Thursday, December 24, 2020


 Christmas Eve 2020, my first one without Rick.   My friends in the widow's club warned me about the holidays.  My initial thoughts, how bad can they be?  The weeks after his death had been indescribable .

But Thanksgiving came, alone on the farm and the realization of what my friends warned me about hit.  Those first few weeks, and the first 2 or 3 months , I was in shock and then the fog rolled in.  ( see previous post about fog)  I'm still walking through the fog, but the holidays brought a new piece to the puzzle.  Even with Covid raging, the holidays brought something I did not expect, the shroud of grief I wear, does not protect me from others' joy and gaiety.  All the Christmas movies that end with happy and joy, the smiling Santas and snowmen on cards, the upbeat Christmas carols. the bright colors, the well wishes of Merry, and Happy.  I see it all and wait for the osmosis of all this to somehow permeate my being.  I realized this is not my holiday season to experience the gaiety and joy.

So what am I doing this first holiday season alone?  Thanksgiving brought calls from friends who had walked through the shadows, they were my lifeline.  Those same friends are throwing the life preservers to me this week.  Calls,  my first ever bouquet of roses, letters, food,  thoughtful gifts have brought comfort and that is when I realized this holiday for me is about comfort.  Comfort is what my spirit had craved, comfort is what my body needed, love has been the balm, the glue if you will of what has held my broken pieces together.

A friend called and the first question I was asked, "how's your heart?"  I admit I was taken aback, I admit I lied and said it was fine.   But after the call, I sent my friend a note and apologized about the lie.  He laughed and said he knew I was lying.  That question led me that day into serious introspective, moving deep and looking at my heart and realizing five months of grief were just a drop in the bucket.  I have a long way to go and much grief to muddle through.

Besides missing Rick and our traditions, I miss the big family gatherings.  I won't be going to my sister's house or his sister's house, though they are still continuing with their gatherings.  Covid concerns have kept me at a distance.  I don't want to be sick, alone on this farm.  Also the gaiety and joy of others, the sound of all that laughter and cheer, it's just too much to bear.

Yesterday I took both my sisters gifts and spent a few moments with each in a social distance visit.  I dropped off Rick's family gifts at his sister's house.  This morning I will take my brother Ricky and his family's gifts to his house.  His family has been my bubble, I see them daily though even with that the visits are short lived.  

Yesterday I drove to the cemetery, there my parents and Rick are side by side.  I suppose that was my Christmas gift, because Rick's marker had been placed on his grave that morning.  It seemed like the fitting gift for him as well.

So, I have the tree, I decorated my mantle and I painted Christmas cards.  The same friend who asked about my heart told me that when he and his wife opened my card, she looked at it and said, " it's different this year, there is sadness there."  I couldn't paint joy.

I hope this season, this holiday brings you comfort and love.  I hope the New Year is kind.

Here is my Christmas card for 2020. 

Saturday, December 19, 2020


 There have been many firsts since Rick died in July.  The holiday season has brought its own list of firsts.  I spent my first Thanksgiving alone.  For years I taught my students that you are stronger than you think, Thanksgiving alone on the farm proved it for me.  Thank goodness there were calls from those who loved me, giving me strength that day.

This week there have been other firsts.  The first Christmas tree I have ever done alone.  The first Christmas cards I have ever not signed, Rick and Jilda.    My friends in the "widow's club" warned me about the holidays.  Sadly, they all knew but they made it through and are still making it through year after year.  As one friend told me this week,  it is our job to pay it forward.  

There are many this year who are enduring holiday firsts.  With the deaths of over 300,000 Americans from Covid the widows club has grown by leaps and bounds. 

I have always tried to reach out to those in need during the holidays.  I cooked meals for families, bought gifts and  we gave money to those in need.  My most memorable Christmas, a poverty stricken family moved in down the road from us several years ago.  A mother with several children and it was heartbreaking to watch them struggle.  We live in a very poor area of our county, but this family was probably the most destitute I have ever seen.  My brother's family and Rick and I tried to help them in any way we could.

Their first Thanksgiving, I bought a turkey and all the fixin's and took it to them.  The mother sobbed and the youngest son, told me she didn't know how to cook a turkey.  No problem, on Thanksgiving morning I got up, cooked their turkey ( at 2:00 am) and then mine.  They had their first home cooked Thanksgiving meal.  I knew I would do the same at Christmas.

That Christmas, I bought each of them a gift of warm clothing and wrapped every present.  On Christmas day when Rick and I took their Christmas dinner and gifts to them, they all sobbed.  It was their first Christmas to receive wrapped presents.  Life was already teaching me about holiday firsts.

My first holidays without parents were full of firsts.  None of momma's cooking, none of daddy's gag gifts.  But I had Rick and as we lost family members, we held on to each other through all the firsts.

So now, here I am and the firsts just keep on coming.  I never considered I would have holidays without Rick.  Honestly, I thought we would both live to be that old elderly couple shuffling through the mall every holiday, slowing all those young shoppers down.  Rick would tell each cashier who asked how we were doing, " I'm living the dream, what are you gonna be when you grow up?"

Each day brings a new first for me, some I handle with grace, some with full blown anger, some with sobbing lying face down on the sofa.  There are no rules in grief, don't let anyone try to tell you there are.

Another first this holiday season, placing holly wrapped in plaid ribbons on Rick's grave.  That one numbed me to the very core of my existence, never have I felt so empty or so alone. 

If you are experiencing firsts this holiday season, don't worry about traditions, rules or whatever.  Take care of you, believe it or not, your firsts and your story will help someone else.  Pay it forward.  By the way, here's another first for me that phrase, M---y C-------s!  just can't utter it, can't write it or even type it, maybe next year.

Sunday, December 13, 2020


 Yesterday evening a thick, cold heavy fog rolled in.  It muffled the silence of the dark, increasing the chill the rains had brought and distorted familiar images.  I remembered fogs that we had seen on our many visits to San Francisco.  The city would wear a  coat of grey and you could watch the fog roll across the bay, coming to envelop everything in its path.  There was an odd scary beauty in the somber monotones that crept toward the city.  Soon, even the bay would disappear into the shadows.

I think I have lived in a fog since July 16, the day Rick died...I am always cold, I shiver in the bed at night and during the day I wrap in layers, even  when the sun shines.  Life has been distorted, nothing familiar has been the same.  I have tried wearing color to brighten, to heal, but the colors seem so gaudy and cheap.  Yes, I am the woman who studied the psychology of color in college so many years ago, but those lessons don't apply for now.  I know the physics of fog, I know that it is not a constant that it does lift.

I am waiting for that lift.  I have seen flashes of it, moments when there is a stream of light, bits of joy like the tiny bits of lint that birds put in their nests.  Rick came to  me in my dreams a few nights ago, he was standing in a field of snow,  there was fog, but I could see dozens of deer there with him.

He laughed and said, these are my friends, look how beautiful they are, see how beautiful this place is!

And then I woke.  He loved deer, and taking pictures in the fog and snow. Maybe this fog I feel, that I am wrapped in, is his way of offering comfort .  

I do know this, fog is beautiful and scary.   But fog makes you slow down, makes you more aware of your surroundings, and when it lifts and the sun comes out...well the beauty of all that is right in front of you is sharper, more exact and reminds you it was there all along.

This is the weekend we always went to the tree farm and got our tree.  I just couldn't do it alone.  For the second time in 46 years there will be a fake tree.  The first one was a few years ago, during the drought, no trees could be dug, so we bought a small fake one and after that used it with our Christmas pig and chicken outside.   This one will probably go outside next year, but for now, it's all I could manage, though it is still in the box.    Sometime between now and Christmas I will set it up and decorate.

The fog has morphed into a mist this morning.  There are days, my personal fog does the same.  I'm painting Christmas cards and sending them out.  It is strange to write just Jilda on them.  It would have been so easy not to paint them, but he loved my cards.  And honestly, since I have been painting these last few days,  the fog is not so heavy.  I hear his voice telling me how much he loves them, how much he loves me.  

There are probably many of you who feel the heaviness of a cold fog today.  Covid is raging, the holidays are here, so many varieties of fog.  I know in my heart all this will lift some day, we can find our way, breathe, move slowly, hold someone's hand and know the beauty is still there, it's just not visible right now.  I just stepped out back, the fog has become a mist.  There is hope.

Wednesday, December 2, 2020

Winter Arrives

 Sunday we had rain, pouring rain, cold and pounding the earth like the anger I feel sometime because Rick is gone.  On Monday frigid cold came rushing in, so the chicken pen had to be winterized  ( even more than what I had done over the weekend) and the pump house heater had to be installed.  The temps dropped all day and by afternoon we had snow showers.  

That evening as my brother Ricky and I walked to the barn to install the pump house heater, snow flakes danced in the wind and I felt more alive than I had since Rick died.  There was something about that numbing cold, those dancing snow flakes and the wind howling through the trees that reminded me life was moving forward.  I find comfort in those bare trees,  most days that is how I feel, bare and being whipped by the wind.  The exhilarating realization has been seeing life push on, even in the bareness  of winter.  I know that with the thousands of acorns that have fallen, there will be baby oak trees making an appearance in a few months.  On neighboring farms I see foals and calves enjoying the winter sun and running with abandon in the cold.  Even Bertha the hen, still wants to sit on her eggs and hatch baby chicks regardless of lack of sun and warmth.

I made it through Thanksgiving, friends called with words of love, comfort and encouragement.  Kim and Christine, you will never know how much the sound of your voices meant to me that day.  You gave me a lifeline when I thought there was none.  Though the dogs don't know you, I know that they are grateful that you helped to stop the flow of tears that had streamed down my face Wednesday and Thursday.

Life continues to move on, I still cry daily, but I laugh as well.  Sleep comes and goes, as does my appetite for food, some days I hunger for conversation and other days, well there are no words.  For those of you who grieve, I wish I could give you a plan, a path that would make it better.  I am stumbling through the dark, just as you do.  Every day is different.  I have found no answers for so many questions that I had.

I just get up each morning. Try to follow a simple routine, go outside ( even in the rain and cold), eat a little, drink water and hot tea.  I read every day.  I pet my dogs, I yell at them some days.  Some days I paint, every day I work to keep this farm alive.  I reach out to family and friends.  I go out for supplies and food.  Covid is rampant here, and I am doing everything I know to stay healthy and well.  I hope you are doing the same.

The picture was taken on Monday during the snow showers.  It is the last tree to change colors on the farm every year.  It is my favorite tree.  Every fall when we would walk the dogs Rick and I would argue about what kind of tree it was.  Last fall I told him it didn't matter, it was my favorite tree and that was that.  He just laughed.  I laughed when I took this picture, because he and his memories are with me daily.


Wednesday, November 25, 2020

Grace and Gratitude

 Tomorrow is Thanksgiving Day here in America.  It has always been my favorite holiday.  Before our parents died Rick and I celebrated Thanksgiving in a very traditional way, eating with family and usually helping his mom put up her Christmas decorations and then coming home to eat leftovers.

After our parents died, for a couple of years we served food at shelters.  We began to see that we had friends who had  no place to go  or anyone to be with, and we would hear nieces and nephews talk of people they knew who were in the same position.  I began to cook big Thanksgiving meals and we opened our doors to friends, co-workers and any family who wanted to come.  There was no judgment at the Watson house, race, sexual preference, religion, etc, none of that mattered.  We offered a table full of food and a house full of grace and gratitude.  There were usually so many here in this small cottage that there were people eating in every room but the bathroom.  Kids played in the field behind the house and adults walked the woods after stuffing themselves.  It seemed no one ever wanted to leave.

That's when I began to realize just how much I truly loved Thanksgiving.  For me it became a day to acknowledge and share,  a day of grace and gratitude.

Tomorrow will be the first time in my life that I have spent Thanksgiving alone.  I will cook myself a small meal and share the small turkey breast with the dogs.  I have been invited to eat with others, but Covid is rampant in our community.  This morning I can think of at least 15 people I know who are sick.

So I choose to sacrifice with the hope that next year we can gather with love, food and celebration.

It is still my favorite holiday, the one that I believe should be filled with grace and gratitude.  It is my first Thanksgiving without Rick and as my friend Christine so eloquently put it yesterday, this loss brings awareness of why the Victorians chose to wear black in that year of mourning.  

My prayer for this holiday tomorrow, is that we will all be here next year.  I will cook and open my doors with hopes that once again the house is filled with grace and gratitude and the table is filled with food.

May all of you experience kindness, health, grace and gratitude. For all of those like me, whose year has been one of loss, hang on, don't lose sight of that tiny stream of light/hope, you are not alone.

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Golden Light

 Webster defines:

Alone - without any other person

Grief - intense emotional suffering caused by loss

Isolation - apart from others

These words are how I feel without Rick.  People check on me, I receive wonderful calls, texts, notes, gifts and they lift my spirits and I feel the love.  But,  and it is a big but, most of my time I am alone, with my grief and because of the raging of Covid 19, isolated.

Alone is how I drink my morning coffee.  It is how I eat my meals.   It is how I sleep.  It is how I walk around this farm and do my daily chores. Alone is my conversation with Rick's memory on our deck, sitting on our thinking bench, and often walking these woods.

I realize solitude has become my life.  It is a tragic gift, but one that pushes me.  It pushes me to renew my creativity, to maintain friendships and to show as much love and kindness as I possibly can. In many ways now I appreciate my life alone.  I cherish the memory of hugs and laughter with friends and family. I cherish the gigs we played, the places we visited, the friendships we made, the songs we created. 

The solitude has created an urgency in me to live my life to its fullest, even when I am alone. 

The dogs are getting use to my tears, to my conversations with Rick, even to my reading aloud to them. They understand my moods and have a strange, knowing respect for them.

I know there will come a time when Covid is not so menacing and solitude no longer cradles me. But the grief will always be a part of me, just like the love for Rick will be.

If you are alone, for whatever reason, reach out.  It's important to hear the sound of voices, to read words of encouragement and to know that others are living similar stories.

Today's picture is our thinking bench view bathed in golden light.  I beg of you today, be kind to yourself and others.  Wear your mask, wash your hands and live to see your own golden light.

Tuesday, November 10, 2020


 Time, I can remember a time when I refused to wear a watch, when I thought I had all the time in the world.  That was in the spring of my youth.  Now I am in the winter of my life and the way I think about time is different.

In the daily pounding of my grief, everyone keeps telling me time will make it better, time will heal. There was a time I believed that but not anymore.  I think the business of daily living helps you to focus on something other than your grief, but the pain of a heart ripped opened is just as intense today as it was four months ago.  I think that pain will be just as intense if I am alive four years from now.

My dad's parents lived a life that payed very little attention to time as we know it.  They went to bed when the sun went down, got up when it's first rays brightened their world.  They worked and sweated seven days a week.  Sundays gave them some respite but not always.  They were two of the happiest kindest people I have ever known. 

I wake up every morning and see the leaves of honey gold, burnt brown and sunset red swirling by my windows.  It doesn't really matter what day it is anymore, the dogs and the chickens don't care.  They do understand that daylight is shorter, the temps are cooler and the one who feeds feeds them cries.

I make lists in my day planner to remind me that life continues, bills to be paid, feed to be bought and calls to people I love.   Rick bought me that planner twenty five years ago for my birthday and for the second part of the present sent me to a "What Matters Most"  time management seminar.  I always told him it was the best gift he ever bought me.  In some ways it still is, but time and its "management" has changed definition.

Time for me now, the opportunity to let those in my life know how much they mean to me, to try to regain my creative energies and to let go of all that is no longer important.

Today I wish for the time that is left for any of us, that we spend it wisely.  Once it is spent, you never get it back.  So please don't wast it on hate and anger and bitterness.

Saturday, October 31, 2020

Halloween 2020

 A few years ago, Rick read his Halloween column for the local radio station.  They played it on air again today.  I have tried to share it on my blog today, but alas I lack the skills that Rick had.

The station is Jasper's Oldies, 101.5 FM, 1240 WJLX.  It was shared on the DJ's Facebook page.  His name is Brett Elmore, maybe you can give it a listen.  It sure was nice to hear Rick's voice.  

It has been a most beautiful crisp fall day.  The sky is as blue as any I have seen, even those west of the Rockies.  When I played the radio program, the dogs ears perked up.  They thought Rick had come home.

I have found the best way for me to deal with the grief is work until I am exhausted and then cry until there are no more tears.  Those are my days and for now, that's the best I can do.

I am about to hang the plastic on the screen porch to convert it into my green room.  Temps are falling this week.

Ya'll have a Happy Halloween.

Monday, October 26, 2020

I Am Still Here/Peace

 Last week was one of the toughest.  I went to the cemetery for the first time since Rick's burial.

I went to choose our grave marker.  It's just a flat slab of grey granite with our names, dates of birth and his date of death and also his military service.  I did ok at the office, there were a few tears but I maintained.  On the way out, I visited the grave and even then I maintained.

But then a couple of days later, monsoonal rains came.  I can't complain about the rain, it was needed and appreciated.  But in the midst of all the tears falling from the sky, grief  slammed its best shot my way.

I lay on the couch, under a down comforter surrounded by the three dogs and the sobs began.  The sobs turned into some sort of guttural groans, I went into the fetal position and all three dogs tried to lick the tears from my face.  I cried for everything lost.

I am not writing this for sympathy but hoping to help anyone out there who is grieving, you are not alone.

Maybe you are like me, and you are physically alone and trying your best to make it through a pandemic and the loss of someone you love.  Maybe you have lost your job, your way of life, your health, your home, family.  Whatever your loss is, it's ok to grieve and remind yourself there is no time line.

What helps me?  Time outdoors.  Even in those monsoonal rains, I suited up in my rain gear and walked. At one point, I took off my raincoat and just let the rain wash over me.  Nature has been my soothing balm, my stress relief, my comfort.  Nature has heard my questions, seen my tears, anger, sadness, heard my laughter, and answered my silence.  Hearing birds sing, seeing the sky whether it's blue or grey, feeling the sun on my face reminds me I am still here, for whatever reason, I am still here.  The leaves are changing, there are still flowers blooming and I am still here.  At  night, I see the stars, the moon and they remind me as well, I am still here.

Now, I am trying to figure out why I am still here, what purpose do I serve.  I know there are answers and they will come in time.  Maybe for now, I am still here just to remind kind, be kind, be kind.

Occasionally Rick made garden stones.  He had made one for the fern garden out front, one for the bird feeder area and his last was for my heirloom garden.  The photo shows his last.  I like to think it was his last  message.


Saturday, October 17, 2020


 Streams of golden light filled my living room this morning as I sat and watched the sun come up. A hot mug of coffee warmed my hands, the temps had dropped to 40 degrees last night and Taz sat next to me.

I read a message from a former student, it was a message I needed to see this morning.  I needed that reminder that I had helped someone in the past and they didn't forget.

This isolation is unlike anything I have ever experienced, this grief is unlike anything I have ever experienced.  Together they have created a perfect storm and I am fighting to survive.

Yesterday was three months.  Will I ever stop counting the days, the weeks, the months?  Who am I kidding, will I ever stop counting the moments that Rick has been gone.

Before I get out of bed each morning I make myself think of three things I am grateful for.  I do the the same thing before I go to sleep each night.  I remind myself to take deep breaths and I spend as much time as I can outside.

The guitars sit and taunt me, my paints whisper open us up, they wait, I wait.  I did repaint my front doors this week, just a refresher of the vibrant purple that says I'm still here.

What words of transformation can I give you all today?  Be kind, be kind, be kind.  Wear your masks, wash your hands, keep your distance, vote.  Be kind, be kind, be kind.

Sunday, October 11, 2020

A Visit

 A good friend came to check on me today.  She had texted me a couple of times, voicing her concern about me.  Today she came by to check on me.  It is one of those friendships where we go for years without seeing each other, but we know we are there whenever needed.  We worked together for several years and working with her was always fun.  We walked down to the barn, visited the chickens, she took pictures of the bee garden and snapped a photo of Kodak and me.

Since Rick died, Kodak and I now weigh about the same.  I didn't realize how big he was until she sent me the photo she took today.  I have to admit he and Hook were on their best behavior.  Actually Kodak liked Cherri so much I think he would have gone home with her.  And Taz, well she is always on her best behavior.

It's odd to hear someone else's voice in the house now.  I have become use to hearing my voice and the dogs barking and hearing another voice was strange.  Though Sam and Jordan and her parents come by, I am use to their voices I suppose.  Hearing Cherri, and  her laughter, brought back so many good memories that she and her husband and Rick and I shared.  Her visit was like a healing balm.

My friend asked how I was doing, that is the usual question most people ask me.  All I can tell them, I have cried every day since he died.  I get up every morning, make a list and just try to make it through the day and complete the list.  Cherri remarked today about how wonderful it was Rick died at home.  I know it might be weird to say this, but I believe he died the way he wanted to, here at home with me and the dogs, the place he loved, surrounded by those who loved him.  So yes, I suppose it was wonderful he died at home.  But those who love him, boy how we miss him.

Monday, October 5, 2020

Neighbor's Surprise

 A couple of evenings ago I heard the dogs barking.  I was in the laundry room folding clothes, but I could tell by the sound of their barks someone was in the yard.  I went to the front door and there stood my neighbor from across the street, trying to hang a most beautiful Halloween wreath on my front door.

She laughed and told me she had made it and was trying to surprise me but the dogs refused to be part of the surprise.  She and her husband moved in about a month before Rick died.  Rick and had gone over when they were moving in and introduced himself to her husband Mark.  We have not been lucky with neighbors in that house for a long time, but Rick told me when he came home that finally, we had good neighbors again after all these years.  Rick was right.  Gail and Mark have been so caring since Rick died.

When storms blew limbs and trees down in my yard about a week after Rick passed, they came over and moved them.  She is very artistic and crafty and has made me some of the sweetest gifts.  They have three grandchildren who come to visit them every weekend and you can hear those kids laugh the whole time they are there.

I spent today working on my plants, adding fresh potting soil, cutting back out of control growth, getting them ready to move to the screen/green porch in a couple of weeks.  I also transferred collard plants into containers ( I grew them from seeds) to acclimate for a week or so before I plant them in raised beds. It has been a busy day.  Missing Rick so much, these were activities that we shared and enjoyed.

Keeping an eye on the weather, there is another hurricane brewing in the Gulf.  We need rain but not floods and wind damage, will just have to wait and see  where and when this one comes in.

I hope your week started with kindness, stay well, and look for beauty and joy.


Friday, October 2, 2020

Full Moon Blues

 It was such a beautiful full moon last night.  Taz and I got up around 1:30 am and just sat on the deck for awhile taking in the beauty of the night sky.  These are the times I really miss Rick.

Working this small farm by myself is interesting.  I couldn't do it without the help of Sam, Jordan, my brother Ricky, my nephew Haven and friends.  Even with their help, there is much to do daily by myself. Before Rick passed, he had wanted to get  more hives and buy more property, I am so glad that did not happen.  

Jordan, Sam and I mulched the blueberry bushes yesterday with pine bark nuggets.  Another job off the list, not to be done again until spring.  Yesterday morning my brother Ricky and I picked up the nuggets at the local home center.  Nothing like loading a pickup before 8:00 am and working up a sweat in 50 degree weather.  I am so grateful  for Sam, Jordan and Ricky's help.  

Today a bit more to do with the blueberries and then some work inside the house.  The laundry room is about to be organized!

There have been some difficult times this week.  I thought I might be past the sobbing out loud stage, but I was wrong.  These waves come out of nowhere and often I have no clue  as to what triggers them.

A brand new month, the golden light of fall comes through my windows now.  There are bits of color in the woods.  Geese have honked as they flew south, but there are still some humming birds coming to the feeders.  The bee garden is still in a state of frenzy.  Nights are chilly, days are warm.  The weather is perfect and I miss drinking my morning coffee on the deck with Rick.

Monday, September 28, 2020

Monday Thoughts

 The weekends are tough, the weekdays are tough.    There is always something to remind me of Rick.

Just when I think all those loose ends are tied up nicely, a few more show up.  Almost two hours on the phone today with one company, making one change.  Nothing should be this hard to do when you are in the throes of grief, but technology has made life very very complicated.  This too shall pass.

A cold front came through this afternoon.   The dogs and I sat on the back deck, listening to the rumble of thunder, feeling the wind change from warm and muggy to crisp and cool.  The yellow and red leaves swirled as butterflies flitted in the bee garden.  I will start our yearly conversion of screen porch to green porch tomorrow, hanging thick plastic over the screen and then slowly moving all the plants from the deck  in the next few days.  

This September is almost gone, this year is almost gone.  2020 will haunt me forever.

Be kind this week, remember to breathe, listen to music, look at something beautiful and at least once a day, laugh out loud. 

Friday, September 25, 2020

A Day of Change

 I decorated my front door for fall and got out my fall flag.  I am continuing with old traditions and making some new ones as well.  This creating a different life is strange at best.  Tropical storm Beta came through yesterday with over 3 inches of rain.  We needed the rain.   But if was a rough day emotionally for me.

I usually spend most of my day outside and though I did walk in the rain and do some chores, being indoors more than usual triggered some tears.  It's ok.  The good thing about crying alone, no one sees that ugly face with all the tears streaming down.

I am still meditating every  morning at 7:00.  I truly believe to bring about change, we have to be the change.   I also turned in my resignation to work yesterday.  That was bittersweet.  December I would have been there 15 years, but the desire to teach and give is no longer with me, at least not for now.

I hope your weekend is filled with peace and hope and kindness.  


Monday, September 21, 2020


 I promised information about studies that were done on meditation and violence ( war and conflict).

In the the 1980s there was a group of meditators in the Middle East that decided to meditate to end/slow down the violence of the Israel/ Lebanon War.  When the results of the study were in, levels of conflict were reduced on those days when meditations were done.  Yale University in 1988 decided to do 2 1/2 years of subsequent studies and just like the previous ones there were significant reductions of violence with each study.

From the Power of the Collective by John Hagelin, in 1993, 4000 participants in Washington DC meditated with the intention to lower violent crime in the DC area and they too achieved results much like those done with the Yale study.

Through the years more than 60 studies have taken place showing how meditation can can reduce violence and conflict through out the world.   That is why I am encouraging all of you to start a meditation  practice if you don't have one.  I believe something as simple as 5 minutes daily, breathing, sitting still and just thinking the word peace as you inhale and kindness as you exhale can calm the turmoil in our world.  It will certainly calm you.  I do this practice every morning at 7:00, but you find the time best suited for you.

I set my alarm for 10 minutes, but 5 is fine too.  For those minutes, you sit quietly and breathe.  Yes the dogs will bark, the phone will ring, your nose will itch, etc.  Just keep bringing your awareness to that inhalation of peace and exhalation of kindness.  Your day will be better I promise.  I know many of you pray, but meditation is different, it takes you inward and that peace and kindness will start with you.

If you set the alarm on your phone or clock, you won't have to worry about the time.  Meditation is good for your physical body, your spirit and your mental health.  It's free and in the scheme of things, five minutes can change your life and maybe many other lives.

Sunday, September 20, 2020

Projects and Invitations

 Rick had three projects that we had talked about since spring that we wanted to get done before the year was over.   The first one, get the pump in the well so there would be water at the barn and the honey house.  The second one, get a tin roof on the chicken run and fix a shed for the mower and tiller.  The third one, repair the barn which had been hit by a couple of storms in the spring.

The week after he died, I made a promise to him that I would make sure his projects were done.  My nephew Haven and my brother Ricky got the pump in the well a couple of weeks ago.  Yesterday, Haven, our friend Fred and our neighbor Snow got the roof on the chicken run and built a shed.  My goal is to have the barn fixed in the next couple of months, hopefully in November. 

Rick and Haven had started the pump project the weekend before he died, but the heat was unbearable that fateful weekend and it just wasn't meant to be.

Every day I talk with him,  reminding him of how much I love and miss him, but also letting him know that those things he wanted to fix are being fixed.  

The hydrangea photo that I am using tonight was my surprise yesterday.  We had planted that bush two years ago and it never bloomed.   I had told Rick back in the early summer when everyone else's was blooming that I could not figure out why mine would not bloom.   Yesterday when we were working on the chicken pen I looked out across the fence and saw something blue.  Yep, that hydrangea was blooming.  I like to think it was Rick's way of telling me he was happy that I was getting his projects done.

On FB a few days ago, I invited my friends to start meditating with me every morning at 7:00, setting the intention for kindness and peace to spread across our country from coast to coast.  Someone had asked me how do you do that, well this is how.  Set a timer for 5 minutes, close your eyes, begin to breathe and with each breath think of peace and kindness filling every heart in America.  So tonight, I am inviting all of you to join me, each morning at 7;00 or anytime you can to help shine the light and move the darkness.  Tomorrow I will share the study of a similar meditation project that was done in the Middle East and the amazing results they had.

A brand new week, start it with 5 minutes of meditation filling your heart with peace and kindness, it's free and it's something we all could use.


Thursday, September 17, 2020


 Jordan's Nana came over and sat with me awhile this evening.  We took the dogs out back and watched them play and talked about how the season is changing.  Tree leaves are starting to lose their vibrant green and the light is becoming more golden.  There was a nice breeze that blew across our faces.  We will still have warm days ahead and then there is Indian Summer, but the temps are dropping a few degrees and it sure feels good.

When I walked the dogs this morning I saw goldenrods blooming.  I miss our bees.  They love goldenrod blossoms though Rick always fretted about the bee's relationship with them.  It seems goldenrod does not make tasty honey.  I took a picture of the golden blooms and thought of course of Rick.  It was a friendly competition we had, looking for the first blooms or signs of any season.  I often won but I would always console him by reminding him my photos were never as good as his.

I hope this day has been a good one for all of you.  Please continue to spread kindness, be grateful and look for beauty.

Wednesday, September 16, 2020

Two Months

I was sleeping soundly last night, truly resting and in the middle of my slumber, Taz sat up in bed and started to bark.  I picked up my phone and Taz and walked into the living room to see what was going on.  I looked at my phone, 2:21 is the 16th...two months since Rick passed....2:21 am  the official time of death on his death certificate.  Neither of the big dogs barked just Taz.  She has slept in our bed since the the first day we got her.

Two months, for many that might seem like a short time.  It's an eternity for me.  Yet, life goes on and the world around me continues to spin.  The anger and hate and fear that constantly broke Rick's heart continues around us.  Nothing has changed, everything has changed. 

It occurred to me last Saturday as I was having dinner that for the rest of my life, most of my meals would be eaten alone.  I still cook almost every meal, I just call Sam and Jordan and they come over and pick up the leftovers.

I know that there are many who miss Rick, who loved him.  But their lives have continued in pretty much the same way as before.  I will carry him in my heart forever and mourn his loss until the day I die.

 I only hope he didn't die in vain.  That maybe on some level, his sense of empathy, his compassion and kindness for all humans touched and changed someone's life.  He believed in caring for the old, the sick, the downtrodden, he believed that we are our brother's keeper, he believed in women's rights,  that Black Lives Matter, in science, in journalism, in truth, that every one was equal. He wasn't big on religion, but he loved the words in red. He was a veteran and he kept in touch with many of the men he served with. He believed with all his heart if you treated all people the way you wanted to be treated, then you had lived a good life.  Rick Watson lived a good life. 

Tuesday, September 15, 2020

Friends and Surprises

Daily I am astounded by the kindness of friends.  This afternoon UPS brought a big heavy package to my front door.  I saw that it was from our friend James who lives in California.  We met him in LA about 14 or 15 years ago.  He was one of those gentle souls that you just wanted to sit and talk with.
We were at a music convention, hundreds of singer/songwriters pitching their songs to the tv and movie industry.  Meeting James was a breath of fresh air that week and we continued to stay in touch.
It turns out as our friendship progressed, not only was he an awesome singer/songwriter but an incredible artist as well.

Today that package was a gift that brought tears of joy, one of James' paintings which now sits on my mantle.  Suddenly this little cottage I call home had a new energy, a feeling of joy from this beautiful painting.  It had been an out of sorts morning.  My brother Ricky and Jordan went to the feed store with me and helped me load 200 pounds of seed and feed for the critters and then we unloaded those same 200 pounds when we got home.  Much to my dismay, I realized I had forgotten to purchase a 50 pound bag of laying mash for the chicks.  Another trip tomorrow.

Then I came home and took Taz to the vet for her yearly checkup.  Normally no big deal, but we have two local vets and one was sick, so my vet was seeing his "patients today as well."  What is usually a 20 minute visit turned into over an hour of waiting.  Thankfully, another friend, Mary Jane called, she lives near the vet and she came and visited with Taz and me.  And brought me delicious chicken salad for my lunch!

I got home, tired and cranky but lunch and a quick nap took the edge off.  Did I mention very little sleep last night?  Wild critters moving across the property ( deer and coyote) kept Kodak and Hook on "protect momma mode" most of the night.  Protect momma mode, means lots of barking.

And then UPS knocked on my door this afternoon.  Chicken salad and an original art work, I am blessed with incredible friends.
 Here you have a James C Leonard original.

Friday, September 11, 2020


I have learned if you don't try to control, things go as they should.  And trust me, that is such a hard lesson and even now there is that urge that springs to life in me some days  and I think, I can fix this.
Ha!  And the universe just sits back and laughs.

I talked to a friend/counselor this evening.  It was a conversation that was such a healing balm for my soul.  She and I are truly on the same spirituality plane and as I related my butterfly stories, my conversations with Rick, my need to be by myself , she understood. 

This journey I am on is not for the faint of heart. What I once thought was normal has been swept away by an ocean of tears and will never return.  A part of me, of who I am has left and now I have to navigate this path for the me that has been left behind. 

I am grateful that Rick pushed me to write this blog .  Honestly I thought he was crazy when he suggested it.  My reasons for writing now are so different than they were years ago when I started.
This transformation information is my healing and sharing my story will help if someone else finds themselves walking the path I am on, they will know they are not alone. 

I know friends and family worry about me spending so much time alone, but right now it is what I need.  Face to face conversations are still exhausting, phone conversations can be that way too.
For now, spending time outdoors, tending to the farm, taking care of all my critters...that is my connection to Rick and  my way to process the roller coaster ride I am on daily.  I know the people who love me are only a phone call away and that is safety net, my life line.

Please continue to be kind, to treat those around you the way you wish to be treated.  Life is tough, but people who care make it better.

Thursday, September 10, 2020


 This path that I am on has been glorious and horrific.   The grief and loneliness and sadness, those are horrific transformations you never wish for, but if you live long enough you will experience them. 
The glorious parts have been the love, kindness and goodness that has been showered on me by friends, family and strangers.  I can't tell you how many hours I have spent days on end trying up loose ends, telling the same story over and over to strangers.  Some of them were just doing their job, professional but no empathy.  Others offered love, condolences, kind words and prayers and hope.
Friends and family have called, helped me on the farm, listened to my tears and sobs. Been there when I needed answers and been there when I just needed to know they were there.  Countless emails, messages, cards, letters all came just when I needed them.

Today when I walked to the mailbox there was a package from my friend Christine.  She and I are in the same club, no you don't want to join, it's the widow's club and there are so many of us. Music brought us together and it is a friendship that I cherish. 

For those of you have read my blog for a while, you know that I teach meditation, breath work and yoga at an addiction center.  I have spent the past 20 years of my life encouraging and teaching the importance of breath work.  I know it is easy to forget to breathe, especially in times of stress.  Since Rick's passing I have had to remind myself daily to breathe, Christine's gift  will serve as a daily reminder to breathe.

She sent me the book by Thich Nhat Hanh," this moment is full of wonders."   It is filled with his calligraphy and wisdom.  One of the first pages,  breathe my dear.  There are sections on mindful walking, looking deeply, letting go and being here....I will read this book often.
Tonight in these stressful times, breathe and remember" this moment is full of wonders. "
Be kind to your selves and those around you, even strangers...

Monday, September 7, 2020

Labor Day 2020

A different Labor Day today, just the dogs and chickens and me.  I bought a small rack of ribs and cooked them, made a small bowl of potato salad and baked beans....all foods that Rick loved.
I sent most of it over to my brother Ricky's house for him and Nana and Sam and Jordan to enjoy.
I ate a rib and then took the meat off one and shared the morsels with the dogs.  There is a great deal of new and different every day.  It is a process, this grief.  It comes unexpectedly and it can get ugly.

I appreciate Labor Day.  My mom and dad, brothers were all blue collar workers, union members who worked hard every day of their lives.  Rick's family was the same.  None of us are afraid of a hard day's work and I am grateful for that ethic. 

I hope you all have had a weekend that brought joy and kindness into your lives and I hope you shared that with others.  Let's be kind to each other the rest of the week.

Friday, September 4, 2020

Bee Surprise

It's still very hot and humid here.  There is much to be done but I'm having to wait a bit until the weather cools down.  Rick had plans to build a new shed for the mower and tiller and to add a roof to the chicken run.  And there is some work that needs to be done on the barn.  My nephew, a friend and a neighbor will help me in a couple of weeks with the shed and the run and then maybe in October we can tackle the barn.  One nice thing about being on the farm, I'm exhausted when I go to bed at night.
I don't sleep the whole night but I get a decent night's rest.

I walk the dogs down by orchard which is where the bee hives were.  Yesterday I spied a really tall plant with purple  flowers, when I got closer it looks like some sort of thistle . The thistle here is usually a dark purple and much smaller.  This plant is about eight feet tall.
Whatever it is, it is beautiful and I have never seen a plant like this here on our property.

I call it the bee surprise, or maybe it's a surprise from Rick and the bees.  It's beautiful and purple is my favorite color, so it's a gift.

Many days I am on auto-pilot,  I still miss him so and I know I always will.  But I'm here, so I get up every day and do the best I can.
I hope you all have a good weekend. Be kind, be safe, be well.

Tuesday, September 1, 2020

Bee Garden

It's a full moon tonight, my second one without Rick to walk out on the deck and watch it rise.
It is so beautiful, be sure and take a peek, it will make you smile.
The zinnias know that fall is coming, they always get brighter and more beautiful as the summer starts to fade.  Once again the bee garden was full of butterflies, finches, dragonflies and humming birds, you can feel their energy, for me it is healing.
Today is also the first day September, let's make a promise to each other to be kinder this  month.  Let's make a promise to let go of the fear and anger that seems to permeate the world around us.
Now let's make and keep those promises.

Sunday, August 30, 2020


Since Rick passed, most days I feel a bit like this leaf....hanging by a thread, suspended in time.
I saw this when I walked the dogs yesterday and I thought yep, " me and that leaf, right now we have a lot in common."

Be kind this week, live by the Golden Rule, treat others the way you wish to be treated.  Simple yet powerful way to live.  Ya'll be kind.

Thursday, August 27, 2020

Another Gift

Another beautiful visitor today, she was as big as my hand and actually flew in small circles around my head.  What a gift!  I could literally feel her energy as she flew around me.

Sending kindness to you all tonight and that is my prayer for my country, for the world...that every human remembers what kindness is and that we began to practice it daily.  Is it that hard to be kind? Kindness doesn't cost anything and being kind to each other can change us and the world around us. Or we can choose to live miserable lives filled with fear and hate and spend the rest of our lives wondering why nothing good happens to us.

When I was in high school, a friend gave me a life changing book called "As a Man Thinketh" by  James Allen.  A small powerful book, only 52 pages but it made a lasting impression on a seventeen year old girl.  I have used his quotes often, one of my favorite "nothing can come from corn but corn, nothing from nettles, but nettles."  We do reap what we sow and we do become what we think. We can change ourselves by changing our thoughts, how we see the world and those around us or we can continue to think fear and hate and that is what we will reap. 

Tuesday, August 25, 2020

Grief and Signs

I try  not to write so much about my grief here on the blog, but I realized at some point in our lives we all grieve.  What I have come to understand about my personal grief is this, you can think you are handling things pretty well, but then a grief tsunami washes over you and you realize you are a real amateur when it comes to grieving .

This morning my tsunami hit.  In all  my years of loss, of parents, of a brother, of friends, of grandparents and beloved aunts and uncles and pets, jobs you name loss I thought I had grieved.
Even with Rick I kept having all these what I called meltdowns but the biggie hit today.
It started with a text I sent to a friend this morning.  For those who really know me, you know that music has played a major part in my life since I was a child.  Music has always brought me incredible joy, gotten me through sad times, bad times and good times.  But since Rick has died, I can't pick up the guitar, can't sing and the worst of it all I can't listen to music and I have tried.  I can listen to snippets but to listen to a whole song of any genre ( country, blues ( my favorite), folk, rock, new age, classical) I can't do it.  I sent my friend who is a singer/songwriter and lover of music the text.
About two hours later I was drowning, lying face down on the sofa, sobbing uncontrollably, pleading with Rick to come back and wishing I could go to sleep and not wake up.

Since Rick's death I had cried, I  have had many moments of anger, this morning was the deepest sadness I have ever experienced in my life.  I could taste loss, feel it, smell it.   As I lay there, Kodak came over to the couch and began to lick my face.  I had a profound understanding of the workings of the universe at that point.  In November when Kodak the puppy wondered up in our yard, we did every thing possible to find his family but no luck.  I kept telling Rick we just couldn't keep him, he was too active, too lively, a chewer.  Calliou didn't like him, Hook tolerated him and Taz was planning his demise. But Rick, he loved that wacky pup so of course we kept him.  Did I mention he chewed up over $500 in shoes, countless towels, napkins and anything else he could get his teeth into.

Today as I drowned in my grief and he licked my face and would not leave my side I understood why we kept him, why he's here.

Tropical rains moved in early, so it was bit later before I could walk the dogs.  After my episode on the sofa the rains moved out for a while and the dogs and I headed out.  As I took my daily path down the side of the yard to the barn, I saw something white  on my largest gardenia bush.  Now our blooms and buds have been gone for months, but there in the middle of all those lush green leaves was a pure white fragrant blossom.  Gardenias, I can't get enough of them, when they bloom I fill the house with vases of them.  Rick knew those were flowers that were dear to my heart.  It was as though after all the grief, there was hope and love in that single blossom.  I believe in signs, do you?

Monday, August 24, 2020

Unique Sunset

Usually our sunsets are vivid, lots of reds, golds, oranges that bleed to purple and blue and then pinks and soft yellows.  This evening the light was pure gold.  Maybe it is the activity in the gulf, the changing of the season, who knows.  But instead of the light deepening and becoming more vivid in color, this evening  it is golden and crisp, bathing everything around the farm  in a light I haven't seen in years.

It was exciting to look out the windows and see light more like a sunrise than a sunset.  Everything looked more alive bathed in the brightness.

Several things accomplished on my list today and tomorrow Jordan is coming to spend some time with me.  There are a couple of chores I need help with and he is happy to help.

I hope this week brings you great joy and that every day someone touches your life with kindness.

Friday, August 21, 2020


Jordan and his Nana came over for a visit this evening.  The deck is nice and shady around 5:30 or so.
In the flowers,  ( the bee garden) there were butterflies, dragon flies, humming birds and little yellow finches, all in a beautiful dance.  Suddenly this beautiful butterfly came over where Jordan and I were sitting.  It danced around Jordan, the butterfly bushes and me.  I kept asking him to let me take a picture and then in the blink of an eye, he posed for me.  He stayed on that bush as long as were out there and when Jordan and Nana went home and I walked in the house he came up to the back door.
Hello Rick!

Wednesday, August 19, 2020


Today was a day of small firsts, I did yoga this morning for the first time since Rick died.  Today was the first day I did not have a total melt down since he died.  And when the rains moved in this evening, I giggled out loud for the first time since he died.  I am grateful for those firsts.

Those firsts are reassuring and to sit here and type these words while the rain is pouring feels healing.

Those ties that I keep having to tie are starting to come together as well and there are not so many of them now.  Still some biggies to deal with, but my strength is coming back and I can take deep breaths again.  I still feel beaten and raw, but I make myself find something every morning to be grateful for and every night as well.

I looked up at the sky yesterday as I was having a melt down and saw those beautiful puffs against that vivid blue.  Seeing beauty, being outdoors has been my salvation these days.

I hope you all are well.  Don't forget to be kind and I wish you peace.

Sunday, August 16, 2020

Summer Blues

One month ago today, my life changed in a way that I would never ever wish for myself or anyone else.  Somedays it feels like it has been forever and then there are those moments when it seems to have all just happened.
As much as I have hated tying those lose ends I realize that in many ways that tying has been  a way to step aside from the pain and emptiness.  In a few weeks everything will be tied and those lists I make every morning ...well, we shall see.

His fans, people who loved his writings keep calling and sending me cards and letters.  He was so loved, his writing connected with so many.  I don't know what to say to them, except I am sorry, thank you for loving his writings.
There are moments that I hear that catch in their voice,  and  I wish it had been me instead of him that left this life.  He meant so much to so many and here I am trying to pick up the pieces and console others.  This is a strange legacy he left.

I gather fresh flowers for the house today.   Never have I seen so many butterflies, dragonflies and humming birds, one dragonfly perched for a moment on my finger and so many humming birds tweeted as they flew by me.  I felt wrapped in love in that garden this morning and I am grateful.

I picked the last of the hydrangeas today, they are no longer the blue of early summer but now the color has softened to almost a lavender blue.  The nice thing about the zinnias the end of summer and early fall seem to energize them, bigger blooms and brighter colors.

I hope your week is filled with peace and kindness.  Be safe, be well.

Tuesday, August 11, 2020

Fall's Promise

Some days there are gifts, small subtle ones, yet beautiful gifts.  Yesterday when I walked the dogs I looked down in the ferns that line the road to the barn, there was my gift.  The  most beautifully colored leaf promising that fall would come was nestled in the ferns.  I brought it home and placed it in one of my ferns out front and yes the colors have already faded but the promise has not.

I am still tying up the loose strings and some days those strings are such a tangled mess.  I remember to breathe,  I shed a few tears or maybe a lot and start the process of detangling.  This path is one that I could never imagine, yet I walk it daily.  I see Rick everywhere on this small farm and in our home.
I keep waiting for him to come through the door, yet I know in my heart he won't.

Rain is falling and the sound is so sweet on the tin roof.  I sat out on the screened porch and breathed the wonderful scent of rain on dry dirt.  In between the drops I made sure the hens had some corn to help them make it through the night.

It is so nice to know that no matter where all of you are tonight, you might be reading my words.  I know you miss Rick's words and pictures, so so I.  Tomorrow is mid-week, hump day.  Be kind, be grateful and treat those around you the way you would want to be treated.

Saturday, August 8, 2020

Fern Garden

Thanks for your advice, I did it today and hopefully it works, fingers crossed.
The heat has been relentless here this week.  I get up around five each morning and try to accomplish everything that needs to be done outside by 9:00 am  or 10:00am.  Then I come in and do what needs to be done on my list.

The photo today is our last outdoor project together.  It is not finished, but it's getting there.
Our front yard was so shady and so full of tree roots that I had decided we would just go into the woods and start digging up ferns and planting them.  Some are planted in the ground, others we planted in containers.  Rick loved the idea and it really is looking very magical.   We have rain moving in by the middle of this coming week, if that happens then the dogs and I will go to the woods and dig more ferns to plant.  I can't begin to tell you all how much I miss him.

I've gotten the fall crop of tomatoes planted and this week I will start arugula seeds for containers.
Then there will be greens to get started, collards and kale and mustard.  I miss the bees but I know they are being cared for by people who know how to care for them. I still walk down to the area where we kept the hives hoping to see a rogue bee who stayed behind.

Jordan and my brother Ricky came over yesterday and we cleaned the chicken pen, putting fresh hay in the laying boxes and fresh cedar shavings in the roosting area.  Nothing brings you face to face with reality like shoveling chicken poop.  :)

I hope you all have had a weekend full of peace and kindness and good health.  I'm resting tomorrow and might try to do a bit of painting.  I haven't picked the guitar up yet, way too soon.

Friday, August 7, 2020

Help Me

A few weeks before Rick passed, I started getting random lewd sexual comments on past blog entries.  He thought he had stopped it, but they have continued and are becoming more frequent.
Can any of you help me, tell me what to do or who to contact.
Thanks for any input or advice you can offer.  Rick was the technical wiz,  all I know how to do is write this blog. 

Wednesday, August 5, 2020


I am working out simple morning routines.  Feed the chickens, walk the dogs, feed the birds, do the chores around the house and then spend hours on the phone.

There are so many loose ends to tie, and with every call there is the same story to be told over and over.
And no matter how hard I try, somewhere in the middle of telling that story to a faceless voice, I cry.

After about three hours on the phone,  I go outside.
I walk around the yard, pet the dogs and cry a bit more.  By then I eat a bit of lunch and spend the afternoon reading or writing in my journal.  Then it's time to feed and water the chicks, gather the eggs and let the dogs run again.

I'm getting there, where ever there is.  I do feel stronger and my mantra has become " I can do this."
Though most of the time I am not sure what "I can do this" means.

I am still getting so many cards and calls.  I am sure Rick never imagined how much he was loved.  I hope somehow now, he knows.

Sunday, August 2, 2020


It has been a day of beauty.  Every time I looked out back or stepped out on the deck, there were butterflies all over the butterfly bush.  I always pick fresh flowers on Sunday mornings for the house and there were butterflies all around me...I felt wrapped in love and beauty.

There is a peace that has been with me today.  Maybe it is all the love and energy and prayers from those who loved Rick, maybe Rick himself has had a hand in it, but I have felt peace today.

I called a dear friend this afternoon.  She did not know about Rick.  She lives out of town and she is a fellow songwriter.  We cried tears and promised as soon as it is safe we will get together.

A friend from California sent me wonderful words of comfort today.

On the Sunday before a full moon, Rick and I always did a gratitude ceremony.  I continued that tradition this evening.  Even with a broken heart there is much to be grateful for, and I can't let myself forget that.  I gave thanks for my many blessings.

I hope that for all of you there has been peace in your lives today.   I hope this coming week is full of kindness, good health and peace for us all.   Let me introduce you to one of my visitors today.  Isn't she a beauty!

Friday, July 31, 2020


It's been a day. This morning was spent dealing with more and more paper work and phone calls.
This afternoon we had a rough storm, torrential rain and gusty winds.  The power went off.
I reported the outage and waited.   My brother's wife, Deb came over to check on me.  As I walked her out the door, we both looked up and saw a tree limb dangling on my power lines.
At that moment an Alabama Power truck came by and Deb flagged him down.  He saw the immediate issue and then realized that other limbs were on the line as well.
He spent over an hour, cutting and removing limbs off my power lines.  When the power was restored I made sure I gave him a shout out on social media.

Between the phone calls, and the storm and the outage I have definitely cried a few tears.  This evening I cooked my first meal since the day Rick died.  Samantha has had grueling days this week on her new job with home health care and spending her off day helping me.  I made one of her and Rick's favorite meals of roast chicken and vegetables.  I truly love cooking and being back in the kitchen today was soothing and healing.

This healing/grief process is so complicated.  There are moments that I think I am stronger and things are getting better and then the flood gates open and there is a monsoon of tears falling down my cheeks and I realize I am still a basket case.  There are still so many friends that I want to talk with, but a conversation takes an incredible amount of energy. 

After the storm I walked around the property picking up small limbs and with each one telling Rick how much I miss him.  I am grateful for all who read this blog, maybe at some point in your life my words will help some of you.  But, what I am going through these days....I wouldn't wish on my worst enemy.  I find myself singing that old song from the 60's Turn, Turn, Turn.  You know the one that the words are from the Bible, for everything there is a season.  This is quite a season.

Wednesday, July 29, 2020


I have always made lists and used a day planner.  I am grateful for that, especially now.  It is overwhelming all that needs to be done.  Each morning I am trying to only put 3 or 4 things on the list and get those done by the end of the day.  It would probably help if I didn't cry so much.

At first I didn't think I could write this blog anymore, but I think it is helping the grief and the healing.  I wish I were more computer literate, Rick loved technology and I admit I have tried to avoid  it for the most part. 

I talked with his bee mentor, he is coming for the bees tomorrow evening.  I love them and I will miss them so much, but Rick was just teaching me and I know I cannot
care for them the way he did.  His bee mentor's name is Ricky so I think it is fitting that they go to live with him.  He will love them and care for them and he has promised to bring me the honey from Rick's hives when he harvests.

Hook and Taz seem more settled today.  Kodak misses him, but he's only been with us less than a year.  Hook and Taz are old family members.  I am grateful for these dogs, I talk to them, hug them and feel their connection to Rick.

I called this blog Transformation Information because I wanted it to be a link to students that I had through the years as well as blog friends.  With Rick's death, writing these words are helping me through the biggest transformation I have ever gone through.  Maybe in some way, my transformation will help some of you.

Thank you for your love and kindness, your prayers and energies, thank you for being there.  I wanted to add the photo of the zinnias, to let you know I still see the beauty around me.

Tuesday, July 28, 2020


We are living in the land of limbo here on the farm.   The chickens have stopped laying.  Maybe it's the heat, maybe it's the fact that a few weeks ago Rick had asked one of his friends to adopt our rooster because he had become aggressive  with the kids and he came by Saturday and took him to a new hen house.  But the hens are still very loving and attentive so maybe it's just the heat.

Have you ever seen a dog cry?  I had not, not until yesterday.  Hook goes to the window a dozen times during the day watching for Rick to get out of his truck.  Yesterday I sat down beside him and when he looked at me, a tear rolled down his cheek.  The broken pieces of my heart broke into more pieces.

I am in the throes of the paper trail now.  Calling and changing things like bills to my name, trying to make decisions and hoping that I am doing what Rick would do.  I keep watching for him, to walk through the field from the barn or the honey house.  I keep waiting to hear his voice or hear his laugh.

Jordan spent the morning with me.  He's finally eating and speaking to me, but won't talk about Rick.
There is not a manual for this stuff, not really.  This is fly by the seat of your pants and hope you don't mess up stuff.  Walking through darkness, catching glimpses of light that is how my days have been.
This grief is so different from that of losing my parents and brother.  I have lost a part of me.

Take care of yourselves, be kind, wear masks, be safe, be well.

Sunday, July 26, 2020

You Don't

Tonight I made myself a cup of hot tea.  The first I have had since Rick passed.  It was such a simple ritual, one we did nightly, drinking a cup of hot herbal tea before bed.  His favorite was honey lavender and I would sometimes have red zinger, or rose or maybe peppermint.   
Tonight it seemed that hot cup of tea was calling my name, wanting my hands to embrace the mug and let it's warmth soothe my soul.

My life changed on July 16 and every day the ways it has changed add up.  To say I miss him, that only skims the surface.  I am rather lost right now.  Covid 19 changed normal for most of us, but this has erased my normal forever.  These days I am trying to create some ritual of living that makes sense to my broken heart.

I know all you blog followers loved him.  You loved his pictures, his words, his human kindness.
He loved you all as well.  He would spend hours sometimes just reading and catching up on your blogs.   I confess, I have not been that diligent and I will do better, just give me time.

Take care of yourselves, be kind to each other.  No matter how many years you live, life is short.
One of my favorite quotes I have used on my board at work for years, " you think you have time, but you don't."  I have found out the truth of those words.

Stay well, wear your masks,  and above all be kind.  I will write again soon.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Living the Dream

If anyone had told me that last Wednesday would have been my last day on this planet with Rick I would have laughed, and asked what the punch line was.
It has been a week, a second, a decade, a lifetime.  It has been hell, tears, pain.  It has been laughter and love and memories.
He had not felt well for some time.  And we would talk about his needing to see a doc, but he was so worried about me catching Covid 19, we kept putting it off.  The weekend before the heat and humidity was brutal and as always our to do list here on the farm was a long one.  On Saturday I think he might have suffered heat exhaustion or maybe heat stroke.  That night was a long one and on Sunday he still felt bad.  We used ice packs and lots of fluids.  On Monday he went to see our local urgent care doc.
He had a bad prostate infection, dehydration, but no evidence of virus showed up in the blood test.
We called our family doctor on Tuesday and made an appointment for Thursday to come in for tests and blood work.
On Wednesday he was better, we walked to the barn, checked on the bees and chickens, but we cut our walk short, the heat was getting to him.  We came home, he rested and I cooked lunch.
Lunch was one of his favorites, fresh corn, fried greed tomatoes and purple hull peas, and he ate better than he had in a few days.
That afternoon I cut his hair,  ( because our family doc has a beautiful NP and he didn't want her to think he was a shaggy old man) :)    He showered,  our nephew Haven called, and our friend Wes called.  By dinner he was not feeling as well and after a few bites  he wanted to study for  his upcoming Bee Masters exam.
We went to bed and he fell asleep.  Around midnight, he woke me up saying he couldn't breathe.
We got up and went to the couch.  Things got worse and I called 911, I began CPR.  The local first responders came and they took over, then the ambulance crew came and they took over.  After 40 minutes or so, he was carried to our hospital in Jasper and the doctor told me what I knew the moment I started CPR, he was no longer with us.
I am living in a cloud of shock.  Right now I am functioning on auto-pilot.
I have lost someone who has been in my life since I was 15 years old.  It has been a magical life, full of love, good times, music, travel, incredible friendships.  I have lived the dream with him.
If anyone ever asked how he was, his response was always the same "living the dream."
It was the truth.  We lived the dream.