Posted in Blog Hops and Fests, Life Writing, Parenting, slices of life, SoCS, Stream of Consciousness Saturday, Weekend Coffee Share

Redefine for #SoCS/#WeekendCoffeeShare


If we were having coffee, I’d be reminiscing about life.  Over the last year or so, my life has changed in so many ways I still feel like I’m trying to wrap my head around the simple facts of it, let alone the scope of the implications.

The most obvious change is my husband’s death of Stage 4 pancreatic cancer on January 12. He was officially diagnosed on November 13, 2017 – so those not-quite 2 months were clearly the seismic shift that ended with finality with his death.

But cancer, even aggressive kinds, doesn’t happen in a sudden flash. Jim hadn’t felt great for a few months before a painful swollen leg sent him to the doctor, then the emergency room, then a diagnosis of deep vein thrombosis that led to the discovery of the tumor on his liver…

A tumor that had been just a spot way back on August 24, when it was spotted on another emergency room ultrasound, when we thought the pain in his abdomen might be appendicitis, so went the night after our 20th anniversary, when we’d gone out to an oyster bar and feasted on rich foods we usually don’t indulge in. That spot, which would kill him not 6 months later, was suspected of being fatty liver disease, and Jim was so sure that’s what it was, he didn’t follow up with his primary care doctor.

Since she couldn’t have saved him, even then, I think maybe it was for the best that he didn’t, because we had those months of relative ignorance, and even though Jim wasn’t feeling especially well, those were charmed months.

It was during this time when Jim’s hot sauce business – a dream he had way back when we first met – really started to take off. We worked farmer’s markets and events, met lots of people, and Jim got to share his passion and see the expressions of the people who tried and loved his creations. He didn’t have a lot of energy, but we had a lot of fun, and I picked up a lot of slack…which means I was pretty exhausted and overwhelmed, though happy to be helping him realize a dream.

While we were so busy, we were also neglecting some things in and around the house, because there just wasn’t time or energy to get to them.

And that’s where I am right now  – with a roof in desperate need of replacing, with bathroom and kitchen floors that aren’t far behind, and ceilings in the wings that have leaked and need patching.

And Jim was the handy one…

During the time between his diagnosis and death, we talked about many improvements we might make. We’d been shopping for a sectional sofa – our son, at 16, is about 6’3”, and our 13 year old daughter is closing in on my 5’9, so more space was indicated. We had a budget and a style in mind, but hadn’t found the perfect unit yet.

Since Jim died, I’ve been giving these things some thought – but the death of a spouse comes with a lot of immediacy – things that need to be done, children who need tending, dishes and laundry, sleeping and eating and absorbing.

A candid couple moment at the playground, September 2013.

It’s interesting, and sometimes very overwhelming, the way the new ideas are creeping in around the edges and through the middle of other things I’m doing.

It feels a bit like cheating on Jim when I realize I can change the budget for the sectional, and get the ottoman he didn’t like but the kids and I do; or when I changed our bedroom to be my bedroom, with a large corner workstation and a far more feminine flair – and, as happened earlier today, I realize that I want to replace the large and heavy bed, built like a miniature house with 4×4 inch posts, with something we didn’t share – and that the bed frame, which is incredibly heavy and was built in this room, is the perfect size and shape to frame the woodshed I dreamed of putting by the door, so we can get to our firewood easily, and without braving the elements to do it.

It feels like cheating…and it doesn’t. Jim is dead, even though my heart and soul don’t want to accept that fact, and I need to redefine my life if I am to move forward -as a mother, and as a person. Everything I do won’t be what I would have done, if Jim was still alive, and I was still his wife, and not his widow. But my role has been redefined, and so I need to redefine to thrive…

So I will move through the process – and maybe, one day, it will feel natural and fine.

Join us at Stream of Consciousness Saturday, where this week’s prompt is the word “fine” – with bonus points for ending with that word.

Pop on over to #weekendcoffeeshare for more weekending fun!


I am myself. I own my life, and live with three other people who own theirs. My intention is to do only those things that bring me joy, and to give myself wholly to those things I do. Writing has been my passion throughout my life, and this will become the home for my writing life...because it brings me great joy!

12 thoughts on “Redefine for #SoCS/#WeekendCoffeeShare

  1. Wow. This was so beautifully written. Bittersweet…your love and his soul were tangible in the words, along with your loss. I felt guilty for clinging to every word, as I so wish you did not have to write them. Thinking of you and your family…

    1. I wish I didn’t, either, Jami – but, since I did, it’s good that they’ve moved you, It’s a way to honor and remember Jim, who was definitely one of the good guys.

      We’re doing well. The three of us have each other, and an excellent relationship born of almost a decade of partnership parenting. It helps so much.

      Thank you for your kind words.

  2. Worthy SHANJENIAH! I found incredible this cutting out of his history of life. His love for the husband and his concerns posthumous. He died knowing the wife who had: zealous and kind. He sleeps in peace. Keep on surviving lovely moments with the children and the grandchildren, etc. always Write to exorcize his ghosts.

    1. Well, I can’t say yet if there will be grandchildren, but the two amazing kids we created together bring much joy and solace. It’s nice to have people to care for and share with.

      Thank you for your lovely comment.

  3. No matter the challenge, we can move forward with affirmations — for what was good in the past and for what we can create in the future. You are so strong and loving, growing, yes changing, but keeping memories close. You are on a path we will all walk, so consider us all with you, learning as we go.

    1. Thank you, Sandra. Coming from someone who writes as powerfully as you, this is high praise – even if I’d rather have it for pretty much anything else….

      I tend to be an optimistic realist. I’m here, the kids are here, and I owe it to all of us, and to the commitment I made to Jim, to take care of all of us as best I can.

      Finding as much beauty and joy as I can along the way makes it all a little better. I never would have chosen to be in this place, but I’m here, so….Kaiidth. What is, is.This is where I am; this is where I begin the rest of my life from,

      Though no one can erase the pain of losing my best friend and mate of two decades, I’d love to get together for lunch and/or coffee sometime, at your convenience, Time spent with people who inspire and delight definitely helps!

    1. Thank you so much. He was one of a kind – MY kind. I miss him – the sweetness, the silliness, the serious…all parts of the man I love still, and imagine I always will.

      I am so fortunate to have met this man from the other side of the continent in the unlikeliest of places – practically on the edge of the Grand Canyon!

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