Eye Candy Friday

october mashpee trip bouquet for carole knits

A fall bouquet for you. Just because it’s Friday. And maybe also to say thank you for your kind words and support. I need it and it helps. If you have more good thoughts left in you please send them our way this weekend as we attend Bob’s wake and funeral. Talk about rough. But also necessary. And important, so important.

I’ll see you all on Tuesday with tales to tell, no doubt.

Thursday Thoughts

mashpee oct 2015 for carole knits

In the midst of telling you about Bob, I never got a chance to tell you that we spent last weekend on the Cape. Due to a series of interesting events the owners of the house we rent offered us a weekend this fall and we snagged it up. It was quite different to be there in the cooler weather and we enjoyed it a lot.

mashpee fireplace and snacks for carole knits

We had a fire in the fireplace on Friday and Saturday night. It was cozy and lovely, the perfect setting for snacks and cocktails.

We went to Cape Cod Beer to fill some empty growlers and discovered that it was Oktoberfest. There was a live band playing polka music, plenty of beer, and knockwurst. Yum. It was a great way to spend an afternoon.

We played cards, of course. We went to the beach and took a long hike in the woods. And watched TV and listened to music and all of the other things we enjoy doing.

When we got the phone call about Bob one of my first thoughts was – we need to go home. I even asked Dale if he wanted to go home and he said “why would we do that? Nothing will change if we go home.” He was right, of course.

And, as it turned out, being away in our little Cape Cod retreat was actually a blessing. We were together and that right there was a gift. Dale pointed out – imagine if I got this call and we were both at work. We had the privacy and space to feel all of our feelings, to make phone calls to our kids, to cry a lot.

We were in our own little bubble and, as it turned out, that was good because going back to real life? Rough. People are wonderful and the tributes for Bob and support of our friends and colleagues has been amazing. But still, I am reminded of this time right after my mom died – I was at the grocery store and I looked at all the people there, going about their business and I thought, “don’t they know? how can they just act like nothing happened? my mom is dead.”

Right now I wake up every morning and my first thought is, Bob is dead. It’s like a punch to the gut and it doesn’t go away during the day. When I’m working or attending a meeting, taking a walk or preparing dinner, driving my car or enjoying a glass of wine, it’s always always part of me. It’s good – pain is part of healing – but it’s brutal.

I didn’t meant to talk about this again. I started out writing a post about our weekend on the Cape. Thanks for listening.


A Month of Photos: September 2015

As I said yesterday, your support and comments and prayers mean the world to Dale and I. We are sad and heartbroken but we will get through this. In the meantime, I have a blog to write and it’s not a blog about grief, it’s a blog about knitting. Okay, it’s not really a blog about knitting anymore, it’s a blog about my life and yes, right now my life is a lot about grief but it’s also about living. All of which is a long-winded way of saying that, at least for today, we are returning to regular blog business. Mmmmmkay?

Before we get any further into the month of October, let’s take a to look back on the photos I took in September. Here is my monthly mosaic:

september mosaic

Definitely a great month with a striking transition from summer to fall. We started at the beach and ended on the deck with lots of wonderful things in between: flowers and friends, a new car and several birthday celebrations plus the usual food shots to make us all hungry. And, of course, Bob. Little did I know that would be the last photo I would ever take of him. But still, September full of joy and good things, that’s for sure.

Ten On Tuesday

Not to be a debbie-downer but things are pretty sad around here. Not all the time and life is happening, we are going to work and taking care of business but still, in the back of my mind at all times is the reality that Bob is gone. Today’s topic is a direct relation to this, Ten Things You Can Do To Be Supportive When Someone Dies.

grace rock for carole knits

  1. Get in touch with them. A phone call to say I’m thinking about you goes a long way.
  2. Send flowers. Now. I’m an old-fashioned girl and I believe in flowers for a funeral. That said, they can be expensive and some people think they are a waste of money. I say send them anyway.
  3. Bring food. And by food I mean: bring a meal so that the grieving family has something they can just sit down and eat, something to serve to visitors who drop by, something delicious and nourishing and comforting.
  4. Make a donation. Sometimes people make specific suggestions for your donations, hospice or alzheimer’s or another charity but even if they don’t you can make a donation to a cause that you support – Kiwanis or the local library of Doctor’s Without Borders. Just do something that will make you feel good about honoring that person.
  5. Send a card. Send one right away but then – send another one. And maybe even another one. The weeks after the death, when things return to “normal” can be very difficult and reaching out at that time is, to me, even more critical than reaching out immediately.
  6. Don’t make it about you. Of course you have feelings and you are grieving but remember your place – don’t try to guilt the family into doing something that’s right for you but wrong for them. Shut your mouth and show up with all the support you can muster.
  7. Following up on #6, dump out, not in. If you don’t know what that means, read this article, it’s excellent.
  8. Talk about the person who died. Share stories, smile and laugh. Sure, you may cry but that’s okay, too. I remember after my brother died we all stopped talking about him because we didn’t want to upset my mom. She finally looked at all of us one day and said, I’m already upset every minute of every day and you all acting like Donald never existed is just making it worse. Talk about him! And so we did and we found that it eased our pain. A lot.
  9. Listen. That #8 is great and all but you need to listen to the person who is grieving. You have 2 ears and 1 mouth for a reason.
  10. Bring booze. I’m joking but also not joking. Obviously if there are substance abuse issues this is not a good idea. But. For the ones you know enjoy a cocktail, show up with some margarita fixings or a bottle of wine. Make a drink for your friend.

I’m sure there are other more technical and more appropriate things to do but these are the things I do. They are the things I would want someone to do for me – they show caring and support and compassion and maybe even a little humor.

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Lessons On Dying

dale and bob for carole knits

You are all smart readers and I have a feeling that you already know, by the title of this post, what I’m about to tell you.

And there’s just no easy way to say it, no prelude to soften the blow.

Bob died on Saturday evening.

I knew he was weak and frail but I honestly never expected his decline to be so rapid. I saw him last Wednesday and he was talkative and upbeat and I thought we had time. Isn’t that what we always think? That there is time? Time to say the things we want to say and see the people we want to see. Time for another conversation, another joke, another story, another smile. Well, time ran out on Saturday.

I have no regrets, I did tell Bob everything I wanted to tell him and I know that he knew how I felt about him. I still want more time, though, and the reality of knowing I will never talk to him again is harsh and painful.

I’m not alone in this, of course. Dale is by my side and his grief is palpable. We talked a lot over the weekend about the special bond Dale had with Bob and the other members of the band – as partners, colleagues, friends and musicians. They have had a remarkable number of years together and the loss for all of them is incredibly deep. Our children are devastated as Bob has been a part of their lives since, well, their earliest memories. There is also a grieving widow and son to uplift and support, all of which is to say that I feel like my feelings aren’t the most important feelings at this time. Is my grief deep and real? Absolutely. But can I set it aside and support and love those around me who are also grieving and missing Bob? Yes.

This is where the bit I wrote about grace kicks in, I suppose. The grace of knowing that Bob is at peace, the grace of knowing that he didn’t suffer a prolonged and painful death, the grace of calling Tina and reaching out to help her, of holding Dale’s hand and being strong for him so that he doesn’t have to be strong for me.

And, if we’re going to talk about grace then we have to also talk about joy. Even in the deep despair that I feel right now there is joy. Joy in knowing that Bob was completely certain about an afterlife. Joy in knowing that he will never ever be forgotten. Certainly not by his family and friends and those who knew him best. But also not by the thousands of young people he taught as a music teacher. And not by the thousands upon thousands of people who saw him perform, not just with Dale and the Duds but with his many other musical groups.  Joy in remembering all of the times he entertained us because he was, at heart, an entertainer.

So. Here we are again, contemplating joy and grace. I know, ultimately, those are the words that will shine through for me and everyone who loved Bob, even though right now we are all completely heartbroken.

band dinner for carole knits


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