I have plenty to keep me busy, but there are times when alone brings me to a halt. I can’t move past it to get to chores or hobbies, making alone feel even more real. Occasionally it’s wanting a man to love me, but mostly it’s about not having any friends here. No-family-here-either thoughts pop into my head whenever my daughter and her family leave town to get away. Not that I have to see them every day, but they’re here. I’ve found very few occasions to meet people, like workplaces, social events, or church. I haven’t looked into how to find a hiking club, or a church to attend, but even if I did, I can’t bring myself to go alone, the very thing that’s broken. I’m stuck in one of those circles like don’t walk, can’t walk, don’t walk.
My husband was my outer social circle, I the inner, therefore accepted, comfortable, by association.
With that outer circle gone, it’s just me, vulnerable to rejection and overflowing with uncomfortable. A wall flower long enough to start fading into the wallpaper, getting comfortable with it, but also wondering why I find that acceptable, and can I fix it.
I woke to 40 degrees this morning. Last night, after seeing yesterday’s weather report, I covered some of my plants, those well up out of the ground. The apple tree was impossible to cover; leaving thousands of blossoms unprotected, except for being one with the branches. I wrap things like leftovers to keep them fresh, and use tools, like safety glasses to protect against harm. It’s a different story when it comes to covering my heart and mind. I protected my mind the last time I went to the motor vehicle’s office – repeating the statement, it’s OK if I have to come back. The most difficult, sometimes to the extent of impossible, is my heart. I’ve heard it said, I’ll never love again; a statement to protect the heart from ever experiencing heartbreak again after a breakup. When it comes to protecting my heart from losing my husband, a loss powerful enough to alter my world forever, there’s nothing. Nothing to wrap myself in, no tools, no statement, no reality, no thought. There’s nothing big enough to cover all of me, the apple tree, because he was woven, not just into my branches, but into every part of me.
I’ve found myself using my age as an excuse lately, and it has to stop. Coming up with reasons to not do, not even try, is so much easier than trying or even looking at what I want or need to do with a “let’s just see how far I can get” attitude. I’m old, I didn’t sleep well last night, my muscles/joints ache, my sneakers are wet, my hair’s gray! I thought of the excuse, I’m blind. I don’t know what that’s like, but that excuse could be used for even the simplest of tasks for a seeing person, like finding matching socks, putting on lipstick, or pouring a glass of milk. I’ve tried some amazing things in my life; well scary might be a better word. My only thought was how wonderful to get the chance. The answer to why do it, is why not. But when it comes to the many ordinary things, there should be a better answer to why than necessary, automatic. I need to put up a few more stickers in my house with better answers, like, I’m Alive, Move or Lose, Trying is the First Step to Success, and I Want More Amazing.
The sun was supposed to come out after a week of rain and cold. But it was so nice snuggled into my soft, warm bed. I didn’t have to get up. I wanted to, needed to take a walk, but that was my thought last night, not 6:45am this morning! Many things are either just too easy to do or too easy not to do. As I get older, it gets easier for my mind and body to choose easier, comfy, and effortless. I did get up, but the sky didn’t match the weather report; lots of gray clouds to the north and east. Did my herculean effort to get up go to waste? I checked one more time to the west and there was lots of sunlight shining through and the clouds were quickly heading east. So I went and my mind and body are feeling the benefiting from it. So easy to stay where I am, where I’m comfortable, where I only have to exert a small amount of effort. If all the caterpillars in the world shared that view, the world would be deprived of amazingly beautiful butterflies. I should never settle for being a caterpillar.
There’s many reasons to celebrate Moms, reasons to say my Mom’s special. She was there for me, she’s loving, kind, and caring. The greatest thing I remember about my Mom was she was there, ever present. She had children – 6 girls – in her care for 25 years; that was her job. A tremendous amount of homemade meals, thousands of lunch bags, mega trips to the grocery store, stoves used daily and to capacity, and tons of laundry. Because she stayed home we didn’t have the latest fashion in clothes or hair styles, go on fancy vacations or to expensive lessons, or experience cool activities that required cash; things we didn’t miss. I don’t remember my Mom taking any time for herself, by herself. I don’t remember her pampering herself – buying herself something special, getting a massage or even her hair done. Maybe she did, but I wasn’t paying attention. She just was, always, being Mom, not considering any of that special, just normal everyday Mom stuff. She’s in her mid 80’s now, not getting around so well, and many times grumpy with not being able to live like she wants and yet her heart still beats and I love her.
I woke the past couple of mornings to snow on the ground, and yesterday it snowed off and on throughout the day. My first thought was, how can this be, it’s May, but Mother Nature doesn’t care that it’s May. She does her thing with the wind, temperatures, and clouds every day, with no interference from, or regard for, anything. The sun does its thing too, maintaining the same patterns year after year, no matter what the weather’s doing to its shine. I know people who are like the weather, who do their thing with little regard for others, requiring others to be ready to deal with come-what-may without radar to predict what will happen next. Others are like the sun, never changing, reliable, and always shining on the outside. I see myself as having some of both. I consider myself steady and trustworthy, not always able to show my shine, but also willing to change. I’ve changed jobs and packed up and moved when what I have and where I’ve been could benefit from a different orbit. Being the same isn’t interesting and consistently changing can be quite tiring, so I’ll be neither always the same or forever changing.
I wonder sometimes what those, who knew me before and after my husband’s death, think of me, if they think of me at all. How do they see me? Do they think I’m strong or broken? Not always, but sometimes? Maybe they don’t like this new me as much as the old me, when I was with him. Do they wish I went away, not him? Do they base what they think only on what I show them or are they greatly influenced by their own opinions? All that they think is filtered through their own eyes, because those are the only eyes available. But what if they could see me, even for a very short time, with my eyes. I would think it would, hope it would, make a difference. From the Ending Song (the movie Ben-Hur): “If you could look inside my life, and use my eyes, would you pity me?” You wouldn’t because I don’t feel sorry for myself. Rather, I feel unbalanced. I’m learning to take back some of the parts of me I gave willingly to him, entertaining the possibility of all, and to let go of the parts he willingly gave me, just enough to find my balance.