From “A Gentleman in Moscow”

At the behest of my new partner, I have started to read fiction again. The second of her recommendations is a book called “A Gentleman in Moscow.” I am currently reading and enjoying it. Set in post revolutionary Russia, with lots of flashbacks to an earlier, more gilded age, the book is the story of a singular man—a count—who is placed under house arrest. He is imprisoned in a luxury hotel in Moscow and tells both tales of his youth and young adulthood as well as the customs, rules and etiquette of a man of his standing. While intrigued by...

Potential & Change

August 18, 2018 (24-hours before Suzanne dies) Dear future Jeff, I want you to know a few things. After Suzanne dies, you will feel like there is little potential of anything ever making your life any better. Did you know that you will be scared, hurting, very much alone (even surrounded by friends and family), completely lost, and heartbroken? Please know that although you could potentially just curl up in a ball and die from that heartbreak, you won’t. Potential is an interesting word. It means, “having or showing the capacity to become or develop into something in the future.”...

Dreams, Love & Gratitude

I wrote about unconditional love and also about gratitude some weeks ago, so you’re probably wondering why I’m writing about these things again. Well, I’m not writing specifically about those same topics (as I shared then). Instead, I wanted to share about these three things together: dreams, love and gratitude. What do I mean? To me, these things have become inseparable. In the early days of my life, my life’s dreams included various forms of love and gratitude. Those dreams were about the true love I sought for my life and what that meant to me. My dreams also encompassed...

Falling Backwards

Over the last week, I have been hit by several large waves of grief. Quite frankly, it sucks. It has been a long time since I have felt like this. First, I want to talk about triggers and what I think kicked it off for me, so starting with a bit of a rant here. Maybe the trigger was the fact that many places are starting to reopen after sheltering in place for CoVID-19, and I fear we are about to revert to the type of “normal” we were experiencing prior to the pandemic. If so, then to me, this...

Breaking Down — Making Amends

This morning, I had a “break down.” What does that actually, really mean? Did I truly break down? Did I break and now need fixing? Or, did I really just lay on the carpeted floor of my office and ugly cry for around 10-minutes vacillating between feeling sorry for myself, scolding myself for it and then trying to make myself feel better (by saying it was “okay to not be okay”)? I was feeling sorry for myself again. “Why did Suzanne leave me?” “Why did she have to die?” “Why is this so unfair?” The light of my life… before...

Gratitude

Why am I not happy? Why do I feel so stuck sometimes? Is it grief? Yes. That’s part of it. But there are times when I procrastinate. There are times when I don’t feel like doing anything. There are times when I simply want to stay in bed and not get up to face another day. Oh yeah. That’s what grief does. But sometimes, I know it’s more than just the grief. And somehow, I think we may all feel the same way sometimes. Perhaps a new perspective could prove valuable?   In recent weeks, as I have continued to...

The Lone Parent…

On Tuesday, April 7, 2020, I woke up at 3:49 AM to my phone vibrating. It was a call from my middle daughter, Laura. It was every parent’s nightmare. As I answered, awakened from a deep sleep I had only fallen into three hours earlier (because as I came to bed I discovered a roof leak coming through the ceiling right outside my master bedroom), I could hear crying. It was my oldest daughter, Rachel, crying. Our family… 20-years ago. Before cancer. Before death. Before being alone. In that moment, I can’t tell you how much it hurt to be...

Acceptance

The original title of this post was going to be awakening. But the real thing I felt compelled to write about was acceptance. It was an awakening of sorts that led me to the point of acceptance, so in some respects, this post is still about that concept. When I write about awakening, I am not talking about either the literal sense or the religious/spiritual sense. Well, not exactly, anyway. My awakening was the rationalization that Suzanne was truly gone. It didn’t actually take very long after she died. In fact, I woke up, bolt upright, in the middle of...

Friends

When I became a widower, I was hopelessly lost. My senses went into overdrive and my feelings were so intense and alien to me, I was in a complete state pf panic and a total fog. It felt like I was in a freefall. It was as if the rug that I had been walking on all of my life had suddenly and dramatically been pulled out from beneath my feet and there was no floor underneath me. The sensation of falling into an abyss had never been more acute. The saving grace were the friends and family that showed...

Letting go

This is going to be long. I agonized for the last 24-hours (plus) about whether to make this more than one post. I also could not decided on a title… so the others I was thinking about will become different posts in future (now that I wrote them all down and finally settled on “letting go” for this one). So, here goes (and you may want to grab a coffee, tea, your favorite tipple… and a tissue if you’re that way inclined—I personally used several while I was writing it). Many of my friends will note that I often “preach”...