Today is the birthday of several good friends. And I wish them LOTS of happiness as they celebrate another year of life to share with loved ones and good friends.

It also is the inauspicious anniversary of my late husband Keith’s passing at only 54 years old…the same age that I am now. You can read lots elsewhere in this blog (starting at summer of 2012)  about the transition through his rapid decline to death to the journey of grief and resilience that I have undergone. He was my best friend, lover, and husband of 30 years. He was someone I would trust without question, share in heartaches and celebrations, and the journey through parenthood raising our two beautiful daughters Sarah and Anastassia.

Today it has been three years since your passing, Keith. A lot has happened. I have grieved… and still do. But I have also moved forward with many of life’s demands and the promises I made… to you, and to myself… and to others.

I have embraced joy in the form of a future grandchild expected in December. And I’ve embraced building a life filled with happiness and love in my marriage to my second husband, Steven, who understands that you came before him. He honors you and protects me. Sometimes he is quick to get upset, mostly out of frustration, when he feels unsuccessful in protecting my interests, or feels slighted by a family member. He is learning the art of nuance and patience. He is learning that what others say or do is not about him, nor is it meant to impugn him. He is learning to let go of the wounds of his other life before me so that it doesn’t fracture an otherwise beautiful relationship.

And I am learning to feel your presence as a guide, to look around me and examine it through your eyes. This has become especially important as we move forward building a new home on Perry Road. You and I and Steven all came from a tradition of craftsmanship. This included a respect for workmanship, the materials, and the process. Things were carefully planned, constructed in the right order, with attention to detail. When it came to homes, it was about making them last, energy-efficient, and beautiful.

As I look at the workmanship of some of the rough framing crew, I am appalled. It has left me – and especially Steven – stressed. We are determined to keep the project moving forward, but only if the workmanship is up to our standards. It is hard to let go. And some things, I admit, I am willing to let go. For now, after several days of stressful challenges to the contractor, I am willing to see what he will do to keep to his promise to address our concerns.

If not… well. Keith… what would YOU do? I ask myself that… every… single… day…

Yes. It’s been three years. But I still depend upon you to guide me and give me strength to keep moving forward.

with love always,

Mara

Photo: Keith and me in Fiji in 2001 chaperoning students.

We were chaperoning a large group of community college students on a study tour to our old stomping grounds in the South Pacific. Keith felt like he was the "dad" to them all - young and old.

We were chaperoning a large group of community college students on a study tour to our old stomping grounds in the South Pacific. Keith felt like he was the “dad” to them all – young and old.

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Trying out WiFi only for 24-hrs. Skype, iMessage and Email only... As long as I'm connected to a WiFi network!

In anticipation of heading off to Russia in only a little more than a week, I’m conducting a 24-hr experiment using WiFi only. My iPhone is set to airplane mode and I’ve updated settings for iMessage and Skype as available. So for those who want to reach me by either of those methods, you’ll have to skip my telephone number and just go for one of those other methods.

How ironic it is to realize that I’m feeling so “disconnected” already without regular cell-phone access and “limited” by my access to WiFi. Think about all those years when we lived without cellphones, let alone email. Now, with all the alternatives, I still have that slightly anxious feeling creeping inside about not being “connected” by instant access — no matter WHERE I am! But at “discounted” prices of $2.99/minute from Russia (if I pay the $5.99/mo Int’l call plan), and a similarly unpleasant price for text-messaging, I’m going to try the alternative – WiFi only delivery of calls and messages via iMessage or Skype. Of course FaceTime is also a possibility. So many choices! But they’re dependent upon others to know how to set up their phones, too. I guess we’ll just have to wait and see how many are willing to do this.

As for the experiment? It’s a bit weird being out of contact except when there’s WiFi. Riding down the road with hubby, I couldn’t resist the urge to pick up the iPhone and start checking my email or messages. But, alas, no WiFi. At least not until I got home. I suppose I could have ducked into a McDonalds or Starbucks. I wonder what the Russian equivalent will be? I’m told I’ll have WiFi access at EACA and at the hotels where I’ll be staying. And, of course, security may be an issue. No logging into bank accounts while overseas. Apart from that, I don’t think I have access to any major secrets that someone would want to steal. But who knows?

Are you one who doesn’t know my Skype ID but want to get in touch? For colleagues, close friends and family, just send me a note with your Skype name and/or preferred iMessage email contact via this blog or my email and I’ll add you to my various App contacts.

To everyone else, you’ll just have to keep watching this blog to keep in touch!

I’ll post a comment below once the experiment is over to let you know how it went. Less than 12 hours to go for round 1.