Thursday, September 15, 2016

These are the good ole days

Over the course of our relationship and marriage, John and I enjoyed many different employment opportunities. John started out [at the time I met him] as a case manager/therapist in a child and adolescent mental health clinic. Later on, he went to nursing school. I have always been a nurse but I have worked in many different specialties - psychiatry mostly, but also preemie nursery, surgical, medical, operating room, just to name a few. Not only was I a floor nurse but I worked my way through management from charge nurse to Head Nurse to Supervisor to eventually Director of Nursing. Later on I went back to school, got my degree and some additional training in legal nursing and forensics and started my own legal nurse consulting business. I think I enjoyed that the most.
But probably the most challenging episode was when John and I worked as agency nurses back in the late 80's to mid 90's. We were sent to places we would never have been otherwise. Because we could pick and choose where and when we worked, we chose to go to hospitals that required us to drive several hours each week and we picked shifts that paid the most. Consequently, our most lucrative assignment was in Hershey PA on the oncology unit. There we worked two 16 hour shifts every weekend driving two and half hours down from our home outside Wilkes Barre PA on Friday afternoon and driving back home on Sunday morning.
The upside to this grueling schedule was that we were off from Sunday to Thursday every week!
We had plenty of time to play and do other things and we were making what we liked to refer to as a "boatload" [at the time] of money. We were finally able to put money aside for retirement.
But we were able to enjoy our time together too.
We took a vacation every month.
We slept in. We relaxed.
We were in the process of remodeling our home and had the time to do it.
And we had time to just enjoy each other's company.
John said over and over that we were going to look back and call those days the "good old days". Except he said it in present tense at the time. "These are the good ole days." I remember how much that impressed me at the time.
He was right, of course [although now I refer to all my days with John as the good old days].
But what he taught me was precious. He was telling me we needed to enjoy those days for what they were when they were, not wait until years down the road and then pine for them.
It was a valuable lesson.
One of the things I remember about my father is that he used to always say "Some day".
Some day we would...
Some day we would have...
Some day we would go...
Most of the time he never got to do or have any of those things and he missed what was in front of him along the way.
He was the opposite of the "good old days" theory. He was wishing for what hadn't happened yet.
That's not a good way to live either.
And I was in danger of carrying on that legacy until John.
John opened my eyes and my heart and for that I am very grateful.
Every day is a good old day.
Even if it's swinging on the porch swing with your honey.
Or sitting quietly and watching a bird hopping across the lawn.
Or looking at a sunset and admiring the beautiful colors.
Life is to be lived, not wished or pined for.
John is not physically here with me now but I can still look at the world as if he is.
And I can be grateful for that gift he gave me and know it was given with love.





Sunday, September 4, 2016

Widow Tunnel Syndrome

I have been on the computer way too much in the last week. Between a part-time job that I have [and enjoy!], working on my business with my two friends [From Grief To Peace], and just plain web-surfing, my mousing hand has started to complain - loudly!
So I have been trying to limit my time online - on the computer, on my iPad, and on my iPhone.
My chiropractor has suggested I wear a soft brace on my wrist and while it helps to alleviate the pain by keeping my wrist straight, it definitely restricts my typing ability - which is probably what she had in mind.
But all this denial of social access has got me thinking.
Why does all this online time call to me so much?
It didn't used to be this way.
I used to have a life.
Truth be told - I still do of course.
But it's not the same.
A few short years ago, I was living with the man of my dreams. Now I only see him in my dreams. My reality is I am a widow. My life has drastically changed. There is no longer someone to ask about my day - and for me to ask about his. No discussion of world events, no laughing over the latest antics of our fur-children, no talk of the weather, extended family members, the budget, plans, frustrations - nothing.
Just me and my shadow as the old song goes.
If I'm late coming from somewhere there is no one to worry why, no one to call to reassure.
And if I don't wake up tomorrow who will notice besides the furballs?
I am not trying to sound maudlin. It's just how things are.
Even though I have wonderful friends, the truth is they have their lives - and I have mine and mine is solitary.
And so I turn to the airwaves for a connection.
We all need that connection, if only briefly. "It is not good for man to be alone" - or a woman.
And so I have a pain in my wrist from communicating. The pain hasn't reached the proportions of carpal tunnel syndrome - yet.
I have dubbed it widow tunnel syndrome. Me at one end of my fingertips, the world at the other end.

Sunday, August 28, 2016

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Our 35th Wedding Anniversary

It's our 35th wedding anniversary tomorrow.
I know John would have bought me flowers so I decided to celebrate as he would have and I ordered these for us.
Thank you, Sweetheart.

Saturday, August 20, 2016

A sign of encouragement

I was at a group reading last Friday evening given by a medium friend Susanne Wilson. In fact, I was privileged to introduce Susanne to the audience. And one of the things that Susanne talked about before she started doing the readings was how our loved ones who have passed are so happy to show us how they are still very much with us. Susanne encouraged us to continue talking with them, even to go so far as to talk out loud to them.
I talk to John all the time, sometimes out loud. Since I now live alone [except for my four-legged children] I don't worry about strange looks. For some reason [maybe it's the increased solitude], one of the times I feel closest to John is when I am driving. And John even told me during a reading once that he accompanies me in the car which is another reason I feel very close to him at these times. At these times, I allow my thoughts to drift. Memories pop up. And sadness too. Sometimes tears are shed. But I carry on lovely conversations as well.
And I know that John likes this time together too because he often gets my attention during drive time. One of his favorite ways is with license plates. I can't tell you how many times I have been thinking about - or conversing with - John and all of a sudden a license plate with an obvious message will pull in front of me. His favorite is variations of his name.
So this past week I was driving to an appointment and thinking about my business From Grief To Peace and how my partners and I want to make an impact. I was also a little upset because I had just read the blog post of an online friend who was widowed just a few weeks before me. This woman was experiencing what many of us have - that some of her "friends" thought it was time that she "got over" this mourning business and "moved on" with her life. Apparently, some people believe there is a shelf life for grief and she had exceeded it.
"Get Over It" only works in a wonderful Eagles song. It has nothing to do with grief and mourning, as anyone who has truly lost their soul mate can tell you. So, as I already mentioned, I was driving along, thinking about all these things and how I wanted our business to help people like her.
And that is when it happened.
A small SUV pulled up in front of me. It's license plate?

NCOURG
Pretty strong message that was not lost on me. I took it two ways. Maybe John was trying to "encourage" us to keep on doing what we are doing. Or/and the Universe was also saying it was our job to keep encouraging others who are mourning.
Just as I was thinking about all this, the SUV crossed in front of me and sped on its way. Its job was done.
Message received. Thank you.

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

35 years ago



35 years ago today John proposed to me. 
And we officially started the next part of our wonderful journey together.
I haven't been feeling well this past week and I have been dreaming about John a lot. 
Or maybe I should say he has been appearing in my dreams because they have felt more like visits than just random dreams.
Maybe John is trying to comfort me.
Regardless, I have cherished being able to be with him again.
When I wake up from those dreams, for just a little while, the good feeling remains and the world seems right again.