Saturday, August 30, 2014

August

Oh August, where did you go?!  I can't believe September is 2 days away.  The days pass, the months pass, and seasons change.  The second summer without Ed...and now I will soon be facing the second fall.  Fall, a time that I used to love so much.  September, one of my favorite months of year.  I'm scared, I'm apprehensive, I'm still sad.  For the days, the months, the seasons continue on and I still so badly want Ed here to share them with me.  But, alas, that can't be.

But I did not intend to write about that this morning.  Damn!  That is how grief is--it still creeps up when you least expect it.  So I will take a deep breath, refocus my brain, and instead look back at August which was filled with moments of living and, dare I say, enjoyment and appreciation.

Refocus... August...

The month started with Dan coming home.  I am SO blessed that he is close by and is able to come home for weekends.  And we have a good deal...he helps around the house and I'll do his laundry!  The cukes in the garden started to come in and so we tried our hands at making pickles (which ended up coming out pretty good)!

Mid-August was our annual trip to Misquamicut.  Last year my heart was very heavy being without Ed.  This year, there were moments, but overall the vacation was relaxing and enjoyable and the weather was great!

Dan and his friends Matt and Nate came down for several days.  I just love these guys and I love that they are such good friends and I hope they continue to be for many, many years to come.  You need to invest in staying in touch and these three do and that provides me such joy.  And it was great to watch them enjoy themselves kayaking, fishing, scuba diving or simply playing with the kids or hanging with all of us.

My niece Lexi and I took one day and headed over to Block Island.  You can see the island from Misquamicut but I had never been and always wanted to check it out.  I considered going alone but Lexi was willing to be my travel companion so off we went.  Although the ferry ride over was a little rough, we ended up having a great time!  Two gals hanging out together...doing some sightseeing, some shopping, walking the beach, and having a nice lunch together.  Although some say once they've gone, they don't feel a need to do it again, but I would be open to another visit.  I feel there's things I would like to see again and/or explore more closely.  Maybe next year.

Mid-vacation, lonliness hit me by surprise.  I'm sure part of it was because Dan and his friends and my oldest sister had gone back home.  But it still surprises me how you can be surrounded by so many people but still feel so all alone.  As I walked the beach, which provided me such solace and peace, I missed Ed and the "oneness" we shared.  We were so similar in how we thought and felt and he was my safe place to say whatever I felt...the only person I truly trusted to say whatever I wanted.  Dan has filled some of that void, but he had left and so, amongst all these people, I was alone.  I wonder if they realize how lucky they are--to have their families and to be together.  I'd like to think so.  But what they don't realize nor do they know how to acknowledge, is how alone I am.  I know it's a good thing that they don't understand, because you only understand once you've lived it.  I mean, I never understood it.  So I don't wish this level of loss or grief on any of them--they are my family and friends.  But how I wish someone understood so I didn't feel so all alone.

That finally happened on the last day of vacation.  I met up with a fellow Wid (shorthand for widow/widower) at the end of the week.  He got it.  He understood.  And for a couple hours, there was comfort and joy in sitting and talking about anything and everything, including our spouses.  Lesson learned was that we should have done this mid-week...maybe it would have helped get me through that period, after Dan left, when I felt sad and alone and there was no one to lift my spirits.  But it certainly ended my vacation on a high note and although that afternoon saw gray clouds come in, I smiled and laughed and enjoyed the last moments of vacation with my family.

As I close this post, I want to share one more thing:

While I was walking on the beach, on that day when I felt so all alone and sad, an old song, not necessarily one I particularly liked, but it was familiar, came into my head.  Where it came from, I don't know, but the words I kept repeating where:

You and me against the world,
Sometimes it feels like you and me against the world,
When all the others turn their backs and walk away,
You can count on me to stay.



Yes, I know.  A Helen Reddy song?  Really?  Well, that part is odd.  But the words themselves spoke to me and it was how I was feeling.  No matter what happened, it was always me and Ed, together.  And I always knew I could count on him and him on me.

But the words to the next verse alluded me...

And when one of us is gone,
And one of us is left to carry on,


And what??  I could not recall the words.  I searched my memory but the words continued to allude me.  What was the secret?  What was the message?  So a
fter returning home from vacation, I Googled it...

Then remembering will have to do,
Our memories alone will get us through
Think about the days of me and you,
You and me against the world.


Damn!  Really?  Freakin' song!
And on that note, below are a few pictures from August.  The new memories that I am trying to build.


Dan doing the mowing for me!

Our first pickles! YUM!

My niece Lexi who went to Block Island with me.

Block Island - Mohegan Bluffs looking towards Long Island.

Block Island - New Harbor

Block Island - Looking back towards the mainland.

Nate, Matt, and Dan at Misquamicut

Matt going scuba diving; Nate and Dan in the water with "the girls".

Our group at times numbered up to about 25 people.
Here's Dan, Amanda, Matt, Nate, and DeeDee

DeeDee and Cathy (on one of the cooler days)


Amanda and Dan boogie boarding
Nick, Dan, Nate, Amanda

Even a trip to Benny's was fun!

Reaffirmed - My favorite place on Earth!

My Hummingbirds were happy to see me home.
This guy sat there for about 10 mins after I filled the feeder.



Saturday, August 2, 2014

Enjoying Small Pleasures; Avoiding Stress

Sorry I have been inconsistent in writing.  Life has been busy and I'm not quite sure why or how.  It's not like there's one particular thing I can say has been consuming my time.  It's a bunch of little things.

Work is nuts.  We've had several people retire over the past month and now I find myself doing four different jobs all at once.  The good news is that the days definitely are full and busy.  The down side is that there are lots of "problems" and it gets stressful.  So the work week just disappears since by the time I get home, I have dinner, do dishes, and get ready for the next workday.  This means Monday-Friday disappear way too quickly.  I am doing a good job at finding that life/work balance even if it means I leave work at the end of the day with a pile on my desk and way too many emails in my inbox.  I also work very hard at managing how I use my time on week nights.  I have learned that if I'm out after work for more than 2-3 nights each week, I get very stressed.  I have learned that I need to be home; need to have evenings where I can move at a slower pace and chip away at some of the things on my to do list so it is not all saved for the weekends.  I'm learning...

I have enjoyed the summer in terms of enjoying the yard.  I've learning about perennials and how I need to be a bit more ruthless in controlling where and what grows.  My garden is growing and I've enjoyed cucumbers and zucchini and the tomatoes are just coming in.  I'm excited because I'm growing acorn squash this year which I love--can't wait for that!  I've put up a second hummingbird feeder and it's a weekly event to make more nectar for them.  They definitely prefer my sugar/water mix than that red stuff from the store!  I think the chipmunk is enjoying it as well since some days we go through it pretty quickly.

I'm learning to grill which is impressive both because I have a general hesitation about gas grills (since we had the gas grill fire many years ago) and I know little about grilling.  But I'm learning--sometimes things get charbroiled, but sometimes they also turn out great.

I've found a quiet pleasure in sitting on the deck, having dinner (yes, alone), watching the birds, seeing the groundhog or the bunnies, and just enjoying the sunny, fresh air and the gardens and the yard.  When my mind goes there and the realization sets in, I do hate the fact that I'm setting a place for one at the table and I hate that I'm alone and I miss Ed and I also get pissed that he is not here with me.  And I feel like I'm playing a pretend game--pretend I can function on my own, pretend that I'm finding comfort in simple, quiet moments.  But then I realize I can't pretend because this is my life.  And then all the overwhelming questions creep up about what is my life, who am I, and is this how I want and am going to life the rest of my life?

But then I go back to enjoying the hummingbird who just arrived at the feeder, because that is simple and the rest is too overwhelming.  And I remind myself "one day at a time", one moment of pleasure at a time.  Keep it simple.

One of the hummingbirds at the feeder.

My Garden

Will have an abundance of tomatoes once these ripen.

One of the acorn squash.

Zucchini!