Heading “Home”

So I PROMISE I will fill you in on the DR, I will. But tonight, life isn’t about that.

Tomorrow, I am flying “home” to MN. I’m going to get my house ready to sell. And I’m going to see the rescue office for the last time as we wrap up our lease and look to move our things out. The rescue is still rescuing, we just cannot afford our rent any longer. I will be seeing my doctor. My daughter. Working on my cell phones.

I’m dreading it. I’m dreading it to the point that I’m in a panic. I don’t want to go. And I don’t want to come back, either.

I’m tumbling. Just feeling unattached to anything or anyone. I don’t have solid ground under my feet. And I miss him so much. 😥 So much.

I will be walking into the home Michael and I shared for the first time in months. I don’t know if I’m ready to walk in and feel what we were and what is gone forever. I don’t know if I’m ready to walk into the rescue office that we worked on together and feel what that was and what is gone forever. And yet, when I leave there I leave all the people who love me.

One of the reasons I left MN was because I couldn’t handle the puppy dog eyes looking at me like I was pitiful. I couldn’t handle being a short drive from people who I loved and thought loved me, but they disappeared when he died. I couldn’t handle all the memories, the places, the restaurants, even the TV shows and the radio stations. I couldn’t handle running into someone at Home Depot who didn’t know, and having them ask how Michael is. I couldn’t handle people telling me how much they missed him when I was driving myself home from another ER trip because I was suicidal.

Be careful what you wish for. I ended up in a life that is so starkly opposite. Every single person I know here, has met me and only knows me going through the worst time in my life. And while they are aware of it, they don’t understand what it means. They don’t understand what it feels like to move to a foreign country in the fresh rawness of grief and suicidal thoughts, only to try to get a start and be robbed (yes, my house was broken into while I slept and my car was stolen and totaled – almost $10K spent and gone – no insurance was available so it’s just GONE). They don’t know what it’s like to be hostage in a house that isn’t your own because your car is gone, you are a loser who can’t get your own place to live after taking care of yourself for your whole life, and you have no access to cash. ON TOP OF grieving the only person you want to talk to about this. What they know is that I’m emotional. I’m insecure. I’m scared. I’m unsure. I cry a lot. I change my mind.

The only comfort I am taking in this trip I am dreading; seeing some good friends, and I will finally bring Michael home with me. I really think part of my sadness is that I left his ashes behind. I had plans on the first anniversary of his death that I couldn’t fulfill. And I need him here.

Last night I dreamt about him. I saw him in a parking lot. We ran to each other and hugged. I could feel him like it was real. And all I remember was whispering into his ear “please come home.” That’s what I woke up to this morning. I miss him so much. And every disagreement, every bit of tension or misunderstanding that happens, every time I have failed at a task, every time I am hurt by someone, makes me miss him more. And it makes me miss the people who do know me and understand that I need some patience and kindness and understanding and empathy. People who know that yes, I may act off or I may not always be emotionally even or rational but who don’t hold it against me.

Financially my life has fallen apart. I’ve been taken advantage of and used, and I have nothing. Nothing.

It’s been a lot. I miss being loved. And I really don’t know how to do this without him. So tomorrow I wake up again and stumble through it, try not to upset anyone including myself, and do my best to push through.  Day by day.

That’s it for tonight.


~ Lisa

Booth for One – CHAPTER TWO

Hello, loyal readers. I’m back. 🙂

There’s so much to say. So much to share. Many of my followers are also my Facebook friends, so there won’t be many surprises here as I’ve been regularly posting on Facebook.

Throughout that time, I realized that I needed to take my pain and my challenges off Facebook and move them to a bit of a more remote spot. My FB audience and my blog audience are two different intended recipients.

For those Facebook friends, I apologize as most likely, the next few posts are going to be a repeat for you. But it’s important to my walk through this life that I recount it in my way. I’m hoping it will help me continue to process.

Because I’m not okay.

I know it’s OKAY to not be okay. I know that. But I’m really not okay. I’m overwhelmingly sad and my grief actually seems to be intensifying. I’ve lost touch with the widow blogs I follow, and need to get back to them because they TRULY are such a valuable resource. I hope to become that resource one day as well. I hate that I will need to, but I hope I’m doing this right. Because if future widows are anything like me, reading a real and raw and honest story from someone who has been there themselves, might save their lives.

Chapter Two is my Life in the Dominican Republic.

Alone for the first time in my life, DR for the first time in my life, and a WHOLE 180 from anything I was living just a few months ago. I am working on writing this out in a way that makes sense; the things that have happened that have led me to where I am today – physically, mentally, emotionally, geographically, and spiritually. There is a lot of humor in my tales, that’s for sure. But it’s not all funny. Just as always, it’s going to be a bipolar swing of writing styles and moods because I write true to myself in that moment. And always, when things are funny, I turn to tell him and he’s not there. When there’s overwhelming sadness, pain, and loneliness, I turn to him for comfort and he’s not there. It’s not for lack of company. It’s him I miss.

We used to talk and half-joke that for both of our sakes, he had better die first. We both thought if I were to die and he were left alone, he would crumble into a tiny ball. Maybe even end his life. Man, how wrong we were. I think back to very trying times; the loss of his mother and my father, the loss of countless loved pets. And in those moments, he made me proud with this strength. When the chips were down, when there was conflict or disagreements, when someone needed a hand, this unassuming gentle guy became a force to be reckoned with. He had a beautiful talent for being strong and converting into a mountain when a mountain was needed.

And I gotta tell you, I think he would have handled losing me better than I have handled losing him. Gone is the strong bad-ass woman who could overcome anything.  Recently some memories came up on FB that took me back to a time when I really liked who I was. I looked at those memories and thought, man that was my time. I felt alive and fulfilled. And I was killing myself.  I remember coming home from that trip and throwing up for two days because I was exhausted. And he was there. And when I said I was going again 10 days later, he didn’t flinch. He knew it was what I had to do.

Looking at those memories made me proud and sad at once. All of a sudden I feel like an old woman looking back on a younger stronger me. But the memories were only 2 years ago. And it reminded me. That Lisa died. She’s in the urn with him. And I miss her. I miss her because she would have handled this better in some way or been stronger. I think she would have made him proud.

Until next blog very soon, thanks for reading. I hope you come back.


~ Lisa


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.



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.



~ Lisa