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I (have to) live without you widow Repair

Dear Jason,

I can’t live without you. I (have to) live without you.


I hate when couples say that old cliche, “I can’t live without you.” It’s such a sentimental lie. I can live without Jason even though I don’t want to. Time just picks me up and carries me deeper into life, even without him. I learned to embrace the inertia.

No More Teachers, No More Books (Sob!)

December 18, 2007 My last English paper was a success. Dr. Tombe spoke to me with a group of other soon-to-be-graduates. My choice of career was below my potential, she said. That is a compliment, but I don’t know if I should spend more money for graduate school.

Why reach for a career with more prestige than I am motivated to achieve? Is it worth taking more time from motherhood?

December 31, 2007 My college graduation party was wonderful! Walter brought his grill and cooked hamburgers and hot dogs. The house was filled with people talking, laughing, eating and playing pool. Everyone seemed to have a good time. I played some very bad pool, but I was a good sport about it, haha.

We left for Ohio by ten on Sunday to see my family. Caleb did okay with the little TV I borrowed from Gale. He said with gusto, “Ohio!” That’s a brand new word and pretty impressive!

Bucket List Planning: Yes, I’m Really Gonna Do That.

January 6, 2008
I talked to Alli about our trip to Israel. I’ll be staying two weeks. We buy the tickets after March, after Passover when they will be cheaper.

The outlets over there won’t support any of my electronics, so no phone, no laptop, no hair dryer, etc. With limited room in my suitcase, I’ll have to live with the bare essentials- no bulky bottles of Bath & Body Works.

I’m preparing to be low maintenance! Alli will laugh at me for having withdrawals from my favorite American toiletries. My new best friends will be my ponytail, chapstick and sunscreen.

As for clothes, nothing fancy: Alli said long skirts, jeans, tennis shoes and a jacket. She said they don’t dress fancy, so I’ll bring drab stuff.

There’s no one to impress except myself. It will actually be a blessing and a relief to be in that kind of environment for a while. I’m getting really excited about our plans!

Oh, and I’ll bring a bathing suit so I can swim (or float?) in the Dead Sea. I’ve wanted to swim in the Dead Sea since I learned about it in fifth grade.

“I love ooo mommy.” Nothing Heals a Widow’s Heart Like Toddler Talk

Nothings Heals a Widow’s Heart Like Toddler Talk Widow Repair

January 30, 2008 Caleb is growing so fast. He waits for us to take his hand to pray before dinner and whispers “Amen” at the conclusion.

Tonight he wanted to sit at the table and have a hot dog. He asked me for a fork. “This one?” he grinned, pointing his fork at a wedge of hot dog. He nudged at another piece and repeated, “This one?” with a big smile on his face.

The other night, he left me a message from my parents’ house saying, “Night, night,” and “I love ooo mommy!”

At night he asks for his favorite stories by saying “Fluffy” which is about a porcupine with image issues, or he asks for “the train book” which is about Thomas the Train. He giggles while I voice the characters, especially the owl’s “No-hooo.”

Caleb got a night light turtle for his birthday. The hard plastic shell is pierced with shapes that cast green stars all over the bedroom ceiling. “Stars,” Caleb says softly, prompting me to switch it on.

We count them when the lights are off. Caleb points at the night-sky ceiling and says, “two-three-four,” and he joins me in saying “six-seven-eight.”

The other day I showed him how to blow on a dandelion. He pursed his lips and puffed at the weed. Delicate, feathery seeds took flight- it was like magic. Imagine being 2 years old and seeing this for the first time- he said, “I blew it,” and he called it a “lion.” So cute.

February 23, 2008 This morning I fixed eggs and cereal for Caleb and myself, and we ate at the kitchen table with Dad, or “Eh-eh” as Caleb calls his grandpa.

Caleb wanted to go outside, so I told him we could after we got dressed. His blue eyes lit up with excitement, and he bounded into my arms so I could carry him down the hall to get dressed.

“You need a warm shirt, and some pants, and some shoes and some socks,” I narrated. Caleb smiled and exclaimed my statement back to me.

I got his clothes on and handed him a USC sweater. “Go give this to Eh-eh, and tell him you want to go outside.”

Caleb took the sweater and walked a few steps down the hall. He was singing a soft little tune. It was so childlike, sung with notes of contentment.

He stopped and asked for “momma,” but then continued down the hall singing. He walked into the kitchen and then into the dining room. My dad put on his sweater while Caleb chimed, “I wanna go ou-side.”

My cup runneth over.


Spelunking for a Restless Widow Widow Repair

Spelunking for a Reckless Widow

Caving — also traditionally known as spelunking in the United States — is the recreational pastime of exploring wild (generally non-commercial) cave systems…

…Note that I use the term ‘spelunker’ to denote someone untrained and unknowledgeable in current exploration techniques, and ‘caver’ for those who are.


Being a widow can make you reckless. You care less about safety because you’re not afraid of death. You feel invincible because the world is ironic. No matter what kind of hazard you’re exposed to, fate is determined to keep you from the one you love. You feel lonely and bored, and danger sounds like a great distraction. Or maybe I’m just speaking for myself.

Walmart: For all Your Spelunking Needs

In July of 2007, my job shut down for the worst heat of summer, so I traveled to Nashville to visit one of my best friends from high school. Shopping and playing pool downtown got old after a day or two, and *Dave got a call from a friend in Clarkesville who invited us to explore the cave in his backyard.

I pictured a tour like the one I did in Mammoth Cave National Park- walking along a roped-off path while our guide explained the stalactites and stalagmites. I didn’t realize that I had agreed to go trekking through rough underground terrain.

We were warned to prepare for mud and water, so we hit up a nearby Walmart. Dave’s roommate found the first person in a blue apron and asked, “Where can I find the spelunking equipment?”  She was understandably no help, so we found the camping section and bought headlamps, water shoes, waterproof bags and water-repelling workout clothing.

Twilight Zone Rafting

TWILIGHT ZONE. n. The outer part of a cave where daylight penetrates and gradually diminishes to zero light.

It was night by the time I finally met our “guide.” *Rob gave us a short briefing about the cave, including a disclaimer that we should be fine because it doesn’t flood very often in the summer. The cave ran for about three miles, and if there was a map available, Rob wasn’t concerned with obtaining it.

Dave’s roommate strapped on a 12 pack of beer in a mesh Corona backpack, and Rob and his girlfriend dragged two inflated rafts from the pool. I locked my phone in the car and followed the other four spelunkers toward the cave. Rafts?

At the cave entrance, we had to duck under a long, low wall of rock into cold water. Not just chilly, it was cold. Clearance was only about three feet, and Rob and his girlfriend sprawled on their rafts and sailed through the twilight zone without a problem. “This is completely flooded in the fall!” Rob reminded us cheerfully. The rest of us shuffled along for about 20 feet until we could stand up straight again.

Spelunking for a Reckless Widow Widow Repair

Blotting Out the Moonlight

DARK ZONE. n. The part of the cave system which daylight does not reach, no matter how faint.

Soon we were abandoned by the last traces of moonlight. Beams from our headlamps roamed over glittering rock walls and grotesquely shaped formations. The walls were coated in slippery orange/brown clay, and rivulets of water ran along the pathway. We noticed evidence that other people  had been there, and Rob grudgingly agreed that a group had been doing research a few weeks earlier.

The path was like a wide hallway, and Dave decided to climb into a hole in the wall that was lined with clay. I admit, this was not the best idea for the guy who was voted “most accident prone” in high school. That stunt ended with Dave sliding down the steep tube and hitting his head on a stalactite. I watched the blood ooze from above his ear and marveled at the bizarre situation.

No worries though, we moved on. Channeling the Goonies, I scanned the surroundings for any stray skeletons.

Spelunking for a Reckless Widow Widow Repair

Don’t Think About What Lives  in the Water

LAKE. n. In caving terms, a deep body of relatively still water with a surface area upwards of several square meters. There may or may-not be underwater passages leading from the lake.

The next obstacle was a body of water that was about as wide as a typical inground swimming pool. The five of us stood over the eerily placid lake, questioning whether it was wise to continue. It was nothing but blackness, no doubt harboring blind, translucent cave creatures with razor sharp teeth. In the spirit of self-preservation, I waited on the bank until two of my companions made it safely across.

Running along the wall over the second underground lake was a narrow shelf of rock. This time we enjoyed safe passage by hanging by our fingertips and inching along the shelf with only our legs dangling in the water. From there, we climbed over massive rocks and small waterfalls, sometimes crawling because the mud made it impossible to stand up.

Spelunking for a Reckless Widow Widow Repair

Avoid the Labyrinth

LABYRINTH. n. Syn. maze cave.

We came to a cavern that was about as spacious as my living room. From this central hub, we would have to choose from three halls that would lead us away from the main path and into the cave’s labyrinth. The guys wandered farther into a tight hallway, and soon their progress was drowned out by the sound of a waterfall in the distance.

Rob’s girlfriend and I stayed in the cavern, nervously discussing whether or not we could make it back if the batteries died in our flashlights. “Have you seen The Cave?” she asked ominously, referencing a horror movie that seemed too much related to our current situation. I tapped my dimming flashlight, commanding it to outlast the expedition.

When the guys came back, all thoughts turned to hot dogs and hamburgers. We made a fire in Rob’s backyard, lounged on the deck chairs and looked at the stars until the sun came up.

I’m guessing that we were not too far underground, and we probably traveled only a mile and a half, but it seemed like a separate world. Clay and waterfalls added up to insulation from real life. It was a spontaneous adventure that I never thought to put on my bucket list.


*Names changed for privacy

Caving terminology by Gary K Smith.