Life Goes On

daddies liliesDoug has been dead for 3 some years and my dad for some 4 months.  I’m still here trying to live without the two of the most important men of my life.  Both of them loved me unconditionally.

I have been fortunate.

I planted 15 lilies in memory of my dad – 13 for his men in Vietnam that he lost in that terrible battle and 1 for Marybelle’s father and 1 for him. They are blooming and the scent is spectacular as are the flowers.  They’re way ahead of schedule and over-achievers – much like my dad.

I’m learning to live without Doug – my constant cheerleader. If we’re lucky, we all have that one person who cheers us on and motivates us to do our best.  I had two – my dad and Doug.  I miss them both so much.

Candles, Candles and More Candles

the family room coffee tableI commented on Facebook that I have a lot of candles and the attendant candle holders. Once I got to thinking about it, I was, truly, astonished.

I wandered about the house taking photos of candles and candle holders. I do, quite literally, have candles in every room of the house.

stained gloass and candlesI don’t light them as often as I should.

If I lit them all at once, the barn would probably burn down.

There is nothing, almost nothing, I guess, that isn’t improved when viewing it by candlelight. I know that I love how candles (and oil lamps of which I have more than a few) soften the harsh edges of life.

I’m always ready for the frequent power outages even if I do bitch about the lack of wifi.

candles on the bookcaseDoug, too, enjoyed candles and many of those that I now have were his.

It’s been a long time since I’ve lit the house up and wandered from room to room marveling at all that life has given me. I love my home.  I love my candles.  I love my candle holders.

social work candleI am too fond of stuff and, hopefully, my newly adopted meditation practice (more on this tomorrow) will help me loosen the bonds of stuff, but, mostly, I find my treasures to be blessings and not burdens. Mostly.


There’s a great purge coming.

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Day of the Dead

day of the dead 5Today is November 1st and the first day of the Day of the Dead. My reading gives me to understand that the first day is for the children to celebrate and that November 2nd is for the adults. No matter. It’s November 1st and I’m missing Doug.

A few months ago, I wrote of Doug’s slippers and how they lived under the chair in the master bedroom. I couldn’t bring myself to get rid of them as it seemed as if I did he would be well and truly gone. They’ve been there for more than two years now.

day of the dead 4Today. Well, today, I threw them away. Yes. Threw them away. I didn’t want anyone else wearing them – they’re too personal and too important – we needed a clean break.

I had heard of the Day of the Dead but it was Doug who taught me to appreciate the holiday.

In the Mexican tradition, it’s a time to honor those that have gone before us. To remember and to respect and to love.

I miss Doug always, but, today, when the veil is thinner I have looked over my shoulder often to see if I can catch a glimpse of him. No luck so far.

I miss him. I would love one more glimpse. One more touch. One more moment.

I loved him. I do love him.

Throwback Thursday: Me at Doug’s house about this time of year

dougshouseIt’s Throwback Thursday and I’m in an impossibly good mood.  Things are going well in my life and that’s such a change from recent years.  I’ve mentioned before that the Raising Sand album my Alison Krauss and Robert Plant has been one of my mourning staples.  I’m far enough in the grief process that I no longer cry when I hear these songs — they just provoke wonderful memories of Doug.

I’m in my office at work — lunch at my desk — and rocking out to the album.  I’m happy, but I do miss him.

I’m a dish-aholic

I’ve touched on the fact that I’m inordinately fond of dishes and glassware, but I’ve never actually admitted to this addiction on the blog.

I Love Cobalt BlueI love dishes. It’s almost a sickness.  My kitchen cupboards are jam packed and the china cabinet doesn’t have room for much else – though I’m holding out for more moriage dragonware plates.  Besides dishes, I have a fair amount of tea pots and tea cups – one set a gift from a friend who died a few years back.

I have multiple sets of dishes and pretty much use them all as circumstances dictate. A good many of them are cobalt blue and I’m completely in love with my blue and white “everyday” dishes.  While dishes, in general, please me, cobalt blue ANYTHING makes my heart sing.

Doug Birthday DishesBut I’m not exclusive to blue. There’s the delicately colored bird set with square plates I bought to celebrate Mother’s Day as my mother is as fond of birds as I am of dishes. [Square plates just rock my world.] And we can’t forget the brightly colored Mexican style dishes I bought to celebrate HMO’Keefe’s 60th birthday – bright red, orange, yellow and green.

With Doug’s death, I inherited some stunning Mexican talavera. Included are two lobster plates that I gave him one year for his birthday.  Doug was as fond of talavera and lobster as I am of shoes.

Of course, there’s the “good china” and matching stemware that was a gift from my father. I’ve told that story already.

I have a 4-piece place setting of some beautiful Lennox Christmas china that I use for Chef Boy ‘R Mine’s private Christmas dinner. For years, I wanted enough Christmas dishes to feed a large horde should one ever show up for the holidays.

The Ruby Red Christmas DishesA few years ago, I found some beautiful antique ruby red, cut glass dishes at Target. They were stunning and stunningly affordable.  Over three years, I bought 24 plates, 24 bowls and 4 goblets.  The goblets always sold out before I could get in to buy them.  It’s nagged at me for eons that I can’t provide beverages in matching glasses for the 24-person-horde that has yet to show up.

Yesterday, I went on an online shopping binge. In addition to buying more Christmas village pieces (that I certainly don’t need – but what’s need got to do with it), I found 20 goblets from various sellers to complete the Christmas dishes.  I am STOKED.  I am so excited about it that I’m resolved to invite 24 people over to the house this holiday season!

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Happy Day of the Dead

The Beautiful Babette and Doug

The Beautiful Babette and Doug

Today I’ve been reflective about all the changes that have occurred in the past few years – chief of these the loss of Doug, my partner, and The Beautiful Babette, the sweetest Shih Tzu of all time.

5834854826_53e1ba9362_z (2)The Mexican Day of the Dead celebrations are joyous affairs. While reflective, I was also happy in my memories of Doug and Babette today. It’s been long enough that it doesn’t hurt to think about them. I like the idea that they might be walking among us today and tomorrow. I hope they’re together and I hope they think of me as fondly as I think of them.

Doug – One Year After

fieldwork dougBy the time this posts, it will have been a year exactly since Doug died.

The picture to the left is one that his daughter just posted on her Facebook page.  Carruthers noted that her love of fieldwork was inherited from her dad.  I believe that to be true.

Doug told me he was a nomad and expected to journey throughout his life.  Unfortunately, that wasn’t true in the last years or maybe it was.  His death was a long journey, so much so that when he finally left us it was accompanied by not just sorrow, but also some relief.  His end days were everything he didn’t want.  It had been awful to watch the vibrant, healthy man I knew and loved become an invalid whose days centered on medical appointments and care instead of fieldwork and intellectual discussion.

Even so, I miss him.  I miss his sweet spirit and optimism.

It’s been a rough year.  Intellectually, I’ve known about the grief process since Psychology 101 way back in 1977, but until you go through it. . .   I had thought that by now, I would be easy with the idea that Doug is dead.  I’m not.

I loved him.  I still love him.  I think that’s the hardest part of the grief process — love continues even when the person is gone.  I can’t tell him that I love him.  I can tell the people he loved, the same people I’ve gotten closer to since his death, that I love them.  So, I will.   KT, Martha and Roy?  I love you.