My Bathroom and More

I’ve talked to you all a lot about grief and how it has felt for me to lose my husband to lung cancer.  As of the publication of this blog post it has been one year, six months and two days since he passed away.

I’d love to say I’m perfect.  I’m over the grief.  It doesn’t bother me at all, but that would be a lie.  I know grief doesn’t work that way as I’ve lost my parents and I don’t feel that a person every gets “over it”.  I do think I’m making little baby steps forward.

My bathroom is proof.  My bathroom you ask??  YES, my bathroom.

Since Kramer’s death I’ve been working a bit on decorating my bathroom.  Kramer had fixed the ladder for me.  Kalissa had bought it at a sale but it was broken.  She was going to fix it but later decided she didn’t want it.  I bought it from her and Kramer fixed it.  I liked the ladder but I wanted some baskets on it.  I ended up buying THESE from Amazon.

I hooked them to the ladder and ended up really liking it.

When Kramer was still living I had bought the flower pictures and he hung them.  The floral “K”, I bought and hung.  The toilet paper holder I got from Hobby Lobby sometime ago.

I found the clock at Target and that is what solidified the colors I was going to put in the bathroom.  I love that aqua color with brown.  It’s hard when you have an older house and you want to give it a spark of color to find something that still works with older look.  I think aqua and brown are great.

The wardrobe Kramer bought and we had put in the bathroom when we first moved here.

I bought the vintage garbage can from Kalissa.

Spencer, our daughter Kayla’s husband put window film over the glass of the window to help with bathroom privacy.  I bought the film HERE on Amazon.

The biggest change wasn’t the things I bought…it was…my claw foot tub.

I painted it that same aqua color on the outside.

The tub was in the old bathroom when we moved here.  The part part of the house where the bathroom was got ripped off as part of the remodeling.  We decided to save the bathtub and use it though.

We were on a budget and decided the tub would do.  The tub was no beauty …and it still isn’t.  The outside where you now see the aqua paint was black but someone had done a terrible job and put a see through coat of white paint over it.  Sorry I forgot to take a picture.  Trust me, it was icky.

We didn’t have time to do anything about when we first moved in.  As we lived here another year and another year, I told Kramer I wanted to paint it.  He was for that but insisted it not be anything but black.  I didn’t like that idea.  I wanted some color…so I didn’t paint it.  I left it looking crappy. I was waiting for him to soften.  He usually did.

A while ago, I was thinking about the bathroom and I really wasn’t happy with it.  I knew that outer part of the tub needed to be painted.  As is, it looked bad.  I knew it but I couldn’t quite bring myself to paint the color I wanted it to be.  Kramer always thought black….I didn’t and was stuck on the fact that he didn’t like color.

It is so dumb.  It’s only a color of paint but somehow in my brain I was stuck.  Painting it black made me feel stuck with him.  Painting it aqua, my color of choice, made me feel like I was letting him go.  Some of you are reading this and are likely thinking I’m losing it.  Seriously, it’s only paint color.  Somehow, it was all more than that.  The color of my tub became part of my grief process.

So thinking it all through, I decided I was going to the paint store.  When I left I really wasn’t sure what color I was going to buy…the black, the aqua or something completely different.  On the way in the car my brain was bouncing all around…my feelings were everywhere.  Yes, all over a can of paint.  Grief can honestly do that.

I know in some relationships women decide most everything when it comes to the house, but that wasn’t our relationship.  We made joint decisions all the time.  We always came to a compromise, we never just did what we wanted without a counciltation.  So I knew Kramer REALLY didn’t want color…so it felt a little wrong to get aqua…but I REALLY didn’t want black.

As my mind was bouncing all around, I knew Kramer would want me to be happy.  I knew deep down he really wouldn’t have cared if I pushed it and really insisted on the aqua for the tub but more than all of that, I knew I had to take that step forward.  I have to make decisions for myself.  It’s just me now and even though part of it will always be “our” house.  It’s my house.  Things like paint color, they are for me to decide…and I need to do it.  I need to make myself take steps forward so I don’t get stuck.

I used to watch the television show Hoarders from time to time.  It seemed like so many of the people that ended up hoarders got stuck after the loss of someone close to them.  I can understand that.  I’m sure many had the same type of thoughts I had over the bathtub paint color.  They feel like they are letting their loved one go by making changes.  In the end they aren’t strong enough to take that step forward.  I won’t do that.  I won’t let myself get stuck.  It might take me day or two but I will move in a forward direction.

So, aqua paint it was!!  Admittedly, I didn’t paint it right away.  The can sat there for a couple weeks and then one day I finally just painted it…and I love it.  It is just what I wanted…just as I envisioned it.

In the end, that paint was equivilent to the price of therapy.  A lot of good came from that paint.  The bathroom looks much better…and me, I’m a little better too.

41 thoughts on “My Bathroom and More”

  1. People outside can see you thru that window film, during the day and at night. I know because my neighbors rely on frosted glass for privacy in their bath which faces my patio. I would want a more substantial window covering whenever I was “doing” anything in that room! Turn on the light in that room at night and have one of your children stand in the yard where they can see in the window. Then you stand close to the window and walk back and forth. Have them tell you what they can see.

  2. Love how you have fixed up the room. Looks cozy and inviting. Have enjoyed seeing all your house works. And the tub color looks fabulous.

  3. I can understand where you’re coming from by how our daughter-in-law is dealing with her grief over our son’s death almost a year ago. She has done everything he had ever talked about…resided the house, rebuilt the deck, put in the style of garage doors he talked about, took out some trees, had a privacy fence put in, another trip to Yellowstone, plus some things I think she’s rethinking now. Anyway, after reading this post, I think it’s all been her way of hanging on to him. You may be taking little baby steps through your grief but you are moving forward. Hugs to you.

  4. Jo,
    You are definately making steps in the healing process. It is a long journey some days it feels like you take one step forward and two steps back! I have been a widow for 7 years now. And finally am feeling like me again. Grief is a funny thing very individualized. Don’t let anyone tell you how to feel. It just plain takes time.

  5. Thank you for writing this post. I lost my husband 13 years ago and though I’m ‘mostly’ fine, the grief is still there. I needed to read your words, they soothed my soul for both the thing I’m holding onto and those I’m letting go. Thank you!

  6. Love to you and your bathtub. I grew up in a home filled with artists and a wallpapered bathtub courtesy of my mother and her creativity! Baby steps are good.

  7. Jo, I am with you as a widow and for making your own decisions in your life. You’re right that grief doesn’t end, the best explanation I’ve seen is that we learn how to carry it. Today is my 3 year anniversary of the last good day I had with my husband before he passed, but I am moving forward a little each day with living my own life. God bless you.

  8. What a beautiful post. You’ve done a beautiful job on the bathroom. Slowly making changes doesn’t mean losing Kramer. He will live in your heart forever.

    I retired in July and am working on a website I hope to have ready next month. I love making quilts. I have a really hard time taking a pattern I like and making it without making a change to make it mine

  9. Thank you for sharing your grief process with us. My son just loss his beagle…his first dog on his own. I’ve explained the ball in the box theory to him, which we’ve both experienced. We were very close with his dog as we’ve kept him when my son was deployed. I will tell him about the part where you don’t get over the loss, you just learn to move forward. The tub looks great and I’m so glad you found your way into painting it!

  10. Jo, Thank you for sharing your tub painting dilemma. It is a really good example to others of what grief looks like in the day to day, and some of us really can relate.

  11. In my experience, the grief never goes away. Second year was worse for me. Covid makes it worse!!
    Fabric, redecorating, making things “mine” helps. And, blogging helps so much. My blog used to be for and old…but when crisis started coming…I added my therapy….Carry on Jo…xo

  12. Thank you so much for sharing how you are handling your grief. I know it is different for everyone, but you shared some very important points. I am still grieving for my mother. It’s only been 3 years but seems it seems like yesterday. We were so close. The grief will be like bubbles on the shore and sometimes it’s like a wave that knocks you over. I’m sure you know what I mean. Thanks again for being so open. I know I’m not the only one who benefitted from it.

  13. I love your bathroom. Thanks for sharing it. I’m going to look for a ladder for mine! You are doing good! Take as much time where ever you need to in your grieving process. It’s all so difficult. You are doing great!

  14. We experience life using all of our senses and this effects our memories also. I think that is why so many people get “stuck”. My father passed away a year ago as of January 10th and my Mom is also slowly making their shared home her home.

  15. Grief can be sneaky and it gets you when you don’t see it coming. I’m glad you are moving forward and not letting yourself get stuck. I think Kramer would like the aqua, you said he tended to soften and come around. Paint can be therapy.

  16. Judith Fairchild

    Jo, you have done it again. Everytime you post about you and Kramer brings back the good things you had. It also helps those of us at every stage of grief to empathize and be thankful for the good times and the ability to move forward even if it’s baby steps or a decision to not let yourself be tied up in knots over decisions you make to do things your way now. I know it’s tough to work through and there bare yes even now (nearly 30 years later) grief hits and I just let it flow through and out of me and let it set there to one side as I move on. Thank you for your openness it helps so much.

  17. The aqua tub looks wonderful! This was a wonderful post, and I totally get it. Today marks the third year anniversary of my dad’s passing, and you’re right, the grief never goes away. It comes and goes and you just move through it. I’ve been thinking lately about letting go of some things I got when my dad died, and I have had similar conversations in my head. I think ultimately they would want us to move on and not get bogged down by stuff or ideas (which no doubt may have changed were they still here). Anyway, all that to say, good call on the tub!

  18. The bathroom is beautiful! I love the aqua and brown together and they go great in your bathroom. You done good! Love the ladder and what you are doing with it! Looks like something you would see in a magazine like Better Homes and Gardens.

    You will never get over the death of a loved one. We go on living because life goes on for the living. Remember all the good times and share your memories of him with others like you do us. You have a beautiful family and they need you to be there for them. I could go on and on but won’t. One of my big sisters was brutally murdered back in 1981 by two serial killers. Yes it was my lovely sister, but it was my mom’s child. I had just turned 17 and my sister had just turned 23 the month before. She hadn’t even been 23 a month yet. I have been told by many idiots to not talk about her and to get over it. Don’t you dare let anyone talk to you that way. Kramer was a huge part of your life and he always will be!

    Much love to you and your family!


    Jo-Love your blog. Your bathroom and quilt room makeovers are lovely. Each update represents a baby step in to the future. Your blog has helped me through some of my own grief. Thank you for being strong and sharing.

  20. There is no time limit on grief. I understand what you are going through. I am in my parent’s house and I have changed a lot of it. But to me it still feels like their house. It’s becoming more mine though. :) Love your bathtub! Glad you did something for you.

  21. Jean, it wasn’t luck that brought me to your blog for the first time; it had to be a Godincidence! My husband of 61 years, 2 months and 4 days died three weeks ago. I am in a ‘fog’, trying to put one foot in front of the other and your story of your beautiful clawfoot tub drew me in. Mike and I always made our decisions together as well. My first singular decision was to buy a new 4.5′ Christmas tree. As his dementia progressed last year, he spent two weeks working to remove the pre-lit wiring. My second decision was to retrieve the yardage from his cotton shirts and this morning I did the final ironing of the throw-sized top. Batting and backing fabric have been ordered! I cannot wait to envelop myself in the finished quilt, hopefully before Christmas day. Thank you, Jean for the Christmas gift you gave to me this morning!

  22. Grief is like that. Even losing parents. I’ll keep something because it belonged to Mom while it’s not me at all. Some things are displayed, some are in tubs, but it belonged to her, so I have to keep it. I’m gradually working my way through it and I do realize that I don’t have to keep it, but it’s been slow going. We are trained to honor our parents, etc.

    I’m proud of you for painting the bathtub aqua and I understand the process it took to get there. You are right, Kramer just wants you to be happy.

    Love and hugs

  23. You are doing a great job: creatively and emotionally, and I am impressed with your charity work. As I shared with you, when I lost my husband, I went ahead, after 6 months, to complete a bathroom plan we had started together. What I didn’t tell you is that from there I, with my daughter’s help (that she learned from her father), remodeled my kitchen, tore out all the carpet in the house and put in laminate flooring, painted every room and repaired walls, even redid all of the wood work, and took on a huge landscaping redo. I kept posting it on my Facebook for my family to see and so I can see what I had accomplished. Kind of my personal blog/journal in pictures. All total therapy. As so many others have said, as you accomplish things, their memory is still involved. Each project I had those moments where I knew what my husband would have said. Including, in politically correct terms, “Holy crap woman, what are you tearing apart now?” “Gee, did you think you really could do that yourself?” When that was accomplished I stared quilting. A friend told me that the second year is hard in such a different way, and to keep busy. Real or not, we feel as if family has forgotten you are still grieving and you think you should have moved on. My family and in-laws were great, but yet there were days I had that feeling. I think creative people are able to, and need to express themselves in their crafts. 6 years and I still see or feel things I miss about him. The momentary thoughts/reminders and I smile and move on. Once in a while a good cry still drains the sinuses and washes out the eyes. Like my Mom told me, have a little pity party, put on your big girl panties and go on. My mom also was a widow at 60. At 95 as life was slipping from her, she said “it’s 35 years of waiting for this moment to see your father again, You need to keep going and live your life. “

  24. Susan the Farm Quilter

    Well, that certainly puts a different light on what I’m doing (and not doing) to clean out my dad’s home! I’ve been here almost 5 years, caring for him, when he died last March. I’ve been able to go through some things, but other things have me sitting on the computer all day so I don’t do anything! Maybe I am delaying selling his house because that will cut all my ties with the state I grew up in. Thanks for writing about this and giving me a different perspective into my behaviors!! I don’t know if I would have thought of this by myself!!

  25. Jo, I am so very proud of you moving forward…It is up to those left behind to choose to THRIVE and not merely survive! My husband drown on a fishing trip a year ago this past October. Like you, I am making progress…I have done the things he would have wanted me to do with our property and NOW it is my turn to do the things I have dreamed of doing…tear out old wood paneling, a new kitchen, a quilting room with a long arm, new floors and PAINT!…lots of paint!

  26. Love the aqua! I’m happy for you that you have taken this step forward. When my sister’s husband died, she did not and turned into a hoarder. We did not know until she died. I think Kramer would be proud of you!

  27. Yes, it’s hard to move on without them. And no, grief doesn’t entirely go away but it does get better in time. All my siblings have died and I’m the middle one, still here. Buried my husband a long time ago. I still miss all my uncles and aunts, as well as parents. But this is life. Moving on the best way we can, living a full happy life. I’m grateful for what I have now and for what I did have. You are doing very well Jo.

  28. I got a good giggle from your aqua tub. I rented the second floor of a house nearly 40 years ago that had a claw foot tub in the bathroom. A friend gave me 2 shades of leftover green paint and I painted the wall with the larger amount of green and the tub with the smaller amount of green. The floor was splintering wood so I covered it with a scrap of fake grass carpet. 2 windows faced onto the alley so I covered them with a lovely black and white Contact paper of naked women statues. Any visitors always commented on it. Haven’t though about my “swingin single” bathroom in years. Thanks for the memory.

  29. The wardrobe is called a chiffarobe. I grew up with one much like yours, except it had a mirror on the upper left panel.

    You are finding your own way through grief, as we all must do. We keep the good memories in our heart and do our best to let the bad times slip away.

    The aqua tub is certainly an improvement over what would’ve been a black tub! And I love the ladder!

  30. It’s not crazy….none of it. I lost my husband 4 yrs 7 months 3 days ago on Mother’s Day. But like you there comes a “thing” that makes you realize it’s your choices now.

    My day came during a conversation with a friend. We were talking about decisions and she is married and commented she didn’t have to ask for opinions but out of respect she does. I said neither do I now that I am single my opinion is the only one that counts. In that moment I realized widow is single. Wow. What a revelation! That evening I took my ring off and i hung my yellow curtains in the kitchen, he hated yellow, repainted my interior and my home reflects me not us. He was a wonderful man and I have my mementos and he would smile knowing I am not “frozen” in a time of remembering. It’s all about healing.

  31. I remember after my daughter was killed in a car accident thinking we couldn’t move from our old house because she wouldn’t know where we were. Its just hard.

  32. Well said, describes grief so well. Being “stuck” is so true to the process. A year after the hospice process and the therapy, I needed to go to therapy again. I was stuck and couldn’t find my way. They helped but it’s still making myself take the step……sometimes so hard. Thanks

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