Sunday, April 5, 2009

get busy living

Dale and Kathy, 1991

I received an invitation to visit Dale's Sensei in the next few weeks, so I have been thinking quite a lot about the old karate days. Of course, that makes me think of how he was sick, how I fought a losing battle trying to save him, and what my life was like directly after he died in 2002. The following entries were written in another kind of online journal, which I found in 2006. Some of my old journalspace readers may remember them.

Oct 27, 2002

More packing today, and my drawers and walls are empty. Pictures of us when we first started dating, when we married, and of his karate days. Hours of going through bills, letters, cards, and medical receipts. 6 years of living and dying in this house, and memories! It's getting harder to decide what to keep, what to throw away. This and that with notes in his handwriting, letterhead he'll never use, logbooks and manuals and maps. Binders filled with work stuff, applications he won't need. I keep hoping I'll come across some treasure...some type of letter, or note that I missed before. But, I think he didn't have it in him to write very much at the end. He went through weakness and confusion, and I wish now I had videotaped him or recorded his voice. 4 more days, and I'll have to say good-bye to the life we led here.

Oct 30, 2002

My last morning to write before I dismantle this computer and try to find a place to live. What a strange day so far...get out of bed, pack it up...get out of the shower, pack it up, get dressed, pack up my clothes. Bit by bit, everythings going, and later today I will say good-bye to the home I lived in with Dale. Good-bye to the living room we watched TV and read in, good-bye to the bedroom that I last made love to Dale in, and good-bye to the kitchen where we cooked together. I won't miss the sight of the hallway...the last path Dale took out of this house after he died. Whatever happens now, it will be a new direction that will be without Dale. The only memories I have will be in my heart, and not in every room. As I drive away from this place, I will try to put the pain of this experience behind me, and grieve for the person he was, not for what happened here. I hope the ghosts of regret stay here.

Nov 22, 2002

It's been 22 days since I could write here. I moved into a hotel for several days, waiting for some resolution with Dale's insurance policy. After 5 nights, I scrambled to get us into an apartment that was affordable and in a better van broke down, my cell phone died, and my life was dismantled for weeks. Work progressed, but I wasn't really there...maybe in body, but in my mind I was trying to keep from having a breakdown. Only now, with our phone hooked up, my van running again, and beds in the bedroom can I feel our lives starting to go forward. The last day in the old house was heartbreaking. Driving away was painful, and it took me some time to say good-bye. I think it's the only time I was actually physically sick with grief, putting that place behind me! It's funny how the apartment we now have is similiar in layout, and our things make it seem as though Dale HAS been here. His urn is in the living room, with his photos (even his Sensei still graces our walls) his sword, and Japanese wishing pot, some of his books and movies, and his work. We have 14 jobs to finish up, then after Xmas even that'll be done. Life is moving on, bit by bit, and now I wonder who I really am? For an independent girl, I never realized how important it was to be Dale's Wife. Now I'm just a single Mother, trying to survive on a daily basis. He was such a special part of me, and I worry that when I finally learn to detach, I will be just another face in the crowd.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Things have changed so much!

I like to post these old thoughts for those that might be lacking in hope.

Bill and I are off to run some errands. Have a wonderful, sunny Sunday.


  1. Taking stock. How far you have come my friend. Maggs

  2. thank you for this blog.
    so sorry for your pain.
    but we see much hope, your light, your energies.

    these things you do ...they honor him, both of you, all of you.
    all so worthy and essential.


  3. It's amazing what you discover about yourself when you go over old ground, isn't it? I look back on some of the times in my life and wonder why I am not sitting in a corner somewhere sucking my thumb. But like you, life goes on and you learn to live again.

  4. The process of letting go seems so long. I admire you for how you have been these last years that I have known you. I don't know how I would have recovered from what you went through but that you did speaks more of you than anything else.


  5. Oh Kathy, how familiar so much of your pain is so much of mine, or anyone who has lost a love. I do gather hope from many places, and just want you to know how important my visits to your blog is to me.

    I am fortunate to also have a friend who is a therapist (she has 2 of my cats) and she has helped me a lot to get through and move on. I have been lucky in many ways to be able to stay in the house that Mike and I shared (some ask if that is difficult, as if is his ghost here) but truly I miss him more in the things we did together outside these 4 walls, maybe as when we were home, I was always too busy?

    I had hoped to have annual reunions with his/our friends to reminisce, but that hasn't happened, people get busy.

    But yesterday, I met with a friend who I had a falling out with before Mike died and for two years never heard from her, til she got my email letting everyone know he had died. Then she got back in contact with me briefly. We went to lunch and talked and talked about life, Mike and what the future might hold. That felt good and another sort of closure for me.

    I also had a friend come in today and do some painting and repairs and I was banished to the basement for a I began making headway on cleaning it up, moving stuff into the attic. Still a ways to go, but a step forward!

  6. Very poignant. You know...I can't remember the exact quote, but actress Emma Thompson said that she most likes people who have suffered, because they're kinder. It's so true.

  7. Little Kate...Ahhhh. You have become such a wonderful writer....

  8. I love going through some of my old journals too. These entries were very beautiful and personal-thanks for sharing!

  9. Kathy-

    Even though I'm having a pretty rough day, what you wrote here makes me feel like a fool.

    I admire you so much. You're one tough gal.

    Respects to you and Bill,


  10. That was beautiful and poignant - thank you for sharing. I sometimes wish I had my thoughts and feeling recorded from that time of my life. But the old Widownet was dismantled and its lost forever in the ether.
    Kate you are amazing and have come so far - you are the true definition of a survivor.

  11. You are an amazing woman and very strong and independent and I have always really looked up to you.Plus you are gorgues as well:) I hope you have a wonderful week.