Moments

Terry and Julie Golfcart

The other day my older Granddaughter was staring at a photo of Terry and I that was taken on our younger daughter’s wedding day. She turned and looked at me and asked, “Do you love Papa Terry?” I looked up at the photo and said, “What do you think?” She turned back to the photo and said “Yes you love Papa Terry.”

As I stare at this photo, I see love and comfort screaming out from the picture. The photographer caught a moment in our lives that shares with the world how we felt toward each other. The way I am looking at him, the way his knee is bent toward me, the way my body is melting into the curve of his body. It’s a comfortable safe place where love has known no boundaries; where this kind of love has taken years to build. It was just a moment in time, but for me I see years of tenderness and contentment.

And somehow my 5 year old wise soul granddaughter saw that also.

It’s been over a year and a half and I still have moments where I just want to crawl into bed and pretend that he didn’t die, but I can’t. I look at my grand babies and my daughters and I am so grateful that they keep me going on days when I don’t want to. I am grateful for the wise words I hear from them and my sisters. I am grateful that a brief moment of my life was caught on a camera for me to look at and remember the love.

I also know that every day has become easier. Time heals all wounds but it’s the moments and memories that keep me grounded with love, making each day more comfortable in my mind and my heart.

1 Comment

Filed under Awareness

Asking for Help

I don’t get asking for help. It’s not that I don’t need help, it’s a feeling of failure, inadequacy, and worthlessness if I ask for help. And it’s very strange because I don’t believe people who ask for help are that way, just me.

I seem to think that I should be able to do everything all by myself and I am slowly learning that I can’t. I recently admitted to my sister that I may actually need a man to help me. God forbid!

I live on this beautiful acreage with lots to mow and lots of machinery to get ready in the spring. Last fall I made sure to add an additive to all of the gasoline, just like Terry told me to do. But when spring came around I had two flat tires on one mower and another flat tire on another mower. Additives do nothing for flat tires. My big mower requires a special tool to take the tire off and I don’t have it!

Now if I had money I would just pick up the phone and call someone to have them fixed. But that is a little problem! Fortunately my brother has a little bit of extra money, so he called to have them fixed. Thank you Pat!

Last week on Wednesday (the first day of my weekend) both mowers were back. So I jumped on the big one and tried to start it – Rrrraaa chug chug clunk. Ok I thought, the battery didn’t hold a charge. So I jumped on the next one – Rrraaa chug chug clunk. Really???! So I went and got my battery charger. I hooked it up to the small mower first because I really needed to use the wagon attachment and pick-up sticks first.

Off to the house I go. Surely there is something I can do for the next hour while I wait for my battery to charge. I went inside and poured myself a cup of coffee and went to my office and worked. I headed back to the barn after an hour and Varoom! I was now in business! But I decided not to pick up sticks, because I would have to turn the mower off and on, chancing that the battery would die again. So I mowed and mowed. The grass was so long that it took three passes to cut it! I was just moving along and CLUNK, my mower stopped.

Could it be that I was out of gas? Yep! Off to the barn to get the gas can. I looked all over for the funnel and finally gave up and went back to the mower and started pouring the gas in. After a minute I thought gosh my leg feels wet and I look down and low and behold my gas can had a hole in it and was pouring down my pants into my shoes, and all over the mower. I decided to walk away and not try to start it at that point. I had a sneaking suspicion that I might catch myself on fire!

I walked to my house and I open my garage and got out my push mower. I thought I could just trim a bit while I am waiting for the gas to evaporate. So I drug the mower clear out to my flowers beds through grass that was at least 12 inches long. I primed the mower and started pulling on the cord.

Nothing, nothing, nothing. Not even a hint of some power. I tried again and again and again. I drug the mower back to the garage.

I went back out to the mower that had gasoline all over it and I jumped on and started it. At that point I thought I don’t care if I blow up! Obviously I didn’t but geez, this was getting ridiculous. I finished my trimming and decided to go to the beach and rake the sand a little since my grandchildren were coming out to play. I drove down to the beach on the golf cart (something that actually started) and hopped off and started setting up chairs and tidying. I was raking the beach when I remembered that I forgot to grab my beach bag so I jumped on the golf cart and pushed on the gas . . . nothing. No click, click, nothing, nothing at all. OMG!!!

I walked away.

That night I told my sister that I might need a man. One week later as I was relaying the story to my daughter and she scolded me for not asking for help or at least asking her husband to come out and see if there was something he could do. It was at that moment that it occurred to me that my day could have happened to a man too and not all men know about machinery. My husband didn’t have a clue when it came to motors, but he knew people who did.  So what did he do? He asked for help! Wow novel concept! So why can’t I?

This week I am vowing to pick up the phone and call someone when I need help instead of just waiting for hell to freeze over. By the way the golf cart got hauled off to get fixed – I called someone!

Leave a comment

Filed under Awareness

Forgiveness

I was just reading an email from marc and angel.com and it was entitled “3 Wake-up Calls You Need to Receive”. I just want to touch on the story that was told at the beginning of the email. A young woman received four flannel shirts from her grandfather as a birthday present. They came from his closet, but they were in great shape, hardly worn and he felt they would look nice on her. She thought it was such an odd gift and didn’t really acknowledge the present. He died two days later and she didn’t say thank you.

Although what she received really was an odd gift, we all have moments like that. Things we should have said, hugs we should have given, notes that should have been written and apologies that should have been made. But this blog post is not about regret, but forgiveness.

At Christmas many, many years ago when I was 10 or 12, my grandmother gave me a two foot tall cabinet to display my pewter figurines. I was so pissed off. Who knows what I wanted but that wasn’t it! My Mom yelled at me, my Dad yelled at me, I am sure my Grandmother was hurt and I was sent to my room on Christmas day.

Honestly I don’t know if I ever thanked my Grandmother for the gift and fortunately she didn’t die until I had time to grow up and show her that I really wasn’t a spoiled brat; but that moment has stuck with me. I have long since forgiven myself, but the lesson I learned from that minute in time has made me a better person.

I am still very insensitive at times and probably will continue to be so for the rest of my life, but I did learn that no matter what gift was given, your response is invaluable to the person who gave the present and when we or someone we love makes a mistake, forgiveness is in order even if “I am sorry” is never spoken.

It may be something that someone said to you or did to you, or something that you did to another, but forgiveness needs to be granted. Even something horrendous needs to be acknowledged and forgiven.  I have seen people on TV forgive another for murdering their child and if that is possible, then the rest of us can forgive others for petty things that were said or done.

I feel for the young woman who received the flannel shirts because she is going to feel that pain for years to come and she really needs to forgive herself for her lack of action, but I am also sure it will shape her behavior as an adult.

For my Grandmother and me; she continued to give me gifts and I loved every one of them after that traumatic day, but none are cherished the way I cherish my little cabinet. It sits proudly in my office and is a reminder of how much my Grandmother really did love me and how forgiveness is at the heart of life.

Image

 

 

 

 

 

1 Comment

Filed under Awareness

Filter

After my husband died, I lost my filter. You know that ability to bite your tongue when someone says something stupid and you respond and your response is not sugarcoated but raw. I also can’t lie, so the loss of the filter and the inability to lie is a really bad combination.

It’s been coming and going for well over a year and a half now and I had been doing pretty well these last two months. Unfortunately this evening I realized my filter was gone again. I am not sure why it is gone, but it is missing! Now I have never been a polite person or one that just throws out a compliment or tells little white lies to make someone feel better. I am the person that people go to when they really want to know how their hair looks, because they know that I if I hesitate to answer, then I have answered their question.

I am also very short with any answers; I hate to waste time and when I am tired of playing or doing something I just tell the person I am done. But without a filter, I tell people exactly how I am feeling about them or the situation.

For instance; I can’t stand people who bitch all the time or even part of the time. When I have a filter I just walk away. When I do not have a filter I pretty much tell them how they need to give it a break or walk a mile in someone else’s shoes, or maybe they should stop thinking they are so perfect and that they are above the rest of us.

And it’s really bad right now because I have this ‘don’t mess with me attitude’. I am mad for no good reason and no one should step in my path. It’s a scary place in my head right now and I know I need to stop it but do I want to?

As a server I make more money when my filter is off. People give me a sob story and I can always top it. How many people can start off with “My husband had a heart transplant” “and he died”.  Recently I had three guys who were running my ass off with just water, a good indication that they would not be leaving me a tip. When there is a filter, I say nothing. Without the filter I said something like “I am not giving you anymore water until I know you are going to tip me”.  They left 40.00 dollars. Or a customer will say “I am so sorry I paid with a credit card and I don’t have any cash” My response with a filter, “Oh that’s ok maybe next time”. My response without a filter; “You can reopen your credit card so then you can tip me.

The problem with the lack of filter is that I can really hurt my family and friend’s feelings. I say things that just shouldn’t be said. And I come by this trait honestly. I remember distinctly being with my mother before we found out she had cancer and she looked at me and said “can’t control your children?”. Which at the time really killed me and still to this day pings my heart. I am sure she really wouldn’t have said it if she felt better, or at least said it a little kinder, but her filter was off and the talons came out. What is said is not necessarily what that person actually thinks, but always has an underlying truth in there somewhere.

 So I need to go back to my happy place, because I recently have been pissing the management off at work instead of just the customers. Sad part is; I don’t care. That’s how I know my filter is missing. I would never ever hurt someone’s feelings intentionally, but there it is right in front of me.

I even had to apologize for making a supervisor cry (even though I know that she didn’t cry, but she told my boss that she did). So since my filter is off, I waited to apologized to her when there were 5 other people in the room. I just wanted to make the point that if you make up stories they will come back to bite you. Her boss informed me that she didn’t cry, but I apologized three more times to her. And wrote a letter to my boss about how sorry I was that I make her cry and then made sure that her boss read it.

Yes, very vindictive I admit. I know you are wondering what I did to upset this poor petite flower? I told her that our salad bar was “awful, awful, awful. . . AWFUL!”. That’s all.

My boss laughed at me. She told me that I was AWFUL and I agreed. So before I get fired I had better figure out where my filter went to and retrieve it and bring it back into my brain and my mouth!

You know what is really scary?! I realized that I am going to be one of those old women sitting around saying, “Good grief did you see that bright outfit she was wearing, she could land planes in the middle of the night!” I know that I am going to embarrass the hell out of my children and probably grandchildren. Maybe I should apologize now . . . nahhhh, I’ll wait a few years. I am in no hurry.

Leave a comment

Filed under Awareness

My Computer

So my computer broke last week and my goal has been to write and publish one blog a week. Well last week it didn’t happen which is fine, because I actually think I am ahead by a week, but that isn’t the point of this blog. The point is that my computer broke! I love my computer. It’s like losing a pet (kind of), or breaking something that was irreplaceable.

As a kid I would get very, very attached to my stuffed animals and if something happened to one of them I would cry and cry because I hurt for them. Unfortunately my computer is like a stuffed animal to me. We’ve been through so much together. I have shared my deepest secrets. I have received photos of my grandchildren through it. I have watched my life change over the last few years on my computer.

The keys are worn where my fingers have hit them. I have a sticker of a colorful worm on the top of the screen that my older granddaughter shared with me that is wrinkled and scratched. It has a memory of everything I have typed in for the last 5 years.

It’s kind of embarrassing to admit that I feel like my right arm has been cut off because I don’t have it! 15 years ago I remember thinking that I would never be able to give up my cell phone. Now I realize that my computer is actually more important to me than my phone. It’s my window to the world. My news channel, the way I learn, the interaction between myself and other people and a place to store my entire life!

I have been depressed all week and I really thought it was just another stage I was going through with losing my husband, but today I realized that I am mourning the loss of my computer. Silly? Yes, extremely, but still a fact that I am going to have to deal with quickly!

Eventually my new computer will be my new love and I will have less anxiety about breaking it in and how it works. Even if I fix my old friend and continue to use it for less important work, our time together will never be the same. I will always be wondering when I turn it on, ‘is the last time I use it before it completely shuts down forever’.  For now however, I will mourn the loss of a very close friend and anxiously await the arrival of my new friend.

2 Comments

Filed under Silly

Green Grass

It’s raining today and I love that we are finally getting some moisture. I have worried about all my plants all winter because we really didn’t get very much snow and we really needed that water!

For a couple days now I have been watching the landscape slowly change over to green. And then this morning as I was sipping my coffee I realized something about myself; I like green. Green has always ranked at the bottom of my color choices. But green is at the heart of nature and I love nature!

The base of nature in Iowa is beautiful green grass. The kind you have to take your shoes off and walk on because it feels so amazing on your toes. The kind that is so bright green that you have a visual overload and it actually hurts your eyes! And the kind of green grass that childhood memories are made of; lying on a thick cushion of green grass under a big Oak tree and watching the clouds pass over on a summer afternoon.

Why has it taken me 55 years to realize that I love green? Or is it that I am just more in tune to my surroundings? I have always said the reason I love spring is because the flowers start to bloom. Now I am not sure, because before the flowers bloom, there is green grass!

Now that I know I like green, I am so very excited to see the green leaves come out on the trees!

Happy Spring!

Image

 

Leave a comment

Filed under Awareness

My Mother-In-Law and Alzheimer’s

I distinctly remember the day that my Mother-In-Law Helen crossed that line between being normal and becoming a person who had a disease. Rhonda, my sister-in-law and I were feeding our children down at Helen’s lake house and Helen walked into the kitchen and started yelling at us to clean up the kitchen. She was upset that the kids weren’t helping and why would someone dump out her coffee! Rhonda and I calmly told her that we would clean up after the kids were finished with lunch. She just couldn’t understand why we were waiting. Rhonda and I knew there was something seriously wrong.

This was probably 6 years before she was actually diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. Such a sad disease, because yes I am sure it scares the hell out of the person when they realize there is something out of whack, but it is so much harder on the family and caregivers.

Every week after Helen went into the nursing home I would go have breakfast with her and we would talk about nothing. And sometimes in the evening I would stop by and we would have a glass of wine together and again talk about nothing. After she had been there about three years she told me that her son Terry (my husband) moved away with that woman “Sharon” out to an acreage and it was just too bad. Every week she would talk about Sharon and how sad it was for Terry. One day I came to the realization that I was Sharon!

Now if you don’t know someone very well then you could easily have believed that Terry was shacking up with someone named Sharon and she was telling everyone at the nursing home that would listen! I often wonder what they thought!

One night I got a phone call from my brother-in-law, “Hello” I said. “Hi, Is Sharon there?” He asked. Funny, at least we could joke about it!

As time went on she couldn’t even think of how to put together a sentence or to ask a question. This is when they moved my mother-in-law out of the Alzheimer wing and into the nursing home. I started dwindling my visits down. She didn’t know who I was, nor did she really care that anyone was there to see her. She would smile and say hello and sometimes there would be a sparkle in her eye for just a moment and then it was gone. I really just went to see if she was ok.

My point of this blog today is: If you know someone who has Alzheimer’s, then say a prayer for those family members who have to take care of their loved one. They have a hard job. Maybe they just need a friend or a night out for dinner. Whatever you can think of will be appreciated, because they also probably have to deal with amazing tales about fictional people too, just like Sharon!

After thought – I wrote this not for me, because I wasn’t a caregiver I was acting as a friend to my mother-in-law. I was thinking of all the spouses and children that would come into see their loved ones at the nursing home and I would feel so sorry for them. I remember before my mother-in-law went in the nursing home, my husband would have to go over to her house to give her a pill and every day she would refuse to take it. He would have to beg and plead with her and then he would come home and put his head in his hands and say “what are we going to do?”. I always felt so sorry for him. That’s a caregiver.

Leave a comment

Filed under Awareness

Blog – 52 weeks of Blogging is hard!

This year when I made my Goals, one of them was to blog 52 times this year or once a week. Well let me tell you that coming up with a topic or writing about nothing can be very difficult! Occasionally my thoughts and feeling will propel me into writing and some weeks there is just nothing there between my ears. Some weeks I can’t post what I have written because it may be too close to my heart and I just can’t reveal what I am thinking. Or I re-read it and think “oh that is really stupid” or poorly written or it doesn’t make sense. This week I have nothing to write about!

So I will write about photos (they surround me in my office). They keep my memories alive, but when did we stop putting photos into albums? Many years ago someone would take a picture and we would place it in an album in a somewhat chronological order. Now two things have happened: I have a drawer full of photos that I don’t know exactly what to do with and a phone full of photos that half of them are worthless to me. (I am amazed at the stupid pictures I have taken this past last year!!!).

I think we might be just too busy or it’s just too much work to put photos in albums. Besides, I don’t want to buy an album, because my children don’t want them. We found this out when their Grandma went into a nursing home 8 years ago. We tried to divide them. I honestly don’t think anyone was excited about storing them. My older daughter puts all of her photos on an external hard drive (or two; she takes a lot of photos!). My younger daughter; everything she has is on her phone.

My biggest problem is that I should really start making a photo album for when I am old (no children I am not old yet) but for when I am forgetting who the hell everyone is! I remember doing something like that for my mother-in-law who had Alzheimer’s.

Or . . . maybe we are going back to a day when photos were actually precious. The photos you keep out to look at; important photos. If you were like our family we posed at the front door. Like the first day of school, graduation, or a family gathering.  (I have a couple of those from my family, but also from the family that lived in this house before us!). Now those are photos! Especially the one where my dad let a fart and we are all hysterically laughing. I think that one needs to go into my old age photo book. Can you do that for me girls??? You know this technology thing is just tooooo much for me!!!! (Don’t tell them, but I just don’t want to do it!!!!!

Hoyt at front door

Leave a comment

Filed under Silly

20 Year Anniversary of a Heart Transplant

Yesterday was the anniversary of my deceased husband’s heart transplant. I went through the day very quietly without really wanting to think about his life. It’s still really difficult on special days and I just wanted to get through the day. But I did do one thing; I said a prayer for the family who gave up their son’s heart so that Terry could go on to live an incredible life.

This past year and almost a half since Terry died, I think about his donor family a lot. I think about the fact that someone had to come to them and ask for his organs and how difficult that must have been. To know that there was no chance for their son to live, but they could give up organs and others could live because of their son. I still find this thought overwhelming and humbling.

When Terry died I asked if there were any organs that we could donate and the only thing they could use were his beautiful eyes. I was disappointed because I wanted to be able to give more, but two people somewhere have the ability to see because of Terry Rose.

On the day Terry received his heart I remember thinking that it was like a gift from God because there wasn’t any time left and his life was essentially over. I can’t ever begin to express my gratitude for what the donor family did for us. They gave Terry a second chance at life so that his daughters could grow up with him in their lives.

The donor was 18 when he died and Terry’s heart was 18 when he died. Ironic, maybe but that heart was loved equally from two families that are complete strangers but were brought together by a tragedy. March 11th will always be a day to be celebrated in our lives because we had 18 more years with Terry that we wouldn’t have had without his donor family. My heart goes out to them and I still wish for them the peace they deserve and I hope you will also keep them in your thoughts and say a prayer for their family.

5 Comments

Filed under Awareness

Acceptance

When I decided that I would have surgery on my wrist in September I had an alternative plan in the works and that was being able to have Thanksgiving off and spend it with my daughters and their families in Arizona with two of my sisters.

Each week that I was off however, I become more comfortable in my house by myself. I started cooking my own meals which is unheard of! I wouldn’t even wash a strawberry before my husband died and now I am actually cooking?!

I hated being home on my two nights off by myself. To me the house was cold and uninviting. Empty is probably the word. Now I cherish being in my house. A month ago when we had subzero temperatures I was afraid that my pipes would freeze so I turned off the water and bled the pipes before I went to bed for 3 nights in a row and then turned it back on during the day with a heater under my house. (Heaters can catch on fire and I really didn’t want to wake up to that.) My younger daughter said that I should just stay with her, but I didn’t have any intentions of leaving my home. I could live without water overnight. I even said to someone that I didn’t want to leave my warm and cozy house to go out!

Another change that has happened is that I now venture out to places by myself. I went to a friend’s house as a single individual on New Year’s Eve. I have eaten out a couple of times by myself. If a problem arises I deal with it by myself. Not that I didn’t do this before my husband died, it’s just that now I have to make the decision alone and it really is different. It reminds me of when I was young and I got my first apartment; it’s that realization that I was an adult.

So I guess what happened during the 12 weeks I was home is that I became use to the idea that I am single, which in turn means that I am finally accepting that Terry is dead. It’s not that I am not still head over heal in love with him, because it is so difficult to turn off your heart; ( see Falling Out Of Love) but my mind has finally realized that he is gone.

I also know that I am not fully ready to move on with my life, but it does mean that I am comfortable in my own skin and in my own house. I went from being horribly alone to actually enjoying my own company! Who knew! Now I am looking forward to enjoying my beach by myself this summer.

I have always said that when you look back 6 months or a year, things can be so different and change so drastically. Well in 12 weeks I really feel like I have blossomed in a way that I didn’t think was possible. It’s not what I would have chosen for myself, but I do need to embrace the change. Plus, I am starting to become excited about what tomorrow will bring!

1 Comment

Filed under Awareness