This past March 17th, I appeared on ABC’s The View to honor Barbara Walters’ retirement, Patrick, and the two incredible interviews she did with him. It was such a wonderful thing for them to do, and we all shed tears, both those on camera and backstage as we remembered how wonderful he was. But as all too often happens for me with these kinds of events, birthdays, and anniversaries, it sent me into a deep funk that I struggled with. I wrote this (below) in the days that followed. It speaks of, not only of loss, and the cold feet I was experiencing at my upcoming wedding, but also, the difficulty of “letting go” that still rears it’s ugly head. Just to note: Oz is not such a bad place to make a home after all!
Why is it that after The View today, I feel like running home? I’m in Florida now, and all that goes through my mind is, “What am I doing here?” I should be with my dogs, my horses, back on the ranch. And what am I doing with this man? I’m tumbling into a future that I know nothing of.
Time to run back home. Like, when I was at a sleepover as a kid, and got homesick in the middle of the night – I snuck out, or got picked up my mom or dad, and only felt okay again when I was safely tucked back in my bed.
Maybe I’m still wanting to go back to my old life. Maybe I’m wishing that nothing had changed. Maybe I’m just wallowing in the complicated lush denial that my old life, the one I had with my Buddy really is gone.
“Yoouuuu-oo-ouuu, made me leave my happy home.” This song’s phrase has come into my mind often since I’ve been dating Albert. Seems I’m always leaving my familiar things, my responsibilities. And now I wake up in the morning after doing The View, and feel the aching pain and panic that comes with homesickness. And feel like I’ve have run away from home for too long.
Where is my home?
I feel like I’ve made a mistake.
Is it that it’s hard to teach an old dog new tricks? Is moving into a new and different-looking life is too tough for me? Or, is it my insides, screaming out that all this – with the balmy weather, cushy lifestyle, uncluttered apartment, really is not for me? Cause that’s what I was thinking as I walked out of the market this morning – this is not me. I don’t fit into this “easy” lifestyle.
And yes, some of all this traveling has to be remedied at some point (when, I don’t know), but it may be that this is still a good road that I’m on. I’m making a break with the past, or rather, breaking up the past remains of illusion that my broken past is still glued together somehow.
Maybe I just need to jump on that thought hard with both feet. Crumple the I-can-still-go-back-to-my-old-life-thought into oblivion, and get this damn thing over with.
I’m in a new world, and it hurts to learn anew. Growing pains are just that – painful. And I want to go home now. Okay??
I’m reminded of Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, always wanting to go home. She was trapped in this new, odd world and couldn’t find her way out.
I feel like little Dorothy, wishing she had never left her sweet Kansas home, missing her family, her life. And look! She was now in this world that had color, flowers, unusual people, music; but also, a world that could be terribly dark, lonely, and foreboding.
I found a women’s aviation themed T-shirt that I cherish, and mostly keep folded in my drawer. It pictures the ruby red slippers, a pair of aviation goggles and green swirls of color. And written on the shirt, it says,
“Dorothy had the shoes, but she didn’t have the vision.”
Cause look, here she was, in a place where impossible things could become possible; eye color could change, straw men could walk, she could even fly. Think of all she could have done if she didn’t want to go home!
It’s a brave new world. And the fact of the matter is – a click of the shoes is never going to take “this” Dorothy back to her old home. But think of all the things I could do here – if I simply have the vision, and the ka-ka-ka-courage to stay.
I get it
I am so happy you found love again. Wherever or whatever you do in life if your happy your fans are happy for you.:)
I also feel this way and I guess no matter how wonderful and colorful OZ may be I would still give anything to go back to a black and white world if my husband Rob was there.
Moving forward without my soulmate is so difficult. I don’t know if I will ever truly get over losing him.
This is life now. Living with a hole in my heart the colors of OZ can’t fill. I too want to go home because there’s no place like home.
God bless you Lisa.
Nikki Barber says
Dear Lisa … Two women who know nothing of the others pain, but we have both travelled the path of love, loss and love after loss. My husband passed away when I was 26 suddenly after a six year relationship and only just over a year of marriage. My world was shattered into microscopic particles for I had lost my first love. I didn’t have to kiss any frogs before I met Prince Charming. And try as I might the pieces could not be put back together. Ten years after my first wedding I was in the throughs of planning my second wedding and on the day of my wedding like you I wondered if I’d made a mistake. Wondered whether there was some magical way to return to my life I had with Dave but that was a physical impossibility. However, what I did have was the love, support and patience of a man who not only loved me, but embraced my memories too. Graham and I have been married eight years (together for nine). If I hadn’t embraced my new future with all the fears, doubts and uncertainties I would have missed some beautiful moments along the way. At 43, I still remember Dave on his birthday, our wedding anniversary and the day he died and Graham has the biggest heart to understand that my life has been ‘a love of two halves’ ….. This Dorothy loved Kansas, but stayed and learned to love Oz too …. Now both are home and as Dorothy said ‘there’s no place like home’ …. God bless xxxxxxxx
Thanks, Nikki. So good to hear what you have to say. Sounds just like me!!
Oh Lisa! I can feel that the pain of your loss is still within you and you are still learning to cope and live with it in this new and happy phase of your life. My darling husband of almost forty years passed away on the 22nd August, aged just 60. At the age of 57 I’m looking at a future without him, and it’s something I just can’t contemplate. As you know too well, the pain is indescribable. I nursed him at home, we remained in our own bed where I could sleep beside him, sharing the same pillow and holding hands while we both slept. I have this to hold on to. I still can’t believe that he’s gone. The man who kept me feeling safe and warm has gone. People keep telling me I have my memories and I want to scream that I don’t want memories, I just want him back here, with me, right now! But I know he was so tired and just wanted to lay his head down and sleep. I’m just getting through each 24 hour period as best as I can. Right now, making arrangements and seeing and speaking to people and most importantly, supporting our sons, is keeping me focused and tired. Thank goodness for the total exhaustion, it knocks me out at night. I am however, afraid of a life without him. I am afraid that this pain will become too unbearable. I think I need to read back through your blogs and relive your journey, so I can see that I can get through this. I’ve already re-read Worth Fighting For before Barry died, it really helped. All I can say, is thank you for taking the time to share your feelings, I have an inkling I’m going to need all your wisdom to guide me through this desperate journey. Much love xxxxx
Grief sucks. Truly. But you CAN get through this. It’s not easy. But you can. Just hang in there not matter what, and know that one day it will all get more manageable. My thoughts are with you. Believe. Brighter days will be ahead.
Thanks Lisa. I know it’s possible to get through this somehow. Sometimes I expect too much of myself. So many have learned to managed their grief, so I just need to keep my eye on the light at the end of the tunnel and keep going unit I reach it…………..with fingers crossed that it’s not a train! Still, I expect the noise will give me ample warning to step off the track. Thanks for your wise and encouraging words. Geraldine xxx
So glad to see this post and wish you both well. It’s hard not to follow this story with a tainting melancholy and happiness tossed around like ingredients in a metropolitan ice cream of some sorts… and especially with a fellow pilot and fellow Texans thrown into the mix.
Wow. Beautifully and powerfully written! It had to be hard going back “there”with Barbara. It’s easier to avoid going “there” than it is to get back out “here” once you let yourself go back. And to REALLY go back like you did, purposefully reminiscing complete with video etc. is very powerful, a huge draw. Of course it sucked you right back into those days. And made these days seem ‘wrong’ and maybe not real because they are so different.
I don’t really let myself do that much and it’s easier for someone like me because the public isn’t constantly trying to drag me back there. I can’t quite imagine how it is for you, with possible triggers all around, dealing with that. I think you have done such a remarkable job and shared so beautifully and graciously with so many people during all this time.
Like you I think, my animals (horses and dogs) have always been my constant, my solace. They still are even though I am extremely happy today. My young 2yo just had emergency colic surgery on Tuesday (he is doing well), which reminded me (JUST in case I needed reminding, which I don’t think I do) how fragile these beautiful days are and just how much I need to treasure each normal one.
All the very best to you Lisa, I’m so glad you are mostly out ‘here’! xo
Mary L. says
Two words that, until you experience loss, no one really understands. There is a safety net with familiar things after loss. And it’s ok to have familiar things, they bring us back to our “center”, our comfort zone, but don’t dwell there. The secret is continuing to stay thriving, stay adventurous, keep experiencing. We are all here as individuals, independent beings, that if fortunate enough are able to share time with another at certain points in each chapter of life. Just never close the book, because it is your story and continuing chapters that must go on…..it’s your forever changes…..
Well put. You especially remind me of the temporal nature of life.
Appreciate it, and who you are with, now. XL
Claudia Groh says
Hello Lisa, wow it’s so beautiful…
Thanks for sharing it with us. I cried if I read it, it’s so emotional.
I’d love if I can meet you, riding on horses with you and my daughter, would be great.
I know it’s just a dream, but dreams can to be true…..
I lost my cat last Friday, he had cancer, I miss him so much, He was 18 years……
It’s so hard to lose somebody, doesnt matter a human or animal……
Stay strong Lisa, you moved on and that’s good.
Lovely Greats from Germany
How often do you get to see your horses and dogs? Dogs must miss you?
Gotten to spend lots of time with them. Yea! They are very well taken care of while I’m away by family, but we’re working out a way to take them with us more often when we travel.
lisa you regret having married to albert?
None! He’s a wonderful person. I feel very grateful that we met!
Lisa; You belong wherever love is and sometimes it gives us pain, if not we would not have learned what love is …
Bobbie Jo Layaou says
Just remember, Lisa, that in the end Dorothy did get to go home. All she had to do was wake up. And maybe that’s what all of us have to realize is that this life we are leading really is just a dream and someday when we “wake up” we too will realize that and everything will finally be clear.
Good luck to you in your new life and never stop looking back, it made you who you are today!
Hi Lisa, thanks so much for answering my message re: your dogs! I’m messaging from South Africa ……come and have a holiday here – u said in one of your blogs u’d love to come back here! XXX
I would love it!
John Kisida says
I feel the same
I adapt to changes because I have to…
Pain is the greatest messenger
It tell’s us who we are
As You well know…
Yeah, it’s certainly been a journey. Thanks for your message.
I’m glad, I hope you’re very happy with .. Patrick from heaven is happy to see you happy, that’s for sure.
I hope you never think about selling the ranch, taking care of all this and there would be very sad.
Hopefully the book of your memories be sold in Spanish in order to know more of you.
Kisses from Spain Lisa, be happy
hi lisa. have missed your blogs so much. It sounds like you really miss the ranch. That ranch is who you are. dont change who you are. I watched the view when you where on it. I can only imagine how hard this all this has been losing your soul mate and daring to love again. Really happy for you and albert. Patrick will always be a big part of your life. Are you going to sell your ranch? Are you planning on writing any more books?
I’m hoping I can always keep the ranch. And yes, I’m planning to start another book in about a few months.
Great to read this. It´s so emotional.
I lost my husband when I was 29. We knew each other 10years. I felt like my live was gone, so I think,I can understand every word you feel. Now…10years later I have got a new partner. I will never marry again, but I can live with this new situation (both of us can).But my husband will always be in my heart. He was the best I`ve ever had. Stay strong and be happy. You are my inspiration and you deserve a great live. Thanks for everything.
Greetings from Germany
Thank you, Sandy.
Julie Clements England says
Hi Lisa You feel lot and home sick it’s just a natural step of taking up your wonderful new life, you probably feel guilty you had feel love and happiness again but you have a wonderful caring man in Albert and he will understand you because he loves you and he can share your love with your memories of Buddie, he has accepted to love you and forever be there for you as long as life allows and you are such a wonderful woman who at times will have these feelings but you will keep stepping forward with Albert and you will see your family of dogs and horses as Albert with you will work to keep you happy and cared for he is a lovely guy and he’s there for you to lean on now lots of love to you both be happy love and hugs sent Julie XX0X0XX
Thank you, Julie!
Lisa, just go home for a week or two…maybe Patrick is coming back for a visit…anything is possible in this life…It is a hard journey…I have been there. Takes so much time and nothing ever changes the feelings for your ‘past life’….So sorry…wish I could help in some way…Donna
I needed to read your blog twice before I finally “got it”…I am still struggling after losing my husband of 40 years 3.5 years ago. He was only 60 and we met as teenagers, my one and only true love. I am surrounded by my loving family and dear friends but only find comfort in my familiar surroundings…with all my pictures and many memories. Thank you for your blogs, they give me the inspiration and knowledge to know that there is a lot of living for me to get on with as know my Brian would want me to. I hope someday I will meet someone who can bring me the happiness and the courage to move forward yet respect my first love who will always be in my heart forever. Looking forward to reading a new book by you. Take care.
It’s so crazy. Everyone’s different. I have one widow friend that sold her house, and another who is comforted by hers. We do what we need to do, when we need to do it. No rules! One thing I can say about myself, the further I’ve gotten away from the devastating pain, the closer I’ve felt to Patrick. He informs and helps me in my life everyday. And I like it. I really, really like feeling so close to him still.
Jackie from South Africa says
Love the way you have worded this, as there are no rules – just want makes sense to you and what ultimately comforts you and gives you strength. 5 years of Patrick being gone after 34 years (actually more than 34 years of being together) is still early days! But the positive is that you ARE moving forward …..at your own pace…….with the comfort of him around you……..always….thats a real blessing.
Jackie from South Africa says
A quote:………….”Once your heart has been broken, it can be very difficult to love again. But to deprive oneself of love is to miss out on one of lifes greatest blessings”………….and now you also have Albert who has also been a great blessing and strength to you in your healing process, I’m sure!
Thank you for your kind words of advice Lisa. I know I will gather the strength to move forward and will do so in time with Brian’s guidance. I will remember….no rules….thanks again
Sandi Marsh says
I have posted to your blog several times during the last 16 months since I lost my husband of 35 years. We were married when I was 17 years old and he was the only man I ever loved until I lost him after a 15 month battle against colon-rectal cancer. I have since met a wonderful man who has gotten me through some really rough times and supports me when I need it most. He appreciates the loss I have gone through and has loved me in my darkest moments. We are getting married before the end of this year. I am grateful that I have found someone who loves me and I have fallen in love with him, something I never expected to happen. Our memories of our first love is never forgotten… life moves on and it is wonderful to embrace it. There are times that I feel like the man in my life was sent to me to help me move on and realize that loving again is possible. What a wonderful feeling it is to learn to love again! My hope for you and me is that as we move forward we take the love we had and the love we have now and realize that we only have today… no one knows what tomorrow will bring, we need to live for today. Best wishes for a wonderful new beginning… xoxo Sandi
I think we’ve found rare men. In a way, I think what we’ve gone through has helped us to love better because we know, all too well, that we only have today. It was all too clear when Patrick was sick – there’s no time like the present to do what you want to do, and be who you want to be.
Donna (Texas) says
Hello from Texas…My son in law got to meet Patrick years ago while working at the Arabian Farm here in Waco. He said he’d never met a Nicer person!
I am so sorry for your loss…
I am 63 these days and have been married to the same man for 42 yrs, this month. Time passes SO fast. IF you feel happiness in your heart for your new guy and know, without a Doubt, you’d feel tremendous sadness without him…then Welcome to your new life!
I’ll leave you with this…My Mom always said, “Little Girl? If you don’t know what to do…then, do Nothing!” It’ll all work itself out…promise.
Hugs to you!
Nadine Wood says
Hi Lisa, its been a while since I’ve written but I do continue to check in to see how you are. I would say that the feelings you are experiencing are quite natural. After all, Patrick was probably you first and only one true love. You were together at a young age for a long time. I’m sure Albert realized that he would have tough shoes to fill and he took on the challenge anyway. Allow him to love you and guide you through these difficult moments. I’m sure its not easy for him either, living in Patrick’s shadows. He cannot and should not be compared to Patrick but it will happen anyway. You deserve happiness again, I’m sure Patrick is happy for you. Enjoy your life you deserve to be loved, dont overthink situations. emotions may overwhelm you because you may feel guilt that you can actually be happy again. Patrick wanted you to move on and contine to live, so dont second guess or over analyze everything. Do what makes you happy; smile , laugh or cry. The more you allow yourself to feel these emotions the better you can cope, Allow yourself to love again without guilt or feelings of betrayal. Your love for Patrick will always be there but the heart always has room for more love. Wishing you happiness and rainbows to you my friend.XOXO Nadine
Doretta O Dowd says
I only discovered today that you had remarried . I was so happy for you . I have been a huge fan of Patrick’s since ” Dirty Dancing ” and was devastated when I heard he had been diagnosed with cancer . I followed his battle closely ’till the end and read your beautiful books ” Worth fighting for ” and ” The time of my life ” . It was wonderful to get an insight into your wonderful relationship and the closeness you always had .
My husband’s name is also Patrick , but here in Ireland we abbreviate it to ” Paddy “. We have been together 29 years and married for nearly 25 . Like you , I can honestly say he is my soulmate , and I can’t imagine life without him . That’s why my heart broke for you when you lost Patrick . I lost my dear Mom to cancer ten years ago , so I have also experienced the devastation this terrible disease leaves behind .
My love and best wishes to you Lisa . You are so brave in having got this far . I truly hope you find happiness with your new marriage .
Thank you, Doretta. And my best to you, and your loved one!
Again you manage to write what I and so many others must be feeling inside. I wonder if I’ll ever feel “normal” again. Forget moving on and finding love, I just want to feel normal again. You are inspirational and brave and your journey is one that can give us all hope. Thanks for continuing to share.
I understand. For me, I still have not returned to “normal,” and don’t think I ever will (or it’s even possible cause my Buddy’s not here). I call it my “new normal.” And it’s forced me to learn, learn, learn – not just about my new world and the people around me, but myself as well.
Oh how brave you are Lisa.
It would be a fairy tale (an imaginary story) if you did not have concerns and a longing for yesteryear. I give you credit for being honest and looking at the world through aviator (discerning) rather than rose colored glasses.
The world is unfolding before you, Lisa. As you wish.
Bless your journey and bless your heart!
I just noticed in one of your posts you’re planning to write another book. I’m so excited about that. I hope this one will be about your journey “out of grief”.
You continue to be my inspiration for surviving my loss. I’m at seven months and doing the best I can to live without my best buddy.
I’d be curious to know how long it was before the raw pain gets better.
I hope you talk about that in your new book and also how you felt meeting and falling in love with Albert.
I don’t always want to be alone. I miss being loved but my feelings of sadness and grief make it impossible for me to imagine being able to love anyone else.
I hope your new book can help me like your last one did.
Thank you for sharing your journey with those of us that are walking the same road.
It makes us all feel less alone. Patrick is so proud of you and Albert is blessed to have met you.
Much love, Gary
Mia B. (Ania) says
i just want you to know that i admire you so much!!! You’re Buddy was an icon for me but you… you’ve made him that icon! So i just want to thank you ! God Bless You! Big kiss from Portugal…
Carine (Grenoble,France) says
Je viens à l’instant de finir de lire “time of my life” , je suis extrémement admirative de votre ténacité et le courage que vous(vous et Patrick) avez fait preuve tout au long de votre vie. Les hauts et les bas que vous avez traversé …Votre histoire est un exemple.
Je suis trés heureuse aussi pour vous Lisa que vous ayez réussi d’aller de l’avant. Beaucoup de bonheur à vous et votre époux.
King of Irreverence – thanks for all your movies. Your memory lives on. Lisa, strength to you -hope today (14th Sept) you rather focus on the good times and it makes you smile!
When the first buds of spring burst into bloom, I am reminded once more of how grateful nature is after a long, cold winter. In the new spring of 2014 in South Africa, I am resolving once again to be grateful for everything I have – my health, my son, my home, my garden, the suns rays and just the chance at another day!
I guess today is a sad day for you .. I can also say that I think it is for many who admired very Patrick, but wherever you are still in the hearts of us all.
That is what you fall in love with him? tell us how it was in the privacy of your home
It is unbelievable how fast five years went by since my Mom, Patrick and Michael Jackson passed away. Thinking of you today. In June died my friend Miriam in the age of 38. She was one of the biggest fans of Patrick. When we went so school that was the time she wallpapered her room with his posters and wished to be with you two, she liked you, too.
Hope very much she will meet him now.