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Well, another holiday is fast approaching and I am left wondering what this new tradition will be like without my husband. We had taken the lead of hosting Thanksgiving over the past six years and hubby was in charge of the bird. His father had been the bird man before his passing an my mother-in-law lost all interest in the holiday after he died. Besides, it was time for her to be picked up and brought over for dinner and treated like the respected matriarch of the family, which she most definitely has earned.

Now we are left to figure out what this new tradition will be. The plan was to do something non-traditional. A steak cookout with those family members who haven't made other plans or who have not ex-communicated themselves from the family for whatever reason. Our youngest daughter has poo-pooed that idea. She has been planning and working towards having a lap band procedure for the past year and stated emphatically that we WILL have turkey and all the fixins because this is her last year to enjoy a no-holes-barred feast before her surgery in January. She has always loved Thanksgiving, so yes, we will be doing the traditional dinner, albeit I won't be cooking for the usual 20+ as in the past.

I just wish hubby was here to prep the bird. I always hated that part.

We'll have steak on Friday.

Well, I kicked myself in the ass, so to speak. I haven't conquered all that beckons attention, but a start is a start. One foot in front of the other....that's what everyone tells me.

After my husband died, I remember telling our daughters that I was going to make a quilt from his clothes. He was very much a jeans and t-shirt kind of guy, or a western shirt if it was a little more dressy. Or a tropical shirt if a t-shirt was just too casual. But for everyday work wear, it was Wranglers and our company logo'd pocket tees. A few weeks after he died, I came across a stash of these tees that we had for gimme's to customers, still in the plastic wrap. It seemed wasteful to throw them out so I mentioned to one of my daughters that I would make a (one) quilt from his jeans and these tees. She asked if I could make 5 more. I suggested we could do a "daughterhood of the traveling quilt" and pass it around.

A few weeks ago, I found several blogs by other widows and one in particular does memory quilts out of the loved one's clothing. After reading her story and seeing some of the work she has done, I decided to try my hand at it as well. I'm not new to sewing by any stretch, but I use a machine where she does all of hers by hand. She is an artist, I am more crafty. Anyway, I have finished the first block and have two others in progress. I will be incorporating other fabrics for the block variations. Thank you S for the inspiration and the kick in the pants, even if you didn't know you did it.

Below is a picture of the first block. It is made from his work tee, complete with old grease stain and paint stain, as well as some material from one of his western shirts. I didn't try to match the pattern because I didn't feel it relevant. This is going to be a work of love, not a work of art.

And I went outside and mowed the grass (riding mower), cleaned up the patio, used the leaf blower (3 times!), worked the compost pile, straightened up the garage a little. And tonight I am sore. These months of doing nothing are causing some physical aches and pains from a relatively light work load. Hubby always said that if I sat around I'd get "all stoved up." He was right....as usual. One of the many things I loved about him.

OMG! Now I am terrified!

I have been reading blogs by other widows and now I am scared shitless! I have come to the realization today that I have been in shock and denial for the last 3 months, while I honestly believed I was recovering nicely and thinking I was ready to venture out. Out to get a job, out to meet new people, out to find myself. Then came reality, and it is so unbearably painful. Physically, emotionally, sickeningly painful. The tears that I thought I had packed away safely for just me now are pouring out uncontrollably. Even when I am not crying the guttural wailing that takes over, they continue to flow freely, like a leaky faucet. I ache; my physical being is knotted and tense with so much pain that I can hardly breathe.

My rational self believes that death is inevitable and a few months off to reflect, cry, plan was all that would be needed to 'move on' without my best friend, lover, soul mate, definitely the better half. Then I started reading other blogs of widows who are many more months, sometimes years advanced in the grieving process and that is when the true reality set in for me. My emotional self has been locked up and is now screaming to come out.

Then the life insurance statement arrived and the shock that I can't go on this way much longer has caused panic. How can I "sell" myself to an employer in my current state of mind? Our youngest daughter is still living at home and entering her junior year of college. We had been paying as we go, now she is forced to seek financial aid and that has yet to be finalized. The business we ran together was suffering through the economic crisis and I opted to shut it down. Without him as an active participant, it was not feasible to continue. Because we had no will, I cannot sell the house or the excess vehicles until probate is complete.

We had the house on the market when he died. We had made our plans for our last move and were still deciding on the layout of our new home and workshop. Back to his ancestral hometown, the one he longed to return to and be the patriarch of his remaining family. The one he at his most peaceful, enjoying the work, the land, the history and a promise for the future. His father had passed away suddenly in 1996, his mother now a widow; his older brother ailing from a rare form a leukemia; his only sister had lost her only son in 1998 in a fiery car crash. It was time to go home to roost and I was more than happy to make the move and be part of the support team. And time to slow down, enjoy more time together, and be the glue to reclaim the family center that seemed to have waned over the past few years. Now everything is in limbo. The dream is shattered. Hearts are broken.

So I try to find answers and I try to stay busy. No, that's a lie. I don't stay busy and I don't try. It is a struggle every day to do the most mundane things. I haven't cleaned house since the service three months ago. I don't remember the last time I showered. I did strip off the sheets a few weeks ago and then slept on the bed wrapped in the comforter. A few days ago, I washed the comforter, so now the bed is totally bare. I now sleep on the couch. I've lost weight without trying. I don't answer the phone very much and I rarely initiate a call.

But Thanksgiving is next week, so I'll have to make an effort. An effort to put on a brave face, an effort to put on a smile. But I'm not cooking an elaborate meal. We are going to have a steak cookout, drink some, play cards, watch movies and just be together. And he will be with us, perched in the center of the room on the mantle.

It was John Lennon who said "Life is what happens to you while you're busy making other plans." While that may be true, I've come to believe that death is what happens while we're busy making life's plans.

Tick tock, tick tock......

Time. There is either too much or not enough. Too little it seems for the life with my husband and our plans for the future. Too much time in the days after his passing, time I am wasting by not doing the things either needing to be done or things I want to do, or worse, things I said I would do. He always said I was a procrastinator. He knew me very well it seems. But hey, I did clean the cat litter box today. Some things have a way of making you realize that time is up.

I think about the things that I think I have to time to take care of like filing taxes for 2008. I filed an extension (twice), so I think there is still some time to do them. And then Thanksgiving is some time in the next week or two (I can't remember). I thought if I ignored it, it would just pass by like any other day. Alas, that is not going to be the case. It is now time to make definitive plans. I'll do that tomorrow. I promise.

And then Christmas is the next hurdle.....do they ever end? I remember how I professed with such authority and confidence to our daughters that I would make quilts out of his clothes. We have 5 daughters...I should have time to make one for each of them by Christmas, right? Tonight I looked online at patterns to get an idea of what I wanted to do and then I went into his closet. Nope, it's not time yet.

Where Do I Start?

Let's start with today. Today is Friday. Friday the 13th to be exact. Is that significant in some way? Maybe, maybe not. But it is the end of the week, the end of yet another week. The exact ending of 12 full weeks since my world forever changed. And I am weak, weak in spirit, weak in self awareness, weak in caring for myself or others, even my cats it seems. My days aren't much more than getting out of bed, playing on the computer, smoking way too much and returning to bed at a dreadfully late hour. Every day lately has been the same. It is like "Groundhog Day" every day.

And it has to stop.

On a Saturday twelve weeks ago, my husband died very suddenly at the age of 52. Almost exactly nine days to the minute after his birthday. He died while I was on the phone with him. It took me 3 minutes to get to him, but it was too late. His last words to me were "Where are you?"

Two weeks ago would have been our 21st wedding anniversary. And now the holidays are approaching which is bringing even more sadness and confusion.

I want to run away, but not sure to where.

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