Monday, April 30, 2007


I was awakened by my friend Kristen calling me at 5:30 am. Joe usually watched Jacob while I was at work, and I was supposed to have conferences with all the parents in my class on Monday, so I scrambled to find back up child care. Kristen had said she could do it, but was calling to say that her own daughter was too sick to make the trip.

I decided that I had to call in sick to school and stay home with Jacob. I called Joe on his cell phone at about 8:00, and actually tried to make him feel guilty that I had to call in sick. He sounded so distant, and it was pissing me off.

I went on a walk with Mel (who was home on maternity leave) and our kids, and I remember complaining about how depressed Joe sounded. I thought that he could at least try to sound upbeat when speaking to me.

I took Jacob to music class with Mel and her girls, but felt anxious through the whole thing.

I went home, called Joe, and told him I was coming to see him. He told me not to come in. When I asked him why, he told me that his rash had spread, and he didn't want me to see him looking the way he was. I told him that I didn't care how he looked, I just wanted to see him. He firmly told me not to come in.

I called him again about an hour later. I asked him for an update. He told me the doctors still didn't know what was wrong with him, but that he was really sick. Again I pleaded with him to let me visit, and again he told me not to come.

I called my friend Nikki, crying. I told her that I just wanted to know what was going on. She suggested that I call Joe's physician.

I called his primary care physician, and the receptionist picked up.

R: Hello, Dr. O's office
me: Hi, my name is b, and
R: Hold on one minute, the Dr. wants to talk to you

This exchange was my first inkling that something was really wrong. The Dr. got on the phone, and quickly informed me that Joe was really sick. I asked what exactly was wrong with him, and he told me that they were still unsure, but people from the Center for Disease Control were trying to determine that.

I asked if Joe could die from whatever it was, and the Dr.'s words sent chills through my spine. "He could. If I were you I would come in as soon as possible."
I told the Dr. that Joe was telling me not to come in.
"How is your marriage?" he asked.
"Our marriage is great!" I responded.
"He probably is worried about you seeing him in the state he's in. But I would come in."

I hung up the phone and called Nikki back, crying hysterically. I told her that the news wasn't good, that he could die. I think she, like most people I spoke to at that time, thought I was exaggerating. How could he die from this unknown illness?

I packed a bag to bring to Joe. I put fresh clothes, magazines, and pictures in it. I was so naive, thinking he'd be changing clothes, or reading.

I called him one more time to tell him that I was coming in. He said that he was glad, that he wanted to see me.

Right before I left the house the phone rang. It was Joe, asking me if Jacob's friends had the chicken pox recently.

"Is that what you have?" I asked.
"Yes," he answered.
"Oh thank god!" I said.

I felt almost giddy as Mel got in my car.

"It's just the chicken pox!" I told her excitedly.

We got to the hospital, took the elevator up to Joe's floor, and walked out of the elevator. I saw a large group of doctors huddled together, talking. I told Mel that I was sure they were discussing Joe.

Here's my second regret. I should have just walked to Joe's room. Instead I walked over to the doctors, and told them my name. They looked at me with such pity. They told me that they were moving Joe to ICU because he was so uncomfortable. He needed a full time nurse, and he could only get that in ICU.

I told them I was going to see him, and they informed me that I couldn't. They knew that he had the chicken pox, but they couldn't rule out other things as well. Since I was 7 months pregnant, they couldn't risk the baby catching something.

I begged them to let me go in for just a minute. The answer was no. I asked if I could just stand in his doorway. No. I couldn't believe it. Joe was so close, yet so far. I went to the waiting room where Melanie was. I started crying, as I told her the doctors wouldn't let me see Joe.

We left feeling defeated. Joe called me soon after I got home.

"What happened?" he asked.
"They wouldn't let me see you. I came, but they wouldn't;t let me go in." "I'm so sorry, Joe. I'm so sorry."
"I need sleep," he said.
"I love you," I told him.


Sunday, April 29, 2007


I awoke to the phone ringing at 5:40 am. My neighbor was calling to say that Jacob had awakened, and she didn't have any formula to give him. (He was only 10 months at the time, so he wasn't yet drinking milk.) I walked across the street and brought my baby home.

It was a rainy day, and I was exhausted from the previous day, so when Jacob fell back asleep, I took the opportunity to sleep as well.

We woke up around 9, and I started calling Joe's cell phone. There was no answer for hours. Finally, around noon, he called me. He had just been given a room. For almost 24 hours he had been lying next to the nurse's station. He was beyond exhausted, and told me that he just wanted to sleep. I told him that I wanted to visit him, but he said not to bother, just to let him sleep.

My school had just been completely rebuilt, and the dedication ceremony was that day. I was on the committee that planned the day, so I decided that I may as well go to the ceremony with Jacob.

After the ceremony I took Jacob shopping. Joe called me while we were at the mall. He said that the doctors were still unsure what was wrong with him, and when he would be coming home.

When I got home I put Jacob down for a nap. I called Joe and asked for an update.

"I'm really sick," he said.
"What's wrong with you?" I asked.
"They don't know," he answered.
I sunk down into his chair, and began to cry.
"This is so hard. I need you here."
"You can do it. Try to stay strong. I've gotta go," he replied.

I don't have many regrets in life. But one of my biggest by far is not going to visit Joe that day, three years ago. I just had no idea how bad it was about to get.

I can't even believe it was three years ago. This whole retelling makes me realize how much it feels like yesterday. It's that clear. I even remember what I was wearing, what Jacob was wearing, what I fed him that day, the way my stomach lurched when Joe said that he was really sick, the smell of his leather chair, the sound of worry in his voice, the helplessness that I felt.

And the statement I made, "This is so hard. I need you here." It rings true now more than ever. I can't believe he never got to come home. He knew I needed him here, and he didn't come home.

Thanks for reading.


Saturday, April 28, 2007


I got up with Jacob at about 6am, as was my usual weekend routine. I fed and played with him for about an hour, and then we both went back to bed.

I awoke an hour later to the sound of Joe throwing up in the bathroom. While this make me anxious, it wasn't unheard of in our house. Joe has an intestinal disease that acted up from time to time. We both assumed that his feeling sick was due to this disease.

In fact when Jacob woke up about an hour later, I told Joe that it was his turn to get up. He got Jacob up, went down and made coffee, and was soon back in our bed complaining that his stomach hurt, and that the bump in his ear was driving him crazy.

I took Jacob for a walk with my neighbor, and actually complained about the fact that Joe was complaining. I attributed it to him being a guy, that he was acting like he was in such pain. (no offense guys, but you're not the best at dealing with being sick.)

I then took Jacob to his music class, and brought him home for a nap. I was supposed to meet my friend for lunch, and I asked Joe if I should cancel or go. He told me to go, but asked that I try to be back before Jacob woke up from his nap. The restaurant was 30 minutes away, but I thought that due to music class, Jacob would sleep for 2 hours. So I went.

As we finished our meal I heard my cell phone ring. (I discovered later that it had rung numerous times during our meal, but it was too noisy to hear the ring.) Upon hearing Joe's voice I knew something was really wrong. He could barely speak, but asked me if I was almost home. I told him I was on my way, and got in my car.

I called my neighbor and asked if she could go get Jacob from my house. She agreed, and so I called home to tell Joe my plan. He heard me and hung up without saying a word. My neighbor later told me that she found him lying on the ground. He could barely lift his head up.

I told Joe that we were going to the ER. He went to take a shower. I'll never forget the horrors of that shower. He brought Jacob's plastic stepstool into the tub, so he could sit, but even so he was sobbing while the water splashed him. (Joe wasn't one to cry at all.)

I helped him get dressed and we got in the car. Joe brought a pillow with him, and was squeezing it in pain the entire ride, while crying. At one point I asked him if I should pull over and call an ambulance, but he told me to keep driving.

I dropped him at the door to the ER and went to park the car. By the time I got inside the ER, he was already on a stretcher with a morphine drip in his arm.

It was a busy day in the ER, and Joe was never given a curtained off area. Instead his stretcher lay next to the nurse's station in the middle of the room. The noisiest spot he could possibly be. At times the morphine drip would work enough to allow Joe to speak calmly, but most of the time he was in so much pain he was either screaming or crying. The nurses told me repeatedly to quiet him down, and that he needed to be patient. I think of those nurses often, and wonder if they ever found out that the patient they considered impatient was actually dying in front of their eyes.

Throughout the day we spoke to numerous doctors, and retold the same story to each of them. A rash had begun spreading all over his body, and I asked at least 3 of these doctors if the rash could be chicken pox. All of them quickly said no.

Joe had a cat scan, which showed that his intestines were totally clear, but that his liver looked inflamed. This puzzled all of us, because we assumed that his pain was due to his intestinal disease.

It was at this time (about 7pm) that Joe began feeling like he had to pee constantly. I would take him into the bathroom, helping him stand, and pushing his IV. But each time he was unable to pee at all, and instead would have horrible pain. I thought that maybe he had kidney stones, but the doctors couldn't see any evidence of them. They decided to give Joe a catheter, so he would be out of that pain at least.

I sat by Joe's side until midnight, at which point he insisted I go home. "You've got our baby in you to care for. You need your sleep," he said.

I kissed him, told him I loved him, and left, still unsure of what was wrong with him.

That was the last time I got to see him conscious.


Friday, April 27, 2007

Joe's Story

Tonight marks the three year anniversary of Joe's decline. Those of you who were readers last year, may remember that I wrote Joe's story out day by day. The purpose was for Joe's story never to be forgotten. I have decided to re post Joe's story, and hope that you will read it and comment on it. If you are a new reader, I would love for you to let me know that you are here. If you are an "old" reader, I would love for you to let me know that you are here. And if I know you personally, I would love your input on Joe's story. What was going through your mind each day that the story took place? Were you in my house during any of this time? How did you find out that he was sick? Who told you he died? I know that it was three years ago, but I would really love your participation in this one. So please, indulge me.
Three Years Ago Tonight*

Joe went out after work and had dinner at a local bar, along with two beers, and smoked a cigar. He then came home, watched TV with me, and went up to bed with me. I enjoyed his company in bed as much as a 7 month pregnant woman could.

Then he started complaining about a bump in his ear. I was annoyed, because he was often finding things wrong with himself. I mean he often felt sick in one way or another, so I was annoyed that he was feeling fine, but fretting over this bump in his ear. He even had me use a flashlight to examine said bump.

I pronounced it a zit, rolled over and went to sleep.

Little did we know that this was our last night together. That he had eaten his last meal, drank his last beers, smoked his last cigars, and had his final sexual act. If only we had known....


*While the date this actually took place was April 30th, 2004, it was a Friday night. Because Joe's illness was so brief, I associate the days of the week more than the actual dates. My intention is to retell what happened each day up until his death.

Tuesday, April 24, 2007

Mother's Day

Mother's Day has not traditionally been a good day here. My first Mother's Day as a mother was the day of Joe's funeral. My second Mother's Day as a mother was spent at the cemetery for Joe's unveiling (a ceremony where the tombstone is unveiled for the first time). My third Mother's Day as a mother was spent cleaning out the basement that was flooding due to extraordinarily heavy downpours.

My fourth Mother's Day as a mother is promising to be much better than my past ones. My mother has offered to (gasp!) take my sons for the weekend. T and I will be traveling to Kennebunkport, Maine to relax and dine out. We will be staying here. I am very much looking forward to spending my nights here, and am particularly looking forward to breakfast.

I figure I am due a good Mother's Day, right?


Sunday, April 22, 2007

What a difference the sun makes

The boys and I had a wonderful
weekend together
courtesy of
the sun
I actually felt like a good mom
for the first time
in a while
enjoy the pictures below

This picture was taken through my dining room window screen. This is the first year I've been able to leave the boys in the yard without me present. The yard is fenced in, and the boys know not to leave. I keep the windows open so that I can hear them at all times. AT one point it got a little too quiet for my likings. I went to the window to peak, and they were whispering to each other, and aiming the hose at the neighbor who was hanging her laundry. Luckily, the water hasn't been turned back on yet for the season!
Jacob blowing bubbles. Am I the only mother out there who despises bubbles? Is there any activity messier than bubbles? But it's still cute to watch them get the first few bubbles out.

Josh was insistent that Brooklyn needed Poland Springs water. I, of course, let him feed it to her.Spring has sprung in our backyard!

Friday, April 20, 2007

This One's For The Believers

For whatever reason, the boys have been talking about Joe a lot recently. His death comes up at least once a day.

Tonight, as I was stuggling to get the boys ready for bed, Jacob pointed to Joe's Red Sox hat hanging on the wall in the playroom.

"Is that my daddy's hat?" he asked.
"It is," I replied.
"Can I wear it?"
"No. It's a special hat. But you can wear one of his shirts."
"Mommy, I miss daddy. Why can't he come back?"
"Because he died."

At this point Joshua, who had been listening to this exchange, ran from the playroom into his bedroom corner, looked up at the ceiling, and began yelling, "Daddy, come back! Daddy, come back now! Daddy, we miss you!"

This went on for a few minutes, until I finally asked him why he was yelling at the ceiling.
He pointed with his finger at the corner and said, "Because daddy is right there."

"You can see him?"
"uh huh."
"What's he doing?"
"He's looking sad."
"He misses us mommy."

Told you it was for the believers.....


Thursday, April 19, 2007


It's that time of year again. If you've been reading for a while, or you know me personally, you know that this is the time of year that hits me hardest. This is the lead up to the anniversary of Joe's hospitalization, and subsequent death. Last year at this time I was a disaster. This year? Not much better.

I thought that having T around might make things different, and they did a bit. But now he's gone away for the next week, and I'm a bit sick, and all of the unfinished businesses with grad school, and preschool, and regular school are taking their toll on me. I was actually kind of looking forward to T going away, so I could have freedom to be depressed. But now I just want him back.

To top it all off, we were supposed to go to NYC this week. I still haven't seen baby Sophia yet. But I'm too sick to go, and so I'm stuck here alone and depressed.

I hate this time of year.

I'm sinking. Again.


Tuesday, April 17, 2007

A Mom's Worst Nightmare

Is there anything worse
than sending
your child
your blood
your life

to school

a place where they
are assumed to be safe
where they are learning
to become the person
they are meant to be

and then hearing on the news
that there was a shooting
and your child
your blood
your life

is dead?

I don't think there is
anything worse

My heart is breaking
for all the mothers
who received that news


Saturday, April 14, 2007


I'm feeling super frustrated tonight. First of all, I got my financial aid package for preschool for next year. I will have both boys enrolled instead of just Jacob. They gave me almost nothing. It will cost me $29,000 for the year to send them to school! That's with the aid! I cannot afford that. Can anyone afford that? No wonder I feel so out of place when I'm around all the other moms at his school.

I also got a letter in the mail from grad school stating that I need to take 4 more classes to graduate! 4 more classes! But I have the credits I need. Clearly this is a computer screw up, so I emailed my advisor, who is also the head of the department, and has advised me through my last two years. The email bounced back saying she is on maternity leave this semester. So now I have to wait until Monday (Or Tuesday, b/c Monday is a holiday in MA), and try to figure out how to clear this up.

I'm frustrated!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Thursday, April 12, 2007

Anger Issues

Josh has anger issues
around Joe's death
Who can blame him?

He keeps killing his doll
telling his doll
that she's bad
and he wants her dead

This happens every time
Joe's name
comes up

This can't be a good thing


Wednesday, April 11, 2007

I'm it!

Pentha tagged me with a meme of trios.

Three things that scare me:

1. T leaving me
2. Something bad happening to my boys
3. Something happening to me, leaving my boys without a mom

Three people who make me laugh:

1. My kids
2. T
3. Patrick

Three things I love:

1. Watching reality tv while browsing the computer
2. Snuggling with my boys
3. Great sex

Three things I hate:

1. Driving in the snow
2. Losing my internet connection
3. The way my body looks

Three things I don't understand:

1. How does one die from the chicken pox?
2. War
3. Debi T.

Three things on my desk:

1. My television
2. VCR
3. DVD player

Three things I'm doing right now:

1. Watching The Real World
2. Missing T
3. Throwing the dog a toy over and over and over

Three things I want to do before I die:

1. Hold my grandchildren
2. Publish some of my writings
3. Find a new happily ever after

Three things I can do:

1. Bake cookies quite well
2. Make people laugh
3. Teach

Three things I can't do:

1. Sing
2. drive a standard
3. Dance

Three things I think you should listen to:

1. Bruce Springsteen's The Rising
2. Your children
3. The still, small voice

Three things you should never listen to:

1. George W. Bush
2. Advice from frenemies
3. Your inner voice that tells you that you can't do something

Three things I'd like to learn:

1. How to have patience
2. How to enjoy life to the fullest
3. How to stop replaying Joe's death

Three favorite foods:

1. Eggplant Parm
2. Pizza from Staten Island
3. Chocolate cake

Three shows I watched as a kid:

1. The Brady Bunch
2. The Twilight Zone (80's edition)
3. Facts of Life

Three things I regret:

1. Not staying with Joe the whole time he was in the hospital
2. The night in Virginia when I was 14
3. Getting a dog (just at this moment)

Three people I tag:
Mel (so she can update her damn blog)

Monday, April 09, 2007

How I know That T will be an Amazing Father

The day before Easter T went out and bought everything we'd need to dye Easter eggs. Unfortunately, when it came to the eggs themselves, he picked out brown ones. The boys couldn't have cared less, as this was the first time they'd ever dyed eggs, and they didn't know what they should look like.

The had a great time dunking, and re dunking the eggs into the various color dyes, and exclaiming how beautiful they were. Meanwhile, T kept muttering, "Why did I buy brown eggs?"

Saturday night T and I went out on a date. On the way home T pulled into the grocery store and told me to wait in the car. He was back in a flash with a mischievous look, and a bag full of white eggs. Yep, you guessed it, we were going to dye new eggs.

And so it was, at midnight, Easter eve (is that a term?) T and I were sitting at the dining room table dying eggs. All because T wanted them to wake up to bright colorful eggs that they would think they dyed.

That's T.

first batch

2nd batch

egg hunting

Sunday, April 08, 2007

Brooklyn, a year later

We brought her home a year ago, yesterday.
This was her today.


Saturday, April 07, 2007

Breakfast In Bed

My boys
(all 3 of them)
surprised me this morning
with a delicious
(but slightly cold)
breakfast in bed
I am so lucky


Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Yours, Mine, Ours, & His?

T spent the day at home today while I was at work. he decided to use his day off to clean/organize the kitchen. When I got home I was pleased to see the results of his labor. The kitchen was rearranged in ways that made sense, the clutter was gone, the counters shined.

"You know what I noticed as I was cleaning?" T asked me while we sipping our after work cappuccinos.

"What?" I innocently replied.

"Joe is everywhere."


"Joe is everywhere."

"What do you mean? Give me examples."

T then pointed out at least 15 places in my kitchen that represented Joe. He was in a photograph with his arm around me, on the refrigerator. He was the giant ash tray from Cuba sitting on the window sill. He was the empty beer cans that were sitting in the cabinet over the stove. (Yes, Joe's empties.) He was the trinkets on the other windowsill. He was the cigar boxes that are being used to hold matches. I could go on, but you get the point.

T told me that he's fine having Joe around, he understands that he was/is a big part of my life, and the father of the the boys. But having him everywhere is a bit weird.

I finished drinking my cappuccino, loaded up a basket of laundry, to bring down to the basement. Before I headed to the stairs I loaded up a bit of Joe. I won't pack up all of Joe. T wouldn't want me to, nor would I feel comfortable doing so. But I want T to feel like my home is his home. And three's a crowd. So the picture, the ash tray, and the humidification unit are now resting downstairs in the basement. It's time for Joe to find a new place in our home.


Sunday, April 01, 2007

It's official

T is moving in at the end of June