Wednesday, June 30, 2010
11:05 pm edt
Tonight Marguerite and I went to the cemetery. Ray's tombstone was in place. It looked awesome. I gave
me some closure. Since January his grave has been "marked" with string and stakes....it still is, but the tombstone
is there...I can move to another level.
I am tired, I am going to bed....after watching a Judge Judy episode. I feel content. Thanks to Ray's
brother Scott and Mary Ellen who came here this week to help out TREMENDOUSLY!!! Painting the front porch, helping pull
weeds, "bait" slugs, etc. I am so thankful for them.
Sunday, June 27, 2010
11:17 pm edt
I really miss Ray so bad. My life is just so empty without him. I do enjoyable things and laugh and joke
often, have great times with great friends and enjoy my new-found hobby of gardening. However, I do it all with a sense
of something missing. I truly feel like there is a hole in my heart. It feels like something is missing in my
Tonight I went to the sunset at Oval Beach with Marguerite. It was the first sunset I have gone to since Ray died.
I couldn't help but cry silently...thank God for sunglasses. Marguerite knew. Another "first" without Ray.
At times it felt as if all the "couples" were flaunting the fact that they are together. I know that is not so,
but it mades me so mad, as if they were doing it on purpose to make me feel bad.
I was reading my daily meditation today and it referred to a "new birth" after the loss of someone. The whole experience
of the loss, grieving, making changes all lead to a new life. We don't know where this new life will take us, but it
is a rebirth. I can do things to help make this new life bearable...alive again. I'm doing everything I can.
At the same time I don't want the new life....I want Ray back here with me alive and well. So I sometimes reject it.
I want to live as if he is still here, but I know I can't. It's complicated. Very complicated.
I never knew I would be so confused. So lost and so alone in spite of all the people around me. As I have
said before, I am blessed. I know that. I know God is taking great care of me, but my mind still can't wrap around
everything. My grief counselor reminds me that I had 21 years of something many people will never have. I should
celebrate that. Maybe one day I can get to that point. Right now I just feel such a loss. A loss of my very
best friend. Somedays it makes my stomach sick.
Everyday is a new day. I hope for the best. I need to start taking better care of myself. I need to
get some better exercise. I need to start eating better. I need to get better sleep by going to bed at a reasonable
time. I have just gone through a huge life change and my routine is just so way off whack.
These are my thoughts and feelings today. - Jimmy
Thursday, June 24, 2010
Can I Hibernate?
11:29 am edt
Today is a beautiful day. The sun is shining and there is virtually no humidity. Temps are in the mid 70's.
Today Friedl, Phil, Marguerite and I are going to Frederick Meijer Gardens in Grand Rapids. I look forward to enjoying
an afternoon with friends walking around the gardens there.
I feel somewhat emotionless today. It's hard to explain. It's somewhat of a numb feeling. It's better
than feeling so upset I guess.
Six months ago today Ray and I were getting ready to celebrate Christmas. I really am dreading Christmas this year.
So much went on between November 19 and mid-January I would just like to jump from October to April and skip all those months
this year. Maybe I can hibernate? - Jimmy
Wednesday, June 23, 2010
No Dreams of Ray
8:04 am edt
I have only had two dreams of Ray since his death. I pray every day that I will dream of him. I just want
to experience seeing him and touching him again...even if only in my dreams. I'm sure they will come, but I am waiting.
A HUGE thunderstorm is rolling through this morning. I love them. The lightning and rain are great for the
I will post more later. I need to get downstairs to put coffee on. - Jimmy
Tuesday, June 22, 2010
God Is Taking Care of Me!
8:07 am edt
I wake this morning ready to go downstairs and start breakfast. I still feel an empty hole in my heart. I'm
sure I appear "normal" to my guests....and I am....but I do my daily routines with a hole in my heart. How could I ever
have imagined what it would be like if Ray was gone. I know that with life comes death. I always knew that one
of us would die before the other. I NEVER knew what a living hell it would be to be the survivor. It almost seems
like I am living two lives. One that smiles, laughs, eats and drinks. One that just feels so empty. I do
thank God everyday for my "angels." My support group here in Saugatuck/Douglas. My "angels" call me, keep me fed
and listen to me. I am blessed to have Marguerite here. She is "fitting" in so great. (Working very hard
too, as all Riker's do.) The guests love her. God is taking care of me. - Jimmy
Monday, June 21, 2010
11:54 pm edt
Today is the longest day of the year. The first day of summer.
I relived Ray's final weeks with some repeat guests that stopped by today. It was a joy to talk about him and a
deep sadness at the same time. Everyday I miss him more....at the same time every day I move on. It is a battle
I deal with.
A thunderstorm is rolling through right now. I love them! I am well. I ache deep in my heart, I miss
my Ray, but I am well. - Jimmy
Sunday, June 20, 2010
I Love Him - I Miss Him
7:53 am edt
I awake in the mornings with feelings of "nervousness." I think it is because I never know exactly how my emotions
are going to be for the day. As I have stated before, every single moment of every day I have Ray on the back of my
mind. I go through my daily routine, shower, work, check in guests, do laundry, garden, laugh, cry, smile, talk....yet
at the same time I think of Ray. I guess that shows me what a huge part of my life he was. It's amazing how I
can function seemingly normal yet have two things going on in my mind at the same time. It is very, very difficult to
explain. I feel guilty for going on in a somewhat normal life without Ray in it.
Yesterday I was playing some music at the pool and several songs came on that made me think of Ray. I laid in a
lounge chair, soaking up the sun and tears flowed down my face. No one else at the pool knew (and of course I did not
want them to). I look at pictures of Ray and it just seems impossible that he can be gone.
Today looks like the weather is going to be gorgous. I will enjoy it. I will shower, talk, laugh, cry, clean
rooms, garden and more. Ray will be on my mind at all times. I love him...I miss him. - Jimmy
Saturday, June 19, 2010
7:41 am edt
My sister gave birth to a baby girl late last night. Megan Marquardt is my new niece.
A new day is starting. The weather today looks like it will be gorgous! A wild storm swept through here last
night. It was a beautiful sight to see the lightning and hear the thunder while sitting on the front porch.
I am feeling good today. I thank God for another day. - Jimmy
Friday, June 18, 2010
Always On My Mind
9:25 am edt
Last night Marguerite and I were guests at Fenn Valley Winery for a vineyard tour and wine tasting. We were taken
out on a wagon through the vineyards for the tour. It was a beautiful and pleasant evening. Just gorgous.
I know that I appear "normal" to everyone who sees me. I smile. I laugh. I eat. I drink. However,
there is this constant thought of Ray on the back of my mind. Throughout the entire vineyard tour, while smiling, while
laughing, while drinking....Ray was ALWAYS on my mind. It's odd how I can seem to function normally...do things...and
have thoughts of him at the exact same time. Sometimes I feel guilty for enjoying myself.
The other day Marguerite and I were talking about Ray (actually it's everyday that we talk about Ray). A realization
came to my mind. I was talking about how Ray didn't actually die from colon cancer, but complications from colon cancer.
His heart couldn't handle everything. Then I thought to myself...how do I even know that his heart gave in from the
complications of the cancer and surgery? It is possible that he may have just had a heart attack in and of itself.
I suppose it is possible that even if he didn't have any cancer or surgery he may have had a heart attack on January 3, 2010
anyway. Not that this matters but this is an example of the constant thoughts that go through my mind.
I still leave Ray's tennis shoes under the bench in the kitchen. That is where he left them and it gives me some
comfort to see them sitting there every day. They are just a reminder to me of his presence here.
Friedl is coming tonight to make dinner. She offered to make dinenr at her house or here. I told her that
since this is Friday and a whole house is checking in, it would be better if she made dinner here. I am so thankful
for her friendship. I am truly blessed with the support from family and friends. Everyone is just so awesome to
me. Sometimes I wonder why. All I know is that God is really taking good care of me. It's as if he is saying
"I know you have gone through a really tough experience but I will take care of you." I thank him daily for this.
Well, I suppose I should get myself showered and shaved for the day. Soon I won't have these mornings to myself.
Soon there will be guests every day. Thank God! I do have bills to pay.
I love you Ray. - Jimmy
12:04 am edt
I have taken on Ray's responsibility of gardening. I have been "loving" it. Marguerite and I have been working
so hard in the gardens.
Today was a busy day. A ton of stuff to do. I did get through it all...but at every moment of everything
I do I always think of Ray. - Jimmy
Tuesday, June 15, 2010
Breakfast, Gardening, Tornado Warnings and Looking at Old Cards
11:15 pm edt
My blog title pretty much sums up my day. Breakfast this morning was for a honeymoon couple from Ann Arbor.
They chose to stay here because is was "gay owned." Now, who knew? A straight honeymoon couple staying here
BECAUSE it is gay owned. The husband told me that when he saw that he knew it would be the place they would want to
stay because they are "progressive" people.
Anyway. The other room that stayed with us left to explore the area early and was not here for breakfast.
They will be having breakfast here tomorronw.
A tornado warning was issued for communities about 20 miles south of here. Marguerite and I were watching TV when
the warning came on. It was one of those warning's that you see when there is a "test of the emergency broadcasting
system." So, it was kind of wierd.
I started to look at a bag full of cards I saved from Ray over the last 20 years. Starting from 1989. How
nice to have, but how hard it hits me. I miss my Ray. That will NEVER leave me.
Amity's restults came in today. The Vet said that they can't determine if it's cancer or not. He is going
to be out of town for a week and a half. I suggested that we schdule surgey to remove the tumor when he returns.
That would be two weeks from tomorrow. That way I can see how she is doing, see if she is gaining any weight and then
we'll go from there. So, no real BAD news, but no GOOD news.
I am doing good. I am only emotional when I am alone, by myself and thinking. I think those times are good
for me no matter how hard they are for me. - Jimmy
Monday, June 14, 2010
Who Knows What Tomorrow Brings?
1:06 am edt
A full breakfast this morning. Marguerite and I made a couple new items for the breakfast menu. I think they
are going to be added as "regulars" to our list of breakfast items. After everyone checked out we cleaned three rooms
and then had to get ready to see Kathy Griffin at DeVoss Hall in Grand Rapids.
I went to the cemetery before we left. I "told" Ray that I wish I could have just one more day with
him....to update him....to talk to him...to love and hold him. (Touching him is one of the things I miss most.)
I know that is impossible and I realize that if that was even a reality I would just wish them same thing some day in
the future. Months later I would want to see him again and tell him what has been going on. So death is final.
When it's over, it's over.
I lost my father, my brother and many other elder relatives as well. Losing Ray was nothing I was prepared for.
The loss is so great. However, I am getting "along." I am having real good days. I laugh, I joke, I enjoy
times with friends and dinner out, but there is this constant hole in my heart. I can feel good, but I have this sense
of loss (or something missing) which is constant.
Marguerite and I watched some more videos today from 1995 and 1996. It has been so nice to watch these videos and
see and hear Ray. We are both sharing the loss of someone so close and loved by us.
I am better now than I was yesterday. Who knows what tomorrow brings? - Jimmy
Sunday, June 13, 2010
A Full Breakfast
12:03 am edt
This blog is dedicated to Carlos and Jeff. Guests that are staying this weekend with Marguerite and me. Carlos
told me how he reads my blog regularly and it made me think about all the people that have told me that. I am sharing
my personal thoughts and emotions as I go through this "chapter" of my life.
Today I went to the cemetery with Marguerite. We were talking about the "chapters" in our lives. I said I
am still on the same new chapter, but on a different page. The way I think about it is that I started my new chapter
in January...I am not out of this chapter yet, but I have turned a page.
Amity is home now. The tumor is a liquid mass, not a solid mass. The vet said that doesn't mean it is not
cancerous, but he took a liquid sample of the mass and sent it out for review. I will know more about it in 5 to 10
days. Otherwise, he said everything else looked very good for a cat her age. She was up 6/10 of a pound, taking
her up to just over 6 pounds. So the vet said to keep feeding her as much food as she wants (not all at once, but throughtout
the day). She is sitting on the floor next to me right now begging for treats. I will give her some.
Marguerite and I went to a nursery in Holland today and got flowers for the pots on the front porch and deck. Tomorrow
we are going with a group to see Kathy Griffin. We will be with Tony, Kelly, Phil, and many other people.
Carolyn and Phil are here this weekend in their RV. Carolyn took Marguerite, her friend Jim, and I out to Clearbrook
for dinner. Very nice!
Time to go to bed. A full house tomorrow and a full breakfast. - Jimmy
Thursday, June 10, 2010
I Am Very Blessed
9:07 am edt
I had to take my cat Amity to the vet this morning. She has been losing quite a bit of weight. I took her
in on Monday and they took blood work and x-rays. They found a tumor in her abdomen. The blood work came back
"excellent" according to the vet, so now we have to find out what the tumor is and what to do now. She is having an
ultrasound today. She weighs only 5.75 pounds (down from about 13 pounds last year).
I seem to look at everything now according to important dates in Ray's dealing with the colon cancer...November 10-Routine
physical with doctor and scheduling the colonoscopy; November 19-colonoscopy and diagnosis of cancer; December 4-pre-op meeting
at hospital; Decmeber 11-surgery; December 16-another surgery for the colon leak; December 22-Ray comes home from the hospital;
January 2-our final night together; January 3-Ray dies. I can listen to someone talk about a specific date and I immediately
relate it in my mind to one of these dates. So, when I took Amity to the vet on Monday, I noticed I was in there last
with her on November 9th...immediately I think "the day before Ray's routine six month physical and 10 days before the colonoscopy."
I will live with this forever...I know I will.
My blog today is a plethera of things. Forgive me for jumping my thoughts all over.
There are times I just cannot believe that Ray is gone...dead. It is a reality I am sure of, but death just sometimes
doesn't seem real. My mind can't wrap itself around this. I really miss him so much. As I have said so many
times...he was first and foremost my best friend. The love of my life "yes." But, most important he was my best
friend. No one can ever replace that. So, it leaves my life with a deep empty hole. I may appear to be "whole"
to family, friends, acquaintances...but there is an empty feeling in my heart and in my life.
I have been quite active in the garden...believe it or not. Marguerite has been helping me with it since she got
here last week. I told her I never spent any time in the garden...that was Ray's "thing." So I wonder to
myself "why am I all of a sudden so interested in the garden?" I am buying new plants, watering, pruning, weeding, etc.
I think it's because I want the gardens Ray started to thrive and continue to look beautiful. I want him to be proud.
I realize a lot of the things I do are in "honor" of Ray. He was a great man.
I am so thankful of the home videos I have from the last 20 years. Last night Marguerite and I were watching some
from 1992. How wonderful to see and hear Ray...living and enjoying life. Hearing his voice and seeing him laugh
was pure joy for me.
I have been so blessed by God. In the wake of my loss I have really been taken care of. Family and friends
have been so supportive and "there for me." I prayed to God the other day and told him how thankful I was for that,
and all I want God to do for me is to take care of me. Just provide me with what I need and take care of me. He
has done that for me since the beginning of my new journey in life, I trust he will continue to do so.
Pray for Amity. She is MY "little girl." I love her so much. If I lose her soon
I will be devastated. I guess the joy and happiness of loving someone (or a pet) is the reality that you may
lose that someday. But the joy of loving them is worth the loss rather than not having loved at all. At least
that is what I am told and I'm beginning to actually believe that. I am very blessed. - Jimmy
Monday, June 7, 2010
Back to Blogging
10:41 pm edt
One of the songs that Ray and I had as "our" song was 'Back to Life.' It was from 1989. So, now I am 'Back
to Blogging.' Marguerite is here now and starting to settle in. There is still a lot to do to get her in and settled,
but we're getting there. Her family was here last week to help make her move from Florida a success.
A full house last weekend, and now we're beginning to get weekday reservations. Soon we'll be in "full swing."
This morning was a hard morning for me. I really miss Ray. I think that the fact that Marguerite is now here
to help me run the Inn has finalized the reality of the fact that Ray is not coming back.
I went to the cemetery today and laid down next to the grave. It really is so peaceful there. I miss Ray
Today was a beautiful day. Just gorgous! I want to go on, but it's hard. -Jimmy
Friday, June 4, 2010
Starting Over - Later
10:04 am edt
I had been making a detailed new post to my blog this morning when my laptop just shut down. Everything I typed
was gone! I don't feel like retyping my update now...so I'll do that later.
It's Friday and we have a full house checking in. Marguerite is moved in, but we've still got a bit to get organized
I'll post later. - Jimmy
Tuesday, June 1, 2010
Marguerite Moves In Today
9:07 am edt
The day has come. Marguerite completes her journey from Florida to her new home in Saugatuck/Douglas, Michigan.
Her sister and brother-in-law (Kathleen and Dick Dinkel) are joining her on this journey. Dick flew to Florida and helped
load her truck. The journey has some issues with the truck, but they made a pitstop in the Dinkel's hometown of Franklin,
TN. A couple days of rest and the journey continues to Michigan this morning.
Scott and Mary Ellen will be arriving here today as well. Scott is a workaholoic and will probably start chores
immediately and work through that late evening hours. All of us will help Marguerite unload her truck rental.
This weekend the house is full. Marguerite will start with a BANG!
Today is Marguerite's birthday. A perfect day to start her new life back in Michigan. I look forward to this new
adventure in my life. - Jimmy