Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Old Lady

The following is an excerpt from a post from "Second Firsts". I couldn't have said this better and it exactly captures how I feel and what I struggle with.  Read and you'll understand...

I first saw her in 2013 after my husband died.
She was around 85 years old, grey hair.
Sitting on a rocking chair.
And she was alone.
She was sad.
And she was waiting to die.
I would go visit her at least 20 times a day.
She would look at me and tell me how sad she was.
She would cry every time I visited.
She was always wearing her night gown.
I wondered if she ever did anything else but sit there.
But she never did.
You see the woman was a figment of my imagination.
She was the child of fear.
The mother of insanity.
The sister of grief.
When my husband died I grieved my future more than I grieved my present.
And the more I worried about the future the more I would visit the old lady.
The old lady was me many years from now, alone without any love or companionship in my life.
She was created by me.
So that I could believe my fears.
So I could find the proof that what I am afraid of, is real.
So the mind made it real.

I know that every single person on this earth time travels to the future to a future self that is their worst fear.
How do we stop the visits?
How do we prevent retelling the fictional story to ourselves.

I realize I need to stop visiting this old woman. I do it less often, but I still do it. I know I need to enjoy the moment, appreciate and enjoy each day. I know I need to go do things I enjoy with people who make me smile and laugh. And maybe, if I'm blessed, in the process I will find love again.

But regardless, I know when I am that old woman, sitting on the porch, I want to look back at my life and know I lived it to the fullest. That I loved others and they loved me and that my life, although marred by grief and sadness along the way, overall was a happy life, a life I enjoyed and lived to the fullest.

Monday, February 13, 2017

Pretty Peaceful Snow

Where does time go? I can't believe I haven't written since before Christmas and here it is now mid-February.  This morning the sun is shining, there's a bright blue sky, and the ground and trees are covered with freshly fallen snow.

We've gotten two snow storms in the past four days. I was thankfully able to stay home both times and, even more thankful, my brother-in-law and sister came and plowed my driveway. Of course, it took 12" of snow for me to accept the help. It is difficult for me to accept help. I have a snowblower, I am physically capable, and I still believe that accepting help is a sign of weakness.

Did accepting help make my life easier? Of course, but being independent and figuring out how to do things myself is what has gotten me through these past years. Do I like it? No. In fact, at this point, I feel I've proven I can do it, so now can I stop proving it? But I'm also careful about what you wish for and try to be thankful for the fact that I am physically capable of doing these things. Each day I try to remember to be thankful for my health since I know how quickly that can change.

Since I last wrote, two people in my life has passed--Michael Roberts and Auntie Gingy. Michael was Fr. Vern's friend and my acquaintance. After Fr. Vern passed, though, I made an effort to stay in touch with Michael and he suddenly died 3 weeks ago. I was just in shock that another person in my life was suddenly gone and at a young age. My Auntie Gingy, who has struggled with health issues for the past several months, declined suddenly and passed away 2 weeks ago. I regret that I didn't see her since December. I should have made it more of a priority. But I do cherish hearing her voice on my voicemail as well as the message Michael left me. I wish I had some of those from Ed. Being able to hear their recorded voice is a treasure.

Of course, these are reminders to appreciate each and every day. I make a concerted effort to spend time with friends and family and to be sure to tell those who are important in my life how much I care for them. For I am blessed with a wonderful circle of friends, friends I've met and made over the past few years, friends who help we get through each day.

The highs of time spent with friends also unfortunately draw attention to the lows when I'm alone. Some days these are the hardest times...being alone. There are days that go by when no one reaches out to me, no one seems to care. I know this isn't true...people are just busy, but this is where I go and when I miss the constant companionship of Ed. There are times when I can appreciate the aloneness, time that is mine alone, to spend how I want. I can sit in my pj's all day, watch Hallmark movies, have cereal for dinner. But I do miss that someone special who cares for me, loves me, where just simply being together makes us happy.  And I fear that, if I'm lucky to live another 30 years, that I will continue to be alone and I've learned that I don't want to be. But I had a great love already for 30 years; dare I dream of finding another?

So instead of fretting about the future, I need to focus on the present. I'm thankful for those family and friends who do care about me, who fill my life with laughter and happiness. And I'm thankful for the beautiful snow and the warmth of my home. And that is what I'll focus on.

The morning after...