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Monday, November 10, 2014

Hitting the Pavement

Every now and then Bebe does some maneuver during our walk and I end up kissing the street.  Today it was a runner, running either toward us or away from us but in either case, Bebe and I were startled.  She lunged, I fell and then was dragged until I got a handle on the leash.  Seventy - five pounds of muscle pulling 93 pounds of me.  I should be stronger given the weights that I am pulling but that is not the case.

I am having a hard time understanding my mood lately.  I can feel the sadness under the surface and am not quite sure why.  Life is okay-a bit lonely, a bit overwhelming, but on that front, it feels no different than usual.  I guess every now and then I get tired and a bit fearful of the future.  Everything seems to be in flux which can be good, but I guess I long for a bit of stability.  It still strikes me how much my life has changed in the aftermath of Bruce's death.  Not that we were strangers to change.  In my 34 year marriage, we moved about 12 times, and to 5 different states.  But every time we moved, we moved as a team and my resilience was embedded in the comfort of Bruce's sense of adventure.  So here I am making changes by myself-without a cheerleading section.

It is no surprise that I hate change and love stability-the mark of an anxious person.  Comfort happens in the course of day to day sameness with a little smidgen of the unexpected thrown in every now and then.  As of this fall, the change is fully in bloom.  I am no longer a professor with a steady gig-now I am a vagabond educator-and my job and the place where my paycheck comes from is different each semester.  I am still alone, navigating the house and the pets.  I am still overwhelmed by the number of things that still hang over me and the uncertainty of my financial future.  There are good changes ahead-my growing family - and now there is another child on the horizon, and the hope that I won't always be alone to walk the hills of my life.  But it is sometimes difficult to keep this in mind - especially on a day that starts with an intimate encounter with the street.

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Danger ahead

I am moving cautiously these days.  I gravitate-sometimes I am cautiously optimistic about the future, other times I linger between fear and dread.

Loss hangs over me.  I can feel it in the background.  And I also know that this is part of life and always has been.  Somehow though, something in me has shifted and I see everything as a potential loss, even good things.

I try very hard to take away something from everything that disappears.  I want to be able to recoup, to be resilient, to appreciate what I have gained from each person, relationship, or situation where I have been the loser.  It takes superhuman strength and frankly I am not a comic book hero.  And unfortunately when I anticipate a loss or am fearful that I may lose something or someone very important, I react.  It may be, in fact, that in anticipation, I withdraw and lose more.

At times like these, I wish I can turn this analytic self off and just live in the moment.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

another milestone

Today, October 7, 2014 is Bruce's 60th birthday.  Of course, as my daughter pointed out, Bruce would have told me that dead people do not have birthdays.  But I woke up with an uneasiness, and later when I thought about it, realized that I felt sad.  Yes, lots of time has passed and in February - I will have been widowed 6 years.  But these dates still mean something and seem to prompt an acknowledgement.

I have always been one to acknowledge birthdays.  I do not remember much about birthdays when I was a child except for the fact that I always had a green cake for St. Patrick's Day.  But as an adult-birthdays are important.  They represent a way of celebrating another.  So if someone in my circle does not want to celebrate-I do it for them.  I love the people in my life and I am grateful that they share my planet.  When the day rolls around - I try to express in some way how much I appreciate that person.  Which brings me back to Bruce and this special day.  Does it really matter that he is not here?  He has left his foot print, and no one and no fact can erase that. 

So today I celebrate him, his life and his contribution to the world.  He made us laugh, his generosity was endless and he was very important to me.

Happy Birthday my dear dear soul mate.  You are missed.

Monday, September 15, 2014

Lowered Expectations

It seems that lately I am either disappointed or disappointing someone.  Are my expectations unrealistic?  Probably they are.

I am not sure what I expected when Bruce died.  I know that when he was alive, when I thought of a solitary life-I was fine.  I had this image of myself as a strong independent woman.  But now-I do not have that image of myself.  I sometimes feel that I am in a dark tunnel - and am feeling along the sides to find my way.

Is this part of my education?  How do I use the knowledge that I have gained to move forward while finding my balance?

Saturday, September 13, 2014

An Educational Opportunity

The years since Bruce's death has been like an educational experience in addition to a catastrophic event.  Add this to my list of credentials, and the resulting knowledge in some ways is more useful than the 4 other degrees that I have.  Yes, the loss was unexpected and if I could turn back the clock-I would.  Could I prevent his death?  Would I be able to successfully intervene?  I am not sure that I could have but there is still that little bit of doubt that lingers.  I guess it is the "What if", and I would guess that we all carry that around for every event in our lives.  That question of what would happen if we were: older, wiser, smarter, more observant......... The list can go on.

But to pick up the thread of the educational opportunity, I have learned so much since Bruce's death.  Did I want that knowledge-NO, but can I benefit in some way from it?  I hope so.  I have learned so much about the world, about me, about relationships.  My theory is that we travel though life with some certainty about the "givens".  At almost 60 (wow, I am awed by the number), I thought I had a sense of myself, and also about how things worked.  Well my awareness now is that there were some gaps in my knowledge about so many things.  I thought I knew myself, but I have found pockets of myself that were well hidden.  I also thought that I was an "expert" on relationships - have had a very long marriage, close ties with family and lots of friends.  But I was wrong-so many assumptions and misconceptions that I carried were based on the truth at the time.  This was challenged by the circumstances that I found myself dealing with and I have had to acknowledge my ignorance.




Thursday, July 31, 2014

Endings and Beginnings

It has been a busy week.  At the beginning of last week I was devastated by another loss, not sure how resilient I could be, not sure when I could emerge from the sadness.  Then at the end of the week, a new little person came into my life and this week I am feeling much better.  My granddaughter was born 12 days early - just when I needed something new to distract myself.

She is beautiful and represents hope for me.
On to a better future.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Putting it all in a box

I am accumulating losses.  I tend to gather up all the things that are going wrong and view them as one.  And so it is no wonder that I am so so despondent.  One trauma by itself is easier to deal with but I put them all together.  And then there is the emptiness.  

So hard for me to deal with right now.  I know that I need to stop dwelling on the empty's and try and find the glass half full.  But I am having a particularly rough time.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The Review

How helpful is it to look back?  For the past 2 nights, I have been rehashing the past 4 months.  What happened, what changed, why didn't I pay attention to the signs?  Were there signs?  How can I exercise more control over what happens to me?  How can I continue to be proactive after a series of unfortunate events?

I try to be out there-brave in forging a new path for myself.  Now I am dealing with so many new uncertains.  I have done this before but usually there has been some stability as a safety.  Bruce was that for me.  I was hoping that the new man in my life was that as well.  I guess it is foolish to assign that role to a person I hardly knew.  Now I have that loss to deal with as well.  Where is my "home"?  For me home was not just a place, it was a person who provided that base.  Everything is changing, my road ahead is dark and I am just trying to move cautiously and not get sidetracked.


Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Alone again

Well, it happened.  Another relationship down the tubes.  Not that it was necessarily a good one.  Which leaves me to wonder why I stick in there at times when it seems obvious that nothing good will happen if we continue on.

I guess I am lonely and willing to compromise.  But to save a bit of pride here, it is not as if I hold on to bad men for the sake of having a companion.  They start out great.  They are funny and delightful and seem really to be Keepers.  It what happens during the course of the relationship-when I decide to continue on and their ardor cools and I realize they would rather be with their cats, their guitar or their TV.  Do I seek men who are emotionally unavailable?  Are there warning signs that I should pay attention to?  What are they?  I try not to rule out too many possibilities and so give a few a chance.  Is it better to date men who have recently had a relationship?  Or those who have children?  Or those who live with mom?  Hard to know what the rules are-especially at my age.

Everyone tells me it is a numbers game.  That sounds fine.  I can go into a bookstore and look at all the books and identify some that I like and then further select one.  But there is no pain if I choose incorrectly-and it is very easy to put down a book that was not what I thought it was.  Not the same with dating.  I get emotionally hooked and feel very depressed when things go awry.  I am disappointed first and then of course the loss is re-stimulated and then I feel hopeless that there will ever be someone to wake up next to. And finally, because it is a numbers game I need to go out and do it again and hope for a different outcome.

I miss Bruce.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

another new chapter

It has been a long long time since my last post.  I would like to say that my months were filled with lots of wonderful distractions but in truth I had a difficult spring and finally I decided to retire and recoup a bit.  Unfortunately, my finances won't totally support this and I am frantically looking for other income.  I have been sending out queries and have a couple of nibbles.  If all else fails maybe I have a career at Starbucks?

Life continues to be challenging.  I guess that this is the way it is.  The biggest challenge is to try and find the positive and not focus on the negatives.  So money is an issue but I have more time now.  So my love life is not what I expected but my family is growing as we will greet a new baby in the next few weeks.  Is the challenge what happens to us or is the challenge our response?


Tuesday, February 18, 2014

nearing the mark

Hard to believe that it has been 5 years.  Thursday marks the 5th year since Bruce's death.  I am not planning on taking the day off, my schedule is packed and I did not feel that I could change it.  Maybe I should have.......

It is not passing without reflection and sadness.  I miss him and honestly I also miss the life that I had.    
He never bored me-always could make me laugh and always made me feel loved.  I guess that is extremely rare and that is something that has been difficult to do without.  With Bruce, I was always #1.  I never felt that there was anyone else on the planet that he would rather be with and I am sure that this phenomenon will never happen again.  Of course, there were times when I wanted some space and I felt the pressure of being attentive to his needs-BUT, how wonderful that I was loved and cherished this way.  And I will always, always be grateful for having that.  And yes, I miss that so much.


Tuesday, February 4, 2014

Turning the page

Sometimes when I am reading a book that has me anxious, I want to turn the page and skip over the difficult parts.  This is also how I feel about my life sometimes.  On February 20th - it will be 5 years since Bruce died.  And I would like to turn the page on some things-but not all.
It has been difficult and Bruce's death was followed by other traumas (as well as some joy).  But the loss stays with me.  And I want to shake it loose.

Five years ago, we were settling in to our new home.  We had moved in - and then proceeded to remodel some things, we visited the quarry and picked out granite for our countertops, we went to get wood flooring and many times I compromised-because it did not make that much of a difference and Bruce was so excited about our new home.  It was great to see this-finally, we were doing better and life seemed wonderful.  It had been a difficult move-a move in a hurry and Bruce worked his magic again.  He had the packing thing down to a science, he was able to do it all.  This was my extremely capable mate.  And suddenly-the holidays happened and I had the flu and we were putting in countertops and flooring.  Finally January arrived and we began to appreciate the work we had put in.  The house was beautiful.  In fact the week before Bruce died, we had a photographer come in and take photos to use our house as a model for the community. 
Valentine's Day was celebrated by a nice dinner out and then our weekend (with President's day and Monday off) was filled with school work.  We were home and each doing work while sharing and commiserating about our students and their inability to write well or follow directions.  It was a good weekend-our last together.

It is hard to visually capture the moments-even though I remember the details.  And of course, I miss him and sometimes want to have a conversation about events in my life.  He was after all, my best friend, and a fixture in my life for 34 years.  He would have been so proud of our children, and the adults they are now.  Our daughter such a wonderful parent, our hardworking son, now married and soon to be a dad. I know that they miss him too and somehow our joy is a bit dampened because he isn't here to share it.  He would have been a terrific grandfather.  And I am sad that he is missing out - because I know how much it would have meant to him and therefore to us.

Since his death, life has been a bit of a roller coaster-a bit of trauma here and there.  Additional losses followed and seemed more difficult because it brought back the greatest loss, Bruce. 

So I am hanging on-trying not to anticipate the events ahead-the anniversary of his death on the heels of Valentine's Day, my birthday, our anniversary (it would have been 39 years).  This year, I am alone again-whereas last year, I thought that I found another soulmate. 

But there are changes ahead.  Even though this time of the year will always make me look back-I am trying to look ahead.  New experiences wait for me, and it is time to shake things up. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Treading Water

Lately I have been in one of those "put one foot in front of another moods"  - which is to say, that life is kind of difficult and if I were able-I should stop "processing" things and just keep on going.  The ground is shaky; a perpetual earthquake and I cannot seem to get my balance.  Of course-so much is up in the air.

I have to find a way of earning a living and enjoying it.  Years of doing what I am doing is no longer something I am able to do.  That in itself is daunting.  It is not like I am at retirement age so that I can sit back and collect a healthy pension and use Medicare for health issues.  I need to switch gears but still make enough funds to pay my bills.  In addition to the turmoil about work (which I admit has been percolating for quite some time), there is the emptiness in my personal life.  Last year at this time, I was anticipating a Valentine's day with a significant other.  So that is gone as well. 

And so is my confidence.  I feel unable when years ago, I felt so capable.  This is a real crisis of faith.  Faith in me, faith in the future-how do I get this back?  The ending of the 14 month relationship with the confession that it was built on a lie and I was the last to know-has really made me distrustful.  And that has derailed whatever self-esteem I had.  I have lost ground and feel as if I am back in time to the year after Bruce's death.  I felt rudderless, uneven, unable, and so sad.

But I am trying a bit to move forward.  There are some ups, even if they are outnumbered by the downs.  And the fact that next month is the anniversary of Bruce's death (5 years!), and Valentine's day and the reminder that last year there was someone else in my life is painful. 

I guess I have to keep on keeping on.  I am trying to count my blessings and let the small problems stay small.  I need to appreciate what it is that I have, and put all in perspective.  And above all-look forward and try to create a space for myself where I can find some joy.

Monday, January 13, 2014

Atheist in a fox hole

I do not believe in miracles.  And I have yet to receive a sign from the dead.  Lots of widows have told me that their spouses were sending them signs-a butterfly, a whale, a parking place opening up.
I have had none of those experiences.  Yet, as the atheist in the foxhole who suddenly is praying to God as the war encroaches upon him, I sometimes am aware that I think there is a connection to a "grand plan".

It isn't exactly a sign from above.  It is more a strange coincidence that makes me think that something is "meant to be" or not "meant to be".  For example, when I was dating, one of the men that I dated taught at the same school as my husband, in fact he knew my husband.  Was he sent from heaven?  A gift from Bruce?  And when that relationship failed and my next encounter was with a man from the same home town as the previous guy, I also read into that.  Then I met someone who was  sociologist and again, since Bruce was a sociologist, I thought that there was some significance in that.

So now I am alone again.  And contemplating ending my career thus far after numerous issues that have filled me with self-doubt.  Is that too a sign that I need to move forward to my next "career" and not look back?  Is there a divine plan?