Keeping An Eye on Me

Dear Jim,

I still miss you like crazy. It’s been almost 2 ½ years since you left. I think my sorrow is starting to lift, but there are still moments of pain. The triggers are random. The other day I pulled out my cookbook holder and I flashed back to when I bought it. We were living on Gilman Drive in La Jolla. I was pregnant with Brandon. My mind went swirling with memories of you and him. It took my breath away.

Yesterday, after work I wanted to go out for dinner and have Mexican food. The weather was beautiful and I thought how nice it would be to sit outside and have an ice-cold beer with some spicy food and good conversation. There was no one available that I wanted to join me. I wanted you to join me. I wanted to spend time talking like we used to. Remember how we would talk about our lives and speculate on our future and come up with plan options? I miss that.

I decided to go to El Sombrero’s. It’s not a big deal to eat alone. I can read a book on my phone and I don’t mind being a party of one. As I was driving there, some middle-aged blond lady was following me just a little too close. She was bugging me. When I pulled into the restaurant’s parking lot, I thought I saw her pull in also – oh, great. After I parked I looked around and it seemed like there were several, I mean a lot of middle-aged blond ladies going to the restaurant. It kind of freaked me out. I thought to myself I don’t want to be one of those, and especially one that is alone. So I went home and ate the pasta dish I had in the freezer.

I started to feel sad and lonely. Basically, I was feeling sorry for myself. I know a lot of people here in Nashville, but I don’t socialize much. Sometimes it just takes too much effort. I can count on one hand those I feel close to and comfortable enough with that no effort has to be made. You know to whom I’m referring.

It’s strange and humbling being a widow. I haven’t figured out the rules yet. Which is too bad because apparently I’ve been breaking some. Hence, why one friend told me to stay away from her husband and thereby I have been cut off from a whole family who I considered close and comfortable friends. Oh, well.

In March I went to San Diego to see my folks and celebrate Dad’s 79th birthday. (79! Can you believe it?) I made him a German Chocolate cake like always. Did you see when I made him a cake a couple years back and I shipped it overnight? It cost about the same as shipping myself out.

We had a really great visit and I made it a point to keep my time prioritized to spend with them. But I did make time to meet up with a few close girlfriends, because I was desperate for some encouragement and prayer. Prayer because I want joy and I want it now!

I asked S, who had lost her husband many years ago, how long does this sorrow-ing and grieving last? She had good and wise things to say that gave me hope. Then they gathered around me and prayed. And you know what? Prayer works. I have since felt stronger.

Sometimes I think about moving back to San Diego. I really miss my friends and our church. I would love to live closer to my folks, but my life (and daughter) is in Nashville now. It’s a good life, too. Going back would be exactly that – going back, and I must go forward.

My life is starting to evolve and change and become something new. I think you would be proud of me. In fact, I know you are because I think you’ve been helping me. Maybe directly through some spiritual connection? Or, maybe indirectly by what I learned from knowing you? Anyway, thanks for keeping an eye on me.

TIFB

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Today’s Schedule: Working On It

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What is today? Sunday? Monday? Oh, it’s Monday and it’s a holiday. That must be why I can’t remember what day it is. I’m off schedule. Ha! What schedule? You mean the one where you get out of bed every morning, shower, brush your teeth and get dressed…eventually.

Each morning when I wake up I ask myself, What day is it? What do I have to do? And when I ask myself what do I have to do I mean what must I do and what do I get to do. It’s so weird not having somebody around to make sure you do your must do-s or be with you in your get to do-s. I don’t like it.

My morning ritual now is to put the coffee on and while I wait for it to finish brewing, I fuss about the place. I open the blinds, turn off the porch light, cleanup any stray dishes, get a cup and the half and half ready. I watch the coffee pot. Sometimes I can’t wait for it to finish so I dislodge the pot, fill my cup and wipe up the spills.

Used to be that I would wake up with a cup of coffee sitting on the table next to the bed.

With my coffee I settle into my rocking chair. I take a sip and grab one of several books I’m reading. The words I read are my first conversations. I read, I pause, I sip, I pray, I think, I start to plan my day.

Used to be I heard a cheerful voice say, “Good morning, my darling,” followed by sounds from the kitchen indicating breakfast was coming.

Used to be my brain got started in the morning by someone else’s questions. Questions like, “I’m going to the store today. Do you need anything?” or “When do you think you’ll be home? Do you want to go out for dinner?”

After two cups of coffee and maybe something to eat I decide what household duties are worthy of my time. Usually it’s only making the bed. I shower, brush my teeth, and get dressed. Then it’s out the door to run an errand or two, or go to work for a few hours. Sometimes there is nowhere needed to go.

Used to be I felt busy.

Driving home from wherever – the store, work, church, I make a mental list of all the things I’ll do for the rest of the day. Things like dust, vacuum, laundry, write a blog, watch a movie or take a walk. Most days I just invite myself over to one of my friends’ houses.

Used to be on the drive home from work I’d call home. I’d be told, “Hey, I’ve been on the phone all day and you’ll be here in 15 minutes. Can’t you wait till you get home to talk?” And I would say, “No. What are we doing tonight? Are you cooking? Are we going out? How was your day?”

I moved my television to the bedroom last month. When I’m getting ready in the morning I can listen to voices in the background. Sometimes I talk back to them. Sometimes at night I let those voices lull me to sleep.

Used to be we never had a TV in our bedroom. That wasn’t what the bedroom was for.

Sometimes I don’t eat dinner until 9:00. Sometimes I stay up late working on a Sudoku puzzle and listening to music. When I take a break and look up at the clock I’ll see that it is past midnight and I think to myself I really should go to bed.

Used to be my days ended about the same time each night. Now, it doesn’t matter much.

Schedules and routines weren’t really something we set up or focused on. They just sort of happened. Just when we’d get settled into one, some big life change would shake things up and we’d have to settle into another new schedule.

I’m working on a new schedule.