Friday, May 23, 2014
Day 252 (part 2)
DIARY OF AN UNWILLING WIDOW
May 23, 2014
Day 252 (part 2)
All right…more of my life as I get caught up on my blogging.
It’s a beautiful day. I think spring/summer is here to stay. It had better be because I’ve been packing away all the winter things this week! David’s birthday is next Tuesday, which to me, always signifies the beginning of summer. His will be the last birthday I’ve had to get ready for on my own. And I am – ready, that is.
Today Will is spreading the big dirt pile that came about as a result of the basement work last summer all over the yard with a skid loader. He bought grass seed this week and has told us that nobody is allowed in the yard all summer long! He is such a man…
A couple of weeks ago when the church guys put up my deck, one of them brought me a beautiful basket. I felt kind of bad. Ben was trying to tell me that his SS teacher had brought me a basket, but I was in a hurry to get he and David out the door so they could go to the Adventureland youth rally so I cut him off and said, “Yes, yes, I know, Ben – your teacher is here!” I figured he was just trying to tell me his SS teacher had come to help with the deck, which I already knew. Later, I discovered the basket on my table and wondered out loud where it had come from. One of the Littles told me, “Well, Mom, Ben was trying to tell you Mr. Johnston brought it for you!” Oh. Mother of the Year, I am not…But anyway, it was a gift from the wife and mother-in-law of Ben’s teacher, two friends of mine from church. They filled it with Coke and chocolate and wrapped it in cellophane with a big sparkly ribbon on top. It was so pretty that I smiled every single time I looked at it that day! That evening, I opened it up and discovered there was also a gift certificate inside for a hair cut and manicure from the place where I always get my hair done (Ziva Couture in Indianola – some free advertising –go there, Local Friends – they’re wonderful!) I found out later that when my friends went to buy the certificate, my hair gal (and friend), Sarah, found out about it and insisted on “upping” the value of the certificate. The last time I was there she wouldn’t let me pay for my hair, either!
I had a run-in with my neighbor right before I left on vacation. This is a 70 year old man who has developed an unhealthy interest in me. In March, I thought I had made it clear to him that I was not interested in pursuing any type of relationship with him. He backed off for awhile, but then gradually, started coming around more, getting more and more “friendlier” with each visit. I wish now I had been more vocal and clear in my wishes. I just didn’t want to hurt his feelings and tried to convince myself that I was misunderstanding his intentions. After all, he is SEVENTY years old! But a couple of weeks ago he attempted to kiss and grope me. I ended up having to push him off me (I should have never let him near me in the first place – he had asked -sort-of, but not really- for a hug and I wrongly hoped it would be an innocent encounter). I was upset, although I didn’t really let myself think much about this until we got back from vacation. This happened while I was up at City Hall, working. About a half hour later he came by again and apologized, saying he knew what he had done was “wrong.” But then he petulantly added, “I guess you can be mad at me if you want.” And from there he went into his sad soliloquy about his marriage. At that time I attempted to explain to him about how holiness, not happiness, needs to be our chief aim in life. Of course, it went right over his head. He appears to be genuinely remorseful, but we’ll see.
Last weekend I finally had clarity of thought. I got hugs from a lot of people in the weeks and months following Paul’s death that I would not normally have. The idea there, I’m sure, was to offer comfort to me. And that’s the way it was with this guy. He’d bring cookies to the house for the kids, we’d chat, and sometimes he’d offer a quick hug. I didn’t think anything of it. But somewhere along the line he got the wrong idea. Hugging became something he wanted for himself. And that’s what lead to the encounter in my office a couple of weeks ago. But anyway, he will never touch me again.
He did stop by the house this week when we got back and I made sure to busy myself cleaning up the kitchen while he chatted. He didn’t ask for a hug and left just a few minutes after he came. I think maybe he’s feeling a bit chastened. However, recent history tells me that I’ll have to be vigilant because sooner or later, he’ll try his luck again.
I have kept my pastor informed of all this and he has even offered to go talk to this guy for me. But I think that this is an experience I needed to have in order to learn that I must be willing to stand up for myself and for what’s right even when I’m terribly uncomfortable doing it. I have a protector in God and have a brother, a dad, sons, and other male friends who I know would instantly rush to my defense if needed. But this is an area where I need to learn to stand on my own.
I hate not being married…
I got to meet a Facebook friend in person this week. Last fall, a mutual friend introduced me to Renae, who was widowed 6 months before I was. She is raising 4 girls now on her own. We’ve been chatting via text and Facebook for months but we’ve both been so busy we haven’t had time to meet up until now. It was wonderful – our 3 hour lunch attested to that! There’s such a commonality in heartbreak, especially when the stories are so similar.
The other night the tv was on and PBS aired this special about the Siobobor Nazi death camp revolt. Will, Sam, David, and I watched it. I have long been fascinated (and equally horrified) by nearly all the events of WWII. I’ve read many books set in that time period. Just this spring, I read a story that takes place in Germany during the war. The main characters are sent to Siobobor, which was in Poland. I had never heard, until I read this book, of the revolt in which the prisoners, weakened by starvation, cold, and abuse, managed to overpower their well-fed captors and escape. Well, only 50 made it to freedom, but that’s 50 more lives saved than there would have been. The Nazis planned to exterminate all the prisoners. So that was relatively fresh in my mind and then this special aired.
David’s insurance rejected the idea that they should pay for his braces. Sigh…his old insurance probably would have paid for at least a portion of it. But Paul’s death made all the kids Medicaid-eligible. That’s nice normally, but not right now. I’m attempting to weigh out my options. For me to pay for his braces out of pocket it will cost $6000. I can knock off $500 if I pay it up front.
I explained my situation to the lady at the orthodontist’s and she was very nice. She told me that Medicaid is becoming a nightmare for any doctor’s offices to deal with (which would explain my inability to find offices willing to take it anymore) and that they are refusing to pay now for things they used to pay for. The lady said normally they finance out to 24 months but she was willing to go longer due to our situation. I appreciate that, but that’s not my main concern. I’m just trying to decide if David’s mouth is worth $6000. I’m thinking it probably is not. Really, he only has one tooth that is sideways and it’s not even a front tooth. I had actually been looking into going with the invisiline system for my crooked-getting bottom teeth through my dentist (but had decided to wait, maybe forever). That’s a $4000 method of straightening that could be an option for him.
But even $4000 is a whole lot of money. Besides, David doesn’t even ever smile with his teeth. Maybe I should save my money for the Littles. One of them might have a smile that really needs fixing. Decisions, decisions…
Awhile ago I downloaded a free Kindle book that a friend suggested I might like. It’s called, “The Tender Scar: Life After the Death of a Spouse,” written by a Richard Mabry. I started reading that this week and I am really, really liking it. I wasn’t sure if I would because it’s written by a man who has since remarried. He lost his first wife at the age of 63 after 40 years of marriage. There’s a lot of differences between our stories. But he writes in such an engaging way that I have found myself really enjoying the book.
The title was what caught my eye initially. “Tender Scar” is such an apt way to describe widowhood. I still feel like I have an oozing wound, but it’s not laid open anymore like it was in the early days. He comments about his title that eventually we will all have a scar where the death of our spouse occurred. Healing will take place. But, that scar will always be tender to the touch. I know he’s right about that.
I’ve been hearing about the Kubler-Ross theory of grief since before Paul died, but especially since, where grief is divided into 5 sequential stages: Denial, Anger, Bargaining, Depression, Acceptance. I can tell anyone right now that while all of these listed can be part of the grieving process, there’s no guarantee all will be experienced or that they will be experienced in the order laid out. Grief comes in waves and these waves often contain more than one emotion. There have many times in the past 11 ½ months where I have felt pretty good and then a grief wave hits, knocks me off my feet, and I feel like it’s June 6 all over again. I do have to say, though, that each wave does seem to be a bit smaller as time goes on.
But this author introduces the TEAR theory of grief, that I like a whole lot better.
To accept the reality of the loss
Experience the pain
Adjust to the new environment
Reinvest in reality
I went to Ames yesterday with Ben for bocce ball. His coach wasn’t able to make it, so I filled in, which is pretty interesting since I don’t even know the rules to bocce ball! I must have done something right because his team got the gold! Ben was supposed to go again today to throw a softball, but I decided to skip that. I can’t see driving an hour both ways to watch him throw a ball a few times. He does go tomorrow to compete at the state level for the relay race. His coach is going to pick him up. I do feel somewhat guilty, but Will needs me for the party. This is a one time event. Ben will be in Sp. Olympics the rest of his life.
Well, I’m caught up on blogging now. I’ve got cakes in the oven for the party tomorrow and girls in the bathtub (who are NOT for the party – all my Littles will be spending the day with the Merritts). I need to get all them out of their current habitations (the cakes and the girls)! So, lots to do yet before I turn in. I’m toying with the idea of re-painting the new hallway on Monday, which will be Memorial Day. I don’t have to go anywhere. We’ll see.
A year ago this weekend Paul and Will were working feverishly on the kitchen floor. I’ll always remember that project this time of year, I think.