Who Does She Think She Is?

Posts tagged ‘death’

Blog Post

It Happened So Fast…

Posted by Joni in About Him

, , ,

I am spending the last day of my week-long vacation cleaning out my email inbox and came across something I wrote to a close friend the evening that Robo died. I thought I’d share it with you.

It happened so fast this afternoon; EMTs, cops, medical examiner … I guess with his constellation of health issues, they wanted a definitive cause of death. The house is finally quiet tonight after hours of chaos. And I have lost my best friend of 30 years.

And I didn’t tell him how much I love him today of all days. Go do that right now!

Blog Post

The Last Best Thanksgiving

Posted by Joni in About Him, About Me, Food & Drink, Holiday

, , ,

I am remembering Robo’s last Thanksgving, our last Thanksgiving together. I recently spoke to a friend who is going through a rough patch with a dying relative. She told me, I keep thinking of things in terms of “last” as in last birthday, last Thanksgiving, last Christmas, etc. I told her not to thinnk of them as the last, but the best or the most cherished. And that is what Thanksgiving 2011 is to me, and always will be.

Thanksgiving was always Roberto’s favorite holiday, for reasons you can imagine: Food and football, a license to pig out and overdose on sports on TV? It doesn’t get better than that if you are a guy!

The menu was fairly simple. We were hooked on Giada DeLaurentiis and her cooking shows, so a lot of the dishes were Giada-inspired. For starters, I made a berry strada. Followed by tomato and green bean casserole. I also made cornbread with creamed corn and jalapeno peppers, rich and creamy. I had found a fresh turkey breast at the grocer and roasted that on my own (later I would come to rely on precooked turkey from Pappas and Honey Baked Ham Co.). Dessert was the traditional Chess Pie that he loved so much.

I couldn’t know then, when I was happily cooking for the man I loved that it would be a short two weeks later that he would be gone. I couldn’t know then that the Thanksgiving we shared in 2011 would be our last together. That no other Thanksgiving since then could ever compare, with him not around.

So this Thanksgiving, when you are gathered with your loved ones, don’t hesitate to hug them and tell them how much they mean to you. You may not get another chance next year.

Make THIS holiday the BEST one ever, whether it’s the last one or not.

Blog Post

Two Years, Two Million Tears

Posted by Joni in About Him, Widda Hood

, , ,

I cannot believe that it will be two years tomorrow since Robo left my life forever. Sometimes it seems as raw and painful as if it happened just yesterday. Some days — most days, actually — I go through my daily routine with Robo tagging along in the back of my thoughts and in my heart. Other days, the grief overtakes me and I have to indulge myself in a tear-fest. Often those happen sitting in my car in the garage outside my house. Other times, in the shower, as I remember the baths he so loved to take, especially in the roll in shower created just for him right after we bought this house. With money gained from his medical malpractice suit.


A Quote For Roberto

Posted by Joni in About Him, Love

, , , ,

“You’ll get over it…” It’s the clichés that cause the trouble. To lose someone you love is to alter your life forever. You don’t get over it because ‘it” is the person you loved. The pain stops, there are new people, but the gap never loses. How could it? The particularness of someone who mattered enough to grieve over is not made anodyne by death. This hole in my heart is in the shape of you and no-one else can fit it. Why would I want them to?”

~ Jeanette Winterson (Written on the Body)

Blog Post

Four and Counting….

Posted by Joni in About Him, General, Widda Hood

, ,

It’s been almost four months since Robert’s been gone. And I really don’t feel any better about it. I seem to be suffering some kind of delayed grief reaction. By this I mean that I seem to be crying more lately than I did in the beginning, and that may be due to all the myriad things that were going on at that time. Now, I have time to sit and actually think about things and feel them, the way I wasn’t able to back in December.

At first, I could fool myself and pretend he was just in the hospital, where he’d spent so much of the time these past few years — and especially in 2011. But that didn’t work for long. Because even in the hospital, we had daily calls and almost daily visits. I’d generally head up to the hospital after work each night or spend most of the weekend up there, dragging my laptop and snacks with me.

And of course there are reminders of him everywhere I go. He was my life. Every grocery store, every drive I take anywhere, TV shows, all my routines, were all tied up in Robert. And even though I know I shouldn’t, part of me still feels a twinge of guilt when I catch myself feeling happy about something. I’ll stop, and I’ll remember Robo, and then get sad all over again. I guess this is normal. When my mother died, which is the only other yardstick for grief that I have, I remember crying for months it seemed. And it was five years before I could even drive past the cemetery where she was buried, let alone go in and visit the grave site. But when I finally did go, with a friend, I was expecting to be socked by a gut-full of emotion, but I wasn’t. There was just a sense of calmness and well being.

On the way to get my dinner last night, across town at Wilcrest and Westheimer, I ended up on the Katy Freeway, and the cemetery is just right off the Antoine exit. So I pulled off, and pulled into the cemetery, drove to the grave site and walked around it a bit. I didn’t cry then either. I just felt that same calmness and peacefulness I felt when I finally visited my mother’s grave. It was as if he was there, and that comforted me. I told him I was going to go get burek from Cafe Pita and had to stop since I was so close. Right about the time I said that, a breeze started up. I took that to be Robert laughing at my, as he called it, “maddening practicality.” And he always knew that when he was hospitalized at Heartland, it was our chance to scarf burek, since the facility was just around the corner.

That still doesn’t keep the house from seeming lonely at times, from causing me to wonder what my purpose in life is now. Now that I don’t have Robo. I just go through the motions of daily living, going to work, taking care of Duncan, cooking, cleaning, etc. I guess it will just take a little more time for me to get back into my groove and figure out how to be happy without someone who was the center of my world for the last 30 years. Any way you look at it, that’s a tall order.

Blog Post

I Will Remember…

Posted by Joni in About Him, General, Widda Hood

, ,

How Robert waited until he heard me stirring in the morning to ask what’s for breakfast … our favorite meal of the day.

How he thoughtfully brought me an ice cold Big Red to drink in the car when I got out of the hospital after my surgery in 1991.

How he spent the next three weeks doing just about everything for me (that I would let him, fiercely independent as I was and still am).

How he walked three miles in the pouring rain in shin deep water in 1996 to rescue me and my flooded out 300ZX.

How he decided it was time for me, at the ripe old age of 35, to finally see the ocean, even if it meant I’d bitch about the heat and the sand in my shoes.

How he snuck around and saved to buy me an art print he saw me admiring and even had it custom framed for me for my birthday one year. (I still have that print; it’s hanging over the mantle).

How he always liked to sing in the shower.

How he left a mess of soapy puddles and soggy towels after every bath.

How handsome he looked with shaving cream on his face.

How his dimples made him look 12 years old.

How the middle toes on both feet were longer than normal which is why he never liked wearing sandals.

How we each have a mole on the exact same spot on our bodies: the inside of the right wrist.

How ridiculous he looked when he, at the heaviest he’s ever been, decided to perm his prematurely gray hair. (If I didn’t leave him then, I never would.)

How he liked his eggs over medium with salt and salsa.

How he hated cabbage but loved brussels sprouts.

How he could recite all the presidents of the United States, in order, forward or backward.

How he knew me inside and out, even better than I knew myself.

How after 31 years together he knew exactly what to say to make me smile.

How after 31 years together he knew exactly what to say to make me cry.

How he always kicked my ass at backgammon.

How big a hole he left in my heart.

Blog Post


Posted by Joni in About Him, About Me, Widda Hood

, ,

Since I’ve been recuperating from my foot infection, there isn’t a lot I can do around the house right now besides hobble back and forth from the kitchen to the bedroom or living room. I was able to sit down and sift through some of Roberto’s things. It’s something every widow must do eventually, and depending on circumstances, sooner rather than later. Maybe you’ve got to locate deeds, wills, insurance policies and other documents.

We led a simple life so that wasn’t the purpose of my quest. Actually, I was just clearing a table off and ran across a mini Day-Timer diary that I had bought for him to take with him to the hospital. So he could make notes, write down information, etc. Robert did use the book as somewhat of a diary, as evidenced by this very touching entry back in March 2011:

3-13 moved from ICU to room 2037 some time today. Wife came for xtended stay. Love watching her do her computer thing. She slept 4.5 hours.

I cried when I read that. For several reasons. First, because he expressed real eagerness to get out of the ICU to a regular room. And second of all, because I never really thought Robert cared much about my web design business. I always thought he viewed it as me playing on the computer. So I now know that not only did he take it seriously, but he also took pride in it.

Instead of finding love letters from other women or some other unpleasant surprise, I found a wonderful gift. The knowledge that my husband loved and respected me and what I do. Thank you, Robo, even from beyond the grave, for caring about me and supporting me.

Blog Post

In the Widda Hood

Posted by Joni in General, Widda Hood

, , ,

So much has happened since Roberto passed on December 8. It was sudden and unexpected, to me anyway. Even though he’d been fighting COPD this past year and it had been consistently kicking his butt. He’d been in the hospital more than he’d been home and was almost always on a ventilator a good part of that time. He was sent home on 24 hour oxygen in September. And yet this man, who had weathered all of life’s hard knocks, including devastating paralysis in September 2003, couldn’t be beaten down. Not yet anyway. At least that’s what I thought. My hero simply could not fall. I wasn’t ready.

Right after that, I ended up flat on my back in the hospital for a week with a wicked toe infection, the result of long ignored diabetes. Had I not succumbed to the doctors’ request, I might be sitting here with a body part missing, that’s how serious THAT condition was (and still is).

So it’s all been a whirlwind of activity and family members and hospitalizations and nurses and many things to do and take care of. And now the dust is settling somewhat. And I might want to write a bit about this new life situation I find myself in. Alone and without the love of my life at my side. Hence a new blog category, the “Widda Hood.”

Won’t you be my neighbor?

Blog Post

Somebody’s Darling

Posted by Joni in General


My friend and I happened upon this accident on our way out to dinner last night, we were just yards from the restaurant parking lot at the intersection of I-45 South and Woodridge when this accident happened. And it happened between 8:45 and 9PM last night, not 10:30PM as all the reports are saying. (I in fact Twittered it at 10:06PM, after I’d been at the restaurant for a good while.)

Of course, when we got to the restaurant, we told our friends about the drama unfolding nearby.  There were some expressions of surprise, but for the most part, as my friend observed in an email to me about it this morning, “life went on as if the incident were surreal.”  That man whose lifeless body we saw on the blood soaked pavement meant something to someone, I can only hope. Today, someone is wracked with grief over his loss.  Reminds me of an old Civil War poem:

Blog Post

And When I Die…

Posted by Joni in General

, , ,

And when I’m dead, dead and gone…. There’ll be… iGoodbye.com. Where my heirs apparent can have access to all my top secret information, information which I (heir) apparently don’t want them to have beforehand. Well, if I can’t trust them while I’m alive, why should I trust them when I’m dead? I can’t decide if this is just another great organizational tool or a scary-creepy web app.

From their home page:

Many of us have information about assets, financial accounts, and personal data that we would like to see passed on privately to ours heirs that we may be hesitant to share before we have actually departed this world.

It kind of hits close to home for one good reason. I’ve got a web design business that I run with my partner who is in Europe. We communicate strictly by email and ICQ. Other than the fact that we have never, not once in the two years we’ve known each other, gone more than 24 hours without touching base with each other, how would he know if I shed the mortal coil? Several days of silence? Robert would likely be unable (either due to his extreme state of grief, merriment or lack of computer knowledge) to contact Ivan to let him know of my demise. What then?

Well this *could* be a solution. I trust my web design partner with my life. And we work very closely together although we are 5300 mile apart. Because I’m a planner, I’ve already foreseen some of this issue and prepared a password-protected document that has all my account logins and a To Do List with regard to the business, current projects and clients. He always hates when I try to talk about death. Just exactly the way I hated it when my mother tried to talk to me about her death, and what I should do. So when mother did pass away, I was lost. Utterly and completely lost. I don’t wish that on anyone.

So for that reason alone (the obvious discomfort of my much loved biz partner and friend), $30 a year seems like a bargain. Unless I end up living to the ripe old age of 90, in which case this will cost me about $1200. And I sit here and think of the fun I could have fun with that money.