December, The Meaningful Memory Month

First December Visit

First December Visit

I swear, this is going to be the last time I post a picture of myself looking pretty devastated at my husbands final place of rest. This one in particular, hair smashed down in the windy December afternoon with a Holiday floral arrangement pretty much shows it all.

Jer was really big on the Holidays. He went with the nickname BigJer he said because he had big dreams. I know it was because he had a big loving generous heart of gold. Anyway, as long as I’ve known him making the Holiday Season and Holidays meaningful and fun with bar B Que’s and gifts was very important for him.

Any special event, whether it be the Rose Bowl, a birthday, or other Holiday you’d find Jer bar B Queing for 20, even if it was only the three of us. As I am sure many of his friends and family remember while in Sacramento his Bar B Que was the best! One friend even stated that when he died he wanted to come back as Jer’s dog, so he could snack on the fantastic Bar B Que left-overs … pretty funny.

But I must admit 2012 Thanksgiving was difficult with only good memories of my husband, instead of his physical presence. As the month changed to December, two days ago I got a pit deep in my stomache with memories of recent December’s, how difficult they have been and then previous wonderful, even magical December’s gone past. The month of December happens to be the month with all the special dates involving my late husband and our most memorable memories inside it’s days. He had driven to our secluded location in Washington State to help me pack what we could of our stuff, including our cat, Oreo into the back of the Jeep Comanche truck December 8th. December 9th was the day Lindsey & I actually arrived in Sacramento to live with Jer and start a new life together. December 24th, 2012 is what would be Jer’s 59th birthday, and Christmas, the day Jer always made the most special with our creative outside lighting, the tree just right and an overload of special food and gifts. December 28th, would be our wedding anniversary, the date we married.

As I fight back the tears (I know he wouldn’t want that) I know that this is the month to celebrate all of those good times, fun things we did and appreciate all the wisdom, among other things he has left us with. Not many people with a diagnosis of metastatic melanoma stage 4 after a deadly siezure due to a brain tumer could withstand all the grueling treatments he tried and live enduring as much pain as Jer did as long as he did. How he achieved that I still wonder. I know, in my heart he did not go until he was completely ready, refusing the powerful drugs until the very last 4 months so he could keep as clear a head as he could manage.

I know as well, as it becomes 2013 in a few short weeks it will be time to begin again, with a new year and start thinking of developing new dreams and new traditions …

Realizing I am not yet over the shock of accepting the word “widow” yet, I visit his grave and say prayers for God’s will this December and the power to carry that out.

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A Little Over 10 Weeks Ago

We met online, on ICQ to be exact in the late days of 1999. After many inspiring chats I purchased a web cam so I could see this mystery man’s face. My daughter & I lived in an isolated area, a temporary spot while the dust settled from a marriage which had fallen apart, so there was really only one place to buy this web cam; Radio Shack.

My daughter was barely 8 years old and always asking questions upon questions about everything. We fooled around with this new toy and made our own little greetings. I got an awesome series of her and her girlfriend, Samantha, running back and forth behind me in the first few days that was actually a lot better than the straight faced personal profile video I was attempting to make.

A long story shortened, my future husband, and best friend appeared in the screen, and I on his for the first time. Truth is I was first shocked, because he was tan and had piercing blue eyes that looked like the sky and the ocean at the same time. Later on he admitted he was surprised as well at the image on his end, for other reasons.

As we went on in daily life we decided to meet halfway between the far reaches of Washington State, where I was and Sacramento, where he lived. This destination was Bend Oregon, where he was delivering an entertainment system to his son, who lived there at the time.

Jer said “look for the guy in the red Jeep truck towing an empty trailer, that will be me”. I replied “I’ll be the one wearnig purple in a blue land yacht”. 9 hours later we met in a parking lot. He didn’t say much about his son, but I learned a lot about his life as we drove in lines of traffic, mostly motorhomes looking for a restaurant, where we could stop eat and get to know each other. There happened to be a motorhome convention that weekend in Bend Oregon, which became our biggest obstacle to getting around those first few hours.

A month later my new friend came to where I was at, my daughter in the care of her Dad at my house, and we went on the ferry to British Columbia from Port Angeles Washington. Some friends of mine lived there and we spent the first night there. Next day I took him all the way over to the San Juan Islands to a place called Doe Bay which,, when you stand on the beach if you look directly across the Queen Charlotte Straights you can see the property on an island my Pop obtained about 54 years or so ago.

We enjoyed the natural Hot Springs and with snow on the ground stayed the second night in the little cabins there. A long hilly drive we wound up taking the long way back to my place because the waters were too rough for the little ferry that was the short cut to get to my place. Adding anohter 3 hours of driving time and an additional ferry boat ride, then 45 or so minutes more driving, and we were back.

I tried to keep it a secret from my daughters Dad but I was pretty sure she might have told him I had a new friend.

The next time he came for a visit he cooked up a Bar B Que on our back deck that could be smelled from miles around. The neighbors commented on it for weeks to come. And, we ate the food he prepared, some of which I froze for weeks as well. Oh yeah, and he had worn an awesome pair of cowboy boots too, the first thing to come off after he arrived. Those boots became the talk of our little home after this visit my daughter poking fun at them, and him describing them. He also totally revamped my computer system adding security and other things like a back up and separated drives and a new sound system.

We talked continuously, even as he drove back to California for the next few months and years to come. As a matter of fact, we talked until a little over 10 weeks ago, when he passed in the early afternoon on September 11th. We talked while we were together, separated, with other people, and even while mad at each other. Towards the end when he couldn’t talk any longer he spoke with his eyes, and body language.

I miss my husband, my best friend and not only lost his invaluable company but all of my very best dreams and visions of us growing older in this life together. There’s a vacancy in my life, and surely to our dogs I must look to be a crazy person talking to his spirit all of the time. Oh, I don’t just mope around feeling sorry for myself because I honestly believe he is finally free; free of pain, cancer, the “fight” and gravity pulling his ever so evolved spirit down from where it was going.

Finally Free rest With God

Our First Visit After Jer’s Headstone Was finished.

So, the fact that he enriched my life and many others’ as well is enough for me to believe there is good in every single moment, even the unpleasant.

We designed a company named JerSooz Enterprises, logos, a phrase to live by, or jingle; “Change Your Attitude Change Your Life”, websites, and made many friends. There were many ups and downs, usually caused by our differences, which we all have. Looking back it’s no surprise our biggest difference was my inability to understand why he was always in such a hurry.

I know the answer to that now, it’s because he didn’t have much time. Forget the should have could have ought to have and only if’s~ there’s no place in this life for all of that. That is in the past and we’re not going that way.

I would like to personally thank all of Jer’s friends from Avaya who wrote the wonderful letters and cards and sent the gift baskets. Mike and Laverne in particular sent the most fabulous one which included a baby fruit tree (we named it “Jer”) and all kinds of wonderful little treats. How did you know he loved fruit trees? I will remember you always because the basket is a much needed magazene holder in our living room. We will remain in touch for other reasons and again Jer has enriched my life by bringing you two wonderful people into it!

A little note, all apologies to Jer’s sister who asked that I photoshop myself out of this picture and send only one of the stone. To this I say it might be best if she go visit there and take the picture she desires … pretty certain he’s already gone to where he’s going and the stone’s not going anywhere.

May the love of my life rest in peace. I have gratitude for every moment we shared in our short time together in this life.

Picture Of My Daughter With Cat In The Hat Got Me Thinking

Yesterday I went through all the wonderful pictures my daughter sent from Florida where she is visiting her family, on her Dad’s side. Along with the incredible sunrises, sunsets, grandparents riding the teacup at Disneyworld I came across one in particular that really got me thinking.

It is the one with her and The Cat In The Hat

Lindsey With One Of My Heroes- The Cat In The Hat

As a young girl I did a lot of reading.

We did not have a TV until I was in the 3rd grade so books were much of my entertainment activity. But I will never forget how much Dr. Seuss affected my imagination and inspiration about the future. In nearly every book of my Dr. Seuss collection were positive, hopeful messages, many of which, I think have contributed to my capability to live, love and enjoy life.

Not just that but his writings suggest we don’t take ourselves so seriously, and embrace who we are, big small, green or wearing a funny hat.

So, today I will share something many of us have long-forgotten … but will quickly remember upon reading:

My favorite Dr. Seuss quotes

“Look at me! Look at me! Look at me NOW! It is fun to have fun But you have to know how.”

Dr. Seuss, The Cat in the Hat

“Oh the places you’ll go! There is fun to be done! There are points to be scored. There are games to be won. And the magical things you can do with that ball will make you the winning-est winner of all.”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“You’ll get mixed up, of course, as you already know. You’ll get mixed up with many strange birds as you go. So be sure when you step. Step with care and great tact and remember that Life’s a Great Balancing Act. Just never forget to be dexterous and deft. And never mix up your right foot with your left.”

Dr. Seuss, Oh, the Places You’ll Go!

“When beetles fight these battles in a bottle with their paddles and the bottle’s on a poodle and the poodle’s eating noodles… …they call this a muddle puddle tweetle poodle beetle noodle bottle paddle battle.”

Dr. Seuss, Fox in Socks

And, my favorite Dr. Deuss quote of all time?

“Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.”

Dr. Seuss

As we move towards the rest of the Holiday Season let’s all lighten up, take the time to read to a child and share our special memories found in reading books, let down our guards be human and enjoy life!

As another of my favorite authors, Tom Robbins said, “It’s never too late to have a happy childhood”.

“Every day IS a new beginning, I often start my day over many times.”

Quote made by me, Sooz (AKA SeattleGirlMakesGood)

Celebrating Being Alive; The Joy

Thanksgiving has always brought out the deep feelings of happiness, joy, and “belonging” in me. Perhaps it is due to the fact that it has always been the family gathering where most all of my family and close friends arrive every year with the sole intention of enjoying each other’s company … even if it is just for the one day.

This year we set the annual Thanksgiving tradition aside and tried something different. We stayed home and treated ourselves to a day off from our busy schedules and went to a well known and loved place called Hodel’s.

The food was great, the service perfect, cost extremely reasonable and guess what … there was no clean up after was all said and done. My husband & I spent the Holiday together and enjoyed a wonderful evening in the new home and for the day, at least there was only love, joy and happiness.

For, there are countless reasons for the joy and happiness this year. First, he has survived near death with an immobilizing brain siezure June 3rd 2010, had a brain tumer removal June 7th, which turned out to be sent by metastatic melanoma (stage 4). With the sensational Bio-chem treatments through a Dr. Gailani in Riverside, CA. my husband now has the diagnosis of being nearly cancer free.

After a 6 months left to live diagnosis I see this to truly be a miracle! It’s been nearly 1 year, so far and I am thankful for every moment, minute hour and day for this gift they refer to as living life. I love my husband! He is truly one of a kind and what we have, even in it’s non-traditional appearance is a good understanding and a good marriage. We are truly blessed.

7 months post brain surgery

Sunrise going over the Grapevine en route to Las Angeles.

Found in Courage To Change Pg. 325

November 20

Let me make this day a celebration of the spirit. There is a part of me that retains a childlike sense of curiosity, wonder,

enthusiasm, and delight. I may have lost touch with it, but I know it still exists. I will set my problems to the side for a

little while and appreciate what it means to be vitally alive.

Quote by George Bernard Shaw

“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of

splendid torch which I have got to hold of for the

moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly

as possible before handing it on to future

generations.”

Thanks for reading this today, I write it with love.

SeattleGirlMakesGood

Truly Changing Our Attitudes To Change Our Lives

It’s been a while since my last post, so I aim to explain as best as I can where I have been and what’s been going on in life as a first post in a very long time. I’m back!

For years my husband & I obsessed over promoting positive well being through our online business. Our theme was “Change Your Attitude Change Your Life”.
As time passed a very crucial element of our relationship was the eBiz, refining it to become seamless so we could help as many people as possible learn to make money online at home.

We purchased more than we needed to make it more competative with others and, in the hopes of it (the business) becoming income enough to replace our jobs furthered our debt.
Much of what we purchased we never got set up. Many of the programs were insufficiently created leaving out main bits and pieces which rendered them nearly useless.
This became quite frustrating, especially since my husband spent 2 times as much time trying to troubleshoot the different problems we were having.

There were countless nights we would disagree, and our disputes often carried on into the wee hours, many of them never being resolved.

On March 5th, 2009, 18 months ago I suffered a slip and fall accident at work. It was raining, and the ground was extremely slippery.
When I fell I had no idea that this accident would be a considerable life changing event.
I found myself literally laid up in our living room unable to type, walk without crutches or do something as simple as opening a can with a regular can opener.

Bothe the right knee and right hand had damaged ligaments.

I became angry that I had gotten hurt and sat, in self imposed misery poring into books and literature about how to get over the stumbling blocks in life and the walls I had built up so high I could not see a way around them.

I blamed my husband and our disputes for a lot of my self-imposed misery. Our finances became a source of concern and worry, and stress because no longer was I contributing to our finances or our business. It seemed every time I sat down in our office we disagreed about something to the point I found it unmanageabe, leaving him to carry the full weight of carrying our business, the household, and just about everything else.

I blamed everyone except myself for my own attitudes. I, who had “Change Your Attitude Change Your Life” as a sticker on my rear view window. But things did not seem to improve through my readings and attempts to reason with my husband, write things out, reason with myself and try to find solutions.
As a matter of fact I wound up moving out frustrated with the entire scenario.

My daughter had gone through a long stint of rebellion against my husband & I, and life in general and she was 2200 miles away staying with my parents in Washington State. Her only mission was to graduate from high school, something she confessed she would never be able to do living with us.

Had we become that horrific that a teenager could not stand to be at home with us? And, why did I not have any friends in this town yet, after having moved here over 4 years previously? I asked myself why did I feel so isolated and alone and why was I so unhappy?

The answer was multi faceted. Moving out and moving back in with the highest of hopes only to discover our underlying issues, or my own issues were holding me back.
Why couldn’t he & I just agree to disagree? Why did he always have to be right?

Then it happened. June 3rd, 2010 my husband went out like a light toppling over on the couch. He was rushed to the ER and they discovered he had a brain tumer. The tumer was operated on 4 days later. On his way in I held his hand trying not to think of thte warnings from the Dr.’s that he might not come out of this, or be in a vegetative state or be partially paralyzed, reminding myself to not cry and stay positive.

As we waited for the surgery I prayed out loud to God, saying “God, if you are listening please bring him back, all the way back walking talking and as the man I know and love”. I said the Lords prayer and many more.

He awoke 4 days later not able to talk. Soon words came out the first were “I love you”, which he said to me, and every family member who called. It was incredible to know that above all love is in his heart and soul so much that those were his very first words.
Soon, the walking and regular activities came to him and he was home. He was able to manage his own diabetic diet and cook and do normal things.

We had many trips to Dr’s offices the first few months. I found myself feeling hurt and unable to express myself focusing on him, his condition and recovery.
As a matter of fact, over time I lost myself in his condition, treatments, confusion and panic to the point where I had a physical, then a mental meltdown.

I felt I had left my daughter behind, who had been trying to reach out to me behind figuratively and literally. They were not getting along and the tension between became so thick it was overwhelming. I found myself in the middle trying to care for my husband who was now bitter (because I had “kept him alive to live this nightmare” and I “was not contributing to our eBiz or the finances”), and keeping an open communication with my daughter who was doing well, straight A’s and on the deans list at college.

I had long left my self esteem somewhere in the past and found myself upset, angry, lonely and dishevelled a lot of the time. I became irratable, impatient and argumentative. It seemed I could not do anything right and the constant, what I saw as condemnation I was getting from my husband was beginning to become unmanageable.
He claimed he was only trying to help me, but under the surface I was raging mad. I was tired of the focus being on me and “what my problem is”.

Why could I not finish a sentence when he was in the room, why was my driving SO bad that he had to shout about it continuously as I drove him from place to place, why why why!
As time passed I resolved to get a place for my daughter and I so I could help him from a distance. The situation at home had become 24/7 on havoc.

Over 2 years ago I joined a support group for familys and friends of alcoholics. It wasn’t until I focused on myself as the root of my problems that I finally began to “get” how dysfunctionally I had actually been leading my own life.
You could say I was lost in the shuffle – for years, unable to truly live, love, dream and hope for a promising future full of happiness and joy.

You see, it seems so easy at the time to blame all of our discontent on others. In the long run doing this is quite damaging to onnesself and the people around us.
But only after really making a concerted effert to delve into my own perspectives did I begin to see how much of my problem I actually am.
And only after giving myself a chance to love myself could I begin to make some of the changes I desprately needed to have anything close to resembling a happy life.

We have to start somewhere. If we never begin one thing is guaranteed- we won’t make any progress.

Life is a series of stumbling blocks now, not a brick wall. I still try to help out around the house when I can and remain in touch with my husband. We still disagree a lot and he is still trying to help me see his perspective of what my problems are and what to do about them.

Every day brings new promise of hope and happiness, understanding and patience.

I have a support network af a few friends who I can talk on the phone with for hours or go to a movie or out to coffee. My daughter & I get along a lot better and are learning to work as a team, being honest, respectful of each others limits and have a better relationship.

The internet business websites crashed, hacked through the use of GoDaddy’s un-protected and unsafe servers for the most part, and that feels like a knife in my heart. Knowing I could have should have ought to have and only if – but those ways of thinking are only bricks on a road to a very tall and wide brick wall between myself and any hope for happiness.
For, we are not going backwards, we are moving forward.

Hopefully my husband and I will be rewarded with more time to continue the quest for ways and means to promote positive well being in our married life. I continue counseling and attending my support groups. I encourage anyone to seek the help offered through 12 step groups and counseling by a professional. There is hope for every one of us regardless of the nature of our issues.

For now, I just want to say I am glad to be alive, have an open minded husband who respects the fact that I chose to live a short distance away, and am thankful that this Blog is actually still alive and kicking.

For anyone who has been looking into SeattleGirlMakesGood wondring what happened, I’m not gone … just went on a sebatical of Higher Thinking towards a more quality way of living life.
It begins with me.

Hope to share more in the future.

SeattleGirlMakesGood

Quote from Robert Frost:

“In three words I can sum up everything I’ve learned about life. It goes on.”

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