Wednesday, October 28, 2015

It Stripped Me of Everything I Knew

I've been trying to cut back to working 10 hours a day. I figure that makes 70-hour weeks and our investors should be happy with that.

In my spare time, I have been reading and I even watched one movie with my lovely family. In the evening, I read books that have no professional benefit whatsoever.

I just finished  The Hot Seat: Love, War and Cable News, by Piers Morgan,

In his first TV interview he asked Oprah Winfrey how many people she trusts and she answered,

 Probably five or six that I ultimately would trust no matter what, and if I were to be betrayed by those people, then I would say I don’t know anything. There’s a wonderful line in a Toni Morrison book that says, ‘It stripped me of everything I knew.’

 That line came back to me again when I was reading a book tonight, Knocking on Heaven's Door, by a woman dealing with both of her parents dying.

My husband died when I was 36 years old. It stripped me of everything I knew. We were going to have another baby after Ronnie, who was 3 years old, when he had his accident. My whole life seemed to be in three pieces. Before the accident. After the accident. After he died.

We were going to have four children and live out in the country. He was getting his pilot's license. He said flying was even better than sex because you could do it for hours. I was going to get tenure at the university, become a full professor and then retire. The kids would grow up picking wild blackberries and learn to ride horses. Ron was going to teach them to drive a stick-shift and shoot a gun and I was going to teach them math and not to have a country accent, that words like huntin', fishin' and darlin' actually have a 'g' at the end and it's pronounced "business" not "bizness". We used to laugh about that a lot.

Then he went down that hill and broke his back and then he died, piece by piece over the years until he died altogether.

It stripped me of everything I knew.

I have a good friend who lost his wife when he was relatively young and had young children at home. Let's call him Bob. We talk about it sometimes and agree that there is no question that it changes you. People who have not been in that situation can sympathize but they can't really understand.

I've read studies that say that whether people win the lottery or become paraplegic as a result of an accident that within the year they are just as happy as they were before the event. Maybe so. I know both my friend and I have gone on to live productive, generally happy lives. Still, it changes you.

This was brought home to me recently when some random people I did not know were saying vicious things about me on the Internet. An acquaintance came up to me and politely expressed sympathy, made some nice comments intended to cheer me up. 

Seriously, it was a kind, well-meant gesture and I appreciated it, but after he walked away, Bob and I doubled over laughing. We had seen tragedy and BasementBoy007 saying on a forum that you should shut the fuck up you grey-haired old lady is definitely not a tragedy.

They (whoever "they" are) say everything happens for a reason. Both Bob and I dispute that being widowed (widowered?) made us better people, but there is no question it changed us.

If you had asked me two years after Ron died, I would not have hesitated and said there is no compensation and nothing would change my mind about wanting him back.

Now, I have a wonderful 17-year-old daughter who I would not have had if my husband had lived, if I hadn't remarried. Would I turn back the clock? I think of her and the answer is clearly, "No."

One thing I can say for sure - if you experience the death of someone close to you, it changes you. Things may get better. I suppose it's possible they may get worse. One thing I know for sure is that they will never be the same. You will never be the same.


Frank said...

Thank you. As always interesting, thought provoking and entertaining. You really need to write a book in all that newly acquired spare time of yours!

basementboy007 said...

ohh, snap!

Ardebaren said...

The problem with the internet is, its become a progressive yet vicious beast where vile creatures can inhabit to insult those around them with impunity. The best thing to do is simply ignore them, I find the more you acknowledge their existence the more they continue to insult/attack you in areas which may upset you.

I enjoyed the read and I'm sorry for your loss.

Dr. AnnMaria said...

You again, basementboy007 - my arch nemesis!

Jake said...

Comforting words. I try to look for reasons, or some kind of perspective from when my Dad passed away a few years ago (took his own life). The why, or the whatever, but there isn't any. I wonder sometimes, but you can't change the way it is.

Love the blog, I enjoy the insight, thoughts, and rants.

Brody P said...

That was really powerful blog you wrote, you really are an eternal optimist, it is true that things do get better with time, you just have to let it heal.

Anonymous said...

Beautiful and beautifully written.
J Miller

Nice not to have to log into this blog using Farcebook. Old times.

CanadianKitty said...

You are so inspirational, Dr. AnnMaria. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

CanadianKitty said...

You are so inspirational, Dr. AnnMaria. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and experiences.

Unknown said...


Great post. You are a true inspiration. I hope that Ronda can take your advise is a positive light and let recent events "change her" for the better. She has a great support system if she so chooses to use it.


Stephen said...

I buried three children in five years.

You are right.

It does change you.

Jim said...

Dr Demars

Extremely good stuff.

Clearly not the best moment or spot to express my appreciation for your thoughts and your views. I guess it's never a bad time to share something kind. I have read your Daughter's book, and I want you to know that I have borrowed many of your view points, sentiments, and quips. I am a MMA fan and an obvious fan of Ronda's. I know that last night was a rough spot for your family, and I wanted you to know that you and yours were in my thoughts.

As for this note, you can trash it, or tell me "don't know you", "don't care", or "piss off", but know this, no matter what the exposure, I am a father of 6 and our household finds great inspiration from yours.



Anonymous said...

This is amazing to see. Thank you for writing it, even though it might have been difficult. I often wonder how my mom would process the loss of her husband (my Dad) at a young age; she would've been 26 with 4 young children. It changed her, but she also says that if he hadn't have died, then she would have my youngest brother and sister (yes, 6 in total, she's a tough mama). We appreciate that you are sharing something so personal. It makes a difference for others to see that these experiences don't happen in isolation though sometimes it can feel that way. Nakuqmiik (Thank you).

Anonymous said...

New to your blog & love this post!

I am a true believer that people do not leave this earth until they know that you can handle it. The universe has a weird way of working itself out.

Ventus said...

At the time of this post i chose not to say anything. But i appreciated the thoughts and found it is another great and inspirational post that will resonate with a lot of people and help, in some ways.

In my country there is no celebration of Halloween, although some teens have taken it as another excuse to get drunk and party a bit. Instead the day after is the day when we remember those we lost, regardless if one is religious or not.
And i have my own candles to light.

There is one thing i can add as a potentially helpful advice to all those who went through such moments as Dr Annmaria describes.
Its not much and it may even sound silly or too simple but, ive seen it happen to many times. And it is based on personal experience. I wish someone said this to me when i needed it.

The problem tends to be that, when we go through such events we humans generally tend to start making various conclusions and assumptions about life, universe and everything else - while experiencing such tragic traumas. It seems one follows the other. Such tragic events naturally push us to start thinking about the meaning of everything.

My simple advice to anyone (this is not aimed at anyone specific) is to just be aware of this and when you notice yourself making such conclusions or even thinking about the meaning and purpose of everything in such hard times in your life - you should stop yourself doing it.
Even forcefully if necessary. Even if you have to kick or smack yourself. Just delay it for some better times. Refuse.

After all, whatever can you come up with in such a situation?