Age Really IS Just a Number

The Daily Post today is:

“Age is just a number,” says the well-worn adage. But is it a number you care about, or one you tend (or try) to ignore?

Remember being 10 and you couldn’t wait to be that magical age of 13?  The right of passage into your teenage years?  Then, came pimples, jealousy between friends…boyfriends, crushes, falling madly in love with someone who didn’t know you existed and your parents calling it “puppy love”?  O.K.  This sounds like the dark ages now since most kids today appear to be going through this stage of life at 5, but “back in the day”, 13 was it…at least back in MY day.  Yes, I had an extremely sheltered upbringing by an extremely strict mother.  Dad was in the picture too, but he was (and still is) very much the silent partner.

——and I’m off subject again!——

THEN the golden age was 16.  Beginner’s permits to learn to drive, begging the parents to allow you to drive, dating, begging your parents to allow you to date and praying the boy would pass inspection.  And, by 17, you hopefully had your driver’s license and could begin the dream of turning 18 and all the freedom that would come with it!  Parents would no longer be able to tell you what to do, unless they pulled the “not while you live under MY roof” on ya.  Well, that birthday fizzled for me because I got married at 17-1/2.  No, I was not pregnant.  We remained married 43 years, until he died in April, 2014.

——again, off topic—–

Since 18 fizzled, the next golden year was 21.  Oh, 21.  The legal age to buy alcohol.  Guess who was pregnant?  Chose not to buy alcohol…(back in the 90’s they hadn’t yet determined that smoking and/or drinking was bad for baby), I simply didn’t want to drink or smoke then.

After 21, it seemed like that was the peak of wishing to be older.  Uh-oh, soon comes 30!!, then 40!, 50!!! & 60!!!!  

I think it was around 58 years old when I realized that age doesn’t matter any more and the veil of depression for getting old lifted.  I’m 61 now and while that older looking woman with the wrinkles and a few age spots keeps following me around and glaring at me from the other side of the mirror, I still mentally feel much younger.   (She even walks next to me when I’m passing storefront windows!— I can’t shake her!!)

Granted, the younger thinking me thinks I can still do the things that I did in my teen years, or 20’s, 30’s, etc., but this 61-year-old body is slowing down and creaking and cracking and aching a lot more than it once did.  Standing from a squatted position now requires the assistance of a well placed chair or table with which to hoist myself up.

To sum this up, I don’t think I would want to go back and have a “do-over” of those milestones, I’ll remain as I am.  I would like to travel back a few months tho and be with Mike a little longer.  All in all, I will just accept that age is just a number.  Good thing I finally came to that decision, since when it all comes down to facts—– do we have a choice?  Age really is just a number, folks.  Just a number.

In a few years I’ll probably be counting birthdays as milestones though.  “Whew!  I made it to 70!, hopefully 80!”

 

 

Broken Promises

broken promises

Mike’s sisters promised him weeks before he got bad that, if something were to happen to him, he wanted them to promise him that they would see to it that I was taken care of.  He told them that he knew things would come up that I would need help with and he hoped that they would be there to do that.  To call me and make sure that I was okay, because he knew I am not the kind of person who will actively seek another person for any kind of help.  He told me of this conversation shortly before he was transferred to another hospital and of course I, being naive and probably in denial at the time, said nothing was going to happen to him.  He was going to get back home soon and while he may not be like he was before he got sick, he would be here for me.  Wow!  I was so much in complete denial as to how bad he felt.

His sisters stood close by my side when we learned that the end was near.  They helped me with the arrangements and guided me through the days between his death and the funeral.  Text messages came frequently, checking in.  My brother-in-laws often called to ask if I needed help with anything, even coming out to help me with the blasted mower.

I have sent them texts because my phone calls are sent to voice mail and my calls not returned until days later.  By then, checking in seemed pointless.  Text messages also went unanswered, or very short and curt responses.

I have super sensitive anyway.  A person’s body language can tell me a lot about them.  I watch faces and expressions.  I see looks between people that they think are not obvious what the look means.  Such as the turning up of their noses at something they don’t like.  I know when my sister does not approve of something I have said or done because her nostrils flair, ever so slightly and she doesn’t even know it!  :)  I have to hope she never finds out about this blog!

So, what am I complaining about?  It seems superficial, and if I am making a mountain out of a mole hill, please let me know.  But, my sister-in-law’s son’s mother-in-law passed away a few days ago.  She was a sweet woman and we had always gotten along very well at family functions, etc.  When I had learned she was ill, I asked to be kept apprised as to how she was getting along.  Hearing nothing, I assumed that she was holding her own.  I even asked how she was doing and got a very cool response such as holding her own.  I found out on Facebook that she had passed.  No phone call…ever.  Family “tradition” has always been to combine funds to purchase a nice arrangement for the funeral, or a stone, wind chimes, etc.  Something as a remembrance for the family.  I called my sister-in-law and again got voice mail.  I sent a text.  Immediate response that they had already purchased the gift.  I called and ordered a remembrance item from me and my girls.

Tonight was the viewing.  It was at the same funeral home.  I parked in the same spot.  I walked in alone.  Friends greeted me while my sister-in-law and brother-in-law watched, and said hello and then basically walked away.  I know I should not feel hurt like I do, but I feel like I was definitely snubbed.  I paid my respects to my niece and nephew (even though they are by-marriage, I still think of them as my family), and I sat alone for a while and then prepared to leave.  I sought out my sister-in-law and told her I was leaving and she just said “ok”.

What did I want her to say?  I don’t know.  I just wanted to still feel like I mattered in this family still.  Mike always told me that we were the “black sheep” of the family, and our part of the family would always be like that with them because we don’t put on “airs”.  We are what we are, and there’s no frills and surprises with us.  Were they afraid I was going to ask for help with something?  Yes, I need it.  No, I would not ask at a funeral viewing.  Now I won’t ask at all.

I now feel that I am being unfair to them and perhaps misjudging their reaction to me.  I don’t know.  I just hear both of Mike’s sisters tell me that his death still has not really soaked in completely because they rarely had any contact with him.  If that is how they felt and feel, why did they promise him?

Am I being super-sensitive, or is it time to accept the release of the family ties with Mike’s family?

 

 

Three Months Today—

Time certainly has a way of sneaking up on us.  One day blends into another, each bringing with it its own trials and obstacles to contend with.  Occasionally, there is a little joy or happiness that manages to sneak in, but guilt quickly sets in and that short-lived feeling is buried again.

It has been three months today that Mike passed away.  I did not want to get out of bed.  I just wanted to lay there and stare at the ceiling.  I did not want to deal with the day.  But, responsibilities forced me to get up, get dressed for work, feed the dog and the cat, drank a quick cup of coffee and went to work.  I had a hard to concentrating on anything.  There were two estates that I needed to prepare the paperwork to file with the Court, which meant I was face to face with the fact that someone else’s loved one had died and I was doing the business side of death.  No tears though.  No feelings really. But no thought process either.  I’ve been doing probate work for 35 years.  I used to think I could do it in my sleep.  I may be able to do that, but I certainly cannot do it when my soul aches.  Of course my boss, as understanding as he tries to be, just doesn’t quite understand the process.  (Both–the paperwork that needs to be done and the feelings it now evokes in me.)

After work I went to the cemetery and sat by Mike’s grave for a while, and talked to him.  There was a nice breeze and it was a sunny early evening.  The grass is starting to grow now, as well as the weeds and crab grass, which I promptly pulled.  Not too many things irritated Mike, but crab grass was one.  I often called him the Round-Up Weed Killer King.  He would go through the stuff like it was an endless supply.  There is no crab grass growing on his grave now.

I was a little disappointed that the preparations haven’t been made to set the headstone yet.  I guess I want them to tell me when they put it in so I don’t pull up to his grave and be shocked by it.  I’m sure the first time I see it, it will be quite a shock for me.  It will no doubt really make all this even more real than it already is.

On a somewhat lighter note though, I feel like I am being surrounded by critters lately..mostly dead ones.  I used to cringe at the thought of having to dispose of a dead animal, or a live bug..now, I must be getting used to it.  NOT.  I have picked up a baby calf’s head and front quarter in the yard; found a dead rabbit under the work bench in the garage that, when I attempted to scoop it up with the shovel (heck, no I ain’t touching it!) , the legs fell off the body.  I had been complaining all winter that something was stinking out there, but nobody but me smelled it.  I almost considered keeping the rabbit’s foot.  They are supposed to be good luck, right?  Then I looked at the poor little guy’s foot, lying there separated from the rest of his body, I decided that first, that was just gross; and second, the rabbit didn’t have much luck with it, did he?

Then, there has been the mouse in the trap that I was trying to figure out how to get rid of.  I couldn’t figure out how to get the mouse out of the trap (it was the kind of a trap that Mike thought was better than the old-fashioned traps), so I decided the mouse AND the trap would go in the trash.  The old-fashioned ones are cheap.

Tonight when I came in the garage after getting off work, I immediately saw that the cat had killed another bird and left its remains in my path.  Shovel, broom and a walk to the field beside our place to dispose of the bird was all that took.

Also, a few minutes ago I had to let Abby out so she could take care of her business, and I have a water bowl sitting by the back door so the cat can have some fresh water while he’s outside (helps to wash down the rabbit fur and bird feathers) and sitting in the water was a toad the size of my fist.  WTH is going on?!  I had no idea we had so many critters lurking around this place!  Now, I had to come up with a way to get Mr. Toad out of the water bowl and out of the garage.  I just knew the little turd (feel free to use your imagination on that word) was going to jump at me just as I would reach down to pick up the bowl.  Broom used again, to scoot the water bowl out toward the door and, of course, Mr. Toad decides to climb up the broom.  A quick flick of the broom (or was it a jump?) and Mr. Toad went flying out the garage door!

Gee whiz…I really don’t remember so much excitement here in past summers…now if I can figure out how to get rid of the bloody moles who are tunneling their little hearts out all across the yard.  Mole traps don’t work…poison peanuts don’t seem to be working and I don’t have time nor the inclination to watch their runs to stab them with a pitchfork.  Any suggestions?

 

 

I Will Survive (At Least Today)

How can it be almost time to go to bed already?!  There just doesn’t seem to be enough hours in the day any more to get done all that I want/have to do.  There is always something that needs to be done around the house and yard, and before I know it, it is after 10 p.m. and time to wind down so I can go to bed and at least try to sleep, then get up and do it all over again.  Each day starts out with a list of things to do.  Each day ends with me, exhausted sitting in the recliner with Abby resting half on my lap, half on the arm of the chair.  Our chill out time before bed, and the list for tomorrow’s To Do already forming in my head.

I took a couple of days off last week and had a four-day weekend last week.  I did pretty good emotionally for the most part.  I did a lot of counter-productive work.  In other words, I would start working at one thing and the next thing I knew I was off on another project, leaving a lot of unfinished work behind me…and in front of me.

My sister took me to the ‘big city’ and we had lunch with her sister-in-law, who also is a widow.  Her husband died of cancer almost 5 years ago.  It was good to talk to someone who has felt the deep pain and gut wrenching feelings I am feeling and to help me realize that I am not crazy (well not any more than I ever was).  She cried with me, laughed with me and helped me realize that I need to start thinking about moving forward and stop living in the past or the what would have been our future. She let me know that it certainly isn’t easy, and it may take a LONG time, so I need to not rush it and be kind to myself (something lots of my blogger friends have also told me).  Then, she told me she is a psycho-therapist!  My first thought was “oh, crap”.  But I maintained my ‘professional’ blank face as though I was not shocked or surprised, even though I felt like my jaw had just hit the table.  Long story short, it was a nice time…until my drive home alone.  And I cried like all this nightmare that has become my life had just begun.

A few days later, an old friend, from the youngest daughter’s high school days, and a pastor now, came to visit with her and me.  He spent at least three hours with us and counseled us and prayed with us and I felt so much better after he left.  I felt like I was starting to feel again.  He knew the right questions to ask and had the right answers that fit my life because he knew our family.  His wife had also been quite ill for several years and he had also watched her slowly lose her abilities to function and had been in a nursing facility for the last three years.  She passed shortly after Mike did, but not as peacefully.

For anyone who answered my plea for prayers that if it was Mike’s time to go that he would pass quickly and peacefully and not be in a vegetative state for days or weeks, I thank you!  I know how hard it must have been to make those pleas on my behalf, but I am so grateful that, even though I was not ready to let him go, he did pass very peacefully and smoothly.  There was no gasping for breath at the end, no crying out in pain, just a few words concerned about his place in the hereafter, my prayers over him confirming he belonged to God now, and he was gone.  I’d be lying if I said I wish he had been able to tell me one more time that he loved me.  I wish I had those words to hang on to now.

But I digress.  After I went back to work, after the long weekend, I felt as though the whole world came crashing down on me.  I spent the morning at my desk in tears, making my boss very uncomfortable.  On my lunch hour, I had an appointment with one of the pastors at my church.  I really don’t know him very well.  He was not a pastor when Mike and I went to church on a regular basis, just the husband of one of my church friends.  We  talked a while and then out of somewhere came the courage I needed to tell him how rejected I felt by the church and our church family.  That everyone knew that Mike was ill and when we stopped attending every Sunday it was because of his health.  Not one person cared enough for us to contact us to see if we were ok or if we needed something, or help with something.  Not that we would have told them, being the proud “We got this” kind of people we were, and I still am. But, it would have been nice if the head pastor who performed the services for Mike’s funeral would have called to check on me afterwards.  I’ve heard it preached from the pulpit that the church isn’t the building..its the people..and that as the church we are to show the love of Jesus to others.  So, in my grief I was feeling that if my church family doesn’t love us, how could I possibly believe that God really loves us?  Does He show that kind of  “out of sight-out of mind” love toward His flock?  I sure hoped not, but I have such doubts because of it.

Anyway, the counseling session was hard.  I was a mess for four days.  I didn’t even think I could go on any more.  It just hurt too bad to even imagine moving forward.  And, I still have feelings of inadequacy and low self-esteem and wondering ‘why’?  “what makes the difference’ and ‘who cares’.  Part of my identity and part of my inner self was lost when Mike took his last breath.

Below is a photo I took of a tree that sits in the side yard of my property.  I call it my “Tree of Life” of “God’s Tree”.  Mike and I had several disagreements over the tree.  He said it needed to be cut down.  It’s hollow inside.  Decayed, but the outside is still very much alive and its branches are still bearing leaves.  Thankfully, he gave up his efforts to take the tree down and allowed me to have my tree.  I’m so glad that he did.  As I look at it, I can now see myself.  Empty inside, yet the outside appears strong and viable.  While the tree and I will always have a large empty place deep inside, we will survive.

tree

I am hopeful that I am gaining strength and am no longer stuck.  For today that is true.  Tomorrow, maybe not so much…

 

I want to tell you about my papaw

Deb:

This is from my oldest granddaughter’s blog. It is such a tribute to her Papaw that I had to share it. Mike was (is) so very proud of her. She could do no wrong in his eyes..or mine!

Originally posted on babbling buddy:

My whole life, there hasn’t been anyone who has been more of a “daddy” to me than my grandfather. My biological father has never provided much of a “fatherly” presence, and I’ve confronted him about that before, still to no avail. Even my stepfather never respected me or seemed to value me enough for me to refer to him anything more than his first name.

My papaw, though, has been the best dad ever. When I was born, my mom and I lived at my grandparents’ house. We lived there until I was 4 year old, so most of the few memories I have of that time are very faint. I remember watching Forrest Gump over and over (still one of my favorite movies, ever). I remember playing with our dog Maggie on the green carpet. I remember my grampa playing guitar with me. I remember my grampa asking me to…

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Where Have I Been?

It is crazy, this feeling of wondering myself “Where have I been?”

The earth did not stop and I did not fly off ; although there are lots of times I have wished I had.

I haven’t been sick or under the weather, unless you consider feeling blah and having no energy sick.  Then, I must admit that I have had MANY moments. hours, days like that.

I didn’t get run over by a bus, although I came close…I was not paying any attention and stepped off the curb against the light and a mini bus was speeding toward me.  Luckily, my guardian angel woke me up and I jumped back on the curb.  I am sure that the driver of the bus gave me a royal cursing, of which I deserved.  I was walking and thinking about my life situation and half crying and just not paying attention.

So, where have I been and what have I been doing?

Hiding.  Hiding from the world, my feelings and anything that I can hide from.

Cat hiding

Except for going to work every day, (and being late a couple of days due to the fact that I could not sleep and when I finally fell asleep, I didn’t want to wake up) I basically curled up under a blanket and I have been hiding from life.  I just can’t seem to deal with everything that is crashing down around me at once, and I came to a complete stand still.  I have retreated into myself and rarely speak to anyone.  I avoid people, places and things. Even though I go to work, I  don’t talk to anyone unless I have to.  I just want to be left alone.  Not to wallow in my self-pity, but to try to figure out what is happening to me.  Life is in slow motion, but speeding by at the same time, leaving me dizzy and bewildered.

My home has become my safe-haven, my fortress against the world.  A place I can come to,  take off the fake smile that has been plastered to my face a lot of the day, put on my jammies and breathe.  Hidden.  Free to cry if I feel like crying, or sleep if I feel like sleeping.  I don’t have to “fake it”.  Just be.

I’m surprised, but not surprised, that most people just don’t “get” the emotional roller coaster ride that is involved when you lose a loved one.  I’m sure the feelings of loss are different for the relationship, but very much the same.  I don’t know.  My cousin (who was like my big sister my entire life) died a year ago, almost to the day that Mike died.  Her death left me feeling lost and very sad, but we were 300 miles apart, so daily life went on as usual for me, except when I allowed myself to think of her.  There were times when I thought I needed to call her, then realized I could not.  Then, in October 2013, my best friend died of breast cancer.  Again, I mourn and grieve her loss daily, but not to the same degree as this.

I started going through Mike’s dresser and clothes.  As I was putting “keep” and “get rid of” in piles, Abby came in to investigate what I was doing.  She smelled his clothes and left the room.  Then came back in, smelled the clothes again and started the most pathetic and soul wrenching crying I have EVER heard an animal make.  It was not like the whine she makes when she has to go potty, or wants something, but a mournful cry that went on for quite some time.  She then raced to the door and wanted out.  She checked all of Mike’s usual spots.  His truck, his wheel chair, his ammunition loading desk, everywhere she could look, she searched.  She came back to me and jumped up on my lap and laid her little head on my arm and if a dog could sob, she did.  And so did I.  Poor little thing.  She doesn’t understand why Dad hasn’t come back.  That was the extent of going through his clothes.  I quickly picked up the “keep” pile and put them in the clothes basket to wash.  (Yes, Mike, I found the T-Shirt you had been hunting for.) And, the “get rid of” pile went into a trash bag to be burned.  Haven’t touched things since.

I went to South Haven, Michigan and Benton Harbor, Michigan last Saturday with K, and two granddaughters.  It was good to get out and away from my world for just a few hours.  We were not gone more than 8 hours, but I finally got to see Lake Michigan and the enormity of it.  Where I live, what have been named lakes is really nothing more than a big pond.  You can see the other side and it’s not all that impressive.  I must admit, I felt like a country bumpkin standing in complete awe of everything.  (Note to self–do not EVER go to a beach area on the 4th of July weekend–when you don’t like crowds!)  We had to park a good way away from the water and walk and by the time we got to the beach area where the lighthouses are, my hips (bursitis) were killing me.  All I wanted to do was sit down and rest, but there was no way I was sitting in the sand!  I instead found a nice little perch next to a lighthouse and rested.  It was interesting to see the lighthouses, and I wish I could have gone into them, but they are not open to the public, if at all.   But they are so majestic and beautiful.  A picnic lunch on the way home was the end of a good day.  I was rather glad that she talked me into going, and she really had to work at it to get me to leave home.  Baby steps, people.  Baby steps!

If anyone read my post about my concern with the decisions and choices K is making in her life, well…I was able to talk to her.  She listened.  She did not appear to get angry, and she understands what my opinion is.  After all, she is a grown woman.  I cannot live her life for her.  But, as I tried to tell her..NOTHING, ABSOLUTELY NOTHING would have ever kept me from my children and I cannot understand or endorse her choice to put something ahead of them.  She was quick to tell me that when they were growing up Mike worked.  True.  He did.  But in all truth, he was in a stage of his life where he was not quite so reliable.  I worked so that we had food and the necessities and I stayed in jobs that I hated, but that gave me the flexibility I needed to be a mother to my girls.  Little by little, my job choices allowed me to advance to a better job, and even though I do not like it at times, it still gives me the flexibility to be able to do what needs to be done at home when it is an emergency, such as Mike’s last illness.  Who knows what she will do, but as her mother, I will do my best to support her in her decisions.  I will never turn my back on any of my girls, and that includes my granddaughters.  They are my life.

Now, I think I shall take close out this post book, by telling all of my readers that you have grown into friends.  I thank each one of you personally for inquiring about me and wondering where I have been for quite some time.  Let’s just say, I’m trying to get it together.  Hugs to all!

Bear Hug

Photo Credits:  Google Images

 

To Speak Up or Shut Up–That Is The Question!

 

When do our jobs as parents start getting easier?  My children are both grown women but I swear they act like they don’t have a single brain cell in their heads at times!  It was SO much easier when they were small and I could guide them in the direction they needed to go, subtly of course.  I could at least try to make sure that they made an informed decision.  You know, don’t touch the stove when it is hot type of decision.

As they have gotten older, however, they have had bigger issues to deal with than whether or not the stove is hot.  Now they must make adult decisions that will affect their lives forever and the lives of their children.

Let me explain the situation…a while back I wrote about my youngest daughter, K.  If you missed it, or need to refresh your memory, you may do so here. (I hope this link works)

K got her divorce.  She has had a rough time since, although she will never admit it.  Her job was a pretty good paying part-time job that allowed her to be home when her three children got home from school.  With child support and her job, she was barely making ends meet.  Her ex husband’s family is wealthy.  Everything that he “lost” in the divorce, his parents have restored to him.  They bought him a house approximately a block from K’s house.  They bought him his furniture, etc…you get the picture.  She has been struggling financially, but has refused any assistance, and sadly any advice.

I try to stay out of her business.  I don’t always manage to do it, but I try.  It is only when she asks my opinion that I give it and then it is always not what she wants to hear.

She had a boyfriend (maybe I should say has a boyfriend–she thinks I don’t know that she has started seeing him again).  She supposedly broke up with him two days after Mike’s death because, well…he allegedly took my prescription nerve pills.  I never suspected him, but she knew immediately when I was searching for them that he had taken them.  He has had a problem with prescription pain medication for some time and he had told her that it was under control and not an issue.  She believed him up until my pills came up missing.  She was grieving her marriage ending, her father’s death and now her boyfriends betrayal.

Now, we fast forward a couple of months.   She has lost her job due to funding cuts and loss of government subsidy for her position.  She has been applying for jobs and has her foot in the door at two large automobile factories in our area.  I say in our area with tongue in cheek.  They are actually a 45 minute drive for one, and an hour drive for the other.  The one that is an hour away has hired her.  She starts on the 18th of July…BUT she will be working 4:30 p.m. to 1:30 a.m., and probably more like 3:30 a.m.  What is she going to do with the children?  She hasn’t figured that out just yet.  She is thinking that their father should take some responsibility for their care and allow them to sleep at his house.  I can’t get it through her head that she will probably only see her children a few hours on the weekend.  All she can see is the big hourly rate of pay and that she will not have to scrape to get by.  She told me that she will be able to buy tickets to take them to the movies and not have to be late paying the light bill, or phone bill.  I get it.  I really do.  But I also get that these children will only be children for so long and then they are gone.  She needs to spend the two weeks before her start date at the new job pounding the streets looking for something that will still allow her to be a mother to her daughters.  One of the reasons she divorced their father was his explosive temper and the fact that she couldn’t tolerate it any longer, nor did she want its influence on the girls, and she wants him to take them in the evenings?  What has she accomplished?

I have offered to let them stay with me overnight while she works, although that is not exactly what I want for myself at this time in my life when I can barely take care of myself, let alone all the running that her kids do for sports, cheer-leading, etc.  I live in the country about 15 minutes from the town, so it would be difficult to get them to their activities…plus I have a full-time job as well.  I don’t think she realizes how quickly their childhood will go by without her being with them every day.

I just wish I had answers for her.  I know that lots of single moms have to work long, hard jobs and miss out on their children’s lives.  Those moms (and dads) have my respect and admiration for what they are able to do to make it work.

I’m probably being a worry-wart mom/grandma, but I would rather be able to give my children my time and love than material things they won’t remember in ten years anyway, but they will remember that mom wasn’t around when they needed her.

Any ideas on how to reach K and get her to understand this, or am I sticking my nose in where it doesn’t belong and I should step back and let her figure it out for herself?

 

 

What’s the Point?

lonely

I did nothing all weekend.  At least nothing of any physical labor.  I just couldn’t make myself do a darned thing.  I sat and stared into space, read a few chapters in a book, played a few computer games (o.k. a lot of computer games); none of which required thought or skill.  I even took a few restless naps and woke up from them even more tired than when I laid down.

I made myself go to my granddaughter’s softball game Friday night, a 30 minute drive from my house.  That was an anxiety trip!  I didn’t know how to get there for sure, so programmed Siri when I left and she talked me through it and got me right where I needed to be.  Either Siri is dang good, or I was dang lucky.  Perhaps a combination of the two?  Savannah lives and breathes softball and this year she was selected to be on the All-Star team for her league, and this was her first tournament play.  I didn’t want to let her down and I wanted to show her my support.  Mike nicknamed her Whippersnapper shortly after she was born, and he was the only one allowed to call her that as she got older.  Friday, I called her that and she smiled the biggest smile I’ve seen on her for a long time.  She gave me a big old sweaty hug!

Saturday I felt like hell.  Headache, backache, just awful.  Another granddaughter, Morgan, also plays softball on a different league and she had a tournament this weekend as well.  I knew I would not be able to be there the entire day, but planned to catch her last game of the day.  I drove through some pretty heavy rain to get there and found all of the fields under water.  So, the 3:30 game was moved back to 5:30 so the guys could work the fields and get them in shape for the game.  At 5:30, they decided it was time to call that game as well and hope to play it at 7:30.  I came home.

Today, I drank way too much coffee this morning and curled up in the recliner with Abby, soon joined by Orville, and stared at the tv.  It wasn’t on.  My mind was blank.  There were no thoughts rolling around in it like usual.  Just emptiness.  About 1:00, I decided I should go back to watch the last game of Savannah’s tournament, and I wanted to be close to my daughter.  Just to see her… I didn’t want to get in her way, just sit next to family.  To NOT be alone.  When Abby saw that I was leaving, she decided that she was also going to go and I didn’t have the heart to leave her alone.  I should have left her home.  I think the heat was too much for her because she has done nothing but sleep since we got home.

Savannah’s team played a great game and won the tournament.  I’m glad I was there to share it with her.

Once home, it was more of the same routine from the rest of the weekend.  Blah!!!

I am missing Mike so badly and wishing that he was still here.  Pretty selfish of me, I know.  I can’t help it.  I miss him!!  It hurts to go through the motions of daily chores, etc., all the while thinking “What’s the point?”  “Who cares”.

I try to pray for God to give me peace and understanding and to help me get through these days with hope.  I start, but can’t finish.  I can’t find the words to tell Him the utter anguish that has taken residence in my heart.  I don’t want to turn inward and shut others out.  I don’t want to have another breakdown and I’m fighting against that also because each day I feel myself slipping in that direction.  I can only ask God to search my heart and see my feelings and know my thoughts and help me.

Maybe this is part if the normal grieving process.  I haven’t gotten that far in the book I’m reading about coping with grief to know the answers yet.

I am just a total mess right now!

 

NOW What Am I Gonna Do!?

 

Orville 2

A few evenings ago I was sitting on my little red bench next to the garage and heard a noise above me.  First thought in my mind was “Oh, God!  Please don’t let it be a bad thing!  I just can’t take anything else right now!”  Cautiously, fearfully, and curious, I turned and looked up to see my cat, Orville, perched  above me looking down on me with the “NOW WHAT AM I GOING TO DO” look in his eyes.  He was too high up for me to reach him and I knew if I tried, he would have taken off or clawed the heck out of me!  He was nice enough to pose for me for this photo.  A few minutes later, he was on the move and searching for his exit…

Orville 1

Crazy cat!  He did manage to find his way down, and is safely on the ground now, however he has ventured back to his perch a time or two since these photos.  He is definitely an outside cat!

As I looked at the photo of Orville looking down with THAT look, I saw myself with that same worried, confused look. Yes, I am thinking the same thought…NOW WHAT AM I GOING TO DO?!  And panic and extreme anxious feelings set in and I’m again paralyzed with fear.

Mike has been gone two short (and long) months as of the 23rd.  I feel as though I have slid backwards rather than move forward.  Maybe I have been pushing myself too hard to move forward.  I am tired all the time, break into tears or sobs at the drop of a hat and feel awful!  Almost sick, everywhere.  My entire body feels bad.  Of course, the ability to sleep well would help I’m sure; but my sleep is very erratic and disturbed.  I feel like a zombie walking around, doing the things that I’m supposed to do but nothing really soaks in.

Last night I mowed again, and had some trouble with the mower.  I think it sounds like it threw a rod, but since I know nothing about engines, I will have to wait until I can ask my neighbor to give me his opinion and probably take it into the shop for repair.

My brother-in-law brought me out a lawn sweeper (I didn’t even know they made such things!) and showed me how to hook it up, adjust the little brooms to the level I should have them out and told me how to empty it.  What he failed to tell me was how to back up a mower with a trailer attached.  I spent a good hour, which was a total waste of my daylight hours, trying to figure it out and always ended up with the trailer cock-eyed, usually at the side of the mower and NOT where I wanted it to be.  Finally by pure dumb luck I was able to get it backed into the weeds to dump, and pulled on the cord that would make it lift and dump!  NOT!!  Another thing he failed to tell me was that I should dump it often, especially if the grass is wet or damp.  I had to get off the mower, get behind it, standing in the weeds that cut my legs and lifting it from the bottom.  I got it lifted to my shoulder area and felt the pain in my back burning like fire.  Several more heave-ho’s and it was finally dumped.  With aching back, sore hands, a jammed finger (THE finger) and covered in mosquito bites I drove the mower to the backside of the shed/barn, detached the blankety blank sweeper and parked it.  I will be calling him to come and get it.  I’ll deal with the wind-rows.  Its easier than killing myself!

Hurting in more ways than one, I finished mowing.  Here is a helpful hint to anyone who has to mow a large area of yard.  Do NOT start crying while mowing, especially when the wind is blowing in your face.  The grass will stick to your tears and get into your eyes and burn.  I was talking to God and to Mike, pleading for some sort of guidance from them; afraid that taking care of this 2 acre plot of land and our home is going to be too much.  I kept mowing even though the bugs were getting pretty gross, my eyes were stinging and my back was killing me!  I just wanted some help.  Some assurance that I’m doing alright; that I’m not messing up too bad.  I’m still learning the chores that Mike always did and was very protective of.  I just kept telling him how much I hoped I was making him proud of what I have accomplished so far, even with all the mistakes, and feeling like I had/have let him down horribly.

Then, it hits me…and I cry harder.  Perhaps the lady I work with is right.  What if our grave is our hell and there is nothing after we die and nobody gets into heaven.  Maybe there is no hope for seeing our loved ones again when we die.  I’m so confused.  She preaches basically that there is no hope for a life after this one.  My faith, albeit weak at the moment, has always taught me that our loved ones will be waiting on us.  Funeral eulogies always make reference to “now they are together” or “they are in a better place”.   My hope right now is that one day I will see Mike again.  One day he will be waiting for me on the other side of the golden gate, and he will again be able to give me the big bear hug he used to.  Then, I question even my own faith’s teachings…till death do us part.  We will not KNOW we were married on earth.  We will all be brothers and sisters, all glad and happy to be in heaven with Jesus and our past relationships will not be important to us.  Mothers will not “know” their children.  Husbands will not “know” their wives, etc.  And I cry.  And I cry when I realize with a jolt that Mike’s body lies in that casket that has been placed in a vault in the dark ground never to see the sunshine he loved so much.  I want to believe so much that he is resting at the feet of Jesus and basking in the Sonshine wherever he is.

Now, back the world here on earth…I’m past exhaustion.  I overslept this morning and was 30 minutes late for work.  Maybe overslept was not the right word.  I ached so badly when I went to bed I was not able to sleep.   At 2:30 I got up and took some Tylenol.  At 4:30 I thought about just getting up, but the lack of rest had made me sick to my stomach, so I stayed in bed and fell asleep.  At 8:05 I woke with a start and realized I was late!  Wasn’t THAT a great start to an already crappy day?

Still tired, still exhausted and still extremely sore and achy, I keep thinking to myself “NOW What Am I Going to Do?”