This has been on my heart for several days - and just thought it was time to write it.
I loved being a homemaker, a housewife.
When Rick and I got married, he told me that I could do anything I wanted to do, I could be anything I wanted to be. Made sure that I knew I had his 139% full and complete support.
I listened to his sweet words. Then, he got quiet.
With no hesitation, I looked into his eyes, and said, "Rick, I want to be your wife, the mother of your children, the keeper of your home. That's it. That's enough."
With soft tears in his eyes, and a catch in his voice, he answered, "Then, I will make the living and you will make the living worth while."
Every day now I realize something else that I miss -
I miss making the bed every morning - the snap of the sheets, the fluffing the pillows, just the way the bedroom looked finished. And the feel of going to bed that night, turning the bed covers down, knowing that there will be a forehead kiss, and a hug, then a soft "good night".
I miss ironing - the smell of a hot iron, the sound of the spray water sizzling when the iron touched it, the look of a pressed shirt. And how one looks in a freshly pressed shirt - the satisfaction of knowing I helped.
I miss dusting and cleaning the house - and being thankful for the life that is being lived out under the roof, between the walls. The laughter and teasing. The hugs and kisses.
I miss the cooking and cleaning up the kitchen afterwards - hearing sighs when that first bite is taken, being told that it's my fault the pants are fitting tighter.
I miss making a plate for one who has worked all day - that is not demeaning to me, that is an honor for me.
I miss gathering dirty laundry, with a grateful heart, knowing that without having clothes to wear, there would be no dirty ones to wash. The smell of sweat from hard work as I put the clothes in the washer, then the smell of fresh clothes as they go into the dryer. The warmth of clothes ready to wear being folded and hung up. The satisfaction knowing that my bunch will be wearing clean clothes this next week.
I miss every part of being a homemaker / housekeeper / housewife.
Even the most mundane, or dirty, jobs.
If ever I am blessed to have this opportunity again, be it for a day, a few weeks, or for the rest of my life - I will NOT take one moment for granted.
I will treasure and cherish each moment, making memories to hold on to.
Yes, I have been called old fashioned, weird, strange.
I have been teased - playfully.
And I have been ridiculed - hatefully.
But you know what?
I don't care.
It's all worth it to me.
It's who I am.
It's what I love to do.
Wow. I don't know what else to say. Wow.
When I first started blogging it was all about sharing where we were, living in Oregon & Idaho, and then being on the truck. The places we were going to with a bit of history. It was a way to share with family and friends without having to send individual emails.
I considered not doing it at one point, but many asked me to continue - for they found it not only informative, but interesting as well.
Rick believed in my writings so much that he bought me this website. www.kamelotrose.com
As time went by, and health changes became more a part of our life, blogging became a "perfect" way to let everyone know what was going on with Rick, and with me. I was hesitant to share the dirty details of it all, was even told that I was sharing too much, or that I was too honest. I struggled greatly with what to share, and how to share it.
One morning over coffee, Rick and I were discussing all of this. I made the comment that perhaps it was better to either stop writing, or perhaps just to share the good times and things about the journey we were on.
Rick sat there quietly for several minutes. Then he said, (and yes, I remember his words clearly, just as if it had been this morning) - - "Honey, I want you to share it all. The good, the bad, the indifferent. I know you are more of a private person than I am. But, I want you to be brutally honest in your writings. If we can help ONE person, either take better care of themselves, catch something early & make the right choices, or even just to encourage others that they are not alone - - then all this hellish nightmare that we call life now will not have been endured, lived and survived in vain. Please, never stop writing, never stop sharing the brutal honesty of truth about this life."
After he died, I wrestled with whether to keep the website or let it go. I contacted my host, Weebly. Talked things over with Jason, one of the owners/developers. He said, "Margaret, you have a story to tell. I have read your blog, I have perused your website. Please, I agree with Rick, do not stop. I know that you are having a hard time with life right now, so I want to give you 2 years of hosting." Wow.
I have continued to write. Much to the dismay of some. Still being told that I am sharing too much, that I should focus more on the good things of life, not the difficult parts of living in grief. Every time someone says that to me, I hear Rick's words all over again.
So, I write. I tweak the website. I laugh and I cry as I write.
Then, this morning. I open my email and I see this:
Could you help with a quick update?
I'm tasked with promoting the National Council for Aging Care's Guide to Dialysis and Kidney Disease
Would you help raise awareness about this very serious topic by adding us a resource on your site?
National Council for Aging Care
1530 Wilson Blvd.
Arlington, VA 22209
The post that she refers to is a post from 2012! Wow.
This is a "Rick thing" all over again. :)
Yes! I will share, with honor, with respect and with gratitude.
If we had known how easily kidney disease is detected & treated in the early stages, if we had known that kidney disease is not reserved for the aged, if we had known ... perhaps Rick's life would have been longer, perhaps his last years would have been better.
I have grieved. I will always grieve.
I have begged Rick to come back to me. Angry because he isn't listening & doing it.
I have cried myself into dehydration. And if you want to argue and say you can't do such a thing? You have not taken ONE step on this journey of life after death on this earth alone.
I think there will always be a part of me angry.
Angry that Rick didn't take the steps of action into better health when he had the chance, back in 1995. Angry that he began the long slow process of giving up when he was told that he had diabetes.
Angry at doctors that have absolutely NO bedside manners, no milk of human kindness & compassion left within them - those doctors should step away from the arena of dealing with people!
Angry at the pharmaceutical companies for creating, giving away, and selling drugs that have life long, or life threatening, side effects.
Angry at a health care system that rather than deal with the root cause of problems, offering tried and true answers, and giving words of encouragement ... have, as a collective whole, decided it better to simply drug people.
Give them a drug to combat a problem, but that drug creates so many more problems, that more drugs must be given.
Offering only the negative answers "if you don't do what you are told".
Angry that Rick died and left me in this nightmare alone, scared, confused.
Angry at creditors that take things away from you because your name is not on the paperwork, yet you were married for 35 years, and you have the death certificate to prove that your husband died.
Angry at promises that were broken, leaving me without a home, without a lifetime of possessions.
Angry that my life was taken from me when Rick died.
Angry that my kids and grandkids hurt and there isn't one damn thing I can do to make it better.
Frustrated that my absence actually makes life better for others.
Simply because I am a vivid reminder that Rick no longer lives.
We were seen together for 35 years, it became no more "Rick" or "Margaret" - but "Rick & Margaret". So for them to see me makes them have to deal with their grief, and it is easier to push it all away. Easier to think that "Rick & Margaret" are living away again.
Frustrated that the world that we live in now is so much more focused on the way a person looks, or "chemistry" at first sight, than about the heart, love, devotion and commitment of a person.
Frustrated that I no longer have one to help me make decisions.
I readily admit that I don't know everything about everything.
But even in asking for help I am now met with "It's up to you". Sigh.
If I didn't want your opinion, your help, I wouldn't ask.
Frustrated that I no longer have a home, no longer do I have "me things about me", no longer do I have a vehicle that I can drive.
And the list of my anger & frustration points goes on.
While I breathe ... and hold it all in.
Wondering if it is slowly driving me crazy, or will it kill me yet?
Or perhaps it will just make me "Comfortably Numb" ... a living, walking, breathing zombie.
Then comes acceptance.
Accepting that I was loved, I was cared for, I was someone's somebody. Optimum word: WAS.
Accepting that my life is all about wandering.
Accepting that I do not belong anywhere ... let alone belonging to someone.
Accepting that this is me now.
This is my life now.
Accepting that I must make choices and decisions ...
and without the input of others.
Even others that I value their opinions and their wisdom.
Accepting that dreams are just that - - dreams.
Accepting that hopes have wings, and choose to fly away just when I need them the most.
Accepting that nightmares are now a stable part of the night.
Which means sleep deprivation is a way of life, so is rest deprivation.
Accepting that to love someone doesn't mean I will be loved back.
Accepting that to give of myself means that I will often feel empty and yearn to just be held.
Accepting that the skin hunger will scream louder than anything else on earth at times.
Accepting that life goes on, even when I don't want it to.
I thought that was a good word.
Life goes on.
I've opened this page a hundred times this week to write. I sit for a few minutes and stare at the blank page. Seems "perfect" to me, so I close it.
The only thing is - it won't allow me to post a blank page.
That is my heart, my mind, my soul, my life.
Yes, I know the adage about having a blank page, how that gives you a world of opportunity to write whatever you wish.
I also know that whoever said that had never faced these blank days and nights alone ... or when they have lost everything.
As much as we all want to say "money can't buy happiness", the truth is that without money, you can't buy anything.
A place to lay your head at night. A vehicle that will get you to and from anywhere. Comfortable shoes. Comfortable clothes. Glasses to help you see. Dental work so that a toothache doesn't haunt you. The list goes on.
Life goes on.
Rick, I truly miss YOU, just for you. For your laughter, your smile that lit up my world, your smells and sounds, your touches, your forehead kisses, and all the thousand little things that made you, YOU. I miss YOU.
Today, I also miss terribly the life we had, the stuff we had accumulated thru the years. I miss your coffee cup, your cereal bowl. I even miss your favorite spoon and fork. I miss the glass you always drank out of. I miss holding your Bible. I miss having things that you used, that you touched, that you wore. I miss the security of knowing I was cared for, that I had a dependable vehicle to drive whenever I wanted to go wherever. I miss the solidness of knowing that I was loved, even when I was loud or quiet, mad or happy, sad or on top of the world, when I made mistakes, and when I got it right. Selfishly, I miss all of that, too.
People say, "Fuck Cancer" and I agree. But someone needs to say "Fuck Kidney Disease", too. Cancer is not the only disease that takes so much away.
I would be your caregiver a thousand times over again. I hate that you had to suffer so much. I am thankful that your body is at rest and the pain is no more a part of your days and nights.
The only thing I wish? I wish there had been (I also wish there was one today) a manual of sorts for how to be a caregiver to yourself while being that to someone else.
I think "me" got lost somewhere along the way. Not sure if I can find her again. Knowing that even if I do, she won't be the same as she was back then.
I love you, Rick. I have since I was 10. Nothing changes that.
Life goes on ... and I am trying.
But, damn it's hard.
Sometimes just too hard.
I keep hearing the Reba song, "Is There Life Out There?" The words, "I've done what I should, should I do what I dare?"
I keep telling myself that to move forward in this life does NOT mean I don't love Rick, that I don't miss him, that I actually enjoy this life without him. I also keep telling myself that it really does not matter what others do, or say, or what they think. (Can you begin to get a tiny glimpse of what a difficult struggle all this is for me?)
It is time to take a few steps forward ...
*I need new glasses, again. Tired of the headaches. Tired of the eye strain.
*I also need some dental work done. I hate dental work. I know, nobody "likes" dental work. However, it is the hardest thing for me to heal from. Just having a filling done will take me almost a week to get over. My mouth just does NOT heal well. Sigh.
*Time to get back to walking. I was walking a LOT. It was helping not only with my physical body, but it was helping with my state of mind and emotions. It gives me time to think, away from TV, away from the computer, away from the phone. I need some of that time!
*I'm looking for a vehicle. I need one that is dependable. I would LOVE to have a truck, but not sure if a truck is the most practical for me right now. I do not have much, but what I do have? I have no where to put it, except in my vehicle. So, I am thinking that a SUV will be more logical and practical for me. It will be a means of getting around, but it will also serve as my "closet" or "storage unit".
The problem is not having the money to buy one without financing.
Because financing is a MAJOR problem. I have found out that being without a "permanent residence" is the hurdle I just can't cross. In the world of "finance" a permanent residence means that at least one utility bill is your name. Sigh. Staying with family & friends means no utility bill in my name.
Others say, "Just get a place of your own" - - problem there. Without a "viable means of support" I cannot.
Yes, I get the widow benefit's check on Rick ... it isn't enough to pay rent, buy all that I would need to set up a place (I don't have a fork, a spoon, a salt shaker, a towel, let alone anything else), pay utilities, and purchase a vehicle. --**which just for the record, is why I said what I did earlier about "money can't buy happiness", but it does buy what we need. Sigh**--
I have been told to simply "pay yourself", as in whatever I could afford to pay for a vehicle, save that each month until I have enough to buy one. I am trying. I do get discouraged and frustrated at times. Knowing that no one is going to swoop in and rescue me ... simply because I am so damn tired of taking care of me. Sigh. Oh well ... right?
*I have decided to work on that book that Rick wanted me to write. Will it ever sell? Time will tell. I do not have high expectations of it. But I will be able to look at Rick's picture and say, "I did it, Honey, I did it."
*I am also going to use time and effort to put into this website, to develop it even deeper. Adding genealogy to it. I am thinking about adding a section for recipes as well. Kinda bringing my life all together in one central place.
*My car that doesn't work, that sits in a friend's yard, needs to be gone thru and cleaned out. I have been using it as a storage place. Time to go thru what is in there and decide what is worth keeping, and what is not. Enough.
*I am going to clean up this computer, saving everything to an external hard drive. I have this sick feeling that as old as this computer is, it may not last much longer. The other 2 laptops I had made it about 5 years each ... and yes, I am pushing that on this one. So, before I have the major regrets that I have from the other 2, I want to take proactive steps to prevent those regrets.
*I have also decided to make a "Life List" - things I want to do, places to go, experiences to have. Maybe making the list will spur me into finding a way to cross a few of them off as I go. Maybe it will give me a direction of sorts, a purpose to at least plan for. When the mind won't quiet at night, maybe I can take those times and do a bit of planning.
So, see, I am thinking about moving forward ... now is the time to get that started.
Some mornings while cooking breakfast the memories are like a movie playing in my head.
Those mornings when we didn't need to rush around, no time clock to punch, no school bell to beat, no where in particular to go, no thing screaming for us to hurry.
A cup of coffee while sitting outside, sometimes in quietness, sometimes just talking about the day.
Once that first cup of coffee had us at attention - we would stand up, stretch a mile, a tender hug, sweet kiss ... and back into the house.
The music came on. Depending on the "mood" - old country, old rock and roll, Bluegrass, Southern Gospel, or perhaps a mix.
Rick would cook the bacon and/or sausage - he was "The Meat Man".
I would cook the eggs, or French Toast, or pancakes - whatever we wanted that particular morning.
There would be conversation ... laughter ... a quick kiss here and there ...
Kids would wake up, stumble to the kitchen, and usually roll their eyes at us. Lol
Rick loved to be up and alert when the kids got up. He was quick with the "Dad Jokes", or anything that would make the sleepy-heads look at him and say, "Huh?" It would take every ounce of breath not to dissolve into giggles.
And his sweetness to me in the kitchen. Sometimes coming up behind me while I stirred the eggs, he would cover my hand with his and whisper in my ear that his love covered mine. Or when I was buttering the toast he would say, "That's you and me! You are the butter to my toast."
No phones were answered. TV didn't play. This was our Family Time.
We never ate breakfast in those days with the TV on. When we sat down to eat, even the radio was turned off.
Rick would give the blessing of the food, and on each one of us.
Then, plates were filled, laughter rang, and times were good.
Yes, the memories ...
This song means a lot to me. Especially now. It truly is the song of my heart ... the song of my life. The words resonate from deep within me.
Perhaps it is time to find out.
I can begin today, where I am, with what I have ... and making do without. It will be more difficult, but then life has never given me the "easy way". I am tired ... but pushing forward. No one is going to swoop in and rescue me. I have learned that lesson, painful and hard.
This is the life I have been given to live.
I was blessed for almost 35 years with a lover, a best friend, a confidant, a trusted heart, with my husband. Now, I am alone.
Yes, I have friends. Many of who are too well acquainted with this journey we are on. They know the sweetness of love ... and the bitterness of death.
But to have that one in the middle of the night, when the past is too heavy, the future too dark, and the present? Well the present is too alone.
Will I ever have that again? At one point I had a hope ... that hope has now become a whisper ... and that whisper has become quieter over the last few weeks, ever so often I find myself leaning for that hope - - it's not there, or if it is, it is very good at hiding away.
The time has come to take a deep breath and realize that alone, alone in the night, alone with my thoughts, alone with dreams and hopes and fears and worries, alone to make my choices and decisions, alone to "have my back" - - well, that is my life now.
Sadly, I have learned a difficult lesson these last few weeks.
*Don't trust others with too much information. It will be used against you. Words taken apart and put back together in such a way that you are absolutely flabbergasted! Knowing full well I never said those words, I never even came close to saying those words :( . I didn't think them, didn't feel them, they were no where in the deepest & darkest places of my life. Then to sit back amidst the wreckage of what you thought was a friendship (or a family relationship) and wonder, "What the hell happened? How could it all have turned this way? What did I do so wrong? Do I deserve this? If I don't, then why in the hell do I have to deal with it? If I do deserve it, then what the hell did I do? So that I never go there again?" The tears fall. The questions won't quiet. The dreams turn to nightmares. Waking up at 3 a.m. in a cold sweat, face drenched with tears, barely breathing, mouth open and no words coming forth.
Yes, indeed - a difficult lesson to learn ... be quiet. Don't talk. Don't share. Listen to those around me. Let them talk & share - give them what no one gives you ... a confidence that what is shared stays with you, and will never be used against you. Just listen. Just breathe.
I do find a certain comfort and therapy, I suppose, in my writing here. At least when it is the written word, fully documented, it is a lot more difficult for anyone to misconstrue these words now or at any later date.
Of course, I have been criticized, judged, and yes, even condemned, for sharing here. "You are too honest." "I can't deal with the realness that you are putting out there." "You should not be sharing your private struggles and thoughts." "You make others uncomfortable."
My answer to each one? "Oh well. You are not required to read these words. Scroll on by. This is MY grief, MY journey, MY heart, MY thoughts, MY ME, MY LIFE." I am doing the best I know how to do, without a manual, and ALONE.
Yes, there are those that tell me how much these words mean to them. Thank you to those. Just to hear that my struggles and trials, my heartache, and my sharing of these - along with the good times, the laughter, the love - that it makes a difference to you, that it means something to you ... wow. I am humbled and honored each time. I am not self-seeking. I am not fishing for compliments. I don't need the validation in order to write. But I would not be me if I didn't admit how much it means to my heart when someone says, "Thank you for being so real, so honest." I can feel Rick smiling on me ... it's like a forehead kiss from him. Thank you.
So, going from here to figure this life out.
Wondering with every breath I take and every move I make - -
Is There Life Out There? For me?
No coffee this morning (4th morning without it) because the coffee pot is broken. :( Guess I will grab a glass of sweet Iced Tea and call it good. It is HOT already, and just now 8:13 in the a.m. Whew! Today is forecast to be one of the hottest and muggiest (is that a word?) this year. Heat advisory is out. I will plant myself in this AC cool and enjoy my website and other computer stuff for this day :)
Memories fill my heart and thoughts this morning as I sit here waiting for the day to wake up.
*As a child growing up our 4th of July's were spent like this:
Up at 3 a.m. to help Momma make scrambled egg sandwiches, and to fill the mason jars with water. Put those mason jars in the back of daddy's car, cover with a couple of heavy quilts.
Leave the house at 4 a.m. Get to nap on the way to the cornfield.
Wait in the car for that first light to break the darkness.
Eat our sandwiches.
Start picking corn. Usually we picked on halves - giving half to the owner of the field, and taking half home with us.
Hot and sticky work. I have gotten lost in the cornfield a time or two.
Pick a basket of corn, take it to the car, get a jar of water and drink it.
By the time we would finish picking, around 10 a.m., the baskets would be stacked at the back of the car, and there would only be 3 jars of water left.
Those last jars of water were the best, because it meant we were finished with the picking.
Daddy would stack the baskets in the trunk, and we would head home.
Once home, Daddy would get the corn out of the car and begin to chop the ends off, putting it into a big galvanized tub. Momma and I would then shuck and silk it.
But before I started that, it was my job to make sure the jars were washed and ready to use.
Also my job to get the pots out that would be used for cooking the corn down, and to make sure all the kitchen towels were stacked so that we could get to them quickly and easily.
By noon we would have a good tub of corn ready to be cut off the cob. That was the fun part to me. :)
Cut it off the cob, and cook it down. Put it in the jars, then the jars into the pressure cooker.
While it was pressuring tho, we had to close the windows and turn off the fans. Any wind on the pressure cooker would make it fluctuate so much that it was dangerous. (Momma had already had one explode on her.)
While that first pot of corn was in the cooker, it was time for a bologna sandwich on the porch. I would go back into the house every 5 minutes or so and check the cooker to make sure it wasn't in the red.
Once the corn had pressured for 45 minutes, we would turn the cooker off and let it set until the pressure on the knob showed "0". Usually taking about an hour or so. Which gave us plenty of time get more shucked, silked, and cut off the cob to repeat the process.
Since corn doesn't keep well once it is picked, there was an urgency to the day.
Momma would tell her stories as we worked, and even Daddy would listen and occasionally add something.
There was always a time that afternoon, usually when that 2nd pressure cooker was turned off, that we would cut into the watermelons.
Then after Daddy had gotten all the ends cut off, he would gather the things needed to make homemade ice cream! I can still hear the squeak of the handle as he turned it.
Mouth watering knowing how cold it would be.
Sometimes it was peach ... sometimes berry ... sometimes simply vanilla.
But always good - and cold!
We would work like this until around midnight.
Most of the time the 300 - 400 ears of corn would be finished, but on occasion we had a few left to do the following day.
This was my 4th of July growing up.
When Rick and I got married, the 4th of July was different.
It was his Grandpa and Granny McCoy's anniversary. Everyone gathered at their house for food and cake and ice cream, with lots of laughter and much love.
Then in the evening it was time for fireworks. Rick would always find the best fireworks display for us to go to.
After Grandpa and Granny were gone, if we were close enough, we would gather in at Rick's parents' home and enjoy a cook-out with homemade ice cream following.
Those years that we were away, it was usually a time for quiet conversations and naps, watch a movie or two, he would always grill something for supper, and of course - Ice Cream :D
Oh the memories that flood my thoughts today ... make me smile.
Funny how something so simple can bring back a strong memory.
Saw a bunny hopping this morning on the way to the office.
I used to have a bunny.
A family friend gave me one when I was about 8-10 years old.
Beautiful snow white bunny with a black eye.
Daddy built a cage for me, and I was told "as long as you are responsible and care for this bunny, you can keep it".
Being an only child at home (brothers and sisters were grown by this time), and living far out in the country, this bunny quickly became my best friend.
Morning, evening and night I made sure it had plenty of love and attention, kept the cage sparkling, fresh water, plenty of food and fresh grass, and ALWAYS made sure the door was not only shut, but locked as well.
Home from school one afternoon, run to tell my best friend about my day - - door is open, bunny is no where to be found. A storm of tears ensued.
Momma said, "Daddy told you that you had to be responsible and keep that door shut."
For months afterwards I was riddled by guilt, that I had not done what I should I have done. I missed my best friend, and I was tormented by thoughts that something bad had happened to it.
Finally, Momma told me what really happened.
Daddy thought I was spending too much time with it, too attached to an animal. He told Momma that morning to kill it, cook it, and let me take the blame for not being responsible.
I have thought about it all this morning, in the back of mind as other day tasks have required my attention.
I know that moments like this shaped me into the person I am now. My opinion, however? There were better ways to teach a life lesson. Better and less harsh.
Perhaps he was doing what he thought was right at the time. Or was he just being jealous and controlling? Even time won't answer those questions.
**It did make me very aware and alert of my surroundings, and my responsibilities. Perhaps overly.
Even now, over 45 years later, I find myself checking doors shut and locked over and over ... and yes, over and over yet again.
**It also made me "own up" to my mistakes ... and defend myself when I didn't do one thing wrong.
As Rick always said, "I will take an ass-chewing for something I did ... but Oh HELL NO if I am innocent."
Let blame lie where it is.
**Another thing it did to me, was to make sure someone was at fault before accusing them.
I am sure that my kids got tired of Momma talking so much - "Just go ahead and whip me, or ground me, or whatever" is most likely their thoughts in those times. But I never wanted to punish both when only one was guilty ... or perhaps it was someone who had been in our home and left, so neither of the kids had done anything wrong. I would rather talk it out - troubleshoot, if you will - until I get to the bottom of it, at the risk of annoying or aggravating whoever is involved.
I miss my bunny.
I remember how soft he was, how his ears would twitch when I talked.
With those big ears, he could sure listen to a little girl's heart and thoughts.
Yes, I miss my bunny.
Rick knew this story ... perhaps that is why he so often bought me a stuffed bunny.
He would bring one in and say so sweetly, "Honey, here is a bunny for your oofies. I love you."
(("Oofie" was a word we used to explain when you aren't sad, or mad, not really even discouraged, not depressed ... just not yourself, tho. Can't quite put a finger on what is wrong."
Thank you Rick. I love you.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here