Saturday, October 22, 2016

My Walk Home

These pictures are not only of the beautiful scenery I get to look at every day between my home and Emily and Ryan's home.  They are also symbolic of the first time I was able to take this walk and come into the apartment complex without crying.

This is what we would see when we drove or walked into our little alley between the apartments.  Mike loved that scene so much and never failed to comment on its beauty.  Sometimes snow, sometimes clouds, and sometimes sunshine.  Every time I turn in, my heart skips a beat and I get tears.

Today was better though, for some reason.  I just decided that this beauty needs to be savored and enjoyed.  By me too.  It was the first day I have actually felt joy and got the feeling that I can be happy in a lot of ways.  The tears and sadness are not going to change anything (although they can't be helped), and I need to not feel guilty about being happy.

After the bad weather last weekend, I was afraid all the pretty leaves would be gone, but I think they're even prettier this week.   There are about 4 streets I can take on this short walk, but I think this is the prettiest one.

This little area is so pretty in all seasons but especially today with the clouds.  In the South, this kind of cloud would mean you'd better take cover, but here it's only a just kidding kind of thing.  It could rain but then again it might not.

Mike treasured his Lenten Rose  that he moved from state to state, and I noticed last week that the landscapers have added one to the corner planting area.  Is this one of the signs we look for and hope to see?  I don't know, but I think it makes me happy.

I'm happy just walking along kicking the leaves lost in my thoughts.

Graysen thinks it's funny that this car wears a raincoat all the time.

And the one who keeps home happy and cheerful.  Old-fashioned nursery rhymes and apples dipped in yogurt.  It doesn't take much to make this one happy.  And therefore me.  

And my other buddy who never gets tired of exploring and digging in the rocks and dirt.

They're off to see the other grandparents in South Dakota tomorrow for a whole week, and I'll miss them.

Thursday, October 13, 2016


This is always a safe topic to talk about up here.  Yesterday as I made my rounds doing errands and taking Graysen to school and picking her up and even going into the apartment, I heard the warning several time - ENJOY this beautiful day because there won't be any more for a long time!

The 10-day weather report shows rain for all 10 days, from 60% to 100% every day.  And then this on Facebook last night.  Not to be outdone by the hurricane season across the country, we're going to have a little excitement this weekend - or maybe today.  I can do without the wind (well, I do like a little bit) - I just want to hear a little thunder.  At least I don't have a tree to worry about falling since our sweet birch died during the summer.

Yesterday was a beautiful day - cold and windy but sunny with blue skies.  The girls and I walked over to the park, and it made my heart happy to see the joy they got from just running through leaves and throwing them in the air and screaming.  I'll treasure these days because it won't last forever - this innocence.

I'm bad about taking pictures lately, but when I picked Graysen up at school yesterday, she was walking across the street hand in hand with her partner.  The entire front of her pants was covered with mud as well as her boots and most of her face.  So cute.  Her partner's shirt was in the same condition.  She started apologizing about getting dirty, but I loved it - that she and her friends had so much fun playing - something about a house and a shower and lots of giggles.

Updated to post this picture I found on the Rooster Valley Farm Facebook page.  Really cute kitty pictures too.  And to take out the name of her friend.  I'm not sure about posting pictures of other children, but they're on a public FB page, so I guess it's okay.

I took her to the grocery store where she exclaimed over everything she saw with gasps of delight.  She was called precious at least once and SO cute another - music to a Mimi's ears.  Taking her into the grocery store makes it a lot easier to go there - exchanging sad memories for happy ones.  If only Safeway would provide those little child-size shopping carts.  I kind of like her up in the seat though, where I can see her eyes light up over a box of mac and cheese and hear her exclaim over how beautiful the apples are.

Yesterday was a happy day and made me see that I can smile about things again and laugh and not always be burdened with so much sadness.  Friends and relatives still have not given up on me and send me notes and messages of encouragement, which I appreciate so much.

I'll try to get some pictures today.  I have some on my phone as well as some videos, but I'm not sure how to get them to this blog yet.  I might take some today if we get out.  It looks pretty gray out there right now, and I hear rain already.  It's going to be a good day.

Monday, October 10, 2016

Monday Memories

This is the best I can do right now, just thinking of things that made (and still make) me smile.

I've used the phrase "It's so hard," too many times, but I can't describe any better how I feel the majority of my days now.  After sharing another cliche with Emily last night (something like I didn't know how hard it was going to be), she said, "I didn't either.  If I had, I would never have gotten out of bed the first morning."

You can hear things over and over, like how it takes time and how much of a struggle it is to get over losing someone,but until it happens, you can really never know.  I wake up every day and have to get used to it again.  Every day.  Several times a day.

There are periods when I think I'm going to be okay.  Time with the girls is just pure joy, and I do enjoy that.  I'm enjoying getting myself organized to take over the running of my life by myself.  I can lose myself for a bit in a book or movie.  But when my mind is free to think, I just can't go places where it hurts so badly.  So most memories and things will have to come later when I've healed a little bit.

But I did think about some things that made me smile this morning.  The way Mike loved to pretend he disliked my sewing hobby.  He didn't really.  He embarrassed me constantly by bragging on something I had done or making a big deal over a simple thing I had made.

But he never tired of exaggerating how much stuff I had in my sewing room.  How many pairs of scissors I had.  How he didn't even have a drawer in the bedroom to call his own because of being filled with fabric (not true! but it made a good story).

 When we were showing the house last year and having a moving sale, he would offer someone all my fabric for $20 or a good bargain on my new sewing machine.  He would tell anyone who would listen that I had close to a million dollars invested in my hobby.  He loved it though that he could provide me that joy.  It hurts my heart that he never felt like he could spend the money on a hobby for himself (or that's what he said anyway), but he would take me to a fabric shop and insist on buying me whatever I wanted.

My first visit to a sewing shop here in WA, we walked in, and he told the first salesperson that I wanted the most expensive machine they had, maybe 3 of them.  I had gone in for some new bobbins!  With that conversation and after they had shown him a long-arm quilting machine, he had them wrapped around his little finger.  He embellished his tales even more by saying he had to hire a whole Penski truck to move my sewing room up here.  What a way he had with engaging strangers in a fun conversation - at my expense, true - but still so much fun.

For months now, he hasn't felt very well, but he insisted on driving me places, even if it was just sitting in the car waiting for me.  This summer we went to a nice fabric shop in Bellevue, Pacific Fabrics, and he just spent so much time walking around with me and looking at things.  There was a map on display with push pins where you could mark your home state.  He took great pride in staking out Alabama - the only pin in that state!  He insisted on my getting the kit for a quilt (yet another project!) that I admired.  Then when I got started on it and was cutting out and measuring and making the blocks, he was in constant admiration from his chair in the living room.  I know he really didn't care most of the time, but it made me feel good for him to examine a block and pretend to look for flaws and insist I do it over.

Wow.  That was hard.  So hard.  Thinking about that.

I think of the jokes we've all heard about husbands and their wives' sewing obsessions.

I wish I could hear just one more complaint about my sewing room.  I wish I could use a pair of scissors without thinking about how he lamented that there were 25 pairs of scissors in the house, and none of them were ones he could use.

I wish I could go into my sewing room and not feel a wave of sadness that won't go away.

One day I will, I know.  I keep telling myself that.

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

No More Birds

At some point during the hospital ordeal, I let the bird seed and hummingbird food run out, and the poor birds gave up on us.  Graysen worried about it when she started coming back over here, and I refilled them both - but not one sign of a bird.  Seems strange to me.

Mike spent a bunch of time standing at the window trying to get good photos of the birds, and he did just that.  I've been using his camera, and when I downloaded my photos, there were so many pictures of those birds.  I'll put a few here to admire what a good job he did.

I wonder how I can attract birds again this winter.  I put some seeds on the railing but haven't seen even one come.  

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Still keeping on

I know I need to write more here, and I do think of things to write, but when it comes time to do it, I just put it off.

There is sunshine in my life again - not all day every day - but there are some times that are so good they give me hope.

In no particular order:
My family - here and all over the country.

Friends who send emails, cards, flowers, FB messages, make phone calls (even when I can't talk).  I'm overwhelmed.

Peace and the ability to be in the apartment and realize I can be content and do things again.

Sleep that comes even though I think it won't.

Getting my hair cut (that's a real thing, when you move, finding someone who does a great job and learning to find her house).

The sweet girl at the North Bend Post Office.  Most people here are nice, but she was nice to me in a low moment, and she doesn't even realize how much her kindness helped me.

Learning to do things on my own - paying bills, talking to Delta, mailing packages, turning off lights behind me - all things Mike did for me all those years.

My new birthday teapot and tea from Emily, Ryan, and the babies.

An enthusiastic knee hug from the 16-month old Friday morning.

The 3-year-old jumping up and down and yelling MIMI when I picked her up at school.  I know those days are numbered.

Scarecrows are just a LITTLE scary.

Sunshine and beautiful fall days.   My street.

The ability to make my entryway a little cheery.  Grandma's churn and pumpkin are mine, and the scarecrow came from my landing neighbors.  I think the fire extinguisher adds a cozy touch.

This scarecrow is more than a LITTLE scary.  

This wreath is now driving another set of neighbors crazy with its wonkiness.

I also realize that my camera is still bad and needs something, probably starting with keeping Kate from chewing on it and causing the lens cover to show in the corner.

Graysen and I met Emily in Issaquah at "Mama's Work" for a nice lunch Friday.  It was just what we needed.

And finally, I'm thankful for someone to carry on PopPop's craziness.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

The Real Thing

I read a tribute to Mike today from one of Emily's best and oldest friends, Jody Callahan, that he wrote on his blog.  I saw it on FB and read the first line, but I couldn't go any further until later on today.  It made me cry, as I thought it would, but it also made me laugh, and that's saying a whole lot lately.  Jody has a way with words, and he shares our sorrow in an amazing way.

I try to think of things every day that might make me feel better, but they all come with a price tag - remembering enjoying them in happier days.

Last weekend, Saturday, I believe, we had such a beautiful day, yellow and red leaves already, a brisk cool wind blowing, low clouds threatening rain - and my sweet 3-year old to spend the afternoon with me.  She doesn't understand yet about her PopPop.  She knows he's not around and hasn't been for some time, but she has faith that she will see him again.  I'm going to take her approach too.

We walked from her house to the apartment as usual, and even though my heart was so heavy, I let myself be in the moment and enjoy her sweetness and joy.

I spent awhile Sunday afternoon sitting on the balcony with a little sunshine and cinnamon coffee reading a book sent by my friend Roz who has been there with encouragement all during the hospital stay and since.  I'm having a hard time reading very much at a time, but I'm sure I'll read and re-read this book.

On Monday morning, I had to make a very sad visit to the library to take Mike's books back and make sure he didn't have anything checked out I had forgotten to take back.  While I was there, I did get this:

And will start doing the Sunday crossword puzzle.  I'm sure he would have smirked derisively if I had told him I would tackle that, but I'll do my best to carry on the tradition.

Better than comfort food is an armload of quilting books.

I know they will be just glanced at and returned and that I'll never make anything in them, but I will take any little bit of pleasure I can right now.  

It's going to take deliberately finding peace and joy again for our family.  We'll have to look for it because if we just sit there and take it, we will be overcome with sadness and grief.   I have faith we can do it.