Hardly looks like the same man….

Winter 1994-95. Man he had shoulders and arms…………..and legs, and and and….

Nick at the dells 1994

June 2016 … he became a walking shell of his former self.

Nick BTT50S

I miss you,love.

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Madeline Island

Sue and Nick at Madeline Island

This is the last GOOD photo of us together. We did get one a week later at the Mustang Run but he was looking so ragged that day. And for some reason I cannot find that photo. I have it framed and it seems to be missing.

We had a good time on our ‘Bittersweet Farewell Tour’…as good as one can have when you are in such pain. He was a trooper and did everything he possibly could. It was all I could do to keep that smile on my face all the time.

I look at photos of him from then and think how the  HELL  did he walk as much as he did. How did he survive as long as he did. How could he smile at me when I knew he hurt so bad.

This photo was taken July 17th. He died 5 days later. I think I’m glad I didn’t know how close he was to dying. I would have been far too…..clingy? hovering? driving him nuts?

Nick 71716

The next 6 – 8 weeks are going to be very difficult.  Going thru all the firsts is almost over. The two big ones being the 22nd and the 27th.

Wonder if I can order a semi of Smirnoff?

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What a CRAPTASTIC kind of day….

For some reason today, I’m just NOT in the best mood. This anniversary stuff popping in my head is making me struggle more than normal. That, and some serious talking with a dear friend last night has got my mind just swirling again, questioning my choices, trying to understand why I can get nothing done at home, and why I just want to get away for a while.

Nick at Grand Marias on the way up to

I have a 4 day weekend coming up. I should just leave. But, once again, I’ve made promises. Of course, I could take off Friday after work and I don’t HAVE to be anywhere till church Sunday morning. And I don’t even HAVE to be there for that. I don’t HAVE to be anywhere till Wednesday morning. I scoop up Grandson #6 on Sunday, and take off. To parts unknown.

I wish people would promise ME like I do them. I help my family. I can’t get them to come to my house. I have some serious house issues needing resolution. I need this shit DONE.

One year ago today I was in Canada with Nick. He slept most of the time we were there but we still managed to do things. Like this photo, paddle boating around the lake. It was awesome. My legs got a real work out! Nick didn’t have the strength to help much. I didn’t care.  paddle boating

I was just happy to be where he was, making the last of his time fun and worthwhile.

Nick at Cross Falls.jpg

How little did we know how short that time would be.

One month after this photo was taken, I was at the funeral, trying to make sense of it all.

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A painful letter to write … and yet

Nick’s corneas were donated. He died at 2am, they called me at 7am. It stunned me to be contacted so soon but time is of the essence in organ donation.

It’s been almost a year. They told me I could meet these two men after a year. So I’ve started the process of contacting them through the eye bank that harvested his corneas.

Below is the letter I wrote this morning.

************************************************************************

Greetings and salivations!

Above is a photo of the wonderful man who, many years ago, made the best decision – to put on his driver license “Donor”. I know he wished we could have donated more of him to help other people. It’s how he was. He loved helping people.

Nick and I were together for 23 years, engaged for almost 20 of those years, and married for 4 months/2days before he died of gastric cancer, the reason more of him could not be donated.

I hope your surgery was a rousing success, that you are seeing the beauty around you, and that one day, we can get together so you can ‘meet’ the man I loved more than life through photos and videos.

Nick and I have 10 grandchildren. He loved them all even though biologically they were not his. They were still his in his heart. He would ‘hug the stuffin’ right outta you!’ he would say to them. And proceed to do so. They loved it and miss him so much..

It’s been a little over 11 months ago now, that he left me. The last month we did SO many things that made his last few weeks so much better. We took a trip to Canada and Madeline Island in Lake Superior. He also felt good enough to go on the Mustang Run, to Falcon Nationals, and on July 11th, I even managed to set it up for him to meet one of his idols, Jack Rousch of Rousch/Fenway Racing – one of my proudest accomplishment for July of 2016.

He also went to the Falcon Nationals in Baraboo.

He died a week later.

As you can maybe tell, he was a Ford nut. All of his cars were Fords except 2, Lincolns (owned by Ford) I have had little choice but to sell most of them, but I am keeping his 1952 Lincoln Capri and his 1969 Mustang Mach 1, hoping to have them both on the road one day.

His final request was to NOT have his ‘final ride’ in a GD GM product. We used his 1957 F100 pickup as his hearse. I know he was happy about that.

Nick was a loving, generous, kind and fun man. My life was richer for knowing him. He is sorely missed.

Sue

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Biking…it’s good for you. Right?

My backside ain’t so sure ’bout dat right now……

Yes, I have a gel seat on my bike.

No, it didn’t seem to help this time.

Can gel get too hard to do any good? hmmmmmmmmmmm

But I tell you! I feel like a million bucks today everywhere else!!!

So I rode my bike up to my friend Kevin’s house. He has an inversion table.

Ow.

ow OW ow!

OW!

I think I need to use it every night. My left hip feels SO much better today. It was incredibly painful at the time but I sure can tell a difference today!

It is a beautiful sunny day. I have my old truck in the parking lot. I put the hood off the Fusion in my truck by myself (YES…I CAN DO IT ALONE!! sense of accomplishment? ACCOMPLISHED!) to get to John tonight. I also meet with Neil who connected with John and those two are figuring out paint for the Fusion. I would like it done and out of my garage. It’s going to be a project but I can’t keep storing these cars. They need to be on the road and in someone ELSE’S garage.

4 cars left to deal with.

1956 Victoria.

1969 Ranchero

2006 Fusion

1989 or 90 Lincoln Mark VII parts car. May just take this one to the junk yard. After I find out what is inside. The missing sled and yard tools perhaps? I’m too chicken to push thru the burning nettles and pull the rubber sheeting off to see what’s hiding in there. My luck it will be masked bandits.

Ugh.

Y’all have a NICE day!!

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Nonna? Can we go to Cancer?

….and wake up Papa?

lennox and his loud eyes

The questions of a 3 1/2 year old.

Oh my little man, I really wish we could!

“Where IS Papa?” – Under your feet, so get off his stomach OK?

“Why is he here?” – because he died, honey.

“Why did he died?” – Because the cancer just got to be too much for him to fight off.

“Can we wake him up?” -no love, we can’t.

“Can I come see him again?” – anytime you want to little man.

“I LOVE YOU PAPA!!!!” – Papa loved you more than life, little man.

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2 of 6

This young man turned 17 yesterday.  We were having some AWESOME wings and fries and egg rolls at this North Side place. This ‘snow globe’ was there. If you could get the golf ball to sit on the tee, you won a free drink. This one got me a drink. The next 3 times he did it, got the rest of the group each a drink.

I love this kid beyond reason. He is so awesome.

Cullans 17th with golf ball

We were sitting across from each other when he looked me in the eye and said “Gramma, it’s 11 months today.” I said I know. I miss him so much Gramma. I know, I miss him too. I think pretty much anyone who knew Papa Nick does, Cullan. He was a force, a strong personality, and he loved his grandchildren with passion.

This little man…what a goof. He’s not understanding what Papa’s leaving is about. So we’ll be going to the cemetery soon. “Can we go visit cancer and see Papa?”

lennox and his loud eyes

Wait ….. what? So we’ll take him to where Papa is and talk to him about it. I’m amazed a 3 1/2 year old remembers something from a year ago. “Papa’s dead, right?” omg yes he is.

lennox and mustache.jpeg

As soon as he was done saying THAT, these photos were taken. He’s such a card. I know he doesn’t understand anything but the fact he can’t see Papa anymore.

This will be a difficult trip.

I left this wonderful family and headed over to meet the birthday boy.

I woke up with a hangover this morning. What a freaking headache for only 2 drinks. I think she used pretty low grade Tequila in my Sunrises.

Ugh.

golden-girls-spit-take

have-a-nice-day

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