About Me

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Watkinsville, Georgia, United States
We lost my beautiful wife of 20 years on 9/12/07. Lisa was my world she was my everything and now she is gone. We are learning to live without Lisa now. I say we because I am not alone. My children are stuck in this mess with me. These are my notes, my vent, my way of letting you all know that we are doing well (some days). This is for myself, my friends and my family that want to know how we are doing and what we are up to. Along the way I hope this might also help someone else who has been dealt a similar hand.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

In Case You're Wondering

A friend recently asked me a question.  They were wondering if I had maybe in some way elevated Lisa in my mind and maybe consciously or even sub-consciously forgotten bad memories.  The exact question was this…

I have always wanted to ask.  I have never heard a negative comment about Lisa come from your mouth. Is that a conscious decision? I know her goodness was so large.  Even I know that from the little time I knew her personally. Over time did the bad memories get over come by the grief? Every couple has their area of conflict. Just wondering...

My response was…

As for speaking negatively, I didn’t do it when she was alive and I certainly don’t have a reason to do it now.  We both had a rather low opinion of people that would speak ill of their spouse.  Even in jest, we found it to be rather childish and inconsiderate.  She, as far as I know, never spoke ill of me and I basically never spoke ill of her.  In fact, more often than not, we would tend to brag about each other more often then we probably should have.  I would say we tended to build each other up rather than tear each other down.  I was and still am extremely proud of her.  I was proud of her hard work, her unwavering standards, her success, accomplishments and high level of ethics.  I can also tell you I told her that often.  I can also tell you that she told me the same on a regular basis.

Of course we had our disagreements and issues, more than some and not as many as others.  She drove me slap up the wall from time to time.  But I also know, I had the ability to drive her nuts every now and then also.  However, we never aired our grievances in public or with other people.  We worked our problems out with each other.  I suppose we loved each other a whole lot more than we drove each other nuts.

NO the grief has not erased any bad memories.  I don’t think that I really have any “bad memories” of our time together.  We had the occasional argument and I still remember some of them.  However, there was nothing to warrant me calling it a “bad memory”.  Heck, I can remember us, after the fact, having a pretty good laugh about an argument or two from time to time.  We didn’t have any huge issues or secrets.  What your see is pretty much what it was… It was awesome…

I'll tell you a story – When we were moving into the farm house, Lisa was pretty upset about moving.  She was a mess and a bundle of emotions.  She cried more than once about leaving the Mallard house.  Anyhow, on closing/moving day I was pretty much a mess too.  The stress of the house sale/purchase along with my shoulder injury (I was still in an arm sling on moving day) had just about broke me physiologically.  I was just about in tears when Abby found me out in that nasty garage and asked me what was wrong.  I told her I was worried about Mom.  I told her I was worried that Mom was unhappy and all I wanted was for her to be happy.  I told her how much I loved her Mom and that I was just worried about her happiness.  Abby could tell that I was pretty upset.  Later that night, Lisa told me something.  She said that Abby came to her during the day and said “Daddy sure does love you a lot”.  She then told Lisa about how upset I was earlier that day.  She told me she loved me and that everything would work out, just like she did so many times before.

Like I said, what you see is pretty much what it was…

So now you all know my answer to this.  Just in case you too were wondering…

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Bedroom Box

It’s been about ten days since it snowed here in central Georgia and there are still a few patches of snow here and there.  It was quite an event and one I’m sure, or at least I hope, we will not see again for quite a while.  The kids were out of school for an entire week and I’m pretty sure they didn’t mine in the least.

Given the fact it was so cold and messy outside this weekend, I spent most of my time in the house.  It gave me time to get caught up on a few things that have needed my attention for some time now. 

You see, there’s been this box sitting on the floor in my bedroom for three years and four months.  It’s a box of things that Jamie collected from Lisa’s classroom.  Just some personal items, trinkets and pictures that Lisa kept in her classroom.  When Jamie brought it to me I sat it in on the floor in my bedroom and it’s been sitting there, collecting dust, ever since.

I don’t know if it’s remained there due to a lack of courage, time or energy.  Maybe I just got sick of looking at it and telling myself I needed to do something with that stuff.  I don’t know why but this weekend I finally decided to tackle it.  It took three false starts and I even wound up throwing some things out only to dig them back out of the trashcan.  I went through it and organized it, like I do most things, and packed it up for storage.

It was just a box but it really feels good to have it out of there. 

Since the last bay of the garage is almost finished, I’ll have a place for that box along with several others soon.  I finished up the electrical and the last of the insulation and ran out of steam.  So, I hired the drywall out.  I decided my time was more valuable then the money I would spend having someone else do the work.  The annual FFA statewide woodworking competition is coming up in just a couple of months and Matt wants to enter a project. 

He didn’t get to do a project last year due to my slow progress on the cabinets that I was building for the shop side of the garage.  He is looking for some payback this year after only winning second place for that fantastic podium that he made his freshman year.  This years project is an Adirondack chair and he’s going to use a design (pictured above) that I came up with several years ago when I made one for Lisa.  I made it for her one Christmas and promised her that it was a one of a kind for her.  While I promised her that I wouldn't make another one for anyone else, I don’t think she would mind Matt borrowing the design.

I think the boy might just take first place this year…

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Slip Sliding Away

I finally got Baby-Girl home.  She led the way and I followed at a safe distance.  She did pretty well until she hit the driveway.  The long incline along with all the ice was just too much for her little two-wheel drive SUV.  She got about half way up and just started sliding back down.  After a couple of attempts I finally got her to the top.  Then I realized she would have to go back down it in the morning.  So back down I went… going down was a good bit easier than going up.  Now don’t laugh but no sooner did I get her taken care of and in the house she wanted to know if I thought it would be okay to go to the gym and work-out.

Yeah I know…but I’m trying to let her make her own decisions so rather than go with my gut and shout something like “have you lost your mind” I asked her a simple question.  Is possibly having a wreck worth going to the gym?  She said yes it was and I replied well I don’t think that’s a very smart choice.

Nothing else was said but as I’m typing this she is over there on the couch playing “angry birds” and I’m pretty proud of the fact that she decided to play it safe.  After all, if she had wound up in the ditch, who’s she going to call and drag out into the dark and cold?  That’s right, me…

Maybe she’s finally figuring out that when she has a problem, most of the time it turns into a problem for me!

Its going to be dang cold again tonight but on the bright side it will get well above freezing tomorrow afternoon.  That should help thaw things out.  Now I'm just keeping my fingers crossed that I don't find any busted pipes when the thaw hits.  The house should be fine but we have water down at the barn and no heat.  I'm just going to think positive and keep my fingers crossed.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Deep South Deep Freeze

What a week…

With a good snowstorm being in the forecast for Sunday night the kids knew they would be stuck her for the day.  They also knew that I have never, not gone to work due to the weather.  It might take me a while but four-wheel drive and light foot will do a lot for you.  Since they both figured I would be heading to work on Monday they both took off Sunday to spend the night with friends.  Little did we realize just how bad things were going to get. 

I woke up at 4:00 on Monday morning to a real mess.  For the first time ever, I was I was not willing to make the drive.  I called my boss and we both agreed to close the factory we run.

It’s Wednesday night and things are not much better.  We worked a half day Tuesday and had a late start today.  Most of the main roads are clear but all our little backcountry roads are hit and miss. 

Jet, Bo (the horses) and Pancake (Matt’s calf) have been stuck in the barn since Sunday night but they seem to be happy to be out of the cold, snow and ice.  It’s been a bit challenge to keep them in water and get them fed twice a day while still working and running to see the kids and deliver clean clothes.

The picture above was taken this morning just as the sun was coming up.  It appears to be a frozen lake but is actually a photo of the pasture just outside my living room window.  It’s basically about seven inches of snow with about an eighth of an inch of ice over top of it.  I was actually able to walk on it without breaking through.

School has been closed all week and it’s canceled for tomorrow too.  Maybe, things will thaw out a bit more tomorrow and I can get my kids back home and let the animals out of the barn.  I’m not holding my breath considering the five day forecast.

But, thank goodness for four-wheel drive and friends.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

A Double Edged Sword

Grief is a blessing…

NO, I haven’t lost my mind or taken to drink in excess.  I have just been blessed with a mind that thinks non-stop and likes to excessively examine things and look at them from every perspective.  A, long ago, mentor once told me that knowledge is power.  He said that if you are knowledgeable about something then you can make meaningful and informed decisions about it.  He also went on to say that you can think something to death and that you will never have all the information that is available so at a point you need to let the bullets fly.  On the subject of grief, I would say that I have analyzed it and thought it to death and it may be time to let the bullets fly.  And while I am not a trained professional I have experienced my share of it.  So, here it is…

Greif is a blessing at the same time it is a curse.

It compels you to look deep within yourself as it forces you to look all around you. 

It forces you into a corner as it helps you to step out in new directions. 

It changes you for the better and for the worse. 

It will scar you at the same time it heals you.

It is noxious at the same time it is beneficial.

It has made me sad while it has forced me to smile upon things.

It rips away what is not important while building up what is really important.

It is the same for all while being different for each.

It can make you question and drive you closer to it.

It can blind you yet help you to see things more clearly.

It can help you love more deeply and make you hate more intensely.

It can harden you at the same time it softens you.

I think that some may have trouble understanding all this but I also think that those of you who have experienced what I and many others have will understand how grief can be a curse at the same time it is a blessing.

This post is dedicated to my friend Janine whom inspired it.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

One With One on One-One

I’m sad to say I am off for only one more day. I am one with one on one, one, eleven.  Rather apropos wouldn’t you say?

I almost feel guilty for feeling so good.  Note I said almost… It does feel good to feel good however.  And I feel rested and rejuvenated.  I can’t tell you how long it’s been since I felt rested… I guess that just goes to show you what two weeks of getting more than six hours of sleep each night will do for one.

It’s been a great two weeks and after tomorrow we are back to our normal schedules.  Oh, how I am going to miss my time off.  Of course, someone has to pay the bills so it’s back to work like it or not.

It’s been the best Christmas break in three years.  Of course I have had my moments and missed my sweet Lisa but overall it’s been pretty darn enjoyable.  Even the rain that has been falling most of the day has not dampened my spirits.

We have had many good meals with wonderful friends.  We have stayed up late most nights and been slow to rise each morning.  Most days have been productive but overall stress free.  I feel more balanced than I have in a long time.  I was able to find a balance between working in the shop and around the farm with taking some time out to play and just enjoy my time off.  That’s a triumph for me, as I tend to be so all-or-nothing with so many things in my life.

As with a lot of things over the past two weeks, I have broken with tradition and I am not taking down the Christmas tree this weekend.  Matt said it’s too depressing taking down the tree and I agreed.  There’s just something about coming home to a warmly lit Christmas tree.  It makes the house feel warm and comforting.  So, we decided we would leave it up until next weekend.

Maybe next weekend we’ll have a late New Years celebration with little bonfire down near the barn.  We can toss the tree on it for a grand finale.  Who knows, I might even drink a beer!

Happy New Year to all of you.   May your blessings be abundant in the coming year and if your heart is broken like mine, may it heal and become strong again as mine continues too.