Monday, July 17, 2017

Retire? Who, me? Never.







I asked the question earlier on a social media site about when could I retire. There were several responses, many which dragged me out of my tired funk and got me to thinking.
I really doubt that I will ever retire. Oh I may change jobs at some point. Once I'm in a better shape financially to where I can make it on less, or if I find a job that is one of those wonder where its been all my life wonderful. Maybe some miracle could happen and I could manage to actually be an author that sells books. I don't have my beloved interruption now, so I could actually concentrate on what I was trying to accomplish.
Here I am, fast approaching 60. I was really working up some interesting plans to celebrate, only, all that has changed. I shelved, boxed up, trashed, gave away all of those plans. I'll come up with something else instead. Don't get me wrong here, I'm not feeling sorry for myself. It is what it is. He didn't plan to leave the way he did and I didn't plan on losing him. But he was called home and I'm here. There is a reason, one way or the other I will find that reason, I'll find (or I may even already be living that purpose) and I'll do the best job I can of fulfilling that. There will be days I'm sure that I'm lonely, exhausted, frustrated, but I'll pick myself up and I'll soldier on.
The fact that I've worked since I got my first work permit at 16 yrs old and have worked doing something ever since means that it would be down right difficult for me to just stop. I need something to do. I know that there is a lot of things needing done around here, but most of that I can take care of on days when it is a tad bit cooler than broil.
I know there are places to go, things to see, but I have to screw my courage up and learn to stand on my own. I haven't had to go anywhere much but Walmart on my own so actually getting in the car and going somewhere to do something by myself is going to take more courage than I have right now. That has nothing (well maybe it does) have to do with my loss, but at some point I will be able to pick up and go for a drive to the mountains, or TN, or Fl, or where ever.
I like my job, it pays the bills and keeps me busy, but I really could do with a little less busy. Or maybe I could work at trying to get a little more sleep, I'm sure that would help. Unfortunately my body shuts down by my mind wants to wander about poking into memories and things that keep me awake.
But anyway, forgive me for earlier, it was tired me typing away without forethought. Retire? Nah, I'm way too young for that, or too stubborn, or something or other..
Thank you my friends, for bearing with me.

Saturday, July 8, 2017

Up and Coming What was Can't be, But what Can Be, will






                                            Right after my birthday last year, I began writing a near daily count down to 60 blog. I haven't added to that thread of thought for quite some time. Everything obviously got a bit side railed. I really had big plans for that day. Big thoughts and hopes floated about in my head, simply because that is considered a milestone birthday. Now, I'm not so sure I even want to acknowledge it. How can I celebrate that day, without the one who I had hoped to share it with?
                                             I'm not really feeling sorry for myself, I'm still trying to find my way in a new normal that I didn't ask for, didn't want, and don't like. I don't care how many times I was angry with my husband, how many times he frustrated me or annoyed me, he was still my husband and I still loved him. Being human, we all have our own failings and quirks that could annoy others. Sometimes we do it deliberately, sometimes accidentally. My husband was no different, I am no different. There were things that I did and do, that would drive him crazy. And yes, sometimes I did them on purpose. Nothing that would get anyone hurt, usually it was driving a route that he didn't understand.
                                             I've spent the last four months writing about his loss and didn't realize that my birthday is just weeks away. In August, I will turn the biological clock up another notch as I reach 60. After some of the stuff I have dealt with, I'm still a tad surprised I've got this far, but I have. Now I have to figure out how to get through the fast approaching day without falling apart. I believe, that day will be one of the most difficult to face so far. We made it through  Easter, Memorial Day, his birthday, Father's Day, Independence Day and the week that I have had off from work. I've stayed busy, I've gotten things accomplished, I've managed to do things that I never thought I would be able to and yet I did. Someone said that grief shows us how strong we can be. I agree.
                                               Still yet, there is my birthday. I was hoping for a big shebang with family. I was hoping for silly signs and age related jokes. I was hoping that he would pull something embarrassing and yet loving. All of that, depended on him being here, and he isn't.
                                                I have put some thought into it, and no, I'm not giving myself a party. I'm going to work on my flower garden area and turn it not only into a wildlife sanctuary for the bees and butterfly, but also into a memorial garden of remembrance for him. I'm not sure the stores are still selling much in the way of plants, but I can check and see if there is anything that will be good for butterfly, bees and hummingbird. I can only do a little at a time, but that's fine. He isn't here to complain about time now. I have already been called.. in good natured teasing, a flower hoarder, they haven't seen anything yet. It may take a long time to get it done the way I would like, but I will get it done. I want nearly that entire area filled with plants, flowers, shrubbery that will benefit our pollinators. I want to have a rock path through the garden, past the flowers, the light post, the statue and over to where the table, chairs and swing await. I want it to be filled with so much color that a rainbow will be proud. I hope to have so much that the leprechaun in lucky charms would be envious and looking for a place to dance. I want, if my husband is looking down on us, watching us, that he would see this garden and think, "Wow, that's for me?"
                                            So, if anyone has flowers that they would consider donating.. and no, I'm not asking for more from those dear, kindhearted, generous people who have already given much to add to my gardens. But if there is anyone else with something that they are wanting to get rid of, I don't turn down flowers- ever.
                                             My birthday is coming up. I will be facing it without the love of my life. But, face it I will. Get through it, I will. Miss him? Most definitely. Love him? Always.

Friday, July 7, 2017

So Difficult; Not So Difficult Day






                  I know, that I am not the only person to go through the loss of a loved one. I know, that others have dealt with more difficulties than I have or probably will.  Nothing that I have or will write, is meant to be a cry for sympathy or attention. This is merely my way of journaling this adventure and how I handle the challenges along the way. Today (July 7, 2017), was one of the days that I feared would be difficult, but turned out in the end, to be not so difficult after all.
                I didn't sleep much last night. While there wasn't anything consciously waking me, I knew that was playing on my mind was that today, is four months since my husband passed away.  I wondered today, how long will I be marking the time in minutes, days, months? How long, will I still be waiting on a phone call or to hear that big truck pulling down the road?  I was concerned about not sleeping because I really had a lot that I needed to do today. Things that I had been putting off for too long.
                   I was well over due for my annual physical. I made the call earlier this week and by a great miracle, was able to schedule one for today. With it being summer in the south, it is not unusual for there to be summer storms. We've had storms for the past few afternoons, thankfully here, we dealt with the edges of them, a local town, however was hammered badly. The local town, is where my doctor's office is located. While some people and businesses did not have power, the doctor's office did, they did not however, have internet service. I was given the option of waiting, or going home and let them call me. I honestly told them that if I went home, then I would eat and that would mean starting all over again, so I would wait. I picked out a comfy looking chair and prepared to wait. After I had sat there approximately thirty minutes they gave in and decided to do the physical without the internet. That meant trying to remember all of the most important questions that are usually asked. That meant for me trying to honestly answer questions about grieving my husband. I had to answer questions such as did I feel that I had let people or myself down? Did I feel that the world would be better with out me? Did I have a hard time doing the things I once loved? I answered as honestly as I could, even when I didn't want to answer. After all of the poking and prodding and having blood drawn I was ready for the entire thing to be over. I was relieved that they were professional and able to get everything done even without the internet access.  After the physical, I headed for home and to get the things I needed for the next leg of my journey.
                   Getting home I gathered up the paperwork for my next two stops. The first, to get the renewal sticker for my car tag. The first warning that things were not going to go well was the signs blocking the escalator. Finding the elevator I, along with several others, waited for its arrival. Piling in we prepared for the short trip up. Crossing the room to the DMV office I saw that the room, was full with a line outside the door. I was going to be here a while. That while turned out to be just over an hour. It could have been worse, the room never emptied and those who had title work to do had a much longer wait time.
                    I left there and went to the cemetery. I parked, got out of the car and saw on the what I thought was the office door, a sign saying the office was across the street. Back in the car I headed over there. I wanted to find out what I needed to do, so I could sell the two grave plots that I would not be using. I managed to get across the road easier than I thought I would considering how busy that stretch of roadway tends to be. I spoke with the receptionist, who called and got a gentleman to come up front and explain what I needed to do. I needed to find a buyer, then call and set up an appointment. Once there, the changing of the lands would take place. There is a charge for transferring the deed to someone else, I had no idea that it was as much as it is, but then, I have no idea what all is involved in the process. After speaking with him and getting his business card I headed home. This day was tiring me out more than the days I had spent doing all of the physical stuff. I'm just not good at discussing this sort of things. I'm getting better though. Trial by fire and all that.
                        Pulling in my drive I was ready for a cup of coffee and a rest. I still had things I needed to do, but the day wasn't over yet. I needed to rest my over worked brain.
                          I know, that all of this is a whole new life for me. I'm having to do things that I did not do before, talk with people, plan, handle, battle, with people and computers and try to accomplish the needed tasks. I have to do things, that ordinarily I would have run from. The only way, that I am able to do these things, is because I know, that I am not alone as I travel. I know, in my heart of hearts, that the Lord is with me, He alone is guiding my way, helping me to know the words, to understand what is needed and to have the strength, to continue, when otherwise, I would have gladly given up and crawled into a dark corner hoping it all took care of itself. That knowledge, has taken what would have been so difficult, and made it not so difficult after all. That, is how I made it through this day, not breaking down, not suffering the sadness that always lurks, not trying to drown my sorrows in chocolate, but going forward and doing what I needed to do and doing it as well as I possibly could.
   Today is over, the crickets are singing, thunder is rumbling in the distance and the cool evening air is drifting in through the windows. I made it through another, not so difficult  day.
             

Thursday, July 6, 2017

Me and Murray the little power mower who could, even when it appeared impossible






                                  Over the course of the last few days I have learned a lot, about myself and about faith. I also learned just how tough me, and an aging power push mower can be.
                                   Due to a variety of reasons my yard had been neglected. We don't live in a housing development governed by any housing authorities, we live in a rural area, surrounded for the most part by woods. With the house off the main road, part way down a one lane, narrow, dirt road, our yard is ours to do or not do with as we please. That isn't a good excuse for the condition it was in, but that was one reason I got away with it. Then I began to grow tired of it. Working on it was difficult with me often working ten hour shifts. When my husband was home, he always had something he wanted or needed to do first, which put yard work last on the list. Then my husband passed away. I'm still working on all the things that need to be done because of his death, but then, the Independence Day Holiday came around. Where I work shuts down the entire week. Counting the days, I discovered I had ten days to fill. I had ten days to keep myself busy so that I wouldn't give in to the sadness and loneliness that lurks just below the surface. I decided that this week, would be the ideal time to do all of that work, that had been neglected. I wasn't going anywhere, so why not?
                               I made a list of everything that needed to be done. Main points with multiple subpoints beside of them. I didn't know if I would get it all done, but I was going to give it my best shot. The job on the list that covered the largest area, was mowing. I had deliberately not mowed one area because it runs along the dirt road and every time I mow that, someone always thinks the road has widened and drives in my yard. Still, it was looking snaky and the shoulder high wildflowers were choking out my roses. Mowing also meant picking up a lot of sticks and rocks. It took a while, it took several rest breaks, but I got the mowing done all around the front yard and down at the garden. That mower slicing through those high weeds as well as any bush hog.
                               There was one area of my yard that actually looked like Tarzan and his animal friends ought to come barreling out of there. I did not believe that mower could manage. After I got the shrubbery that I knew it could not cut I gave it a go. Happily, the mower cut right on. I now have most of my yard back. There is one more section that I believe the mower can get, but I need to wait for it to dry out.
                              Over the course of the last few days, I have pushed that mower harder than it was probably meant to be. I have pushed myself beyond what I thought I was possible of doing. Both of us, have managed to accomplish what we set out to do. We have proven our strength and capabilities. I'm not only getting my yard back, my landscaping is not only looking better, I myself am feeling better, more accomplished, more capable to face what ever may come. This would not have been possible, without the knowledge that I can do all things, through Christ who strengthens me.



Tuesday, July 4, 2017

One Small Hummingbird







                    I've made no secret of how I've been working myself into the ground trying to stay busy. My thoughts were,  if I'm busy, the memories and the missing my husband won't overwhelm me. It hasn't stopped me from thinking about him, but not so much that I can't function.
                    When I shoved back the covers and rose this morning I debated on what I would try and accomplish today. I even posted that debate on social media, as if trying to make up my mind or seeking help in doing so. As I said, if I worked outside or if I worked in here, both would result in an accomplishment. I would have a cleaner flower garden or I would have a cleaner house. The house I can do any time, the flower garden I wanted to work on while it was still cool enough and yet bright enough that I could see if anything moved among the weeds. Some of those weeds had, thanks to the rains, grown higher than my head, and I'm just over five foot eight. The flower bed weeding won out.
                    I gathered my gloves, the clippers and the wheel barrel and headed to the first bed. The last one I had created had very little that needed to be removed so it was taken care of rather quickly. Looking at the one beside of it, I realized I had a couple of problems. Early n the spring I had sown some mixed flower seeds that my husband had purchased for me. I was not fully sure that among what was growing, which were flowers and which were weeds. The ones that were blooming were obvious. Those that were about to bloom, were obvious. Some of the weeds I recognized, the rest I had a  fifty-fifty chance at what they were. It had rained again last night so with that and all of the recent rains the ground was very soft and all removals had to be done carefully. If not, I was going to pull it all up no matter what it was. Carefully removing what was obvious and what was a probably I moved on to the next bed.
                    This is a smaller bed that has a light pole with a light that no longer works thanks to not warning the people who were installing our new well years ago. They cut the wires in half and were (understandably) very unhappy when they realized. I had honestly forgotten and my husband didn't think about it, until after the fact. We never repaired or replaced the wiring so now its just a decorative pole with instead of a light a light shaped bird house. I also do have solar lights running up the pole so it isn't wasted. Being a smaller bed it didn't take long at all to clean and then on I went. Right beside this bed was the one almost the same  size that was around my birdbath. I had tried to plant flowers that bloomed at different times of the seasons but right now I have - had, mostly weeds. I cleared it up as best that I could and not damage the few flowers that were growing.
                        The bed that I dreaded was next. That thing is long and of medium width. It was also a horrendous mess. The flowers that were attempting to grow and bloom were being choked out. Slowly and methodically I moved down the bed. Last year I had pulled up a lily not realizing what it was until I was holding it in my hand. This time I was more careful. I had filled up the wheel barrel so I pushed it down across the yard, behind the house and dumped the pulled weeds into the woods. Bella had followed me and was acting as if she wanted to check out a few of the scents she was picking up in the area but she listened when I called her. I feared that something would jump and run and she would be after it in a heartbeat. Back in the yard I was back at the beds and back at work. I was pouring sweat and fogging up the safety glasses I was trying to wear. I quickly filled up the wheel barrel once again. By now the day had heated up well beyond the tolerable temperature. I had stopped at one point and went into the house for a glass of sweet green tea. I removed my gloves, placed them along with the clippers on top of the load in the wheel barrel and went and sat down in one of my chairs.
                      Just as quickly as I sat down, the memories began. I had purchased that table and chairs and moved that huge swing up to the garden area for a place for my husband and I to sit and enjoy the day. Everything was under these two huge Oak trees, so even though a mere couple of feet away the sun beat down southern, summer hot, under the trees, in the shade it was comfortable. The flowers and shrubbery that grew along the fence providing a sense of privacy even though they haven't grown as well as I wished. I know it is because they probably don't get the amount of sun that would be best, but they still grow and that is all that matters.
                         As I sat there, I watched two butterfly dance around the flowers at the far end of my garden area. My husband knew that it was my wish and deep desire to create a habitat for the bees and the butterfly. I usually only purchase perennials and especially those that list that they attract butterfly and hummingbirds.  This year I've had several friends with very generous hearts who have given me flowers, provided seeds, or told me that yes, I could dig up some flowers from their parent's yard. I even dug some up from an area my brother's son in law is clearing. I'm trying, it is only a matter of finding the right ones that will grow in the sun, shade combination that is my yard. No matter what I asked for  though, my husband would buy them for me. He loved me and accepted that I was going to keep trying to get this to work, just as I keep working on my vegetable garden. Its small, it will never produce like a larger garden. I may never have enough to can, but I have enough to share and enjoy. All of these memories flooded my mind, over flowing into my heart. I sat there, listening to the sound of neighbors as they moved about, as they enjoyed the morning sitting on their front porch, even though I couldn't hear what they were saying, and didn't want to, I could hear the contentment, the peace, the enjoyment of each other. Directly in front of me, one of the neighbors loaded up their family into their vehicle and the sound of young giggles drifted in the air behind the vehicle as they left. It wasn't long before the neighbors beside of them came out. Their child talking animatedly to mom as they stepped out onto the porch. Before long they too had pulled away. Quiet again reigned. Quiet that allowed the memories.
                                As I felt the strongest sadness approaching I heard a noise. Turning to look behind me I saw the hummingbird. It approached the feeder that was on the shepherd's hook stuck up in the midst of that flower bed. Both feeders were empty. Hungry, it went away after a few moments, disappointed and still hungry. Shaken from my melancholy and disappointed in myself that I had allowed the feeders to become empty, I got up and went into the house. Quickly I gathered what I would need and began to prepare a new batch of homemade nectar for the hummingbirds. I have four small feeders in the hanging baskets on my front porch and the two in the garden, all of them, were empty. I measured the sugar and water pouring it into a large pot and brought it to a boil. Once all of the sugar was dissolved I sat the pot off the burner waiting for it to cool well.
                             While the food for the hummingbird cooled, I began doing inside work. Stripping the bed to wash the sheets, separating colors from jeans to go in the next loads. I loaded and ran the dishwasher. I ate, I scrolled through social media and news sites. I was busy, I was accomplishing things and I was distracted once again from what threatens to bring me down, what haunts me when I'm not looking. What I, with the grace of God, am working my way through. I believe, that little hummingbird was sent, just so that I would not fall into a depressed state and not enjoy the day I have been given. I'm busy, I'm sore and tired, what I'm not, is incapacitated by the sadness and missing of my husband.
                             The hummingbird feeders are all washed, filled and back in place. I have clean sheets to put back on my bed, I have a better attitude and better mood. I have a gracious and loving God and a small hummingbird to thank.
                 

Monday, July 3, 2017

Mind, Body and Nerves, How exhausted can one be?







                             I am exhausted and my body already hurts. I can only imagine how bad its going to get, but I'm proud of my accomplishments even if I did get into an argument with an automated phone system today, not once but twice.
                              Where I work closed up shop for a week for the Independence Day Holiday. When you add in the weekends, that is ten days off from work and here at home. My vehicle is not in good enough shape to go anywhere of any distance, not by myself anyway and my son has to work. I fear time spent not doing anything because the loss of my husband overwhelms me. Time spent doing nothing allows too much time for thoughts and memories. So the plan was to spend as much time as possible, doing work around the house. I even took photos of some of the work that needed to be done and shared them in an earlier blog:

  http://rebeccasrevels.blogspot.com/2017/06/ideas-plans-and-good-intentions.html

                             Last Friday, June 30th, I began the needed work. James had drug out our old Murray power mower the day before and made sure that I had gas for it. Early in the morning I began mowing. Part of what I did, I really didn't want to as the travelers up and down our dirt road just seem to automatically believe the road got wider. I haven't caught anyone driving in my yard, and I hope it remains that way as I do have flowers out there. I mowed along the front, both sides of the drive, down between the two paths and behind the house. Behind the house up to a point. There was this one area that I did not believe that little, aging power mower, could manage. I also pushed the mower down and mowed the grass that was growing knee high along the fence around my garden. I did stop several times to allow me and the mower to cool off. I wanted to stay busy, I did not want a heat stroke. I decided that I had done enough and stopped to run to the bank and other errands.



                            I made a call at one point, to make sure that the gentleman over the monument place had received the check I mailed and he told me he had and that my husband's headstone was in place. I called mom and asked if she wanted to go up and see it with me. So we drove up to see the marker. It did turn out very nice. I was glad. Sad, but glad.
                             Saturday and Sunday I didn't do much of anything yard work wise. Friday had done me in and I needed to catch up.
                           Which brings me to today, I don't know if I'm determined or stubborn or stupid. I do know that I am exhausted, body, mind and nerves. I went outside early this morning and took that little mower that could and a pair of hedge clippers and set out for "that" area. I started the mower and set to work. I could mow some and then had to stop and move fallen branches or cut down poke plans that were towering over my head. It took a while, and I did stop once, but I managed to get it mowed and cleared.

 That mower is several years old, with a blade that could definitely benefit from sharpening, but amazing as it is, that thing managed. I'm wondering if in its mower dreams it sees itself as a bush hog, because that is exactly what it acted like today. I managed to get all of the small trees and shrubbery cut away from the house and all of those vines pulled down. the house could use a good power washing, but that isn't something I care to do right yet.


 Between all of this, I went by our wireless carrier and spoke with a customer service rep, there. Nice lady who explained everything and eased my confusion. She also told me that I had over paid with the final payment in my husband's name and that they owed me money. Then, I get home to find a letter in the mail saying I owed them that amount. So I had to do what I had been avoiding and called customer service. I spoke with a very nice lady who listened, asked a couple of questions and then asked me to hold on. When she came back she told me that they in fact did owe me not the other way around. I asked her if she could make sure the account said that or send me a statement or something as I didn't want any account showing a delinquency. She said that wouldn't be a problem and I could hear her typing- something. I then try to set up an account online since the other had been closed when I changed the account. I needed a pin number I didn't have so back on the phone to the wireless people. this time I got a gentleman who sounded very young. He was however very patient with me and guided me step by step through what I needed.
                       Then, thinking I was on a roll, I decided to call another account that I thought had been paid off but was showing I owed just over $5. Now I know that isn't much, but I needed to make sure that when I paid that, there would be no more bills. Calling the account's customer service I reached the automated system. I really didn't know you could get into an argument with one of those but I did. Not once but twice. First time they hung up on me. ? The second time I finally reached a real live person who answered my questions. NOW, that account it paid off.
                        My mind and my body are some how not on speaking terms or the same page or something. As tired as I was by then, something somewhere decided that I could do more yard work. That is when I go out to take on that giant briar bush growing on a large section of my fence. The little mower that could, could not handle that. Taking the clippers I began taking out one long branch at a time. Most of the briars appeared to be dead anyway. I had left it because it kept a large part of the view of the back yard blocked and I hoped that would keep the dogs from barking so much. I was wrong, so now, it had to go. I cut a lot from the inside and drug what I cut off and piled inside the kennel we don't use. I'm composting the mess in there, so I just added to it. I got it cut to the point where I went through the house and around the back and slowly cut and pulled until I peeled it away from the fence. I then dragged that mess down to the pile I had made in the woods.
                           Hurting, tired beyond belief, my arms scratched up from the briars, I went back inside the house and picked up the camera. 

I walked around the house and yard taking photos of what I've managed to accomplish so far. There were times during the day when I kept thinking I heard footsteps, even though I was the only one there. I can only imagine and hope,  that my husband is looking down thinking, "Its about time" and "It looks good honey, you did a good job." I can't help but wish I could call him up, and or drag him around the house going, "see, what do you think?" I want him to know that I'm not neglecting things. Even though I know that he's in a much better place, even though he's healthy again, happy again, I do miss him.
                            I have six more days to keep filled before I go back to work.
                            



  #thelittlemurraymowerthatcould     this is a tough mower, even though I wouldn't recommend treating one the way I did, this one took it like a champ.

Sunday, July 2, 2017

Denial? Maybe








                         The fact that my husband had been a long haul truck driver for years got me accustomed to his not being home much. He, himself often said that he didn't live here, he was just a visitor. I fear, that fact has made it easier for me to get through this, but also that part of me ignores the truth and keeps waiting to hear that big engine roaring down the roadway. (My own mother made a comment the other day about how something was in the way and that there would be nowhere for my husband to park when he came in, before she remembered)
                         I know, that my husband is gone. I took the call. I spoke with the police. I spoke with the coroner and the people who were getting my husband's body home. I was there for the funeral, saw him buried. I know, that he isn't coming home. Just this week the headstone was put in place at his grave.  Still yet, there is that part of me, the part that is accustomed to his being gone, then suddenly there he is. Home, safe, sound and ready for some down time. The part of me, that is waiting to hear that truck pull down the road. The part of me, that is yet in denial.
                         My husband was one of those people who made his presence known. If I was doing something in the kitchen, he would come in and ask what I was doing. If I was on the computer, he would come into this room and start randomly picking up the very same things he had picked up the last time he was home and ask about them. If he was in one  end of the house and I the other, his way of getting up from watching television was to announce it with this very loud, very long yawn. He wanted to carry on long distance conversations to the point where I would have to stop doing what ever I was busy at and go see what on earth he was trying to tell me. Usually it was to ask where I wanted to go to eat. He loved going on, which was surprising considering how often he had to eat out or in the truck when he was on the road. I took it that it was just because we were together as family.
                         When he was gone, he called, a lot. One family gathering when he was out on the road he called so often my brothers were timing him. He actually called every five minutes. Thankfully he was parked at some truck stop and not trying to drive and do that.  But if he wasn't calling me, or any of the other family members, he was expecting me to be calling him. When I got off from work, if I didn't call him on my way home, I called him just as soon as I walked in the door. He always wanted to know what mail we received, and if I had done this or that or what ever.
                           Here lately I seem to be forgetting to carry my phone more and more often. I hate the thing. I think, that a part of me feels that if I leave the thing at home I can say that is why he hasn't called.  Of course that doesn't explain the no missed calls notice, but when one is in denial, those obvious, common sense explanations are out the window.
                           I'm having to do all manner of things that I didn't have to do before. I could and did, always leave the unpleasant stuff, or the stuff that I simply did not want to do for him when he got in. I used the reasoning that he was so much better at getting things accomplished, and he was. So while the rational side of me knows, the irrational side is, 'I'm doing this so he won't have to when he gets in". No, he's not coming home, I'm doing it because there is no one else to do it.
                          I walk into an empty house when I get home from work. Our son still lives at home, so he will be in later, but for that couple of hours, it is just me. There is no one to call and ask if we got any mail. There is no one who is going to call and ask if there is enough money in the account for him to get a hot meal. There is no one who is going to complain if I didn't get the kitchen floor mopped, of the last flowers he bought planted. There is no one who is going to be calling me every five minutes or yawning like the last dinosaur going into a tar pit.  There is no one who is going to ask me if the black socks he has on matches. "Black is black dear and they will be covered with your pants, no one will see." But they still had to be matching. The closet is still filled with his clothing. His  coats still hang on the hook on the back porch. All of the stuff that was sent home from his truck is still in boxes in the back room. He won't be coming home, he won't be needing any of this, but I can't force my in denial self to do anything with his things. Not yet, and not for who knows how long.
                           Maybe it is a form of denial. Maybe it is a heart not ready to let go. Maybe, it is the fact that my heart isn't ready to believe that a love that was so strong and so hard fought for over such a long period of time, is gone. Love? Yes. Denial? Maybe. But it isn't hurting anyone and the missing, isn't going to end any time soon. I see that  and know that to be true.
                            

Saturday, July 1, 2017

Just Once More





I want
to sit on the porch with you
and listen to the rain.
I want
to prepare your breakfast
cooking your eggs, just the way you like
you told me, I was the only one who could manage that
I want
to hear you complain
once more
I want
to fight over the cover
to watch you get huffy, over my request to turn off the tv
I want
to prepare you one more cup of coffee
to explain the entire Cracker Barrel menu to you
one more time
I want
to hear you try to tell me how I am driving wrong
that you know as you are a professional
just once more
I want
to answer the phone and to hear your voice
angry because you've already called many times
and I haven't answered
even though I've told you I can't answer at work
just once more
I want to cringe as you drum your fingers on the doorway
knowing it drives me crazy
just once more
I want to hear that exaggerated yawn coming from the bedroom
your bid for attention
just once more
just once more
just once more
I want
even as I know, its never to be
not in this life time of mine.

Small Victories, Accomplishments in the midst of the battles









                          I've been working on getting everything taken care of as far as getting all of the bills changed over into my name, accounts paid off, and what ever else may arise out of nowhere. The first battle was with Time Warner  / Spectrum. The account was in my husband's name so I talked my son into driving with me to the local business. The building was packed with people and my son having just gotten off from work had no desire to sit and wait as long as he said it would take. Being that I now knew where the place was, I told him that I would take care of it later. The following Saturday I was up early and drove on over. I was amazed that I was able to simply walk in and up to the counter. I spoke with a very nice young man who immediately set to work. He warned me that it would take a while so after he got what he needed from me I took a seat and waited. It took about thirty minutes but he got it set up and I signed off on what I needed to and left the building. I went for groceries and then home. My son met me at the door asking if I had been to Time Warner. When I told him yes, why? He informed me that we had nothing, no phone, no television, no internet. So I call. It didn't take long before the technician on the phone had everything working again. A nice little computer glitch.
                          When I had it changed into my name, they told me that I was now a Spectrum customer, but that my bill would be cheaper. It was, but then some of the channels that I liked was missing from the lineup. To get them I had to subscribe to a couple small programming groups, but it would still be a little cheaper than what we had been paying. A quick call to Spectrum and I was all set. I thought. When the bill came it was much higher than I was told and it said there was money owed from somewhere that made no sense. We had been auto pay and there shouldn't have been anything owed past due or otherwise. So it was back to Time Warner Spectrum. This time I had to wait, even though I was the first person there, but not long. I honestly didn't care that someone jumped ahead, it wasn't that big of a deal, the bill in my hand was. After getting up to the counter and speaking with another nice customer service rep. she told me she had no idea what they were doing there but that she would discount it to what I was told it would be. I immediately paid the bill I owed and went home. Once here I set up an auto draft, but it still showed I owed the money she had taken off. On  Monday, I found a nice little post card in the mail demanding payment of the money owed. This time I got on the phone and called the main customer service number. A very nice lady listened to my story without interruption and then put me on hold while she checked. When she came back she told me that apparently the card had been sent out before all the adjustments were in place because the account showed I owed nothing.
                          Small victory.
                           I was in search of a good place to get the headstone for my husband's grave. I tried to call the number of a place that I had been recommended, but was playing phone tag. I hate playing phone tag. I got the folder of markers from the funeral home but the same day I was told of another gentleman who was very good. I called the number given and set up a time to go see him.
                           My son took the day off from work to go with me as I was going somewhere that I had never been and all of the directions I had been given were unique to say the least. I have absolutely no sense of direction while my son can say, I think its in that direction and head out and it be in that direction. We got to the place and I spoke with the gentleman at length. A very nice person he allowed me to take my time and see what all stones he had to offer. After making my decisions and finalizing my choice and what all I wanted on it, he gave me a self addressed stamped envelope to mail him a check as I had managed to walk off without my checkbook. All of this was on a Saturday morning. The following Thursday the headstone was in place. My husband, remember, passed in March. This was a victory- accomplishment that was a long time in coming. The stone is simple, not too large but not too small either. I think if he had been making the choice, he would have been pleased.
                         My current battle is with our wireless provider. I've been to them and had everything changed to my name. I was told that since I did that the auto pay had been discontinued and I would get a paper bill. I did get a paper bill, but it was in my name. The auto pay has also not been stopped as they debited my account. I'm not paying double. So its either a phone call or another visit. I believe it will be a visit first as I really do not enjoy talking on the phone to begin with, and doing something like this is even worse. I want to see the facial expressions of the people I'm dealing with.
                            I'm waiting to see if the car/ house insurance is going to auto draft out of the right account. That should happen within the next couple of days. I know the holiday is going to possibly throw everything off, but maybe not.
                             I have been told numerous times that all of this will take a while to get settled. There are going to be things that appear out of nowhere. There are going to be things that I thought I had handled that still need something done. As in the account that said I owed x amount, so I wrote a check for x amount only to receive a bill saying I owed money still. Another call to be made Monday.
                             And I wonder why I don't sleep well at night.

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Ideas, plans and good intentions

                   This is a section of the yard beside my house. This is also where the septic tank and drain field is, making it a more fertile growing area. Still yet, this is a mess. This, is a portion of my summer vacation plans.
                    I honestly don't feel all that bad that we-- I-- can't go anywhere for the week of the Fourth. I honestly do not mind, celebrating Independence Day here at home. Yes, it would have been more fun to spend at least a portion of the week in Tennessee with my family, but since that isn't going to happen, I've made other plans.
                   I, am going to reclaim my yard.
                             

                       Wood that has been stacked along my driveway for too long. I'll have to use a long handled shovel or hoe to move this out of where it rests, just in case something long and slithery has taken refuge underneath any of it. The last thing I want is to be snake bitten and end up in the hospital. I think we have an ax somewhere. Most of this should be easy to break up and stack on the pile that remains from this past winter. I do know that if I start on this, there will be a lot of beetles unhappy with my actions.
                                       
                           This is beside the carport. (We won't even mention, and there are no photos, of the inside of the carport) I'm not even sure what part of this mess is, and this is more mess that will need a long handled utensil int he moving of stuff. The car I can't move. I'm going to try and find someone who buys junk cars. James was going to try and repair it, but he waited too long.
                                        


 Directly behind the house. Weeds, vines and bushes that seems to have sprung up and taken over. I'm almost afraid to walk out the back door for fear of spiders and or snakes lurking about.
                                            
 I'm not sure what it is, but hopefully it will be easy to pull down and drag off down the hill.
                                      


  This is over on the far side of the yard. It looks as if nature is trying to reclaim what was once hers. And to think, we once had an above ground pool over here.
                                                       


                    The top photo is of the mess around my mailbox. I just cleaned all that out a month ago. I knew it would come back, I just didn't think it would do so quite so quickly. The other two are along my  fence along the dirt road. I had not mowed because every time I do, everyone coming in or out think the road has gotten wider as they drive up almost to my fence. I need to break down and mow it though as it is definitely snaky looking.
                     I have a lot of work ahead of me. I have to get this done, my husband would be so ashamed to see the place this bad. I'm ashamed that the place has gotten this bad. I won't offer the excuse of working and having all the other stuff to take care of. It needs to be done, and since I'm off next week, I'm making the list and putting it out there and hoping that y'all will help keep me accountable.

  Getting  this up may be a little tricky, but nothing ventured nothing gained.

      






Monday, June 26, 2017

Without You






                      The Fourth of July week is coming up. I'll be off from work as we usually are. All I can think is that you had wanted to make plans to go to Pigeon Forge, Tennessee. You loved that area as much as I do, even though you couldn't hike to the fall at Cades Cove, you were going to take me and watch me walk away as I've done before. Through the woods and up the hill, all the way to the falls. While you waited for me back at the creek. You would have driven slowly through the park, helping me watch for the wildlife that live there. You would have shook your head at my excitement, you would have offered to carry my camera bag, you would have, but you can't. I was looking forward to going, to doing the things we always did. To eating at the same places, or maybe getting all crazy and trying somewhere new. You would have found a comfortable spot in front of the tv, or broke down and went with me on a souvenir hunt where I usually don't buy a thing, just love to look.
                     But you are no longer here, and I just don't think I'm ready to go there without you.
                     So I will most likely spend the week doing things here around the house. The yard all the way around needs work. Some of the stuff growing around the side of the house is so high and thick Tarzan may actually be hanging out in there, or Big foot..so I really need to get that down. I planted cucumbers over beside the storage building, but the trees and shrubs have grown so tall that they aren't getting enough sunlight. You had planned on cutting that mess down a while back. I guess while I'm off I can do it. I don't look for ward to any of it, I hate the thought of uncovering a snake. Especially without you, because you always had the best reactions when you found a snake, right before  you almost step on it. I'll just have to be extra careful.
                      I had James get the push mower out of the building and fill it with gas. I plan on getting up there between the road and fence and mow that stuff down. Some of it is already over my head. I'm not sure what those weeds are, but they're blocking some of the solar panels so they have to go. I can only hope that the people driving up and down the dirt road don't do what they have always done in the past and suddenly think the road has gotten wider.
                        I hope to get the carport cleaned out. With you not here I might can now trash some of that stuff. I don't even have any idea what some of that is, but it was yours and you brought it home when you left Fisher Brothers to driver for Abilene. James or I neither one have any use for any of it so it will probably go .. somewhere.
                        Did you see? Can you see, from where you are? I got this huge couple of tomatoes out of the garden the other night. The kind that you always wanted but would never grow. That was one of the best mater sandwiches I've had in a long time. It still wasn't as good as it could have been, since I was eating it without you, knowing how you would have liked one yourself.
                        This  life is so strange now and so different without you. Its too quiet, its too empty. There's no one in the other room making weird, overly loud yawning noises just because you could. No one tapping on the table because you knew it drove me nuts. No one asking what was for dinner, or did I want to go somewhere, or did I need anything at walmart. It is such a difficult adjustment, here without you. But we're getting there, just like I know you would want, just like you told me, should you go first. I hope you like the marker I chose, hopefully it will be set up Thursday. It was one of those things we were going to do together, but I did it Saturday, without you. I do dread some of the things coming, that will be done without you..but I wouldn't ask you to come back, not from where I know you are..
 I do miss you though, and I do love you.. always..

Sunday, June 25, 2017

Finding Direction






                         All of this has been such uncharted waters for me. I feel at times, like the captain of a ship who is on their first voyage, only they have no clue as to how to find their way to their destination. If there is a road map to this anywhere, I'm sure it would probably be very out of date the way things change these days. So here I am, now a widow, now alone, now trying to find my way through the maze of red tape, bureaucracy, financial, emotional, etc... that confronts me at every turn. I know that I am not the first to deal with this, and there is no way I will be the last, but I have realized that it is a journey that we all must face on our own as each journey is different. Before I go further, let me say that I do not believe that on my own means alone. My God, my Strength, my Comforter, has been with me and continues to be with me through all of this. I know that I would not have made it anywhere near this far without my knowing He is here.
                          One of the things I have done from the beginning, is make lists. I have listed phone numbers. I have listed names and gifts. I have listed organizations. When we were trying so hard to get my husband's earthly body home, I had the numbers ready when I needed them. I still have them should questions arise. I made lists of everyone we owed and how much. As each one has been paid, the name has been checked and struck through and the amount deducted from the checkbook. Sadly the amount in the checkbook dropped quicker than the names on the list but I know that it will work out. I have faith that everything will be paid. I made a separate list of those I needed to contact for changes in accounts. Some were easy, some were not, some have required multiple phone calls and visits. Slowly though, the names are being checked off. The sad part is that is seems that every time I manage to strike through one item, something else comes to mind. But I think, that I am seeing a bit of daylight finally.
                          My son and I went yesterday (6.24.17) to see about the headstone for my husband's grave. The gentleman who owned the business I discovered to be a gentle soul with a huge heart. He was very kind and very informative. He made sure that I understood each thing and checked every item of information that is to be on the marker. Even when I told him that I had walked off without my checkbook (no, not intentionally) he told me that he would give me an addressed, stamped envelope that I could mail him the check and that he should have the stone in place by Thursday. The check is already in the mail. Yes, I will be up at the cemetery Thursday afternoon, with flowers, with a sad heart, but knowing I'm trying and I'm trying to follow his repeated instructions given to me long before he passed.
                                 One of my husband's pension plans have let me know what I am eligible for and when. That letter has been responded to, now I await the other one.
                              I still have two items, that I currently know of, on the original list. To take care of one of them, I am waiting on the check from where I surrendered part of my own life insurance. The other I am going to have to pay a visit to the place find out exactly what I need to do to be able to mark this item off the list. Years ago my husband and I had purchased two cemetery plots in a large cemetery. Instead of placing him there, I had him buried at the church we attend. I hope to be able to sell the other two plots. The money from them would help greatly.
                               Once that list is done, my next list is ready. I'm trying, really trying to find my direction. There is a part of me that feels that I need for all of these lists to be done before I move forward with other things I know need to be done. The yard is in serious need of work. The house needs things done. But those are lists waiting to be created, I need to do first things first and not get ahead of myself. I know that I can do all things through God who strengthens me, but I know that to try and do too many things at the same time only leads to confusion, exhaustion and possibly depression when I don't get them done in the way and time that I think I should.
                                    As it is, I will take paperwork with me tomorrow, and after work I will head down to the cemetery and see what they have to say. Hopefully that will be one more item struck through soon. I will continue to move forward, one day, one breath, one prayer, one list, at a time.

Monday, June 12, 2017

Without







                       I've been struggling here. I've made no secret of the battle. I've made no secret of how badly I miss you.  Its been very difficult to leave the house except for have to cases. I know, that you would not want me to be this way. Knowing that, I took a step to combat the fear of moving forward. Bella had been wanting to go for a car ride, so I took a deep breath and reached for her leash.
                      Bella must have heard the clink of the leash as she was at the door in a heartbeat wanting in and wanting 'dressed'. The vet had told me on her last visit that she was too heavy so I've been feeding her less. Its working as the halter fit once again. I opened the door and she of course beat me to the gate. Opening the car door she was up and in. We headed out and I saw that I was going to need gas so we went there first. Once that was done we headed for the park. I figured we might as well hike around the lake. You and I only did it once, and that was a long while back, I was hoping that the memories wouldn't attack too strongly.  Parking the car I got my backpack and then let Bella out. Another deep breath and we started out.


                      Our first stop was down on the pier. It was a beautiful day so it seemed as if there were people everywhere  fishing. I took a few photos from the pier and then headed back up to the trail around the lake. I met this gentleman who was leaving. He saw Bella and started a conversation. He was very nice, showing me photos of his dogs, but he was wound up and ready to talk a while. I managed to get away from him and we headed on our way. Every so often I would stop and take a photo or two or three. Bella was raring to go but she behaved well with each stop. The path was wide enough and well marked. I really doubted there would be a problem of us getting lost, but I didn't want to make Bella walk too much as it was a warm day.


                     Bella was noticing every scent along the way and for the most part I let her take her time. I was noticing the flora and fauna along the trail and the scenes of the lake. I could also hear the group that was not too far away who were fishing near the upper section of the lake. I doubt they were catching much with the amount of noise they were making. When Bella and I came into view the first one who saw Bella shouted "wolf!!" I'm looking down at the German Shepherd thinking, really? Ah well, if they want to think she's a wolf and that keeps them away from me, that's fine. From the sound of it, there had been a bit of alcohol mixed in with their fishing. I didn't tarry because I didn't want that one who had said they were getting ready to swing their fishing rod to decide that maybe he wanted to do that anyway. Even with Bella on a leash.
                       Its an entire network of trails that circle the lake, they are designed for hiking or mountain biking either one. At one point I waited for a bike to pass by before we moved on forward. I did manage to take a couple of wrong turns that had us traveling in a circle, but I would always find the right path and head on forward.


                        At the dam end of the lake there was a flock of geese resting in the grass. When they saw us approaching they crossed the roadway and into the lake. Bella saw them and thought to give chase but one word stopper her cold. She does understand that word - no. She had started out all excited and nearly pulling me along. By this point she was tired and walking beside me right where she should have been all along. At one point we both heard a noise in the woods not far form us,  we both glanced over but made no move to investigate. 


                        Finally, we arrived at the gate to the parking area. Walking in the grass beside the pavement we made our way to the car. Opening the door I made to get the bowl and water I had brought for Bella but she wasn't interested. I believe her adventure had totally worn her out. Fastening her in place I closed the door and got in the driver's seat. I buckled up and started the car. Pulling out of the parking place I headed for home, Bella was stretched out across the seat, panting and feeling the wind from the windows.



                          Back home Bella attacked the water bucket and then found her favorite place to rest, on the cool cement of the front porch. I watched her for a moment and then went inside. Looking at the clock I saw that we had been gone nearly two hours. Two hours of walking in the woods, seeing the water, hearing the sounds of people enjoying themselves. Two hours of photographing water, plants and bugs. Two hours, of healing. It was a baby step, but it was at least a step.