Tuesday

Hello?? Hello?? Can you hear me now ?

"Hello ??

Hello, may I speak to Gregory Mann?

Uhm, no, he's not available.

Do you have a better number for me to reach him at?

Noooo, not really.

Is this his wife?

Yes. *sighs*

Hi, my name is (insert random hospital / medical / ambulance / x-ray / doctor's office bill collector here). I'm with "we'll annoy the heck out of you collection services even though you've told us over and over your husband's estate is still tied up in probate and you can't get blood from a stone and that as soon as you start being the Executor you'll call us back and give us money but we don't listen and we don't notate the account because we're too busy looking at midget porn and telling our friends on FB and even though the only number we can reach you at is Google Voice message with a snarky voicemail message we ignore all of that and keep calling you anyway !!!" How are you today?

Great. *SIGH* Look, I've talked to you people ( being really nice and not saying asshats / igmos / jerks ) dozens of times in the last 7 months and nothing has changed. When it does, I have a list of people just like you who I'll be calling as soon as I am able to turn my pennies into bills and be assured, you will be seeing the monthly MINIMUM from me. Yes indeed.

Ohhhh, GREAT !! Well, in the meantime, is there another relative or party that may have an interest in the estate that we could contact ?

WHY YES !!! Here's the names, work, cellular and home telephone numbers, and addresses. Please, be my guest, feel free to call them ANYTIME.

Oh thank you so much, sorry to bother you. Goodbye.

*tick tock tick tock*

Riinnnggggg Rinnnnnggggg.

Hello??

Hi, (this is all that I just typed up there) again, the party says they are not responsible any of Mr. Mann's estate.

Well, as I'm sure they'll find out, because they have laid a claim to the estate, by Alabama State Law they are most definitely responsible for those debts and possibly more !

Ohhhhh ok, well thanks.

No prob, call them anytime.



Anyone else wanna slice of this pie ?

Monday

Let's go to the playoffs !!!

Smoke em if ya got em baby !!!!



The NEW YAWK YANKEES are the 2009 AL EAst Division Champs !!!



Uncle George and I approve !!



Cheers !



And the best part - we did it at home, while sweeping the evil RED SOX !!



THANK YOU MY BRONX BOMBERS !!

My fall will be a bit better now !

Sunday

Sunday Secrets.....

I love Post Secret. I have all of the books and I check the website regularly. In a few weeks I'm going to an event in Tuscaloosa where I hope to meet the man behind P.S.

I've never sent one in myself, but sometimes I see ones that makes me do a double take, because someone, somewhere, has the same secret as me.










Friday

Tis the Season (s).......

I noticed earlier this week that the "retail elves" have been busy. Christmas has begun to fling itself in our faces already, and just like every year, it's more, more, more and now, now, now.

Holidays are tough for a lot of people , and for many different reasons. Just because my husband's dead doesn't make my hurt any less than someone else who is suffering.

It just makes it my own.

There have already been a few holidays and occasions in the last 6 months. Easter was not so bad, probably because it was low-key, kind of the way we always spent it. Plus I still think I was in STUN-MODE at that time.

Father's day? Ugh. Not only is my dad in Stage 4 cancer, so that was probably his last, but Gregory was a father too. And right next to the cards for dear old dad ? FOR MY HUSBAND, WITH LOVE. Well. Wonder what kind of "extra postage" I'd need for that one?

All of the summer holidays were difficult as we loved being at the lake, and that was his time to cook and be on the boat and be "KING OF LAKE MITCHELL.": )



My birthday came and went, and thanks to the help of many fine friends it was a good time and Dr. Lecter managed to keep his appearances down to a minimum.

And we're in the midst of football season. This is tough. And that's all I'm gonna say. Besides War Eagle baby.

Coming up, we got Halloween and Christmas. Those two were always my favorite, especially Halloween.

G loved Thanksgiving and Christmas.



Last year we spent Christmas out of town at a resort with my parents. My dad was sick and he wanted to make it easier on my mom instead of her having to host and all that. Gregory said he always wanted to go out of town and Christmas so we joined the. Christmas Eve we had a lovely dinner with my parents, and G and I walked along the beach and talked while we drank wine. We then sat on the pier and just hung out for awhile and looked for Santa. : )

Christmas morning, we had room service and then went to the spa for massages. We then had brunch with my parents and spent the afternoon in the hot tubs around the pool and just relaxing.




It was a great Christmas. I am so glad G got to do what he wanted.

This year my parents have rented a beach house, cause my dad wants to spend it away again. I'm going too. I'm not so sure I'm gonna be in the mood to be decorating and ho-ho-ho-ing and such. And our wedding anniversary is 10 days before ho-ho day, so that will be tough as well.

Then there's New Years, which will be a bitch because we always spent it at the lake, grilling steak and lobster, and having the whole caviar and champagne while we cook, shooting fireworks and generally falling asleep while we were both curled up in the giant double recliner we have down there.

And don't even get me started on St Patrick's Day. I may just have to find somewhere on the planet with no green and no Irish ties when that time rolls around.

I am having a Halloween party though.

I'm starting my own traditions.

Without forgetting our past.

Mine !! No Mine !! Mine !! No Mine !!

Things are trucking along as usual here.........





And how was your week ?? ; )

Wednesday

Movement.....

Life is made up of movements.

We move forward, backward , up, down, sideways. We are constantly in flux, whether good or bad, movement is constant and reliable. Whether we like it or not.

My dad moves up and down in his chair, trying to ease the comfort that chemo rages on his cancer-ridden body. My mother moves around in her own way, trying to keep her body and mind busy in a vain attempt to ward off the impending movement of widowhood that washes over her like the waves that have already overtaken her daughter.

I move occasionally. Chasing these crazy dogs around. I get out of bed and go to work. I move around this yard we loved to work in as a team, except now I'm on my own. My mind moves all day, positive , negative, pretending to be happy, actually being happy, then moving to try to find a place, some happy medium, where I can be happy without moving into guilt.

Life, time, traffic, kids, friends, family, pets.

Everything moves.

I'm getting ready to move too. Eventually I will sell this house we lived in and move somewhere else, somewhere that wasn't ours, but mine. And I'm ok with that. G liked this house, but his heart, and his home, were at the lake.

G is moving. What little puff of ashes that are left in that box and the beautiful stone that marks it will soon be at a place that he would have wanted, in a beautiful marble urn, in a place where he was happy, loved and should have been all along. I should have put him there in the first place, but I tried to have a heart and give the people that have now turned against me, against us,a place to go. But now, he will move to a place he loved. It is as it should be.

But I have learned in these last 6 months, that wherever I am moving, G is moving with me. Not just in the remnants of his ashes that are under my skin, or the ones I carry with me, but in my heart and soul.

So I am ready for the movements. It's almost like being a kid again, learning to surf in the waves off the coast of Bali or Phuket.... the movement beneath you may be initially terrifying, but you learn to master the flow and wash ashore, ready to ride again...... and I think I'm ready.... : )

Tuesday

Sunday

The sky is cryin'......

...last night, after a particularly lazy but mind messing day, I decided to do one of the things that G and I used to do together.

We used to grab our "go-chairs" as he called em, and either sit in one of our garage bays with the door open or sit out by the chiminea up on the hill.

I'm not too fond of sitting in the woods by myself , even with an open flame, especially when it's muggy as heck outside.

And since last night was the six month "death-a-versary", I decided I'd take myself a glass of our favorite wine outside and sit and just talk to him. I wanted to be out there at 1107 pm, when he "officially" left me.... 6 months ago...though I know that no matter what the State of Alabama and some piece of paper says he will never leave me. Never.

I even took his favorite Buddha candle thingy and lit it under his tree.

I think I got the chair set up and plopped my happy ass down in at at around 1106pm.

And at 1107 ??

He talked back....via rain.....



...if only for 40 something seconds. He talked quick, and he talked hard, and he followed with the soft talk of love, as he always did.

Do I find it strange that in an unusual Alabama weather season it was cloudy at our house but didn't rain all day for the first time in a week?? No.

But I find it very unusual, and oh so Gregory like that at 1107 PM on the 6 months mark since he died that he made it known that somewhere, somehow, he's still with me.

It thundered for a bit right after, and a few flashes of lightning lit up the sky. I can only hope that was him not wanting to leave, and the glisten and brightness of his beautiful eyes trying to find mine.

As I sit here now, I hear a bit of thunder and an unrestful sky.

The doggies are active, growling at the weather.

I hope they are talking to their daddy in their own language.

If not, I'll blame it on the rain.

The sky is cryin'. Me too.

Six.......

6 months.

25 weeks.

181 days.

4,344 hours.

260,640 minutes.

15,638,400 seconds.

And I still can't make myself believe that he's never coming back.

Never.

That word never meant that much to me before.

Til never was never again.

EDIT:

Around 3 am I heard my name out loud. I had been sleeping fitfully before then, up and down, hearing things, dogs restless and moving around alot. I got up and walked around, and even though I really don't believe in ghosts and all that, it was weird. It was like a presence in my house. I dunno how to explain it. I guess if this is the point where people really start going insane, my turn's here.




Saturday

Better days ahead.....

....when things were tough or weren't going like we hoped, G would always say "Better days ahead."

Watching this, I think my better days are behind.



I hope, one day he will lead me to "better days ahead".

Friday

Priceless.....

Vet visit for antibiotics, medicated shampoo and new food for allergies? $197.00



New down pillows ? $50.00

New body pillow ? $20.00

Dyson Animal Pet Vacuum? $500.00


King size mattress for all of our stretchiness? $1000.00



Unconditional love and playing monsters under the bed each night??






Priceless.


I love you boys. Thanks for giving me unconditional love and endless entertainment these last 6 months. I wouldn't have made it without you.

Wednesday

From Janine - What not to say.....

This post is from Janine (, a fellow widow and contributor to Widow's Voice, who lost her husband Jim. She is an amazing writer and especially mother, and she gave permission to share this. 6 months ago I would have never known her, but now, even though it's a double-edged sword , I'm glad I "know" this amazing survivor.

Even though most of this hits home with me, the parts about the kids obviously cannot. But they still touched me and I hope, if there is a widow reading this, with kids or not, that it helps you through your day, your minute, your second without the person you could never imagine life without.

We widows know that the clock is a cruel housemate.

I am honored to post it here.



OK .... forgive me, but I'm cheating today. I'm copying a post I put on my blog over a year ago ... just a couple of months after Jim died. I've had several requests to post it again, which I did on my blog earlier this year, and I thought I'd post it here, too.
It was a list of the top things that my children and I did NOT need to hear, but did, after Jim died. It's followed by a list of things we did need to hear.
It might not speak for you .... at least not every point, but I would guess that we can all relate to at least a few of them.
Feel free to use this list freely ..... to help those not on this path ..... "get it" a bit better. Not that they can fully "get it", God willing, but I think it's helped many of my friends understand a little.

OK, buckle your seat belts. And please, please, please remember -- I have no memory of who said what. Please don't put that onto me or yourselves. This is not to make ANYONE feel badly. It's just what I've learned and have been told to pass on. I think most of us are doing this for the first time. And like parenting, we don't always get it right the first time.
And, like parenting, this is done in love.

1. This is the most important item and I cannot stress it enough: "I understand." or "I know what you're going through."
No. You. Don't.
You can't. The loss you have suffered is yours and yours alone. It's interesting but every single widow who spoke to me never, ever said those words. My relationship was unique and mine. No one else can possibly understand the depth of pain and despair that I feel.
This brings me to #2 -- which is from my children.
2. "I lost my father, too." Not only does it not help because every relationship is unique, but it also turns the attention to YOU. When you're shaking a mourner's hand at a funeral or a visitation and you say, "I lost my father, too", or "I lost my _______(fill in the blank") then the mourner feels compelled to say, "Oh, I'm so sorry." and the whole reason for the event is lost. Bad, bad, bad idea.
3. "God has a plan." REALLY??? Because at that moment in time, I didn't give a damn. And neither did my children. The plan, whatever it was, sucked.
4. "God must've needed Jim for work in Heaven." Again, REALLY????? I don't think so -- God seemed to be doing quite alright on His own. WE needed Jim here. We STILL need Jim here.
5. "At least he's no longer suffering." Let's get this straight -- Jim wasn't suffering -- at least not until 4:00 a.m. on December 17th. And then he got meds and felt quite relaxed. He would have rather suffered some more and stayed here. And I'm sorry, but being the selfish person that I am, I would have rather had him suffer more and still be here.
6. "This has made me appreciate my dad more." Yes, someone said that to one of the kids.
7. "Merry Christmas."
8. "How was the cruise?" I'm sorry, what?! It sucked. Although that's not we said. We said, "It was O.K." (Note to WV readers: Jim's memorial service was the Saturday before Christmas. The kids and I left on a cruise the next day and "skipped" Christmas."
9. "Call me." This also goes along with "Call me if you need anything." People who are grieving don't usually call. They are just trying to breathe. And they don't know what they need, other than the loved one who is gone. Don't ask me to call. Call me. Come sit with me. Just sit.
10. "How are you?" You really don't want to know, so try not to ask.
11. Also from the kids, "Your dad lovED you very much." They know that he STILL loves them very much.
12. This is one that I really struggled with but I think everyone wants me to be open and very honest here. So here it is:
Try very, very hard to not write a Bible verse on a card. As one of my daughters said, "If you're not a Christian then you look at the card and think 'why the hell would someone write that to me?!' and if you are a Christian you think, 'Why the hell would someone write that to me --- I already know that." The first days are not the time to be reminded of God's love because it doesn't feel like He's very loving.
13. "Hang in there."
14. "This is going to be a very difficult Christmas for you." You think?!!!
15. "What can I do for you?" This goes along with #9. Again, I can't think past the fog in my brain and the pain wracking my body, heart and soul. I have no idea what you can do. This is where the "just sit" comes in. Jewish people "sit shiva" when someone is grieving. They go to their house and just sit. They talk if the griever feels like talking. They don't if she/he doesn't. The important thing is, they are there. Very important.
16. This has also been a difficult one to include but here it is:
"God never gives you more than you can handle." To that I say B.S. I don't agree with that - at - all. God gives us a whole lot of crap that we can't handle. Trust me. And I don't agree with that theology. I read that verse as saying "God won't TEMPT you beyond what you can bear. And when you are TEMPTED He will provide a way out'." The only temptation that I had was the desire to off myself in the early days. But God did give me the loss of Jim -- and it's way more than I can handle. Just because I'm alive doesn't mean I'm handling it. Try to never, ever, ever say that to someone who's lost someone. Ever.
17. "You're young .. you can find love again." There are no words for that one. None.
18. "Trust in God." - when someone gets knocked to the ground by God, there's going to be a trust-issue. Trust me.
19. No one has asked me this directly but I guess some people have worried that I'm on meds and that I joke around about alcohol. Really?! Because even if I were drunk &/or higher than a kite most days --- could you blame me?! And to put everyone's mind at rest (or not -- think what you want to think) - I doubt that I could play tennis, work, write in a blog, or converse with my children if I were drinking every day or taking more than an anti-depressant and a sleeping aid every day (which are both prescribed by my doctor). So I'm not overly depressed and I sleep at night. Find someone else to worry about.
20. And the coup de grace, the ultimate thing I didn't need to hear and the only one I have vividly in my mind and know exactly who said: 'I am the reason Jim was successful. Let me handle your money. You owe me.' --- or something to that effect.

Now, to end on a positive note:

The Things I/We Needed/Need to Hear

1. "There are no words."
2. "You are constantly in my thoughts and prayers."
3. "I am so angry at God."
4. "This sucks."
5. "I love you."
6. "My heart aches for you."
7. "I'm sorry that I never got to know/meet him because he sounds like an incredible man."
8. Any time someone shares a memory of Jim.
9. "Can I come over?"
10. Any time a man cried in front of us. It sounds strange, but we need to know how much Jim meant -- especially to men.

So there you go .... the top things I needed to not hear and need TO hear ..... 20 months ago.
I'm thinking about posting a new list entitled, "The Top Things I Don't Need to Hear, Year 2").
Feel free to add your own comments and tell us what you didn't, or did, need to hear.

Have a great Wednesday.
Janine

Tuesday

Daddy's chair.......


"To live in hearts we leave behind is not to die."
-- Thomas Campbell (1777-1844), Scottish poet













Sunday

Piranha's

Hi yall, just want to thank everyone for all of the support and love you have shown here the last few days while the trolls have been out. The e-mails, tweets and call's are amazing !! You are the best !

The uninformed however, seem to be breeding each other as they continue to spew vitriol and make ridiculous accusations and incorrect judgement's.

It amazes me that people who have no idea what happened in this house, how we lived our daily lives or just what constitutes an all-encompassing loving and trusting relationship can be so quick to judge and throw their two cents in when it was not needed nor asked for.

These same people who were not around for the last 6 years unless something was beneficial to them smell the scent of money and "poof" here they are...they're like piranhas.

Case in point,  Greg once had a "friend" that had (has) excessive problems with alcohol and DUI charges. This "friend" was turned in by his own girlfriend when she called the police after sending him out drunk to get food, and he received a Felony DUI, spent time in prison, was on probation, and has to blow into a machine on his car before he can drive it.

Greg and I stood by this "friend" throughout his ordeal , writing him letters several times a week, putting money in his jail account, having him down to our home several times after he was free, and making sure that we checked in on him when we were up north. We even provided him with housewares when he was finally released and got his own place. This "friend" was still having problems with alcohol up until the time of Greg's death.

This "friend" text messaged me today, saying he had been reading my blog and how disgusted he was and how Greg would be too. He also stated that Greg's kids were here longer than me. Well no kidding. Guess that's why Greg and I set up a trust and a college fund for his son once we started seeing each other, and how a fund was established for his daughter too. Gee, how selfish of me. Guess that's why I took both kids on vacation and gave them money, spoiled them at Christmas, took them to my family's home where they were taken in and treated royally, made sure they always had nice clothes and were clean and well-fed, provided health insurance via my employer for the youngest, gave both of them laptops and digital camera's, coached one's sports teams, went with his daughter to get piercings, buy clothes, groceries, co-pays on insurance, birth control, etc. I guess things would have been better if I had ignored them, spent all of our money on us and not even acknowledged either of them.

But I wasn't raised that way. Unfortunately, this "friend" and the other person protesting the will were allegedly brought up in a violent and unloving home, so maybe the idea of someone reaching out to children that may not be biologically theirs but are theirs in HEART AND MIND may be foreign to them.

See, unlike some people, I never cared about money. I don't need it, I have my own, as does my family.

When I looked at Gregory I did not see $ signs, I saw love. I never even knew what he made until I moved up here two and a half years after we began seeing each other. And I didn't care. If he had dug ditches or owned a bank, the love was the same. And that will never change.

I'm sorry so many people are motivated by greed, jealousy and just pure pettiness that they can't see that.

But Gregory did. He knew he was loved, for all of the right reasons. And because I know that he knew, and that the same love was given to me in return, I will forever be richer than any dollar can make me. And the happiness and peace that gives me can never be taken away, even by piranha's.



Friday

9-11

8 years.

8 years since the worst TERRORIST attack in our country's history. (Note to Charlie Sheen : it wasn't our own government. Pull your head out of your ass. And take your fellow conspiracy theorists and go piss up a rope. Then hang yourself with it.)

I won't go into a long story about what I was doing when it happened, but since I was in law enforcement as an investigator let's just say I was damn busy that day.

But my world really didn't change that drastically that day. Sure, I have to take my shoes off at the airport, I have to take my toiletries in a ziploc bag, and I have to be a little more vigilant in my timing when traveling.

But my loved one didn't die just sitting at their desk. On the phone. Standing by the water cooler. Talking about their kids in the elevator.

I didn't lose my brother,sister,mom,dad, anyone flying on any of the 4 planes that were used as weapons that day.

In a sense I lost brothers in blue, but not like the brothers and sisters of the FDNY and NYPD did.

I have a friend who went to the WTC every Tuesday from Jersey in his capacity as an employee of Bear Sterns. Mikey didn't go that day because one of his daughters was sick. The 4 hours that it took him to call me after we each spent frantic moments wondering? They were tough, but imagine the ones who NEVER got a call from someone saying they were ok. And the joy I felt when I heard my Coconut (long story!) on the other end of that telephone line? Miniscule compared to the joy so many felt when their loved ones walked through the door, covered in ash and human remnants but still here.

Today, it's not about me or what I was doing or feeling. I'm a widow now too, but I'm not a 9-11 widow, or widower, or even someone that lost someone on that awful day 8 years ago.

Those people are the one's it's about today. The ones that are not here, and the ones that still are, and the ones that are going on even in the midst of their own pain, as well as the entire country's.

Blessings to all of you. Here, there or otherwise.

Thank you for your courage, your sacrifice, and your life here on this earth, no matter how long or short. Thank you for you.

And God Bless America.

Thursday

Chris, Adam, Troll, Anonymous asshat, whoever you are.....

EDITED: 09-11-09

The troll (MAYBE) has finally been able to borrow a set of balls and admit that he is the one who popped off in my comments.

He claims his name is Adam, and blames it on the margaritas. I cite a sever case of dumbassdness, but hey, I'm no doctor, so who knows.

Irregardless, it's still a load of crap. They won't truly reveal themselves cause they're scared.

And I still firmly believe Karma is a boomerang. So let's see how well those margaritas taste when someone they love is ripped out of their lives.

Maybe you'd like a side of humble with that order.

And by the way? Every thing you do on this site is tracked and recorded. Your IP address, what browser and settings you use, how long you spent here, which pages you were on and what brought you here. Google my name? I know about it. Link through from another site, I know about that too.

So have fun. And smile pretty for the camera, ok?




Original Post follows.....

Possibly, this is R's new roommate. This month.

Troll also posted a link in comments to the article about when Greg and I were arrested last year , in our own house, for Domestic Violence. Never mind that neither of us had a mark, the arrest was invalid, nor did he mention that the charges were dropped. Or that the officers that entered our home unlawfully and got Greg out of bed and me out of the bathtub had a vendetta going because I arrested one of their mistresses for possession of narcotics and refused to cover it up to his wife. Hmm.

Guess Mrs. Hudgens ( oops sorry, I had him confused with Vanessa ), forgot to mention that the charges were dropped as no basis was found for them, and that there is a lawsuit pending against the PD and the officers involved.

And posting it here is not news, my family, G's family, my employers, friends, acquaintances, everyone knows about it. I don't have ANYTHING to hide, about any aspect of my life.

Weeellllllllll now ??

Mrs. Hudgens also forgot to mention that most if not all of the blogosphere knows about it as I have discussed it here, talked about it in person as well as on Twitter and FaceBook, so he's really regurgitating old news. Must be tough to ride the short bus. Sorry Christy. The world always needs french-fry servers.

But congratulations on the borrowing of the balls, and good luck with your new housemate.

And next time? If you have something to say? Say it to me. I'm grown. I can handle it.

You may want to take a lesson.

Oh and BTW - since you have now inserted yourself into this legal drama? CONGRATULATIONS !! You get to be subpoenaed, get sworn in under oath, and testify !! YAY for YOU !!!

Just make sure you have your facts straight, hmmmmk ?

Blog post coming later.....

today or tomorrow about all of the goings-on. Have been talking to attorneys, witnesses, etc. Feeling a bit better but still aggravated at the situation. Fill yall in soon and thanks for all of the good wishes and support !!

Wednesday

09-09-09 Part One...

I am up and getting ready to go to Probate Court to prove that my husband's will is legal and to hopefully get the legal paperwork I need to move forward from this court induced limbo of the last several months.

Do the judges and court employees realize what their actions can lead to? Do they care?

The judge that is over this court? His wife married G and I. She was the judge before he was. Before cancer took her life and left him a widower, probably going through the same things as I am. But did the black robe make it easier for him? And will he look down over the courtroom and think maybe he should pay some of the kindness he was shown forward? 

Guess we'll find out today in Shelby County, Alabama.

UPDATE : Well, 5 minutes before court my former step-daughter filed a motion contesting the will. She is trying to say the will is fraudulent and that G didn't sign it. She is also claiming that she has not been to our house in years. This from the same person that still has furniture and things here, still has a key, took baths and got ready to go out here, and often spent the night when she couldn't make it home. She also told him she hated him and she didn't have a father anymore when we wouldn't give her $16,000 for hair school when she had a full scholarship to or local university. Gregory may have forgiven her for that, but he never forgot. She had no problem with the signatures on the living will, burial wishes or anything else. Now I hope she doesn't have a problem paying off medical bills and other expenses. If she wants to be part of the estate, that's what she'll have to do.

Attorneys are working now and witnesses, including my 87 year old former mother-in-law, are being subpoenaed. This is about to get ugly.

Tuesday

The Wheels of Justice need WD40....

Tomorrow is Probate Court day.

09-09-09.

I like odd numbers, and I hope that date is a sign of the numbers coming up well for me.

As you may know, this has been a long process made longer by bureaucratic bullshit and apathy on the parts of the courts. And it continues. I just got off the phone with the court appointed guardian ad litem for my stepson, who called me to go over all of the stuff we've discussed three times already. He then ended the conversation by asking me for the telephone number and address for my stepson's mother, which he should already have. I don't have her info, the bitch won't talk to me. She's probably off somewhere being a good christian woman.

Tomorrow is an important day. His will has to be legally probated. It has been almost 6 months since Greg died and I need the letters of testamentary that only the court can provide. I need these letters to show that I am the executor of the estate and that I can receive the stock dividends from his company. I need these letters to get the money that will help me pay this house note before Bank of America kicks me out on my ass. Apparently the government's new help a homeowner plan doesn't apply to those of us who have been in good standing for years but just need a bit of help when they become a destitute widow while waiting for the wheels of justice to squeak to life. I also need this money to pay the hospital where Greg died that keeps calling and asking for him and his wallet. (HEY BROOKWOOD? Might want to make a note on your paperwork that the man died in your facility !!! You should have lifted his cash then.) And of course there are utilities and health insurance and blah blah blah things that have to be taken care of, and I am about at the end of my pennies.

I can't get any help from anyone because according to my house payment and other bills I should be making more money. Well no shit. My husband brought home more in a week than I do in two months. I only work part-time, and believe me, I have been trying to get a full-time job since all this went down! When we had his income our bills were "justified." Oh and I guess him dying and it being left all up to me is "unjustified"? Got to love the bureaucrats. I get looked down upon because my husband wanted me to spend more time with him and at home and not work as much, so I did, and a year later he dies and now I'm lazy.

Whatever.

So Lady Justice, put on your Nikes or Asics or whichever shoes make you feel like getting up and moving, and please please please grab the attorneys and the judges and the ad lit-ems and anyone else involved, and shake shake shake senora down to my hard wooden courthouse seat and give me my paperwork!!!

If you don't I might be living in a box underneath your pedestal.

Monday

I knew.

My life now seems to go into some sort of cycle.

It's like there's a very defined line that splits the center of my life, my days, nights and moments into two very specific lots.

Let's just say it's like Before Death and After Death.

B - I would be up rolling, already packed and ready to go to the lake on a holiday weekend.
A - I stay in bed the whole weekend and shuffle from the media room to the kitchen to the bathroom. The only glimpses of the outside I see are when I let the dogs out.
B - home football game? Packed the week before, ready to go, full tailgate menu prepped and ready.
A - barely watched game on TV. Tickets sit unopened in season ticket packaging.
B - Would already have fall / Halloween decor out and house looking sharp and ready to partay.
A - If I already had Halloween candy bought? Would have eaten it all by now.
B - Would arrive at work 15 or more minutes early, make-up, hair, well pressed clothes.
A - Lucky if I make it on time with sunglasses and underwear on.
B - House immaculate and not one thing out of place.
A - The dog destroys a pillow? So what? I may vacuum it. in 2010. Sometimes I leave clothes in dryer and dishes in the dishwasher for days.
B - My car? You could eat off of the floorboards.
A - Lucky if it has half a tank of gas and has been washed in the last 2 weeks.
B - I wouldn't leave the house to go to Publix w/o being dressed and ready to go other places.
A - I'll show up at Buffalo Wild Wings in my pajama bottoms, an old t-shirt of G's and a hat.
B - checked the mail everyday. 
A - It sits there til it starts to rain. Then  I remember mailbox leaks and I go get it. Wet? I don't care.
B - I gave a shit about people's problems.
A - Now ? fuck you. live my life.

But yanno what that last thing said to me?? 

I'm a HYPOCRITE. 

A big freaking whiny ass woe is me HYPOCRITE. I bitched all this past weekend because I didn't feel good. I was hot. I was cold. I was fevery and sneezy and weak and wah wah wah I didn't have anyone to tend to me and I live so GD far ( 20 minutes) from my SUPPOSED real life friends and none of them would come comfort me because geez who wants to be around a widow? I might be contagious! Come see me and DEATH could find your little family. 

Meanwhile, people's babies are dying and husbands and wives and moms and dads and brothers and sisters are leaving us and people's marriages are breaking up and all kinds of other stuff is going down, but as usual, IT WAS ALL ABOUT ME. Heaven forbid I need comfort, support, love.

Why do yall read this? Don't you get tired of listening to me bitch about my dead husband? 

He's not coming back. Yall knew it long before me, but you're still here. 
I didn't know it.

As recently as a few days ago, I heard the a/c kick on while I was napping on the couch and started to get up because I thought he was opening the garage door.

When they were stuffing that tube down his throat through those beautiful soft lips I had kissed so many times? I didn't know it. They all did. But I didn't. 

When those frigging beep-beep-beep puff up and down machines were keeping him alive?? I didn't know it. 

When the only thing that was keeping color in his skin was the IV's they changed out every few hours? I didn't know it.

When I had to sign the frigging DNR papers even though I knew he had a living will ? I didn't know it. 

When the organ donor people came in and talked to me and I basically uh-huhd my way through the conversation while all the while thinking that I needed to cut his fingernails cause he would be oh so pissed if he woke up and his nails looked funky? I didn't know it.

I went all Sally Field Steel Magnolias on his ass and read to him, talked to him,combed his hair, trimmed his nails, put lotion on his feet and legs and hands, brushed his teeth around that GD tube in his mouth, put chap stick on his poor dried out hospital dead lips, laid in bed with him and held him, split the iPod headphones with him and sang along to our favorite songs, and only left him to go to the bathroom or when they made me, just for a second, cause THEY KNEW. 

I KNEW TOO. I AM A LIAR.

I knew he was gone. I knew he would never come home with me or sing to me or hold me or kiss me or call me Kimbo again. 

I just couldn't face it. DENIED it. This wasn't what he promised me. This is not our life. He was supposed to take me to a tropical paradise for my BD and we were supposed to have the cutest baby ever and tailgate and go skiing in the Poconos and all of the plans we talked about like we had soooo much time.

And you know what really just chaps my ass? He hit his damn head ! That hard ass stubborn head of his. One tiny cut. A butterfly bandage. And underneath? What would kill him. Why didn't I know ? Why wouldn't whoever the hell is in charge around here let me fix him?

I don't know how I face it now. He's in a damn nice ass expensive jar on the dresser in our bedroom . Some of his ashes are in a tattoo on the back of my neck. I carry some of them with me and laugh about it with people I have never met and am afraid I won't have anything to talk to about.  He's dead and he's never coming back and I just can't make myself believe that this has happened to me and that it's really true.

I post about dogs and baseball and more stupid shit like books and football and for just a moment, I'm not drowning in the quicksand of sadness and grief and death and being so frigging alone you never knew it was that possible to be disconnected from the people that amass this planet.

I knew. 

I lied to myself. I lied to everyone. 

I'm a hypocrite. 

And I want my Before Death life back.

And I know I'm not gonna get it.

And it sucks.

And I hate myself for being a hypocrite phony weak-ass whiney about it. 

Saturday

Football is here....and he isn't...


Auburn football begins today.

Another chapter in my life I will have to go through without him.



Our first date happened at Auburn. Our first kiss.

Our favorite place to hang out started at Auburn's Mellow Mushroom and led us to so many more.

The first picture we ever took together.

This one.



The goofy grin on his face as he waved at me all the way down (and up) the stairs....



The first time we goofed off with Dr. Bill (who ironically, I used to call Dr. Lecter....he used to bring me a wildflower every game and say "Hello Clarice") as a couple...



Chilling at home watching the away games.........



Good times with friends....







Meeting Coach Dye....Tiger Walk...rolling Toomer's corner....the Shelby County Auburn Club...SEC days....lazy Saturdays watching football and grilling out all day...the traditions and things that made us an Auburn family........Patrick Murphy Mann included......







We went to see the President there.....



I'll go back to Auburn I know. It was a part of me long before I even knew G, but he just made it a better part. I am going to try and go next weekend. It's the Mississippi State game. That game, 6 years ago, was our first date. So it's gonna be tough.

But I'll go and be surrounded by friends. I'll sing "Budda Getta" and scream "It's great to be an Auburn Tiger" and yell out the fight songs and hug Aubie on Tiger Walk and buy a game shirt and do all of the things we did in what seems like a lifetime ago.

I might not go to Mellow Mushroom, not just yet. And I probably won't do many of the things that he and I did in our Auburn game weekend routine.

But I'll do some new things. I'll make my own traditions. Auburn will always be my home. And I know you'll be watching over me, soaring above me like Tiger and Spirit do before the game.


War Eagle Baby . I love you.

Friday

Peace, Love and .....

Teddy !!

Who knew it was so easy ?







Thanks Ted Terrific !!

Wednesday

BookWorm

I've always been a voracious reader. Before the interwebz took over the world, I read a whole lot more than I did now. I still read, but I am trying to carve out at least an hour in each day to sit down and lose myself in a book.

4 newspapers a day, various magazines, and I always had a book or three in progress. I'm one of those that can read several different books at a time. My favorites are autobiographies, crime and pretty much anything by Stephen King and Tami Hoag. I also adore Eudora Welty and John Grisham, both Mississippi authors.

When I was stateside in Poplarville in the summertime, I would ride my bike to the library and fill my basket up with books. One or two summers I won the little award they gave out for finishing all of the books on the summer reading list.

Life, work and the internet came along and changed many of my habits. I still read books, and there are certain magazines that I still read in print including National Geographic, Southern Living, various nerdy magazines and Wired.

This is my current reading stack, followed by my next stack. I really don't try to group them in any particular way, it just seems like I always have at least one autobiography and one travel book in whatever pile I'm working on at a time.



Next.....



My love of reading was instilled in me by my paternal grandfather as well as my mom and dad. My grandfather always read the Wall Street Journal and the New Orleans Times-Picayune every morning with his coffee. As I got older he would have me read one article from each section to him , not only to improve my reading and speaking skills, but to foster my interest in current events.

My grandfather was a Commander in the U.S. Navy, and after he left the service he worked for the government and for the Liberia Corporation, who owned many rubber tree plantations (they provided materials to Firestone for tires) and land in and around Liberia, Africa. He hosted and entertained many dignitaries and heads of state, but the person who I was most fascinated to hear about??






Yes, that says Charles Lindbergh. That is a first edition autographed copy of The Spirit of St. Louis, given to my Papaw by the man himself. He was a frequent guest at my grandparent's estate, and I wish I could remember half of the stories they told me about him. And I would give anything to have the pictures that Camille destroyed.

Every time my grandmother would see someone wearing seersucker fabric, she would tell me the same story....how Mr. Lindbergh wore a seersucker suit and washed it in the tub every night and hung it up to dry before putting it back on the next day. Even today, when I see seersucker, I think of that.

My grandfather also ordered an entire set of classic books for me, yanno the leather bound ones with the gold leaf finish? I think he got one a month for several years. He wrote a personal message in each book up until his death. I know exactly which book was the last one he read and signed, because the next is blank. Here they are in what amounts to about 1/4 of my bookshelves....( they still smell like my grandparents house when I open them , like home)...



Here are some of my favorites....I will type out what they say under the ones that are hard to read......






This one above is The Sound and The Fury by William Faulkner...my papaw wrote.... This is generally recognized as Faulkner's greatest book. I was attending "Ole Miss" in the fall of 1930 and I met Bill Faulkner who lived in Oxford. He was sitting on the curb on Main Street eating peanuts - two other football players and I were coming from practice. We stopped to talk to Faulkner who asked us to join him to eat peanuts. This was before he became famous. Love Papaw.





You are like the dawn in a yellow robe rising in the east out of the flowing ocean - "our sunshine."

There are more, but you get the idea. Sometimes I get sad when I open them up and read the words he wrote so long ago, and I wish I was the little pig-tailed girl with the yellow bike and basket full of books, riding home to show my Papaw what treasures I was to discover in their pages. But then I'm proud, and happy that I was blessed with such a wonderful person in my life that I still adore as much right this second as I did when I was that little girl.

Thanks Papaw. I love you.