Lost in Loss

Hello blog readers. Cindi told me today that it felt like I fell of the face of the earth. I’ve been so active on social media and kinda spaced out that not everyone is on Facebook.

I’m posting all about life in the DR on Facebook. Multiple daily posts sometimes. I’ll talk about it here as well, but not to the extent of Facebook.

So, I will say that I love being here. I’m in a peaceful content place and I feel happy. I love the culture, the weather, the beauty, the work. I love it here. So far, so excellent. ❤

And it still sucks. But being in a place that I love makes such a difference. Being able to walk on the beach and see the ocean whenever I want makes such a difference. The pool is making a huge difference in my RA. I’m in a full flare-up (I can tell because I get nodules on my elbows and fingers), but I’m not in any discomfort. My hands and elbows swell from time to time, but it’s really not an issue. My back pain is an issue, even more so than before, but I’m also doing a lot more and lifting a lot more. I’m not sure what I’ll have to do about it. Surgery was the plan, but I’m not ready to take on another spinal fusion surgery.

So, as anyone who is paying attention knows, this is a hell month for me. I’ve handled things surprisingly well, or I was, when last week I heard that Michael’s Aunt Marlene and probably my favorite human in the world, was going into hospice. The moment I heard, I reached out to her son, Michael’s cousin Brian, and he arranged a video call for me to talk to her. I will never be able to express to him how grateful I am for that gift.

Marlene and Dave were always really important people in my life from the moment I met them. I had gone through the wringer meeting lots of friends and family members, some of whom were determined to call me Michael’s ex-wife’s name. Some who were determined to tell old inside jokes and stories and exclude me. Some who wouldn’t even acknowledge me because they thought I was Michael’s mid-life crisis. But not Marlene and Dave. The moment we met, I knew I had met a kindred spirit. She embraced me warmly, welcomed me into her home and heart, and never stopped welcoming me. She would occasionally jokingly call me the ex-wife’s name, but that was because she was a punk-ass. She and I shared the same sense of humor and found laughs among the mundane occasions where we were often sitting together. She and Dave adopted Michael and me, and they were the only people he wanted to see before he died. He asked for them, and they came. Marlene and Dave are a connection to Michael. She would tell me stories about him growing up. She knew him his whole life. She saw him born and then saw him die. 😥 She was our mom.

So, the video call. She and I video chatted for a while. She was in good spirits. She was ready to die, but not in a depressing way. She was bright, alert, coherent, funny, sweet, and loving. Just like she’s always been. While she’s lying in her death bed, she’s asking me if I’m happy. She needs to know, Lisa are you happy? 😥 And although we didn’t say the words, we both knew it was goodbye. On a video call. Sobbing into the camera, saying things that I wanted her to know. Her saying things that will stay with me forever. Then she said maybe we’d do this once a month. But we both knew we wouldn’t do it again. You’d think I would be better at this by now. But I’m not.

Marlene passed away on July 2. 😥

This has kicked my ass. When I’m busy working (I LOVE the work, I LOVE my job), I’m okay. But all it takes is a tiny trigger or someone asking me about it, and the dam breaks. I don’t know HOW many times a person can say goodbye to the most important people in their lives. This is three now right in a row. Can we call it done now? I’m running out of people to say goodbye to. 😥

Saying goodbye. It’s such a gift. The time with my dad and the things we got to say will stay with me always. Michael and I said goodbye too many times through too many scares –  I think it was 3 or 4 goodbyes. Marlene and I said goodbye. And I wonder, is it really better than not being able to? I can’t speak for anyone but myself. My mom died when we weren’t speaking to each other. We hadn’t spoken in over a year. And then I got the call that she was gone. There was no goodbye, no clearing the air, no making peace. She was just gone. And I’ll tell you, I think that was easier. But, easier isn’t always better. The opportunity to say goodbye is one you should take if you are ever given the chance. Ever. Not to apologize. Not to speak your peace. Just to say goodbye.

July 4 was a bitch. Last year I was in a hospital room with my dying husband watching fireworks out the window. It was a night that sticks out because there was a lot of drama going on as well, so it was just a gross time. I’m glad I wasn’t in the US for it. Soon will be the dreaded deathaversary. Then, my birthday. My 50th last year was horrible. I was home alone and had doritos for dinner. Then, our ANNIVERSARY!

Once again, it’s all so surreal. I’m dreaming about Michael a LOT lately, and they are very clear dreams that I remember fully. I’m waking up in a fog that he’s still here. It’s all starting over again. I don’t think it will ever end. I will always find myself in this orb of disbelief. Is this real? Was he real? What is real, anyway? How the hell am I living in a country that I never saw until a few months ago? How has so much changed in a year? It really is unbelievable. If I wasn’t living it, I wouldn’t believe it.

There are lots of good things happening in my life too. I do love this place and I love the people I’m working with. I love where I am. I love the work I’m able to participate in. My dogs are happy. We see horses, donkeys, cows and chickens right outside our door. I take the dogs to the beach often. It’s a beautiful, peaceful place. The only thing missing is him. ❤

Next blog: Photos and tales of life in the Dominican Republic.

Peace,

Lisa

One Year Ago; The First Death of Many

I’ve got some new followers this week. Thanks for looking. 🙂 

I thought now might be a good time to share my “About the Writer” with you on the very good chance that you haven’t clicked on that. If you haven’t read about me or who I am, please do so.

Everything in there is all still true! It’s like I could have written it yesterday.

I’m still incredibly raw. Emotional. Sensitive. Scared. Alone. Lonely. Sad. I literally think about Michael almost every minute of every day. I talk to him, I grab the phone to text him. I look at the time wondering when he will be home.

I’m still stunned by it all. I still sometimes have to remember this is REAL. And then other times I have to remind myself that HE was real. This isn’t a life I would wish on anyone. I mean that. Anyone.

Surrogate Momma/Marlene in hospice has hit me hard. 😥 Nothing more to say about that except I wish I could see her. 😥

My tenant screwing me over is hitting me really hard financially and stress-wise. The change in jobs is really hard. I’m not used to working with people who don’t know much about my morals or ethics or integrity or drive or rescue abilities or heart. I need a car and that’s taking time. And I find myself once again wondering how much one person can take. And why everything I do has to be “hard” or fought for.

Today I shut myself in the house, napped, sobbed, and tried to deal with my shit.  Tomorrow is the bad day for me that I talked about last night. One year ago tomorrow, my life changed forever. It was the day my heart and my spirit died. It was the last time that I had any hope that he would survive. One year ago tomorrow was the first time we said goodbye :'(.  Sadly the universe didn’t think that was enough; we would be forced into several awful, gut-wrenching, soul crushing goodbyes before it really was his time.

So, don’t be jealous of me, friends. Yes, I’m in a beautiful place now. I just relocated to the Dominican Republic which is a whole other topic in itself. The fresh environment will be good for me. And while I NEEDED to get away from the place where everyone knew me as Michael’s widow, it’s also tough to be in a place where nobody knew him at all. My efforts to keep his memory alive are incredibly important to me and nobody else here.  I’m living in paradise, but the internal hell stays constant. My heart and my spirit never recovered, and I’m a shallow version of what I used to be. No matter where I am, he’s still gone.

 

Peace,

~ Lisa

 

Shock & Awe Campaign

Hello! This post is LOOOOONGGGGG. Grab a beverage.

Wow, SO much to write about. I’m in the Dominican Republic – YAY!!! This is my first day with internet!

The trip
The trip started off really nice, a beautiful sunrise at MSP airport. Then all hell broke loose. One of my bags was too heavy so I was the girl at the check-in counter with all my shit spread out on the floor, taking things out of my suitcase to throw away. Meanwhile, the airline dog travel nazi lady was ogling the kennel with Cass and Bella. Walking around it. Calling over her peers. Whispering. Shaking their heads. And all my shit is still on the floor as I take things out, weigh the suitcase again, take more things out, weigh the suitcase again. The culprit? My desktop computer. It got a little banged up but it’s working and all is well!

Airline dog travel nazi approaches me and says that two dogs can only travel in one kennel if they are puppies. I say, oh I thought it was a weight thing – not an age thing. Mark steps in and surely enough we were right – but my two dogs were “stuffed” in the bag “like tacos” lol. Nazi lady felt that if I just took out the SUPER THIN blanket, that would suffice. 🙄

MEANWHILE, I’ve gathered all of my things, selected the stuff I have to get rid of, and I’m looking for a trash can. Dog airline nazi lady asks me something, and I tell her I’m so sorry I’m just frazzled. I just lost my husband, I’m moving to a new country. She then says “omg he just told us that too (Mark). We don’t want you to have to lose anything else. We’re going to get you a bag for that stuff, and you take it on the plane. We’ll call ahead to let them know.” Cool! Super cool, yeah? But wait for it…

It was a black trash bag. I carried it to the gate, sat with it, looked at it, pondered on it, and decided I wasn’t going to be the person shlepping across the world through airports with a trash bag. So the stuff got tossed regardless. And then come to find out Mark’s shirt was inside out all day…so really, I’m super glad I didn’t take the trash bag because then we would have been THOSE people. Instead, it was just MARK that was those people so I’m good. 😂 In nice news, airline nazi lady called ahead and Mark and I got to preboard the last flight from MIA to POP.

Dogs did great, no issues at all. And we’re all here and settled!

All at the front door!
It was SOOOOO good to see Rosie. She’s showing everyone the ropes.
Chilling after a dip in the pool

The House
The house is awesome! The only complaint I have is that it’s made for or by giants. The closets, cabinets, and even the mirrors in the bathrooms are made for GIANTS. Why is there a chair in my bathroom? Because the mirrors are so high, I need to stand on it to check my business.

Tall? I feel kinda discriminated against #shortpeopleproblems
Closets are at LEAST 10′ tall!
So I can see myself in the mirror. 😀
Nothing will ever be in that cabinet. Just saying.

Debbie is a badass. I mean, yeah. I built an entire shed in a day. I thought I was pretty damn handy. But I had NEVER drilled concrete before. We mounted a TV and had the cable company come out, but the TV won’t stay on. LOL But MAN! That drill is something! Debbie has been over about 712 times so far helping with the hiccups. I think they bother her more than they bother me.

Rawr!

Having a pool is so cool. When I got here, there had been some electrical issues, so it was green. Debbie shocked it (along with shocking the tadpoles and almost frogs) and in just a day it looked like this! Bella and Cass BOTH walked right into it the first day, like they didn’t know it was water. Turns out, both of them are great swimmers! Since then, I have to watch like a hawk if Bella is out there. She can’t see much and it scares me a little.

I’m no animal biologist, but that ain’t no tadpole. That’s almost a FROG. Sorry buddy.
What a difference a day makes!

So many “weird” things to get used to. Here’s some interesting stuff about living here!
– You can’t drink the water! Bottled water. Even for brushing your teeth.

This is a switch that tells me if street power is on. It goes out frequently. I have backup power that kicks in if that happens, but I watch the light to make sure. If the street power is out, I need to try and conserve energy while I’m on the battery backups.

The Life
I’ve only been here a few days so I have a lot to learn and see! First there is a sticky frog. It’s about as wide and as long as three fingers. Debbie said they’re harmless! If you see one inside, just pick it up and toss it out. That made me throw up in my mouth a little.

Put all your fingers together. Drop your thumb and pinky. That’s how big he is.

The beach is a quick walk out my door. I’ve taken all the dogs, two at a time. They all enjoy it except scaredy cat Baby Faye. She won’t get TOO close to the water. I think it’ll happen. 🙂

I have chickens, cows, and horses as neighbors 🙂

Everything happens earlier here or really late. It gets REALLY hot so a lot happens in the mornings. Also, it gets darker earlier. It feels a lot busier in the day but for a shorter period of time. The Dominicans party late into the night. Sometimes I can hear music drifting this way. Last night we went to Sosua and partied for a bit!

 

I was really scared to drive but I’ve been driving with Debbie and I think I’m doing alright! It’s very different here. There don’t seem to be any laws as much as just people going with the flow. Pass when you want, do whatever you want, just pay attention. People don’t get pissy if you pass them or if you don’t. It’s just every man for himself and try not to get hit or hit anyone. Not as scary as I thought it would be.

I still have a lot of settling in to do. I’ve been super exhausted and trying to catch up on rest too.

I feel at peace. I feel home. My spirit is definitely in its element. I’ve had no panic attacks or regrets.

I have so much more to share, but I’ll leave you for now with a ton of photos.

Peace,

~ Lisa

 

A stopped clock. It’s always 11:26 here!
For 10 years, I tried to grow bougainvillea in MN. I potted it. Winterized it. It always died. It’s my FAVORITE. This is outside my front door. Interesting tidbit: the bright colors aren’t flowers, they are leaves!
Giggling Geckos Lane
From the back
Winky used to live at Debbie’s. LOL she’s Debbie’s dog but she hangs out here with Baby Faye.

This is in my silverware drawer. I’m afraid to ask. I assume that I’ll know when I need to use it. lol
My first cooked meal! Grilled cheese 🙂

 

Signs that I’m home. My front porch.
a work in progress ❤

 

 

I’ve got Balls

Yes, yes dear readers. I have too many balls in the air 😉

I’m working Good Karma. I’m working DCDR. I’m trying to clean, purge, pack. I’m making dates with people that I want to see before I go. I’m loading things into the garage for a moving sale. Ordering things from Amazon while I still can.

I’m going through lots of things. And guess what….yep. It’s kicking my ass.

Let’s start with the house. OMG. This is really hard. I have never been a materialistic person, but I do like nice things. I don’t have much. Michael and I never did because that wasn’t important to us. But the point is, what I have, I LOVE. It just absolutely sucks to get rid of the artwork I JUST purchased – the artwork that has meaning that only Michael and I understand. The gorgeous custom recliner I JUST treated myself to with beautiful upholstery with mandalas on it. And my BED. The bed I got for myself a few months ago. I have BED payments ffs. Every gift I ever got from him, every coffee cup he drank from. Every dish that was his, even down to his pizza spatula. EVERY effing item becomes a cry-fest and a big dramatic decision. No, Lisa, you can’t keep everything he ever touched or owned. It doesn’t matter. It doesn’t matter. It’s a cup. It doesn’t matter. 😥 But it all matters to me.

So, that’s a little tough. But it’s nothing compared to the boxes. Memories I had stashed away until a time when I could deal with them. And now, I’m dealing with them before I was ready.  Photos. 😥 Memorabilia. Souvenirs. Museum passes. Notes, Moments in time in a life gone too soon. Moments in time in our love story cut short.

Sunday, Michael’s kids came over to get the things he wanted them to have. I haven’t seen them since the Celebration of Life, so it was hard. It was hard to send his things away and know they are just….gone. But, they are just things. That’s what I keep telling myself.  They were all things that pre-dated me. I had no right to keep them. They were pieces of a life I never knew. They didn’t belong with me.

My two car garage is filling quickly with things I’ll try to get rid of in my moving sale. And I still have so much more to go.

For so long, I allowed myself to take my time. Feel what I need to feel. Work through my grief and pain. And in just a matter of a few days, that “take your time – grief has no timeline” was thrown into “you have to act NOW.” Now, nobody MADE me act now…it’s just that this opportunity came before I was officially ready for it to. But…that’s how I roll. I’ve never been “ready” to take any of the big steps I’ve taken in life. I just walk and hope that there’s ground underneath me.

Work. Well, work is busy. I’m not used to having so many people to collaborate with. I love it, but it is an adjustment. I’ve always made pretty unilateral decisions. I hated it. So I’m excited for a team of super involved people; it’s a learning curve. I’m still learning communication styles and work styles and where I fit. There are the usual transitional challenges, and I have a lot to learn. Wish me lots of luck in this new endeavor. ❤

Good Karma is a large time investment right now, trying to get it all squared away and set up to run really well without me being physically present.

Personal/ Family. I can’t even talk about it. Well, I guess I can, to say that the couple of remaining members of my family aren’t really in my life anymore. I keep in touch with my dad’s wife Karen, who has become such a source of love and strength for me; and beyond that, I have my friends. I’ve accepted some truths about my relationship with my daughter. I’m completely thankful for friendships that have lasted, or are emerging. It’s not quantity, it’s quality.

Physically. I can’t even talk about it. I mean it this time.

Emotionally. It depends. It changes minute to minute. I’m finding joy and then following it with a big crash. I’m depressed at the tasks at hand, physically exhausted from doing all the work, and just sad. Then I bounce back to excitement and hopefulness. But it NEVER EVER escapes me, WHY I’m in this situation. Yes, I’m excited about my next step. But I’d give it all back. 😥

Peace,

~ Lisa