Tuesday, May 1, 2018

What is a Friend?

Recently I was stunned to find out that someone I considered a friend has decided to "distance themselves from me".  This is a first for me, so needless to say it has bothered me greatly.  I know that I can be a lot to handle.  I am overly cheerful at times, I say inappropriate things all the time, I play around too much and well ... I am just a lot to handle. So, I can understand that from time to time that I would get on someone's nerves, hell, I get on my own nerves sometimes.

What troubles me the most about this situation is that this friend (whom I really thought of as a close friend) didn't come out and talk to me and tell me that I was being an annoying biotch or talk to me about something I did, this friend decided to shun me completely. Not even giving me a chance to make amends for my wrongs, if there was a wrong. Just completely took away their friendship 100%.

I have thought about this way too much, I has tried to analyze this way too much, I have gotten way too upset about this.  I tear up just thinking about this now, as I really thought this person was my friend.

So, what is a friend?

Webster Dictionary describes a friend as:
  1. one attached to another by affection or esteem
  2. acquaintance
  3. one that is not hostile
  4. one that is of the same nation, party or group
  5. one that favors or promotes something (such as a charity)
  6. a favored companion

So, to find out that someone I thought was a friend for years, never thought of me as a friend at all.  A true friend would have given me a chance to fix what I did. Say I am sorry (if I did one thing, I don't know). A true friend wouldn't take their friendship away completely. 

I am sad.  I miss my friend.  I may act like a hard-ass, but I have feelings too and they get hurt just like everyone's else.  I feel sadness, just because I act like the happy go lucky person, I can experience the utter disbelief that someone thought so little of our friendship to withdraw it completely. 

I guess we were never friends at all. And knowing that, makes me sadder than I ever thought I would be about losing a friend. 

Guess it's just life. Not everyone can be your friend. But, I don't ever remember a friend ever withdrawing their friendship when there were never words said as to why. Not even in high school ....

So, I guess at 45 I have learned a valuable lesson that not everyone is meant to be your friend.  It's a sucky feeling and I don't like it, but for whatever reason why it happened, it must be for the best or the Universe would not have sets it forth.  One less anchor to hold on to.

Onto the real friends, laughs and people who enjoy my kind of silliness, brashness and the real Susie! 

I keep thinking of a phrase that Don would always tell me when things were troubling me, he would say "fuck'em and feed'em fish".  Ahhhhh I miss the wisdom of my true, handsome Alaskan!

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Celebrating Anniversary Minus One

Anniversaries are weird.  I remember each and every anniversary that was important to Don and I.  However, what do I do with them now? Do I just acknowledge it in my head, smile and go about my day? Write out a sappy social media message with what would have been on said date?  To just dismiss the day seems odd too. But, I don't know what I am supposed to do with that day.

Good Friday is my engagement anniversary. 22 years ago (1996) Don asked me to marry him while sitting at dinner at Clover Pass Resort in Ketchikan.  It was cold and raining sideways. He was so nervous. He had a stuffed Easter bunny and a Faberge egg with him. Inside the egg was the most beautiful diamond ring I had ever seen. He got down on one knee in the restaurant and proposed. I had no idea he was going to do that. I immediately said yes and I wish I could say that we lived happily ever after .... but I will say that we lived happily ever after for 18 years. 

Our engagement anniversary is was always easy to remember because it was on Good Friday, so it stands out.  Don would always acknowledge it with flowers delivered to my office and a special dinner out or cooked at home. Don made everything special.

I don't have that anymore. So, how do I move from that date? Now it is just Good Friday, another date on the calendar. There are no flowers delivered to my office. No big deal in my so called "new life". But, in my heart, it has such a special meaning. But acknowledging it seems almost like I am holding on to something that is gone and never ever coming back.

Sigh, being a widow sure sucks.   Even if I wanted to forget what this day means to me ... damn Facebook memories reminds me every single year of what a great husband I once had.

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

The Littlest Hoff

In July I traveled back to Alaska to see all the Hoff girls, but we all know that mostly to see the littlest Hoff, Audrey. (sorry Lisa and Erica, but y'all know that Audrey is my fav Hoff now!)

My heart was beating so hard when the plane landed in Ketchikan and the anxiety of waiting on my luggage, waiting on the ferry to take me over to Revilla Island seemed to take ages! As I was walking up the ramp from the ferry, I saw my little one and I just burst into tears. Tears of such a level of happiness that is hard to describe. Tears streamed down my face and I grabbed her into such a big hug and then grabbed Erica and was afraid to let them go just in case I was dreaming.
I was only able to stay one day in Ketchikan before heading up to Lisa's house in Wasilla. So, Audrey and I walked from one end of town to the other and then met everyone at Diaz Cafe for yummy food that Don loved! Don always made it a point to eat at Diaz Cafe when we traveled back to Ketchikan. It was a must!

The next day Audrey and I boarded the plane headed to Anchorage to see Scott and Lisa! My oldest stepdaughter is married to a great guy and they have an amazing home and were hosting Audrey and I for a week.

Seeing them was equally as amazing. Hugs hugs and more hugs! Lisa is only 8 years younger than me and is more like a friend/sister than a stepdaughter.

We had so much fun. We took a drive over Hatcher's Pass into Talkeetna. Which is beautiful.  Lunch in Talkeetna and a walk through town was fun. It is a quaint little town that had a cat as the Mayor. Unfortunately we weren't able to meet the Mayor as they said he was getting quite old. He actually passed away not too many days after we left. Not sure who the Mayor is now!

We went to the Alaska Zoo. And I finally got to see a moose. His enclosure was huge and it didn't make me sad to see him, however, I will say that seeing the bears in their enclosure crushed my heart. It was dirt and barren. So very sad and the Polar Bear enclosure was just as sad. WHY WHY WHY do they keep them in such artificial spaces? The other animals are able to have areas that are pretty damn close to their habitat in the wild, but these guys areas were just sad and depressing. I have almost decided that I just can't do zoos anymore. They make me so sad. BUT, any who! The other parts of the zoo were fun. And Scott confusing the wolves or were they coyotes with his mouse sounds was pretty good!

Audrey lucked out with shopping! Poor dear has been missing Target, so we hit one up and bought tons of school clothes, shoes, you name it! She loved the shopping and loved going to the mall in Anchorage. She found an Auntie Anne's Pretzel kiosk and she was in heaven! She missed those carbs!

I wish the days would have slowed down and not gone as fast. I hated going to sleep because it was one day closer to coming back to Tennessee. But like everything, all good things must come to an end.

I am already trying to figure out my next trip to see Audrey or having Audrey come to Tennessee. I miss that little girl so very much that it was painful to say goodbye. There were a lot of tears on the plane ride from Anchorage to Ketchikan. Erica was meeting us at the airport, so there wasn't going to be much time for goodbyes at the airport before I boarded the plane back to the lower 48.

I will just end with goodbyes suck and I know that TSA agent is still regretting asking me how my day was going when I burst into tears .... thankfully they let me through Security bawling like a baby. I need Alaska and TN to have a more direct flight!

Sunday, July 9, 2017

Small Talk & Meeting People

I've moved to the other side of chattanooga, so I don't know many people. I joined a local pool to destress and relax on the weekends. 

It's great and I enjoy it. However, the art of small talk is awkward and makes me not want to talk to anyone. I feel like I have to tell my life story when asked simple questions.  

The question asked the most is "do you have kids?" they ask while scanning the pool for the kid I'm going to point out. 

Here's the dilemma:

  1. Do I say no (easy way out) or 
  2. Do I say yes and say I have stepchildren? 
That is usually followed up with they are older and live in Alaska. Then the questions leads to my husband has died and was 20 years older than me. My stepchildren are 30 and 36 and I have a 30 year old niece who is like a daughter. 

I feel like I have to give out so many details to answer one question. 

Why do women feel compelled to ask other women if they have children? If I say no, I feel like I'm not part of the club. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

The Search for My Half-Sister Has Come to an End

I had a half-sister. A sister that I never knew personally, but had envisioned her in my mind for many many years.
Her birth name was Deborah Ann White and she was 11 years older than me.
She was my Dad's daughter from a previous marriage. Due to circumstances that only him and his ex know, he was not part of Debbie's life. Debbie was later adopted by her stepfather and I will just refer to her as a 'White' due to the privacy of her family.

My obsession of my mysterious sister Debbie began when I was a pre-teen. We knew that Daddy had another daughter and we also knew that Daddy didn't like to talk about her, however, we had one picture of Debbie that was taken when she was about 2 years old. By looking at that picture, I made up the person that she was. She would be the older sister that liked me, did things with me and we were alike. Now, I know that I already had an older sister, Cheryl, but growing up I was the bratty six years younger sister. I was more pest than friend. It would be when I was in my early 20's that I feel that Cheryl and I finally became friends. So, in my mind I could imagine Debbie however I wanted to.

When the internet came along, it finally dawned on me that searching for an unknown sister was now possible. However, the searches in those days were tough. All I knew was her birth name, her mother's maiden name and where they once lived. That was it. All my searches came up empty handed. I had no way of knowing what her new name had become. So, year after year I would start searching again and in frustration, I would give up.

After the death of Don in 2014, I started putting some money towards searching for her. I went onto Ancestry.com and tracked everything I could. I found so much information on my mom's family and dad's family, however, when I put Debbie's information in along with her mother's information, I kept coming up with nothing. It was like she was a ghost on the internet. I spend a good amount of time on the internet for my job, so I know that everyone has a digital fingerprint, however, I could not find a LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest etc. on Debbie. It was so odd to me. My gosh if you google me you will find this blog, Facebook, just way too much information, however, that is how I live my life. I am an open book.

So, with the help of my niece Carlie we started cross-referencing relatives that might be hers on Facebook. In 2015, I emailed possible relatives, contacting people on Facebook hoping that one of the people would lead me to my sister that I had thought about for years. During this time, I started paying for last known addresses that I found on the internet. I mailed heartfelt letters to all these addresses hoping that I would find her correct address. But each time the letters were returned "No one at this address by that name". It was sad and frustrating.

Letter mailed 9/21/2015 to Nebraska address

I had accepted the fact that she didn't want to be found and gave it a rest and started focusing on healing myself from Don's death and obsessing over finding a lost sister.

Then out of nowhere, her 2nd cousin seen a Facebook message I sent in 2015. If you know anything about Facebook, then you know that if you aren't the person's friend, your message goes to another area that is difficult to find. After a few back and forth messages, I was sure that she was the 2nd cousin of MY SISTER! However, with that great excitement, came great sadness.

My sister, Deborah Ann White died in June 1995. Many years before I would even begin my search. It was such a heart-crushing fact to accept and I still wasn't totally sure that it was Debbie that died until I spoke with her 1st cousin and the date of birth was correct, her mother's name was correct and after he sent me a few pictures. It was definite that it was Debbie and then came the realization that I would never get to meet this person that has been described as "loving, kind, great sense of humor".

Dealing with the loss of someone you have never known, but thought about for years is such an odd emotion that not many can sympathize with. I am mourning the death of my sister, my Dad's first born and it is a devastating feeling. I had thought about her for so long and imagined what kind of person she was, and to find out that I will never get to meet her and see if she was anything like us.

Also, apparently she died never knowing that she had 3 half-sibling in Tennessee that would had loved to meet her.

Her cousin and his wife have been wonderful with sending me the photos that they have, but photos pre-digital are hard to come by. They are willing to tell stories and tell us what kind of person she was, but at this time I just want to look at her picture (which by the way looks a lot like my daddy) and wrap my heart around the fact that I will never meet her. Like I said, it's an odd feeling. In time I can't wait to talk more with her cousins and hear these stories, but right now I can't. I want to, but my heart isn't ready.

She was only 33 years old when she died. So, I was 22 years old and headed to Alaska when she left this Earth.

Mourning someone you never met - how the hell do you deal with something like that? How do you reconcile that in your brain. How do you deal with losing someone you never met? It's a different kind of emotions that are twirling around in my brain.

I am grateful for her cousins and in the near future I look forward to hearing some awesome stories of my sister.

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Anyone want to help a sister out?!

2017 is going into the 3rd year of being a widow.  I am ready to start the next chapter of my life, but damn it is hard. Someone point me to the right place to meet my 2nd man of my dreams! No internet dating though, that is just not me. 

So, help a sister out?!

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

Need a Dating 2.0 Class for 40 Somethings!

Wow, 2017.  Time is flying by too fast and I still feel like it was yesterday that Don died. When in reality it has been 2 years, 6 months and 2 days since my world changed. I am doing OK.  I have tried dating and unfortunately I can't stop comparing the guys to Don.  I am working on not doing that, however, the moral compass of today's men is so much different from when I last dated in 1995 at the age of 22! As an almost 44 year old woman, I know that I am looking for and I am not into playing games and not into 'Netflix and Chill' kind of moment. I want a kind, intelligent, loving, emotionally mature man. But, I can't seem to find one. I've joined eHarmony, so we will see where that leads. I have so many hangups that my Mother says I will be single forever, and that they be true, however, I don't want to let go of some of the things I expect out of a man that comes into my life.

I may be judging these guys that I have talked to in the last year a little too harshly and part of that is because I am scared. I am scared of falling in love. I admit it, I am. I am scared of loving someone and watching them slowly die and for me to left all alone again. It's crazy to feel this kind of fear, but it is what I feel.  I am scared to date someone that was in Don's age range, because I don't want to have them die so much before me. So, I find something wrong with each one and I basically stop communicating with them. I become aloof and don't answer calls, texts, etc. I know that eventually this fear will subside and I hope it does, because I would love to find a guy that sweeps me off my feet and makes me feel special again. Just don't know how to find him and once I find him, I need to not let the fear of "what if" ruin it.

I need a hobby! Not sure what that can be. I thought about becoming a Big Sister, I miss doing the things that Audrey and I did together and becoming a Big Sister through the Big Brothers Big Sisters organization might feel the spaces in my heart that are trying to repair. I have thought about volunteering at the Ronald McDonald House too.  I have lots of thoughts, just need to act on them.

In closing, I love you all and if you know a nice man that would like to take a chance on a wounded, financially stable, fun woman ... send them my way! Must have a job, place to live, car with no cracked window (inside joke!) and be financially secure as well. Also, I prefer to not have any drama! See ... that should be easy to find! HA

Peace, love and light everyone!

Thursday, November 3, 2016

To the couple at Hobby Lobby:

To the couple at Hobby Lobby:

I'm sorry I must have looked like a crazed woman when you saw me looking at you, but you just reminded me of what I once had. When the young wife looked at something and asked hubby to see it and without hesitation he said "let's get it". It reminded me of what I once had. When he told her to get the matching one as well, it reminded me of the kind of sweet husband I once had as well. I wanted to tell you to cherish what you have.  Love each other so deeply that nothing can tear you apart. I wanted to thank you for reminding me of what I once had and miss so deeply. I'm glad that they just saw the look on my face and not the tear that escaped down my cheek as I turned down the other aisle.

Susie aka A Young Widow

Friday, August 26, 2016

A Wish Fulfilled ~ Don Hoff Forever Lives at Tongass Island

This is has a hard post to write, I wanted to have some time to have been able to fully absorb the enormous amount of feelings that I went through in just planning this trip, seeing the trip through and then being able to digest the feelings that accompanied the trip.

Our float plane waiting for us.

On Monday, July 18, 2016 a clan of Hoff's (Lisa Hoff Fisher & husband Scott, Kenny Hoff, Tribal adopted brother Ken Patten, Susan, Audrey and Erica Hoff) all boarded a float plane at Carlin Air and traveled to Tongass Island. You couldn't have asked for a more perfect day. Nearly a cloud in the sky, calm waters and only a light wind. It was the perfect Ketchikan day that you only get a few times during the summer. We were very lucky and I have to think that Don was watching over us and making sure our trip to Tongass Island went smoothly.

Uncle Kenny playing Don's Raven drum

 The trip over to Tongass Island was beautiful.  I was unsure what we would see, but we saw the beautiful channel islands, the Tongass Narrows in all their splendor, fishing boats, more float planes and Alaska at its best.

The floatplane was able to land so close to Tongass Island that we barely had to get in the water. We walked along the beach there and marveled at all the clam shells that we broken open. You could see that a critter had a good feast there!

Love my brother-in-law!

Each person was given a burlap bag with their own ashes.  Everyone set off different directions to spread their ashes in the way they wanted to. Everyone had their own special moment and it was beautiful.  I wish my post could adequately describe how peaceful and serene it was being at Tongass Island, especially when Ken and Kenny played Don's Raven drum. The feeling of pride and complete happiness filled my entire body.

Strolling along Tongass Island

 I choose to spread the ashes I had at almost all in one spot when I spotted a dragonfly hovering around. I knew that was Don's sign and as I looked up, I saw a blueberry bush there! Of course Don would want to be by the berry bushes! I wasn't sure how I would feel doing this and as we were getting ready to leave, all the emotions hit me at once on the magnitude of what we just did.  We fulfilled Don's big last wish. We did it! We made it all the way to the uninhabited Tongass Island, the island of his ancestors ... we did it and I know that my Brown Knight is smiling and pleased! Life is Good. 

Don is now checking out the land of his ancestors ... he is part of Tongass Island forever.

The look of a blessed woman! Don is so happy!

Tongass Island


Wednesday, July 6, 2016

North to Alaska

Tongass Island early 1800's
Next week the girls and I will head to Alaska for a very important trip.  This trip will be to spread some of Don's ashes on Tongass Island. Don's wishes were for me and girls to go there when we were ready and tomorrow marks 2 years since Don drifted off into the Universe and I think we are ready. Some may have questioned my waiting as long as I did, and I will just remember when my dying husband was holding my hand and telling me to do this on my own time. He knew that others would not understand, but I was lucky to have a husband that knew I couldn't part with him until I was ready.

On Sunday, July 17, the HOFF girls (Audrey, Erica, Lisa and me), Lisa's husband Scott and Don's brothers Kenny and Ken will board a chartered float plane to Tongass Island. An Island that is not exactly easy to get to! I know that Don is having a great big laugh when I was trying to figure out how to get there! I thought it was a hop, skip and jump to get there ... NOPE, it is a 1.5 hr float plane ride to this uninhabited island.

The reason Don chose Tongass Island is because it is his Tlingit ancestral land. He always felt a connection to it and when we used to talk about running away from reality he always suggested moving to Tongass Island and subsist off the land.  I always laughed at the idea ... ME, subsist off the land. I am city girl! But, now Don will forever be a part of Tongass Island just as his ancestors are. It will be very powerful being on this island. I don't know how we will spread his ashes there, I think some things you can't plan and they just have to happen. But we will have Don's raven drum and will sing a song. I feel so good in my heart that we are doing this. The time is right.

I will include some pictures after we return from Alaska and I am sure will have a powerful story to tell.


Here is some additional information I found on Tongass Island:
In the 1830's, members of the Tlingit nation's Tongass Tribe, or Tantakwaan, moved to Tongass Island from nearby Village and Cat Islands. A permanent village was established at the site of earlier Tlingit encampments.

Three clans inhabited the village: the Ganax.adi (Raven clan); Teikweidi (Eagle, Brown Bear); and Dakla'weldi (Eagle, Killer Whale). Each clan was represented by several house groups. The Ganax.adi had 8 houses, Teikweidi 6 and Dakla'weidi 3 houses. Click here to read more. 

Here is an editorial Don wrote to Sitnews regarding Tongass Island -- click HERE. Boy that man loved to write editorials!
1887 Tongass Island