Monday, July 22, 2013

"Vern! I'll never forget him!"

My heart was touched today ... by some very special things.

A dear friend who has dealt with chemo and radiation for breast cancer asked if I would go to the oncologist with her to get the results of her PET scan. Her husband couldn't get off work and she was worried about the results and facing them alone. She has been so very brave and this was absolutely where I needed to be (and my amazing boss had no problem with me coming into work late so I could do this). So R and I thought good, positive thoughts together as we waited for the doctor to come into the examine room.

Now you also need to know that my friend sees the very same oncologist that Vern saw for the 4+ years he battled cancer. Vern & Dr. G had a really special relationship ... sports ... USC ... Ohio State. Used to drive me nuts. I'd be anxious to get test results and they'd spend nearly the entire appointment time talking sports. I hadn't seen Dr. G since before Vern died and with the number of patients he sees I really didn't expect him to remember me after nearly 3 years. But Vern? Yeah ... I did have an expectation that he would be remembered.  So in walks Dr. G and he does his obligatory handshake and 'nice to see you' comment. I saw a flicker of recognition but then my friend asked him point-blank if he remembered me. Sweet man that he is, he said yes (but I didn't believe him ... I have changed quite a bit from those hard caregiving years), so I said "Ohio State" and held out my pendant that has Vern's photo on it. He said, "Vern! I'll never forget him!"  I responded, "me, too" and wrapped my hand around the pendant.  A really precious moment for me because it feels that no one but me (and Jeremy) remember my dear Vern these days.

And then Dr. G shared the wonderful news that my friend's PET scan did not show any metastatic cancer. Hallelujah!!  Two super special moments in just a few moments' time.

And  to top it all off, I received an email this afternoon saying my blog has been named a Top Widower Blog! How cool is that?  I really didn't think many were even reading it any longer, so this was a very nice surprise.  And I'm in excellent company ... I've met many of the other Top Widower Bloggers at Camp Widow.

One more thing ... today is the 22nd ... yep that ol' day of the month that my love left this earth.  Perhaps it was all meant to be. I used to hate the 22nds of each month. The reminder that time kept marching on, adding months to when I last held Vern. But today? Ah, but this 22nd feels mighty good. Good for my dear friend, good for my Vern and good for me, too. Vern's presence was all around me today.

So what are the take-aways from this day?  Well, this graphic kind of says it for me ....

Friday, July 5, 2013

Random Thoughts on a Long Holiday Weekend

Holidays are still not good days for me. Guess it's just that my 'aloneness' seems emphasized and I find myself missing Vern more on these days. So I do my best to just ignore them. Stay inside, no TV, let the day pass unnoticed. Almost. And maybe this one was rough because it was just a couple of days after my return from Camp Widow. A bit of a Camp crash perhaps.

Attending Camp as the volunteer coordinator is a very different experience than when I attended as a camper and only did a little volunteering. But I feel this is what I need to be doing. Giving back. Thinking of others. It's good for me and I think I'm good for it, too. And I think I'll get better at managing my time as I get more Camps under my belt.

The best part of Camp for me has always been the connections made with others. And I met some wonderful new people in San Diego. Some from Widowed Village, some not. And some amazing local widows who just wanted to volunteer and not attend the workshops. Wow - what a blessing they were! I'm going to need to find some of those wids in Tampa.

It's summer in Vegas and it is HOT HOT HOT. No outside work on my horizon. Well, maybe just a little bit of yard trimming at daybreak or sunset. I noticed today that the lantana has already spread out onto the sidewalk. Amazing that anything will grow when it's this hot. It's 7pm and 108. Ugh.

So here we are ... a nice break before beginning work on the March Camp volunteers ... what to do with that time?  I'm still working, but I need to have things to keep me busy on the weekends so I don't revert back to my hermit stage. I think perhaps it's time to focus on me just a bit. I'm sleeping better (for the most part) but my eating habits are horrible. I skip meals, don't drink much water and have Blizzards for dinner. So I'm going to try to get back to drinking the required amount of water daily and eating throughout the day. And I'm going to pull the clothes off the treadmill and start walking. OK - don't hold me to any of that ... but I'm going to try.

I'm always encouraging other widows to try new things, to step outside their comfort zone to find things that can bring them joy. Some are easier to do than others, but it's important to just try. If it's not a good fit, then you don't need to do it again or even finish it. But maybe ... just maybe ... you'll find something that you love to do and all the trials will be worth it.

I took a 1-day photography class at the Springs Preserve last month. It was hard going alone. It was hard eating lunch alone in the cafe. No one offered for me to join them and I'm not one who would ever ask. But I sucked it up and did it instead of leaving. And the afternoon portion of the class was the best part.

I signed up months ago for the online Brave Girl & LifeBook art classes but my volunteer work got in the way and I've not touched them. Thankfully, they're available through the end of the year so I'm going to jump back into those. I'm not an artist by any means, but I like how I feel when I'm doing some of this creative, multimedia stuff. And it includes journaling and life lessons, too. So I'm going to schedule art time each week.

I just signed up for The Chopra Center's "Awaken to Happiness" 8-week online course. It's free and sounded like it might have some good self-reflective stuff in it. We can all use more happiness in our lives, right? Especially us widows. Here's a link if you're interested in that:   I also signed up for their next 21-Day Meditation Challenge; this one is on "Miraculous Relationships".   I enjoyed the "Creating Abundance" challenge so we'll see if this one speaks to me.

I'll end with my Camp Widow taxi driver story.  He picked me up at the airport and asked whether I was there for vacation or a conference. I shared the Camp Widow story. He then asked if I was dating and I shared that I didn't plan to date or remarry. I was lectured the rest of the ride to the hotel about how I needed to have someone else in my life, it's not right to be alone, why on earth would I say I wouldn't date, how could I not want someone else in my life.  I tried to explain, really I did. But he would have none of it. Thankfully, it's a short distance to the hotel and I was rescued by the hotel bellman opening up my door. My goodness, that was unexpected. But after I escaped it did make me smile.