The Coin

IMG_2236

 

I would like to tell you my story. Now, to you I may look like a normal silver dollar and if you found me, you might spend me or you might put me in a treasure chest or a piggy bank. I don’t have a great deal of value on the market but I am more valued than you will ever know.

When I was new, a man gave me to his father in law. I was new and shiny. I was fresh out of the mint. I was brand new. The word liberty was stamped was stamped on the front of me over a picture of President Dwight Eisenhower in profile which was in the middle and my year of birth was along the bottom of the coin. On the left side of the front of the coin were the words ” In God We Trust”

Tattooed on my back was an American Eagle, “The United States of America ” and “One Dollar”. My edges were ridged. I was beautiful.

The father in law thought so much of me, I went every where he went. I went to work with him, when he worked in the field, I was right there. Even when he ate his meals, I was there.  When he slept at night, I was on the chest at the foot of his bed. The next morning we would start all over.

I lived in his pants pocket. I met other coins but the came and they went. I was the only one that stayed. For 23 years I was with him every step he made.

When the man got sick and knew he was going to die, he placed me in the hand of his daughter. Give this to your youngest daughter. She said she would and she  put me away in a safe place.

For another 23 years I stayed locked away. I didn’t see any light. I just laid there, waiting. The other day,  I saw light for the first time in a long time.

Yesterday, the daughter spent the day with her mother. They did a little shopping, took  a nice long drive and went back to the mother’s house.

The mother reached into her pocket and pulled me out. She handed me to her daughter and told her my story.

With tears in her eyes, she (the daughter) ran her finger across my surface and felt how smooth I had become. Some of the letters in Liberty were gone. She had to strain to see the words “In God We Trust”. The eagle was still perceivable. The words on the back, they had all but disappeared. My edge was now smooth as a baby’s bottom.

Here I am old and worn. I have be aged by time and pressure. I am not shiny and new anymore but yet in this woman’s hand, I was treasured. I was LOVED!!!  I am of infinite value and she wouldn’t sell me for a million dollars. You see,  she knows the value of the fact that her grandfather wanted her to have this precious thing.I matter to him and now I matter to her.  He wanted to make sure that I was taken care of after he was gone and now I am on my new home. Tonight, I am  in her pocket as she works. She introduced me to her person today. He held me on his hand, he seems like  a great guy. She is her happiest when she is with him.  She also  showed me to some of her coworkers and they all seemed touched by my story.

When she gets home from work tomorrow morning, she will remove me from her pocket, she will lay me up on the chest at the foot of her bed, just like her grandfather.

My journey begins again, only with a different person to love, just like her.

Maybe that is why she is supposed to have me. She knows what it is like to be loved for a second time. This is going to be another awesome journey. We are both excited to see where it will lead.

 

I Had To Laugh…

I got to spend the day with my person. We had a great day just roaming around. Just exploring seeing what we could see, sometime riding around in circles. There was  a large amount of laughter.

I work night shift so my mom calls to make sure I am awake for work. She worries that I sleep so soundly that I won’t hear my alarm.

Today she called me as usual. She talked to me for a couple of minutes. She asked me if I was awake. I said yes. She asked me where I was. I told her. She asked me what I was doing. I told her that also. What I didn’t tell her was who I was with. She didn’t ask. I  would of told her had she asked. She knows who I want to spend my time with. Then she asked me about some cake I brought home yesterday.

Suddenly, right in the middle of her rant about me getting the wrong cake,  she said, Oh you are not alone. I’ll let you go. Bye. I tried not to laugh. It was hard to do. It was like she had just walked in on something she shouldn’t have.

Now, I am a middle aged woman and my mother respects the fact that I value the time alone with my person. Just as he respects the time I spend with her. She knows how I feel about him. I think everyone who has seen us knows how I feel about him. I don’t hide it very well.

We are both very private for the most part, I am probably more open with my feelings. I am more vocal about wanting to make memories and how he makes me feel.

You have to remember that 5 years ago the world as I knew it ended and now I know the value of time and not to take even one second for granted.

I would have also never thought there would be a chance in you know where that he would want to share time with me.

I don’t have the best image of myself, although, I will admit I have come a long way. So when we started talking, I couldn’t see him having an interest in me at all. From the moment I met him, I knew he was someone that I wanted in my world.

He is so smart and he has taught me so much. He lets me explore not only the world around me but the world within me as well. He is one of the most amazing people I have every had the pleasure of knowing. I tell him that all the time. I just wish he could see himself through my eyes.

I want to spend every moment I can loving him, being with him, laughing with him.

I come from a place where plan A was to sit on the side of the road and die. To plan B which is to live every moment of my life to the fullest.

After walking through the fog of grief and the oddness of loving someone in a very different way yet just as strongly. I am living my life.

Even if I do get a chuckle out of it from time to time.

The Art of Conversation…

Yesterday, I had lunch with a friend. It was the Barbie person in my world. She was going to be near the area and she texted me and wanted to know if we could do lunch.

I had to check my schedule and see if it was doable. It was.

Since I was going to be there anyway, I scheduled a doctors appointment before we met. I hadn’t said anything to anyone but my arm has been going numb so I needed to have that checked out.

I finished in plenty of time before we were supposed to meet, I decided to fulfill some promises I had made to co-workers  from my previous job. You know those, come by and see me, promises.

I wasn’t sure why today, when I went but okay, I do what I feel I am supposed to do.

I went in and was promptly greeted with hugs. I spoke to one lady who is retiring in about a year. She told me of her grand children who live in Florida. You could see the sadness in her eyes when she talked about being away from them.

I spoke to one lady who was having the usual trouble with one of her co-workers. She said I have a question for you. The house? I knew which house she was talking about, “The Queen”. I said it is gone. She said I wondered, I hadn’t seen any photos of it in a while.

She had fallen in love with this old house through the photos I had taken of it. Her reply was well at least you have pictures of it.

I spoke to the dry humor, monotone speaking, member of this group of my friends. She told me that the guy who worked at the comic book store who had led her to think he was interested in her was married with two kids. She told me “For twenty years I have been saying that all the good men are married, gay or dead”. She is still sticking with the plan of paying off her bills and joining a nunnery.

Then I went and had lunch with my friend. We had Thai food, bad Thai food. She talked about how she wanted to finish paying off her student loans so she could stay home. She is living with her boyfriend but still doesn’t have a ring and she is already planning to stay home with the children that aren’t here yet. She talked about how her home had been robbed and her dog had to be put down because he had cancer. She told me that she had been to Switzerland. I told her I traveled about 3 counties over barely being in a different state. We talked about life, jobs, love, all the things you talk about when you haven’t seen someone in a while.

After lunch, I went to see a friend who lost her mom to cancer just 3 weeks ago. She is just getting back to work. She is having to answer the where have you been questions. She answered it three times while I was waiting to speak to her.

She talked to me about how all this was effecting her. I totally get that, each time you are asked where you have been you have to relive it. You know people mean well but it still hurts your heart just as badly.

She said she was glad I stopped by because I had lost someone to cancer and she just needed someone to talk to. I understand that, it is different but the same.

Since I was in the area, there were two more friends I needed to see, so I shoot across the county I was in, taking the scenic route of course.

I walk through the door of  a different location. I slip in and when I am seen, my friend stopped what he is doing and runs to hug me, tells me to sit down and finishes what he was doing. We talk and at one point he looks at me and says I envy you. Me??? You envy me?? Why?? Because you took your chance and you look happy and healthy.

The last person I spoke with was my sister in widowhood. She says she looks to me as her inspiration. Not really sure why I am a mess most of the time.

She talked about taking her first vacation. She talked about how for the first year she was left alone but now people are noticing her and even being so bold as to move to her table when she sits down in a restaurant. She asked me how I deal with such things, I told her that wearing clothes from my new job helped keep creepers away.

She eluded to but didn’t say that she has feelings for a friend and doesn’t know what to do about it. I told her in a round about way that it was fine to love again that the guilt was part of it. I felt guilty when I realized that I had feelings for my person. I got over the guilt. I am still alive, in every way, I AM STILL ALIVE.

She told me that there were days now when she didn’t think his name, that too is okay. It is called moving forward with your life. They are always with you but not at the forefront of your mind. They just kind of hang out.

She told me that there was a photo of a pine cone that I took many years ago, when he say it in my first exhibition, he said it was the perfect photo. She asked if I still had it, she would like to purchase it.

As, I said goodbye to my friends and started the drive home, I thought about all the conversations of the day. Maybe I helped them, maybe I didn’t. I just know that there was a great deal of hurt in these people and they needed a safe place to unburden themselves.  They just wanted to be heard and acknowledged. I know how that feels. Maybe they wanted someone to look them in they eyes and say I care.

And maybe, somewhere, some way, along the way, I made a difference for them.

Maybe, someone does miss me…. after all.

Five Years Later…

It had happened. It was a Tuesday. It was 12:35 pm (yes, I looked at the clock, I need to remember the exact time). Some Disney channel show was playing in the background.

I stood up from the chair where I had pretty much been planted for the previous 2 months.

I went over to the door that had been closed for the past few days because I didn’t want people going up and down the hall peeking in the door to see if he was still there.

I walked up the hall as casually as any other day. I looked at the nurse standing at the nurses station and I calmly said, “He’s Not BREATHING”.  I turned and I walked back to our room.

They rushed past me into the room. There was no reason to hurry, his struggle was over, he was free. They couldn’t touch him anyway, he had a DNR.

I looked at someone in the room and said “Go get Shawn”. Shawn had been his CNA, who became his friend.He had made me promise that when something happened that he could be there.  I wound up holding onto to him because he was crying so hard.

It was silent when it happened. There was not letting of breath, there was no sound. Death eased into the room and ushered the him that I knew, away.

As the staff asked me to step out into the hallway so they could attend to him, I made a call.

“I need you”. “Is he getting worse?”. “I need you now”. “Oh!!! I will be right there.” That was the whole conversation. The person on the other end of the phone was my friend, the local funeral director.

The second call I made was to my mom. She asked me if I was okay. I said yes, what else could I say. I was fine, I was standing in the hall way talking on the phone. My heart had been ripped out and lay in the floor in front of me in shards but I was still standing.

My sister came first. My dad was going to get my mom. It was real, it was happening and it was happening to me. You always think it is someone else, until you are that someone else.

He had battled kidney cancer for 18 months. When I say he battled it, he fought like a trooper, in his words “just to stay with me”.

I stayed until his earthly house left the building  The thing I noticed how quickly he started getting cold. Once his spirit left his body, it happened fast.

I gathered what I would need at that moment and left room 5 for the last time.

As I walked out of the building, I noticed what a beautiful day it was. Sunny with just a breeze stirring.

I walked toward my car and my mom said “Let your daddy drive you home”. I looked at her as straight as I could and said “I Will Drive Myself”.

I drove myself and my mom to my house. I walked in the door and I picked up my little dog and I cried. I was where I would be safe to cry. Nobody was here to see how I would react. I could finally feel.

I went to let all our friends know that it had happened. Not being able to think of anything else to say I simply typed “It is Finished”. Someone had already shared it with the world, I noticed later that the first sharing of the news was not from me, it was from someone else.

The next few days were a blur. I do remember the first person to my house was my best friend and her daughter. I remember our little dog sniffy the shoes of every man who came into the house and walking away because it was not him. I remember how  many people came to pay their respects. I remember my middle great niece straightening his tie during the viewing.

 I tucked him in for the last time as they closed the casket at the funeral home. My friend called me up and said I know you have tucked him in many times. I want you to help me do it one last time.  It was the final thing I could do for him. I did it through tear filled eyes but I am glad now that I did do it.

In that moment chapter 2 of my life began.

Well, here I am five years later. If anyone would have told me what I would have done in the past five years, I would have laughed in their face. All I wanted to do was die. I even had a plan on how it would happen. Luckily, the right person at the right second, said the right thing. It was eight words that changed my life.

I am not going to say it has been easy. It hasn’t.

I went from living with my parents, to living with him, to at the age of 43 living by myself for the first time.

I had to figure out how to navigate the waters again on my own. Without the man, I planned on spending more years with that what I got, beside me.

I learned (and am still learning) who I am and what I want out of my life.

I have fallen in love with an amazing man who understands that that part of my life did happen and I will speak of it from time to time. He has been patient, loving and kind. He makes me laugh. He encourages me to be the best I can be. He is smart, funny, creative and handsome. He allows me to be the incredible mess that I am and still comes back for more. He is one of those once in a lifetime people.

Me, the person whose plan A was to sit on the side of the road and die, am in love.

I have taken on more challenges and made more changes than I ever thought I would or could. I have chased waterfalls and lightening  with camera in hand. I am starting two businesses. I changed careers.

I have amazing people in my life, I would be lost without the friends I have been blessed to have in my life. My best friend has been an anchor calling me every day since that fateful day and I am living my life.

Tonight, I even went out with some of those friends. It was a very enjoyable evening. There was love, laughter and life. It was great.

So tomorrow, I will not be sitting around thinking about the past. I will be celebrating life. I will be thankful that his spirit was freed from a very sick body and he is free from those things which kept him earthbound.

I will wake up tomorrow and be thankful that I have not only gotten to love once but twice in my life. I will spend the day exploring with my new love.

I guess if I could ask  one question, it would be if he is proud of the woman I have grown into. I think I know the answer….he would be and he would be happy that I have lived a life I enjoy and have loved again.

If I could tell him one thing that I want him to know, that would be that the caterpillar finally sees the butterfly that he saw and that I am sorry I didn’t see it before.

 I think he is smiling on me, nah, I know he is.

If You Had Told Me Then…

It is coming up on five years since I started chapter 2 of my life.

Five years, it really doesn’t seem like that long in some ways but in other ways it seems much longer.

I was thinking about a great number of things yesterday. I was thinking about how I had changed over the course of said time.

It started with me thinking about my jewelry business and how I am somewhat overwhelmed at the moment. I have a great deal to do. I am working it down bit by bit but I still feel like I am running behind. I always do though, that is not a new feeling to me. I feel like I am going to be in over my head, that I am going to be either really disappointed in the outcome or that I will be overtaken with the success of it.

I am really not sure how it will turn out. So I did what I always do, I prayed. I tend to worry about things that I have no control over. It does me no good but it gives me something to do. After I finished praying, I decided to take a different approach. I decided to go for a walk. I do that a lot.

As I was walking, I thought about the things that had changed over the past five years.

I never would have thought that I would or could love again. I do love again. Very much I do love. I look at this man who takes my breath away every single time I look at him. When I see him walking my way, I have to remind myself to breathe and I still get butterflies in my stomach upon each thought of him, yet I can’t look him in the eye and tell him.

I want to tell him how I think he is so smart, talented, creative and funny he is but I just stumble and fumble with my words and I am sure  leave him dazzled by my clumsiness.

If only he knew what ran through my mind when I look at him, talk to him, share my life with him….but he doesn’t cause I am stupid and afraid to tell him.

If you had told me that I would walk out of one career and into another at the ripe old age of 47, I would have told you that you are nuts. I was happy in my job until I wasn’t. I was pretty miserable and I thought there was no way out. Little did I know that a door was opening for me that I didn’t even see coming.

It was huge for me to leave a job that had a lot going for it but the negative vibes I got, far out weighed the good I was trying to do. Now, I work with people who accept me as I am, don’t try to change me and accepted me with open arms. It changed my entire outlook on life and I have to laugh that people tell me how much more relaxed I look, in what should be a more stressful job.

If you had told me that I would be pouring out my heart on the web in this blog, and that anyone would read it, I would have given you a hearty laugh. Nothing I could say would matter to anyone, I remember saying that to my person when we were talking about me starting it, yet people in 21 countries have read at least one post in the last 3 years. In that I am humbled.

If you would have told me that I would be starting a business and not just one but two, I would have thought you completely bonkers. I have never been of that mindset, yet here I am.

Five years ago, I thought my life was over. Plan A was to sit on the side of the road and die, luckily with a lot of love and a great deal of support. I am still here, not just surviving anymore, I am thriving.

As I was walking, I thought about the current state of affairs and suddenly it was as if someone said you are in this place at this time for a purpose. You have not been given the talents you have just to sit on them. Spread you wings, trust the wind to carry you where you are supposed to go.

At one point, I realized I was almost dancing as I walked. I felt the worry lift off me and from where I stood, the view was lovely.

Everything is an Adventure IF….

I look at life as one big adventure. I don’t travel far from my life long home, not that I don’t want to, just haven’t had the means to do so.

I like exploring and just see what other people might miss or take for granted.

I like to go to new places just to see what is there. I love being in the outdoors and just seeing things.

Some of them intrigue me and others might frighten me.

For example, yesterday, my person and I went for a drive. We got out of the car and strolled about in a couple of locations. I saw some very interesting plants that I captured in photos. I love examining the plants that grow along the different trails that we walk on. If Earth science had this much fun, I would have probably been a better student.

We watched fish swimming about in a pond. In my mind I named them Henry and Lady Fish after the characters in “The Incredible Mr. Limpet”. Then we were walking up to an overlook and I saw this fire engine red salamander. Being indoorsy most of my adult life, I approached it with caution. He got right down nose to nose with this little guy and got some amazing photos of it.

It made my heart smile seeing this man get down and interact with this tiny, colorful creature. Not many people would get down on that level and see the world from that perspective, yet he did.

I just stood there smiling at this moment, thankful I was there to witness it.

Then there was the snake, this was one part of the adventure I decided to stay in the car for but not him.

Then we tested out one of his creations. It was interesting to be part of what he is making. I did the driving and he did the watching.

I am not one of the people who need or want the world handed to me. I just like to go adventures and share them with him.

There was also the laughter we shared. He can make me laugh more than anyone I know. I love to laugh. Sometimes he even gets me to laugh at myself.

Those are the memories I want to keep.

Because, everything, every little thing is an adventure if you keep your heart, your mind and your eyes open. Having him to share the journey with, man, that is just amazing!!!

Wow What a Change…

So, I have been writing about getting my hair done. My niece was a rock star today. She did my hair, cut and triple process color.  She did another ladies root touch up.

My hair turned out wonderfully. The color is vibrant and she added some soft curls.

When she turned the chair around so I could see, I almost cried. I was so shocked at what a difference it had made in me.

I have been working so hard on my inside that I had kind of let the outside go. Shame on me.

Honestly, I felt like a sex kitten. Now, that is not a term I have NEVER used about myself. The combination of color and curls, oh yeah, I felt sexy.

I was so anxious for my person to see it, but I didn’t want to let on. He didn’t say a great deal. He asked me if I liked it, I said Oh Yes!! He said Nice!!!

We drove around this evening and I found myself twirling my hair. It was definitely a flirty gesture on my part, hoping he wondered what it would feel like to run his fingers through my hair.

Then we stopped to have dessert along the way, I found myself openly flirting with him over a piece of pie. Who is this woman? I am the socially awkward person who trips over themselves trying to flirt. Now here I was tempting him in this teasing voice over a piece of pie.

I like it…. I like being flirty (with him only) ….. I like feeling like a sex kitten with lush, loose curls.

I have spent enough time not liking me and my body, maybe the time has come that we could all be friends.