7 Years….

Tomorrow at 12:35 pm, will mark 7 years since my life forever changed.

It came silently. It crept in. I knew it was coming yet I wasn’t prepared. I was sitting right there in a chair beside his hospital bed and it crept right in and took him from my life, at least in a physical sense.

Death crept in and took him, 7 years ago tomorrow.

This time of year is always hard for me. It is when I tend to become more reflective.

7 years, 84 months, 2,555 days, 61,320 hours, 3,679,200 minutes and 220,752,000 seconds. Yes, I did the math. That is a great number of heartbeats and breaths.

Then, I was 43; now I am 50. Am I wiser? That’s a good question.

There has been a great deal of learning in that time. Learning how to take those first steps, learning how to keep walking (even on days when I didn’t want to), learning how to survive on my own, learning what I enjoy, learning to love again, learning how to live again.

Part of learning is making mistakes  but taking a lesson away from the experience (I have probably more of those in the past year than I my life) but I learned to be better.

I will get through tomorrow, just as I have the past 7 years.

I can’t help but wonder if he would be proud of the woman I have become.

I don’t have the answer to that… maybe some day I will be proud enough of myself for both of us.

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When Your Soul Is Tired….

There is no tired worse than when your soul is tired.

I have been telling people when I would have a few moments of peace that those moments were good for my soul.

The other day, it all collapsed on me at once. It wasn’t one thing it was multiple things.

The thing that really got me thinking that I needed to care for my soul was when they found my neighbor dead.

At that point, I decided my soul needed to rest. It needed care, I wasn’t sure how to start; I began by emptying out. My journal has been busy. I have been writing about all those things that were making me weary.

I didn’t use this time to make anything. I haven’t even stepped foot in my workroom. I cleaned my living space. It tends to get cluttered when my mind is cluttered.

I filled up, I listened to only music that inspired me. I joined the local gym to take care of my body, I read  a book about a strong woman that I admire.

I took some time to relax and watch some movies that make me laugh.

I gave myself a facial, I gave myself a pedicure and a manicure, I took care of my skin.

I fed my mind and my body and ultimately my soul.

Looking Deep Inside….

Recently, I saw a man I had a great deal of respect for laying in a casket. His time here is over. Now, I am a firm believer that respect is earned, it not automatically given. Much like trust and loyalty, I hold this in high regard so if I respect, trust and am loyal to you, you have to be something special.

I have been very quite over the past week. I have been deep in thought and taking some time for introspection through this process. What am I doing with my life? If I die today, was my life worth living?

I have decided that some changes need to take place. Very few noticed that  I haven’t been talking as much. So if no one misses what you have to say, it really must not matter, so stop talking. If anyone wants to know what you are thinking, they will ask at some point, then I will talk until , just say nothing. If you implode, maybe they will realize that what you said mattered.

I am going to stop promoting a business that is not working for me right now. I will not bore people with what I am working on, I will continue working but once again in silence. I will only share it with those who care about it, not the public.  When you feel like you have little support, you do it for yourself not for others. You make what you like. You enjoy what you are doing even if no one stands and applauds. That is passion.

I am going to make the most of the days I have remaining. As I heard two days ago, we are all one step away from death. Do I want to spend the rest of my time chasing dreams that may not happen or am I going to do those things that stir my soul? I would rather stir my soul. If people like it cool, if not, that’s okay too.

I want passion, fun, life. I don’t want to spend all my time worrying about what I am doing wrong. I don’t want to try to measure up to what others think I should be, being the perfect daughter, sister, aunt, employee whatever…. I will never be the perfect anything. I promised myself a long time ago, no regrets, I don’t intend to have any. I will use the words “I love you” more. I will follow my passions. I will not allow myself to settle. I will be happy with who I am, what I look like at any given moment, what I love to do and who I want to be with. It is my life and I want to live every moment of it. I like the rush I get from trying new things. I like it when I am busy and my mind is racing a hundred miles a minute on something creative or constructive. I love that feeling. It is like jumping out of an airplane and free falling.

I want to live every moment, not just exist because, some day, someone will be standing over me and reminding people that this is coming to all of us some day.

And Then Came Peace…

In my last post, I wrote about my pastor. What we were afraid was going to happen, happened. His transition has come. Sunday night just before midnight, he left his Earthly home.

My folks called and told me. They called the other members of the church and told them.

Sleep did not come that night. Plenty of tears but not a moments sleep. The next day was my great nieces birthday and we had planned a girls day to take her to breakfast. My mom questioned if we should continue on, we decided that we should.

We went and had breakfast. I didn’t eat a lot. I had no appetite. I went back to my mom’s to take a nap. It never came. I rode to town to speak with my supervisor in case I needed to take off work. My person wanted to go have lunch. Once again, not hungry for food just his company. I told him what I was thinking. The loss, we as a collective group, was feeling. How it was effecting my parents. I just needed to be near him. I needed to know he was there.  I was tired. I hadn’t slept much on Sunday and none on Sunday night. I wasn’t much company but we were together. It helped to talk to him.

I worked last night. I had plenty of time to think. I firmly believe that we as humans are eternal beings in a temporary flesh dwelling. We are not meant to stay here forever. We are here for a limited time. Yet, I still struggle when someone I loves leaves their flesh house.

I use the term flesh house because a house is a dwelling. Not to sound cliche’ but home is where the heart dwells.

I wrestle with what I know and what I feel. What I know is that they are relieved of pain and worry. What I feel is selfishness, plain and simple. That is what grief is. We have lost that familiar. We have lost that thing we never thought we would lose yet here we are and we helpless and out of control; because WE ARE. We don’t control anything.

Today, I got ready for work and I hadn’t  been  around people. Something kept telling me that I needed to go to my church which is just outside town. I drove up there and I was listening to the song “something in the water. “

As I stood there, I took a picture of the three crosses in the church yard. There was a  cloud looming behind them. As I stood there, a light mist of rain began. It was almost as if there was something in the water. Peace, peace came to me right there on the side of a hill.

When The Heavens Cry With You….

My pastor is “dying”. I prefer the term transitioning to his permanent home.   He was sent home this morning, from the hospital with Hospice care. He was transported to one of the big hospitals on Thursday. This morning his wife and children heard the words I have heard before. “We’ve done all we can do”.

That very moment is when you start functioning in survival mode. You have arrangements to make. You have to make sure someone is there to care for them. Luckily, this is a family of a wife, 3 grown children and 5 grandchildren who are old enough to help out.

When he heard the news, he told them that he wanted to go home. So they went home. Last report, the nurse was with him where he resides getting him settled in.

We live in a small mountain community and we are a very small but loving congregation. We have been in constant contact for the past three weeks since he got severely ill.

He has been at our church for 23 years. He has driven 50 miles, three times a week to preach to us. He made numerous trips to the same hospital and others when things were going wrong in my world. He has been in my home when we were facing death to let my husband know that he was loved and cared for even when his own family would not come around.

When my husband died, he was right here in my home providing love and comfort.

After making sure my parents were okay after getting the news, I went for a long drive. I was alone and I could cry as hard as I wanted. It was raining buckets almost as if the heavens themselves could feel my pain.

I cry for his wife and his children knowing what they will be facing. I cried for our church, we have a heartache that unless you have felt it, you don’t understand. My tears are not for where he is going. He is heading to Heaven, where his heart and lungs will not be an issue. I cry out of selfishness. I will miss him.

He has been our spiritual leader, our burden bearer, our under shepherd taking care of  the flock. You have a tremendous amount of respect and love for him.

We are independent. We don’t have someone to come in and fill that spot, not that anyone could take his place.

So for now, we as a collective group try to carry on. We will have a fill in preacher tomorrow. We do what we have to do to cope. One lady went and rode with her husband in a dump truck so she would not  be alone. My mom carried beans to the can house to stay busy. I went for a long drive and had a good cry.  We all handle it differently.

My prayer for his is that his crossing be gentle. He has been a faithful servant.

My solace??? I can just imagine my husband looking at him when he crosses and saying “Well Preacher, what are you doing here?”

 

Six Years…

It has been 6 years. 2,190 days, 52,560 hours, 3,153,600 minutes, 189,216,000 seconds. That is how long it has been since my world changed.

I remember walking into my house after he had to leave me. The transition had happened. He was out of pain. I was in pain.

My mom was with me. My best friend was the first one to show up. I sat on the sofa holding my little dog. It was more his dog than mine. They were there all day together while I worked until he went in the nursing home then most of my time was I there.

I sat there as people wandered through my house. I felt nothing. I watched as they carried food into my house and they sat and talked and honestly, I didn’t hear a sound.

As night fell, I began to pray. I was praying to make it through that first night, just one night was all I prayed for. I laid in the bed that we had slept in together and I cried. I laid there for some time. I remember when I woke up and saw the sun, I said I made it through the first time. I was going to be okay.

I couldn’t go back in my house and I walked off 135 pounds just walking to kill time so I didn’t have to go home to an empty house. Just something to do became therapy, which became a habit, which made me feel better mentally, physically and spiritually.

He had made me promise him that I would be alright and on the days and months that followed when I wanted to give up, I reminded myself of that promise.

When it got unbearable, I decided to end my own life. I knew how I was going to do it, I had a plan. Nobody would have thought anything except that I had grieved myself to death.

On the same day I was going to do it, I was sitting in my chair and I got  a response from a post on facebook that said “I feel ya but that first part isn’t right.” I asked the person to explain themselves. The response “I personally think you are hot and gorgeous”. I remember screaming all over the house. A friend of mine thought that I was hot and gorgeous. Me. Nooooo….. but at that point, I had a reason to want to live again. This man was gorgeous. He was sexy as hell and he thought I was hot and gorgeous?!?!?

I had been flattered by men since my husband had died but this one was different. I had sparked to him the first time I had met him. There was something more to him. Something of quality. Something worth me getting to know him better. That was five years ago. We have been through a great deal together. I have fallen in love for the second time after I thought I wanted to die. He became my person. That person I want to share everything (and I do mean everything) with.

If anyone had ever told me that I would fall in love again, I would have slapped them. If they had told me how deeply I would fall in love the second time, I would have laughed. Yet, here I am.

For the second time in my life, I am in love with a good, honorable man. A man who cares for me. A man who treats me with love and respect. A man who treats me an equal, he doesn’t talk down to me because I am a woman.

Does he still think I am hot and gorgeous? I can’t answer that . Only he knows the answer to that. I hope he does. In my mind I wonder. I am not 20 and skinny. I am not a model. He sees his share of those. I am not the kind of woman men trip over themselves to get to know although, sometimes people tell me I get a second look from time to time. It would be nice to hear it from him from time to time,  that he still thought that.

Life has changed for me a great deal in 6 years, 2190 days, 52,560 hours, 3,153,600 minutes, 189,216,000 seconds. At times it seems like a lifetime and at times it seems like it just happened.

I had one love and we honored those vows to the very end.  I have just found a new way of living and a new way of loving. the heart can mend and it can love again if given enough time and patience.

 

That Voice On The Other End Of the Line…

I haven’t ever told you what I do for a living. I am the calm voice on the other end of the line when tragedy meets the lives of those in my community. I am that person you call when you need a policeman, a fire truck or an ambulance.

I am invisible most of the time. I am a voice, not a face.

When you are losing your mind I am there to get you help.

I am a people mover, I find out where the problem is and I get help there as fast as humanly possible.

I know how to talk to people who can’t contain their grief or fear simply because I have been where they have been. Not exactly because all our stories are different. I know what it feels when you have the rug pulled out from under you when you hear the words that “It is Cancer and we have to start treatment today”. I know what it is like to walk around a shopping center parking lot trying to digest those words. Making those phone calls screaming on the inside.  That the person you love has cancer. You lose you shit. I also remember the very words he said to me that day. “God has not brought us this far to leave us, now get hold of yourself and go get me something to eat, then we will go back to the hospital.”

I know what it is like to sit beside someone you love as they take that last breath and the next one doesn’t come. That panic that you feel in that moment because half your heart was just ripped out.

I know what it feels like to be alone, lonely and scared. Laying in the bed at night, just praying to die simply because you see no reason to go on.

I know what it feels like when someone strolls into your life and stays no matter how bad it gets from time to time and suddenly you find a reason to get up in the morning and that loving for a second time is perfectly wonderful.

I know what it is like when your mother is having a seizure and you call an ambulance and it feels like it is taking forever for it to get there.

I know what it is like for the same thing to happen a second time and the paramedics are there and they talk you through that oh so scary moment.

So, when I answer that call, I try to meet people where they are, for I, myself have been in so many different situations.

So when you are scared, lonely, lost, grief stricken, be patient with the person on the other end of the phone. If they have to ask you questions, try to listen and answer honestly, for they are trying to get you help.