Monday, January 1, 2018

4 Years and Counting....Happy New Year?

The 4th Anniversary of Rob's death has come and gone. And now it is New Year's Day 2018. A time to look back and remember the good times, the fun times. Focus on the times of joy and laughter and let go of the questionable ones. The sadness is dropping away. Not saying I do not still miss him, but much as I absolutely hate to admit it time has helped quell the intensity.

I sailed through the Anniversary, and thought I was home free. Ha! I was sick one night with a stomach bug. Up all night and railed against being alone, with no one to hold my hand, to talk to. Cried at the injustice of it. How could Robert have left me?

The Holidays also hit harder than I anticipated. Okay how can one anticipate grief? And it was not the holidays per se that caught me unawares. It is always the little things. Things I don't even give a second thought to. Wondering what? How about the taste of turkey? Someone handing me a glass of cheer? Pulling the Scotch tape to wrap a present? Hearing a piece of music? The weather turning cold?

I was recently contacted by a very very newly minted widow. I could acutely feel her pain and instantly remember what it was like. I also recognize how far I've come. That my life has indeed gone on and I am still standing. Not something I thought possible 4 years ago.

So since it is New Year's day and "we" are supposed to look back, as well as forward, I continue the wonder of finding myself in a new state—my body (as in now living in Florida) and my psyche. As far as looking forward, I will stay with one moment at a time.

Thursday, September 14, 2017

I Survived Hurrican Irma

It's a couple of days after Hurricane Irma. It's a quiet evening. From the sunlight angling over the trees, the blue sky and white clouds that are just starting to blush, it is hard to even consider the devastation that surrounds. Took a drive today and found trees down over the power lines in numerous places, telephone poles snapped and fields that make me think I am living in the lake district. Road closings due to water. Forget Lake District, am I living in the Everglades?

It is quiet. Bill & Claudia have gone off to spend the night at a friend who has electricity and running water. Guess you can figure that we don't have those here. There is a generator but it is only run occasionally each day with time to take a cold water shower. Boy am I getting fast in those showers.

I can hear crickets chipping, birds singing and not much else. I am alone on a farm of 50 acres. Looking out the windows I can see my horses, along with the rest of the herd. My cat is curled up asleep in the bed. It is peaceful and I realize that so am I. Still surprised when I stop to think for a moment that alone is fine.

The quiet is after the last two days of chain saws and dragging branches to burn piles. Huge bonfires consuming all that is offered. Feeding the fire—as I offered each branch or log or pile of Spanish Moss I felt that I was making an offering to a hungry beast who consumed all.

After days of hype and hysteria of the weather forecasters. Discussing what track the Hurricane would take. East? West? Up the middle? Waiting its arrival. The day of calm before the storm. Intensifying rain and winds. And then it struck at midnight. Howling winds and pelting rain. My horses were out in the field. I could not see them in the dark. Hoped their instincts would keep them safe.

In the morning the Hurricane was still waging its battle. When it was light enough to look I saw they were in their normal morning position, by the feed pens! They made it! I made it!

I take each challenge and examine how I handle it. Acknowledge my personal growth. Admit to noting how strange it is to feel so comfortable with myself. I am getting acquainted as I was never really "on my own" before. Left home for college, and then quickly moved in with Robert, who became my husband for the next 42 years. Then he died, leaving on my own. So through no choice of mine I found myself needing to get to know myself. No buffers, no companions, no options.


Friday, August 4, 2017

I have completed my latest transformation

August 2nd was a BIG day. I am officially a Floridian now! Got my drivers license, both Bobbie and Huey are registered, and I am now on the voting roles. Gathered up all the documentation required - birth certificate, marriage license, social security card, proof of residency, titles on both cars. Yikes. Especially with the move—now where are those pieces of paper? And getting my birth certificate—an official stamped one from New York took almost 2 months as they require official mail with my name and new address and how does one get official mail?

As I’ve spent my entire driving life in Massachusetts and am intimately familiar with the DMV I went prepared—brought a book and planned on waiting for hours before I would present all my carefully gathered documentation. First I had to find the local DMV which is held only on Wed and Thus in this town. As I drove around following Goggle Map instructions I began to wonder if the local DMV was a version of Brigadoon? Does it actually exist? I was lead on a wild goose chase. Maybe it was a treasure hunt. Or a scavenger hunt. Or a test of my navigational skills. After driving around and not finding the building I admitted defeat and went to the town hall for directions—where I was told “Bless you heart” for my perseverance.

When I finally found the DMV I was greeted with one of those deli take a number machines. The place was empty but the sign said take a number. I did. There was a long white counter with three women sitting behind. There was no one else in the room. Did I really need to take a number? And what am I doing to do with my book? No waiting?!?! Now how is THAT possible?

Worked my way thru all the documentation, got my photo taken, had an eye examine, and left registered to vote as well as with two shiny Sunshine State license plates! And yes I do have to go back for Lilly (trailer). She has special requirements I have not yet dealt with. 

Later in the afternoon Carrie mentioned she was going to be burning her paper trash pile and asked if I wanted to burn the documents I had thought I’d take to a shredder. Old financial records, mortgages, stuff that I didn’t want to just throw in trash, but wanted to be completely rid of. So around the bonfire we stood and slowly added the papers. Felt very fitting to burn them (Rob loved fires) and watch the flames consume them and charred pieces of paper floating up up up into the air. Another vestige of the past I am letting go of.

And finally that night, and no I had not planned this to be such a full day, I went to the Tai Chi school I found in Gainesville that does the form I learned all those years ago. They offer a practice session on Wednesday nights where there is no teaching, just doing the form. I had called to ask if it was alright to just come. No response so I went. Didn’t initially get a very warm welcome. Well not from the guy leading the practice. The women were welcoming. Did the form over and over and over. Of course it is slightly different. I’d say mostly the same but transitions being different. Okay that is the physical part of the form. I found I had to think and not just be while doing. That was exhausting. 

But the energetic aspect was different as well. Much more contained, closed in. More yin than yang if that makes sense. And of course I realize how the form I have been doing for the past 30+ years has become my own. Influenced by other teachers. Martial artists who express the purpose of the moves. And I laugh at that comment because my horsemanship is about the purpose of what “we” (Cici and I) are doing. 

And I also laugh as I realize that I went looking for the "form" of tai chi. Not the energy or the feeling but the physical form, order of moves, sequence of positions. And yes I found that. And found that it was not be what I was really looking for. My motivation with finding this school was that the form would be basically the same and I would not have to “learn” a new form. But that is not the case. I have learned that the physical is only one aspect of my form. And not such an important part I now understand. 

Well I have time. I don’t have to rush into a decision about continuing with there or not.  I need to figure out what works for me. OMG such a idea - for me. Now that I am a Floridian!

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Back to the Frozen North

I am on a trip to gather up the stuff I left behind when I believed I was returning as a Snowbird. Problem is I nixed the return migration.

I flew into Boston, rented a minivan and found the roads still have memories swirling around them. The overwhelming memories that catch me up and before I know what is happening tears are streaming down my face. What I've called Ground Fog. It has been over half a year since I have driven these roads—and I find the emotions are still as raw and alive as when Rob first died.

And then I drove to New Hampshire and momentarily marveled that I didn't feel him here in the White Mountains. A place he so loved. When I went to return the minivan I drove past a restaurant we had visited years and years ago...I guess I was primed. Tears started flowing again. And the memories of other times and other drives and other roads we traveled on in New Hampshire flooded me.

Florida is a fresh slate. We were never there together. I can think of Rob—and our life together—and feel joy as well as sadness in the memories.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Lost and Found

I find I am doing things I only dreamed of—and sometimes doing things I didn't know to dream of. I find I am living a new/different life. Finding I am a new person....well maybe not "new" but I my life is expanding in different directions—and I am embracing them.

Stepping over thresholds that in the past would have held me back. But I suppose once my soul was seared by Rob's death, the loss of Rob—what was once perceived as undoable does not seem so insurmountable anymore. 

For instance if you told me a couple of years ago that I would be comfortable driving down the road with a horse trailer behind me, loaded with my horse and a friend's I would have laughed and said, "No way!"  But I am now doing this with confidence and ease.

My horsemanship journey has lead to so many changes in my life—hell I'm living in Florida! Personal growth, OMG I hear Rob saying, "This is a great opportunity for Personal Growth," every time I hit the wall.

As they say (whomever 'they" are), "Your horse is your mirror." Well here is my mare skinny dipping. I didn't know she even liked water, but she kept going until she was swimming. I guess I could say I keep taking that next step forward, and find the water is fine.

Monday, February 13, 2017

It is my birthday - Number 4 after the death of my husband

I had one of the best Birthday's today in a long long time. Started out with Bill singing Happy Birthday to me in the barn. And progressed with lots more singing, and laughter, and sharing. Thank you Claudia for insisting and planning this special occasion with three other new girl friends.

An adventure—to explore a wonderful small town along the coast of the Gulf of Mexico. Lunch at a restaurant on the water with a very narrow deck jutting out over the water with gulls and pelicans and I think skimmers flying under, over and around us. The water stretched out flat, no waves, to the horizon. The sun was shining. We sat in the shade of an umbrella on this deck and ate steamed clams. And these new friends insisted the waitress put a candle in one of the grilled shrimp topping my salad.

After lunch a leisurely stroll through the town's history museum and then in and out of small quaint shops. This was totally unlike any Birthday I've ever had. I chose to stay in the moment, in the here and now, and take in all the wonder and friendship and love. And not dwell in the past and what was. This Birthday's differences serves as a vivid reminder of how far I have come.

Monday, January 30, 2017

There is no question—I have arrived

I am home. Being in the place where my horses are just outside my windows has brought a feeling of peace and completion. This is where I am meant to be. Right here. The fields wrap around the house so no matter where I am inside I look outside and see my horses, hear my horses; and I drop everything and go outside and play with my horses.

Through my horses new friendships abound, as it is the horses that brought me to this place of wonder. And these new connections are leading to new business opportunities. Thank you Robert for insisting we shift our marketing business to serve the needs of the horse and equestrian community.

I have always known of the healing powers of horses. After Rob died it was my mare Cici who kept me going and saw me through the darkest times. And my mini Casey kept up his antics to keep me laughing. As the healing progressed and I could begin to look forward I realized I wanted to focus on my horsemanship in a way that had not been possible before. And once again through horse connections, I found my way here.

My days and nights are spent playing with my horses, promoting horse businesses, visiting with horsey friends. We go to horse events, watch horse movies. It is "All about the horse, the horse, the horse" (with apologies to Megan Trainor).