Hard for me to believe it has been nearly two weeks since I have written here.
There has been a lot going on....but nothing I wanted to share particularly.
I have gotten a few jaunty Christmas letters from dear friends. This is not one of those. I can't point to many high points this past year. The best I can do is let folks know "I get out of bed everyday." People have been wonderful in helping me transition to this new life, in fact several angels have appeared to hold my hand.
"Grieving" is hard work. For those who might not know - my husband Jim died in March and just to see if we were on our toes we had to wait for five months for his burial at Arlington National Cemetary. Two funerals, no matter how lovely, and his were, is just a bit much in one year.
So, as I was saying, grieving is hard work. I just don't get as much done and am certainly not as efficient. All the books and articles on grief - and there are hundreds, assure me this is normal. I am glad to hear that but can't say that it helps much.
Storytelling is the a grace and helps heaps.
But now - - add a holiday. Wham - that really slows you down.
I solved several parts of that by deciding not to decorate my house for Christmas. No tree this year.
Jim and I loved putting up the Christmas Tree and we kept ornaments from every year. We still have a few left from the first time we had our own tree in 1957.
Jim was an Intern at Kings County Hospital in Brooklyn, NY. On his $63/month salary we had NO money to spend. But when another intern took us to Bargaintown USA - one of the first big box stores, we bought several boxes of shiny, colorful thin glass ornaments for $1.50 a box. Several have survived although the silver sprinkles have turned black.
No, I am not taking a trip down memory lane as I unwrap every ornament.
Instead I packed up and went out of town for an away-cation. Found someone who loves animals to live in my house for a few weeks to feed and love the animals. So far that's working out really well.
United Airlines brought me to sunny California and its G O O D to be here with my daughter and her family in the sunny hills around San Francisco.
This away-cation is a very sentimental journey. California is Jim's home state. He loved it. We came often to see his family and then our daughter moved out here and we came even more often to see her and subsequently our grand-sons. I am back in part as escape from home and in another part because Jim wanted to come to California but time ran out before he could.
I was worried about coming. Wise Facebook friends shared many thoughts about what I should bring to support me through it. And I brought something of everything they advised from journals to that mouthy stuffed lion, Leo. He is the stand-in for Jim because Leo was on Jim's bedside table during the last leg of his journey.
Last night I had dinner with long-time friends - one, Jim's college room-mate and Best Man at our wedding, reminded me of stories I had heard but forgotten. He brought back some wonderful memories - especially of one night he, Jim and I and one of my nursing school classmates visited the Lincoln and the Jefferson Memorial at night - when they were bathed in moonlight. Oh, yes, I remember that - and Jim and I often took folks to those monuments at night because we knew how beautiful they were then. As well as other stories - - stories of a good friend. He told me how Jim called him when he had his stroke 15 years ago and rehearsed him on the answers with the psychiatrist the next day so that he could go home. And, it worked - just as he had sometimes coached him when they were in college. Gifts!
Yes, I cried. Wouldn't you? But the tears felt warm - and healing. Once again - learning - the healing is in the stories.