Sitting here @ 10:50 a.m. EST, November 24, 2018.
A thousand thoughts in my head and overflowing my heart.
Thursday was my 4th Thanksgiving without Rick. I was sad. The sense of being alone was strong, even tho I was not physically alone. Went to Cracker Barrel for lunch. The food was good, so was the service. But to be surrounded by so many that were there with family, with loved ones, sharing laughter and memories. It was a heavy heart time.
Friday made for 3 years & 7 months since Rick died. I wonder how long every 23rd, and every Thursday, will feel like a gut punch - one that takes the breath away? I don't count the days any more, even tho I have been accused of doing so. But my heart knows. How can it be possible that I have not heard his voice, looked into his eyes, felt the touch of his hands, nor rested in his arms in 3 years, 7 months, 1 day and 3 hours now?
Today makes for 12 years since Momma took her flight out of this world. I miss her so much. She could make me question my sanity at times. And make me wonder the purpose of going around her. Yet, she was Momma. I knew she loved me dearly. As I loved her. Today, my thoughts are filled with the good times we had - the stories she told as we worked side by side. The laughter when she would mispronounce a word. Trying to always follow her train of thought - that more often than not, derailed at the slightest disturbance. Lol. Oh how I miss her. She is the one person who gave me her undivided attention when she knew I needed someone to listen. I sure could use her perspective, her wisdom, and her counsel in my life and with my heart.
Tomorrow will be 23 years since Granny McCoy took her final breath. Oh how I loved that woman! I never knew my grandparents. Daddy's father and mother were taken during the flu epidemic in the early 1900's. Momma's daddy died when she was 2 years old. The only grandparent I almost got to know was Momma's mother - but she died in December 1959, and I wasn't born until May 1961. Rick's Granny McCoy took me under her heart and wing, and called me proudly, "MY granddaughter". Oh Granny! My heart hurts so deeply today, as I know it will tomorrow, too - remembering our talks on the early mornings when I would drop the kids off at school, Rick at work, and come by your house for coffee and sugar biscuits. I loved you then ... I love you more now.
Monday will be 12 years since burying Momma. Tuesday 23 years since burying Granny McCoy. Both of which invokes not only the memories of those days, but the cold realization that it was the last time to see their wonderful faces on this earth. Makes me feel even more empty than usual.
Wednesday is my Sweetheart's forever birthday. He will forever be 55. But on Wednesday I will wish him a Happy Heavenly Birthday - with all my love, all my heart ... and with, yes, a bitter taste in my mouth. For it ought not be this way. He should be here with me. I should be cooking him a steak dinner and a chocolate cake. He should be saying (in order to make my Irish ire rise up) - "Oh honey! It's just another day!"
No! Dammit! It's not just another day! This is YOUR birthday. A day of great celebration to my heart. A day when my Sweetheart made his entrance into this world, and started his life.
Wednesday is also our daughter's birthday. She was born on her Daddy's 22nd birthday. He always said she was the BEST birthday present I ever gave him. And was forever costing him ;) lol. It is a hard day for her, she misses that early morning call between her and her daddy. Both of them trying to beat the other one with the first call to say, "Happy Birthday".
Wednesday is also our daughter's brother-from-another-mother birthday, too. Scotty is no longer with us, due to a tractor accident a few years ago. So that makes it doubly sad to our daughter. And makes my heart hurt even more deeply as I think not only of Rick ... Mandy ... but of Scotty Joe.
There are those who do not comprehend the heaviness of sadness and grief.
I hope you never do.
Those who know the grief of loss, yet they are not willing to allow me to feel it?
My heart is heavy.
My spirit feels empty.
Yes, I will smile thru the tears.
I will remember with fondness, with love, and with a longing.
I will miss my memory keepers this weekend.
I will miss those who loved me best, loved me the deepest.
I realize now that one of the things I miss the most about Rick, and the others that have gone on before me, is the Memory Keeper part of our relationship.
What do I do with all these memories that no one else knows? That no one else shares?
I never thought the memories would become a burden, yet they are. Because I don't know what to do with them.
I talk about the memories some, but those who listen mostly do so out of courtesy - simply because I am talking. As I have been told, "It's kind of hard not to listen when you talk, and talk."
I miss the sharing of the memory stories.
Rick knew my stories, but he never seemed to tire of hearing them. Often he would ask about them, and I would say, "But you know that story!" His answer? "Yes, but I want to hear YOU tell it again to me." Oh be still my heart. How I miss that.
I've learned the hard lesson of letting the emotions come, embrace them even ... and then let them go. Not to camp out in the midst of emptiness. But not to deny it either. Sometimes it is a delicate dance that I do.
Life goes on.
Even when I don't really want it to.
For these days, selfishly, it would be easier to lock myself away in a hotel room - just me, my computer, my memories. A hot shower when the tears won't stop. A stiff drink and a long sleep to make it thru the dark and alone times.
But ... I don't.
I try to simply breathe ...
And paste a temporary smile on my face when others enter the room.
Knowing well that these times won't last.
But the warrior within will.
So, yes ... life goes on.
So ... once again ... I find myself frustrated with Facebook. Were it not for my kids & grandkids, for a few select friends and family, and for work ... I would delete my account in its entirety TODAY.
A couple of days ago, I posted the below picture on MY timeline. I did not tag anyone. I did not ask anyone to look at it, to share it, to comment on it. I shared it in honor of Veteran's Day, and in light of all that has gone on in our country in the last few months especially. I shared it from a heart of gratitude and respect for our military - those who serve so selflessly to give & to ensure our freedoms. Remembering and encouraging others to remember that we are the Home of the Free because of the actions of the Brave.
After over 20 likes & loves for the picture, after comments of "I love this!" ... there is one who deemed it necessary to comment this:
Susan: There are many Americans who believe flag patronage is idolatry. Many within the realms of Christianity. These discussions only serve to tell others you do not find them of worth or deserving of citizenship because they don't believe like you.
To which I should have remained silent. But I didn't.
Susan and I have been "friends" for about 15 years. We have had many good conversations and discussions. We have "walked" thru a lot of living and life with one another thru the years. I love her.
However, in the last few months, every time I post something that is patriotic, especially about my Flag? She must comment and it turns nasty very quickly. Sigh.
I know this. I know how she is. I should have remained silent.
But I didn't.
Her last statement was like an arrow piercing my heart. "These discussions only serve to tell others you do not find them of worth or deserving of citizenship because they don't believe like you." Because she knows me better than this. She knows this is NOT what I was saying, nor implying, with the sharing of this picture. This was simply her way of hurting me ... and hurt me she did. And respond I did.
Margaret: Susan,Of all people for you to say these words to! You know me better than to say that I find no one of worth or deserving of citizenship. You know that I have a heart of understanding and acceptance! UGH! I guess you are simply intent on stirring the pot and breaking my heart - over and over. Every damn time I post something patriotic. I don't care who this offends! This is MY country and I am proud of the Flag - long may she wave in freedom, because of the BRAVE. If you, or any one else, does not like what I post? SCROLL ON BY! Or wave good-bye as I am unfriended, blocked, or deleted. I really don't give a rat's ass today. I see the flags of other countries and religions posted all the damn time. Does it offend me? NO! Because the blood of brothers and sisters have been spilled to give them the right to post what they damn well please. Lives of my family and friends have been sacrificed so that others can be offended at MY flag. I was not asking for a discussion here. I am simply sharing the pride of my heart, the blessing that I live under - MY FLAG. If you, or anyone else, doesn't like it? Leave it. Leave my page. Leave my friendship. Leave my country. I don't give a damn any more.
I spoke words of truth, from a weary heart and a tired soul. Tired of being told what I should or should not post on MY Facebook. Weary of having to "walk the line" of political correctness, when so many do not - but if and when I do not? Then I am attacked publicly and privately.
I had the right to remain silent, to not respond ... but in this? This moment? This Veteran's Day? After everything? I did not have the ability to remain silent.
I knew that no matter what I said, even if I 100% agreed with her (which I don't, but let's just say for the sake of "peace" I gave the olive branch of agreement), or made a formal & public apology for posting the picture (which I wasn't going to do, because I was not sorry for sharing it) ... NOTHING I said was going to matter to her. NOTHING I said was going to be right. NOTHING was going to change her mind - which by the way, I was NOT trying to do! Because simply? I believe she has the right to her opinion - even if I think it is wrong. It is hers. And the same blood that was spilled for MY freedom, was also spilled for hers.
Her next response was this: I did not respond to this one on Facebook. Rather, I am responding here. Not that I think she will ever read this, nor do I care that she doesn't, but as a good Southern woman? I WILL have my say! lol So, the writing in blue is my response.
Susan: Actually no Margaret. I'm not trying to stir a pot. Yes, honey, you are. That is what you do. I accept that, even if I don't like it, nor do I approve. These memes are divisive. Period. They are judgmental. No, the ones who stir the pot are being divisive and judgmental. Exactly what you accuse me of being - is what you are doing. America is a great country. Agreed! We have the freedom to believe whatever we want. Agreed again! To suggest anything else is disrespectful to many Americans who do deserve citizenship. And yet again, Agreed!
As for Chris ? not sure who this "Chris" is ? ....this is not elementary school. You are exactly right! But, how many people, such as yourself, just cannot scroll on by? Behaving as tho every meme, every post, that you do not like or 100% agree with is targeted at you? That is childish and selfish behavior. And my citizenship is not dependent on the opinions of those who stoop to name calling. No, your citizenship is dependent on where you were born, or on your work and learning to take the test and become an American citizen. Thank goodness.
Don't any of you dare suggest I don't appreciate the service of our men and women at arms. They fought for my freedom. And the freedom of those who believe this is idolatry. They fought for the Jehovah Witness. They fought for many people who don't believe like this. Guess what...every single one of them have worth. I was born and raised Army and spent a life time on military bases. I have family that fought in the front line and even considered service myself.
The great soldiers and sailors I know and spent a lifetime knowing, understood they defended freedom.
You are saying the same thing I have said in this post & these comments. You are saying the same thing that I have said in every conversation that we have had about patriotism. Our brave men and women have fought, shed their blood, given their lives, sacrificed everything, for our freedom. That we may have the right to share whatever we want to share, and that we have the right to SCROLL ON BY if we don't like what someone else has posted. ? While I agree with these words you have just written, I do not understand your anger in writing them. Nor do I understand why you now say the same thing as I have been saying, and yet you are seeking to turn them into an argument of point for you. ? ? ?
That's American. Not insisting everyone do the same thing.
That's just it, Susan. I have NEVER insisted on everyone doing the same thing as I do. Wouldn't that be a boring world if we all believed the same, if we all acted or reacted the same, if we all did the very same thing? You know deep in your heart, knowing me like you say you do, that I would NEVER ask, let alone insist, that everyone do the same thing!
I grow weary of this Not as much as I do, and that I can absolutely guarantee! and the instant anger that is met Honey, YOU are the ONLY one angry here, as always when I point out that perhaps what someone says causes another human pain. No matter what I say, or do, someone, somewhere, at some time, is going to be offended. It is the nature of the beast. Especially when you are searching for offense. Your words have power. You can choose to use those words to help or to divide. Oh how many times have I said these very words? And how many times have I said them in conversation with YOU? Yes, there is the power of life and death in the tongue ... and in the written word. But again, if someone is looking for offense? They ARE going to find it, no matter what I say or do, or write, or share.
It's not pot stirring Margaret. But hey, if that's how you feel then go ahead and block me. I haven't blocked you. Never said I was going to. I just figured for your own peace and sanity you probably would block me, and that is your freedom & right. You are more intent on thinking I am just trying to cause trouble than honestly pointing out...hey someone might be hurt by your words. I know my heart, and knowing me as you say you do, you should know my heart too. There is not one thought in me of hurting anyone! But again, if someone is looking for a way to be offended? They are going to find it. So, let me ask you, at the "risk" of hurting someone with my words - should I just be quiet? Never say a word again? Never share a meme? Never write another word? Where does it end, Susan? Why can't you or anyone else who is offended or hurt by what I say or share or post, just simply SCROLL ON BY? And just for the record? I scoped out your FB page, and I saw many things on there that I do not like, that I do not agree with, that if I were looking for hurt - I certainly would have found it. But yet, I did not comment ... I did not attack you ... I scrolled on by.
I spend my days trying to pull people from the edge of death and have lost that battle often lately. I am sorry that you have such a hard life. That your job has put a demand on your heart and thoughts. I am sorry for those that have lost the battle in this life, and yet as you have told me - they are no longer suffering. There is no tolerance left in me for people to be inhumane to one another. I haven't had any tolerance for rude behavior, nor for childish behavior in adults in a LONG time. Hence, my initial response to your original comment about a meme that I shared on MY wall!
I love you Margaret, I love you, too, Susan. Always have, and always will. but your attitude saddens me. And yet again, the very words I have said to you. Did my saying them to you make a difference in your attitude? Did it stir your heart with hurt that you have injured me? No, because you are so focused on being offended that you cannot see the ridiculousness of your arguments, your anger, your misplaced (on me) frustrations. Your words are hurtful to people, but every time I point it out, you get mad at me instead. People are going to be offended at anything and everything IF they are looking to be offended. Most of the liberals that I know are seeking something to be offended by - just so that they can have a voice. I am not mad now. Have not been mad at you, nor at anyone else.
I'm out. Don't worry. I won't respond to anything else you say again. I'm too tired anymore. I just wish I didn't care. This is almost laughable. Sadly. These words could have been copied and pasted from ME to YOU in the last conversation we had. I should have kept to my words that "I would not respond to anything else you say again". But I did not. That is my ONLY apology. I do not apologize for sharing the meme. I do not apology for honoring the Flag (and just for the record? I do not worship the Flag, I honor it. There is a BIG difference, honey). You think YOU are too tired? Bah, humbug! You don't know 2¢ of the meaning of "tired" - until you find yourself in the midst of widowhood.
And as for "Wishing I didn't care"? I wish that every day of my life. I wish that every moment of every day. I even find myself wishing that I didn't care about you any more, or the 15 year old relationship / friendship that we have had. I wish it didn't bother me, all of this. Yet, it does. My heart is stupid. It's who I am. :( .
So, this is where I find myself this morning.
Wondering if I should simply delete my Facebook, at the off chance that some one, some where, at some time, will be offended by what I write, or share, or post?
But if I do, where does it stop?
I do find myself on a restriction with Facebook now.
Not my choice, but one that is being imposed on me.
The post has been removed.
I did not know until this morning that there are levels of Facebook Jail.
Looks like I am in the first degree of it for a few days.
You know, I have seriously tried not to post much of a political or religious nature on Facebook, nor even writing much of it here on my own website. Not because I am afraid to share my thoughts and convictions, but simply not wanting the confrontation and combat zone.
I have posted, shared and written of patriotism. As a Daughter of the Revolution, a Daughter of the Confederacy, and a Daughter of Texas - my blood runs red, white and blue. I love my heritage. I love my ancestors. I love my country. I love my Flag.
And now I find that even that offends others.
So be it & Amen.
Rick used to say that if we were on the devil's side there would be no one confronting us. Only those who are on the front lines of the right side are hit from every point and attacked.
I must abide by the terms of restriction on Facebook, at least until they review my posts and see if there is any thing that would cause me to land in Facebook Jail.
God Bless the U.S.A.
She's a Grand Ole Flag and I love her so!
Life gets busy, hectic, and tiring.
Time gets away. What I thought was just a few days ago? 3 weeks now. Sigh.
My mind seems to turn to mush quicker these days than ever before.
So, if my words seem a bit "choppy"? They probably are. My thoughts are, so I guess I can't expect more from my words. :(
My heart stays in a constant state of weariness.
But I press forward with each new day, thru each long night.
Life goes on. Even in those moments when I would rather it didn't.
These last 2 months of 2018 weigh heavy on my heart, mind and soul.
A burden I can't get out from under, no matter how hard I try.
I miss my husband. My best friend. My lover. My confidante. The one who had my back no matter what.
I miss my daughter. The laughter she has always been able to make me have.
I miss my son. The love he gives, the support I know I have from him.
I miss my grandkids. The hugs and kisses, the snuggles and cuddles.
I miss my LIFE.
Rick's birthday is November 28.
The realization that he is forever 55 sits on my shoulders, weighing me down with thoughts, with memories, with a few regrets, with the missing of so much - both what he is missing, and what I am missing.
I realize that he is no longer in pain, he no longer suffers in any form. And for that? I am grateful.
He had enough of that the last 4 months to last many people a lifetime.
Doesn't make me miss him less.
Doesn't take the longing away, either.
Certainly doesn't remove the sweet memories of our life and times together.
Even tho others want me to stop thinking of him - accusing me of not being ready to "move on or forward" with my life.
I had a lifetime of loving him, since I was 10 years old.
We had a lifetime of growing up and beginning the process of growing old together.
I don't care what anyone says or thinks - You don't "get over" a loss like this. You don't "move on", either.
You GET THRU IT.
You MOVE FORWARD.
Why is it so hard for even other widows and widowers to just accept that for me?
I don't try to tell anyone else what to think, what to say or do, how to deal with their grief.
What has happened to that Golden Rule: "Treat others the way you want to be treated."
"Cast your bread upon the waters, and it will return to you multi-fold."
Thanksgiving is in 18 more wake-ups.
So many years of planning the menu, searching the recipes, buying the groceries, cleaning the house, and cooking. Oh, the cooking.
While our kids were growing up, we always had Thanksgiving at our house.
Rick's parents would come.
My momma came often.
It was a day of great feasting and loud laughter.
Once the kids grew up and left home to begin their own families and traditions, Thanksgiving wasn't so much any more.
It usually was a simple meal for Rick & I, or perhaps we would go to a buffet somewhere near.
The first Thanksgiving without Rick, I spent with our son & our daughter, and their families.
Laughter was strained.
I felt like I was in a fog, wandering lost.
The next 2 years of Thanksgiving were spent with friends.
Still feeling like I was wandering lost.
Not really fitting anywhere.
Not sure of what I should do, or shouldn't do.
Just out of "MY" place.
I feel the missing of all that was Thanksgiving.
Not just the times with Rick - but with my kids ... and then with my grandkids.
I am torn between forging ahead with whatever this year's Thanksgiving turns out to be, and renting a motel room just to sleep thru it.
Christmas is in 6 weeks, 2 days.
I barely remember that first Christmas without Rick. Putting on a strong shoulder, and a happy face, for my kids and grandkids.
The next 2 were spent with friends who opened their home to me, and did all they could do to make me feel a part of their traditions and celebrations.
Yet, I have been haunted thru all 3 previous Christmases without Rick -
with memories of all those with him, those with the kids, those with the grandkids.
The years. The gifts. The food. The smells. The sights and sounds.
How do you find a "new normal" for these days and weeks leading up to one day ... when Christmas comes but once a year?
I have not, will not, do not, expect life to be the same now without Rick as what it was for those 35 blessed years with him.
Not the good days, nor the bad.
Nothing is the same.
I wrote these words on January 10, 2018 - but never have they been more true, more real, than what they are today. Sharing a portion of them here again.
"The death of your spouse and life partner changes everything.
Every single thing.
I no longer eat the same way.
I certainly do not watch TV the same way.
Oh how I miss the morning after a show conversations over coffee!
My finances have changed, drastically.
I do not even breathe the same as I used to, not sure if I was breathing for the two of us then - - or now.
My body has gone thru changes these months since he died. I just thought going thru menopause was rough!
Hobbies & interests? Where do I even begin to describe the changes there?
Virtually non-existent for months ... just now finding my way thru the fog and looking for something to occupy my hands, my time, my mind.
My sense of security is gone. No longer do I know without question that someone has my back - - and my heart.
The realization of being alone hits hard, time after time.
As I lay down at night ... and as I rise up in the mornings.
This has given me a, shall we say "unique" & sometimes perverted or morbid, sense of humor.
I wonder if I am even still a woman at times.
Then when the woman in me chooses to wake up, thoughts & desires finding their way thru the darkness of grief - I wish she had just stayed asleep, quiet, and left me the Hell alone."
So, see, nothing really changes for a widow or widower.
You just learn to go with the day, make it the very best you can.
And on those days when memories, a life lived before, and changes now, all get in the way, overwhelming the heart and mind? Well, you breathe in and you breathe out.
Just knowing that life goes on - - even when you don't want it to, nor do you care whether it does or not.
At least for the moment, or for the day.
I am determined to find ME.
A combination of who I was before Rick, way back when I was a kid growing up - who I became as Rick loved me ... and who I am now, alone, lost, & wandering.
There has to be a ME somewhere inside, right?
But what do I do with ME if I find her?
Where am I supposed to be?
What am I supposed to be doing?
I feel like I am missing so much of living ... just trying to be alive.
I keep hearing Reba's song - "Is there life out there?" - playing like a recording in the back of my mind, day and night.
Do I dare?
I miss you.
I miss so much about you.
I miss ME when you loved me.
So why "Scattered Feathers" ? ? ?
You can read it here