A hard lesson was learned this week. Words from one close to my heart made me feel very damaged. As in unworthy to ever be loved, or even liked. As in not deserving to be followed on social media. As in not even qualified to be his friend. All because I am too honest, too blunt, about all that I have and am going thru.
For a few hours my heart was breaking. My spirit screamed "It's not fair!"
In the end, I have decided that MY social media is just that - MINE. If someone doesn't like what I post, then unfollow me - unfriend me ... or maybe, just maybe - - SCROLL ON BY! No one is required to read everything I post, nor to comment on it, and certainly not to message me a tirade about what they don't like about it all.
What I share on social media, as well as on this - MY website (where NO ONE, but NO ONE, can tell me what I can or can't share, by the way) - - is done with the hope that just one person will be encouraged to know that they are not alone ... be it a good day or a bad night. YOU ARE NOT ALONE!
Rick's very last request of me was that I continue being brutally honest - on all of social media, in this website. His words: "Honey, if just one person is helped, encouraged, enlightened - then all that we have been thru, and all that you will endure without me, will not be in vain. Stay strong and be brave!"
How can I do less?
It has never been the intent of my heart to piss someone off, nor to make them angry, certainly not to offend in any way - - not by what I live, nor by what I say, certainly not by what I post. But it happens. Maybe the words are hitting a little too close to home? Momma used to say, "The guilty dog always barks first" ? ? ?
I don't want to lose friends because of what I post ... but after many hours with this battle going on in my heart and mind, I have come to realize that a true friend will NEVER be lost. A true friend will stand by no matter what! So, if I lose a "friend"? Perhaps that is simply making room for a true friend to step closer to my heart and deeper into my life.
Sometimes in the wind of change, we find our direction.
Introducing Xena. My cancer Survivor elephant.
As of September 28, 2019, I will be a 7 year cancer Survivor.
It is time to Celebrate Life.
My heart breaks that so many cannot celebrate their life here, because they have won their final battle with cancer and are now at peace, resting high on that mountain. Yes, I can be thankful they no longer suffer, no longer have to know the daily fight of pain, and that they know the blessedness of eternal joy & rest. However, my heart hurts for all that they are missing here with their families and their friends. Most of all, what their families and friends are missing - them.
I have struggled greatly with survivor guilt over having survived, when so many have not. Family & friends. Friends of family. Family of friends. Many I never had the honor of meeting and knowing in this life, but hearing their stories of remembrance & love - my heart aches for the ones left behind to face a life of grief walking. As a widow, I know first hand that grief walking is one of the hardest walks of all.
Because of those left here, with respect to their grief, I have been more quiet than not about my cancer fight. Part of me has been almost ashamed that I fought and won, that I have continued to live.
The first 3 years of surviving I rejoiced and we celebrated the 2nd life I had been given. Then Rick died.
And one question tormented me day and night - "Why did I survive cancer, when Rick did not survive kidney disease?" I have wrestled with this question. Exhausted myself with tears. Suffered many nightmares that would not dissolve with the break of day.
I have now decided to face this Survivor Guilt. In hopes that it will help me to move another step forward in this grief walk, living life as Rick's widow. Also, hoping that by being brutally honest (out of my comfort zone again, Rick) perhaps someone else will find hope, encouragement and strength to walk forward as well.
Cancer survivors can (and do!) experience this guilt. In some ways, having cancer is like being in a war zone. And for that reason alone, many oncologists now argue that most cancer survivors have some degree of PTSD. The enemy is not another group of men, or another country. Rather, a large army of cancer cells within the body. A hidden enemy. One that we do not know when, or where, they will strike next.
*I have come to realize that the first step in coping with survivor's guilt is to acknowledge that my feelings are present and REAL. There is NOTHING wrong with feeling the way I do. In fact, it is just another sign that I am an empathetic, truly caring about those around me.
*I am learning to put words to my feelings, helping me to understand where the emotions are originating from, and allowing me to address them in a more positive way.
I did survive. For whatever reason. For whatever purpose. I survived. Others did not. Rick did not.
I survived the most aggressive form of uterine cancer.
According to what my oncologist, Dr. Frumovitz, and my gynecologist, Dr. Tris, told me - I actually faced close death 3 times.
(1) Having bled out so much in the months prior to diagnosis (from April 1 to August 9, without stopping), my blood count was at 4.5 early in August. It should have been at least a 12. We were told, as I lay there watching the blood transfusion take place, that had we continued on with Rick's work, in which we would have left Sulphur Springs TX and gone to El Paso TX for 10 days on the truck, that I would not have survived the trip. Sobering thoughts to consider Rick having to have my body brought back home.
(2) After diagnosis, during the major surgery to remove the cancer from my body, I bled out. I received 8 units of blood during surgery. Dr. Frumovitz said it had been "touch and go" there for a bit.
(3) Once the path report came back - Stage 2 Uterine cancer, level 1 - Dr. Frumovitz and Dr. Tris told us the most sobering news. Without surgery I would have had no more than 6 months to live, and death would have been the most excruciating pain ever known to a cancer victim. The most aggressive form of Uterine Cancer.
But I survived it all. Thank you Dr. Tobin for caring enough to check me out, even though Ricky Lee was your patient. Thank you Dr. Tris for caring enough to do a D&C even though I did not have insurance. Thank you Dr. Tris for donating your time and your expertise to caring for me, you were even willing to do the major cancer surgery at no charge if you could not get me into MD Anderson. Thank you Dr. Tris for working so tirelessly to get me admitted to MD Anderson. Thank you Dr. Frumovitz for caring deeply for a scared little girl trapped in a grown-ass woman's body. I will always remember the smile and the wink you gave me as you yourself rolled me into surgery. You said, "You are too precious to me to allow anyone else to take you into this room." Thank you each one for all that you did for me - for giving me a 2nd life.
There is much more to my cancer walk, but that will be for another blog.
This one is for moving forward.
Discussing Survivor Guilt.
And leading to the celebration of LIFE that I have every right to experience.
I talked with three very good friends yesterday, Barbara, Kathy & then Larry. I would like to share what they had to say - -
From Barbara: "We should celebrate all God's victories. You should never feel any guilt that you received a gift from God. Isn't that the purpose? To celebrate the victories he provides? I think you would be dishonoring Him if you didn't celebrate. But that's just me."
My response to her: "My heart hurts that so many others have not survived. But I know that me surviving did not take away theirs ... maybe I just need to stop thinking."
I love Barbara. No bullshit Texas girl. And I needed this from her: "Now you listen to me. God blessed you with life, not once but TWICE. And those who didn't survive, have nothing to do with you. You don't get to take their Glory from them that God delivered them home. Their journeys were not yours. But you do them a disservice by feeling bad that they are sitting with their Lord and Savior. The only way you dishonor them is by NOT enjoying the gift you were given and the burden of living your best life for those who were called home. Don't make me come over there and smack you."
Wow. Thank you Barbara! I have always loved you ... love you more now!
From Larry, when I asked him what he thought about me celebrating life, when so many others cannot: "Of course you should. ABSOLUTELY. I do understand the survivors guilt. I should be dead. But what you do not understand is the blessing you are to others. Where would your children be without their mother. What would your friends do without you. Now you have a friend like me. CELEBRATE. Love you"
And from Kathy: That's why you celebrate. It doesn't diminish what happened to them ..its a celebration for you that's all. I love you. And I for 1 am glad you did survive it. you have become so precious to me."
My heart will forever hurt for those left behind as the family & friends of the true winners in this life.
My soul will ache for the arms of my own husband to wrap me in his love.
My ears will continue to strain to hear my husband's voice saying, "I love you. You got this girl. You done good."
Life goes on. Forward. One moment at a time. One day followed by night. A cycle of LIFE, of LAUGHTER, of LOVE.
You might wonder why an elephant for being a Survivor of Cancer.
Well, I wondered that, too.
Then I found this:
Why an elephant for a Cancer Survivor?
The elephant is a symbol of unmatched strength.
With grace carries energies of patience, wisdom and meditation.
A queen of authority.
Herds are always led by females. Matriarchal societies.
Others watch her movements and follow her lead. Knowing she knows the way to precious reserves when resources are scarce.
Wisdom; remembers everything; vast stores of wisdom & experiences passed down from elders.
Ponders & meditates. Allows ancestral knowledge to guide.
Physical strength and endurance is tremendous.
Knows own strength and confidently walks forward.
Thinking things through to all possible conclusions, even to being considered as “over-thinking”.
Remembers a threat and stays on guard.
Ability to know if friend or foe within moments.
Bringing happiness, joy and sustenance to mind, body, spirit & soul.
Inspiration to be strong & patient no matter what life is throwing.
So, Xena will be joining my Graizie (a Holstein cow that Rick bought me many years ago) as a source of strength, comfort, and laughter for me. We shall live this life as an adventure. No matter what anyone thinks or says! Lol
I am taking a page from another Cancer Survivor's story, and I will be sharing pictures of Xena as we walk through all of this. Who knows, Graizie may photo bomb ever so often.
I pray for the strength, the courage, the wisdom, to live, to laugh, and to love - wisely.
Well, here I sit, and it has been over a month since I have written again - actually in 6 days it will have been 2 months! Life has gotten in the way, too much.
Hub Cap Annie has moved to a larger location, just around the corner - to 38 W. 2oth Street in Paris KY. That has taken a lot of time and energies, and still not completely moved, certainly not unpacked and settled in yet.
A few road-trip times chasing items for the office & shop.
One of the best was on a Sunday, driving into Ohio. It was a beautiful & sunny day. Weather was just about perfect in every way. Lunch was at Bob Evans. Stopped for frozen yogurt on the way back to Paris. Interesting conversations. Lots of stories told. Laughter abounded. Out of the office. Away from the TV. Oh yes, the tunes were playing! Sweet tea to drink. My oh my! Yes, it was a good day.
Later in the month of August, a round of allergies kicking my butt. Didn't seem to last too long, thankfully. Still having a little cough lingering. But I dosed up on Vitamin C, Cranberry pills, and drank enough water to float the Titanic back to surface. Lol
Someone found a way to access my bank account this past week. Took over $2000 from me. The bank and I worked on it yesterday. I filed a police report. I hate a thief and a liar. I know that whoever did this has no conscience or remorse, or they wouldn't have done it in the first place. I hope #karmaisabitch and comes calling on them soon, hard & long!
Trying to rest - at least some. Not sure I am, I feel so very worn out. Thinking that a big part is simply a tiredness of spirit and heart. The tiredness that sleep doesn't fix. I feel very strongly that I need some downtime ... take a long walk ... a hot shower ... drink some coffee, but not on the go ... read a book ... maybe color a few pages ... work on my website - I really miss doing that more often ... sweet conversation with a trusted friend who has no judgment, just sound counsel ... a few thousand hugs and kisses from my kids & grandkids ... Sigh.
I am taking a deep breath the rest of today and this weekend. No matter where I am, or who I may be with, nor what I am doing ... these next few hours & days are going to be more about ME. Resting. Relaxing. Trying to get refreshed a little. At least inwardly, if not able to on the outside.
The weather here has been a mixture of hot and cool ... I much prefer the fall coolness. It's back into the hotter side for these next 7 days. Ick!
Not only do I need cooler weather to enjoy, but I sure could use a glass or 3 of Pink Moscato wine. I am not a drinker by nature. However, I do enjoy the Pink Moscato.
Been thinking about a hot tub.
Lights down low.
Soft music playing.
A rolled up towel behind my neck.
A cool drink in hand.
Ahhhh...this would be the absolute definitive meaning of SERENITY.
In 6 days it will have be my 39th wedding anniversary. And my 4th one without Rick.
This was the one that we had talked about so often ... planned for ... dreaming of what to do.
He always said that we would be "39 and holding" this year.
Now, I sit here alone.
Wondering what to do.
Should I do anything?
Or do I just let it come and go?
We made it to 34 years, 7 months, 17 days and 11 hours.
Yes, it was a life together worth celebrating.
I know I will spend a lot of time these next 10 days remembering. Missing him. Thinking about our life together and simply being thankful for the time we had - for it could have been no time together.
I was loved.
Cared about and cared for.
I was blessed.
I have oft been told to "just be thankful that you had something most people never have an hour of" ... and I am. But at times like this? That is of little comfort. When my heart cries out for a hug ... when my lips ache to be kissed ... when my soul yearns to be touched ... Sigh.
Life goes on.
Even when we don't want it to.
Life goes on.
There are too many things I miss to name them one by one.
I will just let the tears and the heart ache tell the story of our love.
I can hear Rick over the title of this blog today. "I thought I smelled something burning". He was such a smart ass! Lol. Oh how I miss his smart-assiness. Sigh.
There are times that I sit here with thoughts swirling around in my head & my heart overflowing with what I want to write, and yet, the words do not come easy. It's almost as if I stammer and stutter over the keys on this keyboard. Times that rather than pounding out a blog in a matter of moments, it takes a process of thinking, wondering, second guessing, deleting it all, starting over, walk away, come back, look at my fingers and wonder - "Why do you not type what is within me without all this?"
This morning is one such time.
I have thought much about Rick this week. Nothing new there, he's always in my thoughts, but this week has been a bit different. Rick was a true American & Texas Patriot. He often said that if you cut him he would bleed red, white & blue. There is so much, well everything, that I miss about him. There are the heart beats that my mind says, "He's on the truck, will be calling any minute now, and I will go home to him." Then, the gut punch. He's just gone. Never to return. I must go on alone, without him. Take a deep breath, let out the sigh (regardless of what those around think or say). And press forward. One breath at a time, moment by moment, step by step. More like 3 steps forward and 2-4 back. But I guess I'm too stubborn to give up. Well, and I promised him, our kids and grandkids, that I would NOT give up. That no matter what, I would continue on. So, I simply do.
I have learned a lot about life these last 4 years. And I have learned a lot about ME, too.
We always told our kids, and grandkids, as well as anyone else who came to us for counsel and/or advice:
"You have to decide what YOU can live with ... and what YOU can live without. No life is perfect. You just have to take the good, the bad, the indifferent, and make it as perfect as you can - - for YOU."
I realized just this week that that is exactly what I have been doing - especially the last 6 weeks or so.
I have written some about all that I do not want, while asking myself that all important question: "Margaret, what DO you want?"
This is MY life now. The life I had, lived, loved, and enjoyed, with my Sweetheart - is gone. A memory in my writings, in pictures, and held always close to my heart. Now this is MY life, MY time.
What DO i want?
*I want a morning cup of coffee in quietness & stillness. Preferably sitting in a rocker, on a porch - or in a porch swing. Listening to the birds singing, the wind rustling the leaves of the trees, feeling the breath of air lightly touching my face.
*A comfortable bed to lay down in at night, after the day is done, when these old bones are weary, and the spirit is simply tired.
*As Maureen said in The Quiet Man: "I want me things about me, and this I shall have!"
*A vehicle that is realistically dependent and comfortable. To be able to go where I want, when I want, and stay as long as I want - - even if just to take an afternoon drive down a country road.
*A cup of coffee in the morning, and a glass of wine in the evening.
*A good book always at hand to read.
*Fresh flowers, simple wildflowers are wonderful.
*Freedom to post on any venue of social media (including this website) of where I am, who I am with, and what I am doing.
*Arms that are willing to hug me, without being asked.
*A purpose to get up each morning.
*Direction for where I am supposed to be, what I am supposed to do.
*The list goes on ... some of which can be found HERE.
There are thoughts that I am asking for too much. That I am not deserving of this.
Then, my heart cries out! After all that I have endured, and survived? This is NOT too much!
Also, something else that I have come to realize.
I have made mistakes these 4 years without Rick. No "Life Manual for Grief Walking" was given to me. No wise words of counsel or advice from someone who had lived this life before me.
Yes, a lot of words from I'm sure (or at least I hope) well meaning family & friends, some of who were widows & widowers on the same walk, and often within the same time frame as me.
I have been judged, criticized, and condemned.
I have been told that others were going to "make a call" and talk to those that in my life and "FIX" everything for me. In those words, I found myself feeling more alone and scared than I had been since the morning I looked into Rick's eyes and saw nothing. I pulled away from everyone for a time, not even writing. Certainly not answering questions directed at "how are you doing?" or "how's life going?" I deflected everything right back to the person I was chatting with, or talking to on the phone. Little to nothing about me, or my life. It has been one of the darkest periods of my life, bar none.
When I lost my sister, who listened without judgment or criticism, who only gave counsel when asked - I shut down for a period of time. Just going thru the motions, playing my part well enough that others were at least somewhat satisfied.
These "Mistakes" that everyone seems so quick to judge me for - they are NOT the mistakes that keep me awake at night. They are NOT the mistakes that I pound my head and heart over and over with 2nd guessing and wonderings and questioning.
There have been less than 5 people, not counting my sister, these 4 years who have truly listened to my heart. And even they have come at me with "what I would do", or "are you crazy?", or "why in the Hell are you doing this?" Sigh.
My life is complicated and like a puzzle that I am trying to put together. Imagine having a 2000 piece puzzle to put together, in a certain amount of time given, and no picture to guide you. IMAGINE that! And you have the tiniest glimpse into what my life is like.
Give me a Damn break! I am doing the best I can. I am doing what at this moment feels best for me. I know that I am learning as I go. And that I will have many regrets (I already do). Each moment, each day, is bringing new revelation and realizations now. The numbness is gone. I am seeing more clearly.
Your support would be greatly appreciated. Your kindness would be treasured.
I am also learning my limits.
*What I am responsible for, and what I am not - often at the consternation and frustration of others, simply because I am refusing to cover their butt any longer. No, I will not throw someone under the bus, but NO I will not take responsibility for what is not me and mine. I'm done.
*Exhausted from walking on eggshells in this life. Eggshells because of my choices. Because of my political beliefs. Because of my religious convictions. Because of the way I was raised. Because of the State I was born in, and that I love. Because of my ancestors, my heritage. Because of the experiences I have had in these 58 years. Because of the love I have for my children and grandchildren. Because of the grief that I carry deep within my soul. Because of a whole host of things that make me WHO I AM. Others can either deal with it or scroll on by - whether my writings, my social media posts, or my life. I don't care anymore. This is ME.
I still have much to learn. Sadly, it is slow going. Still haven't found that damn manual.
Hmmm...maybe it's time someone wrote one.
Hmmm...maybe that someone is me. It's a thought.
Anyway, I'm living.
Learning as I go.
Searching for laughter.
Making memories out of the moments.
Loving best I know how-to.
TRYING to give it my everything, to leave it all on the field. (Reference to "Facing the Giants", a great movie by the way)
There are days.
Days that make you stop and think.
Days that make you dream and wonder.
Days that are filled with memories and magic.
Days that are dripping in sorrow and sadness.
Rick's Uncle Bill died on Saturday morning. June 22, 2015. He's been such a part of my life. I honestly do not remember when he wasn't. Long before Rick and I married. I will miss him. I will never allow his memory, his words, his stories, to be forgotten. I will tell of the times with him. I will tell Rick's stories of his Uncle Bill. I love you Uncle Bill - always have, and forever will!!!
Not being able to be with family thru difficult times is hard for me. It's not that I can fix anything, but just to be near those who have memories, too. I will grieve for myself this week - selfishly some will say - that I cannot be there with Aunt Jerry and the girls, I will not be held by my son and my grandsons as I mourn the loss of such a great man. I will not be able to wrap my arms of understanding and love around Aunt Jerry, who was there so much for me these last 4 years of being a widow. Yes, I will grieve for Uncle Bill, I will grieve for his family and his friends, and I will grieve yet once again for me.
Rick, I sure could use a hug today. A hug of understanding and care. A hug lacking in judgment and criticism. A hug filled with love and memories. Oh Rick!
Life is all about changes. This I know. All too well, I know. Rick used to say that the only certain thing in life was change. Damn, I wish he wasn't right!
I am working on some more changes for me. Physically, emotionally, mentally, hopefully financially as well. There has to be more to life than what I have been surviving on. There has to be life, love, and laughter. I know that all that I decide from this point on will not be met with acceptance and support. However, this is my life and I must do what is best for me. I realize that my choices and decisions affect those in "my world", and I do care about their feelings. I've never been one that cared much what others thought of me, I am my own person, comfortable with me. I do have a heart of concern, in that I don't want to purposely hurt or offend others. But again, this is my life and I must do what is best for me. If I screw it up, it's on me. Sigh. I do my best to weigh everything out, and probably overthink things way too much in the process. There comes a time when you just have to take that step of faith and move on forward, regardless of what others may want or say.
Where will I go? How will I go? What will I do? Where do I start? Will this be a life alone for me? I have many more questions than answers. It's time I give serious thought to those questions and accept what I cannot change, change what I can, and know the difference between the two so that I don't continue to spin my wheels and waste precious time.
I will miss Rick as long as I have breath. There will never be a day where I don't think about him. Not one experience where I don't consider what he would think or how he would feel. Not a morsel of food will pass my lips without wondering, or knowing, how he would react to it, and hearing his words of "how good it is". There will be no sick days or days of pain where I will not hear his caring voice speaking over me. Never will there be a glass of wine, or rum, where I will not look across my glass and see his sparkling eyes smiling at me. But there is healing and hope ... and a life to be lived. It is time to move forward and do what I can to live and laugh and love.
I believe the best way I can honor his memory is to live life to the fullest. He was a man who was honorable, and filled with great passion. He loved to laugh, even at himself. He loved the great outdoors, in all kinds of weather. He loved old westerns and good action movies, as well as the romantic comedies. He was a history nut. And the list of his passions go on ... and on. His children ... his grandchildren ... his family ... his friends ... his wife. I will take a deep breath and continue his legacy of loving and laughing with passion, and living life with honor.
I have made mistakes these past 4 years. Having never been a widow before, and finding no manual on how to do this, I have taken some missteps, I have made choices & decisions that were not the wisest. I have spent money trying to balm over the pain and emptiness. I have eaten, or not eaten, for comfort. I have not slept for fear of the dreams, or fear of not seeing Rick in my sleep. I have lost friendships, not as a direct choice, but more of a indirect effect of a choice made. Family relationships have been torn and hurt, again, not as a direct choice of mine, but as a result of misunderstandings more than anything else. I have held to what I wanted as my life, our life, rather than simply embracing the life I have been handed. Not everything I have done or said has been wrong, but there has been enough wrong to make me have regrets ... but as Rick said so many times - "It's in the past, honey. We do what we think best at the time. Hindsight is always 20/20. If there were mistakes? Then admit it, quit it, and go on." I cannot live in the regrets ... but I can choose more wisely what my next regrets will be.
Life goes on.
My choice is to go on with it.
I will figure this out one moment at a time ... one day at a time.
Mistakes, regrets, defeats.
Laughter, Love, Victories.
Life goes on.
First let me say - Happy Father's Day to all the guys. Even if you are not a daddy, you are a man who has an influence in someone's life. Walk wisely, someone is always watching what you do & listening to what you say.
This is Father's Day weekend, so it is natural to think about my dad … and to think about Ricky Lee, my kids' daddy. Today is also my dad's birthday, so again, the thoughts and memories.
He was a hard working man. Held down a full time job in town, never making more than $2.00 an hour. Worked 3 gardens at the house, along with all his fruit trees, to keep the family fed. Took care of the animals when Momma couldn't.
He was a human calculator in math. It didn't matter what figures you gave him, or whether to add, subtract, multiply or divide - before you finished giving him the numbers? He had the answer. He couldn't show you how he got to his answer, but he got there!
He was a genius when it came to creating new fruits by making 2 trees grow together.
He rarely complained no matter what was going on in his body, or his life.
He was a quiet man.
His parents had died when he was but a child, leading him to be raised by his older brothers - well, until he was 12 years old. At that time, he took to the rails and became a hobo, traveling cross country to find work. He never talked much about those years.
He married Momma when he was 25, never to travel again.
He raised us 5 kids, and we were never hungry or naked, never had to sleep out in the weather.
We had whatever we needed for school & book learning.
He never whipped any of us.
He seldom raised his voice at all.
He and Momma rarely argued, I can only remember a couple of "loud discussions".
He made sure that wherever Momma wanted to go, she was able to. Family. Friends. Church.
When he died, most people said, "Oh how I would love to hear him pray just one more time."
I cannot miss him.
He was a child molester and rapist. Behind closed doors, or off in the car down a back country road.
I have often wondered about those years after his parents died, before he married Momma. But no matter what he endured, that gave him no right to do to us girls what he did. Gave him no authority over our bodies to change our lives forever. Gave him no reason to steal our childhoods from us.
I cannot miss him on his birthday.
I cannot miss him on Father's Day.
I cannot miss him ever.
I have forgiven him many years ago, the anger and hatred I carried in me was like an emotional and mental cancer - eating me alive. So I made the decision to forgive him.
But that doesn't mean I have forgotten.
It doesn't mean that I no longer feel betrayed, or have no regrets of my childhood being stolen.
Yes, I endured.
Yes, I survived. It is who I am. It is what I do.
I am thankful every moment of every day, for the last 38 years that he was the father of my children.
He was more than just a father. He was a true and honest DADDY.
He loved me beyond any description that I could give. Easiest to say that I was his Beloved.
I believe that is the greatest thing a man can do for his children - LOVE THEIR MOTHER.
He insisted on respect, honor and gratitude, by our kids (and all kids in our home) to me.
He loved dad jokes. And he was excellent at telling them, or coming up with them on the fly.
He loved to play practical jokes on the kids. I think about the "Monkey Hands" in Oregon. LOL
Or when he scared the girls that were sitting in the car out in the yard late one night.
Memories abound, overflowing my thoughts this weekend.
He adored our kids - daughter and son.
He was strict, but he was fair - even when they thought he wasn't.
He would on occasion spank the kids if they deserved it, but he never abused them. Never hurt them, more than their pride.
He helped me in the house, and in the yard.
He made the kids help, too. They had chores that he expected them to do.
He was proud of them for every accomplishment - no matter how big or small.
He was not ashamed of his emotions. He loved to hug - me, the kids, the grandkids.
He was a man's man. But he was a woman's man, too.
He loved people, he listened, he shared.
He was honored. He was respected.
He spoke words of wisdom.
The song "Daddy's Hands" I believe was written about him.
He died and it was said with all truth, "Here lies an honorable man."
Ricky Lee, my husband, my children's daddy, my grandchildren's Ppaw - is missed with every heart beat that any of us have.
Missed … cried for … our minds and hearts reach for him even tho he is no longer here.
I love you Rick.
What an honor to be the mother of your children.
What an absolute joy to have had you in my life for 34 years, 7 months, 17 days, and 11 hours.
I miss you Rick.
Your Meg - always and forever.
There are those who will say I am whining ... perhaps I am.
But then, perhaps I have a right to whine ever so often.
I listen to whining every damn day. In real life ... on Facebook ... on Twitter.
Hell, turn on the news! You will hear whining, too!
There are those who will say I am being selfish ... perhaps I am.
But then, perhaps I have a right to be selfish every once in a while.
We live in a selfish-all-about-me society.
You know, where it doesn't matter what others feel, or think, or say.
All that matters is what YOU feel or think or say.
No one else can be right or even tolerated in "YOUR world, YOUR land".
(insert rolling eyes here)
There are those who will say I am only feeling sorry for myself ... perhaps I am.
But then, after all the hell I have been thru ... and the hell I live with every day, every night?
Dammit! I have a right to feel sorry for myself sometimes.
Hell, I feel sorry for others who have been thru hell ... or that are going thru hell.
So why not feel sorry for myself, too?
There are those who will say I have no right to feel the way I do ... Oh yes I do!
Yesterday was National Cancer Survivor Day.
It was on the news.
It was all over Facebook.
It was on Twitter ... Instagram ... Pinterest ...
and the list goes on.
I have survived cancer.
Not one word was said to me in celebration of surviving.
Not one recognition that I am alive - no thanks to the attack on my body and life by that monster.
I shared a moment of hurt with someone that I trust ... and all I heard?
"Oh, I didn't know that was today."
Then when I commented that because I didn't have to have treatments for the cancer, there are those who say (insist) that I did not have cancer.
(Doesn't matter what the oncologist said, doesn't matter what the path reports show.)
"Well, you certainly surround yourself with a lot of Negative Nellies, don't you?"
It has been said many times that in the darkness is where you find out who is on your side.
Guess yesterday told me what I need to know.
This meme says it all ... "YOU JUST GOT TO GIVE YOURSELF!"
Shared on my social media sites this morning:
September 28 will be 7 years as a Survivor for me. The most aggressive form of Uterine cancer. Oncologist told us that if it had not been caught that I would have had at the most 6 months & that it would have been the most excruciating death imaginable.
I was diagnosed with PTSD because of the cancer, Rick was my strength those first couple of years. Then when he died from kidney disease, survivor guilt hit me hard.
I still do not know all the reasons why I survived and he did not.
Nor do I know why I survived and so many others didn't. My heart continually breaks for the families and friends of those who have "won their final battle" with pain & cancer.
But no longer will I be ashamed that I survived. I will trust there is a reason greater than I can comprehend.
So, today, I will celebrate LIFE - - just as it is. Good, bad, and indifferent. Constantly changing. Amazing. Wonderful. Scary. Lonely. Beautiful mess.
I miss being held.
So damn much.
I would gladly pay someone to wrap their arms around me, let me lay my cheek against their chest ...
and simply HOLD me.
For maybe 20 minutes.
Just quietly being held.
Let me rest.
Let me breathe.
Just Hold Me.
I know the truth of these words.
I am reminded of them every night, usually between 3 a.m. - 5 a.m.
This morning, I actually slept until 5:22 a.m.
But these were the words that came to me when I woke up, as I stumbled thru a darkened house. As I made my way to my computer.
Breathe. I've been here before ... every morning for over 4 years ... I've been here before.
"Trust that this struggle is part of the process."
That is something no one tells you ... the healing hurts. It is scary. It is lonely. It just simply hurts like HELL.
I know there is healing within my heart, deep within my spirit. I am different today than what I was 4 years ago. Oh, the grief is still there ... but then, it always will be. Great grief is indicative of great love. And believe me, you don't get over a lifetime of being in love with someone in 4 years ... or in another lifetime.
I have always found it difficult to stand up for myself.
Mainly because I had Rick to be there for me, for 35 years, I rarely got the opportunity! :)
After all this time without someone to stand for me, defend me, protect and cover me ...
and all the hateful things that have been said to & about me ...
the physical bruises and pains ...
the emotional batterings ...
the times of being belittled ...
the shaming ...
being challenged & questioned in a way that stings and makes me draw back into myself ...
I am WAKING UP.
Being reminded of who I am, my value and my worth!
I am who I am because of the life I have lived.
Because of where I was born, and where I grew up - Texas.
Because of all the places I have seen.
Because of all the experiences I have endured & enjoyed.
Because of the people in my life - some have been blessings, some have been lessons.
Because of the one who loved me most.
Because of the ones who call me Momma, or Grannee.
I am no longer ashamed.
I am ME.
I've had enough of being disrespected. I can't make you respect me. Respect is earned, not demanded. But I have never given you a reason to disrespect me. I live my life with integrity and Southern grace. But disrespect me one more damn time and this Southern grace is going to explode all over your ass!
Enough of being stabbed by words and looks. Sticks and stones may be what breaks bones, but let me tell you - words and looks break the heart, and the spirit. But no more. I have girded my heart and my spirit with Southern dignity and grace. I have a guard about my heart that your words and looks cannot, will not penetrate! And since I am known as the "Queen of the LOOK" - look out! I will laugh at your sniveling attempt at "the LOOK".
Enough of being made to feel ashamed and sorry that I am a Texan - just because there are some assholes from Texas. Well, guess what? There are assholes in Kentucky and Idaho and Oregon and Wisconsin and New York and Alabama and ... yeah, the list goes on! There are assholes everywhere! Every community, town, city, county, state, & country. There are assholes! Just because I am from Texas doesn't mean that I am an asshole - but treat me like one ... one more damn time and see what you get!
Enough of being made to feel small because I survived Cancer and your loved one did not. I am sorry. I am truly and eternally sorry. I would gladly give my life for theirs, if I could. But I can't. No amount of compassion or being sorry, or even being ashamed that I survived, is going to give them back to you. Something I have realized in the last few days especially - - I didn't ask for Cancer. And me surviving did NOT take your loved one away from you. I DID NOT DO IT. IT'S NOT MY FAULT. So, please, stop treating me like I did something wrong by surviving. I have suffered enough with survivor guilt - I lived when Rick did not. I lived when so many others did not. I live today when others will take their last breath. I can no longer focus on "why" ... I must begin to focus on "LIFE" and living it to the fullest. If anything, I owe LIFE to my husband ... to all those who died due to Cancer ... to my children & grandchildren ... and to MYSELF. I have been thru Hell ... and I SURVIVED!
One more thing, then I need to be quiet & finish my coffee, because the day calls to get started.
I know now that I can do this life ... even alone.
Rick gave me a strong and solid foundation to build on.
I hold to his love, his faith in me.
I still cry out to be his widow, to make him say, "You done good girl!"
If you are in my life, it is because I want you there.
Don't mistake my love and desire for your presence & your friendship as a desperate cry of need.
I can do this life.
Alone if necessary.
I love you.
I want you with me.
As I begin this chapter of my journey, I am both excited and filled with trepidation.
For almost all of my adult life I have had the absolute support of my husband. He was my listening ear, my sound & wise counsel, my rudder on the waters.
And now? Since life has chosen for me to be a widow ... I find it difficult to find the peace that he always said to "go in".
I have made the decision to do this, and do this I will. Where will it lead me? Heaven only knows.
There was a moment this past week that was a gut punch of reality.
A stark reminder of all that I had ... all that I have lost ... and just how little hope I have of having it again.
Walking into a house that is under going some remodeling & restoration work. Being asked for my opinion on paint colors & such.
It was literally all I could do to maintain composure.
My breath felt like it was being sucked out of me by a living, breathing, HOME.
My heart broke into a million gajillion pieces all over again.
I miss having a home.
I miss the planning and placing of rooms and stuff.
I miss the laughter.
I miss the love shared.
I miss the meals cooked and savored.
I miss the movies watched.
I miss the messes to clean up.
I miss having a home.
Since Rick died and I have been staying with family & friends, they have a HOME.
I am a guest in those homes.
Doing what I can to help with the cooking and cleaning.
Doing what I can to be a blessing, not a burden.
Breathing in and breathing out with every meal prepared, with every dish washed, with every TV show watched.
Being reminded a thousand times a day that this is NOT my home ... it is theirs.
In those early morning hours of 3 a.m. - 5 a.m. when sleep eludes me so often (almost every morning), I sit in the darkness and I wonder.
Will I ever again know a HOME?
Will I have the freedom to plan and to place items?
Will I have the blessing of cleaning "me things"?
The thoughts haunt me as I go about the days, whether in their homes, or out and about, or even at the office.
I miss having a home.
In so many ways, I miss having a HOME now more than I miss having someone to love me.
Since I do not have what is commonly called a "stick home", I have decided to use my computer for a "virtual home". Using this website, Pinterest, Instagram, Twitter, even Facebook, and anything else I can find and figure out. Settling my heart, mind & spirit here.
If life allows a real home for me at some point, then perhaps I can use some of the ideas gleaned, saved and shared there, too.
I have been giving much thought to a "stick home" lately.
Wondering what would be the proper fit for me. Alone.
(Now, if life allows for a 2nd chapter in my life to love, then it would no longer be just my choice ...
but at this time I do not see that.)
I am leaning more towards an RV.
I love the smaller spaces anyway - the coziness of them, the easy clean & upkeep to them.
Rick called our RV's "Margaret's Real-Life Shoeboxes".
He understood me - my heart & mind - more than anyone else ever has ... more than anyone since him has even tried to do.
RV living is a wonderful experience ... a treasured life.
Enjoying the little things comes quicker, easier, simpler.
Meeting new people, forming lasting bonds that are for always.
It's not easy.
Certainly not for everyone.
But I love it!
I sit here this Memorial Day, as I reflect and remember all those who have given all that I may have the freedom to sit here and write these words.
I am eternally grateful to the soldiers who have served and sacrificed for our country, for our families, for me.
I honor the families and friends of those who gave everything, for all that they have lost, for all that they have endured.
I am glad to be living in America. Even with all the issues and conflicts that we have within our borders, it is still the greatest country on earth!
God Bless America! Always & Forever!
I have spent the last 4 years battling survival guilt, because I survived cancer and Rick didn't survive kidney disease. As well as the survivor guilt because so many others' husbands, wives, children and family have not survived cancer.
I never thought it would hit like it has.
But hit it has, and hit with hard punches that have taken my breath away.
When sleep does come, so do the nightmares.
Feeling numb and detached.
No pleasure in previously enjoyable activities.
Feeling helpless & at times out of control.
Physical symptoms - headaches (more intense & more often), stomach ails, heart palpitations, dizziness.
I have been shamed for surviving when others did not.
I have been told that I really did not have cancer, but rather using it as a way of attention.
Because I didn't have to have treatments, due to the aggressive cancer having been caught early enough.
At the very least, scoffed at or made light of the cancer diagnoses & all that I went thru.
"Not that bad because you didn't have treatments, and you are still here. So what do you have to complain about?"
I let it all make me quiet about my experiences, my thoughts, my feelings.
During some of those dark & long nights when I couldn't sleep.
Or after one of the flashback nightmares had woken me from sleep.
Many thoughts, and rivers of tears, have led me to this - -
Shouldn't I rejoice that I survived?
Shouldn't I share my experience with those who are battling cancer, or other life challenges - that sometimes, we do survive?
And sometimes we simply WIN the final battle?
I make this promise to Rick who was so proud of me, to my children and my grandchildren, and to ME. I will never again be ashamed at having had cancer & SURVIVED.
These are 3 quality articles that need to be read & shared.
Invaluable information if you, or someone you know, is going thru Survival Guilt - from any traumatic event.
Survivors Guilt in People with Cancer
Do You Suffer From Survivor’s Guilt?
Understanding Survivor Guilt
Just some rambling thoughts of mine today. But determined thoughts.
I am a "big girl".
Yes, I have curves.
Yes, I have too much filling in those curves.
Yes, I have aches and pains, I was diagnosed with advanced osteoarthritis at 23 years old. Told that if I ever stopped moving, that it would take less than 6 months for me to be in a wheelchair. And that it would simply progress as I got older. At 58 I can attest to the truth of that statement on progression.
Yes, I love to cook, and I love to eat.
Yes, I enjoy walking, used to enjoy it more before my knees and feet became such a pain. Still enjoy it, but finding that it is more “work” than it has ever been. I focus on finding unique things to take a picture of, or to listen carefully to the sounds around me.
No, I am not going to go on a "radical" diet of any kind - If I cannot use it every day for the rest of my life? Not going to use it now. Which will frustrate the hell out of all the “diet” people! Lol
No, I am not going to be a runner. At my smallest & in the best shape of my life, I was not a runner - why would I start now? Again, knowing that this will frustrate the ones into fitness.
No, I am not going to take pills, nor have surgery, nor join a gym. Again, if it is not something that I can do every day for the rest of my life? Not doing to do it now. Not saying one thing against those who use these ways of losing weight, just knowing myself – and knowing that they are not for me.
At 58 years old, I have decided that this will be the last attempt to lose weight, and keep it off. No more yo-yo's. Been there, done it ... wore out the t-shirts to prove it.
I have also decided that this will be for ME. Not to attract anyone. If someone, be it friend or more, cannot (or will not) love me as I am today, and for the heart that I have - - then, their loss, not mine.
This will be for ME. My health, my sanity.
Will it be easy? No.
Will it be worth it? Yes.
Starting weight ... that is for me to know, at this time. I am ashamed, humiliated, embarrassed. Yet, it spurs me to begin this.
In the first 2 years after Rick died, I lost about 150 pounds. A wicked combination of grief, and simply not eating. No appetite. No desire to cook. Nothing. Somewhere around 8 months in to being a widow, I started walking. And it became like an obsession to me.
Then, the 3rd year I slowed down on the walking, for one excuse or another. And I found myself eating more - either socially eating, eating out of boredom, or eating for comfort.
This last year has been a difficult one for me on every level of my life. I have tried to make better choices on foods, often failing. Yet not eating as much, which is better. Even tried to get back to walking - but between the weather and me being sick, eh ... not so faithful on the walking part.
Getting on the scales this morning I was not shocked, well, not entirely. I did think it would be more than the last time I weighed, but less than what it showed. I would like to blame it on the scales not being calibrated ... but that would just be another way of enabling the excuses. So, this time, I will own it. However, I am not ready to be public about the weight.
One day ... I will.
I am committing to myself - -
*Limiting sweet tea. Allowing myself one or two glasses per day, with a meal only.
*Or a couple of small glasses lemonade. Knowing that if I drink too much, the heart burn will hurt.
*Take a deep breath and force myself to drink water. I did buy me a new & pretty water bottle the other day - and for the price I paid? Uh, I'm going to use it!
*Beginning with 1000 steps a day, for the first 2 weeks, then when I attain (or pass) that for several days, I will up it to 2000. And continue in like manner. No, that isn't a lot. However, it will be a "step in the right direction". My daughter says, "Momma, for every step you take, it's better than sitting on the couch."
*This will NOT be me denying myself anything. All things in moderation. But MODERATION is something I must get a hold of and not let go!
*I will continue to have my coffee with either French Vanilla liquid creamer, or Sweet Cream liquid creamer. Yes, I know that many say I should do without the creamer ... but this is MY life and journey, and I will have my coffee! I will give up other things through-out the day ... but not my coffee!
*It will be difficult not to get on the scales often, because I want to see progress.
But I know that isn't fair to my body, nor to my mind.
I will weigh once a month or so, at first especially.
Until then? I will work on my moderation, on drinking water, and increasing my steps.
I will say that food no longer has an attraction to me.
After everything these 4 years, I no longer live to eat ... I eat to live.
I enjoy a good food or drink.
That will be my focus.
I know that I must live to maintain strength and energy for the days.
I will work towards moderation & balance.
I miss having a partner in all of this.
Rick and I worked together so well ... Sigh.
More often than not lately, I find myself with little to no appetite.
Little to no thirst.
Little to no interest or excitement.
Little to no laughter or tears.
Little to no nothing ... Just empty.
I get up, fix my hair, sometimes make-up, get dressed, add a few pieces of jewelry …
Paste a smile on my face.
Pretend that all is well ... when it's not.
I post on Facebook.
I write here.
It all feels like just going thru the motions of the day.
There is a small part of me that says I have a lot of fight left in me ...
a smaller part that looks & listens for that whisper of hope …
I just feel empty.
I think that might be my "normal" for now.
I fight the "oofies" & emptiness.
Knowing that I have much to be thankful for - and I am.
Knowing that I am loved - hard not to wish it were more evident.
Really missing having a vehicle. I feel lost, stranded, frustrated, even angry - all over not having a vehicle. :(
Feeling like the future is more unsteady than if I were standing on a bowl of Jell-o. sigh.
"Do what you must, until you can do what you want."
Working on that.
My heart (and body) is divided these days.
Part of me feels absolutely empty and exhausted -
physically (not sleeping well in so long),
mentally & emotionally (dealing with the 4th year anniversary of Rick's death, and all that goes with being a widow) …
and part of me feels determined & courageous.
I refuse to allow the pettiness & selfish, immature, actions & attitudes of others to take away the peace and joy that is in my heart.
Life goes on ... and I choose to move forward with it.
Looking for the secret treasures of each day.
It seems that most days I feel like I have taken more steps back than forward.
But I will not allow frustrations and discouragements to win this battle.
I stumble, and I fall.
I do not completely "fall off the wagon" … but I don’t have a solid seat in the bed of it either.
More like hanging on to the side while going at a full gallop!
Working on focusing more on the positive parts of me and life - even if I have to search (as for hidden treasure).
There comes along ever so often, a day where you wonder why you even live, breathe, exist.
I know life could be worse …
It could be better, too!
It’s my job to make it better for ME.
Mother's Day, 2019
Rick, I miss you. Dammit. You would always say, "It's just another day." Or - "You aren't my Momma." But then - - you always did something special. A card. Flowers. A gift. A long ride in the country. A cuddle-me movie. Dinner out. You never forgot. You always cared. I miss you today.
I miss my kids today. Grown with lives of their own.
14-16 hours away, because I made the choice to come here ... never with the intention of staying gone so long, especially at a time. :( But life happens ... cars die ... money isn't there ... sigh.
I miss my Momma.
Today has been a difficult ride of emotions, memories and thoughts.
Momma, you loved flowers & purple - so this is for you. I love you, and I miss you like crazy.
How much I would love to hear your words of wisdom for my life right now.
Happy Mother's Day.
Thank you for having me, for giving me life, and for loving me all thru the years. <3
Wise words of wisdom. Sharing with permission from a sweet & dear friend.
I know you are not looking for advice. I know you just graduated and you feel like you already know everything. And you do . . . but I can’t help giving you some words of wisdom as you head out into the world - things I have learned over the years - advice I wish I would have listened to when I was your age. Here’s what I wish for you . . .
• ALWAYS PUT GOD FIRST. I know this is hard to understand at your age, but you will always be at peace with your life if you trust in God’s plan. Pray every day and always ask yourself what Jesus would do before making decisions. Let God’s love lead you in all that you do and live your life with hope. Remember, this life is temporary . . . your reward is in Heaven!
• NEVER GIVE UP. Life is hard. There are going to be so many times you feel like quitting, but just don’t. Work hard at everything you do – whether you are sweeping the floor or running a business. Build the best work ethic you can . . . that will help you succeed and earn you respect.
• BE KIND TO EVERYONE. Kindness makes the world a better place. It is so easy to judge and criticize, but that damages relationships and hurts feelings. Always be an encourager . . . help others and see the good in them. A kind word inspires and goes a long way. Spread it everywhere you go.
• PUSH YOURSELF every day to step out of your comfort zone. You are important and you have a purpose in this life . . . don’t be afraid to dream big and believe in yourself!
• DO THE RIGHT THING. This should be your life motto. If you do the right thing, your conscience will always be clear. If you don’t, guilt and regret will live in your heart. It is not always easy to do the right thing, but it will always make your life better.
• NOT EVERYONE IS GOING TO LIKE YOU - and that’s okay. Sometimes you can do everything right . . . and certain people will just not like you. Those are NOT your people. Move on . . . don’t dwell on them. Find your tribe – those that cheer you on and support you and encourage you and make you a better person. You deserve someone who makes you feel good about yourself . . . someone who makes you happy. Don't ever settle for anything less.
• LIFE IS HARD & UNFAIR. You will have failures and disappointments and mistakes and heartbreaks. I wish I could protect you from all those hurts, but it is a part of life. Just know that these hard times will make you stronger and will mold you into a more compassionate and caring person. Be positive, stay hopeful, keep trying and continue to forgive and love others no matter how dark the days feel. There are always brighter days ahead.
• LIFE IS SHORT and tomorrow is never guaranteed. Love big and live with passion. Take risks and do what makes you happy. Give yourself grace and then give it to others. Hug, laugh, take vacations, be silly, dance in the rain, love others, eat the cake . . . live your life as if every day is your last!
• YOU ARE LOVED. You are important. You are smart. You are worthy. You are unique. You have a purpose. You are strong. You are brave. You are amazing. You are perfect just as you are. You can do hard things. Always know these things deep in your heart and soul.
• AND DON’T FORGET TO . . .
Always clean up after yourself.
Always lock your doors.
Always use good manners.
Always drive safe.
Always try your best.
Always own your mistakes and apologize.
Always respect other’s opinions.
• And most important, ALWAYS CALL YOUR MOM. Because she will always be there . . . loving you and worrying about you. She will always believe in you, no matter how many mistakes you make. She will always encourage you even when you feel like quitting. She will always cheer you on, pray you through each day and love you through it all! She will always be there for you, no matter how far away you live and she will always be so very proud of the adult you have become.
Congratulations, class of 2019! You did it! So excited for this next chapter in your life. Now go be awesome!
❤️ Love, Faith & Chaos
4 years since I have seen Rick's eyes.
4 years since I have felt his touch.
4 years since I have listened to him breathe ... and snore.
4 years since my life stopped, got turned inside out & upside down.
4 years since I lost my best friend, my lover, my strength and my joy.
I miss you Rick.
More today than that first day without you.
I am still struggling with who I am now.
What I am supposed to do.
Where I am supposed to be.
And the how's of getting there from here.
I am lonely.
Lonely for not just companionship and friendship.
Lonely for that inner connection - that sharing of hopes and dreams - that being real about worries and fears.
Lonely for a touch - a forehead kiss - a hug for no reason, and that wasn't asked for - holding hands quietly.
Lonely for a place to call home - where "me things" can be about me - where I have a say in how things are laid out and decorated - where I have the freedom to clean ... or not, lol. Where my heart is a part of the home.
Lonely for a life that is worthy of living - - not just surviving.
I miss my kids and grandkids.
More than words could ever say or describe.
I know they have their lives ... and that they are doing well. I am so stinking proud of each one of them.
I don't ever want to be a burden to them - - not in a visit, nor if living with them is what life says do.
But I miss their hugs and their laughter.
I miss the memories.
The interactions with those who know me best and love me the most.
I am doing my best.
And most of the time? It feels like my worst.
Never enough. Nor quite right.
**I have enrolled in a few online courses, but finding it difficult to know when to pursue those studies. Helping out at the office with this new start up business that a friend owns now. Then helping as much as I can inside the house, and out in the yard - I am staying here with friends, at no charge to me. I can't justify NOT helping. Then when night comes and bedtimes are reached ... I am exhausted, having usually fallen asleep while the TV is one. I wake up most mornings between 2 - 4 a.m. with the sleepies stronger than I can bear to fight against.
**I have joined Weight Watchers online, and yet, have not interacted at all. Sigh. I don't feel like I have the control of my life to actually share as they all do. I hesitate ... I lurk thru the pages at times ... and I wait for ? ? ?
**Still with the desire to write ... but not sure where or how to start. In talking with others about what to write, I have been advised and counseled not to include the "bad" parts of my life. ? Yet, it was all the bad and all the good rolled up together that has made me who I am. So, if I leave out the bad parts? How is that being honest and true? The end result so far has been to feel stuck, and overly conscious of the words that I write - - even here.
**I love taking pictures, one of these days I will have a real camera, not just my phone. But even with my phone alone, I enjoy taking the pictures. I don't feel the freedom to share those pictures as often as I would like to - most of them are either here at the friends' home (and I almost feel like I am intruding on their privacy to share) ... or on adventure trips with them (and again, I feel like I am intruding - especially when they share basically the same pictures). Sigh.
**I even bought some books, real-hold-in-your-hands-books. Have yet to open one to read. When? Sigh. How to read without giving the perception to these here that I am lazy or wasting time? Sigh.
**I have loaded my Kindle with books ... and have only perused the titles. Well, I did open a couple and glance at the table of contents. Sigh.
**I bought a small "box theater" kit. Thinking that it might spur my creativity, at least a little. I opened it. Cut out the background. And boxed it all back up.
**I have purchased a desk top size fairy garden. And it sits in the box. Where do I put it? I don't have a desk here at their home. The desk at work is already overcrowded (it is a counter space, not an actual desk that I can call "mine").
**My heart screams for a vehicle of my own. One that I can at least call "my space", "my territory". One that I can put all "me things" into - not that I could actually access them, but at least they would all be together and in "my place". I have spent so much money in the last 3 years - just trying to live & survive, pay my bills, and to help out here, carry my own weight as much as possible (groceries, when they go out to eat, even buying gifts or things for the BBQ/kitchen/office) that I do not have enough money to buy a vehicle out right. I need financing. But without a utility bill in my name ... or without a paycheck that proves "viable income" ... UGH
Saying all of this to say - - I have never felt as "STUCK" as I feel now.
Stuck. "Baffled. Caught. Fixed. Full of difficulty. Filled with confusion & bewilderment. Trapped.
Ensnared. Burdened. At a loss."
Abandoned. "Forsaken. Weed-grown. Not lived in. Empty. Rejected. Cast out. Having been given
up and left alone."
Neglected. "Disregard. To not be cared for properly. To fail to do as through carelessness.
Underestimated. Undervalued. Unappreciated."
Alone. "Without help. Solitary. Apart. Unattended. Deserted. Forsaken. Forlorn.
This was not what I thought being a widow was all about.
Now to figure it out ... sigh.
Yesterday, April 14, was my baby's birthday. 36 years ago I was blessed and highly favored with a son, Joshua Dalton. He has always been a joy to my heart, and a strength to my soul. Even more so since his daddy died 4 years ago. Happy Birthday my Love ... always. Momma loves you!
I'm learning some hard lessons these last few weeks. Things that I am pretty sure I already knew, but somehow in the course of these 4 years they have gotten pushed away into a corner, into a dark hole, or forgotten (?). Wherever they were, they have returned. Lessons re-learned are much more difficult than lessons learned. Growth takes Strength, Courage, Grace. It's not an easy road. But better than staying where you are.
Still not knowing what my life is going to be ... nor where. But knowing one thing - I have a LIFE to live and LIVE it I will. I lost the LOVE of my life ... but I did not lose the love FOR life. That was a major step in realizing that this last week. I would have thought it came with guilt ... but it only came with peace - - and freedom.
8 more wake ups and it will have been 4 years since I saw into Rick's eyes.
I wonder how that is even possible?
We never spent over 24 hours apart, and even then, we were on the phone most of those hours.
How have I endured 1,453 days without him?
I miss you Rick. There will always be an emptiness inside of me where our love lived and our life was shared. No matter where I am, or what I do - I will love you, I will miss you. You were the absolute best part of me.
I have spent a lot of sleepless hours these last few weeks.
Wondering who I am?
What am I supposed to do?
Where am I to be?
Is there a 2nd chapter of love and life for me?
Will my destiny now be followed out alone?
I miss so much, Rick.
Arms to hold me.
Ears to listen without judgment.
Commitment without fear or worry.
I miss you so stinking much.
I even miss our arguments. The freedom to disagree without fear of reprisal.
I love you.
I wish you were here now.
This may well be the longest blog post in my history of blogging. Lol
Which is why I have chosen to break it up into sections with pictures in between. Hoping it won't be too boring for those of you who choose to read it. ~ ~ Thank you to whoever does read this. I write from my heart, sharing honestly ... even too honestly according to some.
I was sick more than not from Christmas break to St. Patrick's Day.
Coughing, congestion, aching, just miserable.
Going thru the motions of life while taking mega doses of vitamins & allergy medications.
Drinking enough liquid - water, orange juice, and coffee - to float the Titanic, trying to keep enough moisture in my body that the coughing would be as productive as possible.
No, I did not go to the doctor - much to the consternation of several in my life. I do not have a lot of faith and trust in the medical field, certainly not in the pharmaceuticals that they prescribe. I did a major load of research, using trusted sites such as The Mayo Clinic, to figure out what was wrong. "The Memphis Crud" - a viral bug that is resistant to antibiotics. As I read about it, I stopped several times in amazement - how did they know to write in a detailed report the way I was feeling? Wow.
I also talked with many friends and family who had the same thing. A couple of them did go to their doctor, was prescribed medication, and guess what? It not only cost them more, but they were sick JUST AS LONG as I was.
Yes, I will use a doctor when something is beyond what I can deal with or bear. But I am not a "run to the doctor because I don't feel good" kind of person. Sorry if that offends anyone. Not sorry for me.
Thankfully, I am feeling better! Every day since about March 15 I have felt better, stronger. Coughing is at a very minimum now. The congestion is on occasion. Yes, I still sneeze - lol - just like my Momma used to, every day at least 7 or 8 times.
I do feel a certain tiredness or sluggishness. Still taking my vitamins and allergy medications - thinking that will simply be a life-long "thing" for me.
I have done a lot of thinking these last couple of weeks and have decided that this spring is a good time for ME!
I have joined Weight Watchers online. Going to focus more on nutrition and what actually tastes good, what makes me feel good. I have never been one that "lived to eat", but I do need to be stronger in "eating to live".
I am also committing to myself to walk more. Take those deep breaths that will force the sluggishness out of my lungs, and make them work better.
As hard as it is for me to drink water (always has been), I have purchased a pretty water bottle :D - and at the price I paid? I'm going to use it! Lol
I am also searching out hair styles. I have had this same basic hair cut for almost 20 years now. Thinking it is a good time to change it!
I will be making an appointment to have my eyes checked (way past that due date), and will be choosing new glasses. Thinking about stepping out of the "norm" and trying something new and different.
I have also enrolled in several online courses, to improve my mind. Business courses, as well as website design and developing.
I may be soon 58, but I want to be the BEST 58 I can be.
I will be sharing more of this focus on me here. Not so that I can be accused of being "self-centered" or "vain" or any of the other accusations that have already been lobbied against me, spread far and near concerning me. But - -
I want to share this here as a reminder to myself. There will be a time in my life when I will come back to these posts and I will want to remember these days clearly. I am also going to be using part of these posts in the forthcoming book.
I want to share this here as an encouragement to others going thru their own trials and struggles of life - be it health or grief or simply life changes. You can do a better you! You can focus on you! You can enjoy the moments even in the midst of the storm!
And I want to share this so that my children and grandchildren will know their Momma and Grannee - what she has gone thru, what she has dealt with, her struggles and trials, her defeats ... and her victories. I want them to know that I am a Warrior Princess - no matter what anyone says, thinks, or feels! I am!
I am committing to myself that beginning today I will listen to my heart for the boundaries of my life.
It's always been difficult for me to say, "No" - not because I am afraid of what others think about me, but rather because I love to see those in my life happy, well pleased, succeeding, doing awesome ... and if I can help in that even in a small way? It just makes my heart smile big.
However, I am learning that it truly is necessary to care about myself.
I have heard & read, even taught it, all my life - - "Treat others the way you want them to treat you". Sadly, it doesn't come back to you the way it should. I will continue to give more than I get. I will keep on loving even when it isn't returned. It's who I am. It's what I do.
BUT ... I will also take better care of ME.
Whether it is getting a new hair cut, an eye exam, dental work, take a walk, read a book, write here ... whatever that means in the moment - - I will take care of ME.
I will allow boundaries in my life ... and I will work hard to keep to those boundaries.
Yes, it will be different for those in my life - both near and far.
Ricky Van Shelton sang a song years ago ... "Don't blame her, life turned her that way" - - this shall be my life's song.
What will this month of April bring to my life?
What will it take away?
As I sit here at 5:47 p.m. the eve before the 1st, my heart begins the countdown to April 23, 2015. This year will be 4 years.
How in the HELL did I get here from there?
We never went 4 days without talking to one another, without seeing each other.
We barely went 4 hours!
How has it been 4 years since I have felt his touch? Looked into his ice blue eyes? Felt his breath on my neck? Tasted his lips on mine?
How has it been 4 years since having my heart touched? My mind stirred?
How have I survived 4 years without being loved for who I am ... not for how I look ... not for what I can do ... but simply FOR WHO I AM?
I miss you!
I find myself missing you more and more as these days go by.
You were my person ... and it's not fair that I have to do all this alone.
I miss you.
I needed you then.
I need you more now.
That's about all I have for right now.
Just writing this has made me feel very drained ... more empty than I thought it could. Or would.
Usually writing is therapy for me ... but for this one?
I don't know ...
And yet - - courage ...
A whisper of hope ...
I'm tired of so much today.
Life is overwhelming more than I like to admit.
I try hard to keep looking on the "sunny side of life", searching for those secret moments that make my soul shine.
Allowing myself to miss one or two things each day.
Guarding my heart.
Being the "strong one".
After the last 6 weeks - Well, I'm simply tired.
So in this post, I will complain and whine.
Think I have earned these moments.
I'm tired of doing this life alone.
No, I am not on an island with no one around. I am surrounded by others each day.
But there is an aloneness that is deeper than being alone.
When you know that you alone are making the choices and decisions for your life, without even someone to talk things over with. Someone that will listen with an open heart and mind, then give you an honest opinion without judgment or condemnation.
When you know that no one is missing you - whether you leave the house, or the office, or the room. No one waits for your return.
When you know that the dream that wakes you at 2 a.m. or 3 p.m. will be remembered quietly, with no one to talk it out to … nor no one to hold you while the tears fall unbidden.
I'm tired of not having a vehicle.
No, I am not entirely afoot - due to the kindness of family and friends.
However, there is a freedom in having a vehicle of my own, an independence that I am tired of not knowing these days.
And tired of not having "me things" where I can at least get to them without causing an uproar in someone's home.
I'm tired of being sick.
Call it the "Memphis Crud", or the "lingering cough that refuses to abate", or whatever the hell name you want to call it - I'm sick of being sick! I want to feel better! The shortness of breath, the coughing, the ear ache, the pressure in the sinuses that make even my teeth hurt, the lack of taste - I'm tired of it all! It is wearing on me mentally and emotionally now.
For as long as I can remember, I have not been afraid of those who are sick. Always taking certain precautions, but never being paranoid. Now? I can feel the "wide berth" attitude seeping in. The urgency to protect my personal space & bubble - which just for the record is now at least 3 feet all the way around me!
The next person to cough on me, or sneeze in my face? God help them - because I will have NO mercy!
I'm tired of not being wanted.
I keep pushing forward, no matter what.
But there are weary moments that I really feel like curling up and just not being.
(And wouldn't that in some ways be better on others? At least then I would not be in the way, wouldn't be interfering or invading their lives. Sigh.)
We all have 2 basic needs - to be needed, and to be wanted. It's not so hard to find that place in life where you are needed, to find a need and fill it. But to find yourself in a place where you are wanted? For friendship, for companionship, wanted in all ways ... that is where the struggle, and the loneliness, lies. Because you can't make being wanted happen. And when the realization dawns that you aren't wanted ... well, that is a "thing" that cannot be explained.
I'm tired of this skin hunger.
I'm not talking about sex either.
Skin hunger for the light touches as you pass by one another. A touch of the hand. A pat on the butt. A forehead kiss. A sweet hug that simply says, "I care about you". A neck rub. A back scratch.
Those skin-on-skin touches that mean so much when given and done … and that leave such an emptiness to the soul when they aren't there.
I'm tired of not having even a corner to call my own. A place for "me things" to be about me.
I don't have that much stuff left after all that I lost when Rick died.
But what I do have is mine, and I miss being able to see it, touch it, and use it.
I don't need a big place … just a corner that is for me.
I'm tired of feeling like I am either "not enough" or just "not good enough".
I am a good woman. With a heart filled with love. With a soul that yearns to laugh.
I work hard. I play harder.
I have a dark and often times perverted sense of humor.
I also have dreams and hopes … fears and worries … thoughts and opinions … ideas …
Things that no one has dared, or cared, to ask about.
I'm tired of hearing that I am "depressed", or "too happy", or "too withdrawn", yet "too intrusive".
That I "care too much", or that I "don't care at all".
That I "love too hard", or perhaps that I "don't love anything anymore".
That I comment too often on Facebook, or don't comment often enough.
That I say the wrong things using the wrong words at the wrong times.
That I don't dress stylish enough, or that I dress too well.
I'm tired of hearing that I am too loud … or that I am too quiet, that "you aren't acting like yourself".
Being judged that I am wallowing in the grief, when I am remembering - JUST LIKE others do. (Why am I wallowing, and they are not? Hmmmm)
Simply that I think more of myself than I ought to think.
I'm tired of the list of accusations that never end.
I am grieving, realizing that grief will never go away, nor take a holiday.
But I am also going forward with my life.
I will continue to laugh until I cry, and then I will cry until I laugh again.
I am a bit angry - think that goes with the territory of grief and loss.
I am a little scared - thinking that goes with having more questions than answers, and dealing with it all alone.
I neither have time nor energy to try and please everyone.
Hell, I don't have time nor energy to try and please anyone!
I have never been one to play such games, so why start now?
I do not seek anyone's approval for my life, nor for my actions and reactions.
I don't ask for anyone to defend me (like they would anyway), nor to stand up for me.
I learned a long time ago, even before Rick died, to stand on my own 2 feet - either to sink, or to swim … alone.
I am breathing.
Taking one moment at a time.
Learning to be in love with the secrets of this life.
Looking for that "peaceful easy feeling".
So, yes, I am tired.
And now? I am tired of all this whining & complaining. Lol
I dry my eyes …
I straighten my crown …
and I walk on into this life as the Alone Queen that I am becoming.