spent some time poolside, made one of Bob's favorite dishes for dinner, and we ate picnic style in the backyard. We also "smoked" cigarettes (those who don't smoke "smoked" candy cigarettes) and took a shot of Vodka in his honor and I demonstrated Bob's version of a Tarot Card reading which he called "Bob's Happy Tarot" (he would take all the "bad" cards out of the deck to do "his" readings and he would do them with a very funny accent which I tried my best to imitate, his readings were always hilarious.) And I also showed my friends our wedding video and the party video with Bob and I dancing.

It was a good time (we laughed and cried) and though I was nervous at the beginning, everything went very well. I was glad to finally do something in his honor, as I never had a funeral/wake or real service or even an obit in the paper as I was so shocked, and alone, when he died, and it was just me, Chris and one beloved home health nurse at his cremation  -- So this was a "Celebration" of his life, a little late.  And although most of the women who came are from my widows group and never met Bob, they said they really felt like they knew him by the end of the day.

Here are some pics:




Meanwhile, I had my first EMRD therapy session last week, and will have my second tomorrow -- it was very emotionally and physically draining and found I could not even blog about it --- but feel I need to go on and try it again..... stay tuned...

Tuesday, May 30, 2017

2 Years Ago

Doesn't seem that long ago -- seems like just yesterday --- then sometimes seems like 100 years ago ----- miss him and love him so much still.... RIP Sweetheart. I love you.

Friday, May 19, 2017

Therapist Session

So, went to my therapist yesterday and told her I wanted to try the EMDR therapy --cause I'm thinking it can't hurt and might help. So we spent much of the session discussing how to prepare and what to expect...

First what trauma event to focus on -- that was easy -- the day Bob died.

Then "code" words or signs that I can give her if it's too much for me to handle.... and stop the session to take a break.

Then to find a "safe place" to go to -- and I'm thinking, huh? Run to the ladies room?!

 But no, this is an imaginary place or a real place you feel safe --and I told her I love the water, the ocean, the Gulf of Mexico, the bay, I grew up by the Mississippi River and water has always had a calming effect for me-- but all these calming places had sad connotations as they were places I would go with Bob --- so is a "safe" place still "a safe place" if it is also sad memory?...

So after some discussion I mentioned my swimming pool (which is water) and was supposed to be a therapy pool for Bob but he died before it was put in, and I decided to go ahead and put it in anyway and it is calming  (and I am so glad the contractor talked me into putting the "water features" in it) which means deck shoots and a bubbler so the pool sounds like fountain -- and I did recall the first time, after the pool was done, and I bought a lounge chair and table and sat next to the pool with my cig (sorry still smoke) and a drink and reclined back and immediately thought "jeepers, I could live here!" and then laughed because ha! I do live here. How about that?

OK -- so the "safe place" is the pool.  Then my therapist said I needed a "container" like a box or basket or bucket or garbage can where I can put "stressful emotions" into --- and I say, "Do I have bring a box, bucket, garbage can or picnic basket to my session or--- what?"  Oh no, this is just an imaginary box/basket etc....

All righty --- I imagine myself running from the room to the "safe" ladies room with a picnic basket full of bad memories.... yikes!

I am not sure about this --- but our first session is scheduled next Thursday....

Meanwhile, tick tock, tick tock --  Bob's death anniversary is May 28th -- and I feel like it was just yesterday -- and am back to puking in the morning, pulling down the shades, wanting to hide/drink/dissolve into nothingness.

I have invited some friends over on May 28 --- so I won't be alone -- but now I'm wondering if I've bitten off more than I can chew..... cause really, I just want to crawl under the bed and hide.... and now I'm committed to making dinner for 6 (count em) people, plus cleaning up the house, getting everything ready and .... yikes -- what have I done?!

I will keep you posted --- thanks for listening/reading

Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Comments & a New Therapy

I just wanted to write a quick post thanking all of those of you left so many uplifting, sweet comments lately. It certainly helps me through tough days. And a special thanks to two new readers for your comments -- Vindi and another reader who is starting a blog of their own about caregiving -- unfortunately I could not find your blog and would love it if you can send me a direct link!

Also -- to the reader who suggested I get Kona certified as a Service Dog --- you can see (by the picture below) she is! I have a diagnosis of GAD (generalized anxiety disorder) and also PTSD. I take Kona everywhere, to the grocery store, the mall, therapy appointments, restaurants, antiquing, everywhere! And she is a godsend.  (Though my car is full of dog hair! ha!) Don't know what I'd have done without her by my side.  And it's terrible that so many charity agencies who provide service dogs (at no cost) have very long waiting lists, but I was lucky enough to be able to afford the training on my own......

In other news, my therapist is getting her certification for a "new" type of therapy for PTSD and anxiety disorders -- it's called EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing). This therapy is really not so new -- been around since 1987, but is just gaining acceptance by the medical field.  I have an appointment with her tomorrow and I do want to try this -- so I will keep you posted on the results (if any).

thanks again, everyone.  It's still a day at a time here --- seems grief never takes a vacation...

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

A Tribute to Louise

I'm sure you remember Louise -- my duck, who brought me so much happiest before she (and her new family) moved on...
I found a vintage cement duck (for the cement pond!) to mark her nest as I will never forget her and her sweet ducklings, a beautiful gift to me at a very hard time in my life....and always remember that Bob is watching over me.


Meanwhile, it is now May, marking 2 years without Bob on the 28th....  Having a hard time with, but trying my best.....

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

What the heck?

I've had trouble getting access to my own blog == finally got on here -- after 9-10 attempts --- what the heck is going on? Kept asking for passwords and then saying they were invalid --- huh? I haven't changed a thing --- Also had trouble posting on Facebook.  Also had sound issues -- couldn't hear some Youtube posts. Even Amazon was denying my account and had to diddle around to get that up at and going ---- what is going on?  Anyhoo since I finally got on here so this is a "test" post to see if it will work! -- We are ready for bedtime -- my BYD (Big Yellow Dog) and huge teddy bear with Bob's Superman T-shirt are already in bed -- Ripley will join us when lights are out  -- heck, hardly room for me!  But -- what is going on with access to internet? Is it my computer? or the whole system?
Kona and Super Bear ready for bedtime!

Monday, April 17, 2017

Still Grieving

I know it's been awhile since I posted -- I haven't because I'm still in deep grief. Next month will be the 2 year anniversary of Bob's passing --- and I can't believe it's been that long, seems like only yesterday, then sometimes feels like 100 years ago... I am still in somewhat of a state of shock, can't believe he's gone...

I just try to get by --- day by day....

Am going to counseling, seeing a shrink, taking Xanax.....

Taking care of my dog, cat, Chris's two fish (still alive, surprise!) -- I swim every day in the pool as weather permits. Kona is the Evil Queen of Tennis Balls, you should see her dive in the pool after them. At least, she can make me laugh.

Still missing Bob so much. My heart still shattered. Am reading a lot of "grief healing" books ---
And trying to heal -- if that is possible.

Sorry this blog is so quiet.

Almost scared to post here -- as I think everyone has forgotten about me, or doesn't care anymore.....


Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Searching for Louise

Yesterday, Kona and I walked to the nearest lake (about 7 blocks away) and took a long walk around the perimeter of the lake looking for Louise. We saw all different types of ducks, coots, geese, turtles, snakebirds, herons, egrets -- but no Louise. And then, Kona was nearly attacked by a very mad white goose. I was losing hope, 3/4 around the lake, and still no Louise. In fact, I hate to admit, but I was nearly in tears.

So I said to Bob, "Sweetheart, if you truly sent those ducks to me, please show me a sign that she is here or find her and send to somewhere I can see her, please!  I just want to know she and her babies are okay."

And Kona and I continued walking, searching the water, when I noticed some graffiti on a culvert on the lake's edge that I had never noticed before:

So I stopped there, searching the water near this culvert which was filled with lily pads and reedy water plants and murky and didn't see anything except a turtle.

So I sat down.

Waited.

Watched the lake.

And in the distance, about 30 feet away, a duck's head popped out of the water lilies and my heart skipped a beat and she swam out of the lilies and it was, my god, I thought, Louise -- but I wasn't quite sure as she was far from me, but then I saw the ducklings and I knew it was her. The ducklings were swimming in and out of the lilies so fast and the best count I got was six of them at once, but hopefully, the other three were under the lilies.

Louise and ducklings, happy and safe!
All I can say is she is one lucky duck to have made it through the busy streets to that lake -- or perhaps she had some spirit guides!!


Update March 29: went back to the lake today and saw Louise plus at least 7 ducklings, maybe 8. Some guy saw me watching and came over to see the ducklings and commented on them, I said, "Those are my ducks!" and he looked at me like a crazy lady -- ha! So had to explain the whole story -- and then he told there's an otter in this lake that eats ducklings --- eeeeeeeek! Didn't need to hear that.

Praying for a white light protecting these duckies from The Evil Otter.

I know this pic isn't clear --- but I am counting at least 7 here!

Sunday, March 26, 2017

Vanished!

On Saturday morning, I went to the kitchen to grab a cup of coffee and was shocked to look out my back door (which is glass) and see Mama duck with all her babies circling her, standing at my back door looking at me through the window! So cute, they waddled all the way up the wheelchair ramp to get to my back door --- wish I'd taken a photo --- but just thought, jeepers, you guys must hungry so I went out and fed them.

That day, I was helping my friend Hillary move and when I came back later that afternoon, the ducks were still there. But 45 minutes later, when I went out to feed them, they were all gone -- simply vanished!

I, of course, checked all over the yard. Walked down the alley -- nothing. Finally got in my car, drove to the nearby lake, worried --- but didn't see any dead ducks on the busy streets --- didn't find her at all.

Waited today, all day, and they haven't come back.....

Mixed emotions here:  worried about their safety, sad to see them gone, relieved that I don't have to transport them myself.

And then I think that Louise (mama duck) was at my back door that morning, proud mama surrounded by her babies, to say "goodbye" or perhaps "thanks for your hospitality" knowing she would be leaving that day....

(The above video was the last "picture" I took of them....)

Friday, March 24, 2017

A New Use for a Slideboard

I took Bob's slideboard which we used to transfer from wheelchair to bed etc. stapled towels to it and made a non-slip ramp so the ducklings can get out of the pool. It works!


Wednesday, March 22, 2017

Babies!!!!


Just happened -- would have tried to get closer pictures but Louise (Mama) was having nothing to do with it -- so I'm going to leave her alone ----


Sunday, March 12, 2017

Duck Update

Finally, the guy from Fish & Wildlife got back to me --- and after "researching" the photos I e-mailed him, he tells me that he thinks my ducks are NOT pure Mottled Ducks, but hybrid ducks, a mix of the rare Mottled Duck with probably a Mallard.

So, he tells me, since they are no longer endangered ducks --- they are actually nuisance ducks, and as such, I can move the nest, destroy the nest, kill the mama ----- jeepers. Anyone for duck stew and scrambled eggs?

From one extreme to the other --- first don't touch, don't feed, to go ahead and destroy them. Of course, I would never ever do that.

But I'm thinking, what's this? The Nazi Duck Police? I mean, just because they are not "pure" they suddenly become a nuisance??? Doesn't seem very humane at all to me... And seems to me, this is just nature taking its course and by the way, isn't this the same agency that is importing Texas Pumas to breed with Florida Panthers because the panther is endangered?

Well, as Bob would say, "whatever".

Louise (mama duck) is still nesting comfortably. And since no longer "endangered" I am feeding her, trying to gain her trust so that, when time comes, we can hopefully transport her & ducklings to a nearby lake:


Wednesday, March 1, 2017

Duck Dilemma

Well, yikes. So now I have a duck with 13 eggs and that duck maybe a species of duck on the "watch list" for potentially endangered ducks....

Of course, I am not a duck expert. But looking on the internet, and knowing by sight they are not typical Mallard Ducks, they do look like Florida Mottled Ducks -- which are on the "watch list" for a species that is potentially endangered....

So, I talked with Hillary (my vet and friend) and she suggested calling Suncoast Seabird which is a rescue group and I did that today and they referred me to Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission which I called and talked to a nice guy and told me if in fact they are Mottled Ducks (a potentially endangered species) -- don't touch them, don't feed, don't do anything --- let mama duck just do her thing and then asked me to send pictures which I did (haven't heard back yet) so he could verify if they are in fact Mottled Ducks or some other duck...  Weird thing is if they are NOT Mottled Ducks I could actually get a permit to have them removed but if they are --- don't touch, don't do anything --- 

He also told me, if they are Mottled Ducks,  to put a fence around my pool so ducklings don't get into it ---- ???? and I'm like what? and how?

And said leave gates open (after I said my yard is fenced in) to let mama duck take her babies away ---
and I'm thinking, jeepers, the nearest pond/lake/natural environment is over half a mile away and how is this duck gonna make it across some very busy streets with a row of little ducklings  --  plus I have dog! so open gates, I mean, you know.. anyway

Oh by the way, I named mama duck Louise ----  after one of my all time favorite movies Thelma and Louise ---

But jeepers --- this is turning into a Duck Dilemma

I was really hoping some agency could just come and get them and take them away to a safe environment....

Pool guy was here today to clean pool and I warned about Louise and he was good about it but she did come out and swim around the pool, watching him carefully -- so cute!

But omg -- what to do? And now my pool of "off limits" to both Kona (esp. Kona) and me --- yikes

Louise

Friday, February 24, 2017

Oh No!

Remember those Valentine ducks? Well, today I found quite a surprise by my pool:


Not really sure how to handle this situation........

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Valentines' Surprise

Wasn't looking forward to today, Valentine's Day, without Bob and also this day is the 2nd year anniversary of the day we moved into our new house.... so a sad day all around.

Imagine my surprise when I went out the door this morning to walk the dog and found these two love birds swimming in our pool!

Oh my goodness, a little Valentine's present from above!!  Believe me, I've never seen ducks in the pool before today.... so just a coincidence? on this day?  Either way, I am suddenly smiling and feeling Bob's love all around me.  Happy Valentine's Day!



Sunday, February 12, 2017

Little Pink Guest House

 Finally finished the guest house renovation! (This was Chris's old apartment.... so was a sad project in a way.)

Me? Still grieving....
The Flamingo is actually a vintage night light ----


Directions to the pool!




The Innkeeper, call for reservations!

Monday, January 30, 2017

Dog Wars

Well, you all know I put up a lovely fence in front of the house -- this so I could enjoy our front porch and Kona could run around and enjoy the front yard.

And this was working perfectly, Kona and I just relaxing and enjoying the front yard until...

A couple weeks ago, when this jerk walking his dog comes by.

You know how dogs are, and Kona is no exception, so when someone comes by with a dog and Kona is in the front yard, she does what dogs do -- she runs to the fence, wagging her tail, barking.  Pretty normal dog-behind-a-fence reaction, if you ask me.

Anyway, this jerk comes by and he isn't even in front of our house yet, and Kona sees him and the dog and she runs to the fence wagging her tail, barking (friendly barking, you know the difference between that and 'I want to eat your face' barking) and this guy SCREAMS at me: CONTROL YOUR M-FING DOG!!!!

And I'm thinking "what?" though actually I'm not really thinking anything just sort of shocked at this guy's reaction to Kona, so I say something like "She's just saying hello, she's harmless" or something of that sort and the guy continues walking by the fence screaming at me the whole time calling me every profanity in the book and also screaming that I am the "RUDEST M-Fer IN THE WHOLE GOD DAMN WORLD!!"  Which of course, just gets Kona all wound up and makes her chase him down the fence line barking.

Oh-kay.

The whole situation was really upsetting and shocking to me. I mean, I am a long time dog owner and dog walker, and I see dogs behind fences all the time when walking with a dog -- and Kona's not doing anything scary or unusual, she's not lunging the fence or trying to leap the fence or even growling. And as I long time dog walker, if I don't want to deal with a dog behind a fence, I cross the street.  I mean, duh.

So I'm upset and shaking and go in the house. Because so much for that "relaxing" evening.  And it takes me a few days even to get the gumption to go back out on the front porch, but three days later I do. Everything is fine again until a couple days pass and then here comes the same jerk.

Doing the same the thing, yelling and screaming profanities at me and my dog.

So the next day, I call the non-emergency police number and talk to a very nice police officer who tells me that I and Kona are doing nothing wrong, that the dog is "controlled" as she is behind the fence and she is not "nuisance" barking because it's before 11:00 p.m. and that, in fact, he is harassing me and next time it happens I should call the police on him. And I say, well, by the time the police arrive he will be long gone and the cop says "how far can get, walking a dog? we'll patrol the area and find him."  So OK.

But I am now afraid of this guy and am afraid to sit on my own front porch.... and thinking, do I need to buy a gun? what's this guy gonna do next?

But then I think, damn it, it's my yard, my porch and I have to reclaim it. So I begin sitting out for one hour (I time it) each night, but I'm nervous as all get out, watching for this jerk....

And one day, to my surprise, I go out my back gate and who do I see? but this jerk and he lives right behind me across the alley!  Oh crap.

Now, I'm afraid to go out the front door and the back door!  So here I am, stressed out as hell, each time I go out, checking out windows, is he outside? behind me? in front? and if he is, I go out the other way.... jeepers, what a way to live.

But this does end here --- no.  Because then there is the neighbors' dog -- not the same dog, but the doggie next door who just last week BUSTED through the glass of the neighbor's window trying to get at Kona who was in my front yard.  And that is the same dog who is trying to bust through the fence to get at Kona in my side yard....

And add to this, the neighbor (a known drunk) on the other side of our house, who came out one day and screamed at me to "keep my damn dog quiet, because his kids were trying to sleep" -- this as 7:30 p.m. and his kids are like 10 and 7 years old....  

So I'm surrounded by Kona haters....

And Kona is the only thing really keeping me alive these days.  I've had a hard enough time dealing with the loss of Bob, (add Chris, add Boomer, add Zenith) and especially over the holidays and Bob's birthday and jeepers --- I just don't need this.

That's what's been going on here at The Pink House.  Sorry I've been so quiet.  I'm just having a hard time dealing with all of this....








Sunday, January 15, 2017

January 16th ---- Bob's 58th Birthday

I love you, will always love you, and you will live in my heart forever.
And I am blessed for having known you and having loved you.
And having known your love for me -- the greatest gift of all.
Happy Birthday, sweetheart.
I miss you, but we will meet again.

January 16, 1959 - May 28, 2015