Thanks for sticking with me on this blogging and widow journey my friends. I am still learning and I have so much more to learn.
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In the beginning…
I started writing this blog after Mike died and I went on that G-Adventures trip to Thailand all by myself. I thought I’d be cut-off from the world, which I sort of was then, so I figured I’d post photos and keep a journal of my trip. That was an amazing and healing summer adventure.
Then I went back home to continue being a mom, teacher and grieving widow.
My blog didn’t stay in Thailand, so instead I kept dabbling in writing. I always enjoyed writing and often kept a journal when times got tough in my life. Usually I wrote for myself as therapy but writing my blog suddenly took on a life of its own as other people out there found my posts and commented.
It turns out I wasn’t alone on this widow journey.
I started to write about topics that were affecting me. Should I keep wearing my wedding ring and what should I do with his? When to get rid of his stuff and how does that feel? I wrote about my challenges like finding squirrels in my chimney and yard clean-up in the Fall.
And oh, I should write one about all the issues with the car before my son drove off to college, 1000 miles away, that second year.
Why did he die?
I questioned the funeral we held for my husband and wondered if I should have done more. How else could I cherish his memory? I recently updated a post, “How to memorialize the loss of a loved one” where I included so many things we did that I never realized were really ways to honor and keep Mike’s memory alive as we have continued with our lives.
I also experienced complicated grief.
Mike was a healthy, 51-year-old loving father and husband. His career as an attorney had made it possible for us to live in our dream home by the beach. Now with less than half our monthly income, I had trouble paying our bills.
Additionally, the police told us that his death was a terrible accident, but we began to hear another story. I was told by witnesses that Mike had been in a fight with two men on his way to use the beach clubhouse restroom. That did not sound like an accident. The police said they would begin an investigation, but meanwhile the perpetrators were free to walk the neighborhood and put letters in my mailbox asking me for money.
I hired a lawyer and a Grand Jury hearing took place with the District Attorney, Tom Spota. The two men, who got in a fight and killed my husband, hired the same lawyer to represent them as did James Burke, the Suffolk County police chief. Burke had beat and threatened a suspect and covered it up. Spota, the D.A., was involved in the cover up and both men were facing corruption charges.
The Grand Jury dismissed criminal charges, the medical examiner completed the death certificate as a HOMICIDE, and we pursued a civil lawsuit. After Burke was sent to prison, the District Attorney Tom Spota was convicted of conspiracy to tamper with witnesses and obstruct an official proceeding. Since Spota’s office dismissed the Grand Jury hearing regarding Mike’s HOMICIDE, we started a petition to the Senator to re-open the Grand Jury findings. Something did not seem right!
Local news stations interviewed me to bring attention to this travesty. I hired an investigative team to gather information for the civil lawsuit. I gave depositions about the night my husband died. It seemed like this would never end.
My health suffered. I began to take heart medication for panic attacks and scheduled regular visits with my bereavement therapist. Knowing my situation, she recommended a psychiatrist who could prescribe medication for my PTSD. This, with some yoga, long walks, a new puppy and friends, helped me get through those first couple of years.
Like most civil lawsuits, I settled out of court before going to trial. I never did have to see those men who took my husband’s life.
After three years of lonely widowhood, with the exclusion of several girlfriend getaways and a few trips with my kids, I became curious about dating. I liked being married and having someone special in my life. When one of my best friends met a nice guy with online dating, I decided to give it a try.
I got lucky!
This handsome hunk of a man lived only a few miles away from me and we took an instant liking to each other. We started spending all of our time together and 5 years ago today, he proposed.
I said yes.
We had a wonderful wedding ceremony on the beach and celebrated with friends and family. My two sons walked me down the aisle which was amazing, and then my sister and her husband joined us on our honeymoon cruise (and their 25th wedding anniversary) to Greece. Life was great.
Then there was a pandemic…
COVID arrived the next year and moved my retirement date up. I chose not to go back to teaching after 30 years and spent that winter in Florida near my sister and the warm beaches. Pete and I bought a house together in Florida and decided we did not want to live in New York anymore.
Although the summer heat can be rough, we are fully enjoying retired life in Florida. I wrote my memoir, dabbled in a part-time job guiding horse-back rides at the beach and took a yoga teacher training class my first year. The second year I stayed closer to our active community, took line dancing classes and became addicted to playing Pickleball.
Yesterday, I volunteered in a disadvantaged school to read a book to a third grade class. I wanted to experience something different, so didn’t choose to visit Kindergarten. I take a few minutes to talk to the kids before I read and tell them about New York and when I taught Kindergarten.
While explaining to the kiddos that I used to perform a play every year where I was Mother Goose and the kids were characters I thought we could recite some rhymes, the way my mom used to do when she visited classrooms.
Wow, at one point I heard myself talking and thought, I sound just like Addie!
Surprisingly, many of the kids did not recognize Humpty Dumpty or Jack and Jill. When I asked them what it meant that Jack “broke his crown,” I got nose, neck and the crayon in his pocket. Haha. Crown sounds like crayon I guess. Kids are great.
The blogging future…
After all these years of writing, I’ve been thinking it’s either time to shape up this blog or maybe give it up. Well, I still enjoy writing and it does keep me in touch with people I don’t see as much anymore, so I am going to keep working on it.
I hired a website designer to look over my website. She made some changes and told me my photos were taking up too much memory and making my site slow. I didn’t know that, so she fixed it.
I’ve been listening to informative lessons from blogger Brandon at the podcast Blogging Millionaire. I signed up for his RankIQ program which is a way to plug in your blog posts and increase your blog traffic with this SEO Keyword tool. I copy and paste my old posts into the site, and the my post is evaluated based on what Google searches for in a blog post on that topic. You get anywhere from an A++ to an F. The higher your grade, the more likely your post will show up on page one of a Google search. Interesting stuff.
But why do I want more traffic? Well, first I do hope that my blog posts and my book are helpful to readers or at least enjoyable to read. It would be great to have more people follow me. But apparently, people make money with these blogs!
I know that if you click on a link in my post to an item on Amazon and buy it, I make a small commission. I do not have much experience filling my bank account with Amazon commissions, but some bloggers do and good for them!
Example: Buy my book here: NO SIMPLE HIGHWAY: A WIDOW’S JOURNEY TO SEEK JUSTICE FOR HER HUSBAND’S DEATH
As I am learning more about blogging I found out that you can partner with brands that you use and really do recommend to others.
For example that 11-day trip I took to Thailand was through G- Adventures. Our tour guide took our small group in and around Bangkok, flew us to Chiang Mai for some amazing experiences and then to explore the islands like Ko Samui.
I used G-Adventures again when my sister and I spent a week in February in Iceland hoping to see the Northern Lights. I would definitely use G-Adventures again for small group travel that involves some hiking and seeing beautiful natural highlights of a country.
Another brand I am partnering with is for affordable Travel Insurance with World Nomads. As we get older you worry a bit that something could happen before that travel date. COVID sure made many of us aware that plans don’t always go the way we expect.
I learned about World Nomads years ago through Lonely Planet and have used them for all of my trips. The coverage is the same as most of the travel insurance you get from your travel agent, but significantly less money. As these trips get more expensive, I do believe it is better to be safe than sorry.
Thanks for reading and catching up with me. I’m looking forward to connecting with everyone and please let me know what you would like to hear more about. My focus is still on being widowed and life after the loss of a spouse, but also travel and retirement for the over 50 crowd.