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
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here