It’s not like you’re a widow…

Those words hit me like a freight train. I’m not his widow.

I’m not allowed to feel that kind of sadness that swallows one whole and depletes one of the ability to exist and perform. But I feel it.

I was standing there, beside him when he took his last breath. His eyes focused, lingered, and closed one last time. I stepped back, because his wife was in the next room. She would want to be close to him. I stepped back out of the way. His heart kept beating, she leaned over and hugged him close. I’d only held his hand.

The kind of love one friend feels for another isn’t always romantic.

He was sitting behind a desk when I walked into the Spring Green office in Denver Tech Center. CMP was a mortgage company that held the loan on my house. He was the broker. There were two men there that day, Bill Clarke and Rob Robinson, and my husband of seven years (yes, I said *two men* and my husband wasn’t one of them, by his own choices). We laughed, worked through the paper work and Rob invited us to join him for lunch at a diner across the drive. We had sourdough, pastrami and mustard pannini and iced tea. I remember the texture of the table.

My husband held my hand, rubbed my shoulder and talked about farming.

Rob, Bill and I joined forces that day and opened a brokerage firm that would ultimately be the basis of our friendship, and my financial salvation when my marriage crashed two years later. My daughter said it best the morning after my husband left, “He’s been walking out for eleven years, he finally took his clothes…”

Those next few years were a struggle. But we survived. We thrived under the watchful eye of my business partners, who reached out to my four children and offered encouragement. Bill and his wife became constant friends, always supporting, encouraging, sharing. Rob became my confidant. He share those moments when the rest of the world was fast asleep. He listened. He laughed. He cried. He reminded me frequently that I gave the best hugs in the whole wide world, and told me every single time I saw him what a gorgeous woman I was.

One night, during the late summer, it was so hot I couldn’t sleep and I went outside with my phone to sit on the deck. Rob called, “I can’t sleep. Are you awake?” We talked for hours. He shared his dreams, I shared mine. We shared our thoughts about the future, about what my kids were doing, how life was treating each of us, and then we shared how we felt about our friendship.

He was my best friend. I loved him as much as I had ever loved, and I trusted him. He gave my children more than any other man had ever given them, including their father… Not things, but support, instruction, love, his blessing. Things that mattered to children. He cared.

As the night cooled, the hours passed and it was near the wee hours of the morning, Rob yawned on the phone and I said, “I should let you get some rest.” He held on a moment longer, whispering sweet words, reminding me how much he loved and cared about me and that he would always be there for me.

Sitting in the middle of the picnic table on my deck, I looked up and watched as a mountain lion strolled down the street, taking each step purposefully without hesitation, I whispered, “There’s a mountain lion walking down the street.” And Rob said, “Jan, you need to get inside.”

I waited and watched. The mountain lion kept walking. He stopped at the corner, looked both ways and then moved toward the west and out of sight.

I stepped off the table and went inside, as I closed the door, I heard the mountain lion scream. The chilling sound of life ending and the realization that the circle continues.

A few weeks later, Rob called to tell me he was getting married to a wonderful woman he had known from church. I’d met her once, when I attended church with him, while visiting my daughter in college. She was extraordinary. A delightful woman who suited him well, who loved him with her whole heart, a woman he loved completely.

Our friendship grew to include her. She brightened his world and inspired him, a benefit to me. I gained so much from her insight and wisdom. I grew to love her as a friend.

Rob never stopped being there for my children. When he was diagnosed with cancer, he shared the news with us, came to visit and see my new grandbabies. He came to visit when my mom had cancer, while I cared for her. He was there for us whenever we needed him, and he called if he needed us. We were there for him too.

As he slipped away from this world, I was there. But I wasn’t his widow.

No, that privilege was saved for the woman he gave his name. I was ‘just a friend’.

That’s what happened.

The day he left this world, as I drove home from his place, I called a girlfriend to share the sadness that threatened to overwhelm my heart. She’s a good friend, and I know she didn’t mean to hurt me. But… her words…

Through my tears, I relayed the message and she said, “Yeah, you’ll miss him. But he was just a friend… It’s not like you’re his widow, or something…”

No. I’m not his widow. That honor is saved for a dear woman I consider my friend.


Burned one too many times…

When the hurt becomes too much to bear, what then?

after the fire
After the Fire – by Shawn Mitchell

There are times in life when you’ve just been hurt too much. You need to love, but the pain of loving is just too much to bear. What then?

Standing on the precipice looking out over the valley, the need to know how it feels to fly is bigger than the need to stay grounded. Flight is love. The greater existence of self in a world of many may suffice on some level, but the time to know yourself and one other has passed. You must fly.


The glory of one more sunrise alone may not be your dream, but it is your reality. When you’ve been burned one time too many…

The amazing brilliance of sunsets too big to absorb alone may overwhelm you, yet there’s no one to share. Absolutely none can see the magnificence with you, because you’re standing alone.

Those who have impacted your life can’t feel you now.

The reality of that solo flight isn’t loneliness. The reality is the gift you’re given, the appeal of living outside the ring of secure numbers, your ability to strike out alone and survive. Sustenance isn’t always a result of many, but on those rare occasions when you’re able to ‘go it alone’ it is the value of one.

The take off may be rough, the muck and the waters of life will pull you down. But once you’re airborne, you’ll soar to new heights, never before seen from land and never seen by anyone but you. The thrill of the flight will not be the sharing of the heights at which you soar, but rather the knowledge that you’re the only one who has experienced this view.

When you’ve been burned one too many times…

Take time to know yourself.

Take time to fly solo, enjoy the view and love the life you’ve been given.

Take time to heal. Time to awaken the life within you. Time to be alone.

The realization that you can BE alone and not be lonely comes only after you’ve experienced the joy of flying solo long enough to find the view best suited to you.

Once you’ve found it… you’ll have more to share.


First Kiss

I absolutely LOVE the Family Reunions in Nashville. Friends of Country Music get together, play music and sing… the best of the best.

It’s one of my favorite music videos to watch, one after another. Usually a Sunday afternoon, when I settle in for a nice nap, either before or after, I catch myself pulling up on my phone and searching for my favorites. Always — Gene Watson — comes up. I fell in love as a teenager, listening to his music in Nashville around the swimming pool. He sang new songs, old songs. Any song…

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Shaking it off…

Some mornings just don’t flow as smoothly as others… Those days, I want to step back in time and adjust my words. Even though there was nothing wrong with what I said, it wasn’t accepted in the most pleasant manner, which meant words were exchanged that should never have been said.

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An Opportunity – Romney

Purpose? The knowledge of revealing information might come as a significant surprise, if unaware of the location and position. There’s background that fills out the story, but the main thoughts were more important, and the purpose of the running for the office of President came from faith and understanding his purpose.

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With God, I have no fear…

fear no evil The photo is borrowed from a source that provides photos for facebook, and if you click on the photo it will take you to the link (I think – I tried to put that link in the folder).

Today, feeling like I’ve stepped on millions of toes recently, I stepped back to look over some of the incidents that seem to have taken my attitude the wrong way recently. I’m feeling a bit overwhelmed by life, and that’s not a normal feeling for me. I prefer to feel a bit more in control of my life. So, it was definitely time to step out of the purgatory of victimhood and look around at what’s happening to make me feel like a victim in my own life.

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Grandma, Why?

My Nana said she and Mommy were best friends and they can be best friends again if Mommy will just call her and tell her she’s sorry. Mommy why won’t you call Nana?

My granddaughter had just climbed into her car seat and wasn’t buckled in yet. I could hear the breath, I knew her thoughts as if she were speaking them out loud, my daughter let the breath out slowly, fastening the car seat. She carefully fastened her in the car seat, closed the door and got into the front seat. Belted in and settled for the ride home, she took another long slow deep breath.

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Breaking Promises & Living Lies

Way back in the early days, I believed what people told me. Then adulthood happened and the realization that people aren’t really nice, they don’t always fulfill their promises, and more often than not the reality we live isn’t the same as the reality we heard about growing up.

At first, I thought it must be a misconception.

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Emotional Abuse is a Social Disgrace

I write this through tears of sorrow. There are people in this world who have no grasp of the pain they cause others through their own anxiety and personal disgrace.

Several years ago, I experienced quite possibly the cruelest treatment of my life by a woman and her son during what should have been the finest hour for all those involved. I followed my heart during that time and held on for dear life to my faith and God’s unending love and patience. I remained close by, but away from what happened.

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