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'Cause Baby You're A Firework. Come On Show Them What You're Worth

Five years ago today, I stood in a hospital room strewn with used syringes, rubber gloves and other medical waste, looking at the lifeless body of the man that I shared a life with for over 30 years. I should have been thinking of family, love and loss.  Instead, my first thought was, "Wow, I'm a widow now." Pretty pathetic in retrospect, and when Wingman referred to me just before I left him as "The Bitch", probably not too far off the mark.

But in time-warped speed just a half hour before that, I had already talked to the hospital twice, woken son #3 up to go over to the hospital with me, called Wingman's brother on the way, fought with a gimpy legged night watchman who wouldn't let us in the hospital, and finally took "that meeting" in a small private room where the doctor told my son and I that they did everything possible, but unfortunately (UNFORTUNATELY???) Wingman had passed. My brain was filled with what to do, who to call, and what was coming next.


And it's a good thing I didn't know that "next" meant becoming an unemployed, homeless (thanks to Sandy), widowed grandmother in the next 92 days. I felt like Chuck Wepner who, after all his training, was still bloodied and beaten by Muhammad Ali. Wepner inspired the first Rocky movie. Who the hell was I inspiring?

I remember a movie with Albert Brooks and Meryl Streep called "Defending Your Life." The basic premise of the film was that when you died, you presented your life in a courtroom, and you couldn't move on to your next life or heaven unless you had conquered your fears and learned from your mistakes in the present one. If today was my Judgement Day and I had to stand defending life after Wingman, I would say that I've learned that:

 I can do (almost) anything I try. I planned the rebuilding of my house the way I wanted it. Is it perfect? Nope. But what is?  I started entertaining again-from just one or two people over for dinner up to the whole neighborhood. I have the people I love over for Christmas Eve dinner every year.  I cooked a turducken just to say I could. I've got one cucumber on a huge plant and still looking for the first zucchini, but at least I haven't killed the plants.  I know to use 50:1 Stroke oil with my weed whacker and edger, and yes, I taught myself how to use them.  And when I was sad, I even went skydiving to cheer myself up.

I'm not afraid to go it alone. It was pretty easy to score last minute single seats to things like the Subway Series at Citi Field and Art Garfunkle.  Going to beach concerts, or just the beach is easy. If I don't know anyone when I go see a band, I just enjoy the music and watching the crowds. I've even done New Years Eve in Times Square. That's right. Alone.

I've stopped the craziness of comparison.  I'll never be 21 or even 51 again, so I've stopped thinking that my body needs to look like anyone else's. I have my mom's wide hips and my dad's droopy eyelids which are part of my DNA and not to be hated. My house isn't a mansion, but it's more than I need, and yes, Wingman did a much better job with the lawn. I don't see my grandkids as much as their other grandparents do, but that doesn't make me a bad one. And who needs a posse when you have a BFF like mine?

There's awe and wonder in traveling.  Alone, as close as the Jersey shore, and as far as Korea. With others to Saratoga, Florida, Chicago, Las Vegas and Amsterdam. I've taken my kids to Hawaii and my mom to Newport and next to Ireland. There are adventures waiting both here and abroad. Why fear the unknown?

It's time to stop growing older and start growing wiser.  It's time to rethink my finances for the future (my financial planner died and the one assigned to me is treading thin ice). Think about downsizing and living a simpler way..maybe two simpler ways here and down south for winters. Time to do more for, and with those I love.

It's time to finish my story. With Fireworks.


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