Wednesday, December 27, 2017

I survived with a lot of help from these guys plus one...

I had been dreading the holidays as it would bring so many memories of all the years together with Ken.  Somehow no matter where we were on the planet we always spent Christmas together with family.  While our parents were alive, we always managed to be with them.  It helped a lot that they were in the same town and sometimes they came to our house.  It was tamales for Christmas Eve followed by church and ham for Christmas Dinner.  Stockings were hung and brought great fun on Christmas morning regardless of how old the children were.
Well, this Christmas was saved by my son, Chris, and his family.  They kept me busy doing such fun things that I didn't even have time to be sad.  A wonderful Italian dinner out on Christmas Eve with friends followed by a tour of Christmas lights.  And Christmas Day full of surprises from Santa and lots of laughter and gifts galore.  Even Cash, the new puppy fresh out of surgery (you might guess what his Christmas present was) and old Gatsby the Beagle enjoyed the goodies from their stockings.
It was a wonderful day.  I could feel Ken enjoying the scene but it was all okay.
So now I prepare for new beginnings in this coming 2018 and am grateful for my health and that I still seem to have most of my marbles rolling around in the old noggin.
I am blessed, so very blessed!

Thursday, December 21, 2017

You've got a friend in me????

I hate to throw anything negative out during this holiday season but here goes......
A warning to all my elderly vulnerable widow girl friends and maybe even male friends:  there are folks out there who troll the Internet for people like you and me in hopes they may score a target.  Yes, there are risks to being out there on the Internet!  Yes, I know that but not until I broadcast my loss of spouse on Facebook did I experience the impact.

Within a week of Ken's passing I began receiving lots of "friend requests" from males I had never heard of or even with any mutual friends.  I shared this with a male friend and his reaction was "Just tell me who they are.  I'm going to beat them up."  Oh, great!  But months later it is still going on and I'm baffled as to how it can be worth the time of these yo-yos to go phishing for us poor lonely widows.  And what gives our status away?  Is there a software that detects us somehow?  A key word?  And I guess I am an easy target since I have a "public" setting on my Facebook account because I want to have my blog out there.

But here's where it got weird.  I got a text message from an "Edwin Nygard" who claimed to live in Las Vegas, NM and would like to talk with me.  Well, I know folk in Las Vegas so I answered it.  He claimed to be widowed for 4 years, had a son in boarding school, missed his dear wife, Ann, and could we talk on the phone.  I avoided that and then he wanted to know how old I was.  I wrote him , " Older than dirt."  I questioned how he found me and he claimed he had seen my picture.  He then sent the picture and sure enough there I was at a table having lunch with friends about 8 years ago.  He claimed he was Facebook friends with one of the women in the picture.  I checked that out and of course, no such thing.  Then there were a series of daily greetings, comments on the weather followed by another request for my age.  I asked "Why?  Are you trying to sell me insurance?"  I quit responding and the messages got even weirder--he could tell from the picture that I was the one he was looking for-- and I unfriended him.  Gone but how creepy!  I felt I was being stalked and at the same time gullible for even responding at all.

But I am amazed at the research that he had done on me and the information that was available.  How in the world did he get that picture?  Yesterday on The View Dr. Phil was on talking about this very problem and told about a client, a widower, who had been milked out of thousands of dollars by a woman who had taken another woman's identity and began an online relationship.

Yesterday another widow resident showed me on her cell phone a whole string of unanswered phone numbers she said were scams.  It is that time of year, folks, so just be wary.

Saturday, December 9, 2017

It's Christmas time in Texas complete with snow and I welcomed the lift to my spirits.  This holiday without Ken is more difficult than I imagined.  The Christmas music starts and I get all weepy.  But there have been some delightful and joyful moments.  I love to dance and find myself experiencing pure joy dancing for the first time in a long time.  Caregiving has a way of sucking the joy out of life no matter how hard you try to make it happen.  And when joy pops in, it feels so good.

I'm trying to keep myself busy and to participate in the activities offered here at Watercrest and this month is full of them with dinners out, parties and entertainment.  But the most fun of all has been with my son and his family.  My grandson has had a banner month receiving the Eagle Scout award on the 2nd.  It was a beautiful ceremony at his church and uncles and aunts came from far away to be there for him.  I had moments of tears however as Ken had been looking forward to being there for Sam.  Perhaps he was there in spirit...I like to think so.  Ken and his twin brother were Eagle Scouts and I was able to give Sam some of his grandfather's badge cards and sash which were on display along with his uncle's. 

Tuesday night I attended Sam's induction ceremony into the National Honor Society.  So fun to be in the midst of all those smart adorable young people.  I'm a very proud Nana!  I was in the Honor Society and don't remember any kind of ceremony with it...just my name on a list.  It seems that getting into college these days is much tougher than it used to be and all these extracurricular activities make a big difference. 

Today I will go to my son's home to enjoy his big office party and maybe try to corral their puppy, Cash, somewhere.  They are expecting 100 guests which should send Cash into a frenzy.  The weather is beautiful, crisp and clear.  Tomorrow I will join other residents in honoring our management with our potluck dinner.  I have decorated my apartment in an effort to keep some semblance of the holiday around.  I'm in this "fertile void" to quote Katrina Kenison, author of my new favorite book, Magical Journey, where none of the old ways of being and doing some to work anymore. I'm giving my self permission to grieve, to cry and experience loneliness.  It is all about letting go and moving on to new beginnings.  2018 brings new possibilities and hope for more joy and wellness.  I might even learn to tango...does Santa tango?

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!  May your holidays be filled with joy!  I'm working on it.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Learning how to widow

My bedroom is small, a shift from the larger one we had planned on.  I’m comfortable now sleeping on a twin bed, half of the split king we had shared. The smaller bed leaves room for a desk, a chair, a chest with a TV and even a small armoire...tight but okay. Two large windows look past the well-lighted parking lot toward the hills and are covered by venetian blinds.  I can be fascinated by the light patterns on the ceiling created by the early morning sun.

I wake, glance at the neon numbers on the clock—3:00 am.  I rise slowly and silently not to wake my companion. Laughing at my old habits, I flip on the lamp, walk to the bathroom.  Though I’m chuckling my heart fills with your absence and the challenge of living alone after all these years.  Someone said to me at your memorial service, “Now you are free to do whatever you want.”  What I want is to turn on the damn light when I can’t sleep, to turn on the TV, to eat crackers and peanut butter in bed in the middle of the night.

Those bigger ideas, the bigger wants, the bigger dreams will just have to wait—all the choices are overwhelming right now.  I find myself self-medicating with Facebook, Dancing with the Stars and Blue Bell coffee ice cream.  At the same time aware that I have those choices now, I'm grateful that I can begin to explore options and opportunities I had only dreamed about.  What next?  I am learning how to be a widow.  I've never done this before.

Tuesday, September 5, 2017

It would have been 59 years today...

Fifty nine years ago today I made the best decision of my life and married this brilliant, funny kind man.  I've really missed him this week as I watch from afar our friends in Houston try to get their lives back in order following Hurricane Harvey, the worst storm ever to hit the coast. All that loss seemed to trigger my own losses this year.   I find myself glancing over at the recliner next to me looking for comfort from the guy beside old habit that is hard to let go of.  And I miss our wonderful friends of many years and wish I were there to help in some way. This widowhood business just sucks sometimes.  Losing my best friend and all that I lost in the move here makes for some lonely days and evenings.  Now it is up to me to meet the challenge and I'm working on it.

So today I will celebrate our anniversary by getting a new crown in my mouth and be grateful that I can pay for it thanks to that great guy I married.  And grateful that I have found an awesome dentist just down the highway.   The weather is gorgeous with a cool front on its way.
Tonight I'll have a Shiner Bach in your honor.  Happy Anniversary, Ken Cox.  I love you.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Unbelievable catastrophe....

The mess in Houston is just beyond wrapping one's mind around and it ain't over.  My granddaughter is surrounded by water in Conroe but okay, thank God.  My nephew is stranded in a 4th floor loft near downtown Houston surrounded by water but okay.  But friend after friend is reporting in from flooded houses and it is still raining.  So much loss!  It will be years before Houston recovers.  Businesses closed, people can't get out their doors to go anywhere.  Rescue still going on as reservoirs overflow.  Will it ever end???
My heart is on my sleeve and I weep at every picture of people volunteering their boats to rescue, the pictures of firemen carrying women carrying babies.  I weep seeing boats sail past houses flooded for the first time ever with water to their roof tops.  It all touches that spot of my own grief over recent losses.  But then some of the tears I shed in guilty gratitude that I am not there, that I am here at the edge of the hill country with food, electricity, family and friends but wishing I could do more to help.
Please donate to the American Red Cross, the Salvation Army, the Houston Food Bank.  Thousands have lost everything.

Saturday, August 26, 2017

Here comes Harvey...

I watch raindrops gather on the kitchen window as Hurricane Harvey's first band of showers rolls through and I'm overcome with gratitude that I am on the 4th floor of a lovely apartment building in San Antonio and will never have to evacuate again, that I have electricity, food and water, a refrigerator to keep food and drinks chilled and for now air conditioning.  And wine, don't forget the wine.  I still get messages from the City of El Lago with evacuation instructions...a reminder of our life there during Ike and again I am so grateful.  My heart fills as I recall how supportive He-Who was about the selling of our house and the move into Houston away from the water and later the move to San Antonio...this in spite of the Alzheimer's claiming more and more of him.  And even the thought at this point of trying to evacuate with him and get him out the door is just flat terrible...I am not sure I could have done it.  Ike was difficult but a later storm? We both would have been basket cases, angry and frustrated with each other and the whole mess.

The worst of what is left of Harvey is due here  late tonight though the wind has picked up and is strong enough now that it is difficult to open the door to the balcony.  I took the hummingbird feeder down so if the one I call Kenneth is hungry, he will just have to wait.  I am going to go play Mexican Train dominoes with friends this afternoon and follow it with a glass of wine and the community pot luck this evening.

Thank you my dearest for saving us and now me from the agony of hurricanes.  I miss you.