Category Archives: grief


She wasn’t waking up. She looked beautiful – her skin was pink, her lips red, her hair was combed and in a pigtail, her water weight had come off, she was peaceful and calm. But she wasn’t waking up. It was hard to tell if her brain functions were working – tests weren’t conclusive. The only way to know if she was okay was to observe her if she would only wake up. It had been over a week since she had responded to some words and a tickle on her right foot. Since then, nothing. She was kind of a Sleeping Beauty. I visited every day and stayed with her but she wouldn’t respond to touch and words.

It was becoming pretty obvious – at least, to me – where this was headed. I couldn’t admit it to myself in words but my logical, practical, realistic side was starting to turn on the warning radar. This was probably not going to end well. It was starting to get hard.

Doctors had told me that they couldn’t keep her on machines indefinitely. Tomorrow would be the day. They needed to get her off the many machines that were keeping her comfortable and let her pick up the load. She needed to start fighting the battles on her own, now. Tomorrow would be the day. No one, including the doctors and staff, seemed very positive. Their faces betrayed their words. They looked tired, frustrated, and overwhelmed.

Her entry into the passage was beginning. I was starting to feel alone.

· Leave a comment. Posted in grief, regina's fight.

Little Reds

Niki sent me these last evening. Special pictures, kids, and times. Niki – the tiny one in the photos with her brother Elan – is graduating from high school tomorrow morning. It all comes around.

· Leave a comment. Posted in friends, grief.


This is Heart Day. For a few hours, at least, Regina had a strong, healthy, young, powerful, beating, rhythmic, fully-functional heart.

Photo Aug 11, 11 09 29 REV

· Leave a comment. Posted in grief, regina's fight.


This is one of my favorite pictures and this was one of our happiest days together. It was a Fri afternoon and we were leaving WHC. It had been a long, difficult spell in two hospitals for about two months. We felt good about things, albeit a bit nervous, and were happy to finally be going home and getting some rest. This is one of the prettiest pictures I have of Regina. She is glowing. See Tate sitting on the center console to Regina’s left? Tate is who was keeping Regina alive. We were hoping to be able to depend on Tate for, possibly, many months until a heart became available. This was a good day.


· Leave a comment. Posted in grief, regina's fight.

Special Reminders

sumspuzzaEvery time I call Sam’s Pizza for delivery or go by to pick up a carry-out order, they ask for my home phone. This has been happening for two years and is not a surprise, but it makes me grimace every time. I give them my home phone and they say, “Regina?” “Yes,” I say. They acknowledge my affirmation and proceed with my order.

What should I do? It hurts a bit each time it happens, I’ll admit. But, I also don’t want to let it go, either. It’s something like the automated phone calls I still get from Stafford County Public Schools and from Rockhill Elementary reminding me about Field Day, Funny-Clothes Friday, inclement weather policies, or teacher workdays. It tingles just slightly but, somehow, I don’t want to give it up. I’ve had to give up so much in the last two years.

Coincidentally (or not?), in the last two days I have had two separate and good conversations about Regina with people who knew her and cared deeply for her. As I’ve said before, it still hurts incredibly to think and talk about her, but it also makes me feel better to know that she isn’t forgotten and that we can somehow remember and deal with things. I really appreciate these two for not being squeamish and for being able to plow into a difficult and scary topic. But it means so much to me. I guess, again, I’m afraid we all might forget her and I wouldn’t like that so as much as it hurts, I need and want to talk about her in the right places and at the right times.

This month – June – is the two-year anniversary of the hardest month of my life.

· 1 Comment. Posted in 250 words, grief.

Too Loud

ABPB1R / Man Covering His EarsHe said he was tired. He was thumbing through a set of movies in the living room. He said he likes to watch two movies each evening – that’s his routine. He then goes to bed at 10:30pm. He was fairly insistent that I not break this routine, thank you.

His wife was in the bedroom next to the living room. She was asleep and would probably not wake up again. She still had color in her face and, actually, looked pretty good. But we all knew that the toll was being taken slowly, surely, predictably. Her hair was combed and she had been set up on a pillow so she could “watch” TV. It was on and turned up quite loud. This was, he explained, her routine every night.

And so routine was the desire and expectation despite what was going to happen in a few days. He said this is how their evenings had been for as long as they had lived in their apartment – several years, at least.

I understood. While it might seem that one would be smothering the other one who is getting ready to pass, I remember how tired I was. My context and senses were set on NUMB. I understood, I think, the gravity of the situation but I simply didn’t have the energy to hover, grope, fear, worry. It wasn’t denial. Rather, it was like a trance. Autopilot. Zombie-like. Yes. I understood him. Completely.

And when I left, I sat down at a table in the waiting area and wept. His tears would come soon enough. But he was where he was – a place that’s pretty lonely and desolate. It would come. But for now, he was doing all he could do. And I hurt for him. I understood.

I left him as he started his second movie. She slept with her TV turned up too loud.

It’s Tues, May 20, at 3:15pm as I write this updating postscript. I just received word that she passed shortly after I left on Sat night last week. It was peaceful. She had her husband of 65 years at her side.

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Good Death

A bit different take on death. From Order of the Good Death. Seriously, this is an interesting article to read – Death Is Having a Moment.

· Leave a comment. Posted in daily goings on, grief, to live by.

Dentist Horror Deux

largehugeI live to tell the tale. I heard from Beth and she survived though she is at home with heavy medications and some long, strange trips. Not sure how Tiff made out (though I did receive a real gem in the mail today from her – thanks so much, T). And finally, Nick and Zak need to de-claim the iPads and laptops. Sorry. Next time.

Right now, I have melon-flavored fluoride pasted all over my teeth. The stuff usually hangs on for several days until it peels off. In the meantime, food, while filling, simply will taste like green cantaloupe.

On a more serious note, the nice check-out receptionist at the dentist counter – who has helped me and Regina for years – noted that Regina hadn’t been in for awhile and wondered if anything was wrong. For some reason, it hit really hard. It wasn’t her fault, of course, but I choked some sobs and teared up. (I can do this easily now. I’m no longer embarrassed.) I burbled that Regina hadn’t made it through a heart operation twenty-one months ago. The receptionist responded by saying how much she had enjoyed Regina’s visits and that she was real sorry to hear of my loss. I thanked her and told her it was okay and that I appreciated her kind words and memories.

As I was picking up my debit card and receipt from the counter to leave, she looked at me and said, “Can I hug you?” It threw me for just a second but I said, “Of course. I’d like that.” To which, she walked around the counter and gave me a long, sincere hug.

I like dentists more now.

· 3 Comments. Posted in daily goings on, grief.

Another Step

casinoIn a few more weeks, I will begin another adventure. Actually, I’m not really beginning but, more properly, I’m continuing. I think all of the paperwork is done, the passport is in hand, the school and work arrangements have been made, and only a few more clothing items are yet to be received in the mail. Other than those few things, all I need to do is get to the airport and off I go. I’m a bit nervous but I look forward to meeting up with Ady et al and spending time with him and his in their wonderful country. As I’ve said before, there are some memories I will need to take care of when I arrive, but I’m ready and I think it is time to do this.

I understand that I am blessed to be able to travel and there are many who wouldn’t be able to do what I have done and am going to do. For me, it was highly recommended by several therapists and survivors that I travel in order to work through my grief. I felt the advice was not much more than some good words and ideas to pin up on my wailing wall. But, fact is, travel has offered me┬ásome kind of therapeutic relief. And now, when people ask, I always advise – along with several other methods – that a person can and should travel to get through grief.

There’s something about the motion, reestablishment of independence, daily decisions that must be made, new things all of the time, and doing something in a new status that makes travel important as a way to get through it. At least, it has been for me. And so, I go out again. For healing of the soul.

· Leave a comment. Posted in #stimplero, grief.

Night Visit

dreamingRegina visited last night. She was so clear and normal. It was around 2am in the morning. I looked and there she was. Walking into the room from down the hall. She was wearing her pink, striped, crinkly night gown. She was reluctant. She said, “Hi.” She had her sad smile. She seemed vulnerable.

I was speechless and couldn’t believe my eyes. I walked to her and held her. I kept saying her name over and over as I held her. She felt so small, like she always felt, and bony. She felt warm, too, like she had just gotten out of bed. I was crying as I held her. We didn’t say anything for a long time. It was dark in the room. Quiet. My emotions and confusion made it hard to think about anything other than to hold on to her as tight as I could. I remember thinking that I wish I had held her more often before.

She cried, too, after awhile. We looked at each other and she said, “I need to go now.” I let her go without protestation, for some reason. She walked back through the room toward the hall. She looked at me and waved her little wave with a slight smile like she would always do. Then she left.

I looked around. All I saw was the night light burning blue in the silent room. She was gone. I sat down and wept.

I texted a friend who I knew would be awake. We talked on the phone for twenty minutes. I felt a little better.

· 2 Comments. Posted in 250 words, grief.