The Summer of Sixty Five

Temporarily Insane

It’s been dang near 2 months since I posted on this site.  Here’s some stuff to catch you up on whats been going on in my wacky life this summer.

Let’s start around the first of May when I went temporarily insane and bought a little red sports car.  Yup, a 2005 Honda s2000  Just like the one Sam bought when he was temporarily insane out in Washington.  We called his illness a “Midlife Crisis”.  I knew the universe was speaking to me when the guy I bought the car from knew Sam, it was the same color and year as Sam’s and only had 28,000 miles on it.  It has been the highlight of my summer and am planning on selling it next spring.  Fun’s fun, but let’s not get  carried away.  I mean two cars?

A couple of weeks later I decided to dip my toes into the on-line dating pool.  (Son, you may want to stop reading here.)  I have been out of the dating scene, if you will, for quite a while and things are so different it’s stupid.  Tinder, E Harmony, Plenty Of Fish, Match.com, Our Time.com, you name it, I’ve been on it.  Just trying to figure out if there are better sites than others.  No, not really, is the answer to that one.  The men still make all the decisions as to whether you meet or not.  To me if a guy likes your picture or winks at you there is interest.  Not so much…I have changed my profile umpteen times, because casual, dating and fun all mean SEX in guy-speak.   All the guys on E Harmony want a soul mate, Tinder is for Hook-ups (sex), POF isn’t too bad, met a guy from East Lansing that had a thing for older women, (don’t ask) and one who just wanted to give me a massage..for the love of God, I don’t want someone I haven’t met yet to talk about touching my body.  Then there was Michael from East Grand Rapids on  Tinder who was nice and met me for coffee here in Kazoo.  I saw him twice before I found out he was just trying to get over his 20 year old girlfriend (he is 51) who left him.   I kid you not, as Jack Parr would say.   I will leave this subject by admitting I don’t get excited anymore when I have an email about a match.

Of course this wouldn’t be a blog post if I didn’t mention my journey with grief.   After 3+ years, I am finally realizing that I need to forgive myself for being the last spouse standing, if I am ever going to start living again.  I have been so busy trying to gird myself against the pain of the loss, that I am not able to appreciate all that is going on around me.  I am merely walking around from place to place trying not to think about how much I am hurting.  To do this, I will make peace with Sam’s memory, apologize one last time for all my shortcomings during his illness.  As he would tell me often, “Theresa, that is water under the bridge” or “That’s a sunken cost” when I came home with another purse or pair of shoes.  I know it sounds absurdly simple, but he would be the first person to tell me that it needs to be done so I can join the human race again.  It is not going to happen overnight, but it is a goal worthy of me and all who are going through an unimaginable loss which is part of life.  So every time I begin to feel guilty about the past I will think of Sam’s smile, or laugh, or the way he looked at me and our family with pure love.  It is a tough road but we have to give ourselves a break and some of that love we are missing.  Peace Out

The Big 6 – 0

Easter2011 025

The day you came into the world Sam Bond, you made it  a better place.  Now I didn’t meet you for another 25 years, but you changed my life and my world as soon as we got together.  Ordinarily I wouldn’t be caught dead dating, let alone marrying a guy that was 5 years younger than myself.  But there was something about you…..

Thank God I came to my senses.

Happy Birthday Sam.  Today would have been your 60th.  It is a perfect day the kind you always enjoyed.  Sun shining and 70 degrees.  Your birthday fit you to a T.  Summer was your favorite season.  If you were still here we would be on Lake Allegan with your loud, banana yellow,  speed boat.  We lived the hell out of those last two years.

You have been gone 3 years and 4 birthdays.  To say I miss you is a gross understatement.  Today’s 11:15 Mass is for you at St. Ambrose and I pray it lifts you higher in God’s presence.  I am sorry I cried on and off during the service.    Your spirit was everywhere in the Church, it was our spiritual home for decades.   It was the church in which we were married.   Didn’t even sing today,  just sat by myself.   At the sign of peace, I remember how you would always turn to me looking down with a  “peace shorty”,  every Sunday..it did get a little old but I miss it now.

I don’t know if I will ever be able to get through these special events without crying,  you were such a huge presence in all of our lives and your absence leaves a void that is difficult to fill.  For now we will have to be happy with the great memories of an all too short life amongst us.

Happy Birthday Baby,  your spirit will never die.

HOW DO YOU SAY GOODBYE?

How do you say goodbye to a companion that has been with you through thick and thin over a period of time that your whole life was in transition.  From the day Waylon came into our life, we experienced Kidney transplant surgery, two cross-country moves, countless trips to Mayo Clinic (yes the dogs came with us) in Rochester, MN and finally back home to Michigan.

I have blogged about his countless antics.  How he fell in love after our to Washington state, with a female Rottweiler across the street.  Every time she went into  heat before he was neutered, he would lay and moan at the laundry room door.  There’s an example of an impossible dream.

We got to where we had to spell the word ” ball” when he was around, because if heard the word, he would go get it and bark until you threw it for him.  If you said anything to him, he understood.  It was uncanny.  Most dogs are very intelligent, we don’t give them enough credit.

We got kicked out of obedience school, cause he wasn’t buying the whole thing.  He would look at me like, “you want me to do what?”  “For that lousy little treat?”  No way lady.  But then he would look at you with those brown eyes and perpetual smile and everything would be okay.

My heart is broken.  I hear his phantom nails on the floor and snoring in the corner.  I miss his unconditional love and acceptance, his endless whining to play ball, the house is so empty without him.  I am waiting on a call from the Vet that his ashes and paw print to pick up, then I will find a suitable container and he will spend his days next to Sam’s in my living room.  Very appropriate as I know they are now together playing ball and going for car rides and having treats all day long.

 

Jan, Feb and March 035

A Message From Sam

DSCN2352It was the second day of Spring, March 21st and I was feeling really great, thinking I might actually be getting lucky ( if you know what I mean)  so I went out to do my daily walk, when I received an email from said person saying he was going to chicken-out on that, oh, and by the way,  me….  Shit!  Again, I had fallen for someone with so much baggage and absolutely no interest in me, really.  Just flirting and I of course thought it was something it wasn’t.  Not that it stopped me though, being a glutton for punishment, I was not willing to give up.  Thinking I had finally worn him down, the joke was on me.  So  I fired off an email in response and just for good measure left him a voice mail, something to the effect that he was not going to get away with a chicken-shit email, he was gonna talk to me.  Well he did get away with it and did not call me back.

Cutting my walk short (I was going to show him) I ran home and jumped in the shower,  hoping to wash off everything that had happened since I got back to Kalamazoo.  As I was vigorously drying myself off, I noticed something on the shower floor that I did not recognize at first.  Kind of looked like an earring but I wasn’t wearing earrings.  In horror I realized it was the Cameo and chain that Sam had put around my neck on Valentines Day 2012 and had not been off my neck since then.  I blamed myself for being so rough on it.  Than I blamed chicken man.  Then I sobbed and went to Sam’s picture and told him how sorry I was and how much I missed him, and could he send me a message that he was with me or something to that effect?  (I am even trying to control dead people.)  Plus anyone who knew Sam would know that he would think not taking a necklace off for 3 years was kind of dumb, no matter what the reason.

Somehow I pulled myself together, went to the refrigerator, and opened a beer.  Then I opened another one and another.  I called my friend Kathy and we went to a bar and I drank another 4 or 5 along with a couple of Steak Tacos.  Oh and 2 baskets of popcorn.  Then I went home and had 1 more beer and a hot bath.  Feeling a little more relaxed, I went to bed while it was still light out, settled in with my David Baldacci book and read til I couldn’t hold my eyes open.  Of course when I closed my eyes, immediately the events of the day came rushing back.  When my eyes shut I was back in the shower looking at the floor and realizing that the reason I did not recognize my necklace right away was because it had landed upside down and the engraved message was showing.

It read “God and I love you Theresa”.

On Your Mark, Get Set, Grow Up!

 “The tragedy of old age is not that one is old, but that one is young”
Oscar Wilde

When I was a child, I had the notion that it would be cool to be older.  You know drive, have a job, have a husband, have kids,  and drink.  Not that I ever did a lot  of drinking while I was growing up.  As I grew up, I noticed a lot of drinking going on around me so around age 18 I decided to try it.  (I was out of high school but not of age).  Big surprise, I liked it.  I was funnier, more witty, and best of all less shy.  We all want to be older than we are when we are young.  You can’t wait to grow up.

Fast forward (and I do mean fast) 40 years and it’s not quite what I envisioned.  I am now a card carrying member of Medicare as of April1.  Somehow this is not how I thought my later life would be.  First of all my dreams of retirement included my husband Sam who is nowhere to be found except in my heart.  Arthritis which flared up during Sam’s  illness is only getting worse, so I cannot wear any of my beautiful rings he bought me.  They say 60 is the new 40, but I don’t think they told the men I have an interest in about that little factoid.

Some compare getting older to a fine bottle of wine.  The more it ages, the better it gets.  You’re not getting older you’re getting better.  I’ve got a million of them.  I exercise regularly, eat pretty well, still trying to cut down on the alcohol, but I am here to tell you, no matter how hard you try, it pretty much just takes over.  Yes you can have a face lift, but the minute they see your hands,  it is over.  You can apply all the face cream on earth, but eventually there is nothing that can be done to fade the dark circles under the eyes or brown spots all over your body.  I can hear my Mom now telling me to get out of the sun, it will age me quicker.  She told me, I ignored her. 

I am  sitting here, aging like a piece of cheese.  And speaking of cheese the next person who moves mine is in serious trouble.  Thinking I have done a marvelous job of adjusting to life events,  some of my own making, I am just plain tired.  Tired of feeling the same way I did at 40, but having the mirror tell a completely different story.  Tired of the 30 somethings and their opinion of old people being anyone over age 60 or God forbid, has platinum hair. 

What I am really trying to say is that 65 has come all too fast, and I know that I have less time ahead than behind me.  It is scary, but it is my intention to make the most of those all too fleeting years and try to make a difference as I live each day to its fullest.  Too bad it took me 65 years to grow up.

Try A Little Tenderness

We who have suffered a loss do get weary, the grief makes us weary and with all the turmoil going on in the world, sometimes it is more than we can bear.  With the holidays here it brings memories of happier times and those damn Christmas Carols playing “I’ll Be Home for Christmas” and the like, it’s hard to get through some days.  As the saying goes “life goes on”.  No one mentions if that’s a good thing.  It goes on, but it is never the same for us.

Okay, so how do we try to lighten our load, so to speak?  Here are a few ways I am finding to bring some peace back into my heart.  One way is spiritually,  not the “Long Island Medium” kind but the belief that God is always with us and if we ask for his help he will give us what we seek.  For a lot of us guilt is a block to finding inner peace.  We must forgive ourselves for a myriad of choices we have made in the past.  Now I know that this is no small task, but once we eliminate the demons that drive our feelings, we can move ahead to tackle what lies ahead. 

For me it was the realization that my time here is finite and I want to enjoy the time I have left and maybe make a difference in someones life, even if I don’t understand what is happening at the moment.  A smile or a hello to a stranger is a small thing, but if we are so wrapped up in our grief or guilt, we will not  have time to notice what is going on around us.

So here is my advice, and as always you can take it or leave it, but cut yourself some slack.  In this busy holiday season take time for yourself.  I know radical, huh?  Read the Bible,  do some things that bring you joy.  Call your grand kids or your best friend just to see how they are,  and listen.  Enjoy some solitude.  Read the signs that people and the Lord are giving you.  Love yourself.

My favorite scripture is the following:  “For I know well the plans I have in mind for you, says the Lord, plans for your welfare, not for woe! plans to give you a future full of hope.  When you call me, when you go to pray to me,  I will listen to you.  When you look for me, you will find me.  Yes, when you seek me with all your heart you will find me with you, says the Lord.”  Jeremiah 29:14

I hope it brings you the same peace it does for me.  I wish you all a very Merry and Blessed Christmas and pray that you find the Peace of Christ in your life.

Ghosts of Christmas Past

Dear Sam

This will be our third Christmas without you.  I miss your larger than life personality trying to make the season bright for all, especially me.  The years you would dress up as Santa Claus and visit Max and Addie every Christmas Eve.  It was even magical for me.  When the kids moved to Vegas they still flew home for the holidays and we spent Christmas morning together.  So many happy memories.

I came across a video this morning while looking through pictures from Christmas 2005.  The kids were unwrapping their presents and that was the year we wrapped each present and then put the presents in a big box and wrapped it.  They really loved that, so exciting for them.  Even though we lived in Washington state and Andy lived in Chicago and Max and Addie lived in Kalamazoo we still managed to make Christmas special and you were a big part of that.  The video focused on the kids and I wish you were in the video more, but I heard your voice and I was back there all those years ago.  Oh did I enjoy that.

Each year seems harder than the last without you.  The longer you are gone, the more I miss you.  The older I get the more I need you.  It is hard getting older, so much change, I must believe in myself as you believed in me.  That is a tall order and find myself lacking the desire most days.

On a bright note Max had his senior picture taken with the trombone you bought him and is playing songs out of your trumpet songbooks.  I am going to get a concert when I am down there for Christmas.  I know you will be there too.  Please ask our Lord to help me when I have days like this,  I look forward to the day I can be with you again.