Tuesday, June 3, 2014


If people knew what Matisse, supposedly the painter of happiness, 
had gone through, the anguish and tragedy he had to overcome
to manage to capture that light which has never left him, 
if people knew all that, they would also realize that this happiness, 
his light, this dispassionate wisdom which seems to be mine, 
are sometimes well-deserved, given the severity of my trials.
~ Henri Mattise, Matisse on Art

I sat in the social security office in January, 2013, less than 2-months after Boomer died, filing the death claim of my husband to receive the whopping $256 stipend for my loss.  It's a cold, methodical, systematic process that I was not emotionally strong enough yet to deal with - but there's work to be done in the business-side of death, your grief-stricken broken heart doesn't matter and periodically has to be tabled.   With as much strength as I could muster, I sat there, a plate-glass window separating myself from the government agent filing my paperwork when she asked, "May I have your i.d. please?"  I handed her my drivers license, still from Illinois, she looked at it, turned to me and said, "Oh don't worry, you're so young, you'll find someone new."   Huh?  My husband is dead less than 60-days and a stranger's way to offer solace is to assure me that in my 48-year-old youth, I'll find someone new.   A replacement model?  As though Boomer was a refrigerator and I had to go shopping.  I know she meant well, though her remark was poorly and insensitively executed (read Do Better).  

Pastor Wayne of All Faiths Church, where Boomer had been a member the last year of his life, sent me a book, For Widows Only, by Annie Estlund, a former member of their church.  It's a kind of how-to manual in all things related to widowdom.   It helped me alot and I've recommended it several times.  The book discussed everything from feelings, emotions, wills and estates, to filing the death claim with Social Security. When I got to chapter 17, Men:  Can't live with them or Can't live with out them?  I abruptly slammed the book shut and put it on the shelf.  I wasn't remotely interested in exploring men.  Plus, the tone of the chapter was coming from the voices of significantly older women and I was struggling to relate on any level.   Add to it, I had not said no way to a future relationship.  I am after all still  young.  Just not yet; not now.  It's too soon.   

To fear love is to fear life,
and those who fear life are already three parts dead.
~ Betrand Russell

Enter L.G. - - a charismatic Italian-Puerto Rican from New York (read 525,600).    I met L.G. about 3 months after moving to Florida, September, 2011   At first, I found his New York edge and Brooklyn/Staten Island accent, well, an edge.  I didn't pay much mind, though I wondered once or twice if he'd been a Sweat Hog or knew anyone in the mob.  But his wisdom, wit, and charm outweighed the accent and we became friends.   He knew my story, understood what I was going through, observed my highs and lows before, during and after Boomer's death. All the while L.G. demonstrated nothing but compassion, empathy, friendship and a soulful listening ear.    

L.G. is not my "type" (read Getting Caught)  For starters, he's from New York - there's that whole New York state-of-mind attitude thing.  He's a junkie for packaged foods, high-octane caffeinated beverages and candy.  Next, he's 5'5".   I am 5'7".  He is 6 years my junior.   Yet, L.G. makes me laugh like no other, shares my love of music, fitness and useless trivia.  He's crazy-intelligent, well-read, and loves to play board games.   He has a spiritual and emotional depth to him that I have never experienced with any man - - romantic, relative, or friend.   He is kind, thoughtful, generous and a gentleman.  He knows how to court a woman, treat her with respect and share from his heart.  L.G. isn't afraid to cry.  He has a 10-gallon personality that is contagious and a self-confidence that is inspired.  

L.G. has captured my attention and my heart.  

He is Boomer approved.  You see, Boomer had a part in sending L.G. into my sphere of life, in a way and at a time I never saw coming and certainly wasn't searching for (read:  Fins).  All the best of Boomer, L.G. embodies.  All that Boomer was unable to provide, yet wanted to,  L.G. presents.  Boomer wants me to be happy, he always did.  I am.

What a difference one year makes (read That's a Wrap).   Tomorrow I am returning to Chicago, this time to celebrate my 50th birthday with my family.  I am not traveling alone... the boy from New York City will be with me (along with Boomer in my heart).

L.G.  Life's Good.

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