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...

Tears

This is version two of this week’s blog post. Normally, I would have published it by now, but wasn’t happy with the way my earlier one came out. Then I saw a vignette on a friend’s Facebook page and it made me think about some things I had not thought about for a while.  The post I read was written from a woman’s perspective. It was about her thankfulness for the man in her life who she believed God had put there to wipe away all her earthly tears.  It made me think of the time before Suzanne died, as...

Peaceful life

Over many months, and for much more than a year, I have struggled to find true “inner peace”. What does that truly mean to me? It means finding a respite from thought, from fear, from the dull nagging ache of grief which—although it started all consuming—still holds a firm place in my heart, alongside my love for Suzanne.  Why would I seek this world of inner peace? So for a moment I can forget about the grief. For a moment I can be still and silent. And I can breathe and feel free of hurt and of pain. In the...

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...

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...

Weeds

Sometimes, I can’t think of anything to write. This week has been one of those weeks. Today’s post is going to be short. And I am trying to find the words to write. The rules that govern my content on one of the blogs I write for (I am writing a post for three different blogs each week) say that I can’t mention politics, because it’s too divisive. Nor can I give advice or talk about my personal coaching business. So, what do I want to write about this week? Weeds. Yep. Weeds. This week, I spent a couple of...

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...

Waking in an Empty Bed

If you have read any of my previous posts, you will by now know that my favorite band is a Scottish rock group from the 80s called Big Country. In 1984, they released their second album, Steeltown. That album debuted at number 1 in the UK. There is a particular song on that album that resonates deeply with me at the moment. That song is called Tall Ships Go and the first verse (and chorus) lyrics are: I dreamed I heard that you were dead. I dreamed I searched an empty bed.For a sign of you…And the sea called hard...