Empty Next

Six weeks ago Youngest Son and his Lovely Wife of two years moved into our basement. They’d been living about three hours away while LW finished her degree (Summa Cum Laude, by the way). They returned to Nashville and decided to stay with us until they found jobs and a place of their own.

When I told friends our kids were moving in with us for “a while” I was advised to set boundaries, make house rules, etc.–none of which we did. They’re adults, we’re adults; we knew it’d be okay. My primary concern was they have two small dogs and I’m allergic to dogs (and cats). But I took a lot of Benadryl and all was well.

It’s been a wonderful opportunity to get to know my precious daughter-in-law. I’ve adored her from the day I met her. She’s smart, focused, and loves spreadsheets. It’s great having another Excel geek in the family.

We shared some meals but much of the time they were going out or our schedules didn’t mesh. I loved it when they cooked for themselves before or after we’d already eaten. They brought their food up from the basement (sometimes including their pots and pans) and created their masterpieces. Eavesdropping on them interacting in the kitchen kept me in stiches.

They are the cutest couple and compliment each other’s strengths. It’s so much fun to be around them. I’ve enjoyed having them here. Getting to hear first about their job searches and then about their first days on their new jobs has been a real treat. Yep! Both are now gainfully employed in positions they think they’ll love…which means they’re moving out…tomorrow.

It wasn’t planned, but their cohabitation couldn’t have come at a better time. It was a distraction as I mourned my dad and helped me as I struggled through my grief. Needless to say, I’ll miss them. But, as Hubby reminds me, their new apartment is less than half an hour away, much closer than where they were before.

~ Kay

Things that have made grieving easier during the holidays

I knew the holidays would be difficult. My dad died right before Thanksgiving. My godson is seriously ill. December was the one-year anniversary of my mother-in-law’s death. I was right. It’s been tough.

But my brilliant husband remembered that the hospice we used for his mother offered grief counseling services. (My dad’s hospice was out of  state.) Hubby set up an appointment with a grief counselor and went with me for my first session.

John, my counselor, is helping me understand there is no right or wrong way to grieve. I don’t need to “get over it” quickly. My feelings are my feelings and whatever they are, it’s okay to feel them whenever they come up for me. Seeing him has helped. Watching sappy Christmas movies probably hasn’t (but that didn’t stop me from recording every single one).

One of the things I’ve done during this holiday season has paid attention to things that have made me happy…truly happy. These things have made my grieving easier. Following are some of them…in no particular order.

My step-son returning home from active duty

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My Fabulous Hubby


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Our Christmas Tree (oh yes, it’s still up!)




Little girl hugs








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Holding a new baby

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Writing a story for someone special


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Friends who took the time to acknowledge my loss


~ Kay


Baby, it’s cold outside

My toes are cold; my nose is cold and so is everything in between. The heat is on and I’m wrapped up in a blanket, but I’m still chilled to the bones. I’m not sure I’ll ever thaw out.

We flew to Florida on New Year’s Day to visit our seven-year-old godchild who has spina bifida and has had some major complications recently. I was cold the entire time we were there. Florida. I wore fleece the whole trip.

When we got home yesterday, the temperature was 58. Now it is 8. No, I didn’t drop a digit. We got hit with an arctic blast last night that lowered our temps 50 degrees in less than 24 hours. That has to be a record! (I haven’t checked; I’m just saying…) It’s supposed to get down to 2 degrees tonight with wind chills in the minus teens. We southerners aren’t built to sustain this kind of weather.

I have on three layers. I’m about to add a couple more then don my UGGs and go to tap. I’m sure we’ll all work extra hard today just to stay warm.

At least we have heat, electricity, and the pipes haven’t frozen—yet.  Tonight Hubby and I can snuggle in front of the fireplace under three or four blankets. I can’t wait. He can always warm me up.






HAPPY 2014!