Monday, August 27, 2018

Bringing stuff back into my life

When I set out on this journey, thinking that I was going to be traveling every six months I sorted my possessions into two piles. What I was going to be carrying around "on my back" back and forth; and stuff that would someday be reunited with me. This last category got put into a storage facility and has been there for more than two years.

I moved into a furnished apartment here in Florida. It has everything. And I brought all my office/work stuff with me so I was able to set up my businesses. Over the last two years as I've settled in, I found myself purchasing things that filled the need to have my own stuff.

Continually I thought of what I had stored back in Massachusetts. Of course I did, I was writing a check each and every month to the storage facility! As time has passed, even with feeling settled here, I also felt that I had possessions scattered at the ends of the East Coast. And finally decided it was time to bring everything home.

I worked hard to get the stuff here. And its been exhausting both physically and emotionally to once again go through it all and fit it into my living space. Some things like books and art and pottery and toys and baskets and decorative art items have a new home on book shelves, table tops and window sills. I've removed some furniture from the furnished apartment and replaced them with the few items I had kept. I stripped the kitchen of all that was here and eagerly put my kitchen back together.

However even with the joy of welcoming some objects, there are emotional surprises with others. I cried and sobbed as I sat and rocked in a golden oak rocking chair I lovingly placed in my bedroom. The memories of rocking in it while we talked were overwhelming.

Some of what I've unpacked belonged to Robert. Small objects that he treasured. I could not let go of them before and I look at them now and struggle to figure out what to do with them. They meant a lot to him. But not necessarily to me. But the fact that they did to him creates a quandary within me. I think I get caught up in an intellectual mind debate. A very effective way to avoid the emotional impact of each piece. So I've put them aside, away, out of sight to be dealt with at some later time.

Everything has its new place, either on display or put away. I feel a sense of accomplishment and completion—all my possessions are with me. And I also am engulfed in grief and tears.

Watching TV I am crying. Sitting at my computer I'm crying. Going out into the field to play with my horse I am crying. My universe has been disrupted. There is a tear in the space time continuum. The physical objects that were stored have a different energy from whom I am now. They still vibrate with Robert. They still vibrate with us.

My thoughts are filled with Rob and our life together. The memories are overwhelming at times. I struggle to hold on to the me that I have become. The one who packed up all that stuff and drove 1500 miles to a place I had only visited briefly.

Saturday, June 16, 2018

Seeking dating advice....really?!?!?!

I am in uncharted territory. I found myself asking my thirty something hair stylist (heaven forbid I call him a hair dresser) dating advice. What is going on here?!?!? He is married and has two kids. But hey he's a guy. And I'm looking for a male perspective.

I had debated about even bringing up the subject. Thought what the hell. Chickened out while he was coloring my hair. Decided what did I have to lose? Felt it was such a cliche. Back to oh what the hell. Took a deep breath and asked. And surprise surprise his advice turned out to be very insightful.

What did I learn? To trust myself. I never know who is going to be my teacher, my guide. To stay in the moment. They will turn up in the least likely places. To be open. Life is full of surprises.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Another Milestone Another Wedding Anniversary

Last week was another of those milestones. Wedding Anniversary. Can't figure out how to look at it. Do I still count how many years it would have been? Or do I just look at the date and say we had 42 years and the counting ends. Of course that approach reinforces the finality of death.

Why am I babbling about this? Comes back to what I have written before. Why are there these Anniversaries and what do I do with them? Are they emotional mind-fields? Or with the passage of time have they become non-events?

I watched the marked date loom on my calendar. Saw it get closer. Wondered if I needed to plan something to distract myself as I had done in the earlier years. This is the 4th Wedding Anniversary without Rob. No wait, I think my counting is off. Is it the 5th?!?! Is this a good thing that I can't remember or figure it out? Do I want/need to really definitely know?

I remember when numbers were all I had. And I held so tightly to them. They have floated away, something I did not think was possible. And here I find that I can't and don't want to nail down this number.

The Anniversary passed uneventfully. Not even a blimp...that day. The following weekend I went to an exhibit at a local art museum on the History of the Guitar—a fabulous exhibit of ancient and modern guitars. Acoustic and electric. They even showcased an "Air Guitar" (the curator has a sense of humor). I wandered thru the galleries thinking how much Robert would have enjoyed this exhibit.

Afterwards I attended a lecture and performance that complemented the exhibit. They were given by a professor who is also a classical guitarist. When he sat down and started to play his guitar tears flowed down my face. The music was indeed heavenly but it invoked my loss and yearning. I went to the lecture alone. I now do lots of things on my own. But I wanted to be sharing this moment with Robert. He played the guitar and I believe he would have loved hearing this music.

I realized as the tears were running down my face I could have stopped them. The emotions were not overpowering, they just were. I could have shifted my feelings and thoughts. But I remembered something I recently told a new widow—"Defend your grief. Embrace it." So I took my own advice to heart and let the tears flow.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Night Services

Been going to Friday night services at a local Synagogue. For maybe something like 6 weeks or so. Not every Friday night but more than not. Found myself searching for a community. Rob was my Jewish community and I needed to reconnect. And I heard about a Wednesday night adult ed/talk series that I have also been going to.

Welcomed very warmly by various women the first time. Learning people's names. Its a small congregation. Have even had a talk with the Rabbi. And now I am finding that I am being introduced. Or finding that the people I have exchanged names with are telling others about me. Have achieved critical mass.

On Wednesday I was introduced to one of the men in the Congregation. "Jamie lives in Williston and has horses". He used to live in Williston and had horses. Horses were his ex's but he also had his own. He showed me pictures of him driving one of his horses. I had left my phone in the car and said on Friday I'd bring it to show him my horses.

When I go to Friday night services I sit on the isle. First it on the left. After several week made the huge move across the isle and sat on the right. But I sit alone. On the isle. Have the whole row to myself.

So Friday comes and he is there and invites me to sit with him. And I show him my photos and he shows me more of his - fish - he photographs fish.

The service starts and he had saved seats for his friends. Now I am sitting 3 seats off the isle. Between people, a couple on my left and he is on my right. And during the service I find reading from the prayer book and listening to him recite the prayers in Hebrew oddly very intimate. Guess how much more intimate can you be with someone than praying to God?

I see in my mind's eye how I have moved "up" in seating. Alone on the isle. Alone first one side then the other. Now sitting next to a man from the congregation. Wonder what the Rabbi thinks! "This one works fast"

At the end of the service we all get up and he goes to talk with his other friends and I am greeted by some of the women I have become friendly with. I wonder what the hell the protocol is. Is this it? Do I talk with him again? And while standing around talking with one of the women he comes over with a plate from the Oneg table and while eating from it offers me my pick from his plate.

My mind's eye is quite busy tonight as I now see the female Cardinal at the bird feeder and the male flying to the ground to select a morsel and flying up to offer it to the female.

My woman friend got lost quickly. He and I talked some more, I'm nibbling from his plate (am I a female Cardinal?) and he introduces me to his friends.

This is all so confusing. I have no point of reference. Unless you count Cardinals and seating plans.

Saturday, February 17, 2018

Did I run away or run towards?

I sometimes wonder if my move to Florida was running away. Away for the every present memories. Away from what was familiar. Away from sights that we had experienced together for so many years.

Or was it a running to a place where I could start afresh. Make new memories. Own my decisions. Drive my  line so to speak.

And just when I really start to own my line, I find that I'm back on the knife's edge of a cliff. One little misstep and I'm tumbling down the side of the mountain.

My friend's horse is colicing. Going on the second day. Prognosis is not great. Looking more and more like an impaction, blocked intestines. The vet came out and put in a nasal gastric tube. An NG tube. Rob died of an intestinal blockage. He had an NG tube in for over a year. Seeing that NG tube in the horse and having my inner voice say "NG tube" was just too much. It all comes flooding back so quickly and completely. I miss him. I ache for him. And the tears are flowing.

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.