But this has been a longer week.
If not in hours and days, in my mind and heart.
The week started off spending time with friends for Labor Day.
I enjoyed the time with them, even while my heart was aching for my children and grandchildren.
It has been long, too long.
The week ended with my body exhausted, my mind rambling, my heart broken in pieces, and with those pieces slowly thawing and coming back to life.
I have spent many hours, both in the days and nights, thinking about Rick, about the life we had together, about all that I miss.
A river of tears has poured from my heart this week, with a few escaping down my cheeks.
Thoughts and heart tugs as I walked thru the hours before what would have been our 38th Wedding Anniversary.
I want to share a couple of those with you now - - (I apologize to anyone reading this who has been reading my posts on Facebook, because some of this has been taken from there for this blog.)
**I loved Rick with every fiber of my being, I could not have loved him more.
I worked hard with the doctors and nurses, with dietitians and nutritionists, from 1995 when he was first diagnosed with diabetes and high blood pressure until that fateful morning when he took his last breath, with my hand on his chest, to help him live the longest quantity of life possible, and the greatest quality of life available.
We saw some times of measured success.
Never enough to say that he was "cured".
Then, his body began to fail, and I felt like I had failed.
When he died, I took the guilt.
As I watched others grieve for him, the guilt within me grew by leaps & bounds.
I should have been able to save him.
But I couldn't - or rather in my mind, I didn't.
Since that morning of April 23, 2015, when my world broke and I didn't die (even tho I have been told it should have been me ... and I have felt that, thought that, even looked in the mirror and agreed with those words said) - -
I felt like I needed to "save" others - physically, emotionally, mentally.
Almost like in some backwards way I was paying Rick back for not saving him.
Now, after 3 years, I get it .. it wasn't my fault.
Sometimes life just happens.
Sometimes it is the result of bad choices and decisions.
But whatever it was - It was NOT my fault.
I have chosen to let go of the guilt.
Perhaps there will come a day, somewhere down this road, that guilt will let go of my heart, my mind, me.
Rick always said there was a difference in knowing with the mind and knowing with the heart.
I am a helper by nature - but I now know that I do not have the power or control to save anyone.
I can only advise, share wisdom and experiences, and step away.
Each person must make choices and decisions that will affect them (and their loved ones) in the short term of life ... as well as in the long term.
And then - -
There are times that no matter what - LIFE happens.
Sadly, that also includes death.
**September 5 was one of the toughest for me in a long time.
It was my 4th one without him.
No matter how much I tried to push away the memories (trying to still the tears, and quiet the aching within me), they came.
The hardest ones came at the worst time, each time.
I wonder, with every fiber of my being, if there will come a day when the memories will bring smiles, just smiles.
I miss him with all that is yet within me.
I miss the life that we lived.
And as petty as it may sound, I miss (as she says on "The Quiet Man") "me things about me".
There is a certain familiarity and even serenity when you can touch something that he touched.
And without that?
Just adds to the emptiness and loneliness.
But today is a new day.
I will always love him.
I will forever grieve the loss of him, of our life together.
Life goes on.
Even when we don't want it to.
The days come.
The nights go.
And still I breathe in and I breathe out.
Following the tradition of the heart that started 38 years ago, this September 6, 2018, is the first day of the new year for me.
I have decisions to make.
Changes to accept.
I know in my heart what I want next year at this time ...
so today I start working towards that.
There is no one that is going to swoop in and "save the day" for me.
My hero is resting high on that mountain, Mt. Hood Oregon.
I must become my own hero.
Many years ago there was a quote, I do not remember who said it, "If it is to be, it is up to me."
Never has it had more meaning than what it has now.
**I don't know for sure where life is going to take me.
I don't know when.
Nor do I know how.
Not even with whom.
Or if alone.
But I do know without question, that life goes on.
It is a moment by moment choice that I must make to go on with it.
That doesn't mean that I turn my back on my past, nor on my Love and Sweetheart.
Nothing removes him from my heart.
Nothing changes the past.
(Something so many these days would do good to simply "get" ... sigh.)
It simply means that I am choosing not to stay locked in a past that I cannot change.
Life goes on.
Life is for the living.
**I can honestly say that I have more peace in my mind and heart than what I have had since April 23, 2015. Still dealing with more questions than answers.
But there is a clarity beginning to seep into my heart and mind - slowly, little by little.
I refuse to rush it.
I push away the panic.
It's what I have now.
Louis L'Amour said in one of his books, "If you fight against the desert, you will die. If you learn its ways, and you live with it - then you will."
I am choosing this day, moment by moment, to learn the ways of grief and aloneness ... and LIVE with it.
**I shared a letter this week, written by Chris Kyle's wife to the Nike corporation on the subject of kneeling during the national anthem, and their choice of the "Face of Freedom".
Many re-shared this story on Facebook, and to each one who did - Thank You.
Several commented on my posting in agreement.
However, there was one.
One that I have known thru Facebook, thru texts and chats, for many years, who did not agree with the post.
Aren't we adults so that we can agree to disagree?
I thought so.
But I was wrong. :(
In the comments of her disagreement with me over it all, the words became angry.
The words became of a more personal nature, attacking me, questioning my honesty, my integrity, my character.
I tried to discuss the subject in an intelligent (not angry) fashion.
Just more of the anger, the attacking.
I had had enough.
After all, this took place on September 5.
What would have been our 38th Anniversary.
She had asked, condescendingly, if I even knew what "her generation" was, or what they were all about.
This is my final answer:
And now, for my definition of your generation.
(My disclaimer: Not spoken to you, nor about you, in specific. But rather about your "generation". Facts, as well as personal experience, outweigh my opinion, by the way.)
You asked if I even knew what "my generation" was?
Yes, I do.
There is a spirited debate about whether Millennials are self-entitled narcissists or open-minded do-gooders; surely the truth lies somewhere in-between.
I would hope so, at least.
I do not now, nor have I ever, generalized or stereotyped, people into classes based on age, religion, sex, relationship status, color of the skin, the house they live in, the car they drive, where they work, or any of the other myriad columns that are used to stereotype and generalize.
I detest that with a passion.
I have fought my entire life against generalizations and stereotyping.
If you knew me, and after 18 years you should, you would know this.
So therefore, this should not even be in this discussion.
However, whether it is because you refuse to acknowledge the truth of who I am, or perhaps you are simply one of those who are angry at the "system" and you choose to take it out on me, on what is THE hardest day of the year for me, I do not honestly know.
I have relationships with many Millennials who are fair, open-minded, respectful, thankful, honoring, and loving people - towards me, towards our military, towards our country and our flag, and towards all people of all color.
Then, I also have personal knowledge of those who are the absolute, total, opposite.
Self centered, claiming to be champions of the cause (whatever the cause is that particular day and situation), and yet they won't show respect and honor to the very ones who gave them the freedom to be the snot-nosed, division creating, war mongers, back biting, liberals drinking the kool-aid, tide pod eating, condom snorting, assholes that they are!
I know what YOUR generation is.
Just for the record, I haven't heard anything else from her ... or from anyone of that generation.
Did I hit the nail on the head?
Seems so many of that generation are more than willing to shout and scream, rant and rave, at us "older people" with all their ideologies, their opinions, their perceptions & perspectives ...
However, let someone make a VALID statement, one of TRUTH and REALITY - and where are they?
They simply HUSH.
And now for something a little more "fun", I needed a break from all the seriousness of this week - -
▪️Favorite Smell: I have more than one, but a few of mine - - coffee brewing, coffee in my cup, morning breath of the ones I love (you will understand if you ever have to survive a great loss), bacon sizzling in the kitchen, rain on a freshly mowed lawn, a car garage, a tire shop ... and the list goes on
▪️First Real Job: Cashier at Howard's Discount Store
▪️Dream Job: To be a writer
▪️Favorite Dog Breed: Yellow Lab, or Blue / Red heeler
▪️Favorite Foot Attire: barefoot
▪️Favorite Candy Bar: 3 Musketeers
▪️Favorite Ice Cream: Vanilla
▪Favorite Cake: Tiramasu
▪️Favorite Food: Mexican, or just plain home cooking
▪️Favorite Thing To Hear: A child's laughter, birds singing in the morning, coffee brewing when I'm sleepy
▪Favorite TV show: Forensic Files
▪Favorite Holiday: At this time? None
▪️Night or Day person: Day, I guess. Not sleeping much, but still like to :)
▪️Favorite Day of the Week: Sunday
▪️Tattoos: 0, going to get one soon
▪️Like to Cook: Love to cook
▪️Beer or Wine? Wine or Apple beer
▪️Can you drive a manual transmission?: Yes
▪Skate Backwards: Nope
▪️Favorite color: Green, blue, pink
▪️Favorite Veggie: tomatoes
▪️Glasses or Contacts: glasses
▪️Favorite Season: Fall