Saturday, September 30, 2017

Where the Darkness Lurks, the Light will find a way

I feel, at times, like a fraud, a hypocrite of the worst sort. I talk a good talk, all the while hiding a secret. A deep seated sadness and despair. I am here, fighting depression with everything I have. Prayer. Prayer and determination.
When my husband was alive he needed and expected at least one of us to be available at any given time. He knew that I couldn’t answer the phone at work (its a lose your job offense) but I called him every break to make sure everything was going well. At home, that phone would probably and most likely ring every five minutes. There was almost always some major- never minor- disaster going on. Some either I or James could find a way to fix, others were up to his dispatcher, there were a couple of times we did have to call on the big guns but that was rare. Because of this, I lost friends, and have misplaced the ability to make friends, or in the least, enjoy the company of others as I am so accustomed to being here, waiting on that phone to ring. I’ve lost the ability to create small talk, to simply have a good time with others.
Its dark here alone.
That may be one of the reasons for all of the solar lights, and the battery operated candles that are in the windows and on the shelves. To combat the dark.
Sitting here, within the walls of this house, where it is safe, I have misplaced my courage. I go to work and back. I go to church. I go to Walmart for groceries. Then I come home and hide. There are radios in this house that play nonstop. It fills the quiet. It helps make me feel less alone.
 I rarely walk any more. I need to, but the dark here, holds me tightly and I don’t go. Its hunting season now, I have my blaze orange, but a part of me asks, why bother?  Back in 2008, when I was diagnosed with cancer, I walked every day. There was always something different waiting to be seen. There was a comforting, healing peace in those walks. My husband was here though, if he wasn't at home making sure I wasn't gone too long, he was calling on the phone, lecturing me about being out as darkness fell.  He was always concerned about my being safe. The darkness has somehow convinced me that there is no healing to be found out there now. The darkness is a sticky stretch of misleading thoughts, over active imagination, and exaggerated emotions. The darkness lies and does it well.
The darkness, is a cancer of the spirit, slowly eating away at life and living.
The darkness, feeds the fear. It feeds the feeling of loneliness. It multiplies the feelings of being forgotten. It lies, but it lies in a believable way. The darkness, dares you to speak out. To express any needs. The darkness tells you that no one wants to hear, no one is even listening to begin with. The darkness tells you, that you are all on your own and will forever on be that way. Alone. The darkness dares you to cry, dares you to express any emotions. The darkness tells you that any feelings, any requests for anything at all, are a sign of weakness.
The darkness is a monster, A dragon that breathes a fire of darkness and expels smoke of sadness.
But I will fight, I refuse to give in to this. I refuse to believe the lies of the dark and seek the light. There is a Light of Hope. There is Light of Faith. There is a Light that washes away the darkness. To that Light I run. To that Light I cling. To that Light, I whisper the words that dark demands I hide, I fear being alone. I fear the future. I am envious of those who just get up and go. I miss the part of me that I lost somewhere, the one who was brave enough to just get up and go. I whisper my fears of the dark, to the Light and I know, that I am not alone. That this battle will make me stronger, as long as I take the hand of the Light and listen for the words.
The dark, will lose, will fade, will disappear eventually. Even in this, there is a reason, a purpose, a plan. I will cling, I will pray, I will wait. For the Light will come.

Saturday, September 23, 2017

All I wanna do (a blobophilia write)

All that I want to do, I can’t. I want to go back to that morning, no further back than that. I want to go to the beginning of the weekend when you said that you were feeling bad, that you thought you had the flu, and tell you to come home. You said that maybe you would feel better if you rested for the weekend. That rest didn’t help. You asked your dispatcher to find you a run home so you could go see your doctor. That part I didn’t know until later. I called you that morning as I always did. I couldn’t understand what you were saying, I thought we had a bad connection or some such so I disconnected and called you back. When you answered, I asked how you were. You, being you, being ill, were abrupt and asked me ‘how do you think?” Before I could respond, you told me to ‘let me go’. Instead of telling you that I loved you, I merely disconnected the call and went back to work.
I tried every break after that to reach you. I let that phone ring until its a wonder the battery didn’t go. I found out just before quitting time, that I would never reach you again in this life.
William Wordsworth said that “Life is divided into three terms, that which was, which is, and which will be. Let us learn from the past to profit by the presence and from the presence, to live better in the future.”
Every since that day, what was, has played over and again in my head and heart. Every vacation or day trip that we took. Every concert or fair or theme park that we visited, floats through my memory. I recall your laugh and your exaggerated yawns. How you so loved this crazy dog and those greasy slices of pizza from the local warehouse store. I recall the things that you said to me, from your complaints to your plans. What was, what we had, was not always smooth, but it was ours and it was special.
What is, at times frightens me. I stand and see someone who I am not sure I recognize. It is a person who is alone, who sometimes feels abandoned, not so much by you, but yes, by you. Also by so many of those others who promised to be there, who said we will do this or that, go here or there and suddenly they have vanished. That’s okay though, I realize that people have their own lives and families and responsibilities. I can’t expect them to baby sit me. I am working on learning and gaining new strengths and the ability to stand on and go on my own. What is, apparently is the new normal that I never wanted to face, but must. I am growing, slowly. I am learning to respect myself and the things I’m learning to handle. I’m learning to stand up for me, to believe in me, to look to the what will be in a new feeling of excitement.
William Wordsworth also said, “to begin, begin.” And so I will. The temperatures should start to lower some since it is now fall of the year. You wouldn’t know that today, but I know its coming. I should be able to get out more and do things I haven’t done during the summer. I want to climb Crowder’s Mountain with Bella. I want to go to the Kings Mountain Battleground. I want to find these greenways around here and hike and photograph. That won’t happen until I begin.
I recall growing up here, pretending to be an adventurer, pretending to be an explorer who was out discovering amazing things. I was finding water for a thirsting village. I was finding lost civilizations, wild animals. I was a secret agent saving the world. I was anything I imagined myself to be. Now, adult that I profess and pretend to be, I can actually do more than just pretend. I can take up my camera, my backpack and my walking stick, attach the leash to this crazy dog and begin.
Margaret Cavendish put it this way, “I would rather die in the adventure of noble achievements, than live in obscure and sluggish security.”
So maybe, since I can’t do what I wanna do as far as going back and changing what was, I can hold you close in my heart and cherish your memory, and carry it with me forward into the future and the adventures that await.

Friday, September 22, 2017

Into the Lion's Den

Every morning at work, starting up the machinery is a bit of a chore. Between management and the customer they have come up with an odd way to start up and shut down the machinery. But, it is what the customer wants, so it is what the customer gets. It just means that it takes longer to get everything up and running. When the technician doesn’t come in at six, that slows it down even more. The machine operators have various levels of experience, but most are easy to work with and quick to get things done. There is one however that makes things a bit difficult.
I’m sure that at every job, there is that one person, who is not the easiest to work with. There is that one person who may have just came to work there, but thinks they know everything- or give the impression they do- that has to do with the job. They’ve done this or that for x amount of years so they know how to do the job. They think they know, even though every job has its different way of doing things. Most of us at least, have dealt with someone like that so I won’t give a descriptive listing of offenses.
I was reminded recently that everything we do, no matter what it is, we should do as that we were doping it for the Lord. Everything that we do, we should do in a way that brings glory to the Lord. It doesn’t matter if its our home life, our public life, our jobs, our private actions, all should be done as if being done for the Lord. That we should first remove the log from our own eye, before we so much as considered discussing the splinter in a brother’s eye. This and the above, are he main reasons that I have been praying for guidance in my actions around the one who knows it all at work. I get along with everyone at work, I’ll get along with this one, one way or another.
This one was moved to a different machine today. This machine was set up to run a material that she had not ran before, one that was so far different than what she had been running that it might as well have come from another world. The technician had said that it was ready to start up. This machine was bottom on the list of priorities, so it was last to start. She waited near the machine while we got everything else up and running. I knew she was waiting. I had put off going back there. Then, it reached the moment when I had no choice.
I started across the room thinking, here I go, into the lion’s den. Immediately I thought of Daniel and his being tossed to the lions (Daniel: 1-23) Daniel was betrayed and thrown to the lions, but he was strong in faith and was protected through the night. I knew, that I was not literally going into a lion’s den, but it seemed like a good proverbial comparison. I had not been set up or betrayed, but it still seemed almost like going to the lions to deal with one who doesn’t listen. Then it dawned on me. I wasn’t listening either. Daniel was literally thrown to the lions, but he was protected. I was just going to deal with a person. Different scenarios, but the premise was similar, but more important was the realization of one fact. Daniel was not alone in that den of lions and I would not be alone in mine.
I finished walking across the room with a different attitude. I made it to the machine and with the operator we began to get it started. The technician finally made it over to where we were and began to help. The machine was not as ready as he had proclaimed. Together we worked, slowly getting one end after another up and running. I managed to get the operator to listen to what I was trying to explain, I also put signs up all over the machine. Before we had it all running I had to leave the technician with the operator as I had other responsibilities waiting. Walking away I thought, that wasn’t so bad. I didn’t yell, I didn’t lose my patience, I worked with the lion and walked away unscathed. Because I wasn’t alone.

Thursday, September 21, 2017

When God Works

After my husband passed away, people kept asking me, “Is there anything you need?” and “What can I/we, do for you?” While there were a lot of things I needed (and still do), all I asked for, were prayers for discernment. Prayers that my steps and actions would be the right ones, as I walked this new path and dealt with all these things alone.
Then, the roof started giving me problems. I know, most if not all of us have heard the horror stories of people getting ripped off by unscrupulous people claiming to be something they aren’t. We’ve heard of those who offered to do the work only to take money and run or only do part of the job and do it poorly. I was standing, looking at the bucket in my living room determined not to be another victim. I asked only people I trusted for referrals. I was given a name of someone a contractor used. A contractor I knew to be respected and trusted. Calling this person he told me that if I were home, he could come by and take a look. I’m not sure what I was expecting, but it wasn’t the man who got out of the truck that pulled into my driveway. While the contractor dressed the part of a business owner, this man was definitely a working man. His manner though quickly put me at ease.
I explained what I was dealing with, he took a ladder from his truck and went up on the roof. He told me the same things that a man from my church had told me a few days earlier. He took measurements of the roof in all directions making notes as he went. Climbing back down his ladder he told me that he would work up an estimate for me and get back with me in a couple of days.
All the while I’m praying “God, please let me make the right choice.”
After a couple of days, I called him. He had tried to get an estimate from his supplier but had not been able to that first day, then got busy and forgot. He promised to get me an estimate and call back the next day.
Then Irma made an appearance. I was keeping up with the storm as best as anyone could with a storm that had no idea where she wanted to pass through. Because of Irma, I was in no hurry to get anything done. Why replace a roof only to have a storm destroy it? Once all threat had passed I called him again. He had been out of town, he had the estimate, but it was at the office, he call me in a bit. The next day I called him again, he was headed to the office, at that moment he was dealing with Charlotte traffic, he would call me.
Weird things go through your mind when you are trying to do something that one, you really didn’t want to have to do to begin with, and two, you’re walking on that foreign ground and trying to find the right footing. I begin to think, well maybe since its a small job, he doesn’t want to do it. maybe, he’s got other jobs more important...that was when I went on a social media sight and asked for recommendations. I received a private message telling me to call a man, and they gave me his number. I called, it turned out to be the father-in-law to the person who had been out. He told me, to let him call his son-in-law. He said that usually when he refers someone it gets done. Within minutes he was calling me. He told me about what it would cost, that it really depended on how much wood needed replacing. He said that he could do it toward the end of the coming week.
My parents live next door to me. I have a small vegetable garden near their house. My dad had been forbidden to harvest anything else for me due to his falling. I went down on Sunday evening and even though I really dislike doing things on Sunday, I cut the okra. I called mom this morning from work to let her know that I had so dad could quit worrying about it. She asked me what we were going to do about my dog when the roofers came. I told her that we’d just leave her in the house and James could let her out for a bathroom break when he came in for lunch.
They came today. Today, was my son’s day off. They began around 8:30 in the morning and were finished before I got home. The job came in two thousand dollars less than what I had feared. They cleaned up everything, there was nothing that even remotely looked like roofing material anywhere. The stuff that used, blended well with what was there.
When God works, there is no doubt.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Guilty as Charged

Yesterday and this morning I was grumbling somewhat over my aged stove and its apparent approaching death. I was (and still am) hoping that I can get out of having to purchase a new kitchen stove, or range if you prefer. I made my comments, then logging out of my social media account I noticed a headline on my home page. I only scanned the headlines as I didn’t have time to read the articles. Closing everything down I gathered my things and went in to work. I had not been at work long when I was hit and hit hard with the realization that I had been very .. well.. wrong. That deep seated, hit you in the gut, heart and mind, with the realization that I had been very self-centered in my comments. I was only worried about my little bubble while outside of that, horrible things were going on.
Wide areas are dealing with the aftermath of hurricanes. Wide areas are dealing with current hurricanes. There has been wide spread damage, and there has been loss of life. Mexico, Japan and I understand parts of California are enduring earthquakes even though the worst reports I’ve read so far are from Mexico. Over two hundred people have lost their life and many are still missing. Families have been broken in the loss of members. There is no age discrimination, from the elderly to the very young have died. Building after building has fallen or washed away. Power outages are everywhere. The cries of the suffering should be reaching us. Our hearts should be touched and our wallets opened. Those who can, should reach out and assist in any way they are able.
I’ve watched videos of what is going on. I’ve read articles, about the actual and the potential. I’ve seen, where many have lost every, single, thing, they owned. They’ve lost loved ones.
I was complaining about a stove. I was being very selfish and self-centered. I was being blind and petty. I’m guilty as charged and I ask forgiveness. I will be watching for opportunities to help in any way that I am able. Because even though I am only one, my difference may seem small, but think of the boy tossing star fish back into the sea, if I can make a difference for one, it matters and it counts.

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:

                             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.