Snow

It’s a big deal here, huge. We get snow every year, usually after Christmas, and we lose our collective minds. We as a people forget how to drive on packed down snow and ice. We think we’re going to be snowbound for weeks and stock up on groceries and toilet paper. We close schools, cancel church and social events but there are still plenty of people out there sliding around on the roads creating havoc. 

I’m determined to not be a part of it. I am at home, with food, electricity, heat, running water and internet. There’s no reason to go out. As the news people say, as they are standing on an icy bridge or in the cold, if you don’t need to get out don’t. 

The snow here is about an inch, maybe two. Two at most. In other parts of the country or the world that’s nothing, laughable even.  I will survive, as long as I have Internet service and cat food.  

I have no plans to grill either.

Ending

Sedated at the hospital.

Last Sunday my lovely Olive was sick. She spent the night before on the floor instead of hogging my blanket and resting her little hairy butt in my face. 

She was lethargic but suddenly she began whimpering and thrashing about. She began frothing at the mouth and twitching. I tried to talk to her but she didn’t seem to hear me. The twitching stopped and she lay there. 

I managed to get her to the animal emergency hospital. It didn’t stop. The nurse asked me some questions but the only thing for certain was my dog was having seizures and no one knew why. 

She stayed at the hospital for 3 days, and they treated her with gentleness. They had to sedate her, the only way they could temporarily stop the seizures. She did not seem to hurt and she slept while I held her. I could feel her little body shake. She would wake up, lifting her head and seeming to chew for a few minutes before falling asleep again. The seizures never stopped, only slowed. The vets said there were tests they could run but they would only diagnose the cause, there was no guarantee she would get better.

When I left Tuesday night I had decided Wednesday would be her last day. No more seizures, no fear, no more wondering what was happening to her. I told Porkchop and neither of us slept much that night. 

I got Porkchop into the cat carrier and we went to say goodbye to Olive. I took him out of the carrier and he looked at her before he jumped off the table and hid under a chair. I admit I was disappointed and thought he would stay near her. 

The vet tech took her back to insert a new IV, brought her back and then injected her with a large syringe. It took 2 seconds for my girl’s spirit to leave her body. 

Some random events happened next, I took Porkchop home and drove 60 miles to Stillwater to my friend Lucy’s parents’s house. They offered to let me bury her on their land. 

Lucy’s dad dug the grave. The rest is still hard to explain, I watched and understood what happened but felt numb, like I was a camera recording the events without knowing whether it was real or not. 

They took care of me, a rare and wonderful experience. The thought of it overwhelms me, being allowed to do nothing, and letting someone else take charge. It’s foreign to me. I can never thank them enough. 

I miss my girl. Even though I still have Porkchop it’s incomplete. I have been through loss before, far worse than this, so I know I will be okay.  I also know it will take time.

Temporary Insanity

When I am on my period I am not myself. Like a Snickers commercial, I go through a weird internal transformation and chocolate does help, it makes the cramps go away for a little while. The backache stays but it isn’t as terrible as both combined. It still sucks and I am always relieved when it finally passes.

It’s like Lux Interior is in my interior

 

I suppose I should be glad I still have my monthly, it is familiar and aggravating but not as terrifying as the great unknown, menopause. It lasts for a few lousy bloated days but menopause goes on and on, from what I’ve heard.

The temporary change I experience is the result of my hormones being out of whack. I know this, know this is a short term attack and this makes it bearable, knowing it will pass. I just need to ride it out.

My emotions are heightened. I feel sad, angry and I am easily miffed, more than usual. I also feel the need for someone to be kind to me, like Jerry was. Someone who will go out of their way to do something nice for me, buy me lunch, watch netflix with me, little gestures that matter. I want someone who will listen and not be judgmental. I want to hear I’m not so old, that I still have value, worth, even that I am still pretty, a little. It may be a lie, but I don’t mind. And this someone needs to be a man. This all is ridiculous and silly, as well as impossible. I know this will pass. It’s vanity. I also know it will hit me again, on my next period.

I do not want a relationship, no dating, no flirting or any of that crap. I don’t want a one night stand, the idea is repulsive to me. I can’t, I couldn’t and I know it is not for me, none of this. I’m not critcizing women who date or want to date after their husbands die, it’s just not for me. I know I’m meant to be on my own. I just lose my mind for a few days every month.

Sometimes I wonder if I should hide myself for these days. I worry that the madness may show, that other people see my secret yearning, that they feel sorry for me or that the absurdity of it makes them laugh. It’s vanity, I know I’m dull and colorless, an uninteresting person and nobody looks at me, not really. But it makes me feel self-conscious. I feel safer when my period has passed and I’m through with these crazy feelings, the exaggerated emotions as well as this silly pointless wanting.

I wish someone had warned me about this odd after effect of widowhood. So this is why I am admitting my strange yearning for someone to be kind to me, as Jerry was. There is mention of being lonely, afraid, and being forgotten, those are predictable and expected aspects of being a widow. They suck but at least you know it’s not just you. But this particular weird affliction is not mentioned; maybe it is just me, or maybe other women are embarrassed to admit it. Whatever. Consider this part confession and part public service.

It seems fitting but I really enjoy watching Dave, check out that smile.

Old

I am old, but I don’t feel it. At least not until it’s pointed out to me. Today I had a mammogram. There’s a sentence that makes women, usually Of a Certain Age, make a face. Besides the squishing of my breasts, I had a flu shot and for the first time colonoscopy was brought up. Because I am at that magic age where it’s believed old age starts to settle in and slowly take over.

I talked to my friend Lucy s mom on Saturday. We were at a funeral for another friend’s mom and waiting. Lucy’s mom said something I can’t forget. She said she once thought 60 was the youth of old age but now sees 60 as the old age of youth, when everything starts to go. As she is in her 80’s I imagine she knows what she’s talking about. One of her daughters is turning 60 next year and the realization made her sigh. Incidentally Lucy’s mom is still going and doing and having a life though it’s taking more time and effort now. She said she’s going to funerals for her contemporaries more and more.

Instead of depressing me it cheered me a little,  since this means I’m still young, relatively speaking. It also means I’ve probably got another good ten years or so left.  I hope to still be doing yoga and 5Ks. I don’t plan to have gray hair either.

It amuses me to see people in their 20’s with dyed gray or silver hair. Some look good. I think they will be dyeing their hair like me when they are my age and gray will not be so appealing then.

Mental

I’ve learned that those pumped up inspirational quotes and memes about the mental aspect of exercise and training are really true. I’ve known it on a superficial level for years but secretly considered most of it hype and hyperbole. The physical is more important; without the ability there’s no game, no results no matter how positive your mindset.  Or so I thought.

In the past I considered the mental aspect as that little voice pushing me to finish, to go harder, try a little more, a little longer. It was just positive thinking.

Ironically one reason I walked was it helped me deal with change. When Jerry died last year going for a walk was one way I could think and clear my head. The extra oxygen helped too. This year when my son told me he wanted to start walking we did, he started slowly but being younger he adapted quickly. Our distances increased and it gave us both something we needed, time to talk about things including his father. He told me his plans to go overseas again and by the time he left he had lost nearly 30 pounds. The only physical difference I noticed was my butt wasn’t as loose anymore.

This summer I was doing well, even going for little one and two minute sprints during my walks. Then there were some big changes: my son left to work in Vietnam, I left my job, and I moved. So I stopped walking, it was time-consuming and I had to pack and sort Jerry’s things. There were more important things to do. Being summer it was also hot, even in the evening it was in the 90’s..

I quit for two months, then started again in a half-hearted way. Sometimes I walk three times a week, sometimes just once. I gave up yoga because I couldn’t afford it anymore.  I’ve been lazy, finding reasons to not walk. I can, I know I need to and I know it’s good for me but I can’t find the motivation to go.  This is when I learned that mental strength is important , without the will there is no way the body will follow. It’s a heckuva way to learn a lesson.

I walked today, a short walk, because I was forced. I put on my walking clothes this morning  thinking it would push me into going. It didn’t, I made some weak excuse and it wasn’t until my sister pointedly asked me if I was going to walk, so shamed into it I did. I still didn’t feel like it, the day was warm but there was a cold wind blowing. I went anyway,  I felt better after but I know I’m a long way from being where I need to be mentally. If I can get that back the physical part will be easy.

Thanksgiving

It’s good to spend Thanksgiving with your loved ones

9030435f-6647-4ee7-bb84-0ca85ff09a8b_zpsmfbv7ypuI hadn’t exactly dreaded Thanksgiving; last year was the first without Jerry, it was only me and Bear. This year Bear is abroad, I still have family although it felt odd without Jerry and Bear. I felt strangely alone even with people around me.  I told myself and Olive that this is likely the last time we’ll be here doing this. Even if I don’t move I don’t think I’ll be at my sister’s. A day alone, with something simple instead of a huge meal sounds appealing rather than lonely and pathetic. There’s something comforting and reassuring about it. I may feel differently next year, may want to be here again but I rather doubt it. I do not want to have to make the effort, just talking to people seems to take too much energy even when it’s small talk.

Ironically the one thing I had prepared myself for, talking about Jerry, didn’t happen. No one mentioned him. My dad prayed for Bear and acknowledged his absence but it was as if they forgot Jerry ever existed. I want to say they did it out of concern or respect for me but they didn’t. I tried not to feel slighted but it was sobering how soon he vanished from their minds. Most of my time was spent keeping my nephew from playing too roughly with Olive. Porkchop took off and hid when he heard them come in. He sauntered out two hours after they left. I gave Olive extra turkey for her patience.

I talked to my mother-in-law today too. She didn’t mention Jerry either, perhaps it’s still too hard. I waited for her to mention him but when she didn’t I decided not to either. We talked a lot about Bear, my upcoming trip and what we were doing this day. It was light but extremely awkward at the same time.

Bear and I talked, texted. His stomach was upset, he had gone through a lot of 7up he said. It could have been something he ate, but it was probably stress. He was diagnosed with an ulcer in high school. He worries and stresses out easily, like Jerry.  He has hypertension like his father, but at least Bear’s was discovered early, unlike Jerry’s. Doctors told him he was too young to have high blood pressure and blew it off, only giving him meds when he was in his 30’s. This hangs over him too, not a death sentence but he’s more aware of his health than the average Millennial. I worry about him too but try not to add to his stress, I only hope I don’t.

He didn’t mention his dad either but we were both thinking of him. Simpsons references and things Jerry said, stuff that had his dad all over it.

For technical purposes Thanksgiving is over, we ate the big dinner and my sister and her family went home. I am glad. Tomorrow is Black Friday, purgatory for anyone who works retail. Normally I try to ignore it but I will be out in it, hitting the mall with a bunch of other deranged humans up before sunrise looking for a good deal. I’m in the market for a big suitcase. I have done my research: looked online, checked out the print ads and feel I’m ready for this. It’s for my trip to see Bear at Christmas; I need something big enough to haul a lot of crap. Also I have to find, kill, buy and bring it back before 1pm. Not because the super sales end but because the Rangers are playing the Bruins and it’s the first game of the season I will get to watch. I favor the Rangers over the Bruins since Boston beat my Wings yesterday and for this, the first minute 42 seconds.

 

 

 

stuff I wished I knew a long time ago

If I had heard these statements when I was younger there’s no guarantee I would have listened or remembered so that may be why it took me this long to understand. If any of these become Facebook memes give me author credit, thanks.

Everything is temporary, life is temporary. Even when something feels excruciating and seems to stretch to forever it really doesn’t. I try to remember this at stoplights.

Most of the things we agonize over are really minor. Their importance is concentrated in that moment but when seen from a decent enough distance that importance fades. It even looks ludicrous. This one came to me in yoga class when I couldn’t do the vine in a bent warrior 2 pose. Also occurred again today after my alma mater lost their first game this season, ending their unbeaten streak. It sucked but there’s no real damage.

Most people who feel they will die of a broken heart do not. This is because it is impossible to feel that level of pain and agony indefinitely. You can be utterly miserable but life will eventually intrude and take your mind away from what is torturing you. You will have to get up and go to the bathroom at some point, your body will wear itself out and you will sleep if only for a short time. Life in the form of other people, your job, school or responsibility will force you up, your cat will demand to be fed. It may make you angry, feeling so miserable ought to get you out of dealing with people, with life, you only want to live with the pain and be left alone in your hurt. But this interruption is really mercy in disguise. It will not look or feel like mercy, mercy is letting you suffer til you die, not this. But to continue this feeling takes a lot more energy and determination than most people are capable of generating. Of course a truly stubborn person can sustain this for longer periods but even then you slip a little. Maybe fatigue sets in, maybe realizing you can’t change events that have already happened no matter what you do now sinks in.

Acceptance doesn’t mean you like what has happened, or that you agree with a decision. It means you acknowledge it, don’t lie to yourself or deny the truth. It means a thing, an event, a state of being is. You don’t let yourself get twisted in “what if” and wonder if you could have done something differently, that way leads to madness and frustration. Perhaps it wouldn’t have changed anything, no matter what you might have done differently it is too late. Harsh, but sometimes you have to be hard on yourself just to keep going. I wish I learned this one a long time ago,  it would have saved me so much guilt. I was raised to make nice, to apologize when I wasn’t sorry or it wasn’t my fault, and forced to say a horrible thing was actually good when I knew better, like a bad perm.

Acceptance can be instant. I accepted that  Jerry was gone, I saw and touched him after he died. I stood watching the paramedics try in vain to bring him back to life but I knew it was already too late. Yet there were aftershocks, being reminded in weird and unexpected ways that he was really gone. Acceptance may be instant but still be an on-going process.

This song scared me. It was eerie, too much like what happened that morning I found him, when he wouldn’t wake up. I’m still stunned at how it seems like someone had watched me, watched us and just wrote what happened.  I hadn’t been able to listen to it again until now.