Be A Problem Solver

As anyone who has lost a loved one knows, there are many problems inherent in picking up where someone else left off in their life.  My husband’s death was sudden, he appeared in perfect health and then he was gone.  Leaving no one to call and no one to ask. To make things trickier his laptop, wallet and laptop bag (where he kept documents), had inexplicably disappeared.  So, ordinary things, like bank account statements, credit card statements, bills, tax documents and so on remain missing.  Not to mention a fairly new laptop loaded with personal and financial information.  We had his phone, but not his passcode. 

Tracking down the name of the tax attorney, W-2’s, and unpaid bills was tedious and time consuming. Not to mention, a death certificate issued with the wrong birth date and no social security number, that took months (four to be exact) to amend, so it could be used to access bank accounts, life insurance and social security payments.  Looking back I understand why it’s taken me so long to clear the fog from my life. I was given a fairly complex puzzle to solve, it took time and effort, but I feel I’m finally thankfully out of the woods. 

My faith has sustained me, and many times, even though a problem appeared insurmountable, I was able to pray and find an elegant solution. Matters would then resolve easily, if I simply remained calm, and had faith.  I knew this before of course, and often used it in my business, but I had not really noticed it or understood fully exactly how it occured in the past. 

As an example, one day I had a jammed French door and a running toilet. I called a handy man to come and fix them and a few other things. The handy man told me I needed a new door and a new toilet tank as the parts were no longer available. I paid him for his time and and he left to give me an estimate on the tank and door. 

After he left, I peered into the tank and fixed the apparatus with a paper clip. Then, I took a fork and put it between the door and it’s casing and leveraged it up enough to unlock it.  I was then able to tighten the screws that allowed it to easily clear the casing.

The unnamed tax attorney called me one day, because he couldn’t reach my husband.  I’m still working on that problem, but that’s another post. 

As much as I’ve wished to be rescued, it’s been rewarding to handle things myself, and to teach my daughters that if you persevere you will succeed. 

Love and blessings to all. 

Soft Does Not Spell Weak

My first Lamorinda Moms Club Event

The loss of my husband in July, after a rocky season in our marriage, has given me much to reflect upon.  And I want to be clear, being soft does not equal weakness.  Allowing myself to be sentimental, and feel my grief, has often been excruciating, but it was necessary to move on from the past and begin to create the happy future I will one day have.

In someways, this has been an opportunity to test my strength and find my courage. It has given me valuable insight into the people around me, what I have time for, what I will tolerate, and what I will allow into my life.

When you are vulnerable, it’s easy to see who doesn’t have your best interests at heart. And no one who demonstrates their disinterest in my well being will hold a place my life. There are no exceptions.

I made many sacrifices to be the wife and mother I wanted to be. At the time, there was no way to reconcile the 100+ hours a week being a Director of Marketing in the technology world required. There was no flexibility, I was required to be there, all day and everyday, and often on weekends.  Because of this steep cliff, for several years, I was a stay at home wife and mother, with a small consulting company on the side. I was what my children call a “House Mom” like a “House Cat” and I allowed others to underestimate my value and worth.  As hard as I worked to launch a software product nothing compared to the 24/7 demands of motherhood and creating the exceptionally warm and loving home we still to this day share.

I have no regrets as my children are proof that my time was well spent, but I must say, I am enjoying stepping back into my power, both professionally and personally.

Love and blessings to all.

Selling The Childhood 

Was I having a garage sale or was I selling the childhood of my daughters?  

Had I known how difficult it would be I would not have done it. It was painful looking at photos I’d not seen in years, and reading inscriptions inside books purchased by my husband and given to my daughters and I as gifts.  Everything was loaded with memories of the past.  I never cry in front of my children, but this was an exception. The waffle iron we hardly used brought me to tears. The ice cream maker we used frequently had the same effect.  I will not go into how I felt about the dolls and toys because I will cry again.

The blessings were there too of course. The house is a shell after all, and the things we used were just the trappings of an active, and mostly happy life: ice skates, ski’s, snow boards, bikes, and skate boards.  I loved seeing my daughters pitch in and help so much, and I am grateful for the women they have grown into, people who would spend the day doing this sort of work.  And it was wonderful to have my lovely neighbors stop by with their dogs.  I even made a new friend and we exchanged phone numbers to have coffee. 

What’s not to love about cleaning while people hand you money?  On Sunday, most of the big items were gone, and everything was $1. I made $200 while scouring the cabinets with pine-sol.  

I am sorting the memories in the same way I’ve found homes for the things we no longer need or use, I’m keeping the ones I wish to hold onto and letting the rest go.  In this way, I am metaphorically creating the necessary space for the new and welcome things that will come into our lives in the future.

Coming Back to Myself 

As my days become peaceful again, and my heart heals, I realize how difficult this year has been. For many months it was so horrific that it didn’t feel that bad, I simply endured one day after another.  As I go through my days, I am finding notes I don’t remember writing, and I have no clue where I’ve put somethings, like a set of car keys, missing in the house no less, since September. And usernames and passwords, for most I have no recall whatsoever. It’s as if another person was walking through these many sorrowful days. These are the obvious effects of sudden loss and trama.  

Being lost in your own life is no small thing, and I suspect many people survive in this state for a very long time. I believe this was the case for my Mother after my father died, but for me, I have been blessed with many kind people and my loving community to hold me up.  My inner circle has watched over me tenderly, and my business coach Brigette and business partner Andrew have kept me moving forward with my work. 

After months of walking around like a ghost, it feels so good to come back to myself and get things done. I’m teaching at UC Berkeley, working on my company Ocean SF, and our nonprofit The Trident Project, and am truly enjoying planning my days.  My life is no longer something to get through and endure. I wake up looking forward to the beautiful day I have before me. And I am so very thankful.

Love and blessings to all. 

Flow, Routines & The Berkeley Yacht Club

Berkeley Marina Friday Night Races

I’ve not spent much time at the yacht club since my husband died, although I’m still a member, I generally go there during the day only as a place to have meetings.  I’ve spent most of my evenings at home with and/or waiting for my kids. 

I’ve not set foot on a boat since the day before my husband died last summer.  On that day, I was on the Race Committee boat with my friend Hans.   It had been a particularly beautiful and carefree summer day, and then the next day, my life exploded into a million pieces. 

Last night, I went there for the Friday night boat races and to meet up with some friends, including my favorite sailing buddy, Rosemarie.  And of course, I brought my bunny Buttercup. It felt remarkable to return to the natural flow of my life. 

I had forgotten how important it is to have fun. I sat at the bar and had a most excellent Manhattan and caught up with old friends. I even made some new friends, ironically, they were all scientists named Tim (three of them) and their brilliant coworker Heather. And it was fun. 

The Berkeley Yacht Club has such a warm and welcoming atmosphere, and what a blessing friends are.  I feel thankful and blessed this Easter weekend for the luxury of returning to my routines and the very rich and full life I have.  

Happy Easter, love and blessings to all. 

Berkeley Yacht Club

The Circle

In the beginning, we were simply, in shock.  And the disbelief softened the edges of the blow. This is natural, and thankfully so. The six month mark was possibly the most difficult. The grey days of January were short and the reality settled in creating some of my darkest hours. But because of my prayers, I knew exactly what to do.

During the first days, I watched my children watching me, and I knew if I was ok they would be too. I had a whispered conversation one morning with my older daughter telling her she had to get up and go to school and set a good example for her little sister.  She nodded silently, and went on to set an excellent example. Each morning I made hot chocolate and the exact same lunches as I made in grade school.  Turkey sandwiches, chips and zip locks of sliced apples and cookies.  No variations. Predictable. 

One day at a time, day after day.  If I’m ok, Paris is ok, if she’s ok, Siena is ok and if they are both doing well then I’m ok. Day after day, in a never ending, circle. 

Now, Paris is off to college and we are on our last Spring break. And, it is starting to look like it will all be ok.