Sunday, November 19, 2017

I'm looking for tolerable days

The days are getting a bit more tolerable. The stages of grief are running their course with a few stumbles backward from time to time. There is no shame in those backward stumbles. They are a more direct and strong reminder of my loss.

The worst times are when I'm driving somewhere. I listen to music on Sirius radio and hear songs with lyrics that tear my heart out. And while I listen to the lyrics, I talk to him, using those words to tell him how much I miss him, how much he made me so happy, what a wonderful life we had together, how much I still love him and always will. And inevitably the tears flow. But by the time I get back home, I'm spent emotionally and that meltdown is over. After getting out all that devastating physical emotion, I'm okay for the rest of the day.....until bedtime.  Maybe I should try listening to an all instrumental station!

Bedtime. I send the doggies outside for one last time, turn off the TV, shut the kitchen lights, make sure the front door is locked, get the doggies in and shut the doggie door, lock the patio doors, turn on the alarm and head for the bedroom. The dogs are already on the bed, Snuggles in her favorite place...Warren's side of the bed laying right next to his pillow with her head touching it. Sterling is on my side of the bed watching everything I do.

This is the quiet time when my thoughts turn to the events that shattered my life. The tears roll as I try desperately to fill my mind with the good memories. It doesn't always work. The doggies inch closer and lick my hands, my arms, and my nose. They nuzzle me, calming me right down. As I softly say good night to him while gently rubbing his pillow, Snuggles and Sterling settle in right next to me, as if to keep me safe. They comfort me and keep me sane and make the days and nights a bit more tolerable.

 The days are going toward tolerable, inch by inch, a step at a time. Tolerable. That's what I'm striving for now.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Monday, November 13, 2017

Planning for the unveiling

It was a difficult day. Although there is no religious law requiring an unveiling, it is customary to have one. An unveiling is the time when the gravestone for a loved one has been set up at the grave and "unveiled" to family and friends, usually just before the time of the first anniversary of the date of death. Today was the day I began those preparations. No final decision will be made until our sons and I decide together what will be on the monument.

I had not been to the cemetery since the funeral. But today I found myself standing at his grave and I lost it. There was a small marker there with his name on it and I just lost it. I did manage to place a stone on the marker, touch his name with my fingertips and gasp at the intensity of my anguish.

It was a distressing, difficult day.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Thursday, November 9, 2017

What I'm learning

Some lovely, caring friends have been kind enough to provide a few books dealing with grief. One is aptly named LIVING WITH AN EMPTY CHAIR. Just the title says a lot for that's truly what I'm doing. But the empty chair allegory also means the empty side of the bed, the empty passenger seat in the car, the emptiness of his presence in the house. It's how I must now live. But the real empty chairs (one in the kitchen and one in the living room) still retain his aura. For me, I picture him sitting beside me at breakfast or snoozing in the recliner in the living room with Sterling snoozing on his
lap. And though those pictures in my mind are there every day, my heart doesn't always accept that it's pure illusion.

What I found comforting about some of the advice in that book was that there is no timetable. My grief has many faces, some very intense, some very subdued and quiet. And as time goes by, it waivers between the two. And I don't question or wonder whether I am really dealing with it. I am, in my own way and it will take as long as it takes, even if that's forever.

I've also read Sheryl Sandberg's OPTION B. She's the COO of Facebook who lost her husband very suddenly. Even though her circumstances were different, her devastation mirrors my own. She, like me, began writing. She calls it journaling, I call it blogging. We both acknowledge it as a compulsion.  Letting the words pour out of me allows me to give vent to the insanity, the anguish, the memories replete with humor, giggles, sweetness, loving and, yes, punning.

I have been deeply wounded but I am not beyond repair. While my loss is profound and sadness will always have a home in a part of my heart, my 'option B' is to look forward and find a way to walk down this road with lessening pain, even if it's tinged with a bit of guilt. I'm not walking this road alone. Our sons are walking with me, bringing me much strength, support and joy (they are so much like their dad.)

The wonderful, happy and funny memories of our life together are coming a bit more often and crowding out the sad ones. But my Beloved will always be by my side, sharing the memories and joining in the happiness I feel when I think of them.

©2017reisasterlingmiller



Friday, November 3, 2017

A case for laughter

As I drive around doing various errands, my conversations continue, almost like a running commentary. The other day, however, out pops the question: "So, how are you doing?" I immediately repeated it in my head, not as a question but as an exclamation, thinking, "Oh boy, I've just gone over the edge. I'm losing it." But I can hear him laughing his head off at the absurdity of the remark! And I actually had a good laugh about it, too.

And then I think about all the times I loved hearing him laugh. He was an extraordinarily good punster and for over fifty years he had me laughing and, yes, groaning, at his 'gift' and he would laugh, smile and giggle at each one. He couldn't help it. The puns would come tumbling out in a nanosecond during conversations with just about everyone he met.

We laughed a lot during our life together. I mean A LOT!  There were so many times I laughed so much, I almost keeled over from losing my breath. He got a kick out of how long I could laugh at his puns and jokes. And even though I had heard many of his puns over and over, they would evoke my giggles and laughter every time.

When he smiled or laughed, his whole face lit up, and you could see the joy in his eyes. I'm so lucky and grateful that I have so many memories that I can call up in my mind's eye and immerse myself in those moments of pure joy. I can hear his laughter, I can see his smiles and I can feel a great warmth pouring over me when those moments crowd my mind.

Laughter is good medicine.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Saturday, October 28, 2017

So much hope, but........

We had so much hope, right to the end,
I did not think I would be saying goodbye,
Watching him go to that place
Where neither of us expected to be...

A final breath and then peace...for him
But not for me.
For me, the war began...
The war of words and thoughts,
The war of screams and anguish,
The war of heavy breathing, trying to catch my breath.

Even with time, the war rages on,
But the battles are fewer
And I am limping more slowly.

A quietness has descended
But the sorrow has not abated.
The heartache is still there
Just not as loud.

We talk in my mind
And that saves my sanity.
The memories flow in copious amounts
And I am thankful that there is an abundant supply.

I am adjusting, albeit unwillingly
But it goes slowly and
I prefer it that way.

©2017reisasterlingmiller






Friday, October 13, 2017

Another phase......

I am turning inward. Even though I still talk to him out loud daily, many of my thoughts and comments just pass silently through my mind. Some of my 'thinking out loud' has become soft whispers in my head and those are occurring more often. While I have these conversations in my head, I take no action on conclusions that 'we' come up with.

I spend a lot of time alone even though I do see a few friends once in a while. The calls have mostly stopped and I don't initiate very many anymore. Thus I have more time for introspection. I feel as if I'm in suspended animation.... not really here.... or there, as if I'm traveling through each day in slow motion.  My inclination is to just be.......  I'm becoming comfortable with that.

My life has been smashed into a million little pieces that have flown in every direction with many so far away. Trying to gather them all is a Herculean job. I'm not sure I'm up to it or even want to try to put them back together. Maybe I'm hoping all those pieces will magically gather themselves up and come back to me.  

I have no illusions that this is not a particularly good way to be but it is, for me, at this time.

A  question: When (and/or if) the intense pain begins to lessen, will I feel a sense of guilt? Those of you who have gone down this road - Is there an answer?

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Saturday, October 7, 2017

Reality yet? Um, no.

Nope. Not yet. It's clear to me that I haven't really accepted the reality. I cried out today in silence. Not a sound came out of my mouth as my chest heaved in pain and the tears flowed copiously down my cheeks. Not a sound, even as I gasped for breath. This happens every once in a while but today's episode was more crushing than before.

My mind's eye is doing a number on me.  Most times the images I 'see' bring a smile for the warm memories they invoke. It's the other times when those mental images bring a sadness that becomes more overwhelming because I can't actually share them with him. That's when the "oh gawd" refrain bursts from my mouth, followed by the silent "He's not here." Even then, I shake my head as if to shake that notion into oblivion.

It just still seems unreal. That 'someday' and 'time' I keep mentioning.... stills seems far into the future.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Thursday, September 28, 2017

The W word

I can't even conceive of me being categorized. I recently had to make a selection and automatically started to place the check mark on the box indicating married. Before I could actually put the pen to paper, I gagged when I saw the other box with the W word. In a matter of milliseconds the thoughts came crashing through my mind: That's not me. I can't be that now. I refuse to acknowledge that. Holy gawd, I'm not one of those.  Please, not yet.  A feeling of total despair washed over me. It was a visceral reaction.

I think as if we're still a couple. I suppose I do that because I continue to talk to him every day. Visions of my Beloved appear in my head as I see him walking around the house doing the things he used to do, sitting beside me when I eat breakfast or in the car, sitting in his favorite chair in the living room watching the Patriots and Mercury games. Yes, we're big fans!

I have photos of him everywhere so I can catch his twinkling eyes looking at me. Most of the time, not always, locking our eyes brings me a moment of peace. I savor those moments.

I say the Mourner's Kaddish every morning and then I look at his photo and think, "I shouldn't have to do this" because even though it is just me now, I still feel married. I think of myself as a married person, nothing else. I just don't feel the W word applies to me, not now, maybe not ever.

I'll always think of us as a couple, a continuing loving partnership, because he's always at my side and that's just they way it is.

©2017reisasterlingmiller


Tuesday, September 26, 2017

Grieving doesn't go away

I've recently had some not so bad days. Today wasn't one of them. I spent most of the morning  crying so hard, my chest literally hurt. The pain was sharp enough for me to take a baby aspirin. It started, as usual, while I was driving.  I cry out so loud I sometimes wonder if people driving beside me can hear me. I can't seem to get out of the chaos that envelopes my whole being.

I'm not looking for this chaos to stop any time soon. The way of grieving is such an individual thing. I suspect that these meltdowns will be with me for the rest of my life.  Maybe they won't occur as often....or maybe they will. I'll just have my bottle of aspirin handy and a lot of tissues.

©2017reisasterlingmiller



Friday, September 15, 2017

Sometimes .......I just can't..........

Sometimes I just.........can't.............stand.............it!

The void is huge. The realization overtakes me and it's like a blow to the head and I cry out at the top of my lungs. The tears are copious and I sometimes have to struggle to breathe. Too often it happens while I'm driving. That's not a good thing although I haven't had to pull over to the side of the road yet.  When it happens in the house, I scare the hell out of the doggies. But then they 'scooch' over to me and bury their heads in my chest. That calms me down. They are a lifeline for me.

I can go through some days in a fairly normal manner with just a few outbreaks of sadness. Then there are those other days. I suppose my road is not really different from the road others have taken in this situation.....and I understand that.  But I hate it, I just hate it.

These are strong feelings that get to me but I allow them to wash over me because if I don't I'll explode.

I haven't forgotten to laugh, though.  Friends call fairly often and there's always something to chuckle about in these conversations, especially when they bring up Warren's puns! And when they do, I picture his beautiful smile, his laughter and the twinkle in his eye.

I keep thinking what a blessing it was to have such an extraordinarily wonderful man living with me for almost 51 years. But I wanted more.........more..........more......so much more time. So sometimes I just..........can't......stand......it.

I'm dealing with it........badly perhaps........but I'm doing the best I can.  Everyone says ...... TIME.  It's going to take a lot of time, a whole lot of time for me.........if ever.

©2017reisasterlingmiller


Friday, September 8, 2017

Some random observations

Sadness plays games with me.  Sometimes it really shows its face and sometimes it's pretty well hidden, lurking under the surface but it's always there. I'm thinking it will never really go away.  The mantra running through my mind is that I will never get over losing my Beloved but I'll learn how to live with it. It's the act of learning that is so damn difficult.

Some days are better than others. I can go about three hours without being brought up short with a flood of memories rushing through my mind. Sometimes those memories are comforting and sometimes they fill me with anguish. I try really hard to concentrate on the wonderful and funny  memories and when I do, I can hear him chuckling and reminiscing with me.

I don't feel comfortable like I did before. His arms are no longer around me and I remember how much he made me feel calm and comforted in times of stress or worry. So now I worry on my own and it's a little like walking on 12 foot high stilts through a gravel pit!

I look around the house and see all the 'stuff' we collected, all the things that made the house uniquely ours. Now, the only things I treasure are the photos, the thousands of photos. And the doggies, my constant, loving companions.

I used to love to drive. I don't much like it anymore because he's not there. We were such a team, always going places together, conversing about a variety of things and laughing as we traveled. I was a captive to his constant punning and no matter how many times I heard those puns, I always ended up giggling.

 I'm still talking to him every day. The words just pop out of my mouth. I discuss sports: the Red Sox and the Phoenix Mercury and how they're doing. Now it's football season and I'll wrap myself in his Patriots blanket as I watch the games and I'll hear him dissect the plays every once in a while. The one saving grace is when I talk to him, it's in private. Public muttering to oneself is probably frowned on!

My days of being busy with finishing up estate details and all that that entails are winding down.  Each step of the way, I asked him if I was making the right decisions. I could hear him, in my mind, affirming those decisions. I guess that comes with how closely we worked together in the office. I learned a thing or two from the best.

Family has been extremely important during this nightmare. They are the glue that has held me together. What I find a bit amazing is the continuing contact from friends through emails and telephone calls. People actually are still checking in with me to see how I am, touching base with me. I'm very grateful for this and delight in these calls and emails.

Life goes on, as they say, but it's a different life. My Beloved may not be physically here, but he's always with me in my heart, in my mind and sometimes there is a tangible reminder that he's sticking around. And that's a good thing.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Friday, August 18, 2017

Our doggies feel his absence, too.

We moved to Arizona with Snuggles, our little, adorable rescue pup. Five months later we added another rescue pup, Sterling, because we thought Snuggles should have a friend to grow up with. They both are about the same age.

Sterling became very attached to my husband and the two were just about inseparable. So, during his illness, Sterling knew something was wrong. He'd sit on his lap and put his paws on the affected area and he would just stare into Warren's eyes.

During the last several weeks, it's been sad watching the doggies look for him.  They go to the rooms where he spent some of his time and look around almost every day.  They sleep on his side of the bed. I placed a towel that he had used (and I didn't wash) on his pillow and the doggies sleep on it. Sterling now follows me everywhere I go, even if it's just a change of a few feet. When I leave the house, he barks and cries and Snuggles just looks at me with a very concerned look on her face. I tell them that I'll be back and that sometimes seems to calm them down.

For the first several weeks, Sterling exhibited definite signs of depression. He wouldn't eat, he would just sit with his head drooping, he would sigh as he lay on the sofa. Snuggles sighs quite loudly and her eyes follow me as I go about the house. When I'm at my computer, she's right at my elbow, always. And so I've lavished an enormous amount of cuddling, hugging, kissing and just loving both of them. Even when my son's dog comes over he knows someone is missing. He, too keeps looking for him.

The looks on the doggies faces have changed. There is a sadness in their eyes, especially when they look at me when I'm having one of my meltdown episodes and when we settle in bed at night.  They crawl right up to my face and stare... I think just to make sure I'm all right.  I cuddle with them, hug them, stroke their heads and tell them I love them.  Doing that makes me feel better and they seem to love that.

I'm thankful that I have them. They provide a lot of love and emotional support and comfort. I hope I do the same for them.


©2017reisasterlingmiller

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Sleep is elusive

Getting a decent night's sleep has eluded me.  It doesn't matter what time I go to bed, sleeping through the night has become elusive. Night after night, my eyes pop open at two, three or four o'clock, I get  up, wander around a bit, try going back to bed hoping sleep will come again. Sometimes it does, for a little while, sometimes I remain up for whatever is left of the overnight hours.

Once in a while I wander into the living room, settle on the sofa and read a bit from a book I've started. Occasionally, the reading sessions last until sunrise.

None of this surprises me. This problem started several months ago and has only escalated recently. There have been some nights when I've managed to sleep almost all night but those are few and far between. But there are days when I find myself napping so I guess sleep comes when it's really needed.

While I'm up in the wee hours, my memories of our life together surface and I spend time remembering so many happy, wonderful things. I remind myself how lucky we were that we had each other for over fifty years.  If my sleepless nights are filled with loving memories, it's a good price to pay.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Friday, August 4, 2017

The meltdowns

It's Friday night, Shabbat. I'm hoping to feel a modicum of peace but it doesn't come.  The meltdowns are coming more often and I think I know why.  The days and nights are getting lonelier. A few friends still call. The inquiring emails have trickled down to almost non-existent.

Being alone is affecting me badly. I was almost never alone before. We were such a team for so long, comfortable in our togetherness, always doing something as a duo. Now the 'aloneness' is so difficult. The quietness gives me too much time to think of the loss. The anguish is still so raw.

Time is going by but I'm not yet getting used to this different kind of life I now lead. I hate it. I simply hate it with a passion. I rage against it. Sometimes I scare the doggies with my outbursts. But bless these two beautiful little creatures. When I am almost out of control, they come to me and nuzzle me. They look at me with eyes of concern and then they lick my nose, my fingers, my arms and, yes, that calms me down.  I'm thankful they are with me.

What a different world it is now for me. It is filled with tears that I can't control. I give into them easily. Maybe someday the meltdowns will subside.  Maybe someday.......

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Monday, July 31, 2017

An unpleasant task

Shopping has become a distasteful chore.  I haven't done much of it for the last several weeks so I  ventured out today to get some stuff I actually needed. I was in a drug store and walked down the greeting card aisle on my way to another part of the store. I slowed down and physically caught my breath as  I silently thought,"I won't be buying him cards any more."  I was breathing hard and choking as I left the aisle.  I made a quick purchase and left the store.  I went to another store and as I went through some aisles the same thought popped into my head: Look at all the things I won't be purchasing anymore because they were his favorites.

It's disconcerting to realize the small ways my life is changing. I've had a lot of very good advice from friends, some who have walked down this road I'm now on and others who want to do anything they can to help soothe my heart. Nothing has quite worked yet and so I realize this is going to be a very long and winding road and a difficult process.

Gawd, I hate going through this but strangely (or maybe not so strange) I feel as if I have an arm around my shoulders gently guiding me down this road.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Wednesday, July 26, 2017

Reflecting on the Ribbon

The Shloshim period ended a few days ago.  In Judaism, Shloshim is the period of thirty days of deep mourning following a death.  As I unpinned the black ribbon from my chest for the last time, I looked at it, ran my fingers over it, held it against my heart and reflected on its visual meaning to me. It gave me a sense of honoring my beloved's memory, a tangible marker of who my family has lost. For a fleeting few moments, I wanted to continue to wear the ribbon indefinitely.  Instead, I held it to my lips, memories flooding into my mind's eye and unbearable sadness racing through my heart. Then I quietly put it into a drawer for safekeeping.

Mentally, I will wear that ribbon forever.

©2017reisasterlingmiller


Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Sometimes the silence is deafening

I sit at the table, eating breakfast and reading the newspaper. And when I'm done, I just sit, stare out the window and know that the silence is deafening. Sometimes I talk to him, my beloved,  and sometimes I can hear his replies in my mind. And yes, the tears begin to flow and I let them dribble down my face, onto my shirt and lap.

I hear the silence throughout the day. It is a constant reminder of the immense anguish I still feel. I don't imagine this will go away any time soon.

I fill the days with tasks that have to get done but very often I'll stop what I'm doing, look at the photo and feel his presence. The photo was recently sent to me by a cousin (bless her!) It's a closeup of the two of us and when I look at it, he's looking directly into my eyes. As I stare back, it gives me a small sense of comfort and a bit of peace. And, yes, I talk to him as I gaze directly back at him.

The anguish is raw, the silence is deafening, the heartache and pain are real.That's just the way it is right now. I don't wonder how long it will take for all that to lessen. I don't care. I think those feelings will always be part of my life and  I'm okay with that. I'm learning to live with what is even though it's a very difficult lesson to learn.

Time will heal? Perhaps...... Perhaps........

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Sunday, July 9, 2017

The Question

"How are you doing?"  It seems to be the standard question, the first question I'm asked. People are kind and concerned about me right now, those who reach out.  I answer with the usual, almost expected response. "I'm okay."  Okay means I'm managing adequately, I guess.  But that's only partly true.  There are times when I'm barely okay.  To all outward appearances I function normally. I pick up my newspaper in the driveway each morning to read with breakfast.  I go through the day doing things that now HAVE to get done quickly. I pick up a few grocery items.

The life I was living before has changed and so I've changed.  I go through days perfunctorily.  Reality slides in and out. There are times when I just can't wrap my head around what's happened. But those times when I fully understand the blow dealt to my sons and me, I am NOT okay.  I am assuming those times will begin to recede.  In the meantime, the struggle with reality continues, to be replaced by an acceptance not easily welcomed.

The one thing I'm very sure of is the strength I get from the incredible love of my sons, my family and close friends. That is what keeps me from falling into a place I don't want to go and where my Love knows I needn't be.

So, am I okay?  Like a weather forecast,  it will be a bit cloudy for the next several weeks with a good chance of sunshine breaking through after that.

©2017reisasterlingmiller




Friday, June 30, 2017

I whisper

I have begun to whisper, softly at first, then a bit louder so that I appear to be talking to myself. And I am indeed, although it doesn't feel like that to me.

The crowd has gone and I am now left with the solitude. As I go about the daily act of living, everything has changed.  Yet, I don't actually see the change because I whisper to him all the time.  He is there, in a faint outline sitting in his chair, in a feeling I get as I walk through the home we shared, in responses to my musings as I go through the day.

Conversations continue and they don't seem to be one-sided.  I can hear, in my mind, his comments, observations, and repartees because we knew each other so well.  I wouldn't mind if this occurrence continued forever.  It brings comfort to a very broken heart.

His presence is very powerful right now.  It may dissipate somewhat in time but our connection is....was so strong, I know he'll always be there, by my side, whispering in my ear as I whisper back.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Where is the repair kit?

The name of this blog is  LIFE IS MORE THAN SOUND BITES.  Here's a sound bite:  CANCER SUCKS!   My heart is breaking, piece by piece, and I can't find the repair kit. Hopelessness has snuck in where hopefulness has been residing for many months. It doesn't stay too long. I won't let it but it does get in every once in a while.

We have been married for almost 51 years.  It's not long enough. We promised each other that we would grow old together.  We still need to grow much older.  On this journey that has been thrust upon us, we have found unknown depths of strength and hope and positivity rising up through the veil of anguish, fear and anger.

I hang my hope on what might be termed "inner strength" to will an  outcome that will crush, once and for all, the cancer that has invaded our lives.  I scream in the car and rail against the circumstances we find ourselves in.  The tears flow now and again, just not where they can be seen.  It's the only release I have.

There are so many different days we are living through: days of hope when things seem to be going okay, days of doubt when something new or unexpected pops up, days of calm when things have remained the same, days of anger when too many ugly thoughts invade my mind.  The yoyo of emotions plays on and on.  Nevertheless, hope springs eternal and that is something we will never give up.  We are sustained by the love and support of family and by those friends who have remained in contact.  And even though I'm not much of a god person, I am extremely grateful for all the prayers, mishaberahs, rosaries and supportive thoughts and actions coming our way.  This kind of a circle of support helps immensely, calming our minds and hearts.

HOPE and OPTIMISM continue to be the words we live by. There is no other alternative.

Cancer: the scourge of humanity. May it rot in Hell.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Why I've been quiet...

I haven't written a blog post for several months because my mind has been engaged in more serious matters.  Without going into specifics, I've become a 'helper', putting my heart, my soul and my mind into it with the hope that this road I'm on will lead to a happy destination.

As a result, I've tried to limit the attention I used to pay to the horrible things trump and his minions have done, are doing and will do to destroy the United States and all she has stood for.  I keep up with the 'news' quickly and fleetingly and then my attention is quickly diverted to more important, immediate things.

It's a fine line I walk right now but one I willingly traverse and am totally committed to seeing it through to it's happy conclusion.

Life doesn't always go the way you plan or expect it to. But you always have a choice about how you view the circumstances that are dealt to you.  I choose to have an absolutely positive, uncompromising and confident attitude that I know, without a doubt, will bring the desired outcome.  And when that time comes, and it will, I won't have to write about it. You will hear me shouting my joy and happiness as if I was standing right next to you.

I'll be back to this space from time to time.  Writing here affords me some quiet and reflective time. That's something we all need.

©2017reisasterlingmiller

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Nightmares - Trump style

Nightmares are a funny thing. I don't mean in a "giggle" kind of way.  Nightmares can be terrifying. In my lifetime, I've had a few and they occurred when I was an adult. None of them lasted long enough for me to remember them with any clarity.

However, in the last few weeks I've had recurring nightmares about Trump. Each time I've had one, it lasted much more than a fleeting few seconds, more like a few hours. And it caused me to actually wake up, get out of bed and walk around the house to try to calm down. I would venture to say that I'm not the only one experiencing this.

Donald Trump is, indeed, a nightmare. He has the vocabulary of a three year old, the attention span of a flea, the vindictiveness of Idi Amin, the traits of Adolph Hitler, and the 'sophistication' of a gutter rat.  He exhibits no intellect, no compassion, no humaneness, no understanding of the Constitution or the laws of the United States.

He only understands MONEY.  He claims he knows lots of words but MONEY is the only one he cares about.  His 'brain' cannot accept reality so he lives in his own lying world of deceptiveness, double dealing and hypocrisy.

He's appointed people to his Cabinet who have no experience for the positions or who have nothing but disdain for those departments. They will decimate every Cabinet department to the point where they will be useless. Republican vengeance against all the Democrats have accomplished will render this country ineffectual and akin to a third world country where women, LBGTQ, the poor and working class, Blacks, Latinos, the disabled and non-Christians are relegated to second, third or fourth class status.

Trump's presidency will be riddled with corruption, idiocy, and reprisal against his perceived enemies. He's already labeled those who voted against him as his enemies.

What could go wrong with a great country being led by a racist, misogynistic, bigoted, wage-stiffing, intellectually-deficient, money-grubbing, pussy-grabbing, thin-skinned business failure who would rather whine like a brat while he Tweets!

So, do I have reason to have these nightmares?

Friday, December 9, 2016

I could turn myself inside out.........

With all the crazy things going on in this country I could turn myself inside out with anguish, frustration, irritation, disappointment, etc.  Instead, I'm going to take a step back and watch while the morons in Congress (mostly the GOP) continue to show their incredible stupidity, brainlessness, idiocy, ineptitude, and lunacy and hope that they all sink in a huge lake of their own poop, waste, refuse, detritus, scum, trash, dregs and dross.

If I could just understand how those who say they're conservative and are looking for government to be kept out of our lives reconcile the Republican stance on transvaginal probes into a woman's vagina, pushing a Christian religious agenda that seems totally contrary to their so-called Christian values and faith in a country that is supposed to be free from one religion being established through legislation, denying voting rights to so many who have legally voted for decades, shoving millions of dollars into corporation coffers while pulling tons of money from the mouths of children.

Now that the least qualified individual ever to run for the highest political office of this country rigged the election so he could be president, the more than 65 million of us who didn't vote for him but gave our love and vote to oh-so-qualified Hillary Clinton will now have to stand back and watch this racist, bigoted, misogynistic egomaniac ruin the country with his inability to understand what the job entails, his fascist tendencies, his illusions of being 'king', his stacking his cabinet with people who have no experience and actually dislike the departments they're supposed to head. Ah, but they have donated to his foundation or otherwise sent money his way so Cabinet jobs can be bought.  I wouldn't be surprised if he tried to use the US Treasury as his personal bank. Donald J. Trump is the sleaziest, most corrupt, uneducated, two-faced, profiteering mercenary ever to run and win the office.

His avarice, stinginess and unscrupulousness is legion.  So, as I watch what will unfold, I cry inwardly for the damage he will do to the people who are not rich, White and mostly male. We will become a third class country, the laughingstock of the world, and so many of the people who voted for him will watch in horror as he goes back on every promise he made to them and screws them out of their Social Security, Medicare, health insurance, voting rights, and a whole host of other rights they thought were guaranteed by the Constitution.

My fervent wish is that Trump is in for only one term OR less and that his whole Cabinet and everyone around him gets prosecuted for massive wrongdoing as soon as possible.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Dear Jared Kushner

Dear Jared Kushner:

I read your letter stating that your father-in-law, Donald Trump, is not anti-semitic or a racist. You are wrong. You see him from a very narrow perspective.  You see him as your wife's father, your kids' grandfather and the guy who came to your wedding.  And when he looks at you he sees a rich, White, good looking individual who happens to be a Jew so you're good with money.  You fit into his compartments nicely.

What the world sees, however, is an extremely boorish, loudmouth who denigrates so many different types of people including, of course, Jews. And he has surrounded himself with people who are obviously anti-semitic. There is no denying that.

Your family background is gripping but that doesn't make you an expert on who is or is not an anti-semite.  Words matter. Actions matter. Decisions matter. Acquiescence in the face of blatant anti-semitism is hard to ignore. That's what you seem to be doing.  You describe him as  being loving and tolerant. Where was his tolerance for a disabled reporter? Or for people who genuinely disagreed with him?  Yes, he is tolerant, for those who decry the Jewish people, Blacks, women, feminists, Latinos, Muslims, Gold Star families.

There are many questionable qualities your father-in-law has and concern for others is not one of them. He is not humane, except for his own tight little family. Anti-semitic? Yes. He has appointed the vilest of people to be in his inner circle. Anti-semitic is just one of the horrendous qualities he has displayed.  Open your eyes. He is not who you think you see. And the world knows and understands this.

This is the article I was responding to:
http://observer.com/2016/07/jared-kushner-the-donald-trump-i-know/

Sunday, November 13, 2016

I am done, for now!

Okay, I'm done with the whole crappy mess.  The damage is done. And it is damage. The Republicans tore our country apart, piece by piece. They're very good at it. And if you think I'm being partisan here, I don't give a crap.  They went LOW.  No matter how you feel on each side, there is no doubt that the Republican mind is filled with racist, bigoted, misogynistic, convoluted thinking that hatred of Muslims, Blacks, Latinos, the growing LBGTQ community, Jews, women, the old and infirm is normal. Why else would the vitriolic epithets hurled at all these groups come so readily to the lips of so many GOP (read 'Trump') supporters?

If you think we should give the guy a chance, I'm not anywhere near ready. Again, the damage has been done. The outright lies, the obvious lack of intelligence, the stirring up of hatred, the complete putdown of so many, the snide remarks resulting in his opponent being marked for physical jeopardy (don't think that wasn't meant), the secretiveness, the refusal to show his tax returns, the myriad of lawsuits, his vile language and actions with and toward women. Vilifying your opponent with lies (and she has been vilified for decades because she is a woman) just cements the pettiness and viciousness with which Trump will always be known.  He is a piece of work and it's not good.

Both candidates have flaws. But some flaws are WAY OVER THE TOP.  When you run for the highest office in the land, you don't go for the miserly, boorish, garish, uneducated, least ever qualified or fit for the job, who thinks it's okay to stiff people who work for you and bankruptcies are good business practice as long as he doesn't lose any money.  You go for the most qualified, educated, intelligent person who has a proven dedicated life of service to so many others; who has a wealth of experience dealing with those who were across the aisle in Congress, world leaders and whose foundation has helped millions around the world.

Planning to dismantle all the good that President Obama accomplished during eight years of the most vitriolic assaults on his (and his whole family's) character while stifling his ability to  move this country toward a more humane and good world, is the proof that the GOP doesn't give a damn about most Americans, only their religious, bigoted and uneducated agenda and their desire to take away so many rights that Americans hold dear.

I don't tolerate unbelievable stupidity well at all. The next four years will be filled with that, I fear. An ignoramus doesn't become a genius. Trump will remain what he is: a self-centered, power-grabbing, money-grubbing zhlob (isn't Yiddish terrific?) surrounded by people (mostly men) who have designs to make this country what it was back when White men were the only ones who mattered.  This does not bode well for so many and I cry when I anticipate the damage that will be done.

But, it is what it is. I will do whatever I am able to do to combat the stupidity and hatefulness by speaking out or writing about it or signing petitions or whatever I can do. I am encouraged by all the people who want something better for this country than what will be offered for the next four years. And no matter how much damage the Republicans will inflict on us, it will be undone in years to come.  

Saturday, October 29, 2016

What do you do in the wee small hours?

In the wee small hours of the morning, when I find it difficult to sleep, I rise from bed and tiptoe into the living room, tap the base of a small lamp, pick up the book  I'm in the middle of reading, settle into the rocking chair and immerse myself in a different world.  It's during these times that worries retreat to a faraway place, so far away that when my eyelids finally start drifting downward, my only thought is to get back to bed before I fall on the sofa fast asleep.

These kind of nights have started to happen a bit more frequently of late. To what do I attribute these sleepless episodes? I'm at a place and age in my life where worrying seems to be walking toward center stage.  My life has been an extraordinary ride, full of excitement, wonder, good times, good health, lots of laughter and much happiness... intermingled with those times that are filled with sadness that happen to everyone.

So, during some of those wee small hours, the book gets put aside and I start talking with myself, having a two-way conversation, you know..... one of those "On the one hand....", then "On the other hand...."  Sometimes those conversations take me all over the place, sometimes they stay right on point, on one particular area of worry.  I've yet to come up with any perfect solutions or clear cut answers to the myriad of questions these conversations raise.  But sometimes, once in a while, the conversation crystalizes enough for me to tap the worry down a bit and convince myself that I or we will get through whatever it is that has to be tackled.  Somewhere, deep down, strength seems to wend its way to the fore, clear my head at least for a while and I feel once again in command.

Wherever I got that strength from I am thankful that so far it has appeared when I need it the most.

So, what do you do in the wee small hours?

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

A response to an Arizona Republic article

I'm posting this as a blog so more people will read it.

After reading a column by a local reporter in the AZ Republic this morning, I wrote him the following email:

Mr. Goodykoontz:
Once upon a time, honesty and fairness were considered virtues. Today’s mass media have thrown them out and replaced them with the abdication of all pretense of responsible reporting. Donald Trump and the GOP get to say whatever they want, lying through their teeth with savage, vitriolic words slithering out of their mouths and the media lets all of it slide. The lies are left to boil in the cesspool of public thought, unchecked by the Fourth Estate which silently condones them by their silence and inattention. But, should Secretary Clinton say or do anything about calling out the abominable behavior of Mr. Trump or his supporters, she is pilloried, drawn and quartered by the media. Journalistic ethics have been thrown out the window in favor of creating controversy for the corporate heads who see these tactics as a stream of money for selling more papers, attracting more viewers and listeners and generating more and more profits. As corporate entities own all the media and most big companies lean Republican, it’s easy to see that bias also plays a huge part in what gets reported and how it’s reported.
The media have abdicated their prime responsibility, to present the truth. Your question at the end of your column today: Will the media recover? is easily answered. No, it will not because until profit is taken out of the equation, pandering to a gullible public who eats up controversy and accepts lies as truth will be seen as a money-maker and that, above all, drives the news business today.

Respectfully, 

Reisa Miller

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

That DASH is not some esoteric concept

I haven't written a blog entry since May.  That's the month when life as we knew it came to a screeching halt. And in the ensuing time, that Dash concept or idea has occupied my thoughts sporadically, at least a few times each week.

The Dash: that imaginary line from the beginning of one's life -------------------- to the end. The Dash: to be filled with all the things that make life worth living: all the actions, reactions, the good, bad and ugly, the positives, the negatives, the learning, the understanding, the caring, the striving, the loving, the uniqueness........ the laughter, the tears.

The Dash: It's a finite length of time, unknown to us as to the length of our own Dash but hoping it will be a long one.  For too many, it's unbearably short.  But even if it isn't, we all think that Dash could go on forever.

Personally, the Dash is now playing a more important role in the life of someone I love. And when the looming fact that the Dash is possibly heading toward its finale, we do everything in our power to prolong it, to coax it, to coerce it, to push it ever onward so that the end is totally out of sight, even if that means draining every resource you have, seeking out every possibility on the face of the earth to make that Dash continue long into the future.  It's a daunting task to ferociously seek out ways to lengthen the Dash but finding strength in a situation like this is not hard.  It is what we do, we humans, who love so deeply that we'll relentlessly find a way to make the Dash continue through its long and winding road.

So, to those of you who understand what the Dash is all about, make sure the space that it takes up is lived to the fullest, with the most happiness, good deeds, good words, humaneness, kindness, good intentions and always, always, lots of giggles.

Monday, May 9, 2016

My Memories of Gramma

We lived in a four-family house in a small, working-class suburb just north of Boston. My Gramma lived downstairs from us, my aunt and uncle lived in the apartment next to hers, we lived above her apartment and the last one was rented out. The house had originally been owned by the mayor of the city many, many years before and was a single family home before it was turned into a four-apartment house.

As a youngster, I was always at Gramma's, my mother's mother. I got a lot of exercise running up and down the back stairs several times a day from our apartment to hers for one thing or another. She had a large stuffed rocking chair in the kitchen. Who had rocking chairs in their kitchen? She also had a small icebox in the kitchen and I remember watching the 'iceman' come to deliver a block of ice when needed. Wonderful aromas emanated from her little pantry where the cupboards, stove, sink and a regular, but small refrigerator were located.

When I was about eight years old, my mother asked if I would sleep downstairs every night to "keep Gramma company." I eagerly agreed to it.  Gramma had a daybed in the living room  and her bedroom was in the front of the house.  I loved sleeping down there. Every night, Gramma would walk through the living room on her way to her bedroom, softly reciting evening prayers, especially the Shema as she went. And I would listen very carefully trying to remember the Hebrew words, not really knowing what they were or what they meant.... only that I knew they meant something really special to her by the way she said them.  But what I strained to hear and try to repeat to myself was really a corrupt version of the actual Hebrew words. It isn't until decades later that I found out how the actual Hebrew was supposed to be pronounced. I remember the moment when I realized the connection between her words of prayer and the real words of the Shema and how, all those years, I had been saying them so wrong!

Every morning, Gramma made breakfast for me and every morning all I ever wanted was her "finekochen", an egg scrambled with cottage cheese and a glass of milk.  She would sit with me while I ate and we would talk about lots of things. Some of those conversations included discussions about the news of the day. That was a treasured time and provides warm memories that I hold close to my heart of someone I loved very much and who loved me so.

Her apartment was a place of safety and refuge whenever I got into trouble upstairs. And she had good hiding places, too! Gramma's house was my second house, a place that was always filled with good food and lots of love.  I know I've written about a bit of this before but, as I get older, I treasure even more what I've experienced in my life. And those memories of my Gramma are some of the sweetest.  

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

To answer your question, Mark Curtis

Mark Curtis:

To answer your question as to whether there is any candidate that would make me leave my home country............

My husband and I actually had a conversation along those lines today.  If we were younger , say in our 40's we would seriously consider leaving this country if any Republican got into the White House.  The unfortunate thing is that there are so many countries in the world that are not worth moving to because they all have similar problems: bigotry, racism, misogyny, homophobia, unbridled hatred, wars, etc. What it comes down to is we have more people willing to bring their hatred out in the open and actually act on it. Kindness, intelligence, humaneness, care of others, working together to make things good for everyone - those things are slowly being erased from the American scene and replaced by, for want of a better word, idiocy.

Don't you want to live in a country that prepares for the future, not turning it back into the nightmare it used to be for many of our citizens who are not White, Christian and male? The current breed of Republicans seems to base their world view through their Bible, their homophobia, their racism, their greed and hatred. Who wants to live in that kind of world? But that's what the United States will become if any Republican gets in to the White House.