Cathy's Page

A personal site for people interested in Cathy or her writing.


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Of Bitches and Bastards

Posted by Cathy Douglas on January 6, 2011 at 11:25 AM Comments comments (0)

Okay, so I'm on my own now.  There's a lot of stuff I need to learn how to do, and not just home maintenance stuff that used to fall on Dan.  I've got all this money:  insurance money, survivor benefits, retirement accounts.  The catch is, it has to last for the rest of my life.  I have to learn how to invest and budget, and use the latest techy-tools to accomplish such things.


And then there's work.  They had their annual owner's m...

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Unfamiliar Surfaces

Posted by Cathy Douglas on December 19, 2010 at 12:23 PM Comments comments (1)

I wasn't sure I'd be able to handle being present the death of someone I love.  It turned out to be a blessing; being present during the work of dying was the closest I could come to being part of his new world.  You'd think it might be horrible, seeing this man I knew intimately go from warm and breathing to cold and stiff, but the reality of it gave concrete form to the idea of death as a transition, rather than an end.  


My husband declined rapidly in the ...

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Dan's obituary

Posted by Cathy Douglas on December 9, 2010 at 7:23 PM Comments comments (1)

MADISON – Frank D. “Dan” Richwalski, age 58 of Madison, died peacefully at home on Tuesday, Dec. 7, 2010, following his fight with pancreatic cancer.


He was born Oct. 4, 1952 in Baraboo, the son of Francis S. and Lorraine (Burns) Richwalski. Following his service in the U.S. Army, he married Cathy Douglas. Frank worked as an electronics technici...

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Good-bye my love

Posted by Cathy Douglas on December 7, 2010 at 3:40 PM Comments comments (3)

Dan died a little after midnight.  His last sensible words were, "Keep loving me."


Here's how the last four days went:


Friday was a great day.  I even got down to work for an hour or so, and to the grocery store.  Dan even drove somewhere, to see about getting a tune-up for the car.


Saturday he was not making so much sense.  The previous day having been busy, it was no surprise tha...

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Take a Sad Song

Posted by Cathy Douglas on December 6, 2010 at 3:54 PM Comments comments (0)

I'll tell you a secret, about surviving in difficult times.  Every day, fix something.  Anything, the more trivial the better.   Mildewed shower enclosure, a nasty kitchen shelf, a torn quilt, a dissheveled pile of paper.  Take something that is broken, filthy and ugly, and make it better.  Then tomorrow you can look at it and say, There, yesterday something got better, and it was all because of me.

Cutting loose

Posted by Cathy Douglas on December 3, 2010 at 7:25 PM Comments comments (0)

We've had a string of good days.  Yesterday, the car even started--yay!  So Kid B was left in charge of the house, while Kid A and I went off to look for one of those little hotplates you put your coffee mug on, and a pair of warm, fuzzy slippers.  Two things Dan needed; no sense in waiting for Christmas.


It was a little scary, because the day before Kid B and I had been about to go, but the car acted up.  He started it, but remembered t...

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Feeling Gone

Posted by Cathy Douglas on December 1, 2010 at 10:47 AM Comments comments (2)

It's not like me to be depressed, but I'm acting like it--not doing the things I usually do, not doing much of anything, and not missing any of it.  I'm taking a leave of absence from work, not doing any writing, not submitting any writing, only getting out of the house long enough for one short chore or jog every day.  No interest in music or nature or cooking, or much of anything, really.  Yeah, I take care of Dan.  But he sleeps most of the time, and isn't ever very dem...

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It wasn't really a dream, and it wasn't really a poem.

Posted by Cathy Douglas on November 25, 2010 at 10:04 AM Comments comments (0)

I was a young woman. I was sitting on the ground in a very flat place, with my legs tucked to the side and a pitcher in front of me. The pitcher had something in it that looked and smelled like water. In front of me, behind an almost invisible barrier, lay a featureless desert. Six or seven men crawled through the desert toward me, on their knees and elbows and bellies. All of them were emaciated and wrinkled and sunburned.  They must have been very, very thirsty, but I couldn't cr...

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The quiet life

Posted by Cathy Douglas on November 20, 2010 at 8:18 PM Comments comments (0)

I was too stressed out to work yesterday, and took off early, and asked for today off too.  I called home to make sure everything was okay, and then (are you ready for this?), I went shopping!  Yes, retail therapy.  I cashed my paycheck and the birthday check Dad sent me, and then instead of heading eastward towards home, I went west to Hilldale mall, where I raided Anthropologie's sale room and then went next door to Title 9 to snag a spiffy weather-proof jacket.  For a c...

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Posted by Cathy Douglas on November 19, 2010 at 9:46 AM Comments comments (1)

Magazines and internet sites keep coming up with lists with titles like "Ten things everyone should do before they die."  I've never had any such list, pernonally, but I've decided on one thing:  I want to visit Faial.

Faial is the Azorean island my grandparentscame from.  My mother grew up every bit an immigrants' child, with all the clashing expectations that come along with that.  Between parents, the Portuguese immigrant community, the Catholic church...

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