I WON'T BACK DOWN

Friday, October 11, 2019

SOMETHING OLD – SOMETHING NEW


I’ve personally known Cheryl & Pam for at least 44 years … and even longer if seeing them on school grounds counts ;-) Cheryl is the oldest (2 yrs older than I am), Pam is the middle one, and I am the ‘baby’ of our friendship circle. We are old friends – yet we are new friends.

This afternoon we had a “girl’s day out”. I picked the girls up at their homes and ferried them to our first destination in our car (Bob/my car, which is now solely mine): Pam first, then Cheryl. Though I had been to Cheryl’s house with Bob, I had never driven here myself; I could mentally picture the location, the general area, and her looooong gravel driveway … but I was not entirely sure how to get there. So, before I left our (my) carport, I punched in Cheryl’s address on the car’s GPS, picked Pam up at her house along the way & set out to collect Cheryl; on a hope and a prayer :-D

The GPS pranked me twice; the last “you have reached your destination” announcement causing Pam & I to dissolve into laughter because the destination reached clearly was NOT the destination we aimed for. But we eventually reached Cheryl’s accurate location: and off we went on our planned adventure.

First stop was ‘The Little Crane’ country diner in Vader. I like Vader; it’s a sleepy rural town that lives on despite shutting the school down a few years ago because it was so out of the way, there weren’t enough young families ensconced in the sleepy community to warrant keeping the school open. Our adventure was kind of a ‘going home’ moment: both Cheryl & Pam lived in Vader while growing up and before their parents moved their families to the Elochoman Valley area of Wahkiakum County, where I met them in Cathlamet decades ago as we were starting our young families – Cheryl was married to Bob’s brother Ralph then, & they had a 3 year old daughter, and Cheryl & I were pregnant together in 1975 … and Pam was visiting Cheryl a lot with her infant son, Spenser – Pam is Cheryl’s cousin.

Anyway, we all like Vader and The Little Crane diner. Lunch & companionship was good. We had a fun time, and I enjoyed hearing about their childhoods in Vader. I enjoy getting into the country countryside. We are thinking of making today’s diner date an annual ‘thing’.

Something old; something new.

Cheryl’s husband, Mike was mushroom picking; so, after our leisurely lunch, we went back to Cheryl’s place to see if he had returned yet – he hadn’t, so Cheryl suggested we hop in her car and drive over the backroads to the little County Park in Toledo: sounded good to me! This day was turning into a day-tripping adventure; I am always up for that ;-)

Bob & I had been to Toledo & Toledo’s County Park many times, but he always drove; I, as passenger, watched the landscape and didn’t pay too much attention as to how we got there. But now … I WANT to KNOW. So, while Cheryl drove, I took notes on how to get there so I can make the drive on my own whenever the mood strikes me: it’s a nice country drive, and the Park is small and country serene.

Though Bob & I had been to this Park many times with & without our granddaughter on hot summer days to swim, we had no inkling there was a walking trail – this was news to me today. And I liked finding that out: I like walking, and I like getting out of Longview to do that ;-)

I think I will be driving back to revisit these trails periodically; I like day-tripping. I like Toledo – Bob & I would often pass through Toledo on our way to the backroads of Jackson Highway. It will be fun to do that again.

Bittersweet.

But fun.

A specific direction for a day I need solace.

Another ‘something old – something new’ …

Trail walking at Toledo County Park with Cheryl & Pam.
Apparently the trail makes a loop - we kept it short and walked the left fork. LOL
Cheryl. She claims there is a sturgeon in the Lake. I will have to revisit and see for myself ;-)

We had a good walk in the Fall sunshine and my lungs did okay. I like fallen leaves, but sometimes their sharp & crisp decaying odors play hell with my asthmatic lungs. I am not noticing anything concerning tonight, so I am thanking Elohim for keeping me safe while I enjoyed my outing with the girls.

It is good to get away from home for a few hours.

It is good to enjoy living life without the heavy pall of grief.

For a few hours.

When we got back to Cheryl’s, we chatted a little more. And Mike came home with his mushroom gleanings. Before I left, they sent a pint of canned Chanterelles & some bagged fresh Chanterelles home with me … as well as 2 Cauliflower mushrooms. I said I had never heard of such things as cauliflower mushrooms; so Mike showed me a page in his book of mushroom descriptions, and I read it.

And I brought those 2 weird looking things home with me – I trust Mike when it comes to mushrooms; he has been picking and eating them a long time. Tomorrow, I will clean and stash these mushrooms; I may even sample a chunk before putting the rest in the freezer for future usage. I don't use doctors, but very sparingly - I believe in 'medicinal foods'; mushrooms is one of those medicinal foods:

CAULIFLOWER MUSHROOMS: they look more like blobs of congealed egg noodles. Interesting. The benefits of eating Cauliflower mushrooms

For Him ~ For Me

Most anything that you want, girl, is all right by me.

Girl, ‘cause I just wanna make you happy
That’s all I’m tryin’ to do
Yes, I just wanna make you happy
And spend my lifetime with you

Our love for each other was genuine and intense – from the moment we met, ‘til the day his spirit left Earth. Bob’s eyes literally smoldered when they lit on me. I felt cherished. I knew I was loved. Passionately. Intensely. The air surrounding us sparked with the intensity: our love towards each other was tangible. People noticed it.

I always felt blessed and highly favored to have had Bob in my life, and to be loved by him. Exclusively.

My life with Bob seemed extraordinary – Bob made it his mission to please me. In every way. He told me in 1974 that if I married him, I’d never regret it … and I never did. He loved me with a pure and true love. He pampered me. He spoiled me for anyone else. My King bee treated me like his Queen.

Our love for each other humbled me.

Because Bob loved me so unconditionally; so wholly, and with such a purity because he was a good man with a good soul … I became a better person. I wanted to BE a better person.

For him. For me.

Though I had loved Bob from the moment I saw his face, when he pursued me and caught me, I felt undeserving of his attentions. Of his love. His fussing over me confused me – until Bob came into my life and showered me with attention and love, I had never experienced real caring or love that wasn’t shallow. I was happy. I was thrilled. I was scared. I had trust issues Bob had to wade through.

Bob’s love towards me was a whole new experience. I wondered about it. I gloried in it: I loved the passion. I loved him with an intensity that kinda frightened me – but I was not sure how to deal with the intensity of his love: I felt unworthy; I came to Bob with baggage.

He knew I loved him. Deeply. Passionately. But I had serious trust issues that had nothing to do with “us”; and those issues did, on occasion, affect us. Bob was patient. He always told me I was worth the wait. Bob loved me – a difficult woman under any circumstances – effortlessly, purely, and beautifully. Bob was love personified.

I miss the way Bob loved me.

Bob lavished love on me the way women dream of being loved by a man who adores her. Being loved by Bob taught me that love CAN be trusted.

Now, I am finding myself distrusting anyone concerning anything, again. That may be an unfair assessment – but, I am ‘right back there’ again.

Admittedly, I am standing on shaky ground.

My new life began across the Columbia River, in another State, on December 14th, 2018 at precisely 8:05 a.m. at OHSU in Portland, OR.

My new life started seriously taking shape 45 minutes from home, August 30th, 2019 at precisely noon; when I laid his cremains in the family cemetery in Eden Valley, WA.

The significance of the moment … though I have been dealing with the seriousness of the situation for months … has set me back some. Where I was making headway, I now find that I have regressed: I am back to stuttering (that started with the onslaught of widowhood). And some days I am paralyzed with unrelenting sneaker waves of raw grief that keeps me off balance. Since August 30th, it has been a continual ‘1 step forward & 3 steps back’. Simple things are difficult endeavors again. Whole days can pass and I wonder at the end of the day what the heck I did with the day.

I am living with grief.

I don’t like it.

I don’t like that I no longer have control over my life – I have always had control of my life; I did give way on some ground with Bob because I loved Bob and I trusted Bob with the small pieces of my life I allowed him into, but in general I always had a firm grip on my life’s situations & circumstances.

Now, every day seems like I am engaged in a morose game of a pick-up sticks-scenario life. My current life lays scattered in a precarious jumble of shattered pieces I am delicately trying to pick up and form into a workable solo life.

I miss my old life.

The life I had with my husband.

I am living with grief.

I don’t like it.

I feel like I am living a provisional existence that will never be set right again.

And that scares me.

I want to honor my husband’s memory by living with joy those memories gave me.

Fully. With hope that there is light at the end of the grief tunnel.

With some degree of happiness; a half-cup level would be welcome.

But I.D.O.N.T.K.N.O.W.H.O.W.T.O.D.O.T.H.A.T.

My kids want me to come spend time with them during the upcoming holidays season, and I would love to do that. But I also know that my emotions right now are in a vacillating ‘bummer’ mode. I can’t promise a jovial attitude. I am not feeling celebratory – and in truth, I may never feel festal again given the entire Fall & Winter months of 2018 were filled with death watch vigils. I watched my life wither and die from August 30th to December 14th. Festivity is not on any future dockets that I can foresee in my new life.

I do “get out of my head”. I do get out of the house. I do engage in busy work. I have been to Grief Share meets. I have joined Widow Groups. I have talked with local widows & widowers. And it is disheartening to hear that some of these people have been caught in the life-sucking grip of grief FOR DECADES.

God help me!

I do not want to be tip-toeing trough my life for decades.

I love Bob.

I do not want to replace Bob with another man or with a deliberate erase.

I will always love my husband.

Bob is my forever man.

But I don’t want to be snared and hamstrung by grief for the rest of my life – I do not, for 1 second believe that Bob would want me paralyzed with grief, or crying every day until I am laid beside him in our familial cemetery plot block.

‘Most anything that you want girl’, at this point in time, would just be a reprieve from these unrelenting waves of grief.

So, Babe, if you can hear me … and you can see what I am struggling with in my new life … I would really appreciate some slack in the grieving process.

I can’t rebuild a happy new solo life if I am crippled by the extraordinarily happy life we shared together.

I Love you, Babe.

Always.

But I need some real relief with the grief thing.

OX