last weekend.

on thursday night

awesome auntie

deb arrived from

san francisco, david

flew back to

minnesota and rachel

arrived in los angeles.

busy night, leading to

an even busier weekend.

friday morning

i said goodbye

to madeline,

who was to

stay in los angeles

with her auntie,

and by 9:30am

rachel was in my passenger

seat and we were

on our way to

san diego for what

may be the

the single most

depressingly-titled conference

i have ever

heard of…

the national conference on widowhood.

yeah.

not the kind of

event i would

normally go to,

but michele

told me i had to speak

asked me to speak,

so i agreed to go.

as incentive,

she told me that

i could set up a

table at the conference

and use my time

to spread the

word about the

liz logelin foundation

awesome.

still, hanging out

with a bunch

of widows sounded

about as much

fun as getting

kicked in the

nuts repeatedly.

but i’ve been

through a lot

worse since

liz

died, so why

the fuck not?

so we headed south

on the 5, getting

stuck in traffic

along the way.

i spent the whole

time talking to

rachel, answering

her questions with

every inane detail

i could possibly add.

at one point,

i had to slam on

my brakes to

come to a sudden stop.

i looked in my side

mirror to see

if we were going

to get rear ended…

luckily the driver behind

me was kind enough

to not hit us.

but before i

could turn my

attention to the

windshield, i saw a

dude on a motorcycle

swerve on to

the shoulder, wobbling

like a kid

who just had

the training wheels

removed from his/her bicycle.

he recovered without

wiping out, so

i figured it was

okay to laugh.

only later did i

see later why he

had such a hard

time controlling his bike…

there, on the shoulder,

was a sign that

said, “caution – fresh oil on shoulder.”

rachel burst out

laughing as i exclaimed,

“oil? what the fuck? why would they do something like that?”

soon enough we

were in san diego.

rachel jumped in

the driver’s seat

and headed to coronado

island to see her

grandparents while

i wandered the hotel

trying to find the

spot where food

was being served

for the speakers.

i sat down

and noticed immediately

that i was the

only man.

of course.

only husbands die, right?

well, i know

that’s not the case,

but seriously,

where the fuck

are the men?

no time for the

question to be answered.

it was time to

eat and talk.

i met some great

women, and i heard

about the lives

they led before

and after,

and despite our

obvious differences,

we had a lot

in common.

maybe too much.

anyway, lunch ended

at the perfect time…

10 mins to 3:00,

time to meet some

of my blogging

widow friends for

some booze.

they arrived slowly,

but there they were…

melodie, candice, janine, abigail

and there were

the non-blogging widows,

and then there

was my old

(not in age)

widow friend, kim.

and there was

rachel, back from

visiting her grandparents

and the only

person there with

a living spouse.

and there was jackie.

i’ve been looking

forward to meeting

her ever since

we first spoke

about march 25, 2008.

as far as

the rest of them go,

i’ve seen all of

their blogs

and i know that

we have a lot

in common, but all

i could wonder

as they arrived is,

will they be fun

to drink with

or am i going to

have to fake

a heartattack to escape?

well, it turns out

that they’re

pretty rad.

all of them.

rad enough that

the afternoon

drinking session didn’t

suffice, so a bunch

of us went to

dinner after attending

the, “get to know

some other widows” session.

we were joined

by another blogger, erynn,

and her mother-in-law.

for a great meal.

we were also

joined by

april, a widow

with three children.

we’ve talked by e-mail

over the last

few weeks.

and there were others.

i talked way

too much, and i’m

pretty sure i swore

enough to scare

erynn’s mother-in-law

into never speaking

to me again,

but i suppose i needed

the practice

for the speech

i was to deliver

the next day.

dinner ended and

it was

time for a photo.

a dude sitting

nearby said to me,

“what’s your secret?”

the implication being

that i’m awesome

because i was

surrounded by women.

my answer?

“you don’t want to know”

he stared blankly,

at me, looking

almost brain-dead.

“trust me. you really don’t want to know.”

with that, we

were out the

door, led my melodie,

toward some more drinks.

she walked us

in a big circle,

leading us back

to the hotel,

where she announced

that she was

going to bed.

whatever.

the heartiest of the

bunch found ourselves

in one of the

hotel bars,

where we were

joined by my

real-life widow

friend, andrea.

we drank and laughed

until the place

closed, then we

were off to the

other hotel bar.

for fear of repeating

myself, let’s

just say this

pattern continued

until almost 1:00.

i said goodbye to

those who were

still there

and went to my

hotel room for

some sleep.

saturday morning

i got up early and

met the rest

of the ladies

at the opening ceremonies,

where we heard an

impassioned speech from

the event organizer, michele.

i’d like to say

that she set the

tone for the event,

but for the

people i hung out with

the night before,

i think the tone

had already been set.

the purpose of the

conference was to

get a bunch of like

minded people

together to learn

from our shared

experiences and to

prove that widows

are not all old

women, dressed in black.

point taken,

but again i asked myself,

“where the fuck are the men?”

i saw a couple

as i scanned

the room, but it

turns out that

none of them

were widowed.

they were volunteers,

or new husbands,

or friends.

made me think

of all of those

photos of madeline…

“alone, but not really”

anyway, after

michele’s speech,

i went with rachel

to a talked entitled,

“do infants grieve?”

learned a little

bit but mostly

it was a session

that reinforced some

of my beliefs and

actions with madeline since

liz

died.

it was also a

session during which

i could add my

2 cents and help

change the language

used to describe

people in my situation.

the language was all

about moms doing this,

dead fathers

not doing that.

to be fair,

most of the

speakers knew that

there were

no men at the event,

so their talks

were aimed at the women.

that said, i think

there needs to

be a bit

of recognition

for the men in

the world who

face these circumstances.

(off my soapbox).

after the talk,

i went with

rachel to set up

the table for

liz logelin foundation

rachel womaned

the table

finally doing some work.

while i wandered around.

when the conference

attendees came into

the room, we

were both there

to help sell the

foundation and

to talk about the

good we plan

to do in the future.

we had a few

people stop by,

but i’m not sure

if they wanted info

or the chocolate

we had on the table.

jackie stopped by and

answered questions for

a bit

1/4 of our board of directors.

(decided to make her do a little work since she’s on the foundation’s board).

i figured the

ladies were more

than capable of

talking about the

foundation without me,

so i went back

to my room

to prepare for my speech,

speech

and by prepare

i mean take a

30 minute nap.

woke up 25 minutes

before my speech,

still no idea

what to say.

i mean, i suppose

i did know what

to say because i

was just talking about

my life, but still,

no outline, no notes,

nothing.

here’s the thing

about me…

i’m pretty sure

i’ve mentioned it

here before, but

i never would have

been able to

get up and speak

in front of people before

liz

died.

it’s amazing the

fears you get over

after speaking at

two funerals for your

wife.

5 minutes before the

speech i learned that

there was a computer

and a projector

at the podium.

awesome.

i decided to use

some visual aids

to distract the

listeners from

my obvious lack

of preparation.

getting ready to speak.

photos of madeline and

liz

should do the trick.

people came into

the room, sat down

and stared at me.

i guess that

meant it was time

to get started.

i talked.

and talked.

speaking.

and talked.

and talked.

not sure how

i filled up so

much time,

but i guess

i did.

had a lot

of people ask me

how the speech went.

well, if you want

to give up an

hour and six minutes

of your life,

time you will never

get back and will

likely regret wasting

on this,

you can listen

to it here.

(i was asked to speak about raising a child on my own after losing my wife. the subject of the speech was not about the blog or the foundation, but i do mention both. oh…mind you, this speech was given to a room full of widows. we have a particular brand of dark and dry humor that some people may find mildly offensive. also, i truly did not mean it when i said i would disfigure my child to keep boys away from her. maybe).

after the speech

it was time

to get dressed

up for the

formal dinner.

back into the

only suit i own.

awesome.

michele and rachel

tried to get me

to buy a new

one for the event,

but who wants

to waste money

on a suit when

you can buy

records instead?

went to the dinner

and sat through

a couple of

speeches, a book

reading and three

songs that seemed

to take the

joy out of the

room, at least

for some.

after dinner i got

out of my suit

and back into

my uniform for

a night on the

town with a bunch

of the widows and rachel.

we ended up at

an awful bar

(thanks, rachel)

but made the best

of it.

we stayed out

way too late

and had way

too much fun.

i think i was

asleep by 4:00.

sunday.

i was up at 7:30am,

which i consider

sleeping in.

this is what i

saw from my room:

san diego.

had a quick breakfast

with some of the

widows and rachel

breakfast

before getting back

in the car

and heading home.

picked up a stray

widow (andrea)

along the way

who rode with us.

talked to rachel

about how awesome

it was to

receive another $2500

in donations for

the foundation

(thanks to the folks who donated during the conference…i am very grateful for your generosity).

drove really fast

and got rachel to

the airport in time

for her flight,

got andrea

to her future home

in time to meet

the real estate agent,

and i got home

in time to

see my best girl

for a bit

before she went

to bed.

saw her and

immediately wondered

how she got so

big over the

last 2 days.

listened to deb

recount the weekend

before she

headed off to

the airport and

back home.

hung out on the

couch with maddy

maddy

the rest of

the night.

by 7:00pm

we both were

nearly catatonic,

so i put her

to bed and

laid on the couch

until i fell

asleep around 9:00pm.

one hell of

an exhausting weekend,

but one that

was good for

all of us.

Copyright © 2007-2012 matt, liz and madeline. All rights reserved. This blog may not be reproduced on any other site without the expressed written consent of Matt Logelin.