Sunday, June 17, 2012

Fathers Day Thoughts

Vern was such a fabulous father, and on this day set aside to honor fathers, I'm recalling so many special times we had over the years. I know this day is very hard for my widow sisters with young children, children who did not have the opportunity to get to know their wonderful fathers. I hurt deeply for them.

But, honestly, I can assure you there is never a right time to lose someone you love. I was 59 and had 41 years with Vern when he died. Believe me ... it was not enough time. We had a lot of life left to live. So many plans and dreams for our future. And Jer deserved to be able to show Vern all that he will become ... will he marry? ... will there be grandchildren? 

My parents are gone, so are Vern's ... oh my goodness ... I just looked at the dates and realized that Vern, Jer and I were each 33 years old when our Dads died.  I wonder if that is meaningful ....?

I've been spending some time with introspection since my birthday last month. What is my purpose? What do I have to offer to this world?  It feels like what I need to be doing at this point in my life. And along the way I've learned to appreciate those very long and difficult cancer years. Not only did they allow me to truly live our marriage vows, they showed me how strong I am ... because of Vern. I hate that he had to suffer so. I do not have the answer to that big question of 'WHY'?  But I know that Vern does ... now ... and that is good enough for me until I join him.

"The truth is you and I are in control of only two things, how we prepare for what might happen, and how we respond to what just happened. The moment when things actually do happen belongs to God."  ... from "Produced by Faith" by DeVon Franklin

Sunday, June 10, 2012

I'm still here ....

I'm rather amazed that it's been over 3 months since I've written here. Time marches on. I've had things I've wanted to write about, but just never took the time to do it. Kind of like those boxes from the storage unit that are still stacked in the garage. There have been great times and not-so-great times in these past months. But this has been a rather tough few days so I decided to take the time to write about it now that I've gotten through it.

Bad news just keeps coming ... and by bad I mean C.A.N.C.E.R.  How I hate that word. A dear friend was diagnosed this week, a special online friend lost her battle with myeloma this morning, an old friend has a brain tumor, other online myeloma friends are struggling with their latest results.  And with each new piece of cancer news I'm transported back to Vern's struggle and all of the heartache that was packed into those years. Just when I had finally gotten to where I could put those very difficult memories in their own special place that wasn't always in the front of my mind.

So I've embraced them. I really had no choice. I re-read some of my CaringBridge journal entries, looked back here at some old blog posts, looked through photos. And shed some tears. Tears for Vern and tears for me. Tears for Paula, tears for R & W, too.

I drew this in the sand at Myrtle Beach during Camp Widow.

But I know tomorrow will be a better day. (I really DO know that. It's just hard to live it each day.)

Here's a highlight of some of the things that have occurred this spring ...
  • My trip to South Carolina in April was amazing. I loved the history in Charleston and my first B&B experience. Those two days showed me that I can travel alone and be ok. Although I will definitely learn how to travel lighter next time. 
  • Camp Widow in Myrtle Beach. Not sure whether it was being further out from Vern's passing or being right on the beach ... but it was life-changing. I felt I had turned an important corner in my grief after this special weekend.
  • But ... there was a let-down after Camp that extended to my birthday and lingers still, although not as strongly now. I did write a blog in Widowed Village about it ( and I'm working on doing what I need to do. It's a challenge.
  • I'm attending events at our new performing arts center, forcing myself out the door for concerts and Broadway shows. Not easy, but once I get there I'm enjoying myself.
  • I've been able to meet in person some of the widows I've met online ... both here in Vegas and at Camp Widow. And I'm headed to San Diego in August for another Camp. Plan to drive Vern's Mustang there - another first.
  • Jeremy graduated from the Master Bodywork program and is awaiting taking his national licensing exam to get started in his new career.
  • Work is going well. I feel energized there ... and needed (I really miss being needed by Vern). I can now see me actually making it to my full 30 years before retirement.
  • I'm thinking of other trips I'd like to take. I've wanted to return to Hana but know that will be a difficult trip. It is such a special, sacred place of memories for me but I'm beginning to feel I could be ready to schedule that trip. I'm also thinking I need to make the Florida trip to decide if that's where I'd like to go when I retire.
I feel better 'in my head' most days but still many, many things I need to work on. I'm shocked that it's already June and I have not made any dents in my long to-do list. I'll get there ... eventually.