Saturday, December 24, 2022





This holiday season I would like to take the time to say just how important it is to take it all in. Enjoy the time with your family and friends. You just never know when someone that you love will no longer be with you to share these special moments. Let every day be a special moment so if you can...start with the holidays right now! 

For a fact, Steve and I enjoyed every day together. It did not have to be a holiday. It was just being together. If for some reason you have no special someone or if you find yourself alone, then it is time to do something about that. Sounds easier than done yet it is a matter of if no family is around you or that you can travel to then it is time to venture out to other places and find friends who have the same interests as you do. Whether it be in the art world, or at the library or book shops, even a local "Cheers" bar where everyone knows your name. Get out and meet others to be with. And I would add that if there is someone who is alone on Christmas or a special holiday that you know about, it would be grand if others invited them to come on over and celebrate with you and yours. 

It is especially a very hard time for me to be without Steve. I am so very grateful for my family with me and those who live away, as well as very supportive friends who call and write. Plus, I have an Elf and a Christmas Baker making Christmas cookies plus another granddaughter who is drawing special pictures and working on decorating her new bedroom, a daughter who is the head baker and meal maker and a son in law who is taking care of the heavy loads with leaves that slip in the patio, trash (which will be loads and will take creativity to stuff it all in once gifts are opened). Always stuff to do and fix when living in a home. At least the pool is now in a mode of not having to get so many leaves out of the filters. 

Even a brother and sister in law over in England sharing their new Christmas puppy writing and calling me. This pup is so precious...and Chris named him Hippo. A sweet little French Bulldog! 

We will Facetime with the Brownies in New Orleans on Boxing Day to keep Steve's memory alive and well. And we have plans to eat lunch out at a really nice restaurant in Mid-town. 

Next will be Jenni's birthday and then New Year's Eve. She gets to choose what the meal will be and I can assure everyone that the next night which will be New Year's Eve will be spent at home hoping that fireworks will not be too loud or too many for our dogs.

Saturday, December 17, 2022



Getting Through the Holidays When I Have Lost the Love of My Life

I have thought about this since working my way through Thanksgiving. Then came his birthday and a few days later there was my birthday and now here is Christmas and the New Year. So, I decided there are some ways to accomplish this effectively and happily and most importantly: realistically. I have to believe that Steve is always here with me. Not wanting me to be sad. Instead, he would want me to celebrate his life through the holidays and always. Yes, I do get teary eyed now and then and sometimes it is a little worse than other times. It is called the process of grieving. I must allow myself to go through it, as long as it takes. I am sure that there will not ever be a day that he is not on my mind (more than once - like now it is every time a decision, especially major decisions and sometimes it is just the fact that he is on my mind and I want so much to tell him something). So what do I do? I tell him. Right out loud, just as if he were right in front of me.

Here are some ways that I have been managing. No, it is not for everyone. It is MY way.

  • I work my way through it slowly. Losing a very special loved one during the holiday season can be a painful reminder of the terrible loss I am feeling—instead of the holidays bringing me warmth, love, and excitement as they used to do, I work on turning my feeling around by hearing Steve's voice in my head of how we went through the holidays together and to continue with the warmth, love and excitement with other family members and friends to keep it exciting and full of adventures. The one major thing that helps me is to hear my granddaughters giggling and to see their excitement.
  • Be patient and realistic. Sometimes my own high expectations of the holidays make the pain and frustration more acute. ... Again, I have to work on not so much lowering my expectations, just know that things will be different. Keep expectations high through the holidays and birthdays. It is what Steve would want. Always. If I had been the one to go first, I would want him to hold on to our love and keep celebrating! Smile and be happy. Yes, there will be times, let's be realistic, that I will have meltdowns. I must allow myself those moments, just not wallow in them. I know I must shake off that mental image of how it used to be and be a little more creative of how I can be gentle on me and know that things will not be the exact same way. It is okay to work on changing things up a bit. Planning ahead and making lists so that I can think things through that may help me. 
  • Adapt cherished traditions! Let me throw out a few examples:

  • Thanksgiving - we always cooked together and had our children over. I just could not bear to cook this year. I offered to take everyone out (one year Steve and I did this due to the fact that our kids were off somewhere else and that was okay). We had a spectacular meal out at a very nice restaurant. However, our son and our daughter who were here decided that they were going to cook and changed a few things that were traditional around. I loved watching the two of them cooking together. It was a very special day. 

  • His birthday was spent in New Orleans. Kids decided that I could be out of the house on his first birthday celebration without him. So, that is when I rode Amtrak The City of New Orleans down to NOLA to be with another son and his wife with two more granddaughters. We cheered a bottle of champagne to Steve for his birthday. The girls, who were 6, did use real champagne flutes with milk in it. Adaptation! I could feel him smiling down on us all.

  • My birthday was spent back in Memphis at The Peabody for High Tea. Steve and I had already made the reservations together. All I had to do was to be sure both granddaughters were added on and my daughter would be the other adult. It was a special tea party in The Peabody. My youngest daughter said that it was a real Princess tea party for my birthday. How special! The girls loved seeing the Gingerbread castle, the two story Christmas tree and going into the duck store to see all of the shirts, books, toys, etc. with ducks. I found an Elvis rubber ducky just to send to NOLA for a "tacky Elvis" gift that Steve loved doing with them each year. This way, it could get the granddaughters involved also.

  • Christmas now and so far it has
  • been delightful in how it has worked out. Together, my daughter, son-in-law and granddaughters have pulled it together and brought me along. We managed to get decorations up with everyone's help. As Amazon packages and FedEx packages arrived we sorted them out on the big dining room table in order. Jenni managed to get the girls elves put away in a new location each night and one night the two of us had the girls watch TV and play upstairs while we unwrapped brown boxes and put Christmas paper and name tags on presents. Now the tree looks like the real deal. It was very special doing that with her. Then when she was off at work, I took care of wrapping her gifts, even her birthday gifts which falls on the 30th. Stocking stuffers were labeled in my room. All complete, although there are still a few gifts still arriving. Two may arrive late after Christmas, but a note can be put under the tree stating that Santa needed extra time. As I was pulling the gifts that I had purchased earlier out, I remembered that Steve and I ordered them together. One was for Bailey, eldest granddaugter and one was for Jenni. He had used his special phrasing on Jenni's card telling her how special she made him feel being his daughter. Did that bring me to tears? Yes, it did. I could not hide that. Skylar came up to me and hugged me tight to tell me everything is ok and that it is ok to be a little sad. All I can say is that wisdom comes out of the mouth of babes many times. For me, the holidays are a time of peace and reflection. This was when I was with Steve physically as well as now. He was a special gift to me and will always be my special gift. Every single thing that Steve and I did just did not happen this year. The mailbox is not decorated nor the special twinkling lights that he put out front to glimmer on our house and they even came through the windows in the front rooms did not happen this year. And that is okay. I did, with the help of my live in family made it special for us. We were adaptable and creative. We still are going to celebrate the British Boxing Day. Before, we usually made this our Christmas Day due to the fact that our granddaughters needed to be in their own home with their new toys and stockings. It would have been too much to load them up to come over and have Christmas with us. We always enjoyed a quiet Christmas Day and Boxing Day was a double celebration. This year I will be able to enjoy both. Now that they are living here with me, I will get to see the joy on their faces as they get up for Santa. We will have something maybe a little non-traditional on Christmas Day. Plans yet to be made. Talk of spaghetti? Who knows? Then on Boxing Day, I am thinking that maybe we will all go out to eat. We will be busy cleaning up the house and putting gifts away so maybe going out will be the best thing to do. We will talk about it together and decide. Adaptability!

To me, I believe that one of the most important things that I can do is to take good care of me physically and mentally. Eating well and hydrating myself is important, just as it is to continue to get those manis and pedis and facials, etc. Plus, I have, thanks to my new live in family, a gift certificate for massages...Surrounding myself with their love, as well as Thomas, even though he is off flying frequently and my NOLA family is what helps to keep me smiling and happy. Getting the rest that I need helps tremendously. I have noticed that on my Sleep IQ that my sleep rate of stress, called HRV is working on going back up again. So that is telling me that my stress levels as I sleep are getting back to 
a normal range again. 

To me, I loved the fact that we have his stocking up still, along with both of our Mothers. It is the way that I still celebrate my love for all of them. That will never go away. And I am sure that I will find many new ways to celebrate all of the special days with the love of my life who is not with me physically but most definitely in every other way possible. 

Sunday, December 4, 2022




Just like the title and the picture show, I did ride The City of New Orleans Amtrak from Memphis to New Orleans yesterday. I did ride it once before about 6 1/2 years ago but this was all for a different reason and even though I was not sure of it all this time...everyone who made it happen was exactly right. I did need a change of scenery and a place after Steve's Life Celebration to help get myself back together. (as much as that is possible)

I am so blessed to have children who help to guide me and whether you as a reader wish to believe this or not - Steve was a huge part of this decision. Every major decision that I have had to make since October 21st, he has guided me. He has given me signals that I was doing the right thing or let me know that maybe I need to rethink that decision. Good thing that I am not too hard-headed and that I do listen.  

Managing to get through Thanksgiving without Steve was hard enough. Thank goodness for Jenni and Thomas for cooking. I offered to take all five of us out for a great Thanksgiving afternoon meal at a very fine restaurant. All I knew was that I just could not even think about cooking any of the actual meal. Too soon for that. Steve and I always did that together starting with the early preparations the day or two before and he always did his famous British roast potatoes. Jenni always did a couple of side dishes and dessert in previous years.

I left it up to the children to decide and they chose to cook it themselves and they did a spectacular job. Some of the traditional things that we had before as well as some new side items. Thanks to Corky's for having a fully cooked ham and turkey for us. All they needed to do was to pick it up the day before and heat if they wanted to. It made me smile to see Thomas with his apron on, just like his Dad wore when he cooked, and measuring out the recipe ingredients. They worked so well together.

We had a very special Thanksgiving meal. Hooray for my family making it so special. Next hurdle to cover is December 6th - 11th. Steve's birthday and mine. We had started a tradition of going to The Peabody for their special High Tea celebration. It may fall on his birthday or mine or somewhere in between. It was our special gift to one another. 

This year we had already made our High Tea reservations early in November, which fell on my birthday. We had planned on taking our eldest granddaughter. So a reservation was already made for two adults and one child. A brilliant idea came to my mind (even if I do say so myself). Jenni could replace the other adult, we already had Bailey for one child. All I needed to do was to call and add one more child (Skylar) to the reservation. They made this accommodation gladly. So all 4 of us will be there on my birthday just as I stated in my last blog. A special way to get through our birthdays. Another way of 'Moving On.'

That left Steve's birthday. Jenni talked it over with Doug and others and decided that it would be a good idea to get away and what a better place to be on Steve's birthday but in New Orleans with Doug, Lizzie and Emma and Hazel. There is nothing like children, especially your grandchildren to uplift you. Their giggles, their stories, their smiles, their sense of style...the list goes on and on. 

At first, I was not so keen on the idea of traveling away. I loved the idea of seeing the Brownies but not so much the train ride, as I remembered the long walk to get to the car that I was on and then the staircase to the upper level to get to the sleeper car. Not that I was going to need to sleep overnight, more for the privacy vs. the coach cars. But the walking, carrying my bag to take on the train plus my purse and then managing luggage and my knees did worry me. Jenni got it  set up so that Amtrak would help me and if not Craig would in Memphis and Doug would in New Orleans.

The more that I thought about it and checking out events/appts on my calendar, I did find a week that worked out. Jenni called and managed to get me all set up for the trip. This took care of his birthday and I could feel his joy all around me for making this decision to ride the train down to New Orleans to be with The Brownies over his birthday.

Just as the lyrics from Arlo Guthrie's song The City of New Orleans say: "Good morning, America, how are you?" I had to set my alarm for 3:30 AM to leave the house at 4:40 in order to be down at the train station by 5:40. It truly was a southbound odyssey as we rolled past houses, farms and fields, plus graveyards of rusted automobiles and other trains zooming by us that had no name. Yes, I will be one almost 500 miles when the day is done. (350) No matter the miles it is something about the rhythm of the rails and the gentle beat of the magic carpets made of steel.

The night before I left we decorated the Christmas tree and got the stockings hung and decorations out. It felt so good to watch and be a part of this family festive event before I left. 

Once I arrived to The Brownies home, they had decorations everywhere also. So a continued holiday celebration. 

Taking advantage of the quiet now and writing this blog. On December 6th we will raise a glass of champagne to say, "CHEERS" to the love of my life! Happy Birthday and please always stay near me. You will always be in my heart and soul and I know that you know just how much I need to hear and feel you all around me.

Lots of activity while here in New Orleans and it is fabulous to be here with The Brownies. I even had a welcoming sign on my bed for me.

How special is this?