A debt I cannot repay.

Today, I received news that the person who helped both of my parents in Florida before they died himself died of complications to COVID. In many ways, I am taking this harder than I did the loss of my father. Dad was a complicated man, and stubborn to boot. Mom ignored the warning signs herself. But without Paul, I am not sure how I would have handled the situation. And Paul deserved better than to die to COVID in a hospital in isolation.

He was my eyes and ears while I was in NY making a living to be able to afford to help my parents, misgivings aside. In many ways, his decisions led to the unfortunate set of circumstances that took him away from this world before his time had come. He was good-hearted and sought to help others. And I mourn now for his family who lost him.

Paul helped my parents without any guarantee or promise of benefit. He did it because it was the right thing to do, and he never asked for payment. It is this selfless commitment to someone I hardly knew to help my parents that I will always appreciate. I am sad about his passing because Paul deserved better. He was one of the good ones, a person who did what is right and didn’t ask what was in it for him.

This post is to honor someone to whom I owe a debt, and I just hope that I am able to repay it to his family in a way that honors the help he gave to my parents. Even if they didn’t appreciate the jester at times, I do. He was a rare human being, and I hope I can honor his memory.

Thank you Paul, my complicated relationship with my parents aside, I owe you a debt. I will do my best to honor it.

Thank you, Paul. I hope to do my small part to help your family as you helped mine. I will not forget.

2 Years Later

2 Years Later

It’s been two years since I wrote on this message.  I can’t read thru it without feeling pain.  I usually use this blog to indirectly communicate with her, but I felt it fitting to tell her that I miss her tonight.  I never wrote a text message to her again while she was alive.  The night before, she was in distress and having trouble even typing.  Her neighbor was sort of a lunatic, and that wasn’t helping her either.

She was getting back to being stable, so the plan was to get her to feel good enough to go home and find a hospice care place who could help manage her care from here on out.  8 years in, and it became too dangerous for her to stay home.  I felt like a failure.  I went home to get some sleep so that I could coordinate finding a place that was right for her.  The amount of incompetent shits in the medical field is criminal, but what industry isn’t filled with useless fucks?

She had been in the hospital since Sunday, but it wasn’t till I went in that Tuesday that I realized that she wasn’t coming home.  That Tuesday was the last day I would get to tell her that I love her.  44 hours in a morphine coma and she was gone.

That morning, I came in and her heart rate was back up.  What happened next has been documented in this blog, and frankly, it is hard to repeat it even in text.

I have always felt guilty that I didn’t stay more Monday.  But I didn’t know then what I knew that Tuesday morning.

I tell myself that.  But I don’t allow myself to forgive.  Still don’t. I wanted to give everything I had.  I wanted to die when she died.   Go with her spirit.  I didn’t want to face having to start over.  I didn’t want to start over.  I didn’t want to play this terrible game anymore.  A large part of me still doesn’t.  I’m terrified of my entire life becoming a series of tragedies.  It’s fucked, but there it is.

I still feel guilty for being alive while she is dead.  She deserved more out of life and frankly, I never really enjoyed it as much as she did.  I feel like in many cases, the time I still have would have been better spent if it was given to her and I was the one who died.

I feel guilty now for having good days.  For being in a relationship and learning to be happy again.  Every time I feel that there is some hope, I feel guilty for not being miserable.  It’s like there is a part of me that needs to tone down my enjoyment of life.  Like I’m fucking responsible for Cancer?  But there it is.

I feel like I owe it to her to try to slow down a bit and enjoy life a bit.  But it all doesn’t give as much happiness as it did when I was younger.  When I was ignorant of what pain was.  To enjoy life, you have to go live it.  But bad things happen when we peek out of our protective shell.  I know it’s irrational.  But there it is.

In spite of still having these feelings, I try to live.  I accept that I have this pain, and I don’t try to fight it.  When I need to cry, I do.  But then I go back to living.  Not reckless.  Not self-destructive.  Just a boring average existence.  What anyone expects is within reach in life.  Go to work, get shit done, get paid, and enjoy the weekend.  But I still feel guilty, even though I shouldn’t.

I wish I could say that I appreciate how lucky I’ve been, but honestly, I wish I didn’t know what this pain feels like.  I wish I had the luxury of bitching about the ball-n-chain and how the kids drive me nuts.  I wish I still looked forward to Christmas or my own birthday.  But I am sort of numb to happy.  I don’t look forward to anything, even when I am happy.  I’m also numb to sad too.  It’s like my brain decided that it has had enough of feeling a strong emotion and it is in this mode where it mutes the color of life.  It’s a daily struggle to rise above this.  Being happy requires me to work at it.

Dumb and ignorant people would say that I am depressed.  Well, my first love and wife died.  You want me to feel what exactly?  But I’m not depressed.  I am in a promising relationship.  I’d say I am in love.  I have a good job.  I have my own place.  I’m comfortable.

But I have survivor’s remorse.   I’m mad that God decided that her eternal kindness, happiness, and optimism needs to go while my brooding calculating self gets to stay.  What kind of fucking diety does that?  Seriously, where did this guy learn to “God” anyway?

I’m scared to have kids.  I always figured I would have them, but here I am past the point where I felt I wanted to sign on to 20 years of indentured servitude to a rug rat.  I don’t know if I have it in me to take the risk of creating a life that could be taken from me.  Or the energy to give that kid the time and attention it will need to become a self-actualized adult.

I am not sure that after all that time caring for Felecci that I have the energy to give, even though I feel it is one of the most important things we do in life as human beings.  How fucked is that really?  I’m not saying I don’t want kids.  In fact, I’m very certain I want the option on the table still.  But I’m scared that I will never be ready to pull that trigger.  No pun intended.

2 years later, I am still trying to move forward.  I owe it to Felecci to do so.  She wanted me to, and she can’t live life for me so the job is mine regardless if I want it or not.  But even though I seem better, I really am still just starting to figure out how to live again.   I am flying by the seat of my pants.  Trying not to feel guilty for every good feeling and emotion I find.  Not letting the pressures of life bother me like it did.  In fact, I have never been so balanced in my life.

Normally I try to edit these posts a bit to tell a story to the reader so that they get some message.   I’m not going to do much editing here.  If you are in a similar position to mine and you still feel like you are lost and drifting thru life aimlessly, then you are normal.  See my words, and realize that I’m still nearly as fucked as I was 2 years ago.

I am not sure I will ever get over this.  Like a scar, I think I will carry this forever.  Hopefully, we learn to feel good in life and get excited about the opportunity.  I’m still trying to find that, and I think Felecci would be nagging me to do better.  So, I try to every day.

I love you babe.  I wish it was me and not you.  I know you always hated when I said that, but it is still true. Not because I want to die, but because I feel you deserved life more than I did.  I hope I do better in year 3.  But I’m trying.  For you, if not for myself.

Say hi to Nana and Artie for me.  I still think about them every time I think about our marriage.  Also, say hi to your Lola for me.  I was sad to hear that she went.  I hope her spirit keeps you company till we meet again.

As 2018 closes, I am glad you took pictures.

I never liked taking pictures, but you did.  I’m very glad now to have them.

Felecci knew a side of me most people don’t get to see. The side that isn’t afraid to be silly. She also loved to take pictures, and I most certainly didn’t. It’s good that one of us did though. While I can’t look at many of them because of the emotions it brings up, I do smile when I find pictures like this. It reminds me of what was great about our marriage.

I sometimes wonder if our marriage would be the same had we met later in life. We met in college and we were still sort of kids / sort of adults. There was no pretext to our relationship. She didn’t need to have a baby within 1 year or be married within 2 years. We didn’t have our entire lives planned out before meeting one another. And we most certainly didn’t need dating profile pictures with Instagram filters applied to hide our imperfections.

Try dating in 2018 and often you start to notice some things. And it doesn’t exactly matter between age either. I’ve dated both older and younger women, and while not universally true, many people already have an image of exactly who it is they are looking for. It’s like they saw their perfect match on TV and are going out onto Tinder shopping for it.

I wasn’t looking for any relationship in particular when I started dating Felecci. We sort of fell into it. As we grew closer together, we started to discuss (negotiate if you will) what our futures would look like. I imagine if we had critical issues then it is possible we wouldn’t have worked out. But we were compatible. We figured that out over a long time. We weren’t sure about it after 2-3 dates.

We were friends who were attracted to one another. We became what I would describe in modern terms as “exclusive best friends with benefits”. We had a connection and we enjoyed one another’s company. The other stuff got worked out along the way as our lives unfolded. Sooner or later we got married. And if it wasn’t for cancer, I am sure we would be complaining about 2.5 kids and New Jersey property taxes right now.

These days, a high number of people seem to have their relationship search boiled down to an exact set of specifications. “Meet these minimum requirements or you can’t date me.” Or, they suffer from buyers remorse. They test drive one person, but they can’t stop looking online for a newer, better model.

Surprisingly, so many people have trouble telling the other person that is going to work out. The whole concept of ghosting was a foreign idea to me and someone had to explain it to me. Assuming the other person isn’t nuts or dangerous, don’t we owe the person the courtesy of breaking it off? I mean, how hard is it to call or text someone that you don’t wish to take this any further?

I knew dating would be weird for someone who is in my situation, but I really can’t wrap my head around just how fickle a number of my encounters were. People were almost grateful when I was a mature human being and declined further dates as if I was doing them a great favor by talking with them and breaking it off clean. Others seemed to be 100% into me only to break up via text the next day out of nowhere. Making me think I missed some sign or something. Oddly (and hypocritically, I guess) enough, I found myself grateful that I got a text at all. Not left wondering for a week if we were still dating or not.

I don’t remember dating being so complicated. I’m not sure if the information age has not just amplified our insecurities and flaws and made us way more judgemental of one another.

I mean, I am ok with someone not liking me. I had a great marriage and I took care of Felecci for a long time. I know what type of person I am and if I never get married again I will take pride in the type of husband I was to my grave.

I am actually worried for some people that I’ve met though. You can see from their profile and then by meeting the real them that they are struggling with who they are. You see a photo, but that isn’t really them. It has 20 filters applied to it, in person, they sort of look like their picture but it’s hard to tell really. Are we all really trying to deceive one another into liking us before we even meet them?

And some of the personalities. I mean some folks come to the date downright angry at the world. You can tell that they have had some negative experiences in the past and they are going to hate dating, in spite of the fact that no one is forcing them to show up. I mean chill out, I didn’t apply a Jason Momoa filter on my face to trick you into coming here. Have a drink before telling me how terrible your life is and how many people in your office you hate.

Who knew the hardest part of dating wasn’t going to be finding dates, but it was going to be dealing with all of this human insecurity out there. While I’m not going to pretend that I am god’s gift, I am ok with who I am. I don’t get the impression many people who are dating feel the same way. And it makes for tense people who worry too much about what went wrong on a date instead of just chalking it up to two people simply not having any chemistry.

Advice to widowers dating for the first time: you might think you will be the one who doesn’t have your shit together – but trust me. You might have your shit together better than some folks out there. Don’t sweat it if the date doesn’t work out, sometimes you just don’t click. Don’t get your hopes too high or too low, people are fickle out there. Take your time and enjoy it, and when it gets to be annoying, take breaks.

To those dating in general, I’m not sure some of you are cut out for marriage. Consider changing your status from long-term relationship to hookup. Because some of you don’t realize it, but you have no idea yet what it is that you want. Date casually, don’t put so much pressure on it. Try to let it flow. And if your bar is really high in a bunch of areas, you may be creating requirements that no one can meet. Be sure those requirements are genuine, and not just you being really picky.

Finally, be yourself. There is literally no one you date who isn’t going to figure out who you really are sooner or later. Better they figure it out at the profile reading stage and spare you and them the trouble. While I don’t lead with the fact, I state that I am a widower in my profiles. It for sure reduces the activity pool, but I don’t want to date casually. One of my requirements is that someone is ok with my past and that they are supportive of it. If they can’t cope with my history, then they aren’t right for me.

I’m on a break from online dating, and frankly, I’m enjoying my break from it right now. My tolerance for other people’s bullshit is low in general. I’ll be back in the pool before long, but it’s nice to have a breather when it stops being fun and starts feeling like a chore.

Here is to hoping 2019 has more easy going and silly people out there. Because I had a great one, and she told me to find another when I was ready. Too bad she didn’t leave me instructions on how I did so well in catching her in the first place.

Have a safe new year everyone.

A new beginning.

Before Felecci died, I knew I would not stay in the apartment we shared.  It represented the hopes and dreams we had together.  Those plans died a long time ago, and for many years I felt that I could not live elsewhere because I didn’t want to start new memories.  I didn’t want to buy a house I would come to hate because she wasn’t there anymore.

I kind of knew I would wind up back in Brooklyn eventually I guess.  I wanted to move back to New York if I wasn’t going to get my opportunity to start a family.  I wanted to give myself every opportunity to find some peace.

My new apartment is nice, but I am here again on a Friday night not being able to figure out what I want to do.  For entertainment, for life.  Whatever.

It’s the odd thing about becoming a widow/er.  It fundamentally changes you.  I don’t like the same things I used to.  It’s as if what I enjoyed doing in my spare time no longer feels interesting or important enough.  But fuck me if I know what is.

I don’t get upset at this part of the process.  But I’d very much like to figure it out so I can find a new hobby.  I am a guy who needs goals.


Dealing with dating setbacks.

Felecci was my college sweetheart.  Dating her was easy.  We communicated well, we both enjoyed one another’s sense of humor, and we had major chemistry.

I am finding that my experience with Felecci was the exception, not the rule.  I recently thought I was in the beginning stages of what would be a great relationship.  I didn’t know how far it would go, but I didn’t see the ending coming.

All of the same signs were there, but this time overnight it went from all systems go to “I don’t want a relationship”.  I’m not mad at her, I wouldn’t want to be with someone who doesn’t want to be in a relationship with me.  I just am befuddled that I didn’t see it coming.  I was honestly blindsided.

While I was in a relationship before, the previous one I ended.  I know why I ended it, and it wasn’t because I went from wanting monogamy to not wanting to be in a relationship overnight.  I let someone go because I knew I wasn’t going to be able to be the person she needed and deserved.  Rather than drag it on and hurt her more, I came clean as soon as I understood this fact.

Perhaps that is what happened to me?  I don’t know.  I don’t know if it matters.  I wish she didn’t make that decision, but she did and I have to move on.  We had a great weekend together, and now it’s over.  The sinking feeling in my stomach though took a little while to go away.  It really did hit me harder than it should have.

I miss Felecci a little more today.  I knew where I stood with her.  I miss being comfortable with a person, and perhaps that is what actually hurt here.  Maybe I had blinders on?  I don’t think I will know for sure till I have some distance.

But I was comfortable, and I was hoping I got more out of this last relationship than I did.  They say this is one of the dangerous parts of being a widow/er.  The first time someone rejects you, it can hurt more than it should.

I wouldn’t call it hurt so much because the relationship didn’t really get started.  But it did catch me off guard.

Dating post-loss can be hard man.  At least I hope R. finds what she is looking for.  She is a great person, and she deserves to be happy.  For that matter, so do I.



A year has passed.


Your sisters miss you too, babe.

Hello love,

A year has passed since we lost you to Cancer.  This has been the single hardest year of my life.  Not having you around has been terrible.  It’s been hard on all of us really.

I wonder if your spirit remains, or if it has moved on.  I wonder if we will ever get to see one another again.  Will we be able to share our experiences?  Because even with the progress I have made, not being able to share my experiences with you has been so very hard.

Your family still loves and misses you.  You will be happy to know that your sisters have adopted me as their brother, and I really couldn’t have asked for more supportive inlaws during this process.

I’ve spent most of the year trying to recover from the shock mostly.  This is really the first time I’ve been alone.  Remember our first apartment in Flushing?  It was the first time either of us moved from home.  We were engaged for a year.  We first made love as man and wife there.  I finished my graduate school classes online from that apartment.

And our apartment in Weehawken.  It was supposed to be the last apartment before buying a house.  Now, I’m moving soon.  Back to Brooklyn.  This apartment just isn’t home without you anymore.  We stayed here for so long because it was convenient.  But it was always supposed to be temporary.  I didn’t think my next step would be in reverse though, but I’m lost.  I need to go back to where I came from and find myself again.

You’d like the new neighborhood I’m moving into.  It is a real neighborhood, just far enough away from the trains that things are more or less quiet, but still very close to everything.

I thought after taking care of you that I wouldn’t want kids, but it turns out I’m terrified of giving up that chance.  But I’m not yet ready to just jump into things.  I want to heal some more.  Hopefully, moving to this new apartment will provide new opportunities to do just that.

I really wish I could tell you all of this in person.  I wish there was some way to talk to my best friend again.  Moreso than anything, losing my partner in crime has been so terribly hard.

I am unsure if I believe in God.  But I hope and pray that there is more to this life.  That you are out there somewhere free from Cancer and exploring things I couldn’t begin to understand.  I hope you feel my love for you in this letter, and that you know that your memory remains strong with me.

You above anyone else helped make me the person I am today.  It was an honor and a privilege to be your husband.  I hope you are out there somewhere, and that the love and emotion I feel right now while writing this letter is reaching you.

I wish we had more time.  I really believe we would have been one of those old couples that still love one another.  But we just didn’t get it.

I know I am rambling, but words are insufficient to express how I feel.  Just know that I miss you, and I am grateful for you having been in my life.  I miss you, and I hope that you are out there somewhere, waiting for me.

Mahal Kita.

The “I don’t want to do this anymore” mood.

me and felecci in bahammasOur trip to the Bahamas.  She had a good time, I pretended to for her sake.

No one can describe the ebb and flow of grief accurate enough to explain just how deep the hurt is when you are on a downswing.  How dark your thoughts become, and how much this changes you.  The anger, sadness, apathy, (not to mention feeling the most alone I have ever felt in my life) occurs when I am having a particularly bad day.  Today is such a day and now is such a time.

This is what I want to yell at people but don’t, because they wouldn’t be able to understand it.  They would want to fix me when there isn’t anything wrong with me.  They would want to try to relate to me when they still have their spouse and kids to go home to.  There is a dark anger, and time and internal reflection is the only chance I have of dealing with it.

You – can’t – relate to it.  The mere suggestion that someone has the answers to cure me missing my dead wife pisses me off to no end.

I can’t spare the energy to make others feel better by smiling at them all the time.  It is exhausting to pretend to be ok.

See, I’m aware of my depression, and more or less I am able to deal with it on a daily basis.  By deal with it, I mean act normal enough so I don’t have to deal with people’s stupid fucking questions.  But it takes mental effort to constantly have to keep things in perspective and not go apeshit on someone.  To keep it together and function when all you want to do is sit in the dark and be left alone.

I can go through a day and act the way I would normally act if I felt ok, and no one is the wiser.  I had a lot of practice trying to give as many normal days to Felecci as possible.  Pretending to have a good time so that she could forget for a little while that she was dying.  The truth is, I haven’t enjoyed much of anything in probably 9 years.  Not like a kid enjoys Christmas.  Everything has had a subtext just beneath the surface, waiting to ruin it just as soon as I let my guard down.

Post-loss, these feelings are intensified.  It actually affects me physically; I have been going to doctors for a while to try to work out what is going on with various health issues I have been experiencing and nothing comes back out of the ordinary.  Sleep varies, and often 6 hours and 11 hours doesn’t feel any different.  Nothing appears to be wrong with me, yet I continue to feel like shit.

I am tired.  A large part of me just wants this all to be over with.  I simply lack anymore fucks to give about anything and am just living day to day without a goal.  I force myself to continue on mostly because I promised her I would.  But I. Am. Tired.  She is gone, and I don’t know what I am still supposed to do here?

I wonder if this is the fate of a man who provides for his family.  To be secretly miserable but unable to rest because others depend on him.  So we put up a front that only lasts as long as we have a purpose.  Take away that purpose, and what is left?  Why go through it anymore?


At some point, after a lifetime of working hard, aren’t you supposed to get ONE fucking thing that you want?  Why does family get to bother me when they fuck up their own lives, yet I don’t even get a chance to start mine?

This has made me so bitter.  I dislike who I am becoming, but how do you “look on the bright side” when you just want to punch the next person who presumes they have any fucking standing to give you advice?  I don’t want thanks.  I sure as fuck don’t want pity.  Because most normals do not understand and presume that their own problems are always the most important thing.   Here is a hint, I don’t care about your problems; I am having a hard enough time caring about myself.

I am resigned to the fact that I will be unhappy for a very long time.  But I will not make you feel better about yourself when you add to my burden.  I don’t have the energy to cheer you up.  You came to the wrong place for optimism.

What I want is not in anyone’s power to give.  In this condition, I am not much good to anyone who is looking for compassion or love.  I have too much anger toward life and god.  I feel dead inside.  Anger, sadness, & depression are the only feelings I still fully feel.  Everything else is muted.  I remember what they are, but I don’t feel them the way I used to.

I will work on what I can control and hope that these moods get further and further apart.  I am told that they do.  Maybe I’ll have some more clarity in the future and look back and regret how I was during this period.  But I can’t continue to pretend I am ok, I need to save my energy for surviving, and focus on how I am going to live with this and function in society.

I’ve earned my right to be pissed off.  I’ve got my cross to bear, pick yours the fuck up and carry your own damn baggage.  I need to spend some energy on myself or I don’t know if I am going to make it.

I am out of fucks to give.  I don’t want to do this anymore, but I have to.  Fuck I’m bitter.


Happy 40th Birthday Sweetie.

2012-05-21 15.47.27.jpg

Today would have been your 40th Birthday.  You wanted a white cake like I got for your 30th birthday, but this time with cannoli cream like our wedding cake.  I couldn’t bring myself to get one – the pain of getting it and not having you here to share it with would have been too much.

I miss you terribly, but you know that.  Not having you around to just check in on or come to bed and cuddle with leaves me with a large void in my heart.

I have wondered how our life would have worked out had you not had cancer.  We would probably both be working.  We would have bought a nice little Tudor home and be paying god awful amounts of taxes.  We’d have had kids by now.  We probably would have complaints like normal people do.  We wouldn’t appreciate how lucky we would be to be dealing with raising kids and having a mortgage and having each other.  We would be in our own little world of problems, but we would be together.

Our lives would be so different.  I’m sure it would be a struggle, but we would have a family!  We would have children whom we could raise to be better than us, just as our parents tried to do for us before.  It hurts terribly that this was stolen from us.

You would have made an amazing mother.  You were always better at connecting with people then I was.  You so loved family.  You would have taken to it so well.  I would have loved to watch you be a mom.

I don’t know if I can still find our dream.  I’m scared of trying again only to have disease or misfortune take it away from me again.  I know you want me to, but I don’t know if I have the energy.  I need more time to decide if this is what is best for me.  I hope you understand.  I can’t just move on from you.  You were everything to me.  The thought of starting over scares me.  The thought of giving up on this gives me such despair.  Please help me figure this out if you can.

You would have dragged me to Europe and Asia again by now.  You wanted to go wherever the Travel channel was showing.  You had this great wanderlust.  You wanted to experience life where I was always intimidated or bored by it.  I hated crowds and people, but you were always able to get me to do things.  And we had a good time usually.  Mostly I enjoyed seeing you happy.  You had this great big personality behind all of that shy exterior.  You knew how to live where I only know how to survive.

Without you, I feel incomplete.  But I am trying, I promise.  I am doing my best to stay myself.  I hope I have made you proud that I have kept my word.  I have not harmed myself and I am doing a relatively decent job of taking care of myself.  I don’t want this life, I want you back.  But I am making due as best as I can.  I get up and try every day because you can’t.  I will try my best to live a life you would have wanted for us.  As well as I can tolerate it at least.

I hope wherever you are you are happy.  I hope you have a spot for me someday and we can see one another again.  I want this to mean something, to be for something.  You were too good of a person and too important to me to have gone first.  I wish I could have given you more time.

I know it was your decision to take the morphine.  I agreed with your decision.  I still feel guilty though because a part of me wanted to keep you longer.  Even though your body was failing, I wanted to keep you awake.  I fought this with every fiber in my being because I knew the quality of life would have been terrible for you.  But I never wanted to let you go.  As much as I wanted all of this to end when the time came I would have done this for 20-30 more years if it meant I could keep you and you could live ok.

I would give my life for yours if I could.  Watching you die was the hardest thing I ever did.  I didn’t want to, but I had to.  I’m proud that I endured through the whole process.  It was the last thing I could possibly do for you and it was the greatest honor in my life to watch over you.

It’s late, and I’m getting tired.  Please look over me and help me through my dreams.  I am struggling to make sense of them and I could use your help.  Oh, how I wish we could talk once more just so that I could ask you for your opinion on what I should do.  I feel conflicted and lost without you.  I don’t know what I truly want out of the rest of my life, and the only option I would take right now isn’t possible.

I love you so very much honey.  Not a day goes by where you are not in my thoughts.  I love you with all my heart.  I miss you so very much.  Watch over me, and don’t forget me.

Happy Birthday, Felecci.

Your loving husband, now and always.

– John

Paralysis by analysis and the “comfort” of our little bubbles.

its been a while(In less than 2 weeks from now, she would have turned 40.  Fuck.)

So it’s been probably ~3 months since I have last written a post on this blog.  Felecci’s 40th birthday is almost at hand and I am in the mood to reflect on my journey now that I am just over 6 months removed from losing the woman I love.  This mood is in no small part due to my recent trip to Camp Widow and meeting many of the community members I have interacted with since this stage of my life began.  They warned of a “crash” when you get back and I have felt it.

Quick shoutout to Soaring Spirits for hosting a bunch of crazy ass widow/ers this past week in Tampa.

In the 3 months or so since I last wrote I have been in a committed relationship with a fellow widow and have spent much of my off time just enjoying her company.  But what keeps me from posting is not my lack of free time, but rather the fact that I have been struggling with answers these past few months about internal demons bothering me.   To this point, I am still no closer to solving them.  Since I didn’t find any easy answers @ Camp Widow it is time to give my demons voice.

For all my belief that I am tough enough to handle being a widower better than most people; I am having doubts.  The suppression of my emotion over this ~9 year period may have caused deeper issues that I am only now starting to understand.

Since I have started dating I am having recurring dreams in various forms where I am losing Felecci in new and heartbreaking ways.  Sleep for more than 2-3 hours at a time is very hard to come by.  It is like I lose her again 3-5 times a week.  I don’t think it is strictly related to dating though.  I think it is fear of what comes next.

A large part of me feels empty like I am experiencing my own life as a spectator.  I go out and I have fun and for a while, I can even forget about all of the bad memories and focus on the moment.  But this often is fleeting.  I will go home and go back into my normal rut even if I had a good time.

I don’t feel invested in my own life.  I am watching a movie I have grown tired of and am waiting for it to be over.  I think I have lost my purpose in life.  Rather, I am a person who is just surviving, not looking forward to anything.  I am going through the motions until it is my time to die.

I don’t really feel like I have the energy to find purpose.  I continue to do what I did before Felecci died because it is familiar.  But I don’t enjoy it the same way.  I don’t have her to come home to anymore.  She doesn’t need me anymore.

I don’t want the possible futures 2018 is offering me.  I want to go back to 2009 when Felecci first started showing symptoms and rewrite history.  Instead of worrying about Cancer I want her to decide what she wants to do with her career.  I want to buy a house, have Irish-Filipino kids and grow old with her.  I don’t know if it would have been smooth sailing, but damn it she would still be here and we would have the family that was taken from us the day she was diagnosed.

But I can’t go back in time, I am stuck with 2018.  So what about changes?  Frankly, I don’t know what I would want to change right now.  I am sort of lost.

  • Do I want to move?
  • Do I want to make a career change?
  • Do I want kids?
  • Do I ever want to get married again?

I can’t honestly answer these questions – not even a little – seriously, how fucking sad is that?  I haven’t been able to for months.  This worries the shit out of me.  I am pretty sure this is depression just sucking me down.  But honestly, I feel like I lack the courage to make any life-altering decisions.  I feel like a failure.

Move?  To where?  Brooklyn is god awful expensive.  Moving deeper into Jersey means a longer commute.   Moving to a new state means a full life reset.  None of those options are appealing right now.

Career?  I have a good job now, though the work doesn’t excite me anymore.  My job has gotten easy, but it is hard to walk away from familiar surroundings.  Starting over would mean taking on risk.

Kids?  I’m 37 now, not 28.  There is a higher risk of all sorts of shit having them at this age.  If I had kids today I’d be almost 60 when they left the house.  Would I be able to learn to love someone else’s kids, or be content if I never had them?

Marriage?  I fell in love and gave so much of the best years of my life up to care for my wife.  The thought of making myself vulnerable to that again is terrifying.  For the first time in my adult life, I am only responsible for myself.  Well actually that is a lie, I still have parents dragging me into shit.  But I am not a primary caretaker anymore and I am not sure I have the strength to do it again.  I know I don’t want someone to have to do that for me.

For me, I know the next step is to overcome this feeling of being stuck.  I have to start giving a shit about something and stop being a coward.  Make some fucking decisions.  I’ve never had to turn my motivation on before though.  In the past, it has always been there to provide direction.  I don’t know how to get out of this rut.

I am afraid I won’t get out of it.  I am afraid it will hurt others that I care about.  I am afraid I will make the wrong decision and regret it.  I guess my problem is that I am afraid of living.  And I am so tired of being hurt, a large part of me wants to stay in my bubble.


What to look for? 21st Century Dating: Volume 2


Relationships don’t just happen.  Or do they?

I didn’t think I would be as far along this road as I am.  When Felecci was still alive and we discussed what happens after, I hated it.  I didn’t want to consider that I would have to find a second person to spend the rest of my life with.  I’m realizing that I may have had an even better relationship with Felecci than even I knew.  It’s the only thing that explains how I am getting along with this now, and how I have such clarity.  She made me promise to live my life.   Honestly, I didn’t believe I would want to.

But here I am, learning how the world works now for singles.  Going out on dates and trying to figure out if I just want to date casually or if I want to jump right into a relationship.

To be honest, dating casually isn’t that appealing to me.  I listen to stories of relationships appearing and disappearing like the Higgs boson (aka God Particle – look it up) and I wonder what the hell is going on.  I don’t want to serial date, but I don’t want to settle for the first thing that comes along either.  It’s a quagmire, and one I have to navigate if I want to find another relationship.

This got me to thinking, what is it that made my relationship with Felecci blossom into a marriage?  It wasn’t simply luck, or was it?  We didn’t just meet and fall in love right away, we had a courtship.  It took time to grow to love one another.

So, what were the initial parts of the relationship like when I was 19-20 and learning to love her?  Why do so many people struggle with something that I found at 19, and why am unsure of how to find it again?

Well for one, online dating is backward in how it approaches the introduction of two people.  Traditionally, you would meet someone before asking them out on the date.  Now you meet a photo, send some text messages, and site unseen agree to meet up with them.  At some point, as you both try to pretend that the initial conversation isn’t going to be awkward, you start to figure out if this is going to work.

We seldom know someone ahead of time. If we did, we would have some idea if we wanted to date them before we even went on one.  It’s likely we would know if the attraction was there prior.  That doesn’t happen in modern dating, we are left to guess at the initial date, and possibly on further dates.

So in this modern dating culture, I wonder if anyone actually knows what they are looking for?  Or are we all blinding running around till we find it?  Do people date and settle, or are they ultra picky as they seek the perfect person who doesn’t exist?  From initial experience, it is all over the map.   Some people have an unrealistically developed sense of what they are looking for and others are simply dating whatever comes along; never committing to any of their relationships.

I may be guilty of the former myself after my initial dating experiences.  I’ve been married, and I know more or less who I am and the kind of person I am looking for.  But I am not 19 anymore, and I am for shit sure not the exact same person.  So I am left to consider what I want as a 36-year-old established adult.

So what is it I am looking for?  Well, there is no perfect formula, but I believe it is based on three general concepts.   These are not specific but concepts we all have to ask ourselves.  And I believe they are somewhat different now than they were when I fell in love with Felecci.


First and foremost, the one thing that all dating apps do is show you a picture of the person you are intending to contact; because attraction starts with looks.  But attraction isn’t simply if the person is hot.

During the initial stages of any courtship by two adults, each side is looking for that spark.  The person may not have the ideal beach body, but does that person have qualities that appeal to you?  This extends beyond just looks and instead must include demeanor, body language, and how they carry themselves.  People get hung up on looks, but there is more to it than that.  You need to look at that person and get funny feelings in your stomach. This attraction can’t be predicted by a picture alone, it must be gauged only when meeting the person.

Attraction should be pretty easy to gauge after a short time, and I believe that if after a second date you don’t have that spark then you may be better off ending things before the relationship moves too far along.  A relationship needs to have mutual attraction, or else it is simply a one-sided friendship.  This can cause seriously damaging harm to the person who thought they had more than they did.  The longer this goes on, the worse it gets.


Separate from if you feel attraction is if you two have anything to talk about?  Can you and this individual carry along a conversation?  Do you feel comfortable around them?  Do they make you laugh, or feel relaxed?

You need to be able to open up to one another.  It shouldn’t take much effort to be in one another’s company.  If you can’t sit and have a long conversation with the person when you first meet them, it is possible that you two don’t have much in common.  Attraction is a raging inferno, but if not kept alive through being able to enjoy each other’s company it will burn out.

It can take longer to figure this out, however.  If neither of your personalities allows for you to be extroverted it can take time to open up.  I myself am typically an introvert and Felecci was practically mute when we first started dating.  Most relationships that last a few months I believe are impacted because while both parties are attracted to one another, they have nothing in common.

Morals and Life Goals

Once you are attracted to a person and you are comfortable spending time with them, you get to the heart of the issue that is required in order to become a married couple.  What are your life goals?  What are your morals?

Dating apps try to identify this WAY too early on in the process and fail miserably at this.  As we grow older our life goals and morals change.  Hopefully for the better but not always.  Yet we are expected to know if we want kids? If we want to travel 2 or 3 times a year? If we want to relocate at the same time as we are deciding if we are attracted to this individual?

I get that this information may be helpful for the ultra-specific crowd, but honestly, anyone who is giving you this information as a certainty is either optimistic or flat out lying.  I thought I knew that I wanted a house and kids by the time I was 27.  By the time I turned 28, I just wanted my wife to beat Hodgkins Lymphoma.  The day my wife died, I didn’t want to go on.  I was done, waiting to die.  Today, I am trying to put together my life again and take care of myself.

Your life changes what you want because it changes your perspective.  Your relationship will change what you want as you grow to love the person.  No one has a clue what tomorrow brings so trying to identify life goals before your first date is just stupid in my opinion.

Morals, on the other hand, are valuable to know.  Problem is, a person lacking morals will lie their ass off to the point where answering these questions is pointless.  A person with morals will likely give WORSE answers than the guy trying to hook up with you.  Yet a lot of people put stock into what is said.

So, what am I looking for?

So after doing this exercise, I have come up with a loose idea of what I am looking for.  It is flexible and meant to guide me in my decisions.

I am looking for someone I feel an attractive spark for.  This doesn’t mean the person is flawless, but the person needs to do something for me.  There has to be some spark.  I can’t quite explain what traits this is, and I am sure it is a combination of things.  However, it must be there or else it is just a friendship.

I want to laugh with the person, I want to enjoy their company and I want to be able to talk about nonsense and still have a good time.  It is about enjoying the person’s company.

And I want someone who wants to ultimately be in a committed relationship.  I want a person who has goals that I can help achieve and in turn also helps me achieve my goals.  I want to decide together if kids are in the plans once we already know if we love one another.  I want to maintain my financial stability and not overspend like almost every other person in America, but I also want to be able to go away sometimes and simply unplug for a couple of weeks.  So long as I have enough money to not feel like a slave to my job, I am ok.

And I want someone who doesn’t smoke and takes care of themselves.  I’ve lived through 8 years of cancer through no fault of Felecci’s.  If I were to go through that again, I don’t want it to be because the person I fell in love with abused their own body.

The rest is negotiable.  Looking at the list, I don’t think it is too demanding.  Maybe Felecci and I learned more than I realize after 12 years of marriage.  We shall see.


Dating apps really only partially help in connecting two people who may possibly be attracted to one another.  It can’t tell you if you will ultimately enjoy the person and want to pursue one another.  Furthermore, the ease in which we can find people leads me to believe that we may be warping our own thoughts as to who we are looking to date.

We can be rejected much easier, and we can also cause harm easier because it is so easy to get into and out of these initial stages of dating.  We need to take care and have a clear understanding of what we want, and we need to consider any setback on this road to simply be in the best interest of our long-term goal.

To maintain perspective, we need to ask ourselves what is really important.  We need to not settle when we are not sure, but we can’t nitpick who we might fall in love with.  Modern dating apps have not made dating easier, it has just sped up how quickly we connect.  All of the traditional work required to find that special someone is still there, the rules governing how we discover that is just different now.