Who Does She Think She Is?

Posts tagged ‘grief’

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Leighton Hamilton Playing the Blues

Posted by Joni in About Him, Music, Video

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An old beau of mine has been on my mind a lot lately. Maybe because this is the fifth anniversary of his death at the young age of 56. Or maybe as I myself grow older, nostalgia kicks in. Anyway, he spent his last years back in his hometown of Dalton, Georgia, and Tuesday nights were spent in front of the mike at The Blues Train Cafe. Here are some photos from that period.

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It Happened So Fast…

Posted by Joni in About Him

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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!


A Quote For Roberto

Posted by Joni in About Him, Love

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“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

Tomorrow Is Robert’s Birthday.

Posted by Joni in About Him, Widda Hood


Tomorrow would have been Robert’s 64th birthday. We’ve celebrated every birthday, his and mine, together since I was 23 and he was 33. Birthday celebrations were always low-key with a couple of notable exceptions. I’d buy him a new shirt or pair of pants, make his favorite dinner and otherwise cater to him on “his day.” He looked forward to the extra special treatment, a day when he had a free pass to do just about anything. :)

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Four and Counting….

Posted by Joni in About Him, General, Widda Hood

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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

Missing… Read It And Weep

Posted by Joni in About Him, General, Widda Hood


One good thing about having a cold. You can go ahead and cry and people will just attribute your puffy eyes and blotchy face as another manifestation of that disease. I’ve been doing a lot of crying lately. As much or more as when the death happened. I know there is no time limit on grief, I still think of my mother and tears well up in my eyes, and she’s been gone 30 years. I’ve actually known Robo longer than I knew my mother, 31 years versus 22 years. So naturally his death hit me hard.

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I Will Remember…

Posted by Joni in About Him, General, Widda Hood

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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

My Beautiful Daisy Mouse…

Posted by Joni in Cats, General

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There is a flower within my heart, // Daisy, Daisy, // Planted one day by a glancing dart, // Planted by Daisy Bell…

~~ “Daisy Bell,” Harry Dacre (1892)

As most of you who know me know, I lost my sweet old orange tabby, Sunny, in January 2010, to HCM. It took me over a year to get over his loss. I finally was able, after two “misfires” to find the “purrfect” cat, a sweet moggie named Daisy whom I adopted from the Montgomery County Animal Shelter on May 10. Things were going swimmingly even though it seemed like she was the most finicky eater on the planet. There was never that problem with my other cats, Sunny or Simon, my Maine Coon. Both had healthy appetites. In fact those two ate like truck drivers.

So when she didn’t seem to live and die by the food dish, I didn’t think anything of it. I thought, well, she’s a girl, maybe she’s just a dainty eater. But last Tuesday, she started throwing up and became quite listless. I took her to the vet the next day who ran some bloodwork on her. It turns out she was in liver failure. Her BUN and creatinine were through the roof, many many times their normal values. The vet explained she was living on her fat reserves and that explained the more than two pound weight loss from her original checkup on May 20 to this day (June 22).

The vet gave me some anti-nausea tablets, an appetite stimulant, some yummy food and some syringes. We tried valiantly, she and I. Me to get the food and pills down her throat, and she to try to keep them down without throwing up. But that didn’t seem to be happening and she quickly withdrew and stopped hanging out in her usual spots, the two sunny windowsills in my office. She also stopped coming downstairs when she heard me coming home at night. I’d go upstairs and find her in my half bath upstairs, next to the toilet. I kept water in several places for her, and she was drinking. But she simply couldn’t keep food or pills down.

I went back to the vet and picked up some injectible anti-nausea medication and started giving her that, but that didn’t work either. The mere act of me picking her up and trying to hold her brought on waves of nausea. This is no live for her or me. So, this past Thursday I took her back to the vet for one last round of x-rays and a sonogram. Because I wanted to know if there was anything that we could possibly do, if there was any obstruction somewhere, anywhere, along her plumbing that would cause her problems. They seemed to come on so suddenly. But alas, the tests showed nothing.

I made the decision that morning to end her suffering. She deserved better than the last 10 days she’d been having. So I stayed with her to the end. We had about 30 minutes of painfree time together, me kissing the top of her head and calling her my sweet chola girl and telling her what a sweet and beautiful cat she was and how much I would miss her and she, finally able to relax and be herself, purring and looking up at me with that sweet expression of hers. And she enjoyed those last chin scratches I gave her. Then the vet administered the final shot and in about five more minutes she had crossed over the Rainbow Bridge. As a FB friend said, I hope she’s chasing moths and butterflies there with Sunny and Simon.

I didn’t have her long, but I loved her so much. She was a very special cat to me because she taught me something very important: That I could love another creature after Sunny. But also that my heart was just as easily broken now as it was then.

I don’t know if I will get another cat. I know I won’t any time soon. I still miss her and still cry when I think about how shortchanged we both were. So enjoy these photos that I was able to snap of Daisy in those happy first few weeks.

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Posted by Joni in General

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We had to put our sweet old orange tabby, Sunny, to sleep on January 14. It broke my heart to do so (and don’t think Robert wasn’t equally crushed. We both cried not only in the vet’s office, but in the car on the way home, and for days afterward). And it’s been a month. And … I still miss him so. I feel his presence everywhere in the house. Sunny was the last thing I saw when I went to sleep at night and the first thing I saw when I woke up in the morning. I miss him most when I’m coming home from work at night. He’s buried behind the big garage and when I walk by, I always stop and whisper “I love you, big fat honey” while I choke back tears. On beautiful sunny days, I am reminded how he loved being outside in the back yard, sniffing things, rubbing his cheek up against the corner of the back garage, exploring under my watchful eye things we cannot see, hear or smell but they can. I miss tripping over him on the way to the kitchen, the way he always ran to greet me when I came home from work, the way he’d chirp at me when my foot touched him inadvertently (or sometimes, deliberately because I wanted to know, in the middle of the night, if he was there with me in the bed). There is a hole in my heart no one and nothing can ever fill.

Until one has loved an animal, one’s soul remains unwakened.” ~~ Anatole France

Visit Sunny and Simon at their Purrspective Cat Photo Gallery