March 3, 2015

Good Riddance to February

Of all of the months of the year, I have never been fond of February. The most dreadful winter weather occurs then, and it was especially spiteful this year. I honestly have lost track of how many ice and snowstorms came through east Tennessee in the past two weeks. I know that I shoveled more snow during that short period than the past five years. Thankfully, two neighborhood kids showed up for the last snow event and cleared my driveway and walk for some pocket change. I provided hot chocolate as refreshment and an additional reward after their job was done. And the electric power stayed on, so Angel and I were safe and warm. Thank you, God!

My blogging activities continue to be minimal. Grief and despair have a firm grip on my heart. Who in the world wants to read about all of that? And reading everybody’s happy-go-lucky posts about their contented, normal lives only provides a dramatic comparison of how mine is not. The two-month anniversary of Jim’s death was last week. I spent the day alone, like most days, and I cried a lot. Welcome to my depressing world.

I don’t blame you if you click out now and go visiting a blog that talks about a fun shopping adventure, cheerful family event, or new recipe. Go ahead and scoot if you are looking for amusement. No worries or hard feelings.

I don’t know when the darkness it is going to lighten.  Most of the time I feel like I am just going through the motions of living a strange, unfamiliar life, waiting until I die and the nightmare ends. I wake up each day to a solitary life, filled with sorrow. (Sorry, keeping it real here.) It doesn’t help that I don’t feel very well right now and continue to sleep poorly. Yes, I have moments of transient joy, especially when I play with Angel.  But a dark shadow is always there. To survive, I push myself onward, forcing myself to get out of bed and face it all. What other choice do I have? To distract myself, I make sure that I fill my days with an abundance of tasks. There is much to be done, tending to the business of death and managing the household by myself.

I got our 2014 income tax return completed and submitted. The IRS requires that a taxpayer’s death be prominently proclaimed at the top of the paperwork. So I had to figure out how to get that unhappy chore accomplished this time with TaxAct, the online tax preparation tool that I use. I also did some rough calculations about my 2015 tax burden. Get this – my income is now significantly less, but the annual tax amount will go up. I’ve had to drastically increase my withholding rate so that I don’t have a huge tax bill this time next year. Yes, the Federal government really puts the screws to single taxpayers.

It has been an exercise of frustration to get Jim’s 401(k) retirement account converted over to a rollover IRA in my name. Charles Schwab manages the account. The process delays give me the impression that their staff is incompetent and inefficient. I swear that Schwab must hire their employees from the department of motor vehicles! It will be a relief when I can finally get the money transferred over to Vanguard, where I have all of my other investments.

I have also been inventorying camera equipment, including Jim’s. It has been a sad task, reminding me of broken dreams of future journeys together.  My photography hobby, shared with my sweet husband, will never be the same again. An initial shipment is on its way to a used camera dealer. I hope to get another shipment out this week after I finish cleaning more gear. I’m also buying some new, lighter equipment. All of that is the subject of another post on another day.

I have additional solo task (aren’t they all?) to complete this week, and I’m sure that this one will be very sorrowful.  I have to review the drawing for the cemetery headstone.  It is a double one, with Jim’s name and dates on the left and my information on the right. Given my current level of (in)stability, I hope the cemetery staff has an adequate amount of tissues on hand.

If you are still reading this, you need a little reward for slogging through all of my morose ramblings. So here is a cute photo of Angel, basking in some sunshine coming through my office window. She continues to settle in and provide me with loving company. While I am busy going to and fro, working on this and that, she enjoys quality time on one of her beds (located strategically throughout my cottage). Her obedience classes have been cancelled twice due to weather, so training will continue into this month. Angel is a sweet little girl, and right now this bundle of fur is keeping me alive.

I know I will receive more emotional healing once the weather improves and spring temperatures arrive. It doesn’t help to be cooped up in the house all of the time. I count my blessings when I get notes and text messages from my blogging friends. I’ve even gotten some very thoughtful gifts! (You know who you are.) You bring brightness and smiles to my days. God bless you and thank you for remembering me and touching my life. It prompts me to focus on gratitude.


  1. Good to hear from you Donna. I'm so hoping the severe winter weather will pass.
    We have ice today and it's no fun at all. It will be fun for you to walk little Angel when the weather gets better. She sure is a cutie!

  2. i'm glad you've kept power through the continued snow and ice storms you've been getting! every time i hear the weather forecast for that part of the country, i think of you. angel is a doll and a good companion for you, no doubt. still, i understand how each day does not seem like a gift any longer. but i'm hoping as spring finally arrives, it will cheer you somewhat.

  3. This weather has been a real downer and I'm hoping that spring shows up real soon. I wish I lived closer we could get together for coffee and some distraction :) Angel looks like such a sweetheart and she sure does seem to be comfortable there.

  4. Personally, I'm glad you're keeping it "real", Donna, with the hope that it helps in some way. Sometimes, I know for me, when I talk about my feelings, it sort of gives me a lift knowing people care. The blogging world, and the friendships I've made, has gotten me through some tough stuff. I'm praying for you, but you know that. That little Angel is adorable. I'm so glad you have her.


  5. You are right about February...although I love the snow, it is most definitely the worst for bad weather here too. It can be depressing for anyone, let alone someone who just lost their love. It's only been two months, Donna and no one would ever expect you to be "over it" which will never happen...BUT it will get easier as time goes by, that's what I've heard anyway. Surely the improving weather will help you feel a little better. And who couldn't find comfort in looking at that precious Angel of your sleeping....she is so adorable. Keeping you in my prayers :)

  6. I know you are trying to focus on gratitude and I respect you so much for that. It's hard during the darkest hours of our lives. Sending you some extra hugs....give some to precious Angel, too. Your buddy, Diane

  7. Warmer weather will be a blessing for us all. It has been a long, miserable winter. Bet those neighborhood kids were happy that they showed up to help out! I can't help wonder how big the tip was.

    May everything get sorted out with no further difficulties. Such things are profoundly frustrating and annoying.

    Angel is a cutie pie. I am glad that you gathered her in.

    As one who has struggled with sleep deprivation, I'll share something that has helped me...lavender. I don't even enjoy the aroma of lavender, yet it knocks me out when I diffuse it in a room or even if I simply sniff the bottle. Of lavender that is.

  8. You have no idea how many women you are helping with your posts. Some new widow may find your blog and realize that all she is feeling is perfectly normal--because she saw you were feeling the same way. Other women might read and in a few months, when it is their turn to start this awful journey, will remember your words and know that it is possible to live again--someday. Besides all that, you will someday, read back through your own posts and it will give you great pleasure--to realize how far you've come, how hard it was and that you had strength you never knew you were capable of having!

  9. You don't have to apologize to your friends for being depressed or for crying or for experiencing grief and despair. That is the reality of your world right now and your friends want to know how you're feeling; we certainly don't want you painting a rosy picture. Who does that help?

    It is so sweet to see your photos of Angel and to know that she is a source of comfort for you. You were wise to bring her into your life.

    Although these two months have probably been the longest of your life, it really has not been very long. Be patient with yourself. Hugs...and prayers...

  10. I'm glad you're keeping it real, Donna. There will be more of us who will experience the same grief and depth of emotion. February is a difficult month any year, and this one is particularly hard for you. Praying that the light and warmth soon to come will bring a corresponding lightness in your spirit.

    Take all the time you need to grieve - we're here for you.

  11. Donna..You are so 'real' and for that I appreciate you all the more!...Just keep swimming swimming swimming...
    And be assured I'm with you for the long haul...sorrow and the sparks of joy...Love your little furry buddy ...though if Marty the rabbits still around he will not! xx

  12. Dear Donna ~ What you are going through is 'normal' when you've lost the love of your life. You are just two months into this journey and I well remember the multitude of tears back then. It's been two years and almost three months since my DH went to be with Jesus. I can tell you, that in time it does get easier. It doesn't mean the tears, the missing and your loss will stop. Just Sunday morning in the music portion of the church service the tears started slipping down my cheeks. The song was about the majesty of God and I started thinking of my husband being right there in God's glorious presence. How wonderful.

    God bottles all of our tears.

    Just take each day as it comes, let the peace, beauty and joy in each one, (they are there), flow through and surround you. God is your continuing strength and you will make it, one day at a time. Minute by minute.

    Blogging helped me and the love, support and encouragement from online friends is priceless. Gifts from God everyone.

    Love, hugs and prayers ~ FlowerLady

  13. February has been hard here too, not with storms, but with bitterly cold temperatures, because that arctic air is parked so far south! Can't remember a month when I've stayed indoors so much. Wishing you the best at a difficult time.

  14. Nice to hear from you Donna. I'm often wondering how you are doing and actually think you're doing pretty good considering how little time has passed. Spring is almost here!

  15. Catching up a bit here! I am so glad you are sharing the reality of your life with us. I pray for you - and think of you - often. Don't be ashamed of what you feel - it's not unusual and it's OK. Your grief is so new and raw. I'm glad you have Angel to brighten spots of your days. I'm glad you made it through February and didn't lose power. Spring is just around the corner! Sending hugs - wish I could deliver them in person.

  16. I'm glad you're keeping it real too, Donna. If it was a happy fun loving post, I'd be worried. This February has been brutal and we've all been inside too long. So glad you are the type that keeps busy a lot. That has to help a tad bit. That was nice of the kids to shovel :) And might I say you have the most adorable little Angel to cuddle up with! She's precious. Sending you big hugs....

  17. Another post Donna, always a bright part of the day for me reading that you are managing and feel the need to keep in touch. This one again left me feeling glad that you are able to share your thoughts, as well as the trials and tribulations of these new days where life is different and often very sad for you. We all need to realize we could be in your shoes some day perhaps - and each of us will struggle to be as brave.

    Such a fabulous pic of your sweet little Angel - what a cozy looking bed she has.
    I'm off to snuggle in mine now - a very warm day at last, but tomorrow more sleet and freezing rain forecast - just an endless winter!

    Love and hugs to you and Angel -
    Mary OX

  18. Donna, the solo act needs getting used to but, in my experience, never is it comfortable as "before". Yes, I know God has a new plan but (truth be told) the old plan suited me quite well. The Bible says He has a plan for us to do well and prosper...well, I say...BRING IT! Today's world doesn't leave much time for grief and I found my blog the perfect place to pour out my heart. Yes, there were some who didn't "appreciate" my honesty; they were told "Yeah, but it's MY blog, you go post what you want on your blog but you have NO say on what I post on my blog! Some people have a horrible life and feel they have to share it...know what I'm saying?
    So, pish on everything except what you need to get thru your and Angel. My animals saved my life...that and God's whisper because 6 months after Dave died, I came very close to ending it all. God saved me...yet again. Bless His name forever!
    You are loved and tucked in prayer.

  19. Donna, I wish I could help you. Like Judy said above, I believe that you are helping others, as well as yourself. Share what you feel is best for yourself. Thoughts and prayers for you each day.

  20. Thinking of you and the dear husband you loved with all your heart. May God bring peace and healing to your heart right this very moment. Hugs~

  21. I totally agree that February is not a nice month. I always say that the only good thing about February is that it only has 28 days. (And, I suppose, that some wonderful people were born in it.) I am sorry that you lost your husband to cancer. I can't imagine how hard that must have been, although I am sometimes plagued by fears of the same. It is an encouragement to see someone who has weathered such a storm and is still living and creating beautiful things; it helps me be less fearful. So thank you.

    I happened upon your blog through a link from Pinterest. I saw a photo of your home's exterior from May 2010. Our home needs an exterior facelift, but I am at a loss for how to design and implement it. We have gray siding that I do not want to completely replace, but I love warmer tones. I like the way you incorporated warm brick and wooden shutters with gray siding. Did you design it yourself? Do you have any hints, recommendations or referrals?


Marty, here! Donna loves comments, and I faithfully pass them on to her. Thank you so much for visiting!