My Love

It’s a work day

Yesterday, in spite of all the frustrations, turned out not too bad. I ordered a new chainsaw. It’s probably not something you would have recommended, but it’s small enough for me to tote around, and I hope all the reviews recommending it were right. I picked a Dewalt, your favorite tool brand, so hopefully it’s good. I pray that you can somehow focus on me the next few days as I’ve got so much work to do, and having your support and knowledge and presence would be such a comfort.

I also need to climb up on the top of the camper. You know I don’t like heights, but needs must. The leak is getting worse, and it needs to be sealed. So I need to powerwash, clean, caulk and put down the paint layer to seal it all back up before the darn thing falls apart around me.

I bought fencing yesterday too. I want to get the horses moved, and a gate up to prevent people from just driving up in here without my permission. Not sure how that works for the UPS and FedEx people, but I guess I’ll figure it out. The UPS guy seems really nice, and he really liked you. Weird, that, because how much did you talk to him, really? But he’s sad you’re gone, and said you were a good man. God, I miss you so much.

So today, if the rains hold off, can be a series of things to get done. Still need to put up the green house, and if I don’t build something for the chickens, it’s going to have to be their home until I can.

Fence clearing, greenhouse, camper sealing. We did get Devon’s walkway put in, but that was days ago. With all the rain we’ve been lazy this week. I need to clean house. I’m itching to get the baby chickens outside, but I’m worried about them being unprotected to night creatures. Afraid something will wander by and grab one or more of them. The door isn’t the best, and the fluffed around in the dirt enough yesterday to make a nice little hole where a raccoon could take advantage.

I’ve been pretending you’re out of town on a trip. It helps me get through the days. Sadly, though, I’m ready for you to come home. To come help me out with all this mess, and logically I know you’re not. It’s hard knowing I’ll never see you again. I don’t understand it. It’s very difficult to truly comprehend. It just doesn’t seem real. Still.

I feel a little crazy. Hovering between the real world, and this one I make up in my head. I think that’s why I’ve been so bitter and frustrated with everything going on. Poor Devon walks into my black cloud of emotions, while he’s dealing with his own, and it’s just a firebomb of turmoil. I just want to rage at the skies, at God, at you for leaving me alone. I didn’t want this for our life. We never got to have the little cabin in the woods, the front porch, and the rocking chairs. How is that fair? We wanted to grow old together, and neither of us is old. How is that fair?

Do I doubt God? Yes. Why did he allow this? What could possibly be his purpose? What good did it do to take you so soon? I never understood mom leaving so soon, and I sure don’t understand this. I’m a firm believer in God, as you know, but I question the purpose of this exile from the man I love. Why is this my life? Why did I lose all the humans – Ma, Mom, you – that have meant the most to me? It hurts. It hurts so bad.

I need to stop dwelling on it. Mornings are so hard without you. Our coffee time was the best time we had together each day. Each in our little silent worlds, but close enough to touch. We had a great partnership. I depended on you for so much, and I hope I told you thank you enough. God I miss your sparkly eyes, manly chuckle, and your big, strong body. You were my everything. I’ve loved you since I met you all those many years ago. It just wasn’t enough time for us. I wanted so many more years.

I miss you. I love you. I wish you would come home.

My Love

Life is a series of frustrations

You know babe, I’m a pretty handy gal. Our partnership was always one of reading each others minds and being able to work side by side on any project without hardly a word between us. We were good work partners, and lucky for us, we thoroughly enjoyed each others company. I miss that. I miss having a partner near me that knew his work, had clear concise instructions when I needed to do something, or understood me when I asked you to do something.

Working with Devon, as you remember, is a lesson in patience. Something I have very little of. He mumbles. He doesn’t answer a question directly, without telling you 900 things that don’t relate, and never really answers the question. When you ask him to do something there has to be a discussion as to why, the purpose…everything is like pulling teeth. It makes it hard to get anything done, and half the time I throw my hands up in frustration because I just can’t take it anymore. Which means I’m not getting a damn thing done.

I asked if he had the water hose, and 15 minutes later he’s still yammering on about “technically” the goats have a water hose, and he has a water hose, and maybe the goat one would fit, but he’s not sure, it’s got a quick connect thing, and maybe if he tried it, but then again, he could bring both. MY GOD MY GOD MY GOD just answer the question, or bring me the hose, just quit yammering on and on and on with the nonsense.

The UPS man came and brought my new chainsaw. He had a smaller package that had one of the shirts I bought Devon in it. I bought him some nice long sleeved fishing shirts to work in so he didn’t have to wear sunscreen. I gave it to him when it was delivered and said “This package is for you”.

He hovered near the gate while I was putting the chainsaw together and as I walked outside he had the shirt and wanted to know “are you sure this is mine?”. Like I wasn’t sure. There was no “thanks” there, just the stupid questions, like I didn’t know if it was his or not. He made sure to hold it up so I could see it. Because, apparently, I didn’t know what I ordered or something.

My nerves are frayed this week. I’m angry. Angry to be shouldering everything, angry that you left without saying goodbye, angry to be with a work partner who doesn’t like partnerships and questions everything, yet knows nothing. I’m exhausted. I’m tired. And yet, I’ve not done anything to deserve either adjective.

Yes, yes, Devon is receiving the brunt of my anger. This isn’t new, this questioning and opinionated stubbornness. My anger in retaliation to his opinionated stubbornness hasn’t changed though. It’s been his life long. I’ve never understood why he must give vague answers and too much information that doesn’t relate to the problem, but it’s old. It’s tiresome. I can’t work this way.

Why did you leave me here all alone to deal with the farm, the animals, the work, raising Devon? I can’t do this. I don’t want to do this. I’m drowning.

My Love

On this day, in 1999

Back in 1998/99 we had a beautiful black lab named Reb. Bud’s Smokin’ Rebel was his official name. We got him as a pup when we got married from our dear friend Mr. T who had a fabulous hunting dog named Bud. When we moved to Poolville, it was the first time Reb could run big, after living in the city. We would go to the woods often, and over to the neighbors to pet their horses. One of their horses would bite at Reb, so one morning, I went outside and Reb was “asleep in his kennel”. Or so I thought. So I snuck off by myself, not wanting him to go pet the horses because I didn’t want him to get hurt. I never saw Reb again.

The resulting days, weeks and months of looking for him, driving the countryside, hollering his name, stalking people’s yards, searching endlessly nearly drove me insane. I was inconsolable. The anger, hurt, regret and guilt nearly killed me.

BJ decided that I should get a puppy. Something to love, and hold, and heal my broken heart with. We wanted a yellow female, and looked for a breeder. She had bred a yellow female to a chocolate dad, and we put a deposit down. As it turned out, she only had one yellow female in that litter and she wanted to keep her, the rest were chocolate. So we picked a roly poly chocolate boy. BJ’s Gaugin’ Cajun.

While he had BJ’s name, that chocolate puppy was clearly mine. He breathed life into me, gave me something to pour my heart into, and slowly healed the pain and hurt from Reb’s kidnapping.

Gauge was definitely his momma’s boy. BJ took him duck hunting a time or two, but my fear of losing him or something happening to him while they were gone, made those trips miserable for hunka and I both. I suffocated that poor pup with love and attention. Sheltered him from life’s harshness, and made sure that every single day of his life was the best that it could be.

In my eyes, he was the greatest dog that ever walked the planet. I love him still. On this day, in 1999, Gauge, my precious chocolate baby was born.

My Love

It’s a rain day

Spring time brings the rains, and today is one of those days. I know you looked forward to them sometimes, to catch a break from all the hard work. It gave you time to play your game, and visit with your friends on there.

For me, I promised to go back to work today, and there is no work to do. With this China virus, everyone is laying low, not wanting to spend money, and that leaves me and Devon in a lurch. Not sure what will happen with my business, but it’s a ‘needs must’ thing, because getting a full time job elsewhere wouldn’t pay as much, and with 12 dogs and a farm, wouldn’t work out well.

Rainy days give me too much time to sit idle, think, dwell on missing you, letting my heart break over and over again. I cannot believe you are gone, and sometimes it’s easier to pretend you’re on a trip than to face the reality of being here on this God forsaken planet without you. Life wasn’t supposed to be this way, babe. We were in it together. Finally fighting towards that little cabin in the woods with a couple of rocking chairs. Looks like I’ll be rocking alone, if I make it that far, and that was not the dream we had. Why did you leave me so soon?

I hate being alone. I can’t imagine life without you in it, and here I am facing it. But your stuff is here, your work is here, your presence is everywhere. It’s a stark reminder that you yourself are not. I hate this life. If not for the dogs and Devon, I’m not sure how much longer I would stick around. What’s the point without you? But we promised to take care of these hounds, and who would look after Devon? I’m stuck here, for now. Alone. I need you so badly I ache in my bones. A perpetual lump in my throat, staring endlessly at your chair, and desk, and your things.

I keep your clothes, and John Deere hat, in a plastic bag. I need those things to smell and hold, and feel you near me. It’s a catch 22 though, because it’s a harsh reminder that you’re not here. Everything is a harsh reminder. One I cannot escape. I see your face in pictures and I just can’t breathe. I need you with me, especially now, and know I’m just alone.

I ache. I don’t know why God thought this was a good idea. I’ll never understand it. Never.

I hate rainy days. They leave me with too much time to think. To grieve. To hurt.

I miss you. I love you. Why did you have to leave?

My Love

Good morning, babe

Gosh. I look at your pictures every night before bed, every morning when I rise, and I’m still fighting the belief that you’re gone. It’s difficult to fathom, even though I’m living it. You were so strong. You were so full of drive and life. My babe, my big man, my protector. I still can’t get my head around it.

I miss you. God, how I miss you. Little things set me back. I plow on, doing pretty good, getting shit done, repeating in my head over and over “needs must”. I need to get the goat pen cleaned of brush, trees and briars. I don’t want to. But needs must.

It’s hot, manual labor my little body isn’t used to. This kind of work was what you and Devon did. But needs must.

I had to go to the store today to get supplies. As usual, I was invisible to the employees. Tractor Supply didn’t have the things I needed, so I went to Atwoods where the employees run from customers so they don’t have to do the heavy lifting.

I got bags of feed. All 300 pounds of it. I needed oil for the tractor and didn’t know what kind to buy. I had to ask some men there, and I just wanted to cry, because I didn’t know if I could believe them, and felt so ashamed to be so weak and small.

On your list of projects was concrete pavers for the walk ways to our doors so I bought 50 of them. No one came to help. My broken beat up back, and the high heat, nearly did me in. But I stacked them 10 tall on a cart. Wheeled the cart over to the back of your truck, set them on the edge, then jumped into the back of the truck to put them flat. It took longer than I had, but needs must.

I went to town specifically for mulch for the fruit trees, and completely forgot it. I was overwhelmed with being there to begin with, and sidetracked with needing a chainsaw, but scared to buy one without trying yours first. You wouldn’t let Devon or I use your chainsaw, but needs must.

I’m doing pretty good most of the time. I’m sad. So super sad, and lonely. I miss your beautiful face. Your chuckle. Your sparkling green eyes. I miss your big clod hoppin’ boots by my door, getting in the way of the dogs going out. I miss your presence. Your energy filled a room, and I’m left here alone with emptiness all around. It’s palpable. Sometimes I can’t breathe the emptiness is so thick.

The people on Facebook have been a godsend. They’ve been supportive and at times have kept me sane. I don’t feel like talking on the phone, so talking or posting on Facebook is easier than dealing with the ‘I’m sorry’s’ and ‘My Condolences’ you have to wade through when talking on the phone.

You’d be proud of me and Devon so far. We’re getting shit done. We’re clinging to each other in fear of losing what little we have left, terrified something will happen to the other one. Devon is really scared. He’s such a good kid, and babe I’m so proud of you for teaching him the skills he’s got. We wouldn’t be able to continue your great work without them.

Yesterday was a shit day. The poor dogs were left alone twice, once when I went to Atwoods, the other when I took Tut to the vet. With this china virus, I’m scared to leave the house in fear of me getting sick. Devon can’t do all the dogs by himself. I’ve prayed so often that you and I would at least survive the dogs so they always had a home, and now look at us. You’re gone. I can’t believe God took you so soon. I’ll never understand it. Never. It’s cruel punishment for the living.

I love you. I love you so very much. I hold your beautiful face in my heart and mind. I just want you here near me. To hold me one more time so I could at least say goodbye. I want to hold your big rugged strong hands and gain strength from you. Just one more time. God I miss you so much.

My Love

The Most Handsome Man in the World

My husband is the most handsome man in the world. His beautiful eyes, green slightly hazel, sparkle with mischief. He loved a good laugh, and practical jokes, usually at other peoples expense. And usually only if he liked you.

He’s big and bulky and strong. His rough hands provided. He built things, and fixed things, and there’s was so little he couldn’t do. He was my everything.

Today as I worked the farm, I ached for his strength. For his guidance. For his approval. For his encouragement. I miss him. I miss him so much, and wish for so many things to have been different, better. I want another chance. And other hug. Another kiss. One more I love you. I need him now more than ever. The one person that can ease my broken heart. Whose arms are big enough to hold me tight and to make all my troubles go away.

Instead I look at his desk where his ashes lay. Next to it is a plastic bag with his clothes and belongings in it. Carefully sealed to preserve his smell. When my world gets to be too much, when I can’t breathe, when I feel like I can’t take another step without my heart bursting through my chest, I hold them, I breathe in his scent, I cry his name, and I ache for his touch.

I admit to feeling sorry for myself. Being left alone to struggle with building a farm, caring for 12 dogs, doing work far beyond my strength and capabilities, all with little to no income, and no one to share these difficulties with. And then I see his face, and feel his presence and I know, KNOW, he didn’t leave me on purpose. He wouldn’t have wanted to leave me like this. But here we are. Hurt. Despondent. Alone. I lost my best friend in the world, and I can’t share that hurt with him.

God only knows why he called BJ home. I don’t understand it. I don’t claim to comprehend it. And there’s certainly no changing it. Life, and death, and their timing is unfair to the living. Glorious righteousness for the dead. I know my husband was welcomed by the good Lord above, and He has no bigger warrior for his heavenly kingdom. I just wish he was here with me. Even if for a little while.

My Love

March 15, 2020

We woke up like any normal day. Feeding dogs at 5am and gathering together around the coffee pot to start our day. After 30 years of marriage, that coffee time is pretty casual. Him doing his thing, and me doing mine. We paused and talked about the corona virus, how we were going to hunker down for a bit, and hoping his heart procedure on the next Thursday wouldn’t be cancelled.

We had things figured out, stressing a little about the heart procedure, and reassuring each other that if stints weren’t going to be enough, then I’d have to kick it into gear around here while he recovered from a bypass. We joked about him having to actually recover after a bypass, unlike his first heart attack. He had had a heart cath the first time, so recovery for him was building a deck around our pool. A bypass wouldn’t be like that, but it’s hard to keep a driven man down.

At daybreak he went outside to feed horses, and said he was going to get started on his latest project, some skirting around my camper. I could see him piddling around outside the window, but wasn’t paying that much attention.

A while later, I stepped outside. I was going to go in the woods to look for plum trees. If there were any, I was going to mark them to come back later in the season for a bounty.

Devon was near the fence and I asked him where BJ was. He said he had gone to the container to get longer screws. I looked over that way and didn’t see him.

Knowing what I know now, and knowing his heart was giving him trouble, I should have gone to check. Instead, I asked Devon if he wanted to go walk to the woods with me, and he did. We didn’t find plums but several dogwoods, and I grabbed a flower to show BJ.

When we got back to the house, BJ still wasn’t there, so I decided to go see what he was looking for.

As I approached the shipping container where his tools were stored, he wasn’t around. I stepped into the container, and there he was, face down on his belly. My big giant of a man, wasn’t standing there piddling, he was down. I had no phone, no help, and I was quickly losing my mind. I screamed and screamed OH MY GOD OH MY GOD as I tried desperately to turn him on his back.

Today, with mental clarity and logic returning, I knew that he was dead. But there is nothing in your mind, heart and body that willingly gives up when you see your husband on the ground.

Having a heart problem, I knew he carried nitro. Not having a phone, but knowing him well, I grabbed his phone out of the front pocket of his bib overalls. I was able to get him on his side long enough to get his nitro, and shoved pill after pill in his mouth.

Nothing helped.

I called 911. I begged and begged for them to hurry. They wanted me to do CPR, but I couldn’t get him turned over. I ran outside the shipping container because I thought the ambulance had arrived. They weren’t there. I was screaming, begging, pleading for them to hurry.

Blessedly, my neighbor was outside and saw me. He launched over his fence to me. Called over his shoulder to his wife and son, and they all came. We got BJ turned over, and his son began CPR.

At this point, BJ’s ears were blue. He had fallen face first, and had a cut on his nose, his forehead, and the top of his head. There was no blood flow. He hadn’t been breathing for I don’t know how long. We had no heart beat. But we kept at it.

The ambulance came, finally. The driver, all business, put monitors on and showed me that there was no rhythm. There was nothing. She made sure to tell me that she was “required to do CPR for 20 minutes”. Although, she herself never did. The young assistant, and the neighbors son continued for the full 20 minutes.

The sheriff was called. The justice of the peace was called and each did their thing. Asking questions, taking pictures, making sure nothing untoward had happened.

My nephew was here. The neighbors were here. But my husband was gone.

I thank God everyday for those neighbors. We’re new to this area, and so are they. My husband knew the man, Gilbreth. I had never met them. But they are now like family. They helped me and saved me at my most vulnerable, most heart wrenching moment. God bless them, truly, because they were angels on earth for me that day.

I’ll never forgive myself for going to the woods. I’ll never forgive myself for not making him sit inside until we could get him in for his heart procedure. I didn’t and couldn’t save my husband, and I’ll live with that for the rest of my life.

Life on this farm, this raw piece of land we were building together, this homestead where my big strong hulk of a man once reined, is over. No more will I see his face. No more will those big strong hands hold me, love me, and protect me.

The day I lost BJ, is the day the Lord ripped my soul from my body and left an empty shell to walk the earth.