A year ago I was in Kentucky
Begging for someone to remain in my life
Wanting to be loved, and accepted, just for who I was, just as I was
Supported and encouraged to grow and to be better, stronger
It was a mistake
The worst mistake of my life
When I went to Kentucky, I honestly thought I was doing what was best for everyone
- including me
Rick had died a year before
The kids and grandkids seemed to be doing good - at least a LOT better than I was!
Their lives were moving forward
My life was in shambles and pieces
And I had no knowledge of how to pick all of it up and make something out of it
I was lost
Going to Kentucky was intended as a time of giving the kids and grandkids a break from my grief and tears,
As well as a time of something new and different to me
A time of helping a friend who was in a difficult position as well
The intentions were for about 6 weeks
Life got in the way
And those 6 weeks turned into 3 1/2 years
Years without seeing my children or grandchildren
Years of losing one family member after another, and no way to get back to Texas for the funerals
Years of struggling to keep it all together
So many times I almost called my children to come rescue me
But I was raised, and had raised our kids with Rick, that once “you make your bed, you lie in it”
You rescue yourself
3 years, 7 months and 18 days ... and I rescued myself
I cried torrents of tears from Paris KY to Lebanon TN
By the time I reached my confidant, I was exhausted and empty
An early supper
And an early bedtime
A hot shower the next morning and that sweet drive to Texas
Renewed faith building with every mile closer to my beloved Texas
Crossing into Texas was the greatest blessing of those 3+ years
I knew that it would be difficult to come back
And to try and pick up the pieces of a broken life
It has been all that I thought it would be
Laughter, and tears
Good times, and stressful moments
And a LOT of hours for me to reflect, to think, to pray
To dig deep into my heart and mind
And trying to keep myself breathing in the present
The greatest mistake of my life was in going to Kentucky
It will be a regret that I will carry to the grave with me
I am thankful for the people that I met along the way, one in particular
Bill has been the one constant in my life these last years
Whether I was there in KY, or back here in TX -
He has been my confidant, my friend
I will forever treasure that man!
I find myself gravitating to movies, shows, and stories about people who made grave mistakes and have come back from those mistakes
I pray every day to take another step away from my mistakes
Reminding myself that God has forgiven me, and that I am not greater than Him - so I confess forgiveness to myself
Many years ago, God showed something to Rick and I about forgiveness.
It’s a lot like getting grungy with working, you know when you are sweaty, stinky, grimy and just plain dirty
You come in, strip off, and step into a shower
Oh how good that water feels, and how sweet the soap and shampoo feels
You lather up and then just relax, letting the water wash it all away, take it down the drain
You don’t argue with the soap and water
You don’t fight against it
You don’t try and hold onto the grime because you aren’t worthy of being clean
How many times do we do just that with God and His gracious forgiveness?
We hold onto our mistakes, our failures, our sin -
Fighting against His grace and forgiveness
Because we aren’t worthy to be clean.
Just let it go
Easier said than done I am finding out
The ghosts of those 3+ years haunt me ... no! Torment me!
I think of all that I missed with my children and grandchildren
I think of all that I missed with my sister now gone
I think of not being here with family when other family died
I think of all the advice, wisdom, and counsel, I received telling me to not go, to not stay ... and how I dismissed all of those words
God, forgive me of my sin!
God, forgive me of my grave mistakes!
And help me to forgive myself
May others forgive me in time.
I do not have all the answers to my life yet
But I know God is working in me, and perhaps even thru me at times
Life is hard -
And it’s more harder when you’re stupid
I was stupid
I pray to never fall stupid again.
Years of counting the hours before Rick gets home is a habit proving hard to break
after 5 1/2 yrs of him not coming home
and after less than a month of me living alone
My mind still thinks in terms of 5 p.m. being the “cut off” time to do anything
That it is time to put things away for the day
Look forward with expectation to an evening of conversation
yet for me, it’s not
at this point in my life I have no “time”
days follow the nights
nights follow the days
the only difference is whether I can see outside when I look out the window or not
Until I get a job to work away from the house, there really is no time
I wonder if there will be a job for me
There are limitations to how much I can work - due to the widow benefits
There are limitations from my body as to what I can do
No longer am I able to kneel, or squat
- a knee that is pretty much blown just doesn’t work that way
No longer can I lift 50 pounds or more, and certainly not repeatedly
- a shoulder and hand that doesn’t cooperate in those terms any longer rules over the desires
I do not see well enough at night to do much driving after dark , blasted astigmatisms
- in case of an emergency I can and will drive even after dark
I haven’t been in the work force much in my life
- being Rick’s wife, the mother of his children, the keeper of his home ... that was my career and I loved every minute of it!
- working with him thru the years in his jobs, doing all I could to support and encourage him, even to going with him helping him
- worked for a short time (without pay) as the ‘unofficial’ office manager in KY
- worked for the Census, really sad that that job is only every 10 years!
Oh I know what I can do
What I would bring to the table of a job
I know my value and my worth
But in the eyes of employment
I am not a “hire-able” candidate
Not one who is highly sought after
59 years old, and only able to work part-time
And with limitations
I understand that few companies (if any) will want to invest time and money into training me -
- because they look at the bottom dollar: what will be the return on their investment
- if they hire and train someone who is under 30 years old, no matter their limitations, or experience - they have the potential of getting 30 years of work from them as a return
- if they hire and train me, well ... they know at the best they are looking at maybe 10-15 years return.
I have started the search for something to do from the apartment - online perhaps
- the scams over-run everything!
- I know there are legit work at home jobs, especially with Covid-19 this year. But trying to wade thru the searches and find one is proving a headache of monstrous proportions!
- I’m to giving up though! Too stubborn for that!
But until something comes along that requires a clock
There just is no time for me
It’s weird actually.
I sit here and wonder how long it will take to re-wire my brain with these thoughts and realizations
Rick, I always tried to appreciate the time you gave me in the evenings -
- our conversations before supper
- our conversations after, while we cleaned up the kitchen, or sat in the porch swing, or perhaps while we walked
- the times we discussed TV shows we were watching
- or had a lively talk over a movie we just saw
- but never have I appreciated all those times with you as much as I do now
- and just so you know ... I miss you
Nights are tuff when I can’t sleep much
When I lay there, can’t get comfortable enough to go to sleep
But not uncomfortable enough to get up
When the thoughts won’t stop no matter how much I say, “Enough!”
And when the tears fall unbidden, making my pillow soaked
I am beginning to think that the years of sadness,
The last few weeks of sickness
Combined with all the changes of the last 10 years of my life
Have finally caught up to my mind and emotions
And depression looms, fighting for a hold on me
This battle started on this past Saturday,
And it has felt like I was in a tailspin ever since then,
With no way to control it
No way to stop it
Overwhelmed last evening with loneliness and feelings of isolation
A realization that I have no one to talk to who will listen without judgment or criticism
Which only serves to make me more vulnerable and weaker
I feel like I am on super-overload right about now
In every area of my life
Just more than I can physically, or mentally, handle
I’ve never felt such a shut down of my heart, my mind, and even my body, as I have felt the last 3 days
I know that my ONLY Hope in all of this is for God to have absolute control -
As Psalm 131 says, “It is too much for me!”
For all of my adult life I had 3 g0-to’s:
My Momma ... she is gone now
My Rick ... he is gone, too
And my sister, Bettie Sue ... who is also gone
I think perhaps it is not right or wrong, maybe just “normal” to be so very sad in missing them all at once
Selfishly I suppose, I miss having a go-to person that I know I could call up at any time day or night -
Or several times a day
Someone to enjoy a cup of coffee with, even just over the phone
Conversation about anything ... everything ... and nothing at all
Just a presence in my day
A moment in time that seems to stand still and lets me catch my breath
I realized this morning that in all those years of traveling around with Rick,
In all the moves we made,
No matter what -
He was my roots
He was also my wings
He gave me stability to know where I belonged
And he gave me freedom & support to do whatever I wanted to
Now, it is like I have neither roots nor wings
How do I get those again?
This time different, because they aren’t to be with him
How do I put down roots?
Where do I put down roots?
How do I find my wings?
I read this meme sometime over the weekend,
It was one of those that you FEEL:
See this dark time as cocoon time, darling
Your new wings are emerging
Every butterfly is made by this fight
Even surviving and holding on
And finding a reason to meet the dawn
Your continued breathing is a holy part of this fight
The dark will turn to dawn eventually -
It has no other choice.
~ SC Lourie ~
God, I want so much to believe these words,
That this darkness, this isolation, this aloneness
Is simply my cocoon time
May I hold to these words and hope?
God, I ask You for creativity,
And for clarity
To make this life for me
One moment at a time
One step at a time
God, I really need You in this
Take my hand, and teach me Your ways
Do not leave me alone, without You
Humbly I ask,
In Jesus’ Name
Thank you for understanding these words
As well as all I cannot yet say
Bless Your Holy Name!
Jehovah Uzzi - The Lord my Strength
Life has changed on me so many times since I was born in 1961.
I grew up under daddy and momma - long story in that, to be told another time.
When I was 10 I fell in love with a boy, and decided I wanted to be his wife, and the momma to his kids.
9 years later, he agreed to that.
We were married just shy of 35 years.
Not a perfect life, but perfect enough for me.
I was loved with a passion, and cherished every day.
The only comparison was the passion that I loved him with, and the deepness of my cherishing him.
We absolutely spoiled each other rotten!
And of course, as we lived and loved, our lives changed often.
From having kids, to moving, to job changes and church changes.
Family and friends were born, and they died
Or perhaps just moved on and away from us
But always we had the unique ability to hold to one another in those changes,
and rather than the stresses of change driving a wedge between us,
those stresses only served to draw us closer to each other.
Then, our bodies decided to turn against us
High blood pressure and diabetes for Rick
Cancer for me
Then kidney disease with Rick
Every thing that came against us, we met head on, together
We adapted to the different diets and routines
We took the medications and did the whole doctor "thang"
My life was spared
Rick's was not
Many questions remain in my heart over all that, and believe me, one of these days?
- I am going to ask for an answer!
But until that time comes, I find myself in the midst of a life alone
Not sure of where I am supposed to be
Nor what I am supposed to be doing
Every day seems to bring more questions, and fewer answers
I love words, always have
Not just to read them, nor to write them
But to dig deep into the meaning of them
I was reading about grief a while back, and the life after loss
2 Words were used in describing what life is like now
"Repurposed" and "Reimagined"
So, I dug
And this is what I found:
- adapt for a different purpose
- to have a new purpose
- typically done with items considered to be junk, garbage, or obsolete
- the use of a tool being re-channeled into being another tool
Then carrying the digging just a little deeper:
- aim, idea, dream
- goal, aspire, design
- the reason for which something exists
- to rethink
- to reinterpret
- to recreate
- to imagine again
- to form a new concept of
- to think again and change
- to remake an earlier version which approaches from a fresh or new viewpoint
And to take it that one step deeper -
- to believe
- to conceive
- to comprehend thru the intellect something not perceived thru the senses
And the last one:
- this is Latin for "again and again and again"
When considering life after loss and reading these dug definitions for these words -
All I could say was "WOW! WOW! WOW!"
The life I lived before Rick is never coming back to me
and I cannot go to it again, either.
Nor is the life that I lived with Rick coming back
and even when it is my time to go to him?
It will not be the same as it was.
So, what I am faced with is a repurposed and reimagined life
Changes the perception of my reality
I've made so many mistakes these 5 years since Rick has been gone
Easy to do when there has been no manual for navigating these waters
It's hard sometimes to look back on these 5 years and see so clearly now what I should have done,
and what I should not have done
But I'm learning to forgive myself every day
- how can I not?
- I am not greater than God, and He has forgiven me.
I hope to make less mistakes as I go thru the rest of this life
I think that's why I find myself praying so much these days
God knows what's ahead of me, He's already been there
So, Lord, take my hand and lead me on!
I'm choosing to look at this as an adventure now -
- one that will end with Rick opening his arms to me, taking me to himself and saying those words I long to hear:
"You done good, girl!"
I sat here in the quiet apartment last evening,
and wrote these words:
"Trying to work things out in my head about living alone ...
It's all so weird, God
So very weird
Not sure I'm doing it right
But not sure I'm doing it wrong, either.
I miss people
Seeing someone else
Talking to someone else
Being in someone's way
Someone being in my way
I miss laughter
I miss the bad days almost as much as the good ones
I miss wondering what someone else wants to watch -
- and not liking their choice, lol
I miss hearing someone chew their food -
- and it annoying me
I miss being an annoyance to someone else, too
I hear the noises of my neighbor,
and I hear his times of silence as well.
I wonder if I am listening to my movie too loudly
but then, I think maybe if I am, he would knock on the door and ask me to turn it down -
- at least it would be a moment of people interaction, right?
I enjoy moments of being alone
but I am a people person
This living alone is a different time of my life
And I realize that having been so very sick since moving in here hasn't helped one bit
Isolation is a terrible thing
It messes with your mental state
and causes all kinds of emotional distress
It physically hurts not to have people interaction
Touch deprivation is a real thing
I think this is the worst of Covid-19.
I believe there is coming a better day -
one where I feel like getting outside
To sit on the porch
To take a walk along this back road
Hopefully there will be a time of meeting people
but at least being out in nature once again
I know that this has taught me a valuable lesson -
how important a phone conversation can be!
God, help me find YOUR way for me in this living alone
and help me continue to heal and recover from being sick."
With the Census 2020 being over and done now, I am starting the arduous task of looking for work.
I really enjoyed the Census work.
Driving the back roads and searching those addresses out.
Meeting the interesting people along the way.
Being right there to catch the perfect shot of the day on my camera.
I will miss all of those moments greatly.
And yes, I would do it all over again!
Having been out of the work force for so long, and at 59 years old - there is not a great demand for my particular set of skills. A company weighs their amount of time and training into someone with how much time and work they will get on a return.
I get that. I understand the thoughts.
I also know my value and my worth.
I would like to work 3 days a week, Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.
Make enough money to pay my rent here, cover my fuel cost back and forth to work, and possibly pay for having high-speed Internet here at the apartment.
I know that I need to get "more well" and "stronger" before going to work, but I think now is the time to look for work, to make applications.
I have thought about working from here.
The saddest part to those thoughts?
The scams that are so prevalent and play on the people who live alone, or are needing to work from home.
So, let the challenge begin again!
I have watched more movies in these last 2 weeks than I have in the 5 years since Rick has been gone.
Those last 4 months of his life, we watched movies a LOT because he really did not feel like doing anything else. Movies that we had seen a dozen times are more, but we enjoyed them just the same.
These last 2 weeks have brought a lot of those memories back to my heart.
I have caught myself smiling with the memory of a certain line from a movie that Rick loved and would say many times after watching it. "Spit it out!" (from the movie Crossfire Trail)
And I have found myself dozing off in relative peace and comfort with a movie playing. With that old familiar feeling of being safe and protected. Then waking half expecting to see Rick's smiling eyes upon me. Taking a deep breath when all I can find is his picture.
Making a list of movies now that I would like to see, will be checking with the kids to see if they have any of them.
I do not have TV service, and do not expect to have it. That is an expense that I simply cannot afford at this time. I would prefer to have high-speed Internet here than to have TV service.
This has become my morning prayer:
God, this day is Yours
It is the day You have made, I will rejoice and be glad in it!
It yawns and stretches before me -
A day yet untouched
Moment by moment to be lived, to be felt, to be experienced
Secrets that lie around the bends of the day
Treasures waiting to be discovered
God, breathe on me - Your life
Open my heart that I may know
Open my ears that I may hear
And open my eyes that I may see
God, I don't want to miss a thing!
Thank you for loving me
I want to spend my time today loving You back!
In Jesus' Name
Blessed be Your Name O God!
Migdal Oz: Strong Tower, my Stronghold
In the weeks since writing last, I have moved into my very first place.
I grew up in Daddy and Momma's home, then married Rick.
Rick and I had our first place ... and so many others that I have lost count thru the years. He was a self-proclaimed "gypsy" and did not want moss to grow under his feet.
But I have never lived alone.
I've been looking and praying and thinking for over 5 years about a place for me.
Ever since Rick died, and I lost the house (along with 99% of our stuff) I have stayed with kids and family and friends.
Looking around on Facebook Marketplace one day in September, I found this cute little apartment at Possum Kingdom Lake. Contacted the lady who had listed it, and she said that her very good tenant was having to move due to a job change of location. She made an appointment with me to come look at it the next day. I did, and fell in love. I know Rick would have loved it, too! So, I paid my deposit and waited while the tenant was moving.
Then, with my granddaughter's help, we cleaned this place, and moved my things here.
It came furnished with a futon, a table & 4 chairs, frig, stove, microwave, a night table, and a chest.
I was blessed with a wardrobe, also found on Facebook - which started out more than I could afford, but I watched it carefully for several days and she came down on the price. When Kyla and I drove to Mineral Wells to pick it up, the lady gave it to me.
I was blessed to find a couple of tables to use as a desk and a coffee bar. Covered each with an old quilt and they look like they "fit" here.
I haven't felt like putting my wall things up yet, but hopefully that will be happening soon. I have some really good pictures to enjoy seeing up.
My plants are thriving and growing, thinking they must like their new home, too.
There are 2 things I would like to have -
1. a recliner. I am thankful to have a bed to stretch out in, but I also miss having a recliner for when my back can't find that comfort anywhere else.
2. a small table with a couple of chairs to put on the porch. What a blessed place to have a cup of coffee while reading my Bible.
I read an article a while back about how a salmon swimming upstream fights against the channel and becomes exhausted. Rather than give up and be swept out to sea, the salmon will find a rock larger than it. Fans the sands behind the rock, making a type of nesting place, and then becomes still and quiet. Resting and gaining strength for another leg of its journey upstream. Often the salmon will do this multiple times before reaching the destination.
Little by little this "apartment" is becoming our "Rock of Rest".
Working with the Census 2020 kept me hopping the month of September.
Long drives on back country roads, searching out addresses, meeting people, asking questions.
99% of the people I met were very accommodating and patient - even if they were frustrated with having been asked the same questions multiple times.
Driving those back country roads gave me some of the most wonderful photo opportunities! And the resolve that just because the Census comes to an end, doesn't mean that the back roads do! Take the back roads! Stop and catch that sunrise, take the sunset! Look closely at what lies around us - there are secrets to the day just waiting to be discovered!!!
September also brought my grandson's basic training with the Marine's to a close with his graduation. Due to all the Covid-19 restrictions, we were not able to attend his graduation, but we watched via the Internet.
I am so very proud of him.
And yes, I worry about him - but I also know that he is in God's hands, just as all the kids and grandkids are. Every morning I pray Psalm 91 over each one. Trusting that God is greater than anything in this life. I believe that God will have HIS way, HIS will, and in HIS time. I also believe that no matter what happens? God is still God, and He is still good. I do not understand all of life, I have far too many questions to think I have all the answers. But I know God knows. And I trust Him.
After all the precautions taken this year - the gallons of germ-x, the soap and water washing to the point of painful, the masks that hinder breathing and conversations as well as making us to feel almost like a non-person, the not going places, events cancelled, self-quarantining, and the list goes on ... I got Covid-19.
Today is day 10 since the onset of symptoms, and day 4 without fever or fever reducing medication. So according to the CDC and my doctor - I am now considered "safe" to be around again.
I will say that this has been the worst I have ever been sick in my 59 years of life.
I have had the flu maybe 3-5 times in my life, my fair share of colds and tummy bugs, allergies out the waa-zoo and all the typical childhood illnesses - both as a child, and often again when my children brought it home from school. I endured having cancer and major cancer surgery. I've broken bones. I've had surgeries.
NOTHING prepared me for having Covid-19.
The body aches - clothes were not comfortable, there was no sweet spot to find sitting, standing, or laying. Every joint aching, the skin so sensitive to touch that I couldn't stand to even brush my hair, or touch my own face. The shower feeling like needles being hammered into your body.
The headache - imagine the worst headache ever, multiply it however many times your imagination says ... you aren't close!
- nothing could touch the headache. Eyes hurting so bad from the pain that you can't read, can't stand to watch TV or look at the phone. Even closing the eyes did not bring relief from the pain. So hours sitting and letting the tears flow freely.
The fever that would come up in the evening and rage all night long, tormenting whatever sleep there might be, breaking with a 10 gallons of sweat sometime in the morning ... only to repeat every evening for a week. Leaving you feeling dehydrated.
Nausea so severe that it was physically painful. My tummy became sore to the touch because of the nausea. I never did throw-up, just had the excruciating nausea. Sprite was the only thing I could tolerate on my tummy for days - and then, only a sip now or then.
Diarrhea that makes a tummy bug seem like child's play. Cramping to the point you can't stand up straight, you can't walk, you can't sit or lay. Burning guts like you have swallowed lumps of fire. You rock back and forth wondering if you will survive this onslaught.
Loss of appetite - due to the nausea mainly.
Stuffy nose and the worst drainage into the back of the throat - a thick white cottony mess.
Thankfully, I did not have the breathing problems that others have endured. My doctor did call something in for me just in case - but warned me not to take it unless absolutely necessary.
I was told yesterday (Day 9) - "Well, guess you believe it's real now!" And all but told that basically I deserved this because I didn't believe from day one. Really? NO ONE deserves this!!! And I have NEVER ONCE said that Covid-19 was not real. What I said, just for the record, was that the media was feeding the frenzy of fear - and I refused to be sucked into it. I would do, and did do, will also continue to do, my part in helping to not spread the fear nor the disease.
I do not enjoy wearing the masks. I do not believe they work as well as what some have said (especially now do I not believe). But wear them I will when appropriate, when required.
I will continue to wash my hands with soap and water, as well as use germ-x. Which just for the record, I've done for years.
I will even continue to practice a form of social distancing. Something else we have done during times of flu outbreaks. If sick, stay home. It's not easy, but really, it's not hard either. Be smart! Use common sense!
However, I will not live in fear of this illness, or any other.
I'm tired of being held hostage to the media and to the fear mongers.
I'm tired of being told I can't go somewhere that is good for the body, mind and soul ... while other events and locations that are toxic remain open and thriving.
I am better today on day 10 ... not good.
I realize that it will take a while yet (no one knows for sure how long) to feel "normal" again.
The brain fog is reminding me of the widow fog I survived after Rick died. I got thru that, I will conquer this, too.
I tire very easily, to the point of exhaustion. And if I ever sit down and find a sweet spot of comfort, I am ASLEEP for several hours. But that's ok - Momma always said the body and mind are healing when sleeping.
I am going to survive Covid-19 if only to spite the media!
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here