Sunday, October 13, 2013

My time at the ocean

If I had written this post when I first arrived home last evening, it would have had a different theme.  I was on a super high after spending 4 days in Folly Beach, South Carolina at an ArtBeach Retreat. A beautiful beach house, butterflies, amazing art lessons, sunrises that take your breath away, wonderful women, daily dolphin visits, yoga on the beach, dragonflies, Hummer limo ride, laughter, connections, sharing. It was exactly what I needed at this time in my life. It filled my heart and touched my soul.

Even the flight delays yesterday didn't dampen my spirit. I was excited to return home, to get busy DOING the things I've been thinking, planning, preparing to do but could not actually get STARTED doing. I felt I had turned an important corner.

And then life hit me up side the head yet again. I don't want to share details, but think it's important for other widows - other people - to know that there is no escaping the ups and downs of life. They happen to all of us. What we must do is find a way to live through them. Somehow. Tears during the night when the issue first surfaced. Little sleep. More tears. Tears again this morning when my feelings were hurt by some silly Facebook stuff. Good Lord, I'm 62 years old.  But a hurt nonetheless ... and it caused my ugly feelings to surface ... I am friendless, invisible, unappreciated, unliked, unwanted.

Many may be surprised to learn I have these feelings ... often. They see my posts on Facebook and in Widowed Village. I'm the cheerleader, the volunteer, the positive one, the 'never say no' gal. I'm the one trying new things, stepping outside my comfort zone. But rest assured I carry these ugly feelings with me wherever I go; I just work extra hard to try to keep them below the surface. I believe it's important to not put a focus on the negative. When Vern was alive, I didn't have to work hard at that. His support and love helped me to be strong and confident. But now ... now it's just me. And it's hard work to do this stuff on my own. While I'm missing him.  But I must. There is no other choice.

During the cancer years and since Vern's death, I have bristled when people would say how STRONG I was. It felt like an excuse to not have to offer assistance or encouragement or anything at all ... because my strength during these hard times surely meant I didn't need anything from anyone. So I've resented the word STRONG.  But during the retreat we had an opportunity to get henna tattoos (they aren't permanent) ... and I chose to have the Japanese symbol for STRONG painted on my left wrist. Time for me to embrace it. I AM strong. Damn it. I have to be.

Oh - and then I decided to get another henna tattoo on my right forearm. Love this one. I'll surprise a few people at work tomorrow, I'm sure.

So what are my take-aways from all this?

  • I know that I must find a way to spend time at the ocean regularly. It has to become a priority. Don't know yet how that will happen, but I am going to put that on my vision board and keep those positive thoughts vibrating out into the universe. 
  • I know that I need to spend time doing something creative each day. Journaling, painting, doodling, stitching ... whatever speaks to me each day.
  • I know I need to spend less time on my laptop. I didn't take it with me on this trip and I got along just fine. Going to try setting a timer to limit myself.
  • I know that I am strong ... and that's ok.
  • And the big issue?  Well, I'll think about it tomorrow (as Scarlett O'Hara said).

Friday, October 4, 2013

A dream ... finally

I honestly don't recall the last time I remembered a dream. Before Vern got sick I had vivid dreams and remembered them all. But during the cancer years I didn't sleep much and when I did it was for very short periods of time. He needed me a lot during the nights and I guess I never had enough time to get into that 'dream' sleep.  My body apparently got used to that and it became my routine even after Vern died.

I've envied my widow friends who share amazing dreams or visits from their lost loves and wished that I could have that experience.  And - finally - it has happened.  I awoke this morning remembering a little visit from my Vern. A soft voice in my ear of love, support, reassurance. And a reminder that he is with me always, holding me up whenever I need it.

You see, it's been a rough week.  Can't share details, but an old wound was reopened and it hurt. Bad. I didn't expect that it would. Thought that I had settled all of that. Sent that person off to Pluto, thanks to Brave Girl Camp, where their actions could no longer hurt me. And it was working. But this action got through. And I cried. And I thought very seriously about retiring immediately and running away. Somewhere. Anywhere. To a place where I knew no one and no one could ever hurt me again.

And I missed Vern. Deeply.

Really needed to talk to him about this. He always had such an amazing ability to understand an issue completely and to be able to offer suggestions to help me find my way through the rough spots.

And last night he did that again in my dream. I am grateful. I am blessed.

And I've now sent this person to a galaxy in the Hubble Ultra Deep Field ...  I googled to find what the farthest distance was from Earth, since Pluto obviously didn't cut it.