Saturday, July 31, 2010

the grief monster

Last night was a great night with great friends and teachers. I needed it. My week has been basically good until work yesterday. Something summoned the grief monster and I was remembering Paul's last few hours and I read an article in a travel magazine and thought about all of the places we talked about or I thought about us going to that we never did. I spent some time crying in the bathroom. Thinking about other couples getting to do those things is like a knife through my heart. How can I ever go back to Zuma Beach in Malibu? We were there last July and we love that beach. What about Venice Beach boardwalk?? Impossible to go back it seems. We spent many weekend days there and we were there last July. Southern California is so near and dear to my heart but it also is such a huge reminder of a life that does not exist any more. That really sucks. It is hard to realize this. My memories there are amazing with Paul and my own. I want to go back to the Tao Healing Center in Santa Monica and get a massage from the older Asian lady Paul used to rave about. I want to go back to Topanga Canyon which is one of my favorite parts of LA. Paul and I hiked there last July and in 2008 we went there to a favorite restaurant and he got to order dessert because it had no sugar in it. We took pictures of him eating it. The restaurant is beautiful. The seating is all outdoor on decks. We took my parents there when they would visit us in LA. Anyway, it is not fair in so many ways. So unfair!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Acknowledge the past,honor the present,open to possibilities

I had T'ai Chi at Turning Point today for the first time in too long. Because of work schedules changing I had to stop taking the class that Paul & I love so much but because of my schedule changing again I am now able to go back...just when I need it. Another gift from Paul. My favorite movement has always been one that acknowledges the past, honors the present and opens us to possibilities. Today that was especially poignant to me. We repeated it a few times so I had time to think about what my past is and what it has given me. Also, I was able to think about the present moment and what that means to me know and all of the possibilities that I am open too.
Just going through that movement gave me peace and comfort. Paul liked doing one called wave arms like clouds. During this one we are invited to close ours eyes through the movement and visualize clouds passing by. So today I visualized Paul in his favorite baby blue t-shirt doing this movement as I had seen him do it for 2 1/2 years on top of a cloud. It was so clear it was like it was real. It made me smile. The T'ai Chi we do is more like a meditation and combines a little Qi gong.
Interestingly I have found comfort in looking back and remembering Paul and myself. I would have thought that doing this would be crushing but it is not. It brings happiness, appreciation and awareness to my heart & mind. The night I wrote about how we met I also listened to the songs he used to sing and play for me on guitar. Then I remembered how I used to feel seeing him playing on stage. It was like I was 20 again and those butterflies that come with falling in love and being attracted to someone came back. My girlfriends and I call those the salad days. The salad days are so fun. Mine with Paul lasted a really long time. They popped back into play whenever he picked up the guitar and sang me a song or just stared at me sitting next to him like I was the greatest thing. He did these things often for 18 years. That is something to hold onto and feel grateful for. That is part of my past and it shapes my present. It is amazing. The gratitude I have for us being a part of each others' lives is limitless. These things far out weigh grief. Grief is a monster and I do not deny it but I like to release it and make room for joy and peace. That is what Paul wants me to do and it is what he would have done in my shoes. Grief is kinda like cancer really,emotionally speaking and I intend to deal with it the way we dealt with cancer. I have one of the best role models for inspiration.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

My Husband

It has been three weeks today since you passed and I feel closer to you than ever. I think it is all of the time I have had to remember things forgotten and appreciate the once unappreciated moments. I am sad today but also intensely overcome with your presence in my life. You gave me so much to live for and so much to learn. Your spirit, creativity and passion were/are fuel for mine and honey it runs deep. This is where I chose to dwell because in our dreams the possibilities are endless and the opportunities are vast. I have been to the mountain as Dee puts it. I stood at the summit hand in hand with you.

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

the begining

I am strolling down memory lane tonight. I want to share my love story. It is extensive as it is 18 years old this August. So i will start at the beginning and just add random stuff.
I was on summer break after my freshman year of college. I was spending the summer at my parents house and they went out of town so I had a group of my high school friends over for a last get together before college started back up. As the night progressed I got a bit bored and one of my nieces came over with a friend and told me about a warehouse party that she heard about or read about. To make things clear I am the youngest of seven kids so my nieces and nephews are closer to my age than my brothers and sisters. Also it was the early 1990's so warehouse parties given by bands were the thing. I wanted to check it out but nobody else but my nieces wanted too. So, I left my party, these were all old friends that I trusted and that knew the do's & don'ts, and we went across town and arrived at a crowded warehouse full of strangers and loud music coming from the stage up front. This was the band's practice space and they happened to be a popular local band. We knew nobody in the crowd but we did not expect too because none of us were 21 yet so we had not seen any local bands or gone to the bars yet. At one point I was standing by myself close to the kegs and noticed the cutest guy walking in with a friend in a big bird stocking cap. The cap caught my attention but not as much as the hot blond guy with him. The hot blond was Paul. We seemed to catch and hold each other's gaze so he walked over to introduce himself. That went something like this..."Hi, I'm Paul. I am in a band maybe you have seen us or heard of us. I haven't seen you out before." "Hi, I'm Keri. This is my first warehouse party and I don't go out that much so I have not seen or heard of your band." "Ok well, can I buy you a beer?" That is how it all began. I did not want to tell him I was not 21 yet. It was obvious he was older than me. He did not ask me my age. It took about four or five dates for me to tell him. Although on our first date we went to a local band bar and I had to say that I did not have ID. It was not an issue. He knew everyone there. The sweet thing about that initial meeting is that one of my nieces had a curfew, she was still in high school, and being the good aunt I needed to get her home for that which was about 20 minutes away from the party. I told Paul I had to do this and told him if he waited here I would come back. He waited. He was in the parking lot when I got back. The party was over and mostly cleared out. I was shocked and happy. I remember taking his hair out of the ponytail he wore and being jealous of his curls and thinking how I had struck gold meeting him. His long blond curly Robert Plant hair did it for me. It still does just thinking about it. Funny enough he had a poster of a young Robert Plant on one of his walls and I used to look at that and at Paul and just smile because I had my rockstar boyfriend. The first time I saw him play on stage to a pretty packed bar I was so proud and in love. Seeing him up there playing guitar was so amazing to me. I used to be mesmerized by his hands & fingers running up and down the frets on the headstock. I never understood how he remembered what note to play until years later. I also used to think how lucky I was that those hands were mine and I still feel that way. Dating a musician and marrying one is a pretty wonderful thing if you can handle them. I loved more than anything seeing him play on stage for people. He was so happy to being doing it. He belonged there and he knew it. I loved being a band girlfriend. It was not all smooth sailing but that is what made it special to me. I would give anything to see him on stage just one more time. To say that we spent a lot of time in bars is an understatement. I adopted the life while going to school, working and supporting myself. It became no big deal to stay out till 4 am have to get up for work at 8am and do homework on Sundays or weekday nights. Lucky for us both I moved into apartments in midtown near him and the bars. It was also near my college. I made it work and had a blast doing it.
That's all for tonight.

Monday, July 26, 2010

A hard day's night

Tonight I ate the worst, nutritionally, dinner I have eaten in over 2 1/2 years. I had a Rice Dream Mocha Moon Pie, an individual bag of Kettle Chips Krinkle Cut Salt & Pepper Potato Chips and a Hazelnut Crusted Field Roast from Whole Foods Deli. Now I admit it was delicious!
The Rice Dream Moon Pie and the chips were our food vices. They were treats on ocassion except when Paul saw the chips on sale 2 for $5 or the summer he ordered a case of the moon pies for home. The field roast is one of my favorite things. It is like comfort food for me. So I justify this meal like this. I went back to work today for the first time in a month. It was going back to work. Nothing crazy, no bad moods just not where I wanted to be. I heard the word sweet on the stereo in the car and it sparked tears because my dad used to call me sweets. After he died last year Paul started doing it. Now it reminds me of my two favorite men in the world. I tried to take care of some of the stuff I have to deal with that is frustrating & no fun. Only one person who was suppossed to call me back today did it. I came home and realized that I was out of water and food for breakfast and tonight is my sangha night which is my meditation night. so I cut that short and only stayed 30 minutes and went to the store. This is when it got tough. It has only been 3 weeks since Paul passed away and I have been to the store twice and it is not getting easier. I only shop for one now and it is hard to pass the foods that he loved. We used to eat at the store on shopping nights and the thought of eating by myself there makes me sad. When I look at the tables I can see him sitting there waiting for me to bring utensils and napkins. I also only need the small cart now. But the hardest thing is that the people there are very friendly and a few recognize us as regular customers and one in particular knew about Paul having cancer and the pain he was in in the past few months and that he was going to try the nerve block. He was working tonight so he came over to the check out lane I was in. I knew he would ask me about Paul because he always did. He seemed to notice my groceries were considerably less and he asked me how his treatments were going? I felt as sorry for him having to hear what I was about to say as I did for me having to say it. I looked up and told him that he passed away 3 weeks ago. He obviously did not know what to say at first and I had nothing to offer to make the situation any better. He finally reached for my hand but got the cart and looked me in the face and said "you know even with all the pain he was just a really nice man."I almost lost it. I thanked him and he told me to take care of myself and I told him he would still be seeing me and he said yes but take care of yourself. It was so sweet. I am just in awe that Paul was able to touch people's lives like he did. I mean this was a younger guy at the grocery store not a friend from years ago or something. They just got along and spoke to each other about once per week.
So even though I had a beautiful salad made for dinner I caved and ate the other stuff. I deserve it. For some reason moments like that with people that are not strangers but not friends or family are tough. The waiter at a resturant we always went too was the same way.
On my drive home I noticed the sky was beautiful as the sun set. It was a Pacific sunset which to me means blue, orange, pink and purple hues. It was amazing. Paul & I started really taking notice of the sky,the colors, the clouds, etc. after a painting class we took last year. Tonight's sky gave me some comfort. You got to take where you can get it sometimes. Not to shabby.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


I had an amazing & inspiring writing class today. so of course I am going to share some of my prose from the class. It is a class facilitated by the Poet Laureate of Kansas Caryn Mirriam- Goldberg through Turning Point:The Center for Hope and Healing. The class contains people on a journey with serious illness and their supporters.

These 2 were based on a magic moments

Your music played on the stereo
Pictures of you at various ages and stages
moved like a slide show across three screens.
People stood up and told stories about you
and spoke about how you touched their lives.
I am not sure you knew those things.
Reconnections were made.
People, friends who played music together 10-15 years ago
saw each other and remembered.

I saw more smiles and heard more laughter than tears and crying.
That was magic honey, your magic.
I only wish it would have happened before you physically left us but
I know you were there at your celebration and you experienced it.
That night gave me comfort and peace. I cried but
not necessarily sad tears. Your magic worked on everyone that night.

My Red Bird

I looked up to the sky
the morning you passed
and asked you to let me know it was ok,
that you were ok. The red bird that always
appeared in the yard when I was having a bad day
landed on the McGuffin's roof next door and
started singing away. When he stopped I went inside but
felt drawn back out and that little
red bird flew right back to the roof and serenaded me again.
I know you are my red bird, you owed me a song.
We talked about that in the hospital and you gave
Me one that morning. You have appeared to me everyday since then.
My magical bird- my free husband's soul.

Just have to tell ya my red bird is outside right now singing away:}

This next one is on Freedom. I referenced pieces of one of my prose works from the book My Tree Called Life.

We never did let our illnesses define us
or how we would live.
Some might say I was the food police but
in our dietary changes our bodies found freedom.
In our suffering, worry, and fear, the great unknown
we found freedom. We found deep, intense love on all kinds
of levels, happiness and joy to just be waking up
Our open minds and belief in ourselves gave us freedom to take control
and responsibility for our lives and to have fun and be goofy in public.
You did not have to go to a job you hated anymore and you wrote
music all day as it was meant to be. We could go to the park
instead of doing chores, take trips and buy the motorcycle
instead of worrying about how much was in the savings account.
Cancer and brain abcess did give us freedom to enjoy each moment
in the present as we wanted and needed to.
Your passing gave you freedom from a body full of cancer and
failing organs. It allows you to soar and take care of me in a divine way
and it allows me the freedom to paint my own masterpiece.
I have to do some fancy brushstrokes because
I had already painted one for both of us.
I don't want to give cancer any credit
for anything but I cannot deny the freedom it gave us
to find our purpose and live like we mean it.

This one is prompted by one of Paul's poems in the book My tree Called Life

"Let life unfold and reveal
to me the how
and let me not get in the way"
You did this with beauty and grace
It was an honor to bask in the
revelations with you
as your partner. Now I must
do the same. It is easy for me to get
in my own way because of the sadness and pain
and the fact that at 37 I am a widow,
a label I reject. Also all of the crappy
business kind of stuff I have to do.
I do not dwell in these things.
I dwell in the possibilities and experiences yet to come.
You are an inspiration, a teacher and a rockstar in these ways.
You are my how and I never doubted you. I am ready for the rest of
my life to unfold with beautiful, loud, guitar driven music
all around me.

Saturday, July 24, 2010


I was trying to take advice today and have this be a do nothing & rest day but no can do. It just doesn't feel right. That might sound kinda does to me anyway. The last few weeks have been a nonstop roller coaster and the ride continues on and I am tired & don't want to do anything but....doing nothing just isn't me or hasn't been me for 3 years. I did take a nap this afternoon. That's a big deal. It is so pretty outside but so hot. I want to be out there but it is just too hot for doing anything. That's the midwest for you. I did see my red bird this morning when I was outside. I just watched two squirrels playing with each other and a mommy robin helping her young catch bugs. There is comfort and awareness in being outside in nature,even your backyard. That robin helping her young find food is no different that a human mom feeding her child. Those young squirrels tumbling around is no different than kids playing with each other. We are all connected...people, animals, this planet, the universe. We must realize this and take care because when we do we are taking care of ourselves and our families. I had an amazing conversation yesterday with a dear friend and she was talking about openness. One of the things Paul & I discovered in the last 2 years is that the more you open your mind to the possibilities and world that is out there the more you grow and the more you become one with yourself. Great things happen when we do this. My friend gave me the kick in the pants I needed and it turned my day around...more than one day actually. She turned my mind around and switched me back on to me. I got some possible good news last evening, spoke to another amazing friend about a great opportunity that we might try to make reality, slept great, heard Paul talking to me, and have not shed a tear today. I have faith and belief in myself...Paul always did and still is my turn now and it is exciting. I am ready for this new chapter with Paul's guidance. I don't feel afraid any more. I am not saying I am over him passing...not at all. I don't know that I ever will be but I know he set us on a course that I want to explore and if I have to physically do it alone..well..that is what I have to do. Maybe one of Paul's greatest gifts to me is belief in myself. We were definitely meant to be part f each other's lives. I was telling one of my friends this yesterday. Our dating career was a long one with several 1 or 2 day breakups but the last break up was for 6 months and I distinctly remember it feeling like it has since he passed. Like I lost my heart and part of my soul and how could I possibly move on. I wrote a ton during that time and took some of it to my advisor in college, I had graduated already, she was impressed and said to me wow what has happened? I told her my boyfriend broke up with me and she said remember I used to say you write so well in hard times. I think most creative people do some of their best work in hard times which is sad because the happy times are as emotional. Anyway, I will continue spilling it all out on the blog. It helps me but I hope it helps others to read these and know that it is important to understand and be in touch with who you are and what is going on in your life. Get it out don't bottle it up. That's how we get sick. It is raw & it is life.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I am just uncovering all kinds of stuff..except the things I am looking for. This morning I found some writing Paul did in the back of a notepad that 2 1/2 yeas ago I starting writing on and it is about his feelings of being diagnosed and all of the tests and stuff. I have never seen this before and I don't think he wanted me to because it was shoved in a drawer of our hutch that we never use. It makes me cry but I understand. I am used to finding song lyrics everywhere which I love doing. Some I have heard him sing, some that were recorded and some that never made it off the written page. I found one the other day that made me laugh out loud because it was not a serious song. He wrote the lyrics and sang them to me one night in the spirit of an ACDC song. I remember that like it was yesterday. I miss that but I have the memory. OK, no it is down to business time. I have a full day ahead of me. I must make juice today. I have slacked off and I know better.
I wonder what other treasures I will uncover today?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

A beautiful life

I am listening to Kris Carr on Enrgy Talk Radio and am so inspired. One thing I am thinking about listening to her is that at one point Paul got tired of having to live with cancer. I am sure that he did not do this just once but he voiced it once to me. He just said it out loud to me that he wanted to just be normal. That is when he decided to do the open audtion for a bass player for The Smashing Pumpkins. He was so happy & excited doing this. He wasn't letting cancer dash his rock star dream. What I am proud of us for doing is that we did not try to ignore his feelings. We were both tired of it but of course I wanted him always to stay positive. I know that we cannot deny our feelings and no matter what we must acknowledge them and then release some of them that don't help. When we were happy we showed it, when we were mad we showed it but that negative energy we released. Being afraid is normal and there were times that we were for sure...for me especially in the last 4 weeks of Paul's physical life. I just want those dealing with cancer or other illness to know that these feelings are real and it is ok. Acknowledge and release them but don't bury them. They are part of who you are and your journey. Your energy, good or bad, exists here. Your energy is so important. Look into some energy work tecniques. We did Qi Gong, T'ai Chi & Jin Shin Jyutsu. I won't forget that in 2008 Paul went to the National Cancer Survivors Day event in our town and there was a man giving free energy readings to those with cancer. Paul got one and the man told him his energy was flowing really well except in these two spots. Those were the tumor spots. Paul was so happy to tell me this.
Cancer is more than a disease to most who have it & thier loved is a label, a stereotype, a gift, a wake up call, a nightmare. We chose to see it as an opportunity. We took it and we grew from it. I think we both became very in tune with our bodies and our lives in this universe. Paul knew when his time had come...I know that now. But oddly I find comfort in it too. I know I am healthy because I feel good. It is the most important thing I do..keep myself healthy physically, mentally & spiritually. Find yourself and live your nurturing & nourishing. It is within your control to live a beautiful life no matter what.

credit where credit is due

Yesterday was 2 weeks which seems so unreal. It was a good day though..thank god. I saw my red bird in the backyard in the afternoon. I met with my mother-in-law briefly and made plans for breakfast Sunday before my writing class. I picked up a new rose to put in the ceramic vase that my niece made a few years ago. It sits next to Paul's urn and matches wonderfully. Paul had stacks of magazines under the bed that I saw yesterday morning. I pulled out 3 stacks of dusty magazines for the recycle bin. No porn...well they were music magazines so for Paul...same thing. One of my brothers stopped by on his lunch break for a visit. It was nice. I think that as an adult that is the first time that has happened. It was good to have some just us time. I was a little girl when he was in high school. He always made time for his baby sister is how I remember it. I remember him taking me to the school carnival. Good memories. He was in the hospital with me when Paul passed. Yesterday I realized that between us Paul & I could have began a library. We have tons of books. So I sold some yesterday. I think Half Priced Books might get sick of me soon. It felt good to get rid of some stuff. These were books that we never finished or I know I will never reference or read again.
I have someone to talk with now that gets it. We know each other from a website we are both members of. She recently lost her partner of 21 years, I think that is right, to cancer. It helps so much to be in communication with her. I am grateful that she is willing to share with me. It is so helpful.
Over the past few days I have been thinking a lot about the credit people have graciously given to me for taking care of Paul and such and I appreciate it and take it but it makes me aware that he never got any credit for taking care of me during my illness and in my opinion he had a much tougher job. Nobody knew what to expect from me. I was alive and that was a miracle but would I walk again, talk normally, be able to basically function again? Nobody knew. It was intensely scary to me who did not fully understand what was going on so it had to scare the pants off Paul. He never showed it to me though. He would wake up early and get me downstairs on the sofa, make my breakfast, connect my pic lines and sort out my 41 pills each day into morning, lunch & night. He knew them all. He came home at lunch to check up and did it all again after work. He had to help me wash my hair, eventually make sure I could drive, all kinds of stuff. and he kept me laughing and smiling the whole time. He said he never doubted that I was going to be ok because he saw it in me everyday. I didn't. It was so scary to me. It had to be for him. Then at the end of my year recovery he was diagnosed. We were so devastated. I remember that first week just staying home and trying to comprehend what the hell was happening. We cried together for days. I hadn't seen him cry before really. We decided during that time that we would battle the beast however we could that would not make him sicker or more unhealthy and that is what we did. I did the homework but Paul did the work. He deserves the credit. It takes at least 2 people. One does the homework,research, etc. and the other does the work. and hopefully you have docs supporting you. We did. we couldn't have gotten as far as we did without our Naturopath. I will always love her and credit her. Paul too. Our oncologist was mostly great as well up until the end. Anyway, just thoughts to share.
Paul loved/loves me unconditionally and so deeply as I do him but he was/is my rock,my courage, my strength, my joy, my happiness, my guide. I love him so much. My life is good because of Paul and all he gave to me. He deserves some credit.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

The feeling of being overwhelmed is intense. I have never felt anything like it before and considering everything I have been through in my life that is saying alot. There is so much to is crazy. I don't want to do any of it all. I can't imagine going through his clothes and deciding what to keep & what to get rid of. I have worn his clothes since the day he died and have no plans to stop. It makes me feel better. All of his cd's & albums..what to do. Our music taste was pretty much the same but there are certain things I will never listen to so what to do with them. Giving away a musicians music seems wrong and I just can't do it. Not now anyway. I know that there is no rush or timeline but I have to do it. Stuff like that is unimaginable to have to do. Just thinking about gives me a sinking feeling. This sucks! It just does no matter sucks. The damn phone never rang and now it does not stop. It is so annoying. It took me 3 days to figure out the tv because he had it all rigged up to all kinds of other stuff like the stereo. I don't even watch it too often. All I can do right now is cry. No matter that I accomplished some important stuff today and spent a few hours holding a sweet, sweet baby during a visit with a friend of a friend and came home to a mowed lawn. It all can't make this better right now. I don't know if anything can. I believe my future is bright and that this is a new chapter kinda like a gift from Paul in a weird way that I would eagerly return for getting him back. This is the situation and I must deal. It hurts so bad to have this hole in my heart...worse than any brain abscess or cancer. Nothing could have prepared me for this...nothing. Tomorrow is 2 weeks. It feels like 2 years in some ways. The days seem to fly by. What do I do this year on his birthday and our anniversary? How do I handle that??? How do I handle any of this? I am trying really hard to be positive and strong but that just is not possible all of the time. Like at the grocery store by myself only having to buy for me and using the little carts because I don't need the big one any more.

Sunday, July 18, 2010


Ohhhhh! Some moments are sooooo hard! Tonight the tears are flowing free and the memories are streaming in. I had a fantastic day today. We had the walking meditation in Parkville and it went well and was beautiful. It started at 11am but I was there at 8:30am on purpose. Paul & I loved walking at this park and of course there is a guitar store across the street. I wanted some time there by myself and Parkville is small enough that, especially on a Sunday, the park would not be crowded. I also had a funny chore to do there. I accomplished the choir which was only about 10 years past due and began walking under overcast skies in rain drizzle. It was supposed to rain and be scorching hot but I prayed for a few nice hours and almost immediately there was a break in the clouds and the sunlight shone down on the river & the park revealing a beautiful blue sky. It made me cry. The crying intensified as I walked..alone along the path I had walked with Paul so many times. I had to go back & sit in my car for awhile. I was talking to him the entire time. I asked him to please be with me today on the walk because I needed him there. I then got an overwhelming need to get out of the car so I did and I went up to the meeting place in the parking lot and heard a familiar bird call. I looked around and saw a male cardinal on the utility pole in front of me. This is significant because that is how Paul comes to me and communicates that he is with me. In our neighborhood there is a cardinal that used to appear and sing to me on days when I wasn't feeling right or something was wrong. I always assumed it was my dad or friend Melecia telling me it was ok. Paul new this about me & the bird. On the day he died I was in my front yard looking up and asked Paul to let me know it was ok. The cardinal flew to my neighbors roof and faced me and began singing. He stopped singing, flew across the street and I went in to tell my friend but felt drawn back outside & as soon as I went out the bird flew back to the roof and began singing again. The next day I went to lunch with a friend at a place Paul & I ate at often and we had a waitress that Paul & I had a lot. She was wearing a short sleeved shirt & on her arm was a huge tattoo of a cardinal. She probably thought I was nuts because I just stared at her arm. Anyway that is the importance of the red bird/cardinal. Today that red bird from the utility pole flew back & forth over head singing until he finally flew to a tree and the female followed him. I stood under the tree and spotted them together on the same branch. That was Paul's way of saying "I am here with you today". During the walk a red bird flew in front of me and on my way back to everyone from my car the pair flew in front of me.
During the walk I felt Paul's hand in mine. I could feel his chi. Some people walking behind me said they noticed my hand looking like I was holding a hand. I was! I also felt like I heard him talking to me saying "I am here with you it is ok" I heard it and felt him close to me saying it.
People came that new him in college that I had never met. Some drove long distances to be there. That was special. Today was just an awesome day so why when I came home did I start crying again and missing him? I long to see his beautiful face and just touch him again. Knowing I can't is just like torture. People deal with this everyday,everywhere. It is crazy. It is part of life. If you want happiness and true love with someone, well, this is part of that...for one of you anyway. It is so worth it! I might not have any moisture left in my body tomorrow from all my crying today & tonight but I got to love & be loved so amazingly for 18 years. And all the joy that comes with that. I am grateful so so grateful.

Saturday, July 17, 2010

deep breath

This morning is one of those weird mornings. I woke up early even though my intention was to sleep in so in an effort to gain more rest I did not get out of bed but my mind was not on the same page and was going through what I could do today. I got up made breakfast, threw in some laundry and made lunch plans on the phone. For some reason I wanted an iced coffee. Now I am not really a coffee drinker but my husband went through a phase of it and made amazing organic iced coffees with rice milk & agave or honey so ...I have the coffee still..he stopped drinking it but we used it for other holistic purposes. I will leave it at that. I sat down with my breakfast of chia seeds, blueberries & walnuts in rice milk and a big cup of iced coffee. I opened some mail and after 3 drinks my stomach was churning. It is my payback for taking my sister-in-law from Florida to eat at the new raw restaurant in town which is fabulous and the last place Paul & I ate out at together but completely not what she is used to so...even though she enjoyed her meal it did not sit well. I know that happens and gave it no thought because I am so used to it just being my husband & I who are used to it. It is all good though. But between the coffee, mail I opened and oh...everything I am having one of those mornings. I spoke to a friend from our California days last night for the first time in 8 years. She is a therapist and works with hospice among other things. It is interesting because we lost touch for so long and I have tried to locate her several times and about a month or so ago I find her on Facebook and we reconnect...right in time. We had a great 2 hour or so conversation and she made me feel better and normal...well as normal as possible for me. I have never been "normal" which is one thing I love about myself. The roller coaster of emotion is crazy...happy & peaceful one moment and crying the next. she said in these time it is not minute by minute but second by second for me. Boy do i know that is true. No matter my outlook,my excitement to start my new life's chapter, my awesome is still a fact that Paul is not physically here with me anymore and our connection is/was such a strong one on so many levels..always that nothing will take away the heaviness of this loss in my life. It doesn't seem possible. Ya know so many people seemed to recognize it in us and have told me that recently..even his guy friends...I never realized people saw it. We knew it & felt it. I am so glad we radiated it so others know it is possible and the soul mates thing is real and not woo woo talk. Some of us are meant to share this life together and how amazing is it to actually find that person. Really amazing. It stops my tears to think about it. we literally saw each other across a loud crowded room and were talking & flirting a few minutes later and the rest is history.

Friday, July 16, 2010


I am so happy this morning. I woke with a smile on my face and went to bed with one too. Last night was my husband's memorial service and it was just what we (he & I) wanted it to be. It was a celebration and gathering to honor an amazing, beautiful man. He was there for sure. Funny memories were shared and I spoke twice with out any problems. It, for me, was hard to be sad last night. It was a packed house and we all got to meditate together and listen to beautiful music both Paul's and a Buddhist song with live acoustic guitar. It was just an awesome it should be. Before the service when I was there setting up his urn wasn't out yet and when it was brought out that was an eye opening wake up call. I knew it would hit me but man did it. But during the service I was calm & happy. I came home that way too and I brought my honey with me. I feel like in many ways he is home and that just feels so right. When your loved ones say they want a celebration at the end of their lives by all means give it to them and yourself. These things do not need to be sad. I like how my oldest niece told me she describes death to her young sons...I paraphrase "when you are born you are crying and everyone else is happy but when you die you are happy and everyone else is crying" I like that explanation but last night made me realize I am happy for my husband he lived his life well and he is free of cancer and able to do anything he dreamed of. He touched so many in so many ways that he/I did not know but he heard about it last night. I know he is taking care of me. I feel it and experience it daily. I pray that these feelings now last and carry me into my journey in life. Because it is now my turn with his guidance. He never let cancer define who he was and so neither will I. He is a survivor and I am his wife. His candle burns very bright!

Monday, July 12, 2010

Another day

Yesterday was such a good day. I got some moments of clarity, was able to contact people that I wanted to know about Paul by pure luck in finding their phone numbers, was brought an amazing & healthy dinner and felt like Paul was with me all day. Today is a different story. Today I decided to try to take care of some business type stuff and was getting nowhere fast. I did get a few things accomplished but there is so much to do like this. Having strangers tell you how sorry they are is nice of them but inexplicably sickening to me for some reason. Monday is not the day to try and do this stuff. I sat on hold for a total of an hour and just gave up until tomorrow. My husband was a pack rat and unorganized so certain things I need to find I am having trouble finding. The crazy part is that if he were here he would go right to it.
I finally had to leave the house. I went to a lovely and seemingly unknown spot that I like in a park close to our home. I sat there for awhile and came back home feeling sad because I didn't feel him with me but our best friend just called and told me a story that let me know he was visiting her and thanking her for taking care of me so well. So I feel better. I am just not used to a quiet house. I don't mind it but it is weird. So many new things to get used to on top of everything else. It spins my head. Every so often I think I hear walking on our old creaky wood floors or stirring in the kitchen. It is not scary. It just is...unknown.
Deep breathe!
I don't want to talk but I can write. It is like I am finally coming down. I don't feel so much pain like I had been as sadness now but mixed with a feeling of it is okay. It is very hard to describe.
Part of me wants to veg out in front of the tv like we would occasionally do to some shows but part of me wants to throw up and I don't know.
I guess as long as I make it through today I am good. I will daydream about the pacific ocean. It is so near & dear to my heart & well being as it was to Paul's. I am so glad that we were able to get back to it the past 2 years. Our hearts never left the West Coast really.

Sunday, July 11, 2010


Moments of complete clarity are coming to me today. They are my husband being with me as I chose to be by myself today. I woke feeling good and I wrote some. Then I decided to run some of my normal errands like going to the grocery store. It is what I do. It was odd to shop for only me but it was fine. i then went around the corner to buy a paper and make sure that the obit was there and right. It was and his happy face was so comforting amongst the others. I listened to his latest recording the whole time with happiness and as I was on my way home a moment of complete clarity hit me. His final day was not pleasant. He was confused, having trouble completing a sentence, and just not making sense alot. The toxicity in his blood from organ failure was traveling to his brain causing this. He understood we were going to the ER. In the car just as I pulled out onto the main street we needed to be on he said he needed to hear the voices again. I assumed he meant the radio needed to be turned on because we never got in the car and drove without it. I turned it on and he paid it no attention even turning it down which he used to yell at me for doing. Then he opened the car door 3 times trying to get out as I was driving. In the hospital he was banging on the doors saying he needed out..he had to
So security had to assist in getting him set down & in a bed. he fought the nurses & doctors saying no and let me go....They had to tie him down. He looked me in the eyes and said "Keri let me have to let me go" and then his heart stopped. I have felt so guilty over this but on the way home I realized the voices were God,the angels, and our loved ones who have passed calling him and he opened the car door to try to go to them. In the hospital he wasn't confused he was trying to go to them and he wasn't telling me to untie him he was telling me it was now time for me to let him go. Paul wants me to know this and I am so glad that I do because I know he got to the voices and I now know for sure our loved ones were there waiting for him.
Today I am not feeling sad but good. I feel him with me today. I feel honored by him and for him.
all I can say is don't miss a moment in life. There are moments of clarity everywhere be open to them.


Grieving is a complicated process. It is complex with so many layers. My first feelings were complete shock & disbelief...those still exist. I went to pain,fear and emptiness next...also still there. Yesterday I felt physically sick to top it off but was able to take a walk with a forever friend on one of Paul & I's walking routes. I ran an errand with another forever friend and located the cd of his latest recored song. I played and it made me so happy not so sad. Moments of clarity and recognition have come to me. Paul has come to me I believe a few times to help me through. My husband was/is a musician. He played guitar,his main instrament, drums, piano,bass, sax, recorded and wrote music. Beautiful music. His dream was to be a rock star. He achieved this dream for 2 1/2 years. It was not through his music but through his strength, courage and will to live with stage IV, inoperable, metastic, pancreatic cancer. during his journey we meet so many people living with or who had survived cancer or other serious illnesses and I shared openly our story with others like us on a website for others like us. People worldwide know his name and his story and have found inspiration, motivation and courage because of him. Around the world and in our neck of the woods. Paul did not just give these gifts to people who were ill but also to those who are just living life. because he did with such grace and joy and happiness during his cancer journey up to the last day. I believe his life path had cancer in it so that he could fulfill his calling on earth to inspire life. he did it marvalously and I am so proud of him and honored to have been a part of it all. Not many are able to recognize or fulfill thier purpose but my baby did it. In this moment now I am happy and proud. I will forever miss him and ache for him but he will always be a part of me and he is always with me. Cancer died on July 7,2010 my husband didn't. If you want to hear his latest cd you can find it on itunes or under the name Airline Bungalow. an amazing friend of ours is trying to set up amazing friend of ours is trying to set up a memorial fund in his name for musicians with cancer through her business Basicmissions. That way he can continue fulfilling his purpose.
I married the most amazing man. We loved each other in a way many people never know.
Live your life well in love and happiness.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

A day in the life

Today is one of the hardest days so far. My husband woke up super early with anxiety from bad dreams. The dreams & anxiety don't really shock me considering everything he is going through but it has gotten worse as the day progressed and confusion and delirium have set in. It is so frightening when the person you love more than anything is sick with canser and to top it off makes no sense talking to you all of the sudden. This morning he was making sense but come early evening...I have no idea what he is asking me for or talking about. He knows what day it is & who he is & who I am but he can't seem to complete his thoughts. Is it the disease or the meds or the fact he has not eaten today or that he has had too many visitors on too little sleep? I have no idea The most heart wrenching part is he asked me if I think he will be ok, when, and to get the stuff we need to do that. Then he kept apologizing to me. I could not hold it in any more. I had to just start crying. This sucks so much. I just don't get it. The past few days have been good days and now this. Tomorrow should be a good one. We meet with the new oncologist tomorrow. I am praying that the rest he is getting now will help him be more himself tomorrow. Please take your health seriously. It doesn't matter if you are 18 or 80 because this is horrible to have to go through. Prevention people please. Do it for yourself and your loved ones. Please send some powerful prayers this way.

Monday, July 5, 2010

painting those toes

Sometimes the simplest everyday things can make a huge difference. As would be expected I have been feeling pretty overwhelmed lately with my husband's health issues. Overwhelmed is an understatement actually. One day just flows right into the next of pill schedules, what will he eat now, does he need another drink, making appointments, trying to keep people up to date and trying to spend quality time together somewhere in between. That means I hadn't showered in a week, my toenails needed some serious repainting and my hair, ha , frizzy out of control curls. So since he was having a good day todayI decided to take an hour to take a hot shower, wash my hair and paint my toes. The headache I have nursed since last Friday disappeared. While I was painting my toes in the living room next to my husband I felt good...normal. it is important for us all but especially those in the belly of the beast taking care of someone to stop and take that time to care for yourselves too. It makes all the difference and you will feel better. Just because you are taking care of someone you don't have to look like the crazy person on the block that everyone avoids. If you feel good you can help that person feel good. So ladies, moms, wives, sisters, grandmas, whoever you are get out the polish and paint those toes. You know it makes you feel better.

A bright new day

You just never know or do you????? That feeling inside that talks to you should not be ignored. Yesterday turned out to be a really good day. It has been great having a close, amazing family member in town and at our house for the past few days. He has really helped us out alot and made my husband feel good. We have our best friend flying in this week and another family member coming in town over the weekend to look forward too. I spoke to a great friend the other night who is in a similar situation and she made me feel so good and optimistic. There are some people in life that are sent by angels and maybe they don't know it but they become a part of our lives for a reason and if they are family thier role in our lives becomes more than just another realative. I am so grateful for them.
It is truly amazing how making some realizations, acknowledging them out loud and looking positively forward makes a huge difference in everything, health included. Two days ago myhusband was in bad shape. It was not a good day and he had not had any good days for awhile but yesterday turned our well. We left the house twice. He slept without waking in pain and other great things are happening different today. I can't express in words my amazement & joy at this. Miracles...miracles...miracles! Never ever give up and keep the faith & hope alive. We will overcome this and we will provide inspiration and motivation to others to do the same!
I know this to be true. I feel it!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Just another day

Today has been a rough & tough day. watching the person you love most in the world suffer is so extremely painful & wrong. I know it is not God's intention to make me have to watch so helplessly as my husband experiences pain or sick feelings. I also know it is not God's intention that he suffer or be sick. On days like today it is hard to keep positive but it is just these days that make it necessary to keep positive and keep hope alive. I still believe that no matter what the prognosis, no matter how impossible it seems to be that he will overcome. Cancer will be beat and so will all its' buddies that have made themselves at home recently. It is so many emotions rolled ino one. Screaming and pounding away on something seem like great ideas right about now. I am tired, my head is killing me and my neck hurts but in comparisson it is nothing. My husband needs me & wants me by his side and that is the only place I want & need to be. Tomorrow is a new day!

Friday, July 2, 2010

A Caregiver's Thought

Today started off well. My husband seemed to be doing alright. He got up, got dressed, walked downstairs by himself , ate breakfast and was in a good mood. All of the things we usually take for granted. His uncle came over which was great because he is our age so they are like best friends and he lives in another state so it was a special time between them. Paul is very comfortable with him so I left to run some errands. As I was driving to get my husband the slip on shoes he wanted I thought to myself I know I have friends & family who would have done this errand for me as well as gone to the grocery store but... no... I want to do these things. Cancer survivors have to find a new normal after battling for their lives as does anyone with a life threatening illness but ya know what so do those in the middle of that battle and their caregivers (spouses, kids, moms, dads, etc.) and it is so very important that we are able to do it. As I pushed my grocery cart to the car I thought "I don't want anyone else going to the store for me. I want to do it. It is my job. Plus by the time I explain how I shop and what I look for to avoid in things I might as well do it myself. I also want to do our laundry & dishes. I have a routine and I have had it for 3 years now and it is mine. Sure...come mow the lawn that is Paul's job & he can't do it right now and maybe we'll need ya soon for a few hours while I am at work but there are many things cancer can't do and it is important not to let it take control of everyday. That is so extremely hard to do but it is necessary. On my drive to the shoe store & grocery store I was calm and smiling. I felt like all was right. The migraine I have nursed since Friday temporarily left. A caregivers life is crazy, crazy, crazy. We have an advantage because we have each played the patient/caregiver role for each other. When he raises his voice because pain has set in and he needs something he apologizes a few minutes later and I am very aware that it is the pain talking and not Paul. An amazing friend of mine in a similar situation at home told me that a perfect day for her would be spent at home with her husband taking a walk around the backyard, eating together at the dinner table instead of a tray in the bedroom and just doing regular stuff like laundry. I feel ya sister! I want to take one of our long walks in the park by the river so bad but I know I have to wait until things get better. They will get better. I want him to lock up the house at night but I have to do it for now. I want him to drive but he can't right now.
There is a phase of loss that we go threw both patient & caregiver. It seems like silly stuff but it is so not silly. If we need help from family & friends and they offer we should take it because the weight on our shoulders is enormous especially if you are caring for a loved one. But for me steps on my time thank you. I am grateful for the offers to clean my house, go to the store, etc. and in the hospital thank you god for the people that did some of those things but at home we need time and we need some normal. So just be there for us to cry on your shoulder, laugh with, or talk with. That is the "anything we need" right now.