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.


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!