My 30 Days of Mo(u)rning
“What is 30 Days of Mo(u)rning” you ask? I wrote stuff down each day for 30 days because there are things I don’t wanna forget and I wanted a reference… a history of what I was/am going through. I capped it at thirty days because I thought to myself, “I can do that, thirty days seems appropriate, right?”. I needed a little structure and a goal that I felt was attainable.
It went great until Widower Day 29 and 30… kinda rough days those were… didn’t feel much like writing… but got the gist of it. I feel the need to point out that I am NOT a writer… but it’s kinda therapeutic and fun. The first couple of Widower Days I kept the notes to one page. For some reason I had this idea that it had to be THAT structured… but with an artistic element… or some bullshit. Then, driving home from spreading some of Kateri’s ashes in the ocean (story for another time) it dawned on me, “Why would I limit my memories to one page?”. I wasn’t gonna write seven pages every night so I decided to scratch the one page rule. Side note-I love the name “Seven”… Seinfeld people understand.
My plan was to go back and expand on each thought because I didn’t want to spend all my time trying to capture every little thing that happened throughout the day… because you freak out about things like that… trying to capture as much as you can because you were just shown how quickly it can all go away. I’m expecting this’ll be a literal “once in a lifetime” experience (although I know there will be more shit to come… sometimes life just sucks) and I wanted to capture at least part of it. They are simple outlines/notes of my day, but this is a process… so maybe I’ll share the process… in it’s entirety… like this.
Because of the whole not wanting to forget thing, I wrote these notes at around 4 o’clock in the morning… eightish hours after we lost Kateri. I’m not gonna be amending any of the notes I share… this is literally what I wrote when I crawled into our bed (for the first time in months) the night Kateri passed.
Thirty Days of Mo(u)rning
The Night Kateri Died
Today, my wife Kateri Marie Damato died. She died on April 22, 2018 at 7:24pm
Her name means “Little Sunshine”
a. You weren’t married to Kateri
b. Breathing sounded different all morning, apnea
c. Told Keith I was gonna do a loop, get in my comfy clothes, and just be by her side
Died at sunset
She passed on Earth Day
Scottie the Hottie-in the beginning and the end
a. flew in from Alaska and arrived at 3:30am… talked until 5:30am
b. He was there at the beginning of our relationship and at the very end… perfect.
The Band—didn’t ask Maria to choose that station.
Maria, Michelle, Keith, Scott, Tony
a. Nurse that night-Pat… wonderful, amazingly caring woman, loved she was on.
b. Dr.s Robbin/Amy, nurses-Jessica, Sarah, Sarah, Whitney, Joe (LNA), wish I could remember more names (this part written Thursday)Overalls, Vt Town T-Shirt, Red/White flannel, Purple Darn Tough Socks, Magical Unicorn Socks folded in bottom of overalls, Blue Underwear, No Bra, Green State Lager Baseball Cap (green/white), earings, nose ring.
c. I took wedding ring, engagement ring, turquoise bracelet.
I was holding her hand and arm, crying, when she passed.
I heard her last breath…. And then nothing.
a. Keith and Michelle in the room until she passed…. And then they left.
b. I looked over my shoulder to see Michelle, but she wasn’t there. Then looked forward to see if Keith was there… he wasn’t.
Scottie, Maria, and I talked till about 4:30am… Dr. Phil moments.
Went to bed at 5:00am
Thirty Days of Mo(u)rning
Widower Day 1... Woke up at 10:00am-to alarm-Dr. Phil moment
Just Scottie, Maria, and myself
a. Heman drove past, stopped, backed up, and pulled into our driveway.
b. Figured it had been long enough and introductions should happen
c. Told him my wife passed away.
d. We bought this home to set roots and it meant the world to me that a neighbor… Heman… would stop by the DAY AFTER Kateri died meant so much to me as I am in the first day of my new life
e. Scottie left around 12:45PM
Bobbi stopped by after checking her mail. Sat on the deck
Keith and Michelle came by. They brought me a BLT hoagie
Moose and Fam came by.
a. Went over cremation papers… decided on Wednesday… Moose and Chichi took care of it.
b. Made list of who would be invited to cremation
c. Tony’s first time to the house.
d. This is what a “home” is… a place for friends and family to gather… I’m glad I had that realization.
Chichi and Benjamin came by with 6 pizzas
a. Gave me a… card.
Never really left the front deck
Got sun burnt on my face
Facetimed with my family… they were at Dina’s house.
Went to bed at 5:00am
Widower Day 2… Woke up between 8 and 9:00am… can’t remember.
Posted note on FB about Kateri’s death (It’s my “Letter to Kateri” on the home page)
a. I wrote that note sitting next to her after the point she was pretty much sedated.
b. I knew the clicking wouldn’t upset her because of the drugs… otherwise wouldn’t have been able to do that.
c. I cried… a lot, while writing it.
d. I feel fortunate to be able to have that experience
Texted Paul S. from home to see if he was around in Burlington.
a. His text came through on Hackett Hill saying he was on his way to WRJ.
b. Figured I wasn’t meant to leave the Upper Valley. Couldn’t leave the porch yesterday… I turned around.
c. Went to WRJ, washed the car, tried to get tires, got bins for Kateri’s clothes, went to train station to wait.
d. Paul came to train station, his father sat in car, we sat on stairs to train. We talked, asked about using Flatbread for Party on the 20th… he said he would love to help any way, will talk to Rob, other stakeholders.
Cleaned car went got home. Trying to get ready for next couple of days.. starting points.
Talked with Maria about when she wanted to go home. Decided Thursday… (funny lie story)
a. Works out well with what I was thinking too. We both need to start the healing process in our new homes.
Went to Tuk Tuk for dinner with healing team (Adie, Maria, Keith, Michelle, Myself).
a. Realized had never gone to a movie alone/nice dinner… on the drive with Maria to pick up Michelle.
b. Nice dinner brought to you by GoFundMe… it was nice not to worry about $ for a night… treat ourselves during a traumatic event.
Emptied bags from Palliative, laundered, folded, put away. Getting to a starting point.
Emptied dressers and most of closest of Kateri’s clothes… packed in green bins. Maria took what she thought she/sisters might want… I had stuff I wasn’t willing to get rid of.
a. Humidifiers/purifiers into garage.
b. Laid rug next to bed, green bins in room, Braedy’s pad.
Lost it a couple of times.
a. Unfairness, why her, so quick, deterioration in last 2 weeks/remembering last 4ish days.
b. I just feel so bad for her, that this happened to her. It’s rough.
We realized Maria hasn’t even been here a month… she arrived March 31st.
Decided to start listening to more music throughout the day… the silence doesn’t help, but there will still need to be times of silence. Went to bed at 4:15ish.
Widower Day 3… Woke up at 9:45am.
Adventures at the Warwick
I brought the coffee maker up to the room.
a. Kateri always talked about how she would do that in WY
Maria and I talked in the bedroom until noonish
I made an appointment with Tip Top Tire to get tires/remove studded tires
I cleaned off the kitchen table of all drug/hospital shit
Raphael and Tara stopped by
Got ready for the cremation. Maria took a shower first. I rolled 3 joints and then picked out my outfit.
a. Black long johns, red and grey Darn Tough socks, white tank top, new blue jeans, normal brown belt, maroon dress shirt, wedding tie, brown wool wedding vest with little pin of Vermont, tan John Deere baseball cap.
a. Got there. Hugged said hello to everyone. Had to go pee, thought I would be proactive. Didn’t know exactly how this would go. Jeanette and I went in… me to find a bathroom and her to get info for me.
b. Didn’t realize I would see Kateri’s body lay there when I was just trying to take a piss.
c. Got low down from greeter guy.
d. I took a moment with her by myself and then went out to tell people they could come in. We pulled some chairs up from the outside to tighten the horseshoe seating. I welcomed, let people know who was invited to the actual cremation, opened it up to anyone who wanted to say something.
e. Maryann went to the body and said some prayer. Moose told a story. Maria read a Celtic prayer… one that Kateri had picked out for Gabe’s mom’s funeral. Sarah said something. Tony said something. Hastings said something. I said something. Time to move so people had their chance to go to Kateri’s body and say goodbye.
f. Went through garage and up small hill to crematorium. Kateri was on metal gurny on a box. Room was like an industrial body burning facility. Silver diamond plated ovens. Tony, Hastings, Maria, Moose, Jeanette, Maryann, Anna were in garage type room.
g. I said that I needed the room to myself for a moment and that I need to be the only one in the room during the cremation. The 2 dudes opened the oven… one dude asked me if I wanted to help push her in (I said no), she went into the oven and he closed the door.
h. I pushed the green button.
Went to Adie’s
Maria and I came home and didn’t do anything… talked, ate leftover pizza, played Youtube videos. I didn’t even really text with anyone.
Went to bed at 2:00am… slept with the window open
Widower Day 4… Woke up at 8:39am… no alarm. Maria’s last day. Bed-probably 12:30ish
“Tina” moments/Gabe’s mom’s experience/leaving/next step type stuff
Things I’ve realized I’ve never done alone or just haven’t done in a long time for whatever reason:
a. Go to a movie alone, nice dinner alone, time
Youtubed a lot of music, all sorts, Khalid is an impressive young man-we support
1:28ish left for west Leb airport for rental car
a. Lots of little bags, 3 plants, jar O wd, few Hundred $’s, joint
b. Black 4 door ford fiesta… not a focus, silver one with NY plates, or the guy’s with the door open. (ummm, no idea really what this note means!)
c. We both need to start healing/dealing/processing in our own spaces… new lives.
Instant independence with no strings attached… that’s fucked up, too much of a swing, lost
Got new tires at Tip Top Tire in WRJ.
a. Told them the story of Kateri’s headache and they were so nice to her.
b. Because of their compassion-they have gained a customer/I feel good about supporting them.
c. Texted with Eric while waiting. Her came over afterwards
Got gas and picked up Kateri and Knight’s. (Almost forgot to stop for her… my mind is all over the place)
a. Richard? Landry maybe?… nicest guy, daughter worked at KAF (he showed me a text from her saying how amazing Kateri was.. or something along those lines… I wish I could remember his name). he walked me out to the Jeep.
b. She is in a blue box with tap around the seem in the middle. Her last name was spelled wrong on the label (Damoto)… they fixed it. It was correct on the important paperwork.
c. She was heavier than I expected, haven’t opened yet, need to get Maria some
Nice visit with Eric in our home. Don’t remember all the specifics, but loss of wife, independence, work, friendships, pain is subjective to the person, he brought ground coffee and Caesar (eating now).
a. I don’t have to worry about work. They will give me as much time as I need. Knew that was pretty much the case, but it’s nice knowing definitively that I have time.
b. I feel this is the first time in life I have “time” … just time, to take a moment and breath… to stop. The clock doesn’t seem as important… or relevant at all right now and I don’t have to worry about it.
a. Worry-the worry I/we had went away when she passed… didn’t recognize it until Monday when talking with Michelle at fire pit.
Sump pump keeps going off and I get joy every time I hear it. Beat the flood… Kateri would be proud.
Realized I need to get Moose a picture, trying to figure out how to cope with the loss of Kateri, the quickness of everything, the extremes, the beautiful movie stuff, everything.
Ate leftover pizza… again.
Went to bed at 2:40am
Widower Day 5… woke up 8:17am… didn’t hear 1st alarm
Due to lack of sleep, amended plan. Going to just York Harbor Inn this trip… Lobster Cove for clam chowder. I can make Gloucester a separate trip. It deserves its own/there will be plenty of her to go around/hopefully… we’ve got time (a stay at the Cape Ann Motor Inn would be good for that trip).
It a strange thing not being able to sleep and instant independence… I looked at naked women on the internet (the porn stuff kinda grossed me out… couldn’t do it).
I have decided to not limit myself to one page for each day just to try and be artistic and shit. Reason:
a. Why limit my memories? It should be whatever I can get down at this point without it being all consuming… I need time to be able to breath, as well.
Got lost in New Hampshire-New Castle?… cute town/no time restrictions
Kittery Trading Post/Yummies
a. Retail Therapy-501’S, Green John Deere Cap, Pills
b. Dr. Dan called while I was in there
c. Actually, tried on 3 pairs of pants
Went to Nubble Lighthouse
Ate at Lobster Cove
a. It was a clam chowder type day
b. Ate by myself-interesting experience, told kid I was there for a purpose.
c. Picture with Kateri on the table
Drove to little beach across from York Harbor Inn… left to find cell service to call Dr. Dan
Called Dr. Dan from York Beach, across from Lobster Cove.
a. Nice that he called on this day
Took Kateri to the ocean. Strange event, surreal, first thing I’ve done to take her places.
a. Beastie Boys-Ill Communication
b. There were a couple of cars, family of 4 on the beach, lady with dog (vest).
c. Took pictures of her on the sand, on a rock, in my hand… trying to capture the moment.
d. I didn’t feel as emotional as I had expected
e. I didn’t cry… I got chocked up, but I didn’t cry.
f. I walked around a bit, was towards the side, and released some of her on the wet sand, some in the ocean, little more on the sand, the rest in the ocean… and that was it.
g. Got back in my Jeep and went towards Kittery to get gas and figure my route home (went the easy way home)
h. Drove home. Realized that I WANTED to get home. Listened to music pretty loud, it was raining pretty good.
Called Will from the Rest Area in NH. He’ll stop by Saturday.
a. It felt good to make that call (both him and Dan). I will need people in my life and I need to be the one to make those calls… I don’t have Kateri to do that anymore.
b. It worked out well… I didn’t feel like having anyone over… (as good as it can be).
c. I literally said out loud,” Look at that shit… I’m calling people!”
Facetimed Keith and Michelle
a. Michelle is sick (towel over head steaming herself), Keith getting over being sick.
b. First time of the day I was able to see and talk to someone… of the friend type. First time I really cried in the day.
c. I’m still finding that I will just go off on tangents and that gets all sorts of emotions going (everything that goes through the head in these situations), but I need to release occasionally… it’s all still new and raw, traumatic,
Ate some Chinese Food… Beef Lo Mein, 2 Pork eggrolls, diet coke (I don’t remember the diet coke… and I don’t know why I would buy a diet coke!… ?)
a. Watched Chris Rock, Tambourine… funny, divisive entertainment… but honest and a topic that needs to be out there as much as possible to hopefully change the situation at some point. I’m not too into him, but I’m impressed by him.
b. Tried watching one of the Wayan brothers… funny, but seemed redundant comedy to me (maybe I should have watched him first)
Random notes from the day (In deciding to give myself enough space to make notes, I have also decided to jot down notes throughout the day… things that I just find a little notable… to me):
a. Realized I can shave my face whenever I want… but still haven’t or can’t.
b. It’s been four months since we found out… now it’s gonna be five, time doesn’t stop
c. There were a lot of heavy breaths, lots of big exhales
d. Did I wish this upon myself (some of the dark shit that comes into play in these situations)
e. She loved Pork Fried Rice… her go to dish, along with crab rangoons
f. Should I get a vasectomy? (I’m not thinking about sex right now, but what if I do?)
g. I cut up Fentanyl patches and threw them away… gross.
h. Spider Joe.
Fell asleep on the couch around midnight.
Widower Day 6… (April 28, 2018). Woke up at 6:58am on the couch… in the same position.
Took truck to recycling in Thetford
a. Broke the law (not my town’s dump… shhh), saw Joan, she turned right. I figured if she was going to the orchard that it would give me an in… so I followed her, so I could meet a neighbor. Laying down foundation.
b. John and Peggy
c. Beautiful view
d. Sprayed me with tick shit. New thought… I am going to constantly be paranoid of ticks since I now don’t have that person to Tick Check me (Tick Check Yourself before… ).
Took Jeep to Kmart for more green bins.
Drove to Hannaford’s in Bradford. Figured I should have at least a little bit of food I know I would eat, but don’t have to make.
a. Interesting how I’m a cook, but I was buying things I only needed to heat up.
b. First real shopping trip shopping for just me… odd sensations, realizations.
Went to Local Buzz for a sandwich.
a. Abby made it for me. Came up from behind me.
b. Same approach as Wild Hill Orchard… I need to step out of my comfort zone if I want the keep the same types of things that Kateri provided for me. I would pretty much never go get a sandwich by myself and bring it home to eat.
c. Got a pack of smokes from The Bliss (not sure if that is the name of it).
Called Will… he and Kate came over.
a. Brought enchiladas, mole, guac, beans, chips
b. Chatted in the kitchen and then on the deck… sunny, warm
c. Will called an hour later mentioning that he can always come over and we can just smoke a joint.
Tidied the garage.
a. As I type this, I realize it is giving me “purpose”… something to do, something that keeps my mind going… even if it is about what I am going through.
b. Built a support for plywood. Moved wood to middle so that I have space to move around and to start setting up the garage for the beginning of my life.
c. Threw scrap wood in black cart, baby rocker to shed, wheelbarrow.
Flipping through pictures, I came across the 3 I had taken of Kateri (the morning she died)… didn’t shock me as much as I expected it to. I was conflicted about taking the pictures, but I felt I need to have the option of being able to see her… I find the picture beautiful with the army blanket… I just love her and found it to be somewhat peaceful.
a. Deleted one photo
b. Didn’t take any other photos at Palliative.
Had a Fire.
a. Figured… why not? I’ve got a fire pit. Burnt all scrap wood from garage except planter box and piece of house (would be good to start the next fire).
b. Light out for the whole thing. Sun just starting to go down. Chickens just roosting up… I watched them march to the coop.
c. Used old gasoline to start… ya, stoopid… but kinda fun (kept thinking “WFC Style”). It got a little big at one point… need to expand the ring.
d. Looked around—this is all mine… just an odd feeling and made me think about the fact that I wouldn’t have this without Kateri… no bank would give me a loan off of what I make. Lucky that I have all of this in a time I am dealing with such sorrow and loss. I’ll figure the money shit out… hopefully.
Took a shower. Facetimed my P’s. Planned on watching Justice League (Kateri loved superhero movies… those where really the only types of movies we would go out and see… “big screen movies”), facetimed with Keith.
a. I haven’t really been able to cry when I’m alone. Talking with my P’s and Keith I got a little weepy… I was able to release a little. It’s strange all the different types of emotions and angles and just “things” the brain does as it tries to cope. I feel mellower emotionally, but I can’t tell if it’s any easier.
b. Fell asleep on the couch again (I’m writing this from bed on Sunday… at 12:30pm. Came up at 6:30 for a “Sunday morning” and haven’t really left except for 2 smokes… and had to wash my hand after each one).
Some thoughts during the day/night:
a. Willing to invest my personal time in KAF if they are willing to invest in my future… hell, I can work at home on shit and it won’t take time away from Kateri these days.
b. I still get a kick out of numbers (1234) and remember how we would text the time back and forth.
c. Realized I haven’t looked at myself in the mirror for a while… don’t even know the last time. I looked hairier to myself.
d. People are telling me “You did good”… no regrets type shit, but I don’t really care that they feel I have been a good husband/partner/”soulmate” through this and through our life. I only care about what Kateri would think… and I will never be able to ask her about that, if I gave her enough love/support… if she was proud of my actions through life and through this big pile of shit. (I am now crying). Just one of those mindfuck type things. The tears feel good.
Widower Day 7… Woke up on the couch at 6:23am… moved to bed, 12:31pm currently… might get vertical.
Spent the morning in bed writing about Day 6… because I fell asleep writing.
Also spent about 2 hours trying to get the microphone to work on the computer… it still doesn’t work.
a. I’m paranoid someone is gonna see that I looked at some naked ladies and judge me.
b. I’ve never really looked at stuff on the internet, new life/independence… thought “why not?”. I found out that ya… it did it for me… but it doesn’t really do it for me. Just because they’re fucking… it doesn’t make it hot.
Decided to not get out of my comfy clothes today. It’s raining, nothing really to do, I stayed in bed late.
Facetimed with Keith.
a. They were thinking of going to see Avenger’s at The Nugget. I decided to stay home… it was a nice rainy day.
b. At this point in time I don’t know if they did go see it… they looked like they could stay in comfy clothes, as well.
Moved my clothes into the bedroom.
a. I had less room than I expected, or I have more clothes than I was aware of.
b. Uncle Billy called. Offered his home in case I ever needed it.
c. It took longer than expected, but it went pretty smoothly.
d. Packed up her shoes. Left Dansko’s out with mine.
e. Had a PB&J, clementine… still haven’t had any egg tacos.
Raphael and Tara came over.
a. He thought he lost/forgot his phone here, so I went out to where they parked to check… didn’t find it, but I guess he had found it.
b. It was SNOWING… not sticking or anything, but huge clumps.
Talked to Bobbi… she’s just checking in.
Had Will’s crab enchiladas, beans, guac, mole. It was good. Made a taco salad with the Nacho Cheese tortilla chips he gave me.
Tried to watch Justice League from where I left off. The rest played, but I didn’t really pay attention to it. I’ll return tomorrow anyways.
Posted Kateri’s obituary on Facebook.
a. Figured people would want to know what was going on.
b. I just didn’t want to have to deal with it I guess.
I need to start getting back on a schedule, waking up earlier/bed earlier, eating better.
a. Still not really able to do the go to bed process
I keep hearing the sump pump and it still makes me happy…
“What the fuck am I going to do?”… just had one of those moments.
One week… it’s been one week since Kateri has died. I just don’t believe it. I know it happened, but I just can’t believe it.
Going to bed at 2:53am… goodnight. (my stomach is a little… something)
a. Just realized Kateri went into Palliative care on April 11th and the first time in the hospital was February 11th. Not that weird, but trying to attach shit… coping.
Widower Day 8… Woke up around 7:48am.
Let chickens out… they’ll need food tomorrow.
Went to Home Depot for 2×4’s
a. Got 16… was thinking 18, glad I didn’t… still had like 6 left over.
b. Got construction screws. Cashier lady was talking about the customer in front of me… he mentioned something about being kinky or something of the flirtatious razzing nature that older people do. I mentioned how I was a cook and topics of conversation aren’t closed with me… I’ve heard it all and have said a lot!
Went to West Leb Feed
a. Extra egg layer, pellets, got a small red pale.
Came home and built shelving in the garage.
a. Moved everything to the other bay. Pulled out the sawhorses, swept,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,qqqeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeemmmmmmmm. (yup, that’s me falling asleep at 12:38am)
b. Pretty efficient. Built shelves on the floor (another note-I hate when lady bugs fly into you as you lay in bed typing… it’s quite the startle and kinda gross), put up wall braces first, bottom shelf, top shelf, support/tie ins, called it good.
c. Feels good to organize… “Nesting for One.” Have to admit, it came out as good as it could have.
d. Turned on water to outside spicket. Busted out some hoses, faucet quick connects
Adrienne came over. I was just finishing up cleaning the garage.
a. She brought me some Blueberry, something, something sweat bread… I think. It’s hard to keep those little details in the head… unless I eat the item, but I haven’t had any of this yet.
b. Spoke on the deck, showed her my shelves, talked about how I’m doing.
a. Parked at the mailbox and walked up.
b. Shot the shit with Adie for a hot minute.
c. Smoked some herb of hers in the garage
d. Learned she loved her bottle until she was 5… when it flew out the window on route 25.
e. Showed her the shelving.
Came in and preheated the stove for a frozen pizza. Hopped in the shower and got on cozy clothes.
a. Checked on Spider Joe.
b. Was feeling lonely so texted a couple of people (Dina, Jacob, friends)
c. Pretty chill evening. Ate Digiornos, had a salad with Newman’s Ranch, sunflower seeds, Black Cherry Pop
This is one of those times that I just have to call it. It’s 1:05am and I just can’t keep my eyes open. It’s one of the hard things about this… how much time should I be investing in this or that, am I letting her down by not staying up and getting every little detail or thing I find interesting (events, coincidences, a statue I notice). It’s fucked how it forces you to think about everything… all the time. I was writing about something else, got distracted, now it’s 1:13am and I really need to sleep.
Went to bed at 1:14… a little after really.
Widower Day 9… Woke up at 7:52am… decent night of sleep. Mornings still feel rough… groggy.
Went through/read cards that have been sitting on my table unopened
a. Eric L.
b. Cedar Circle Farm
c. King Arthur
d. Kate G. (primary care physician?… in think she’s a doc)
e. Melissa O’brien (the chaplain that called while Kateri was in Palliative… touching card)
f. Bob and Kathy on Appian way
g. Luke and Anna from the farm
I remember kissing her neck… right below the ear. She always asked me to kiss her there… without words.
Jason came over this morning around 10ish?
a. Brought coffee, cinnamon roll, whoopi pie, choc chip cookies, almond clouds
b. Talked in the kitchen, then the living room, smoked some refer.
c. Went outside-both had a smoke, looked at chicken coop/chickens, walked the paths… that’s about it.
d. I vacuumed again.
Went to Lebanon Town Offices for Death Certificate
a. They don’t have them there. They say to get in touch with home.
b. Knights Funeral Home says they mailed them to Williston address which I assumed is ChiChi’s. Called Chichi, she doesn’t know anything about them or the address
c. No big deal. I can call Knights tomorrow… just rollin’ with it
Mailed off Kateri to Maria for their trip to Paris, Jamaica. Haven’t told her I mailed it yet… probably should tomorrow.
Got propane back up
a. Ran into Mike W. Exchanged numbers. He just split with girlfriend? Wife?… because he caught her cheating on him. The dude was pulling out of Mike’s driveway. Douche bag.
b. Called chichi on the way
Hooked up the hose. Turned on the water from under the sink.
a. Grabbed one from inside the potting shed. One from outside. The one from outside had the quick connects. Found the “Y” in a leather garden back in the garage… on the metal shelf.
b. Nice for doing chicken shit
Wrote this shit for the GoFundMe thing:
Hello everyone. Just felt I should update. It has been nine days since Kateri has passed and with that my life changed in a second. The loss of a spouse, a wife, a best friend, the most beautiful thing you have seen brings along with it all sorts of things… and I hope you never experience it, but I know some of you will. Along with the emotions, memories, irrational and rational guilt, the instant independence, bits of positivity, and over-analyzing comes the “life” part… the living part… surviving. Life doesn’t stop for any of us still around.
Having been a cook for the last 24 years, time is something that you live by and give up at the same time. Most the time, there isn’t enough time for everything. Fortunately, Kateri and I worked together a majority of the time… and never questioned why it worked. We were lucky that way. Unfortunately, Kateri is no longer here, and the reality is I just went from a two-income household to one (and we’re a cook and a flower farmer), but you have given me “time”. The generosity of all of you has given me time to cope with the loss of my wife. You have given me time to push off the burden of surviving in this world without my partner in crime. Time to not have to worry about life for a minute. For four months and three days I worried about Kateri… and you have given me time to push the new worries to the side. You have given me time to not have to worry about more loss for a minute as I go through this process and I cannot express my gratitude enough. Although I am still in the “Big Pile of Shit” part of this process, the number of beautiful things that have happened during this experience is just overwhelming. I am a fortunate man to have them be part of the memories I will take with me as time ticks further and further away from April 22, 2018. So… I thank you. Tons.
Ps-Ya… I’m dealing with some stuff, so I’ll apologize now for any random sad “widower” type posts coming your way. I’m doing okay though, so no worries.
I am definitely more of a science-based person than faith.
Watched/listened to YouTube, texted with Michelle, MPH called…. It was nice to talk to him. Gabrielle might have been craving Starbursts.
Wanted to talk to P’s or Dina… but didn’t. The Facebook thing took it out of me.
It’s 3:31am… I need to go to sleep. I keep falling asleep and waking up to a bunch of “eeeeeeeee’s” or “sssssssssssssssssss’s”. Might go to Provincetown… first solo overnight. I think I’ll be fine. Supposed to be a beautiful day.
Widower Day 10… Woke up around 8:00… I think.
Got up and decided I should go ahead and stay in Provincetown for the night.
a. Tidied, open chicken door (made sure they had food and water), dishes, pulled the trigger and made hotel reservations… over the phone because I don’t trust the internet. Requested to not be on the first floor.
It was a beautiful drive.
a. Hit 90 in Boston… and traffic. Had to keep the sunroof mostly shut to not burn my head and ears. It was fun going through Boston.
b. Driving the Cape was a little weird. You couldn’t really see anything because of the trees.
c. Played quite a bit of hip hop, R&B, pop… pretty loud. I’m glad I have a vehicle I don’t have to worry about breaking down… and it’s kinda fun.
d. Still pretty brown.
e. Getting to the hotel was pretty easy.
f. My parents called when I hit the Cape to tell me that the tumors my mom’s brain have shrunk… good news!
Surfside Inn and Suites
a. Fernando! That was the dude at the front desk. Everything you would expect. Very nice.
b. Room is nice… facing the ocean. You can hear it with the sliding glass door cracked.
c. They’re trying. Sheets and pillows are comfy.
d. Met Meegan (?). She was staying with her mom and sister or aunt or something. She is from western Mass. Really nice.
Went for a walk into town.
a. Most things were either closed for the season or because it is Wednesday.
b. Took about 15 minutes to walk. Nice town to walk into… very easy and nice sidewalks if you even need to use them. Not too many people there… very few.
c. Walked all the was through town and just did a loop.
d. Came back and changed my shirt. Decided not to change my shoes… this wasn’t going to be my “fancy” dinner for one.
Ate dinner at Fanizzi’s.
a. Had a ginger ale, Caesar salad, sautéed scallops with bacon and red onions, rice, “haricot vertes”… green beans, tiramisu, and 2 and a half cups of coffee.
b. My server was an attractive young woman who was fairly fit and had a good personality. She did her job well… Kateri probably would have complimented her on it.
c. I took my time, nowhere to go, no plan.
d. Watched both patrons and the crew.
e. Left a big tip. Just thought that it would be kinda cool to get a 40% tip… and it made it so that I didn’t have to break any bill.
Came back to hotel to put on long johns and have a smoke… and did.
Went to the Underground Bar.
a. Just hung out at one end of the bar and had 2 ginger ales, which cost me a total of $5.00.
b. Met Michelle (bartender), Mountain (patron), Phil (patron), that’s all I can remember. Mountain introduced me to a fair amount of people.
c. Michelle was cool. 36, girlfriend went to UVM, doesn’t believe in time (ooookay?), considers herself nuts, has been bartending since she was 20ish, from PA.
d. Mountain was 49 and grew up in Provincetown since he was 9. Bartender at The Bradford. Repeatedly told me how he sent people over to this bar from his bar. Used to bartend at the Underground.
e. Not very busy, but just locals (minus 2 girls, I think), people in the industry, everyone seemed friendly.
f. Smoked weed with Mountain and Tim (who was in his fifties, gay, and wasted).
g. Closed down the bar. Michelle mentioned how she was impressed that I could behave myself at a bar after not drinking for so long.
h. Only saw one person in drag… that I’m aware of.
Nice walk back to the hotel. Quiet.
a. Ocean was at high tide when I got back.
b. Smoked a joint on the balcony.
c. Couldn’t really leave the balcony for a while. The sound of the ocean was nice along with the chilly breeze.
d. Finally crawled into the king size bed.
Went to sleep at 3:47am… with the door slightly ajar to hear the ocean… and have the hotel pay for the heat.
Widower Day 11… Woke up at 8:30am… stayed in bed for a bit.
Just kinda left the hotel. Hung out on the balcony for a bit, but then left.
Took a picture of the Pilgrim Museum. Decided no to go in because I was ready to get home. So.. drove home.
Nice drive home. Got gas on edge of Cape. Accident on 93 in Boston so that was fun and slow in the heat… it was 90 degrees!
a. Weird seeing “evacuation route” driving out.
Got home, unpacked, checked the mail. For deeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee…. (This actually took up a couple pages because I fell asleep, but didn’t want pages of “e’s”), but checked for death certificate.
a. Stuart from Knight’s helped figure it out.
b. Wrong address for ChiChi. Hopefully they will be mailed back and then they will mail it to my address.
c. Not really freaking out about not having them yet… that is something not in my character.
Started raking. Got most of the front yards done.
a. I can’t wait to get a riding lawnmower or some sort of automated machinery.
b. Love the instant gratification of cleaning up. I was gonna pick up piles later but couldn’t leave them there and might as well just finish the job.
c. Let the chickens out for the remainder of the day
Got a pizza from Colatina Exit…it was an All The Way pizza… Kateri would never have gotten one of those (green peppers and mushrooms).
Texted with Jessica and Mike W.
a. First time Mike had texted me.
b. It was perfect. Someone new reaching out. It was fun shooting the shit over text.
c. He offered to take me on a hike with some of his buddies next week… I’m gonna start doing things with people to fill voids and time.
Threw on some music videos for sound
Hard to go to bed. Ended up restringing my guitar for the first time in years… it’s amazing the difference in sound!
a. I would like to get more involved in music, maybe learn a little something.
b. Need to set up keyboard… much easier to play when you can just sit down and bang on the keys.
a. Insecurities pop back up from 20 years ago
Widower Day 12… Woke up at 8:45am… Jessica and Frank coming at 9:30am!
Jess and Frank got here at 9:34am
a. Nice visit. She brought banana bread (no nuts… how she makes it) and some bread scraps for the chickens.
Had lunch with Michelle at 1:40ish. I don’t know why I keep writing specific times. Maybe I’m trying to hold on to time… I need a reference of how the day went… a ping.
a. Her work isn’t being horrible about what she is going through, but they aren’t being very supportive or compassionate. Which sucks, because she’s a nurse and works with nurses, they are supposed to take care of people.
b. Buffalo chicken burrito.
Came home and chatted with Matty.
a. He wants to hike Mt. Katahdin after the party. Would love to do it with him, but I think I would feel better working… I did just take a month off.
b. His elbow/shoulder is all fucked up.
Raked the back yard.
a. Getting the yard cleaned up from winter is helping me get to that “starting point”. I would like to be able to return to work and not have any big projects that NEED to get done. I’m gonna have to rake at some point!
b. The instant gratification from raking is wonderful. It’s nice when the yard looks kept and neat.
c. I’m someone who needs to have things in order… probably so I don’t have to think about it once things are set… whatever they are. I like to be able to SEE things, not have things all jumbled together.
Painted the medicine cabinet with white spray paint. Not the best job, but will let it dry and see.
Luke S. came by after he did a tasting in Chelsea.
a. It felt awesome to have him just stop by for a chat. I love that man… and his wife. Good people.
b. He told me how his concern was for Kateri up until she passed. Now his and other people’s concern is for me. That’s a strange thing for me to think about since I’m still so focused on losing Kateri. My brain can’t understand why they are concerned for me when they should be thinking about Kateri.
c. He brought up the point that Kateri was my world all day every day. It’s different for people outside of that.
d. Talked about doing an event to make a little money to fund me a little longer. He was concerned I would let pride get in the way. My pride was put on the shelf a long time ago. Pride is one of those things that I feel gets in the way. I can still be proud, though.
e. He had four beers, left a very sharp pencil, and pissed three time in my driveway. He also gave me some smokes so that I wouldn’t have to go to the store… and we both know we should quit.
Lamp oil… Kateri knew where the lamp oil was. Stuff like that was another reason I loved her, I didn’t have to remember stuff. She took care of me… and yes, me her. Now I do, for times like when the power goes out… which is happening right now.
a. I played some guitar. Then I got excited about playing the keyboard… and then realized THE POWER IS OUT!!
b. Opened the garage door/side door and painted the medicine cabinet. Little drippy in areas, but not horrible.
c. The wind is whipping, it’s making the house creek. It’s kinda strange being in our home alone during a storm and the power’s out.
d. Camping lantern is doing wonders.
e. Figured I would write down the thoughts for the day and actually try to go to bed.
Luke asked if I was taking care of myself… and I’m not.
Still numb. I can’t tell if I’m feeling any better, or just different. Not knowing this new life is throwing me for a loop… as the saying goes. I’m not sure if I’m trying to repress some shit or what. I don’t think my progress with this whole thing is going quite as fast as in the beginning… but that is to be expected. I’m guessing I’m just going through the same process as anyone would go through who lost someone. Of course, sometimes I do think that my shit is worse… then I remember all the beautiful things that have happened through this.
The power is still out. Really, it’s been nice not having power… people should be able to survive for a bit without power (luckily, we live in Vermont and a lot can).
It’s 12:18am right now… I think I should take advantage of that. I find myself zoning out, still not knowing what to do, what to do next.
Now the clock says 12:28am
a. Just opened some sympathy cards from people (and a AAA card from my dad)
b. Bob and Rosemary L., Theresa L., Cristina.
c. Reading Cristina’s card made me cry for the first time in a couple of days. She is an absolutely amazing person
Widower Day 13… Woke up at 7:45am… actually feeling OK.
The storm last night was pretty cool
a. Another strange moment in this timeline… dealing with no power alone after always having someone with you.
b. The question of “what if something happens?” pops into the head… how I would deal with this or that.
Wrote this to Michelle the bartender in Ptown (the Underground Bar). Part of me going through the healing process and trying to be a good person… trying to be a positive blip in people’s lives.
Hola Michelle. I just wanted to thank you from one professional to another for the other night. Quickly, I was so well behaved because my wife passed 2 weeks ago from cancer in the brain. I’ve been a cook for 24 years and I feel comfortable when surrounded by my people… cooks, servers, bartenders, etc. Although I don’t drink, I needed to be around other humans and I figured there would be industry people and locals at the bar. I thank you for doing your job so well. You made me feel welcomed in a time I was needing it. You introduced me to some nice people who were also welcoming and provided good conversation. Thank you for providing me with a good memory to look back upon when I remember this big pile of shit that I am going through. Who knows if we will ever see each other again, but I just needed to thank you… for me. We work in an unforgiving industry and when there are people that exceed expectations, that are good at their craft, I feel the need to point it out. If you and your lady are ever up this way, give a shout… I know she has that Vermont connection! You can check out my FB page if your interested in the story. I found the “time” conversation we had particularly interesting because of one of my recent posts and because of our personal relationship with it at different points in our life. Again, thank you and I hope you have a good summer season!
Was going to go to Burlington, got to Montpelier and started back to W. Leb to look for sunglasses.
a. Just didn’t feel like being in Burlington. I need to start going out more in my area so I figured I would start there.
b. It was a nice day for a drive. Kateri and I drove a lot just to pass time. Solo-I find it relaxing… get to sit and listen to music.
c. Went to the Powerhouse Mall. Wanted Oakley’s, but glad I didn’t spend that much on sunglasses.
Went to Hanover to see if Hanover Strings had picks with grippy rubber like Moose’s. They didn’t, but I got some other ones… and a slide! I have no idea how to play with a slide, but the great thing about music… it doesn’t matter, I can learn!
Called Will back
a. It’s been nice having him check in. I didn’t know him before this and I am so glad he has come into my life.
b. I love it when he says, ”Bro”.
Went to the store in Bradford to pick something up for dinner. My first meal that I will actually cook for myself.
a. Got a zuke, ribeye (my favorite… fuck the hanger Chad), and some Near East couscous and pilaf…. And Black Cherry Pop.
b. Went to the bathroom and as I was washing my hands a young lady came into the men’s room and was about to stroll into the stall when she saw me. She asked if this was the women’s room… I said no, not unless they have urinals to stand and pee at. She was pretty cool about the whole thing, not toooo embarrassed, but did say she hates her life…. I told her that she shouldn’t hate her life.
Let chickens out and raked out the hillside garden and by the birch trees.
a. Although, it looks a hundred times better… I am over the raking.
b. Raked around the fire pit and the path up to it. The leaves were actually a little slippery trying to get up the hill.
c. Prepared the fire pit for a fir… light and go type thing.
Spray painted the bottom of the medicine cabinet.
a. I need to sand some spots (don’t know if that will work or make it worse) where it got a little heavy.
Made dinner! Grilled off zukes, ribeye, made pilaf.
a. It felt good to make myself dinner. Decided to have steak because I need the protein, its easy, and good. Plus, I get to use the grill.
b. Need to buy burner shields for the grill… they have been rusting for a couple of years.
c. Ate dinner and watched Anon… a futuristic crime movie with Clive Owen. It was good, and I actually saw the whole thing!
d. Put on a show about big kitchens… not as interesting as I hoped and then I decided to just call it a day.
Michelle B. sent me a link to a Vogue article about a couple that have a blog or fashion website called “Fecal Matter” … it was a little freaky, but pretty cool. They were impressive… their work was quite impressive.
a. Fell asleep looking at their website (or reading something about them)
End of day notes (I do the same thing at work!)
a. I am transitioning from a life of extremes (cancer, hospital stays, death, instant new life, emotions) to more of a middle of the road… mellower existence… needing patience.
b. This is scary… being alone. What if I get sick?
c. Eating out alone has been weird/new… I’m getting more comfortable with it. I’ve gotta do it anyways if I want to go out to eat sometimes.
d. Wanted to remember the saying, “Its always an interesting cast of characters left at the end of the party”.
e. Dark places that I’m trying to stay away from—“Did I not love her as much as I thought?… Why am I not as distraught as I thought I would be right now?”
f. I wonder what is gonna be the first thing to break in the house because I said to myself, “Kateri never let me stand on this… I know it will hold!”.
g. Disbelief…. I am still in a state of disbelief. I know it happened, but I just can’t believe it. I feel so bad for Kateri, that this happened to HER. With the disbelief comes the numbness. Sometimes I find my self just standing there not being able to wrap my head around what just happened and where it just left me.
Widower Day 14… Woke up at 6:45am… went back to sleep until 8:00.
Had a smoke, let chickens out, grabbed some coffee, and finished writing down thoughts from the night before since I fell asleep with the computer on top of me… again.
Imported pictures from my phone to the computer.
a. I haven’t been able to look at pictures of Kateri for very long. I think I may be trying to limit that crushing feeling knowing that she is gone.
b. After importing the pics, I thought it would be a good idea to go through the camera roll and get rid of any pics that I just don’t want (we live in a world where we can take sooo many… I don’t need 4 pics that are basically the same). This was a bad/good idea. I got maybe 10 pictures into it before I lost it crying and knew I could get any further. So, I stopped.
Raph stopped by on his crotch rocket
a. I like having neighbors stop by on a Sunday morning (Raph)… feels good.
b. It felt good when he left, and I got to the top of the driveway next to the deck and saw my NY coffee mug and our shitty little table… it was comforting to me for some reason… like my home. Another good movie scene.
Facetimed with Keith.
I might have squashed Spider Joe.
Went to West Leb
a. Best Buy-got a mouse for computer and a new cordless phone. The phone came with two, so I now have one upstairs… you know, in case I need to call someone or someone calls me… when I’m upstairs.
b. Kmart-got some smaller bins for bathroom shit… interesting place that Kmart.
c. Hannaford’s in Bradford… mainly more Reese’s peanut butter cups and some Orgain.
Came home and was supposed to have a 6:00pm phone date with Paul… it was at 6:50. That is not unexpected with Paul… everyone knows “Paul Time” … it’s kinda like “Flatbread Time”.
a. He said we can use the restaurant for Kateri’s party. Should be minimal cost… if any. Just needs to touch base with Rob again for some details.
b. Said they will close the restaurant.
c. The power went out while we were talking.
Went to the Hungry Bear for dinner and had a buffalo chicken wrap. Mmmmm…. Reminds me of the smokehouse.
Stopped by Raph and Tara’s place. I figured Keith was gonna be there and that they probably didn’t have power either (I kept looking at houses on the way to see if there were lights) so it could be kind of a fun apocalypse sort of evening.
Facetimed with my P’s. Always a fun experience.
a. My father booked them at The Silver Maple Lodge in Fairlee. I think that will be a good place for them… close… the highway is accessible.
b. I hope they are ok with me not spending every minute with them.
c. I worry about my mom trying to get through some airports… I worry about my mom.
Messaged with Jared for 45 minutes.
a. I don’t even know where he is at or why or how it all works… I should be in better contact with Dina.
b. We listened to music… Joyner Lucas. Entertaining, but not fully embracing him.
c. Ate ¾ of a bag of Reese’s peanut butter cups.
Today was one of those “sad” days. It was dreary, a Sunday, and I was just… kinda sad.
I looked back and realized I hadn’t really known about some things she was going through because she just didn’t tell me like:
a. Going down the stairs on her butt because her legs just weren’t strong enough.
b. That her feet were going numb. She told Dr. Shirai that at her last appointment when he asked about it… I hadn’t known, and I probably wouldn’t have thought more than it was because of the mass in her brain, that we still had time for her to recover from stopping the drugs. This is before we saw the new images of the tumors… which was absolutely crazy.
Went to bed at 3:18am… goodnight.
Widower Day 15… woke up at 8:00am… got out of bed at 8:45… just needed to be horizontal a little longer.
As I get ready to go back to work, I decided to shoot the entire company (for some reason) an email to show my gratitude. This is what I sent out.
Good Morning Everyone,
As I try to reintegrate back into life I was going to write to my crew, to my peeps, to our department, to say “Thanks!” for supporting me and for picking up my slack over the last however long when I realized that I needed to thank everyone who makes up this company. What I just went through (and am still going through) requires support from all sorts of different angles, from all sorts of people who are in my life in varying degrees. I don’t know most of you and I’m sure most of you don’t know me, but we have KA that connects us and right now those connections are helping me as I try to navigate, cope with, and live with this new life that was thrust upon me. My wife, Kateri Marie Damato, died 2 weeks ago after a four month and three-day dance (she considered it a dance… not a battle, not a fight… although she fought hard) with Metastatic Malignant Melanoma in the brain at the age of 44. She had a rare mutation in the disease that was just absolutely brutal to her body. She faced it head on and with that “Kateri” approach to life. She never asked for a prognosis, never took narcotics for the pain because they disgusted her, she never said the “woe is me” type stuff, she never stopped living her life or being who she is when faced with an obstacle that would have left most of us destroyed on the floor and unable to function because of the weight of it. This has been the absolute worst thing that has happened to me in my life so far. I have never felt so saddened, so scared, so sorry for someone else. I have never felt so many different emotions, so much pain while… numb at the same time. It is a strange thing to go through losing a spouse, a partner. Two weeks ago, I went from traveling through this life and all that it brings (a home, experiences, travel, friends, moments, chickens) with someone who I planned on being old and wrinkly with… to instant independence and all the challenges that that brings emotionally, physically, and financially. To say the least, it has been a bit much.
The point of this email is not to list all the horrible things that come along with a big pile of shit like this, but to shed light on the amount of beauty that I have seen while going through this experience. The amount of love and support from friends, family, co-workers, acquaintances, and strangers has been simply overwhelming. The conversations, the phone calls, the texts, the emails from all sorts of people in our life from all sorts of places has made some of this bearable and the rest of it not quite as daunting. Life doesn’t stop for any of us roaming this planet, but sometimes we need to stop and say “thank you”. I thank everyone for giving me time to be with my wife as she lived with cancer, to care for her when it got rough, and for the time to initially cope with my life after it had taken her’s. I thank you for providing me with the memory of being treated as a person, not an employee, in a time of adversity. I thank you for the opportunity to look back at this and say, “Ummm, that went as well as it possibly could… for a big pile of shit”.
I am just one person within this company and I know we all have a different experience with it, but I felt the need to share part of my experience with all of you because it has been a positive one… and this is what it’s all about. We are a company made up of people who are all just living life… it’s as simple as that. I look forward to using some of my new-found time to get to know some of you a little more. You can check out my FB page if you want a fuller story of our life recently and in years past (I’m cool with friend requests at this time… filling voids n such), and I’ll check out yours. If not, that’s cool and groovy… we don’t all need to be friends. More importantly, please just be kind to one another, respect each other for being here, and support the people who you are surrounded by every day because that is the way life should be lived, that is the way people should be treated, and that is the experience that you have given me.
a. I’ve gotten some replies already and they make me feel hesitantly better.
a. Paid the bill, my name is nowhere on the account, they transferred me to CS… got sick of waiting and have to wait for death certificates anyways.
b. Haven’t gotten death certificates yet… kind of annoying, but not really. Doesn’t really matter at this point… I’ll get them at some point.
Set up the new phone.
a. Kind of a fun little new thing. I like that it is black like the router… sorta blends in, doesn’t stand our as much as the white.
Keith came over and we chatted on the front deck for a bit (left at 3:30ish).
a. The sun was nice. Had to open up the umbrella.
b. First time I hade cried in a bit. It feels good to be able to cry when he visits, I’m finding I get more emotional when other people are around
c. He’s gonna start working 5 days a week…
Drove up to Burlington for Penny Cluse’s 20th Anniversary. It was something that is uncomfortable for me… social situations… alone, but I wanted to congratulate Charles and Holly and say thank you for being a part of my life. It is still one of my favorite restaurants and I hold Charles in such high regard as a cook/restaurateur
a. Didi and Nick pulled up besides me as I was texting with my dad about places to stay when they come out.
b. I felt awkward about going in, but I felt pretty secure with my actions… I knew I needed to go in and I knew that I really did want to see people. (It didn’t feel weird)
c. People I saw: Didi, Nick/John, Charles, Holly, Tracy, Stasia, Dan Marshall, Moira/Joe, Andy, Carlton, Juan, Sabra, Betzida?, Ruslan/Emily, Dale, James, Clarence/Sandy, Jake/Kristen, Gardner, Sipha,….
d. Stayed longer than expected, but was gonna roll with it anyways. I’m glad I stayed as along as I did to see the people I did and to have the conversations I had.
Drove home, talked to my folks about some Freedom Farm house (looked it up when I got home… hopefully they can book it).
a. I had to just get off the phone with them considering my father kept running downstairs to the computer to get information on it… I was trying to get home… and it was late already, but that is what makes it interesting and entertaining.
Read cards from Leo and Heidi, and Nancy D.
Went to bed at 2:10am…. First day of work tomorrow. Another first day of my new life… more Dr. Phil moments to come.
Widower Day 16… First day of going back to work… first day of the rest of my life. Woke up @ 7:35ish
Couldn’t really jump out of bed. It was nice to have to get motivated to go to work, but I wasn’t in a hurry. It took a little longer to get out of the house as well… hesitant.
Eric texted if I wanted to go to A-Street first, so I drove there.
a. I like that I went to A-St. first… it was a nice warm up… a toe in the water.
b. He mentioned working in a day of rest in the middle of the work week for now… which I think is a great idea. It helps relieve that stress of making it through a work week. I’ll probably work Tues/Wed, off Thurs, work Fri/Sat. Who CAN’T work 16 hours without freaking out?! Of course, I may have a moment of freak out.
Went to Camelot.
a. Jason was there. We chatted both in the kitchen and up at my desk. Work shit.
b. Talked with Diane… I love my desk neighbor. She’s just a pretty cool lady.
c. Brock was working on the dodec and came over and gave his condolences. I like that dude, too. Just seems like a nice guy. Don’t know if we would have ANYTHING in common, but I would have a burger with that guy.
a. I’m trying to figure out who I want to maybe spend more time with or not while trying to figure out how to interact with people at the same time.
d. I had a bowl of chicken salad.
Went back to A-St. to chat with Eric and to see if there was anything I could do to help. Portioned chicken salad, turkey, roast beef… then pretty much left.
Chatted with Eric for a bit after everyone left.
Came home, swept the breezeway, cleaned bathroom/bedroom screens, got chicken water, cleaned the grill, replaced a burner cover (I thought there would be four in the case… nope, just one). Cleaned up the kitchen, dishes, and called Consolidated and paid off bill.
Drove to Bradford to get some smokes.
a. I need to stop… still. At this point, I am also thinking of how she would deal with stuff.
Ate some spaghetti and meatballs
Watched some Kitchen Nightmares (which I don’t really care for), but it’s noise. Looked for lawnmower baffle and new cook shoes… couldn’t do either, but that’s OK.
My folks rented the Airbnb on Bloodbrook. I think that will be better for everyone.
I simply can’t do this anymore… I gotta sleep. All in all, it was a nice first “back to work” day. I’m feeling OK, but still know the challenges ahead me… there will be some new things/new emotions coming down the pike (?).
Going to sleep at 1:00am on the dot.
Widower Day 17… Woke up at 7:25, stayed in bed until 7:37am
Day number 2 of work:
Started at Camelot.
a. Went through emails. Never suited up, stayed in 501’s/Cedar Circle Hoodie/Green John Deere hat.
b. Talked with people. Angela (might be going to Sheboygan), bakery Jim, Lindsay, Tony (from Jersey).
c. Put Trampoline in Jessica’s car and saw Karen, Suzanne, Ralph, Brock sitting on the picnic table, they came over to see how I was doing.
d. I did try to hit the major points of this experience and what my approach currently is towards the challenges that I’m about to deal with. I feel as though they were impressed with how I am dealing/coping with everything.
e. It felt nice that they took the time… the “Big Wigs”. I am/feel fortunate to work for this place. It is filled with people who are being sooo supportive of me as I go through this.
Went to A-St.
a. Eric, Gil and I went through the schedule for the summer to look at coverage.
b. Happens every year… the question of what to do with staff and how to reduce labor when Baker closes.
Went to that new building.
a. Spoke with Chantelle about insurance. She was awesome. Might leave me at Silver… why not, I’ve definitely hit the out of pocket maximum.
b. Barb came out and we chatted for a bit. It was nice to talk with her, she has been great through this… both supportive and responsible.
c. Gave Suzanne another hug and Ceal came through.
Went back to Camelot.
a. Hung out in the front for a minute.
b. Talked with Michelle… she’s just so nice
c. Had a conversation with J. He just became a US citizen (don’t know where he is from), but he said it was an amazing experience. He loved the diversity of the group that was there for the ceremony.
Called Knight’s funeral home from the park n ride in Thetford. Rich said they are gonna get some more death certificates and just mail them to me.
a. When I got home, there was a message from Stuart saying they were still waiting for the Williston PO to send them back. I felt bad calling them before I had heard that message, but it’s been over two weeks and I am ready to have the certificates in my possession so that I can take care of some stuff.
Went to the store. Was gonna pick up some hot dogs, but on the way there Michelle texted asking if I wanted to come over for dinner and have hot dogs!
a. I didn’t get much stuff, still not in a routine of meals and I don’t wanna throw shit away or spend money just to throw something away.
Came home and washed the jeep. It’s kinds fun washing your own car in your own driveway. It’s probably a strange sight in WFC, also.
a. Went to clear spam from Kateri’s email and saw the one from Kit again so I clicked on it. He had sent it (titled Thinking of you) on the morning of her passing at 10:57am. In it was a few pictures and a link to a video of me proposing to her at Mcguckin’s (Love in a hardware store).
b. I watched the video… it was rough, but I watched the whole thing. It just brought up so many memories and feelings.
c. It made me really miss her touch. I miss the feeling of her arm, her skin, her hair. I sat on the pink box (which is now purple) and cried for a bit. I went out and sat on the porch and just had that “missing her” feeling… it was overwhelming. All I wanted to do was to feel her again… and I know I never will.
When I was about to leave for Keith and Michelle’s, Michelle from Ptown messaged me thanking me for my message.
a. It felt good that she reached out. I really dug her, and it was my first experience meeting someone new… albeit, she was a bartender and working.
b. The conversation was just so easy and nice and she was so welcoming that I needed to thank her.
c. I kinda hope she stays in contact… I think it could be fun to see where that relationship goes (she is a lesbian with a girlfriend, so I don’t mean in any sexual way). I’m guessing this is what it’s like to meet friends and foster those relationships… or not.
Went to Keith and Michelle’s.
a. Hung out with just Michelle for a bit. It was nice.
b. She asked about “bartender Michelle” … that’s when I informed her that she was a lesbian, yada, yada, yada.
c. On the back deck I got emotional when talking about the challenges ahead of me. It’s nice to have them in my life. They provide me with a level of comfort that I just don’t get anywhere else.
d. Keith came home towards the end of my tear factory. He looked like he should be on a college campus with his button up short sleeve shirt, shorts, and name tag.
Came home. Closed up chickens. Heard a deer fawn in the woods somewhere to the north. They have that distinctive little whine/cry/noise. I didn’t go investigate, but it reminds me of Starksboro when we heard a mom giving birth and East Thetford when there were two in/around Sarah’s arena and by the gator.
a. Played a little guitar. It’s nice that my fingers aren’t hurting quite as much now that I’ve been playing more. It doesn’t help with the going to bed part though… It’s been nice being able to pick it up whenever… which just happens to be late night most of the time.
b. Watched a little Netflix… honestly, don’t remember what I watched (I am writing this the morning after because I fell asleep on the couch).
c. Texted with Matty for a minute. He was asking about places to stay. It wasn’t until the morning that I realized he should just stay here… or at least be given the option.
d. Smoked copious amounts of weed trying to get me to go to bed… but over did it and crashed on the couch.
e. It has been kind of nice not worrying about falling asleep on the couch when I don’t have to get up the next day. It doesn’t bother me… I’m still getting sleep… and it reminds me how I would always tell Kateri, “I don’t mind sleeping on the couch… it’s like camping!” I heard that as part of a joke from some comedian years and years ago… sorry dude, don’t remember who.
f. Ate some Cheetos and a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups because I had them. I feel guilty eating that shit, but I get enjoyment out of it also because I never really have had them in the house… at least the Cheetos… but I need to stop eating the crap.
I feel as though this was the first day that I have felt that “serious sadness” that is gonna be coming. Right now, it’s all still pretty raw, but when I had that feeling of just wanting to touch her, to hold her, to feel her hair in between my fingers I knew that a shift was starting to happen in the way I have been dealing with all of this.
And yup….. fell asleep on the couch… at some point.
Widower Day 18… woke up at 6:12 on the couch… went up to bed until 8:00am
Had a lazy morning… didn’t do much.
At 11:00ish I got a newspaper (still haven’t read it) and went to the farm.
a. Got a Mocha and a blueberry muffin. Talked with someone who I couldn’t remember their name.
b. Talked with Anna on the picnic table about what’s going on. Maya came over on her way to lunch. She was stylin’ with a “Wolf” hat (almost airbrushie), grey long sleeve, swim trunks (palm leaves type)… Anna said she wants to do a photo shoot with her on “Farm Style”.
c. Saw Michelle. We caught up. She gave me a Rose of Sharon (Kateri wanted her to order them) and some kale for chickens. We cried next to the Jeep.
d. Went to the house to see Adie. She has to leave in a week to help with her father. Much earlier than expected which is hard for her.
e. Chatted with Dave and Luke for a bit about drinking and shit.
f. Saw Double E. We’ll get together and eat or play disc golf
Went and got Death Certificates. Rich came running down the hill with them. He is a very nice guy.
a. They looked fancy.
b. It’s kinda strange having them.
Saw Eric at the light in Norwich.
Decided to go to Best Buy and get a camera for the computer.
a. Passed Eric in W. Leb.
Came home and raked the rock walls and area next to the road. It was quick and easy. Played a little guitar. Played a little Mappy/Pole Position/Galaga/Ms. Pac-man.
Dinner: Hippie cup of noodles, iceberg salad, orange, Cheetos.
Talked on the phone with Nate D. Jared/Double E/Nate were all texting me at the same time… spoke with Nate.
Fell asleep in the chair from midnight till 2:00am.
Widower Day 19…woke up at 7:20ish
Tried putting down as much notes as I could remember quickly about yesterday because I fell asleep in the chair. Yesterday was just one of those days. Wasn’t very motivated to write shit down.
Went to work today. Got there just before 9:00am.
a. Chatted with Eric for a bit. Did pars, plugged in Ian’s requests, told him we didn’t have coverage for one of the days… life doesn’t work out sometimes… he was cool.
b. Annie got me by the front doors and said how she just felt like… she knew Kateri and I were soul mates. (sometimes I feel like that isn’t a fair term for the living. Grim future type stuff)
c. Work…. Well, it’s work. I enjoy it and I’m excited to get back into it, but I’m just not there yet. I’m pretty much going through the motions. I may jump in the kitchen tomorrow… but I haven’t yet.
Left work around 1:00pm… I’m sticking to the four-hour day for this week. To be honest, I’m not really looking forward to full days next week, but I’ve gotta get into it.
a. Came home to get gas can. Got it and went to Farmway to see if they had any shoes for work… they didn’t. Mainly it was because I’ve got tiny feet and they didn’t have any 7.5’s in clogs or “dress shoes”. It didn’t really surprise me… that’s part of being small! (needed a little excitement).
b. Mowed the yard. It felt good. Mowing the lawn is one of those instant gratification type things. It felt good to get the leaves out of there… to see mainly green. It neatens things up. I’m gonna try a new pattern in the back yard on the hill… it’s a bitch to mow and I don’t feel like dealing with it this year.
c. Gave Rob a call… left a message. I feel weird not connecting with him yet… we’re not tight, but he means a lot to myself and he was something special to Kateri. She was just so proud of him and impressed with him. He held a special place in her heart.
d. MPH called while I was taking a dump. I rushed and wiped because, I thought it was Rob returning my call… it wasn’t. We talked for almost an hour. It was nice to catch up with him. I’m really liking keeping in touch with people. It also feels good to have friends check up on me and then tell me they think I’m handling things pretty well. It was also nice just meandering around outside while chatting on the phone with a friend.
e. Took a shower (because I was disgusting from mowing… fucking dust and leaves) and ordered a pizza and tiramisu from Colatina Exit. Ordered an All the Way (supreme, deluxe, everything… whatever you wanna call it). That’s one of those things that brings me a little joy… the fact that I can order a pizza with a whole bunch of toppings… like mushrooms and bell peppers.
f. Went and got the pizza.
When I got home I decided to play a little guitar before I ate.
a. Decided to try and record what I was playing. Figured why not, there’s the technology… it might help me improve if I could hear what I was playing.
b. Then…. THEN, I started talking to the camera and I realized that it helped me, it was some sort of release, some sort of coping mechanism since I don’t have anyone to talk to at home anymore. It felt good and exhilarating.
c. Recorded three videos. Different degrees of breaking down between the three of them. Might do a fourth and think about posting it.
d. It made me think about doing a bloggy type thing or just using Facebook about what it’s like to go through this process. I think I would have to start tomorrow, though. I would want people to see as much as possible of this figuring it our shit.
e. I’m hoping that other people dealing with/coping with shit would get some sort of strength from seeing that someone else is dealing with shit, too.
Ate pizza and watched some Altered Carbon. I don’t know what’s going on, I haven’t been paying attention, but it’s science fictiony and it’s something on while I putz.
Decided to go to bed at midnight. Then decided that I should play some Mappy… so now it’s 1:22am. That’s part of the whole Instant Independence… I can play a game of Mappy at midnight and go to bed afterwards!… and then be annoyed with myself that I played a game of Mappy and it’s 1:23am.
Widower Day 20… (Saturday, May 12, 2018) … alarm went off at 7:00am.
Couldn’t get out of bed until 7:37am. Doesn’t give me too much time in the morning, but there IS enough time to do what I gotta do. I also haven’t been making lunch in the morning since I’m just doing halfish days.
Got to work. Just Eric up on the dodec.
a. Caught up with him a tiny bit. Let him know I was doing OK, but there have been some rough spots in the last couple of days.
b. It’s good for me when its just us catching up with no one else around. I’m comfortable with him. I value his opinion… I guess that’s what friends do. I figure I’m also lucky that my friend is my boss.
c. Actually, touched a knife and an onion… three of them, and blanched some spinach for the Mother’s Day quiche special thingy. It felt good to do some chopping and sautéing. Didn’t talk too much…
d. I did the US Foods order… like riding a bike.
e. I have a more positive approach to how to handle things. I’m gonna try and be helpful, how do I help people move forward a bit.
Left work and just came home. I was gonna go to the store but figured we/I (I accidently wrote we out of habit and didn’t want to erase it so that’s what you get… a we/I thing) have enough food to survive a night so might as well not spend the money.
a. Stopped at the Thetford Village Store to get a couple of sodas… they didn’t have Sunkist in the bottle so I got a big can of Sunkist and a same size can of Cherry Coke… nostalgia I’m guessing. Also bought a lottery ticket… with power play… why not?
Got home and decided to suck it up and sand the bathroom. It took me a bit to get situated… putting on coveralls…. Finding hats… safety glasses… etc. Then it moves to the excitement of working on it… getting it just a little bit closer to being a full functional bathroom.
a. Had to break out the electric hand held sander… it was taking a little too long for my tastes and my shoulder was gonna feel it (in a bad way) if I did it all by hand.
b. I used the little speaker for music. I put it under the piece of plastic covering the bath… that was good… taking advantage of what we had.
c. Dust got everywhere. I mean, everywhere. I’m gonna have to get out the mop and sponge and water at some point.
d. Shop vac’d as much as I could. I’m going to have to do it again… which is fun (not really, it’s kind of a bitch).
Took a shower, Facetimed Maria, watched something, smoked some smokes, smoked some stuff, chilled most of the evening. Started watching Bojack Horseman… per MPH’s suggestion.
a. Maria got to Jamaica today. She brought a little of Kateri. She’s kinda considering the trip a pilgrimage for Kateri.
b. She smoked a joint in the kitchen by the back door. Shut the glass door to “block” smoke from going into the front room since she was waiting for dinner to be delivered
c. Maria Facetimed with Keith and Michelle and they watched the sunset together.
I left the chicken coop door open and didn’t check eggs this afternoon. I’m not too worried, if something can get them through all the mesh and wire fencing…
It’s 2:10am and I’ve gotta go to sleep. This is my problem. I am lost through out the day and find myself just standing or sitting and either staring off into something (or nothing) and by the time I need to write shit down I can barely keep my eyes open… or function.
Thought about posting videos of what I am going through on Facebook.
Widower Day 21… May 11, 2018… woke up at 6:56am to no alarm. Stayed in bed until 8:00ish… got some coffee, had a smoke, washed up, brushed teeth, crawled back into bed with the computer.
This was my FB post this morning.
Widower Day 21… Some positive observations from the last 3 weeks, because when life plops a big pile of shit on you, you sometimes grasp tightly to any of the “good” that is buried in it. Here are a few that I have noticed for you to take with you as you deal with your shit.
a. It’s much easier to make the bed in the morning when only one person sleeps in it.
b. You can play music as loud as you want… whenever you want…. and you should.
c. You can eat pizza 3 times a week.
d. It’s gross… but you can sneeze without covering your face… just let it go! (this changes when you are out in public)
e. Laundry slows way down when your wife dies from cancer… and you can use whatever settings you want… and you don’t have the constant fear of accidently putting her Darn Tough socks in the dryer.
f. You can work on your bathroom project (that you started 9 months ago) anytime you feel like it… at any hour.
g. When you flip through Netflix for 83 minutes searching for something to watch… you are only annoying yourself.
h. You realize that these observations are because you just lost the most important thing in your life, your brain is going into those deep dark holes, and you are just grasping for something to feel better. So that’s when you think about the fact that the bed is easier to make when only one person sleeps in it… and you call your mom.
Decided to work on the bathroom again today. I’m so close I just want to get to a point where I can at least use it for everything besides a shower… I’ll tile the shower last.
a. I went to the Home Depot (look, they’ve got a lot of inexpensive stuff… cheap, but for what I need it doesn’t matter that much. I don’t know what the fuck I’m doing anyways) and picked up more joint compound.
b. I also picked up some paint primer for the walls. I figure that once I’m done sanding and clean up I could at least put a coat of primer on. It would clean it up sooo much and make it feel like a bathroom.
Came home and wrote to Ellen.
a. Now, I had no plans to write a celebrity, but I’m pretty scared about what the future holds and figured might as well try anything I can think of.
b. I had started to just write down a couple notes… then it turned into the whole letter.
c. When I went to post the letter on her website… it was too long. Kind of bummed me out because I thought my letter had a good amount of info, let the reader know kinda who was writing, and I don’t think it was too long. Of course, when you get thousands of emails a day… it might have been too long.
d. Although it was kind of a strange thing to do, I felt good about doing it. It felt good to say fuck it… I’m writing to Ellen, let’s see what happens.
Called my mom.
a. It’s Mother’s Day… I wanted to wish her a happy day.
b. She told me that I have been on her mind which makes me feel good. Granted, I think I knew that I was on her mind… she’s my mom and I’m going through shit… that’s another reason I love her.
c. Told her I thought they will be happier in the Airbnb house. It will be a nice Vermont experience.
d. I’m worried about her in the airports when they travel. She said she may wear a mask, but the distance going from flight to flight she isn’t worried about.
e. My dad was mowing the yard… normally mom does it. Sounds like it got a little tall and dad had to empty the bag quite a few more times than expected.
f. They were going to Olive Garden for Mother’s Day dinner with Dina and the fam.
g. I love them.
I had a good cry. Not having been too emotional/crying lately it felt somewhat good to be able to let it out, but it sucks. It’s just that feeling of disbelief… of just wanting to hold her, touch her, feel her hair, her skin… and I won’t ever be able to again. I miss her.
Mudded the bathroom a second time.
a. It’s rather awkward… this whole drywall/mudding thing, but I think the final outcome will be ok.
b. It definitely took longer than I had anticipated and used more joint compound than expected. Not knowing what exactly it is I’m doing… I may have also used more than normal. Then again, maybe I used less?!
c. I didn’t do much IN the tub. I feel that since tile is going up… it isn’t as much of a big deal. I could be very wrong.
d. Finished up around 8:45pm. Cleaned up outside with the hose.
Checked Facebook… there were a lot of comments and likes n shit on my post. It felt good to read what people were saying. For not doing much on social media, I have gotten some comfort by using it.
a. I no longer have someone to talk to. I need to release some things sometimes to the ether.
b. I am kinda testing waters to see if I can expand this Widower thing. Maybe use it as a catalyst to something else that will help me keep my home and provide new experiences.
Took a shower, got into comfy clothes, and made something to eat.
a. I had planned to go to the store, but figured I had enough stuff at home to not go hungry.
b. I made 2 Grilled Cheese with bacon, had a naval orange, and a bowl of Cream of Wheat… and 8 packages of Smarties (what Kateri would call pills) … and then I find myself getting choked up when I think about “pills”… and Kateri… and now I’m crying.
c. Threw on an old HG Wells movie (well, a story of his) from 1936. I love old stories (books or movies) because they give you a little glimpse of what was going on at the time. This story was talking about war… and the state of Europe. I didn’t really pay attention to much, but I think the war was with something other than Europeans.
d. Watched some standup comedy. It has helped me lighten the mood sometimes. I watched John Mullany (I think that’s his name) … I really enjoyed watching him. He seemed smart, had an innocence to him, wasn’t crude.
Fell asleep on the couch again. Woke up around 4:00am and crawled into bed.
a. I have been fine with falling asleep on the couch, but I do need to start actually crawling into bed at a reasonable hour.
b. I need to realize that I have time to do the things I need/want to do with this new being alone thing. I don’t need to play Mappy at 12:30 at night or watch tv or surf the web or play guitar or keyboard or music on the stereo. I NEED to go to bed and get a good night’s sleep
Widower Day 22… woke up at 7:40ish, laid there… alarm went off at 8:00am. I set the alarm because I need to get into a more regular routine and didn’t want to accidently sleep until 10 or something.
Finished writing notes for yesterday.
a. Cried a bit after thinking about how much I miss her… rough.
Keith came over around 10:40ish so that we could go for a drive.
a. Stopped at the gas station in Bradford for some drinks (V-water for me)
b. Went across the bridge to 25 on the way to Rumney.
a. It was strange doing something that Kateri and I did a lot except being the passenger and not with Kateri. We came to a town near Wentworth that has a Rocket in the green. Before we got there, I mentioned that I thought there was a Rocket (no idea why I capitalize it) around here… 3 seconds later we pass the Rocket.
b. It was also strange going for a drive and having the opportunity to watch shit go by, but everything is still kind of a blur… it’s that numbness.
c. Took some side roads. One just looped around. One dead ended (no pun intended) at the Glenclif Healthcare Facility. It was cool. Perched on top of a hill. Kind of creepy. Wouldn’t want to be there at night. Have no idea what type of “healthcare” they provide.
d. Was gonna eat in Woodsville but went to Tuttle’s Family Diner in Wells River. Never been there before and can’t tell you how many times Kateri and I went through there.
a. It was a good experience. It was nice to sit at a counter. The place was a little thrown together, but my Ruben (pretty sure that’s how it was spelled on the menu!) was good and the service was friendly, but not overbearing… entertaining at certain points, but good. Keith and I were even told we have beautiful eyes.
e. Came home, sat on the porch for a second, Keith took off.
Finished sanding the bathroom drywall. It went much quicker today. The frickin dust gets EVERYWHERE! Wiped down the walls with a sponge and tried to clean it up as much as possible. Left the cardboard down for when I paint… well, primer… hopefully tomorrow.
a. The blue I got may be a little dark, but the amount of white should make it ok. I’m pretty sure Kateri wouldn’t mind the color… at least what’s in my head right now. I am a little mission bound right now, too. Not that I’m rushing it, but I figure, “it’s paint… it’ll all be ok”.
Got cleaned up. Had to get the dust out of every crick and cranny. I’m excited to add the primer, then I can pull up the cardboard, add a sink and mirror, and have a mostly functioning bathroom upstairs!
Played music pretty loud all the way to Worthy. Ended on the Caliente Station. It’s just fun to listen to once in a while… I have no idea what they are talking about, but it’s got some moves to it.
Keith and Michelle came up behind me when I was turning in South Royalton.
a. Bauman and Laura were the next to show, then Sarah L., and Jeff and Cristina. It was a nice group of people.
b. Not really being in the loop lately, it was a nice surprise that I saw Sarah… she’s just a wonderful human.
c. Got the ol’ Worthy Burger with cheddar and bacon. That’s why you go there.
d. Had nice conversations with Jeff and Sarah. Filled Bauman in on what I’ve been up to the last few weeks. Told Sarah about how I want to write a book or something… she’s gonna speak to some writer friends for me to see how stuff like that goes.
a. If I can get paid some money to write… I’ve gotta try… what have I got to lose? (I told Keith that on our little drive)
e. Ate inside in the corner. It was comfortable enough. Really, we stood a fare amount of the time.
Drove home and decided to just brush teeth, get clean, and crawl into bed. I want to wake up earlier tomorrow and I can use the computer in bed so might as well give it a try.
a. On the way home, I thought about how I am in the process of figuring out who I am… again. Almost like when you are younger and insecure, but I don’t have those insecurities. I know it will take time, but it falls in line with the, “here’s your new life… what are you going to do with it? How are you going to act? How are you going to live your life?”
Went to actual bed around the one-two.
Widower Day 23… Woke up at 6:30ish… tried for earlier, it wasn’t happening.
Was able to get out of here quickly.
On the commute in between The S. Farm and Andy L.’s I had to come to a crawl for 2 grown geese helping their 2 geeselings cross the road. You could see the mom/dad pushing them along.
a. It was such a cool little spectacle that it made my brain start thinking in big broad thoughts about big life experience stuff and what we go through.
b. I passed a car and it was just another reminder that life just keeps on moving. The thought of, “you have no idea of what I’m going through!” popped into my head… just one of those moments. Then I realized that of course they don’t… I have no idea of what they’re going through, why should they know my life?
Work was ok. It feels a little bit more normal. I want to make sure I am being true to myself and making the most of this opportunity… who do I want to be?
a. Jeremy invited me to Ziggy’s to play pool with a group of people. 90% sure it’s work people, but not 100%. I’m sure there will be people.
b. Work made me think about jewelry… which made me think about if/when will I take off my wedding ring?
c. Cracked some eggs, did some schedule stuff, made a tomato basil tart. I don’t really care for it, tastes like pizza to me. We’ll see in the morning. It felt good to see something and then just test it out. That’s how a cook gets better.
On the drive home, I thought about how I am just coasting right now. The next step will be organizational, and then it will be survival. Went to the store and picked up pot pies and some other random stuff… fruit n shit, so there was some good for ya stuff.
When I got home and was putting groceries away I saw how much food we/I actually have, and I don’t know if I would ever be able to go through it all.
Decided to go ahead and start painting the bathroom.
a. I thought I could paint and then have time to call Paul, but it took much longer than I had expected.
b. Started it at 4:45 I think and ended around 8:40. It feels good to have it look more and more like a bathroom. I pulled the cardboard from the floor.
c. Mopped the house, even our bedroom. Had to start getting all that dust out of here. I also want the option of working on bathroom whenever I want and not have to take a shower afterwards.
d. The first coat of primer looks good. I’m happy with it. The next coat won’t be to much. Not much paint left either, soooo.
Put on some music afterwards… Khalid
a. It brought me back to after Kateri had passed, but before Maria took off and we were here smoking and putting on music videos and one came up of him and kind of his life. We were so impressed by the young man. We/I dug it.
Took a shower and ate a chicken pot pie and a salad.
a. Watched a little standup comedy. It’s good to watch funny shit.
b. Thought about what I would like to do for my video for Ellen… yup, still on that train. Why not?
Went to bed at 1:20 am.
Widower Day 24… alarm set for 6:00am… got up at 6:45.
I’ve been trying to get on a routine, a schedule as I go back to work. It’s been hard forcing myself to actually get to bed with this new independence.
I am writing this the next day because I keep falling asleep on the couch and Anna just sent me a message… she has reached out to me more in the last 2 weeks than ever before.
Went to work.
a. Nothing super exciting at work. I didn’t think I would be able to hang for very long with how I was feeling during the morning. Sadness had just hit me, and I couldn’t get out of it. Before I went to lunch, I found Eric and Teri on the back porch and said I don’t know how long I will stick around for. Eric just mentioned that I have tomorrow off (Thursday) and that helped me push through the day.
b. I used that weird energy to simply make a soup. I made Chicken n Bacon Corn Chowder to use up some product. It felt good to use up some stuff and to make something just a little different. I do feel it came out a little blander than I expected, but I am also using this experience to kickstart my cooking again and to get back into it, into something. It will only help me in the future… with work and also at home to provide me with a good meal, to learn something new, and to consume time.
c. There are some members of the crew going through personal stuff as well. I am trying to provide them some guidance and to be supportive, but it’s funny going through something like this and then being in the position to hear other people’s issues… I’m like, “really?… how about you don’t take those actions anymore?”… or “Is that really affecting you this much for this long?”. But I have to remember that you can’t put a measurement on someone else’s pain… we don’t know HOW MUCH pain something causes another person. Only they know how they feel.
d. Left work around 3:30.
e. Eric told me the DailyUV is hiring bloggers… or blog writers… or something.
Ran to the Home Depot to pick up paint, a paint liner, rollers, and a brush for the bathroom. I figure, I am so close might as well bust it out. The fact that most of the dirty shit is done makes me feel good and excited to get it closer to usable.
a. Picked out a darker blue. I think the primer was a good gauge but is a little to “baby blue”. I went with a darker shade. Something like “perfect sky” or something.
Met Luke and Gardner at the house. Luke had bought a new dump truck for the Hindquarter and Gardner built the walls for the dump. Our house is kinda in the middle, so I lucked out and get to see both of them!
a. Planned on 5:00, Gardner got here at 5:30ish. Parked on the side of the road. We realized that probably wasn’t the best place for a big ass truck with people flying down the dirt road.
b. Gardner milled the wood himself and built the walls over 2 ½ days… it’s beautiful. It will be cool to see once the wood burn The Hindquarter logo into the side.
c. Luke got here soon after and we all just kinda shot the shit and played around on a brand new black dump truck… you know, lifting the tail gait up… then lowering it.
a. I felt kinda like the cool kid as people drove past my house and three dudes are just sitting around shooting the shit with a dump truck in the driveway.
b. It did also make me think about getting older. We were at my “HOUSE!” looking at a BRAND NEW DUMP TRUCK that Luke bought for HIS business. We were talking about QuickBooks and shit. It just felt like we were grown ups.
d. We took a little walk to show Gardner the back yard. Went to the fire pit and just kinda hung out.
a. Gardner told Luke and I what the different trees were on property. He is amazing that way… wealth of knowledge.
e. Raphael and Tara came over on his motorcycle and 4 wheeler and met us at the fire pit… (we were not having a fire)
a. They are a kick. It was fun listening to them meet Gardner and listen to him share his experiences with them. They were talking about being in Hawaii and he mentioned how he lived there for a bit and they probably walked on trails that he built.
b. It was pleasant. It was nice to hear people just shoot the shit. Yes, there was a little of what I/we are dealing with, but mainly just people chewing the fat.
c. When Raph had to leave, he and Gardner dorked out over the motorcycle for a bit… and then Gardner took if for a quick spin.
f. Luke took off before the sun went all the way down… and left his pencil!
g. I left a bag up at the firepit so Gardner and I went to get it and just took a mosey on the path above the house.
a. It was nice to talk to him, to talk to someone and he was perfect. I just dig him and find him very impressive because of his experiences and approach to life.
b. Have to mention that he is another one who has quit drinking and has found such strength in that decision, is experiencing that clarity that drying up provides.
c. I look forward to spending more time with him, either working with Luke, him visiting, or me swinging by his place when out for a drive.
Was gonna put a second coat of primer on, but it was 8:30 by the time everyone left and I just wanted to chill. Didn’t even cook. Threw in a frozen Chicken Pot Pie and called it good.
a. I was gonna watch a movie, Life, and started it, but fell asleep.
b. It’s a horror/sci-fi/thriller… not sure if day 24 as a widower is the right time to start watching scary movies, but I fell asleep, so it wasn’t a big deal.
a. I’ve always liked scary movies, but for the last 18 years I’ve had Kateri and knew that if I ever really got scared that she would be there. I don’t have that anymore, so I wonder if I am gonna like scary movies as much.
c. Ate a bag of Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups and fell asleep. Woke up at 4:38am… had a smoke… washed up… and crawled into bed.
I told Gardner and this is how I feel… “No one is gonna make a story about this experience if I don’t tell it”.
I’m still wearing my bracelet almost every day.
Widower Day 25… woke up at 8:00.
Although, I am trying to go to bed earlier, for some reason I didn’t mind falling asleep on the couch and then crawling into bed at 4:45 in the morning. The bed felt REALLY comfortable.
I tried to figure out Dropbox. I figured it out a little bit. It should be fun to learn.
Drove up to Burlington to talk to Northcountry and thought I would take care of Community Bank and try to get in touch with Paul, Rob, or Flatbread Chelsea.
a. On the way up I thought about how I think I’m still in shock. I feel numb and like I’m just floating through life. Not focusing on anything.
b. I also thought about the party. I would like there to be some sort of arts involved in the remembrance. Maybe a dance by Paul… some sort of thing going on while something else is going on?
c. Thought about how everything is just a stepping stone for something else… cliché, but that’s what I was thinking about. Since we are getting older, you can see how something just feeds something else… growth. Ice Cube and Dre had NWA, then Dre had Snoop, then Snoop had Warren G, then Nate Dog (could’ve been the same time, but this is how I am providing an example).
a. Launa helped me. It was straight forward and painless. Changed my password before wtiting this.
b. As I was leaving, I remembered her in the ER (the second time, it was a Friday, Hastings helped her off the floor and back onto the toilet… I was in town talking to Kureisha and getting groceries n shit.
a. Spoke with Erin. I can’t do anything about Kateri’s solo accounts without being her executor. I’ll just have to go to the court and see what they need me to do.
b. I remembered her from when I worked at Leunig’s and went there to deposit checks.
Ran by Flatbread to see if I could meet the GM… Chelsea. Spoke to a bleach blond bartender with some solid make-up on. Chelsea was in a Manager’s Meeting. Bartender took my name and said she would call me when she had a moment… she hasn’t called.
Went to Zero Gravity to see if Paul was there… he wasn’t. So, I went next door to The Great Northern to see if Jeff was around… he was.
a. He gave me another one of Rookie’s flavors. Something citrus and mapley
b. Talked with Jeff, other bartender guy, Marnie, Boo, and Frank… it was a good visit.
Drove to W. Leb and hung with some of the crew. Jeremey, Margot, Justin, Ian, Kelley, Jim, and Jim’s wife. It was a nice evening of play pool.
Came home, watched the rest of the not so scary educated.
a. On the drive home I thought about how a lot of people tell you, “You look good!’ after your wife dies from cancer.
b. An owl flew right in front of me as I was passing Heman’s place.
Went to bed at 1:25am.
Widower Day 26… Got up at 7:37ish… I knew I needed to sleep a bit more… and it was comfy.
Ran over a squirrel with a nut in it’s mouth on the way to work today. That kinda sucked… and popped.
Work was fine, nothing to write home about. It was a desk task oriented type morning. I was pretty subdued and just wanted to get some things done. Not in a bad mood or anything.
a. Ya, work was work. It’s still a little weird seeing some people, talking to some others… it’s nice.
b. Chatted with Tami for a minute as I was leaving. It was also nice. We don’t chat that much just the two of us that often (at all really) so it felt good to fill her in a bit and to let her do what she needs to do so that she doesn’t feel weird being around me.
Came home. Planned on maybe going to the Dinner Under the Balloons, but wanted to paint the bathroom and make some phone calls.
a. Called knights funeral home about death certificates being mailed back and picking them up next week. Asked about money owed and he said now worries (not those exact words).
b. Put the second and last coat of primer on in the bathroom. I didn’t do some of the lower section… running (ran) out of paint. It’ll get covered by wainscoting. Its looking good. I feel good about where it’s at and I’m confident I’ll be able to start setting it back up a little soon.
c. Called Paul. He was fantastic. He told me that he and Rob feel as though they would like to throw the party. Their generosity is amazing and is just another part of this whole pile of shit that is good. June 20th… Flatbread.
d. Decided to have Friday night pizza so I ordered one from Colatina E. I had enough credit things that the girl asked if I wanted to use them for a free pizza?… HELLS YA! It was fantastic. Threw in an orange soda and my bill came to $1.94
e. Came home. Played a little guitar. Was about to hop in the shower and then got a little disgusted by it so I cleaned it. I threw away the whole chain thing because it disgusts me a bit, but the whole shower was pretty disgusting. It felt good to clean it.
f. Played a game of Mappy… and Pole Position. Lea Jae texted me, just checking in. She’ll be stopping by at some point. Glad I texted her back… still trying to stay on top of things, of the people.
g. Threw on a documentary on names and the effect they have on us. Names as in funny/challenging names. Like “Dick Large”. It was cool, but it also made me realize there are people out there just trying to figure out the next step in the movie process.
h. Texted with Matty for a bit… because it just feels good sometimes. I wanted to talk to my parents but didn’t.
Having to call it a night at 1:35am… it’s just too much right now
Widower Day 27… alarm went off at 6:30am… turned it off until 7:30, got out of bed around 7:45am… yup.
Worked. Wasn’t really into going to work, I’ve been pretty sad and unmotivated to get out of bed. Once on my way to work… by 244, I start to feel somewhat OK. Limiting my smoking on the way to work.
Work was fine… Saturday. We had a line to the kitchen door.
a. I was just there… somewhat helpful, but I still don’t feel like I’m being very productive.
b. I saw Karen in line so I went to say “thank you” for the card. It makes me feel warm and fuzzy… special… that she would take the time. It gives me hope that KAF will be able to help me survive in the future.
Luke M. swung by to chat.
a. I thought he was coming home from Boston and that his family would be with him… wrong on both. He was heading to Boston for Binks’ graduation party… solo. Before I knew he was solo, I figured KAF would be the best place for all of us to chat. It was just him, which was perfect so that we (I) could talk without interruption.
b. I hadn’t seen Luke since before Palliative. I told him how I have been coping: projects, talking/texting peeps, working, can’t look at pictures, remembering the beautiful things that happened in this experience, trying to stay positive.
c. I told him how I have been writing and how it has been a nice release of emotions and energy. It has been good for me and also provides me with some hope that it may go beyond my computer. Hopefully, it will be useful to other people. I mentioned how I am thinking about a book and a blog. He said he could help me with the blog.
d. We talked about the Scotty story, Kateri’s last day, the day after. I was a little emotional, which happens when I get around close friends. I am so thankful that we were able to catch up, even if it was just for a bit.
e. He was in our wedding… a Man of Honor… if that says anything.
f. David texted saying he was at Farmway.
Met David at the house.
a. He grabbed the key from the turtle to get in since I wasn’t here.
b. I filled him in on where I was at emotionally and how I was coping with everything. Basically, the same things as Luke and I talked about.
c. We decided we needed to eat sooner that later and I thought we could go to Samauri… it’s close and decent. Went down Blood Brook to show him Raph’s house.
a. It was ok. Food was good, service was horrendous. David went up to order our drinks because we were sitting for so long.
b. Griffin and Celeste were there. I saw them when we walked in but didn’t say anything because I figured we would see them when they left… we did.
c. I hadn’t seen Celeste since Kateri’s birthday party, so it was nice to fill her in. Mainly it was how I was doing, which is weird.
We came home and pretty much caught up.
a. I told him about the Scotty thing and the Heman story from Day 1. Those are the things that help me push the dark shit aside.
b. The sadness of missing her is starting to set in and I don’t know what to expect from that, but I like to think that it is good that I recognize it… of course, I could be way off base.
c. I told him about Kateri’s last day… that was hard for me.
a. I haven’t had to talk about it for a bit but realized there are people who haven’t heard it.
b. It was hard, but I am glad that I can recall the day so vividly.
c. It was a pretty emotional evening between Luke and David, but it was also so easy. This is what I feel I need to be doing when the opportunity arises… and our friends need to know the story… at least as much as I can share with them.
d. Crying felt… not good, but better… or relieving.
Went to bed at 2:45am
Widower Day 28… woke up early but stayed in bed until 9:40ish… in and out of sleep. It was a cloudy/drizzly morning which makes it hard to get up… bed is just so comfortable on those mornings.
Had a pretty lazy morning with David. We hung out, put music on the TV. He gave me body work at noonish.
a. It felt really nice getting some work done from him. He is really good at that shit. I started face down and after a bit my head just filled up with snot and I could breath through my nose or swallow… takes away a bit of the relaxation.
b. When I flipped to my back, the relief on my head was fantastic… relief from snot, not my mental well-being… that was good too.
c. It was a little hard just laying there because your mind does start to wander. Although the massage is relaxing and you focus quite a bit on that, the fact that your head can think about anything meant that it was gonna go to some sad places as I laid there.
d. When I was getting off the couch and taking my clothes off to get on the table my right elbow got tweaked and still hurts… it’s called getting older.
e. He did a combination of massage and Reiki… I don’t really know when he was doing the Reiki… I’m guess at those moments when he stopped rubbing me.
f. Afterwards, we had a smoke, cooked some bacon, and made some egg tacos.
David left around 3:30.
I went to the store quickly to grab a few things: soda, Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, milk, seltzer, fruit, etc.
Sean, Angela, and I were gonna go for a hike, but it was rainy all morning. We decided they were gonna come over here and make tacos around 6:00.
When I got home I thought I could bang out painting the bathroom before they got here… I was wrong. I did get quite a bit done, so when they did arrive I just covered brushes and paint and shit and left it for after they leave. (Independent… I can do it later… at night)
a. I have been finding that although I want to get projects done and shit, if I have the option of working on something by myself or hanging/talking with a friend… I’m gonna go with the contact with friends… that’s what I REALLY need right now.
b. They came up and saw the bathroom… could smell the fumes.
c. I rolled a joint and we went out to the front deck to smoke, catch up a bit, and to enjoy the evening… then the cool wind came up and we went inside to start cooking… well, Sean started getting everything ready. He has done this for us twice and I have to say… he has it down (bringing shit to someone else’s house).
d. Chorizo/chicken tacos with guac, he brought pickled cabbage, cilantro, tomatillo salsa, corn tortillas… it was fantastic.
a. I felt good about my eating the last two days. Going out and then having people bring you food is very helpful.
e. It was a very nice evening… I like hanging with them, it seems kinda easy and laid back which is what we/I like. It was nice to get to know them a bit more.
a. Angela mainly worked for/with family in Wisco until coming here, Sean grew up in Miami (gross), they worked at The B@#$%^& (which I don’t really know what that place is about), they wanted a BnB also, they want to buy a house (but don’t know where yet), Sean went to culinary school, they may need to move since housemates are having a baby… but is supposed to move out in December when their house is built (not Sean and Angela’s), Angela was sort of a wild child… said she would love to go back to high school!… said she could do whatever she wanted to!… Sean and I are not those people who would go back to HS if given the chance.
b. As Angela and I were talking, Sean went to the kitchen and made caramel popcorn… love having cook friends!
f. They took off and I finished the painting the bathroom.
It was nice having both David and Angela/Sean visit. I’m still not very emotional when I’m alone, but when I get around people I love, it lets me release a little.
Busy day, but a good one with good people. I fell asleep in the chair until 4:28am, had a smoke, washed up, and crawled into bed. I set the alarm for 7:30am because I am still trying to get back to a normal schedule.
Widower Day 29… woke up at 7:30am to my alarm, snoozed until 8:15ish.
Made coffee and crawled back into bed to write notes for yesterday. I would really like to get to the point where I am going to bed earlier and spending time in bed writing.
Went to Randy and Vicky’s to drop off my drills. They were gonna mend their garden boxes.
a. We hung out behind their garage and smoked a joint away from O#$%^… who was in the house.
b. They had been having a rough go at it the last couple of days. Stress of everything (Kateri) kinda bearing down on them. Randy wanted to drink a bottle of whisky the other night. Thankfully he chose not to. Although, with how well he has changed his life around, I don’t think tying one on is the worst thing in the world.
c. Randy mentioned that he had been getting angry lately.
a. I don’t have any room right now for the anger. Once you get into anger… it can lead you down some deep, dark paths.
b. They asked that I check out a screen door for them at LaValley’s…. I never got one… or went back to their house.
Went to LaValley’s and Home Depot
a. They didn’t have the wainscoting I was looking for so I just went to Home Depot to see if they had anything.
b. They had sheets of bead board which is what I was looking for. I had to have them cut them in half hoping they would fit inside the Jeep… they didn’t. I had to strap them to the top… and then pull over at the Powerhouse Mall to redo it so that they wouldn’t fly off and go through someone’s windshield.
I was able to get them up on the wall. I don’t know how well they are attached… a lot of nails just went into drywall. I didn’t glue them or anything in case I needed to remove them.
Widower Day 30… Tuesday May 22, 2018.
Woke up around 6:30 so that I could get to work. It’s a strange day for me. I gave myself 30 days to write about this experience. Part of it was I don’t want to forget some of the things that have happened over the last month, part of it is I wanted something I could look back on as a reference (how was I feeling? Simply what did I do on ___day of this process, part of it is I want to write a book because I feel I have a story that is interesting… I have an experience which was/is horrible, but I’m living through it, I hope that my story could help someone else going through their own shit storm, I hope enough people would be interested in what I have to say that they would give me $ for it… with the hope of keeping my life as I know it together.
It was a strange day at work.
a. Although I was aware of what I was going through and that it had an affect on my attitude, I was still kinda hypercritical of a lot of things at work. Some of which I feel was justified, but for some things I definitely could have dealt with a little differently.
This is what I posted on Facebook after I made 7ish videos to share what I was going through after I had sat in the car for 25 minutes crying and not being able to get out. I wanted to share my experience and be in the moment, but I also realized I wanted to be happy with what I was going to purposefully send out there.
Widower Day 30… In the last thirty days I have felt the love and support from friends, family, and strangers. I have been trying to get to a “starting point”. I have come up with terms like “nesting for one” and used terms like “little victories”. I have tried to stay busy to keep my mind off the sad shit. I have pushed my own comfort zone out of fear for the future which I have been given. I have laughed… and I have cried. I also made a video where I say I’m a widower at 43… I’m 42. This is what happens at the end of what I’m calling my 30 days of Mourning. Yup.
a. I am happy that I posted this. It was on the liberating side of things.